What Are Test Models in Resin 3D Printing?
So you have finally got a hold of that resin 3D printer that you've been waiting for months. Great, but what's next? Your excitement might urge you to immediately turn the printer on and get ready to print your favorite 3D model, right? Well, not so fast.
If this is your first time playing around with a resin 3D printer, it might surprise you that 3D printing –whether it's resin 3D printing or FDM 3D printing, is not as easy as the "click and print" as some people might imply. After all, the perfect 3D print is a combination of your understanding of the printer, the resin characteristic, and how they interact with your printing environment.
After familiarizing yourself with the pages-long user guides that seem full of these obscure resin 3D printing terms, it's finally time to decide on your first-ever 3D model, right? Your first instinct is probably to search around those 3D printing websites and find the coolest model to print. And although it’s not wrong and we will definitely get there in a moment, there’s still another step that you should do.
Most experts would agree that the first thing you need to print on your brand-new resin 3D printer is a test model. A 3D print test model allows you to better understand the characteristics and capabilities of your resin, as well as how they performed in different printing environments. Designers have created various 3D print test models to help you observe different structural aspects of resins and printers, such as their dimensional accuracy, print overhangs, and slicer settings. By understanding these aspects, you'll have a greater chance of having successful prints and avoid wasting resins on failed models.
The XP Finder
In this article, we will introduce you to XP Finder, a 3D print test model designed by Phrozen to test the resin exposure and parameter settings. XP Finder is an excellent 3D print test model to kickstart your 3D printing as it prints in less than 30 minutes with a minimum amount of resin.
You can always download the XP Finder for free on our website or PIXUP. Then, run your slicer program of choices – such as Chitubox or Lychee, and choose the resin and printers you are printing with. Slice it, and print. For the complete tutorial on post-processing your printed objects, you can read our post on How to Clean Your Resin 3D Prints Perfectly.
Interpreting the XP Finder
Like every other test model, the XP Finder result is irrelevant without understanding its meaning. Therefore, this article will guide you through each part of the XP Finder and what we can learn from it.
As the name suggests, XP Finder (or Exposure Finder) is a 3D print test model that was designed with ten different parts to help designers and creators check on their exposure settings, as well as give them ideas on how different textures might perform on the particular resin.
1. "Better Than You Envisioned"
Let's start with the text at the bottom. Capturing the company's motto, you can see that each letter should be printed perfectly with consistent spacing. Pay attention to the letter "i" in Envisioned. When the dot merges with the stroke, the model is overexposed. On the other hand, if some parts of the text are missing or not prominent enough, it's underexposed.
2. The Pillars
Right above the text, you can see the protruding pillars. There should be thirteen pillars in total with a constant distance in between. If the pillars look bigger with an inconsistent gap, it's a sign that the XP Finder is overexposed. However, if some of the smaller pillars are missing or it's not protruding enough, it is underexposed.
3. The Circular Slope
The slope encircling the Phrozen logo is to check the performance of our layer height settings. Since resin 3D printing relies on layer heights to create details, the more slices you get in the slope, the more details you can get in your objects. By lowering the layer height, you can increase the detailings on your models, but it would also increase the printing time.
4. Side Panels
There are fourteen panels in total, and they should be printed as much as possible without merging. The perfect exposure will have a regular and consistent space in between with slightly protruding panels. If your panels merge together, your XP Finder is overexposed. But if some panels on the edges are missing, it's underexposed.
5. Frame Lines
There is a continuous thin line framing your test model. Pay attention to the left and right sides of the XP Finder and check if the line is significantly visible on these sides. If the line is missing, the 3D print test model is underexposed. However, if the three boards near the line merge, it's overexposed.
6. Phrozen Logo
When printed with the perfect exposure, the logo on the center of the XP Finder will show a relatively consistent line thickness with a hole right in the middle. If the line appears thinner with a large blank space in the middle, it's underexposed. On the contrary, the lines will merge and cover the middle hole when overexposed.
The next four parts would help you visualize how different textures might look when printed with that respective resin. As a lot of 3D printing models seem to showcase highly detailed textures and intricate articles to show off their resin printer capabilities, XP Finder could show you how these textures will be printed beforehand to ensure you have the right resin for the models you plan on printing. It's a safe way to dip your toes before committing with a lot of resin on the line.
7. Cloth Texture
The top left corner of the XP Finder simulates cloth textures and how they will look on your real model under this set of parameters with the particular resin.
8. Weapon Texture
In the upper right corner, the highly detailed grid simulates the texture of weapons such as cannon barrels or gun handles.
9. Reptile Skin Texture
The lower left corner shows a protruding grid that simulates reptile skins. This texture will often appear when you are printing fantasy monsters or dragons.
10. Jewelry Texture
Lastly, in the bottom right corner, you can see an engraved detail that simulates jewelry textures such as rings and necklaces.
Before you go and print your real model, final check and fine-tune your parameter settings when necessary. It's best to make sure that you have achieved a perfect XP Finder exposure before printing bigger models to avoid wasting resin on a failed print. We also recommend you increase the layer exposure time you've got from the 3D print test model by at least 10% for the actual model and up to 20% for models larger than 12cm. This ensures that the model will stick well to the building plate and have enough time to cure.
While the XP Finder helps you find the best exposure time for your resin and printer combo, there are other 3D print test models like the RP Tester that could help you understand your resin performance better. Furthermore, you can also find more test models on websites for 3D printing models like Thingiverse and Cults to test out more parameters and enhance your understanding of your resin performance.
Download Phrozen XP Finder and start printing now!