Composite material settles over time and so requires occasional mixing. To ensure proper consistency, adhere to the following guidelines:
- Mix the re-fill material before every build.
- Mix the vat after every build that takes longer than 12 hours.
- Mix the material every 72 hours, regardless of usage.
With any composite or filled material, it is important to mix the material prior to use. Using a small “paddle” attached to a hand drill, mix the material in the bottle for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Move the paddle around the inside of the bottle—including up and down on the inner edges—to make sure all the material has a homogenous consistency.
Adding to the vat
Once pre-mixed, the material is ready to add to the vat. A fine mesh sieve can be used to catch any “unmixed” lumps of material and prevent them from entering the vat. If you don’t have a sieve, pour the liquid over the platform to give you a better chance of spotting any lumps. If you see lumps, press them through the sieve or platform using a spatula.
We recommend that after introducing any new refresh material to the vat, you run a 15-minute “Platform Stir.” This will mix the new resin with any remnants of the material that is present in the vat. You can then continue to build.
If the resin is for use in a new, full vat fill or after a vat sieve procedure, we recommend you undertake a “Paddle Stir” of at least 2 hours on a medium speed setting. This will help blend the material batches together into a uniform, homogeneous consistency. It will also allow bubbles of trapped air to be released from the body of the material. We recommend you place the blade part of the mixing paddle as close to the bottom of the vat as possible. Doing this will avoid any potential settlement build up.
Vat mixing regime
To maintain the life expectancy of your material, all the benefits of process speed and material stability, you should follow the following mixing regime:
- Before and after every build, conduct a 30-minute “Platform Stir”.
- At least once a week (or after very long builds of around 60 hours), perform a “Paddle Mix” of up to 3 hours, or until viscosity returns to normal (1,000-2,000 cps).
- If the vat is unused for periods longer than, 24 hours, you should periodically stir the vat of material. “Paddle Stir” for 2 to 3 hours for every 72 hours in which the vat has not been used.
Vat sieving regime
Remove the resin from the vat and pass it through a fine mesh sieve to remove foreign bodies, such as support structures, that may have entered the vat. This should be done at least every 3 months.
During this operation, any settlement should be mixed back into the resin that has been removed during the sieve operation.
Failure to run a sieve operation can result in continual settlement build up and, eventually, the formation of a hard-packed layer. This “hard pack” layer can cause issues for the elevator during part builds. Hard pack settlement cannot be mixed back into the material and must be removed and disposed.