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What Is The Difference Between UV Resin And Epoxy Resin

What Is The Difference Between UV Resin And Epoxy Resin | 3D Printing Spot

Updated by

William Stone

/

August 30, 2022

If you are looking at resin for your next project, you will likely need to consider the difference between UV resin and epoxy resin before making a decision.

Both resin compounds are useful but in many different ways. Whether it is the cost or curing time, you want to be sure to choose the correct resin for your needs because they cannot provide the same results.

The primary difference between UV resin and epoxy resin is the time it takes for the compound to cure and harden. UV resin will harden and cure faster under light or UV sunlight, while epoxy resin takes longer to cure because of the chemical reaction that occurs.

One of the main differences between these two compounds is the ingredients. Epoxy resins are made from two chemicals: a hardener and resin, while UV resin only uses one compound. There are many other differences worth mentioning included below in this in-depth guide, along with comparisons based on safety, durability, and more.

Understanding these two compounds can be tricky because they involve complex chemical reactions to get a finished product. Luckily, we have worked with both to break down the process into a simple and easy-to-understand guide for you.

Table of Contents

What Is The Difference Between UV Resin And Epoxy Resin

There is a long list of differences worth mentioning. Uncovering these differences allows you to learn about both compounds to see what works best.

For example, when it comes to the safety of epoxy resin, UV resin is considered to be more toxic. This is because UV resin still evaporates and releases emissions when it hardens.

There are many examples like this that highlight the differences. We have analyzed this question in depth below, with some of the key features of each.

Mixing Process

Epoxy resin involves two key ingredients to create an effective mixture. This includes resin and a hardening agent that makes a chemical reaction when both elements are mixed.

When this happens, the curing and hardening occur to create a solid structure with a transparent finish.

UV resin is much different because there is only a single component involved. The resin does not require additional ingredients, so when this compound is exposed to UV light, it will cure faster.

Project Capacity

Another huge difference between the two is the available project capacity. To handle large-scale projects with UV resin, you must have enough space to set up enough lighting for curing.

For most, this is impossible, and they are forced to use epoxy resin instead. It provides much more convenience when it comes to space, but the cure times are the one downside.

Overall, it is easier to handle more significant projects with epoxy. But if you prefer doing volume in faster cure times, UV resin gets the edge as the better choice.

Curing Times

The most apparent difference is the time it takes for the compound to mix, cure, and harden.

Epoxy resins take much longer to cure than UV resins do. You can expect the average UV resin compound to cure within 5-15 minutes.

In comparison, epoxy resin can take up to two days to completely cure, depending on the use case. But because of the need for UV light to cure UV resin, it is difficult to use this compound at scale.

Cost

There are two things to consider when calculating the cost for each. This includes the actual price of the compound and the setup costs.

You will notice both are higher for UV resin than epoxy resin. It is easier to get your hands on epoxy resin on a budget because no lighting purchases are needed.

The average lifespan of epoxy is longer, too, meaning you will spend less on materials over time because of how long it lasts.

Longevity

Epoxy resins are more durable, stronger, and have longer-lasting qualities than UV resin. You can expect double the lifespan with epoxy than with UV resin.

The use of UV resin is not always the best option. For instance, if you have a project that requires high-quality epoxy resin, it will last much longer than UV resin.

What Are They Made Of?

When comparing these two compounds, you also need to consider what each one is made of to understand the differences. The mixtures dictate factors like durability, curing, and more.

Both UV resin and epoxy resin are relatively simple mixtures, but there is a glaring difference in how they are made that highlights why they are so different.

UV Resin

UV resin uses a less advanced set of ingredients. This resin can expect to have a mixture of monomers, oligomers, and photopolymerization initiators.

There may be some other additives in small amounts to complete the compound. This works because the photoinitiator will create a chemical reaction with UV light.

When this happens, the monomers and oligomers bond to form a more complex chain. This chain creates a polymer, and this process is known as a photopolymerization reaction.

This is how you transform UV resin from a liquid state to a solid state. And the process happens in a few short minutes.

Epoxy Resin

Epoxy resin includes some similar ingredients like polymers, monomers, and some epoxide groups, along with a hardening agent.

Mixing these ingredients with the hardening agent creates a chemical reaction that takes much more time. It occurs in a three-step cure cycle until the final look of the epoxy resin is hard.

Which Is More Durable?

UV resin and epoxy resin are two types of resins that have several differences. One major difference is the amount of time they take to cure. UV resin takes around 24 hours to cure, while epoxy takes around 48 hours.

This is an important factor to consider when comparing durability. The reason is how they are cured and their capacity to cure both compounds.

Because epoxy will cure with no aids, you can build up much thicker layers with a maxim of 10 centimeters per casting. Meanwhile, UV resin can only produce up to 1 mm of thickness.

The average durability of UV resin is about six months, while epoxy tends to last up to one year. It is known to be much more heat and scratch-resistant when compared to its UV counterpart too.

Ultimately, deciding on the best option depends on your available time and whether durability is a critical factor or not. If durability is a deal breaker, epoxy resin is the superior choice.

Which Is Safer?

The use of epoxy resin has been increasing over the years, but the use of UV resin is still considered safer than epoxy resin.

When handling chemicals and compounds like this, you should consider safety and what steps can be taken to ensure best practices are used. This includes wearing gloves and a mask when handling them.

UV resin is a type of resin that hardens when exposed to ultraviolet light. When UV resin hardens, it still evaporates and releases emissions. On the other hand, epoxy resin is completely emission-free once cured.

However, both compounds are safe to use and considered non-toxic. But if you were to choose a safer option, it would be an epoxy resin.

The best thing you can do is use common safety and structured safety protocols when handling any type of resin.

Does Epoxy Resin Cure With UV Light?

Epoxy resin can be cured using UV light, similar to the way traditional UV resin gets cured, but it takes much longer. The presence of light does very little to speed up the curing process.

However, introducing heat to the curing process will make a difference. But on average, it can take up to 48 hours for resins to cure completely.

Using a UV lamp can help, but sun exposure is your best option when trying to speed up the cure of the epoxy resin.

About THE AUTHOR

William Stone

William Stone

William has spent 20 plus years in the custom manufacturing industry as a COO, CEO and Owner of various custom product businesses. His experience has exposed him to all types of manufacturing from die cast, die struck, injection molding, CNC machining, laser etching, engraving and of course 3D printing.

Learn more about William Stone

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What Is The Difference Between UV Resin And Epoxy Resin

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