How to Properly Clean Your Resin Vat & FEP Film

Filter the resin
(Use the cleaning kit to filter the excess resin.)

When we print with a 3d printer that uses resin-based printing technology, such as stereolithography (SLA) or a digital light processing (DLP) printer, cleaning the resin vat/tank is an important maintenance task that ensures the print quality and prolongs the machine's lifespan. Resin vats can become dirty over time due to resin residue buildup, and FEP film can get cloudy or even break with extended use. In this guideline, we'll learn about the proper and efficient methods for cleaning the resin vat and the FEP film in a resin 3D printer.

How to Clean Your Resin Vat & FEP Film

You typically need to clean your resin vat when changing resins or experiencing a print failure, otherwise, any cured bits or debris left in the bottom of the vat can destroy your FEP film and affect the print quality during the next print.

If you're not using the remaining resin in the vat for typically over 3 days, it is highly suggested to store it correctly to ensure that it can be reused next time, since photosensitive resins will easily react with UV light and moisture. This is especially true for water-washable resins, as they are more prone to absorbing moisture.

Before starting your maintenance task, make sure to wear a mask and gloves, and handle the resin in a well-ventilated area. Uncured resin is a toxic chemical that can be harmful to your health if it comes into direct contact with your body.

Method 1: Quick Cleaning for Your Resin Vat & FEP Film

Clean the resin vat

Tools you need:

  • Plastic or silicone scraper
  • Filter or funnel

Step 1: Set the exposure time to 20 seconds and allow it to cure a thin layer of resin.

Step 2: Use a plastic or silicone scraper to gently peel the piece of cured resin away from the vat.

Step 3: Filter the excess resin back into the original container for future use.

This method is suitable for quickly cleaning up debris in the tank after a print failure. But it requires consuming some resin, as a certain amount of resin is needed to create a solid resin piece to remove the debris. It is important to note that you should not use metal or sharp tools to scrape off the residues, or else this can ruin your FEP film.

Let's watch a short video to learn how to quickly clean the resin vat of an Anycubic Photon Mono X2 using this method.

If your printer, like the Anycubic Photon Mono M5s, has an automatic cleaning function button, let's take a look at how it works.

Method 2: Deep Cleaning for Your Resin Vat & FEP Film

Clean the cloudy film

Tools you need:

  • Filter or funnel
  • Isopropyl alcohol (≥95%)
  • Plastic or silicone scraper
  • Tissue paper or microfibre towels

Step 1: Filter out impurities by a stainless steel funnel with a strainer, and slowly pour the leftover resin into an opaque container which keeps light from yellowing the resin. If you are using the resin from Anycubic resin family, we offer multifunctional funnel models that can be fixed onto the Anycubic resin bottle to prevent resin from spilling during the filtering process.

Step 2: Use a plastic or silicone scraper to remove most of the resin from the bottom of your tank.

Step 3: Gently wipe off any remaining resin inside the tank with tissue or microfibre towels, and don't forget to make sure to keep the sides and edges of the tank clean.

Step 4: If there is a small amount of cured resin stuck to your FEP film, spray a little IPA with 95% or higher, followed by gently pressing the bottom of the film with your fingers. The solidified resin will pop off the film so that you can remove it. If it is stuck too firmly, use a plastic scraper to remove it from the edges.

Step 5: Apply a small amount of IPA onto a piece of clean soft cloth or tissue paper, and give the film a slow wipe in order to get the cloudy or foggy film clear.

Step 6: Inspect your tank and FEP film for any damage. Check your FEP film for visible scratches or cracks, as this can affect the adhesion of the film to the tank and cause leaks, and it may need to be replaced if necessary.

Let's watch a video to learn how to get a deep cleaning for your vat/tank.

How to Dispose of the Waste Resin

How to dispose waste resin

Properly disposing of waste resin is crucial to prevent environmental damage and health hazards. Wear gloves and a mask to collect any uncured resin, including the cleaning tools mentioned above, as liquid resin may remain on them during cleaning the vat. Place them in a container and expose them to direct sunlight until they are completely cured. If you have a professional curing machine like Anycubic Wash & Cure 3 Plus Machine, it can save you time and effort by curing the waste resin in about 10 minutes. Once cured, the resin can be disposed of in the trash, but be sure to carefully follow your local disposal regulations.