UV curing is an essential part of working with UV-reactive resins. Properly curing the resin ensures a strong, finished product, whether you’re creating or 3D printing miniatures, jewelry, or any other projects.

Budget Pick
For Advanced Users
Best for Hobbyists
4.0
4.8
4.5
$13.99
$109 - $199
$55.99$49.99
5W
25 - 40W
60W
N/A
Up to 190 x 125 x 205 mm
234 x 224 x 152 mm
No
Yes
Yes
Budget Pick
For Advanced Users
4.8
$109 - $199
25 - 40W
Up to 190 x 125 x 205 mm
Yes
Best for Hobbyists
4.5
$55.99$49.99
60W
234 x 224 x 152 mm
Yes
03/07/2024 03:44 pm GMT

For beginners on a budget, the compact UV clamp lamp is a great starting point. Its flexible neck makes it easy to direct UV light at any angle, though the 5W output means curing times are slower.

Stepping up to the Sunlu 3D curing station is a worthwhile upgrade – the built-in turntable and timer deliver fast, hands-off curing for decorative projects and miniatures.

More advanced users will appreciate the wash and cure capabilities of Anycubic’s all-in-one systems streamline the post-processing workflow; the Wash and Cure 2.0 is best for smaller prints, while the Wash and Cure Plus is impressively fast for large models.

In this hands-on comparison, I’ll compare the key factors like price, build volume, and ease of use for UV lamps, curing boxes, and wash and cure machines – so you can find the solution to fit your needs without overspending.

I’ll also cover exactly what UV resins are, and how you should safely expose your UV resin prints to these lights to get the best out of your resin projects.

Top Picks

Quick Overview

  1. UV Clamp Lamp: The flexible alternative to standard Lamps
  2. Darkbeam UV Flashlight: Portable and versatile
  3. UV Floodlight: Powerful and practical
  4. Sunlu 3D Curing Station: Well-priced curing station
  5. Elegoo Mercury 2-in-1 Washing & Curing Station V2.0: All-in-one washer and UV curing machine
  6. Anycubic Wash and Cure 2.0: Top pick for professional curing overall
  7. Anycubic Wash and Cure Plus: Fast curing for large prints

Best UV Flashlights and Lamps for Curing Resin

UV flashlights and lamps are the cheapest and simplest options. They’re great if you need to leave your crafts for long periods, while flashlights are better for taking on the go and aren’t so tedious to use if you only need to cure your UV resin for a minute or two.

1. UV Clamp Lamp – The Portable, Flexible Alternative to Standard Lamps

UV Clamp Lamp

Pros

One of the cheapest UV light sources available.

Ideal for small workspaces.

Cons

Not the most powerful UV light source.

One of the cheapest UV light sources on the market is this desk clamp UV lamp. It’s especially ideal if you have a smaller workspace and need something as efficient as it is practical.

While not the most powerful of UV light sources, it’s a great way to cure your UV resins while in mold, and its flexible stand makes it ideal if you have a lot of resins to cure and not much space in which to cure them.

This UV lamp is weak enough for safe short-term exposure to skin, making it great if you also need to use it to dry your recently painted nails. However, this weakness does mean it will take longer for UV resins to cure under it when compared to stronger, more specialized brands.

Budget Pick for Curing Resin
UV LED Black Light Clamp
$13.99

An affordable, super adjustable lamp that holds itself in place.

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03/07/2024 03:44 pm GMT

2. Darkbeam UV Flashlight – Portable and Versatile

Darkbeam UV Flashlight

Pros

Cheap alternative to expensive UV light boxes.

Ideal for curing thinner resin projects.

Cons

Relatively low-powered.

The Darkbeam UV flashlight is another cheap alternative to the more expensive UV light boxes. Ideal for curing thinner resin projects, it’s an easy-to-move, low-power flashlight that’s great for those of you who craft on the go.

As well as letting you cure UV resins, the light also doubles as a bedbug and pet urine detector, making it ideal if you happen to be a pet owner. Much like the clamp lamp, however, its relatively low power means it won’t cure resins quite as fast as stronger beams.

However, the curing time difference is negligible if you make particularly small resin crafts.

Handheld Solution
Darkbeam UV Flashlight
$24.99

Portable flashlight better suited for curing thin resin projects on the go. Also works for detecting stains.

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03/07/2024 03:54 pm GMT

3. UV Floodlight – Powerful and Practical

UV Floodlight

Pros

Powerful, affordable, and efficient.

One of the most powerful UV lights at this price.

Long battery life.

Cons

Can be dangerous.

Advertised mainly as an outdoor recreational tool, the UV floodlight is powerful, affordable, and efficient as a UV resin curing lamp.

It’s one of the most powerful UV lights at this price making it ideal for rapid resin curing.

The UV floodlight’s long battery life and energy-efficient power make it a great tool if you need a good UV lamp for frequent use. This makes it the best option if you’re a business owner who needs to cure a lot of resins at once and often.

High Power for Batched Projects
2 Pack 30W UV Flood Light
$36.99 ($18.50 / Count)

A powerful and efficient floodlight great for frequent high-volume resin curing.

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03/07/2024 04:29 pm GMT

Best UV Curing Boxes and Chambers for UV Resin

If you use UV resin for larger, thicker projects than the average 3mm mold, or use UV resins for 3D printing, then you’re much better off using a UV curing box or chamber than a standard UV lamp.

4. Sunlu 3D Curing Station

sunlu uv curing station

Pros

An efficient and practical addition to any workspace.

Can cure mid-size projects quickly at a fraction of the cost.

Cons

Not big enough for large prototype projects

If you have smaller projects that you want cured quickly and evenly without spending on a high-end wash and cure system, then the Sunlu 3D curing station is amongst the best on the market.

This UV resin curing station is an efficient and practical addition to any workspace, with a 3-10 minute curing time you can control easily with the built-in timer.

The rotating turntable is light-powered, so its 360° curing won’t drain the battery life while curing your UV resin print quickly and evenly. With an enclosure of 9.2 x 8.8 x 6 inches, it’s a great choice for mid-sized decorative projects.

Best for Beginner Hobbyists
SUNLU Resin UV Curing Box
$55.99 $49.99

Mid-sized LED curing box with built-in rotating turntable to cure projects evenly. Ideal for decorative resin pieces.

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03/07/2024 04:24 pm GMT

5. Elegoo Mercury 2-in-1 Washing & Curing Station V2.0

Elegoo Mercury 2-in-1 Washing & Curing Station V2.0

Pros

2-in-1 curing station that washes and cures resin prints.

Runs silently.

Cons

Can only fit models with a build size of 125 x 85 x 160 mm.

Elegoo’s Mercury line of washing and curing machines is spearheaded by this affordable and extremely practical 2-in-1 washing and curing station.

The V2.0 both washes resin prints and cures them with the appropriate strength UV light for your project. The intelligent design detects the project’s weight and thickness and adjusts itself accordingly, taking a lot of trial, error, and guesswork out of the equation.

The Mercury 2-in-1 also runs silently, meaning night owls and late workers can rest easy knowing your work won’t disturb your household.

Complete Solution for High Quality Curing
ELEGOO Mercury Plus 2.0 Wash and Cure Station
$104.99 $99.99

All-in-one washing and UV curing machine that streamlines the resin printing workflow. Cures based on project weight.

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03/07/2024 04:34 pm GMT

6. Anycubic Wash and Cure Machines

anycubic wash and cure machines

Pros

Great for fast curing with large prints.

Washing and curing combined in one great machine.

Cons

Can sometimes slightly vibrate.

Anycubic’s curing stations come in two forms, the Wash and Cure 2.0, and the Wash and Cure Plus. Don’t let the 2.0 confuse you, though, as the Wash and Cure Plus is actually the more advanced of the two.

The main difference between these two curing machines is the size, with the Plus model being much larger than its predecessor. This makes it the best machine for those of you who tend to print large and need faster curing than you’d get with non-UV resins, which can take hours.

The maximum time setting for these machines is 60 minutes, which is a testament to their speedy curing at a very affordable price.

Super User-friendly
Ideal for Large Resin Prints
4.7
4.4
$129.99
N/A
120 x 74 x 165 mm
201 x 124 x 255 mm
140 x 165 mm
200 x 260 mm
25W
40W
15 - 25 rpm
10 - 40 rpm
Super User-friendly
4.7
$129.99
120 x 74 x 165 mm
140 x 165 mm
25W
15 - 25 rpm
Ideal for Large Resin Prints
4.4
N/A
201 x 124 x 255 mm
200 x 260 mm
40W
10 - 40 rpm
03/07/2024 08:34 pm GMT

What is UV Resin?

There are two main types of resin used in creative pursuits:

  • Epoxy resin
  • UV resin

While epoxy resins will cure with hardeners, UV resins will only cure with exposure to UV radiation.

UV resins cure a lot faster than normal epoxy resins, though at the cost of being less durable. However, this cost is negligible if you’re only printing for decorative purposes.

Using UV light, UV resins cure in minutes, earning their nickname of ‘quick cure resins’ due to their impressive hardening speeds.

Can You Use UV Light to Cure Resin?

Yes, you can use many kinds of UV light to cure your resins.

Even if you don’t have a UV light box, you can use the natural UV light of the sun to cure your UV resins. Non-UV resins will still cure using this method, though you will have to wait for anywhere between 2-10 hours before it’s fully cured depending on the size of the project.

diy resin curing station using 405nm UV light
DIY curing station using 405nm UV light. Credit: DCoster

While this is the easiest and cheapest way to cure resins using UV light, it’s far from the most efficient. To find the best UV light for curing resin, you’re going to have to get some extra equipment like a UV lightbox or flashlight.

There are even UV lamps for resin, so you’ve got quite a few options for quick curing.

How Long Do You Cure Resin Under UV Light?

How long you need to cure your resins for will depend on how many layers it has and how thick it is. Small, thin crafts like pendants will take around 2 minutes, while thicker crafts like 3D printed minifigures or toys will have a cure time of 1-8 minutes on average.

If your project is bigger, say around the size of a curing station’s interior, it’ll need about 20 minutes to be fully cured.

What UV is Needed to Cure Resin?

While UV light of any notable strength will cure resin, to take full advantage of fast-curing UV resins, you’ll need higher wattage than your standard blacklight.

DIY UV resin curing station with RGB puck lights and motorized turntable
DIY resin curing station using RGB puck lights and motorized turntable. Source: Reddit

Specifically, the best kind of UV light to cure resin is UVA, which has a higher wavelength (up to around 395nm) while using less energy.

Unlike UVB light, UVA light penetrates windows. So you won’t need to expose your resins to direct sunlight to take advantage of this.

UVB light is excellent for curing resins, but it can be very damaging to the skin if exposed for long periods of time.

While not as dangerous as UVB light, UVA should still be used with caution and from a safe distance if possible.

What Do You Need a UV Light Box For?

UV light boxes, also known as curing stations, not only provide an adjustable environment for curing resins, they also protect the resin from any potentially harmful variables like overheating or airborne moisture. All while protecting you from being exposed to potentially harmful radiation.

While even the most sensitive of skin types need 20 minutes of full exposure to become damaged, most kinds of UV radiation are still not something to be taken lightly, as overexposure can lead to dangerous skin damage including melanomas.

diy lightbox for curing UV resin
DIY lightbox for curing resin. Source: Reddit

These curing boxes aren’t good for just 3D prints, but all kinds of crafting resins too. Casting resins for making jewelry and decorative pieces also need to be cured, and using a UV light box is the fastest way to do this.

This is especially good news if you plan to, or already, sell your resin crafts online. The speed with which the best UV light cures resin is great for ensuring high turnover for your products, upping your inventory and thus boosting your potential profits.

Pros and Cons of UV Resin

Pro – Much Faster Curing

The main advantage of UV resin is the fast curing times. The hardening process that once took hours can now be done in a matter of minutes or even seconds depending on your project’s thickness.

Pro – No More Extra Chemicals

Because UV resins only need radiation to cure, they make the tedious task of mixing in hardeners a thing of the past. Your UV resins will cure simply with exposure to UV light, so you can just leave your crafts in a suitable environment and let them harden.

Pro – Less Toxic and Smelly

UV resins are also far less odorous than their standard epoxy counterparts, meaning they won’t stink up your workspace or give off overly dangerous or toxic fumes.

That said, they are still dangerous if inhaled over long periods, so we still recommend a well-ventilated work area and any necessary face protection when used in close proximity.

Pros and cons of UV resin

Con – Often More Expensive

While these are some good reasons to go for UV resins, there are a few downsides. UV resins are notably more expensive than standard resins. While you may be able to find some on a good deal, you should expect to pay up to double what epoxy resins would cost.

Con – Low Shelf Life

Another major drawback is its shelf life. While 3D printing resins have seen advances allowing up between 12-18 months of shelf life, most UV resins will only stay good for about six months, half the time of epoxy resins.

Adding on to their increased price, to get the most out of UV resins you will need to also purchase a UV lamp or UV light box to take advantage of the speedy curing times.

Con – Extra Equipment Needed for Best Use

If you happen to live in a particularly sunny place, this might not be entirely necessary, but you’ll only see the real benefits of UV resin by purchasing extra equipment starting at around $40 – $60 on average, and that’s not even mentioning your electric bill.

UV flashlights. Source: Reddit

How to Use UV Resin

In terms of use, UV resin isn’t really any different than your standard crafting resins.

First, make sure your workspace is clean and covered with a tarp or cloth. Drips and spills can be very hard to remove if your resin dries before you notice, so using a removable and flexible covering is ideal for post-craft cleaning.

Most UV resins work best in molds around 2-4mm in depth, though you can always change this thickness for more bulky crafts like larger jewelry items and decorative pieces.

If you like, feel free to add any extras to your crafts to suit your tastes. Glitter, sequins, and even well-placed confetti will give your crafts a burst of color and character.

Hints and Tips for UV Resin Crafting

With the basics out of the way, here are a few extra hints and tips for using UV resin to get the best results every time.

Helpful tips for UV resin crafting

Listen to Your Nose

UV resins are very sensitive to heat. While this won’t be immediately noticeable to your eyes, it will be to your nose.

If your UV resin is getting too hot, it will begin to give off a stronger smell. If you notice this when using your resin, be sure to move them to a cooler environment before continuing. Failing that, try to make your workspace cooler by opening a window or using a desk fan.

Never Touch Resin Directly

If you are adding extra details to your resin crafts, be sure to do so using tools and gloves. Touching resin directly isn’t a good idea. If it hardens on your skin without you noticing, it can be very damaging and painful.

Avoid Skin Contact with UV Light

In addition to protecting your skin from resin, be sure to also protect yourself from any UV light you’re using to cure your resins. UV light, while relatively harmless in small doses, can be very dangerous with long-term exposure.

The most sensitive of skin types will be visibly damaged after around 20 minutes, but avoiding any exposure is always a good idea.

On that note, be sure to never look directly into a UV light source to avoid irreversible damage to your eyes.

What’s Changed?

At 3DSourced, we strive to provide readers with the most up-to-date recommendations by continually evaluating the resin printing market.

October 12th 2023 updates:

  • I’ve added the Sunlu 3D Curing Station as our new mid-range pick – replacing Elegoos similar solution.
  • I’ve also moved Anycubic’s wash and cure machines up to my top overall choice. They used to be quite expensive, but recent price drops have made them very affordable for most hobbyists.

Jan 2024:

  • Updated pricing information for 2024.

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Scott Hamill

Scott Hamill is a seasoned professional 3D printing and technology writer based in Edinburgh, renowned for his comprehensive coverage of 3D printing. His interest began during his college years, sparked by a peer's project to build a 3D printer for a Master's thesis more than a decade ago. Scott specializes in covering hobbyist 3D printing projects for 3DSourced, having written more than 100 guides to projects you can download and print at home. He has also contributed and authored articles for various other websites on 3D printing. Scott's tenure with 3DSourced spans over three years, establishing himself as a reliable and insightful voice in the 3D printing community.

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