While imported resins for 3D printing are increasingly common, Sydney-based resin developer & manufacturer Monocure3D is winning with customers in Australia and abroad. Director Charlie Anderson spoke with Manufacturers Monthly.
Quality, consistent and reliable products and services are what keeps the customers coming back to Monocure3D.
While the market for imported resins for 3D printers are growing, director Charlie Anderson said being a locally based developer & manufacturer gives the business an edge over its overseas competitors.
All resins are manufactured at the factory in Regents Park, with the products developed in-house by experienced chemists.
“The main benefit from us is that we don’t run out of stock. That’s because we’re making it locally,” Charlie said. “Keeping it locally made means we can control every step of the process and ensure all our products undergo very strict quality-control before being sent to the customers. We can quickly react to the market requirements, rather than having to wait for products to be made overseas.”
The quality control procedure ensures each new batch of resin is matched and tested against the previous batch to make sure it is close to identical as possible.
“this is very important with 3D printing, as it can take some time to set up a new resin so it performs at it’s best with that printer. Essentially, you’re dialling the printer into the resin. Once you have that setting, it is can be frustrating and time consuming to change it,” said Anderson. “One of the features our customers love about our resin is that every bottle is the same as the last.”
“It’s a huge benefit and time saver not having to change your printer settings with every bottle. There has been a lot of problems with the quality consistency of resin coming in from overseas,” he added.
In the chemical manufacturing industry, they say you’re only as good as your last batch – it’s a saying that Monocure3D takes very seriously.
Charlie said that Monocure3D understands the importance of product consistency because inaccuracies can be expensive when you look at the traditional, larger scale manufacturing where the company has had more than 35 years experience.
“When you’re producing 1000kg tanks of surface coating for a multi-national packaging company, and something goes wrong with the product, and their production needs to be halted, it can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. You can’t ever afford for that to happen, so we know the importance of quality control and have to ensure that this is remains a top priority. “ he said.
The other aspect of Monocure3D Charlie is proud of is the technical support it offers, which as an Australian manufacturer and supplier, he believes, can reach local customers quicker.
“We give advice to people who are interested in buying a printer. We’ll listen to what their needs and wants are, and then we will fit them with the right printer. It makes more sense to our business that the customers are using the right printer for their needs, rather than us pushing printers on them that we are selling.” he said.
“Ninety per cent of the time, it’s the printer they need help setting up.”
Their YouTube channel, Monocure3D ProTips, features tips for setting up printers and has proven to be a successful avenue for customer support.
“It’s us presenting all different aspects of 3D printing and all the tips and tricks for setting up the printers. We’re showing people how to set up their 3D printers with our resin,” Charlie said. “One of the challenges for us is when someone buys a 3D printer – most of them come with a bottle resin, so we need to show people they’re better off using our products rather than the poor quality material that comes with the printer.”
“Monocure3D currently has more than 50 resellers selling the resin around the world, and recently began larger sea freight orders into South Africa, France, Sweden,” Charlie said.
The company is seeing an increase in business-to-business customers, a lot of whom started out with 3D printing as a hobby and have managed to turn it into a profitable business.
With the 3D printing services growing, customers vary from designers, prop makers, small run manufacturers, dental technicians & everything in-between. In house use for the handy man is becoming more common as the new wave of printers are lower in cost, but producing high quality and more durable prints.
“The advantage of 3D printing with resin is the ability to create high detailed parts, these low cost desktop printers can go down to 10 micron layer heights which make the layer lines far from visible with the naked eye. This essentially means that 3D printed parts look like they have come off a production line. ” Charlie remarked.
One of Monocure3D’s most popular products is ResinAway, a non-flammable UV resin cleaning solution that removes uncured UV photopolymer resin from printer parts without leaving surface cracks, cloudiness or white residue. IPA (Isopropyl Alcohol) is traditionally used and is not ideal as it emulsifies with the uncured resin.
The locally developed technology used in Platebond is ground-breaking. This is an “adhesion promoter” that helps the 3D part adhere to the build plate while it is printing. The CMYK colour kit allows the customers to use the clear or white resin based and make whatever colours they need using the four-colour process.
Charlie said they have recently set up a dedicated manufacturing facility in Regents Park, Sydney, which was purpose built just for making 3D printing products. It also features a new product development and a quality control lab under one roof.
“We already have a showroom/warehouse where customers can pick-up orders or come in and discuss their individual requirements. This is also where the 3D Printlab runs from, providing a fast turn around 3D printing service, using the Monocure3D products of course. All our bottle filling and labelling is done in-house, and now we will also have our manufacturing & lab facilities up and running,” Charlie said.
“We are really excited this year because we have a lot of new products to be launched. The chemists are busy sourcing the latest materials and working on new products. We listen to our customers and resellers demands when it comes to new products, they need it, so we make it!” said Charlie. The future looks bright at Monocure3D.