Vat Replacement Frequency


How frequent do the vats need to be replaced?
We'd be printing rings at 10 micron slices so each print run would approximately consist of 2500 slices.

Inconsistent printing

I have not kept proper records, but I have been going through them like baby diapers... I think I average 6-7 builds at 10um before problems start to occur...

I m not a fan of ramping up exposure to compensate, too many variables to keep an eye of..

There is a product called "Teflon AF 2400" which promises no significant wear of optical clarity during use, but it is super expensive. If its price could reach affordable levels it would be Deus Ex Machina for our needs.


The timing of when resin trays need to be replaced depends on a number of variables, including which type of resin you're using, how many exposures, the geometries you're printing (large or small cross-sectional area? repeating the exposures in the same part of the PDMS?), how long the resin sits in the tray, etc.

Draining the resin from the tray when not in use will help extend the life of the PDMS. As will printing in different areas of the PDMS - i.e., not always centering the model on the build plate.


Thank you Yianni. I guess it's comparable with b9 printer which I've also looked into.

Thank you Shalom. I wanted to get a ballpark figure of the worst case situation assuming same spot being exposed for all the slices.



I noticed you were in b9 forum as well. I'm assuming you have both the printers. I'd appreciate if you can comment on comparing these printers. We're looking into purchasing a 3d printer for direct casting of rings. I came across with b9, ember, asiga, miicraft, rapidshape, digital wax printers. I have casted some sample resin but I'm not 100% satisfied with results as the cast pieces have minor no-fills. I'm assuming it's got something to do with the expansion of the resin as it's burning out. My burnout cycle tops at 1475 F, so I don't think there will be any ashes left at that temperature.


Ali Baba 318,
BTW, you also run your business by that name? :) sorry, could not resist :)

I have had the ET Aureus, the B9 V1.2, the Projet 1200 and currently own an Ember. Since your question is directed towards ability to cast direct, I will focus my answer to just that aspect.

If you compare Ember to B9, using as sole criteria their ability to produce castable patterns out of the box, clearly it's a no brainer. B9 Creations has 3 different resins to choose from, Autodesk currently offers none. This is expected to change, and probably so will my answer. I will add though, casting-wise, the type/brand of printer is not important, many of the ones you mentioned are not locked to handle a specific resin.

One thing I have to add, there are resins such as ET's EC500 which are quite easier to cast, but do not produce a a high definition/crisp detail.

I know my answer is not very helpful, but I hope it will assist you and other users understand the multiple facets of the criteria you should consider when making a purchasing decision.


Thanks Yianni.I really needed your feedback comparing B9 with ember. Things like ease of use, accuracy of prints, XY resolutions of 30 um in B9 vs 50 um in ember, durability comparison of printers etc.

Since most castable resins in the market are interchangeable between printers it doesnt make much sense to compare b9 castable resins with autodesk non-castable ones.

Btw, Unfortunately Ali Baba name was already taken by some Chinese company so I can't use it for our business :(


One trick I have started using to extend my tray life is to undock the tray from the printer and set it on an angle so the resin runs off the PDMS window. I leave it in the printer with the door closed to prevent light exposure. I use a small scrap print to hold the PDMS side up just enough to let the resin pool in the opposite side - but not so much as to allow the resin to overflow the tray.


Thanks Scott.


This is a cool trick Scott !

Perhaps you can take it a step further to add stability since a possible power outage will cause Ember to reboot and home the tray, with the possibility of a spill.


Smart trick, Scott! Thanks for sharing.

Re: Yianni's comment, it's probably a good idea to unplug Ember to eliminate the chance of the rotating plate moving.


I'll try to come up with a little block that locks into the rotating plate that the closest tray tab can latch onto more securely. Of course it will have be be printable on the Ember.... :)


BTW - it seems to have extended my tray life by at least 2 weeks even with daily printing.


One does not simply unplug Ember ! ;)


Ya - I was going to avoid messing with the IP address gremlins if possible.... they can be pesky little buggers.


No, I was just trying to be funny.
Unplugging Ember should not cause it to jump IP unless another device steals it.

Ember being always on had me concerned in the beginning, but after firmware updates I noticed that both the step motors and projectors are being powered down when not in use.

But being on that subject, what is the rated lifespan of the fans? And more to the point, what temperature impact is all the dust accumulated in the device going to have?


scott, 2 weeks of life span extension sounds very good. How high are your printouts, and what's the slice thickness?


Ali Baba -

Generally running 25 micron slices - height ranges from 3mm up to 100mm, the bulk running about 40-50mm high. around 2000 layers on average if I had to put a number on it. Check out my post in the Showcase thread for the types of parts I make. I focus on 'negative space' prints. Most don't fit flat on the build head due to XY size limits - so I print them at angles with supports. The sectional area per slices can run upward of 30-50% of the build area, so my PDMS gets lots of light.

Before I started tilting the resin off the PDMS, I was getting the vat to last about 2-3 weeks before I just couldn't get the parts to print accurately even with exposure compensations. I have now run this last vat 4 weeks and haven't had to adjust the exposures at all yet. I expect it will go at least another week.

There is one thing to note: most of my latest prints have not been extremely detail oriented. Anytime you need to run 10 micron slices and are looking for really good details (150 micron or smaller features to resolve) - I would always recommend you go with a very new vat. Even a small amount of light interference on these type of details can have a big impact.


Its also important to take into account that the resin you use will affect resin tray lifespan.

Different resins have different PDMS clouding rates and PDMS absorption rates.


Good point - this last vat life is with the standard Autodesk Black.