Updated on February 9, 2021
TGM-7 3D printing resin is designed specifically to 3D print functional tabletop and gaming miniatures. Such miniatures can be used on a daily basis for tabletop gaming without fear of easy breakage. This is our guide for AmeraLabs TGM-7 3D printing resin. It covers key strategies we recommend following to avoid failures and get the best results.
Our TGM-7 3D printing resin works great with both MSLA and DLP 3D printers. MSLA means LCD-based 3D printers like Phrozen Sonic Mini 8K, Anycubic Photon M5, Elegoo Mars, Peopoly Phenom, or Zortrax Inkspire. These printers use an LCD screen as a mask with an underlying LED light source to project layers on the bottom of resin VAT with FEP film. In contrast, DLP 3D printers use a DLP projector instead of an LCD screen. Anycubic Photon Ultra, Anycubic Photon D2, Elegoo Mars 4 DLP, and Asiga are DLP printers.
However, TGM-7 3D printing resin is not compatible with laser-based 3D printers like Formlabs or Peopoly Moai, which use VAT trays with PDMS silicone lining.
Due to inherent toughness and flexibility, some specific 3D printing strategies should be followed when printing with this resin. Below we present you with a list of key instructions we recommend to follow in order to avoid common failures. Remember, these are just specific instructions for TGM-7 3D printing resin. Consequently, you should also continually apply all fundamental SLA 3D printing techniques.
Use the attachment layer and make it thin
As we emphasize and explain in our blog post, we suggest using a thinner attachment layer for SLA 3D printing. For TGM-7 3D printing resin, we recommend keeping the thickness of the raft equal to 2-4 normal layers. So, if you plan to print at 50um, go ahead and make the thickness of the raft 100-200um. TGM-7 3D printing resin is strong and non-brittle, so there should be no difficulties removing the attachment layer together with the object from the build plate.
Use appropriate cure times for initial layers
TGM-7 3D printing resin exhibits very good adhesion to standard steel or aluminum build plates. Use 10-15x your regular exposures for initial/raft layers. So if you plan to cure at 5s and 50um layers, use at least 50-75s exposures for initial/raft layers. However, the exposure may depend on your machine. Consider this individually based on your experience and results.
Sometimes too long exposures on printers with monochrome LCDs and very powerful light sources can result in severe adherence to the FEP film of your VAT. So judge settings based on your regular strategies.
Avoid large overhangs by all means
TGM-7 3D printing resin is quite flexible. However, the material’s flexibility brings up one key point that must be considered: avoid large, flat overhangs with high-cross sectional areas even if they are well supported.
Such large layer area overhangs tend to cause issues when the very first layer is cured. It gets separated from FEP film, and as it is very thin (around 50um or 100um), it is also very flimsy and flexible. It results in waves and unevenness, making it difficult for the next layer to adhere, especially if it is also large and flat. To better understand that, see the image below.
Generally, it is not that difficult to solve it. We recommend slightly adjusting the orientation of your object. Such a simple change in orientation can dramatically change the pattern of the cross-sectional area of all layers of the object. Even a slight change in orientation (10-15 degrees) can bring a significant difference.
Likewise, such intricate changes of an angle do not dramatically alter the overall supporting strategy of your object. Here are a few examples for you to consider below.
Always hollow your objects and place drainage holes properly
Hollowing is a very important technique in SLA 3D printing. This not only helps to save material but also makes newly-cured layer separation from FEP film way easier.
We recommend using a wall thickness of 1.5-2mm.
Also, remember to position your vent holes of hollowed objects properly and carefully. This critically important point applies not only when using TGM-7 3D printing resin.
Vent holes (also called drainage holes) have to be placed in a way that allows all isopropyl alcohol (that is trapped inside) to run out during cleaning. There are positions of vent holes that are inherently wrong.
By placing vent holes in positions marked red, you risk trapping IPA in the model. Especially if you do not rotate it very thoroughly during the cleaning. But even active rotation might not help to get all IPA out. If you leave trapped IPA inside of the model for prolonged periods, it will affect a 3D printed object. Trapped IPA will eventually alter the final polymer and will cause significant damage to your 3D prints, like fractures, warping, and loss of dimensions. IPA is a solvent, and it can have a significant impact on final properties when exposed for prolonged periods of time. We talk about this impact in our article: Can cleaning SLA prints with IPA cause cracks on my models?
However, by placing vent holes in the locations marked green, you have a natural way for IPA to run out of the model. In this way, you avoid trapping it inside and causing significant damage to the 3D printed model’s structure.
It is critical to get all isopropyl alcohol (IPA) out of the model. Only then can you expect long-lasting and sustainable performance not only with TGM-7 3D printing resin but also with all 3D printing resins.
Apply the correct strategy of supports
As always, the importance of proper supports strategy is significant. Incorrect parameters of supports can lead to constant failures and frustration. But no worries! We have some key recommendations in order to ease this stress for you!
Due to the inherent flexibility of TGM-7 3D printing resin, we recommend implementing the following aspects into your strategy of supports when printing with TGM-7 3D printing resin.
- Set thicker struts for supports. We recommend a thickness of around 1.5-1.8mm.
- We recommend starting off with a tip diameter of 0.5 – 0.8mm.
- Always use inter-connected support algorithms.
- Start with a higher density of 80% – 90%.
You can adjust and push the limits of these settings after you get more experience with TGM-7 3D printing resin. We always recommend more conservative settings in order to get decent success at the beginning.
Support configuration files for Chitubox Slicer
This profile has three support modes and we suggest using them based on your specific 3D printed object and intended results.
Medium mode. This profile is our go-to profile for a start. It has balanced support tip thickness and works well for experienced users as well as beginners. To ease the stress of support removal, we highly recommend always having pliers with you.
Light mode. This is the profile with the thinnest tips. Support removal is easy, but it requires way more planning and optimized orientation that produces the lowest-possible cross-sectional area of layers. It is best for small objects, although we have seen people printing quite big ones as well. We highly recommend this profile only when you become familiar with TGM-7 and get a decent success rate already.
Heavy mode. This profile has thicker support tips than other configurations. It is a good option for larger objects with a higher cross-sectional area. Thicker support tips help to preserve correct geometries and withstand forces of separation from FEP or PDMS during 3D printing. It is more forgiving of mistakes but also a bit more difficult to remove them.
Recommended density for all profiles ranges from 70% to 95%. Do manual adjustments if needed. We suggest adjusting density based on your needs as sometimes the number of supports generated for some objects is too high.
Click on the link to download the Chitubox profile for TGM-7.
Exposures times for TGM-7 3D printing resin
For exposure times when printing with TGM-7, refer to our recommended 3D printing settings page.
Cleaning recommendations for TGM-7 3D printing resin
AmeraLabs TGM-7 material has a bit higher viscosity than most 3D printing resins. However, it should not make cleaning printed parts with isopropyl alcohol (IPA) more difficult.
TGM-7 3D printing resin should not be left submerged in solvents for extended periods of time. By all means, do not leave objects submerged in IPA or any other liquid for more than 40 minutes. Doing so might ruin your models and affect the final properties of polymer material.
If you own Anycubic Wash & Cure station, you can easily clean TGM-7 prints with a 12-minute cleaning session.
If you prefer to clean with ordinary IPA baths, here is our easy 4 steps cleaning procedure:
- After taking your printed object off the build plate, submerge it in the IPA bath for 10 minutes.
- Swirl the IPA bath with the printed object in it actively for another 1 minute.
- After swirling, leave it still but fully submerged for another 10 minutes. At this point, it would be wise to change IPA to a clean one.
- Finally, swirl the bath actively again for 1 minute.
Evaluate cleaning results and repeat this procedure only once (if needed).
If you prefer cleaning with an ultrasonic cleaner, we recommend putting the printed object into the container with IPA, closing it well, and putting that container into the ultrasonic cleaner filled with water. Let it sit in an ultrasonic cleaner for no more than 10 minutes without additional heating.
Last but not least, one more tip from our side. We learned that if you have intricate cavities that need to be cleaned, following our 4 steps procedure tends to produce better results than short ultrasonic cleaning.
Post-cure immediately after cleaning and drying
Right after 3D printing, TGM-7 3D material actually tends to be softer than most other resins. Post-curing it in a UV chamber is mandatory to complete the curing process. As the material is non-brittle, you can also post-cure with supports and remove them later. We recommend to post-cure TGM-7 printed parts for at least 15 minutes – 1 hour (50W of 395-405nm LEDs). It is very important to post-cure parts immediately when they are dry after cleaning, i.e., long storage of raw, not post-cured parts is highly not recommended.
After the proper post-curing surface of the TGM-7 printed object is completely non-sticky and difficult to scratch.
Printed objects can also be coated with most modeling primers for further painting. We have successfully tested Citadel Chaos Black and Citadel Corax White.
Please also be aware of several recommendations and warnings that relate to TGM-7 3D printing resin:
- Properties of final 3D printed and post-cured objects with this material can vary if exposed to extreme conditions such as high humidity, extremely dry air, and high temperatures (>60C) for prolonged periods of time.
- Objects, 3D printed with TGM-7 material, should not be used for models and parts that will constantly be in contact with water, organic solvents, etc.
- DO NOT leave this material inside the resin tray inside your 3D printer for prolonged periods. We learned that even with most 3D printing resins, such long storage without air circulation can deteriorate coatings. This could happen when coatings that were used for 3D printers are not resistant to chemicals enough.
That is all you need to know in order to start printing with TGM-7 material. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to drop us an email or contact us via Facebook. We will respond as soon as possible.