What is UV Resin and Hpw Does it Work

People just starting out with working with resin can get lost with the many varieties of resins available on the market. If you are a beginner, it’s hard to know which resin to use for what project. Questions like what is UV resin and How does it work? Where do I start? Are often questions that get asked by beginners. UV resin is very versatile and is used in a wide variety of applications, such as automotive repair, woodworking, jewellery making, art and craft 3D printing, and even in dentistry. It is ideal for beginners who generally stary out with small projects. That’s not to say that this resin is only for beginners, as many experienced users that require a fast cure time will choose UV resin over epoxy resin as well.

What is UV Resin?

UV Resin otherwise known as a light activated resin or photopolymer resin is a synthetic liquid or gel consisting of a mixture of multifunctional of monomers, oligomers, and photoinitiators. Photopolymer resins are a type of resin that is activated by light. The most common photopolymer reacts to ultraviolet (UV) light as UV light is more energetic than other types of light. UV resin is a unique to other resins as it is a 1-part system and do not require a hardener/catalyst to be added and rely only on UV light to initiate curing process. It also doesn’t produce as many harmful fumes making it a far safer to use and less harmful to the environment.

How Does UV Resin Work?

When exposed to ultraviolet light (UV light) UV resin undergoes a bonding process called a photopolymerization reaction. This reaction is called curing. The chain reaction converts the resin from a liquid state to a solid state. liquid that dries into a solid-state, hard, transparent material. Generally, the ultraviolet light is provided by a ultraviolet flashlight called a blacklight or UV curing station, where the more powerful for UV source is the faster the curing process will be.

What are the Benefits and Disadvantages?

Benefits

Fast Curing Time

While there are many factors that determine the cure time of UV resin such as size shape and colour of the project, cure time can be achieved relatively quickly over different types of resin such as epoxy which will take several hours for a similar project.

Long working Time

working time otherwise known as pot time is not a factor to consider as there is no need to add additional chemicals to start the curing process. UV resin will remain in its liquid form until it is exposed to ultraviolet light to start the curing.

Cures at Any Temperatures

Ambient temperatures do not have any effect on the curing process of UV resin. Other resins that require a hardener will need their mix ration changed depending on the air temperature. The curing process for UV resin will occur as long as there is a ultraviolet light source.

No Mixing or Measuring

UV resin is bought as a 1-part system in a single container there are no other additives required to cure the resin, there’s no need to calculate precise measurements. Mixing also poses a problem with other resins, if they are not mixed correctly the resin will not cure correctly or you could find pockets of uncured resin in your project. This does not happen with UV resin.

Short Learning Curve 

UV resin is a great place to start for beginners it easy to use, starting projects are generally small, not many beginners start out trying to make a river table for their first project. It produces less fumes and doesn’t require mixing or additional chemicals.

Disadvantages

Layer Thickness 

Because the resin needs to be exposed to ultraviolet light to cure, UV resin can only be applied in thin layers generally 1/8 to 5/32 of an inch (3mm to 4mm) thick. to make a project thicker a new layer will need to be applied. While each layer is relatively quick to cure applying several layers will be time consuming with each layer needing to cure individually.

Short Shelf Life

unlike epoxy and other resins UV resin has a short shelf life of about 6 months. So if you find that you’re having trouble getting your resin project to cure. You might need to check the best before date on the packaging. Propper care and storage will help keep you resin usable for longer.

Good practices like replacing the container lid after use and storing the rein in a cool dark area are essential to avoid spoiling.

Durability

After the curing process UV resin has a softer surface than other resins making it more susceptible to everyday wear and tear.

Size of Projects

Projects are limited in size as each required layer needs to be exposed to UV light especially if you are using a UV light station

Higher cost of resin

The cost factor is a key consideration when purchasing resin for a project meaning generally the higher purchase price makes this resin unfeasible with many makers opting for lower cost alternatives when deciding on which resin to choose. A UV light for curing the resing also needs to be factored in to the costs adding to the higher costs.

Leave a Comment