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What Happens if You Run Out of Resin While Printing?

Resin printing vats are surprisingly small, and if you want to print something large and impressive, you run the risk of running out of resin. You must continually fill resin printers with resin to create a print properly. So, what happens if you run out of resin in the middle of a job? 

If you run out of resin while printing, your 3D print will fail, and you won’t be able to recover your printed parts. To avoid running out, you should continuously refill the vat while it’s printing, especially if your print will take several hours. 

Failed prints are a pain, and they can feel like a waste of time, money, and effort. So, let’s discuss what happens if you run out of resin-mid print and talk about when you should add more resin. I’ll also tell you what you can do with your resin print if you let the vat run too low. 

What Happens if You Run Out of Liquid Resin in the Middle of a Print?

3D printing can take several hours, and some prints will need to work overnight or throughout the day. During this prolonged period, it is crucial to keep an eye on your printer and watch the vat levels. 

You could have a severe problem if you forget to fill up your resin vat while your machine prints. Since resin 3D printing requires resin, running out of it midway is like running out of ink in a regular printer. As the machine prints, its resin levels decrease in the stored container, and if it runs out, it will keep trying to print your object until it runs out of instructions. 

If you run out of liquid resin in the middle of a print, your parts won’t print completely. The printer will continue to “print” the desired parts until it “completes” the print job, although it won’t be printing anything because it will just be printing air. 

Running out of resin won’t necessarily damage your machine, but it will cause a print failure. In addition, you won’t be able to reuse the resin because the printing process changed its chemical properties. Essentially, you’ll be stuck with a half-finished object, wasted time, and wasted materials. 

Pause Your Print

It’s best to hit pause if you know you’re going to run out of resin mid-print. That way, you can have time to add some more resin and resume your work. 

In theory, you can pause a 3D print indefinitely. However, it’s best to resume the print job within a few hours so that the printer resumes on the same layer and the object retains its quality. The longer you wait to unpause, the higher the chance that your print will fail. 

Can You Add Resin in the Middle of a 3D Print?

You can add resin in the middle of a 3D print. It’s perfectly safe to add additional resin at any point during the printing stage, and you should continually add more liquid during a long print job so that it finishes. 

Continually monitoring your printer and adding more resin before the vat gets too low will ensure that your print comes out perfect. So, if you realize your vat levels are getting low, feel free to add some more resin while you’re printing. 

Be sure to add the same type of resin to your printer, and be careful not to overfill the container because it can spill and damage your printer. Formlabs recommends topping up the resin tank as soon as your vat gets to half-full if your printer uses more than 200 mL (6.8 fl oz) of resin. 

Follow the following steps to add resin while you’re printing: 

  1. Pause your print. You don’t want to add resin while the printer is actively printing something because it could damage the printer and your object. 
  2. Pour the resin into the vat and fill it to the top fill line. Be careful not to add the liquid too quickly so that it doesn’t splash. 
  3. Close the printer cover and resume your print. 
  4. Be sure to remove any cured resin from your printer after each use and scrape the screen so that your machine stays clean. 

What To Do After You’ve Run Out of Resin

If you couldn’t refill the resin tank in time and your print fails, then there are some tips you can take to protect your printer and make use of your unfinished 3D printed object: 

  • Check your tank for cured resin. If any resin has cured on your print screen during your failure, it’s critical to remove it so that your next print won’t fail. Scrape off the crusty bits and clean the tank thoroughly to remove debris. 
  • Print your object in two parts. If you’re stuck with a half-printed model, you can always print the layers that your printer did not complete and glue the pieces together. Although this method doesn’t offer the best structural integrity, it is an excellent way to save failed prints. 
  • Recycle your failed print. There are many ways to use your failed 3D printed objects. Although you can’t melt them down into reusable resin, you can recycle them for other projects. You can safely use a towel and a mallet to smash the print into small bits. You can reheat these bits and mold them to create jewelry, bowls, boards, and decorative items. In some instances, you can melt them into filament to use in a filament 3D printer.

Check out this YouTube video to see just some of the things you can make with failed 3D prints: 

Final Thoughts

Running out of resin midway through a print is guaranteed failure. So, if you want to avoid a failed print, it’s best to keep an eye on your printer and continuously refill your tank with resin. 

Refilling your tank will ensure that your parts will continue to print without disruption. If you notice that you’re running out of resin, pause your print so that you can save it by purchasing more and resuming the print job.