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Resin or Filament 3d Printer

  • 11 min read
Ben Hunter

Ben Hunter

I started as a portal to educate and guide people who are either looking to buy a label printer or want to start a business selling them. Here I cover the differences in label printer technologies, the advantages and disadvantages in each and also share my (unbiased) recommendations on which type is best for your business.

When choosing between a resin or filament 3D printer, you're basically deciding between two distinct approaches to creating precise and detailed objects, each with its unique strengths and limitations. Resin printers excel in surface finish and precision, achieving finer details with layers as thin as 25-50 microns. Filament printers, on the other hand, offer larger build volumes and are preferred for applications requiring durable prints. By understanding your printing needs and considering factors like budget, build volume, and print speed, you can make an informed decision. As you weigh the benefits and limitations of each, you'll uncover the best fit for your specific 3D printing project.

Print Quality and Resolution

With regards to print quality and resolution, resin printers surpass their filament counterparts in surface finish and precision. You'll notice a significant difference in the level of detail achieved with resin printers, which can produce layers as thin as 25-50 microns, compared to filament printers that typically range from 100-300 microns.

This increased precision is due to the pixel size of resin printers, which is approximately 70 microns, whereas filament printers are limited by the nozzle size of 0.4 mm. As a result, resin printers excel at capturing fine details, making them ideal for printing mini-figures, intricate jewelry prototypes, and other small, detailed models.

In contrast, filament printers are better suited for producing larger, stronger parts with less emphasis on intricate details. If you're looking for a printer that can produce high-quality, detailed prints with a smooth surface finish, a resin printer is likely your best bet.

Printer Durability and Lifespan

As you shift your focus from the intricate details achieved with resin printers to the durability of your prints, you'll find that filament printers take the lead when it comes to strength and longevity.

When it comes to printer durability and lifespan, resin vs filament printers have distinct differences. Filament prints, especially those made with PETG and ABS, are highly durable and resistant to impact, making them ideal for functional parts that require strength and longevity.

In contrast, resin prints are generally more brittle and weaker, particularly when exposed to UV light over time, requiring careful handling. While high-strength resins can improve the durability of resin prints, they may leave behind a sticky residue that needs to be managed.

To optimize the strength of your filament prints, proper orientation of parts during printing is essential, ensuring lasting durability across layers.

In general, filament printing is preferred for applications that require durable prints, making it a top choice for those who prioritize printer durability and lifespan.

Build Volume and Capacity

capacity and volume measurement

You'll find that filament 3D printers generally offer larger build volumes, allowing you to create bigger and more complex prints. For instance, the Creality Ender 3 V3 SE boasts a build volume of 220 x 220 x 250 mm, providing ample space for extensive printing projects.

In contrast, resin 3D printers typically have smaller build volumes, with entry-level models averaging around 130 x 80 x 160 mm. However, large-format resin printers like the Elegoo Saturn can provide build volumes up to 192 x 120 x 150 mm, catering to larger projects.

If you need even more capacity, filament printers like the Creality CR-M4 can reach dimensions of 450 x 450 x 475 mm, offering unparalleled printing capabilities. When considering build volume and capacity, filament printers are often preferred for producing larger parts, while resin printers are suitable for detailed and smaller objects.

Ultimately, the choice between a resin 3D printer and a filament 3D printer depends on the specific requirements of your printing projects.

Printing Speed and Efficiency

Concerning printing speed and efficiency, your choice between a resin and filament 3D printer can greatly impact your productivity.

While filament printers can produce single objects faster than resin printers, resin printers have an advantage when printing multiple objects simultaneously. With resin prints, you can print multiple parts at the same speed, whereas filament print time increases with more objects due to individual tracing.

This makes resin printers, especially DLP types, efficient at printing multiple parts simultaneously, speeding up production. Larger resin printers, like the Elegoo Saturn, can print numerous parts quickly on larger print beds, enhancing productivity.

When considering print speed, bear in mind that resin printers generally have slower print speeds compared to filament printers due to the curing process of liquid resin layers. However, resin printers can make up for this with their ability to print multiple objects at once, making them a great choice for batch production or printing multiple identical parts.

Initial Setup and Calibration

precise configuration and alignment

Getting started with a 3D printer requires investing time in initial setup and calibration, but resin printers generally have a less intimidating setup process compared to their filament counterparts. When you're setting up a resin printer, you'll typically find that the process is more streamlined, with fewer settings to configure for initial setup.

Furthermore, bed leveling in resin printers is typically simpler than in filament printers, which can save you time and frustration.

In contrast, filament printers often require more detailed assembly following instructions for best performance. This can be a more challenging task, especially for those new to 3D printing. However, it's worth noting that some newer filament printer models may come partially pre-assembled to reduce setup time.

As you navigate the initial setup and calibration process, you'll find that resin printers generally require less time and effort to get up and running. By understanding the differences in setup and calibration between resin and filament printers, you can make an informed decision about which type of printer is best for your needs.

Ease of Use and Learning

When operating a 3D printer, ease of use and learning play significant roles in determining your complete experience, and resin and filament printers have distinct differences in this regard. You'll find that resin 3D printers are generally easier to set up and require less initial calibration, making them more accessible to beginners.

On the other hand, filament 3D printers often involve more intricate slicer software settings for best prints, which can be overwhelming for new users. Moreover, post-processing for resin prints involves using solvents like Isopropyl Alcohol, adding a step to the printing process.

In contrast, filament printers offer simpler color swapping processes compared to resin printers, which can be more time-consuming. In addition, resin printers require precautions due to the skin irritant nature of resin, while filament printers are generally safer to handle.

As you navigate the world of 3D printing, understanding these differences in ease of use and learning will help you choose the right printer for your needs.

Ongoing Maintenance and Costs

quality maintenance and expenses

Your ongoing investment in 3D printing extends beyond the initial purchase, as regular maintenance and material costs can add up over time. With resin 3D printing, you'll need to replace components like FEP film and LCD screens periodically, which can be a significant expense.

In contrast, filament printing requires occasional maintenance of parts in all three axes, such as belts and extruders, to make sure of smooth operation.

When it comes to material costs, resin printing tends to be more expensive, with prices ranging from $30 to $40 per 1KG. However, resin lasts longer due to smaller print sizes.

Filament printing, on the other hand, offers more affordable material costs, with prices ranging from $15 to $25 per 1KG roll. Ongoing maintenance for filament printers often focuses on the filament path and hot end components, which may wear out over time.

Regardless of the type of printing you choose, it's crucial to take into account these ongoing maintenance and material costs to maximize your 3D printing experience.

Filament Types and Options

You'll find a diverse range of filament types and options available for 3D printing, each offering unique properties and characteristics. From biodegradable PLA to flexible TPU, and from durable nylon to impact-resistant ABS, you'll have a multitude of choices to suit your specific printing needs.

Specialty filaments, such as carbon fiber, wood-infused, and metal-filled options, provide enhanced mechanical properties and unique finishes. Moreover, you'll have a range of filament diameters to choose from, typically between 1.75mm and 2.85mm, although compatibility may vary among different 3D printers.

In addition, you'll be spoiled for choice with filament colors, with options for translucent, glow-in-the-dark, and even color-changing filaments. Reputable brands like Hatchbox, Overture, and eSun offer reliable quality and a wide selection of filament types for different printing applications.

With a plethora of options available, you'll be able to find the perfect filament to bring your 3D printing projects to life.

Resin Types and Characteristics

understanding resin properties deeply

As you delve into the world of resin 3D printing, you'll encounter a diverse range of resin types, each boasting unique characteristics tailored to specific applications and offering different levels of detail, flexibility, and durability.

In the realm of resin printing, the use of UV light is essential, as it cures the liquid photopolymer resin, allowing for high-resolution prints with intricate details. This makes resin printing ideal for creating objects that require precision, such as jewelry and dental models. Moreover, resin prints are water-resistant and maintain their surface quality even with minimal impact from support structures.

Although resin printing has limited printing size, it offers a wide range of materials for various applications. However, post-processing for resin prints can be messy and time-consuming, and the resin itself has a limited shelf-life.

Despite these limitations, resin printing remains a popular choice for those seeking high-resolution prints with exceptional detail. By understanding the characteristics of different resin types, you'll be better equipped to choose the right one for your specific printing needs.

Making an Informed Purchase

Having a clear understanding of your printing needs is essential. It's important to weigh the pros and cons of filament and resin printers before making a purchase.

Consider your printing needs: are you looking to create large-scale models and functional parts, or detailed miniatures and prototypes? Filament printers, like the Creality Ender 3 V2, excel in the former, while resin printers, like the Elegoo Mars, specialize in the latter.

Budget accordingly, factoring in the cost of materials and initial investment. Research top picks, taking note of features like build volume, print speed, and ease of use.

Compare ongoing costs, as filament printing typically costs less per kilogram of material, while resin printing may have higher initial costs but longer-lasting resin.

Lastly, check user feedback, reading reviews and testimonials to get a sense of which type of printer is right for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Resin 3D Printing Better Than Filament?

You're wondering if one 3D printing method outshines the other. It's not that simple. Consider your priorities: do you need cost-effectiveness, material versatility, or speedy prints? Your answer depends on these factors, making it a tie.

What Are the Disadvantages of Resin 3D Printers?

You'll face post-curing limitations, high material costs, and printing complexity issues, making the process more challenging and expensive, with resin's limited shelf-life and messy post-processing steps adding to the hassle.

Which 3D Printer Is Better Resin or Plastic?

When choosing a 3D printer, you should consider your budget, as resin printers are often pricier. You'll also want to think about print speed, with filament printers usually being faster.

Is Resin 3D Printing More Detailed?

You'll achieve more detailed prints when layer thickness is minimal, as it allows for a higher print resolution. Thinner layers, like 25-50 microns, capture intricate designs, but material viscosity also plays a significant role in determining print quality.


Now that you've weighed the pros and cons of resin and filament 3D printers, you're equipped to make an informed purchase decision. Consider your specific printing needs, budget, and the type of projects you want to work on.

By understanding the differences in print quality, durability, build volume, and maintenance requirements, you'll find the perfect printer to bring your creative vision to life.

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