Everyone’s favorite part of 3D printing is post-processing, right? I’m kidding – there may be a few people out there who enjoy post-processing, but I don’t know any. Especially fun is post-processing resin-based 3D prints, because there’s an extra step involved: post-curing. If you’ve ever 3D printed anything using an SLA 3D printer, you’re well aware that a print isn’t finished until it’s been cured with UV light to increase its strength, stability and overall mechanical properties.
There are many ways to post-cure a print, from setting it in the sun to using a curing machine like those used in a nail salon, but for the best possible cure – especially for larger parts – you’re going to want a cure box. A cure box is exactly what it sounds like: a box with a UV light and reflective walls inside, providing an atmosphere of bright light that reaches the entirety of the part. A cure box is a smart investment for someone using SLA 3D printing for professional applications in engineering, dentistry, jewelry, etc. Unfortunately, high quality cure boxes tend to be on the expensive side.
Wicked Engineering understands the importance of high quality curing, but also that not many people have the money to put towards a good cure box. The Massachusetts company offers a reasonably priced option: the CUREboxTM, a 12″ x 12″ x 6.25″ commercial-grade UV box designed for curing resin prints. The large curing machine is easy to use in addition to being affordable. It’s literally a push-button operation; just place your print inside, select the type of resin you’re curing, and press “run.” The box will begin curing as soon as it reaches the optimal temperature for that type of resin, and then will shut down automatically once the curing process is complete.
One of the things that Wicked Engineering emphasizes is the importance of temperature – it’s not one-size-fits-all, which is why the CUREbox offers specific settings for standard, flexible, tough and castable resins. For those who like to have more control over the curing process, there’s also a custom setting that allows you to choose your own parameters.
“UV is just part of what it takes to get a good cure. Often overlooked is temperature,” Wicked Engineering explains. “CUREbox has temperature control to give you the absolute best properties from your SLA part. Curing doesn’t even start until the chamber reaches temperature. No need to wait for the chamber to reach temperature, CUREbox will wait for you.”
As curing machines go, CUREbox is especially spacious, with plenty of room to cure large or multiple parts. The electronics are all on the top of the machine, so you can use it to wet-cure as well. It features an elevated clear polycarbonate work surface that allows UV coverage from all sides, so even the bottom of the part will be cured. The CUREbox’s chamber is lined with panels that offer over 97% total reflectivity, and they’re specially engineered to work with the specific wavelengths inside the chamber. According to Wicked Engineering, this results in a high level of efficiency and uniformity of radiant energy, which in turn leads to more evenly cured parts with increased dimensional stability.
The CUREbox supports just about every photosensitive resin on the market, including popular resins from Formlabs, Autodesk, Spot-A, and B9Creations. The patent-pending machine features a touchscreen and status indicators for the the heat, lamps, and door, and the UV LED lights are replaceable. It has an industrial build, so it’s sturdy enough to last you a long time. Designed specifically with engineers in mind, the CUREbox is also versatile enough for any application that requires strong, finished SLA 3D printed parts.
Customers that have utilized the CUREbox include:
The CUREbox is normally priced at $699, but is currently on sale for $599, and it’s available for purchase from Wicked Engineering’s web store, as well as from Amazon. You can learn more about the CUREbox here.
Let us know what you think about this solution in the CUREbox forum thread at 3DPB.com.
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