Hey guys! I was hanging around the Siraya Tech group on Facebook and someone from Siraya Tech mentioned using fermentation belts to keep resin warm in the vat so I decided to check it out. Here are my findings.
What is a Fermentation Belt?
For those who don't know, fermentation belts are basically a heating element wrapped in silicone with a plug on it. They’re simple devices, you plug them in and they get warm or hot (depending on your definition of hot). They're primarily used to make beer, kombachi, kimchi, etc. You can use fermentation at a relatively steady temperature. So you might be wondering, why you need to do this?
Why Do You Need One?
There's two main reasons why you might need a fermentation belt to heat your resin. Number one is if you're working in a non-conditioned space (no A/C or heat), you have relatively wild temperature swings or it simply gets too cold for your resin to work properly. All resins have temperature ranges that they're designed to work in. If you set up your resin 3D printer, run some test prints and get an exposure time, then the temperature drops that exposure time will be longer. If it gets warmer, then the exposure time potentially gets shorter. If you're in an unconditioned space and you start printing at one temperature, then the temperature drops significantly, the exposure time is going to change and your print's going to fail.
The second reason is some resins are specifically designed to work best at higher temperatures. The resins I primarily use are Siraya Tech Sculpt and Siraya Tech Build. According to Siraya Tech, both work best above 25 degrees Celsius. You might have seen my other video where I built an enclosure, put a thermostatically controlled outlet on it and a cheap amazon heater. That worked great and it's still a completely viable build and it works especially well if you want to enclose some of the fumes that could be produced while 3D printing.
The fermentation belt is not only good, but it’s fast and it's cheap which is kind of a miracle of engineering. I strapped one onto my Epax E10 and about an hour later the resin was up to 25 Celsius. Within about two hours, it stabilized at right around 30 Celsius. This is perfect as resin needs to be above 25 and 30 Celsius as well within a normal range. The belt fits perfectly on the Epax E10. On my smaller Creality LD2, I had to put a support. You can use materials such as a rubber band or a Velcro strap to hold the fermentation belt close to the vat. If you have a printer with a metal vat, such as a Saturn or the Mars, its going to heat up quicker since they're more heat conductive.
Heating Resin Outside of the Vat
There's one area where this doesn't perform as well as my heated enclosure and that is if you need to add resin in the middle of a print which I often have to do when I’m printing large molds. So for that you need another fermentation belt, or in this case I got a Kombucha heater. You can also get large pad heaters if you want to do multiple prints. These pad heaters work really well since you can put multiple resin containers inside and keep them heated. It still comes out much cheaper than the enclosure and the thermostatic control outlet and the space heater. You're looking at under sixty dollars for the fermentation belt set up and it works great.
Links to the different fermentation belts I’ve used are in the description below. if you're using any engineering resin that needs to be warm, this is a great way to do it. It absolutely works flawlessly.
Good luck with it guys. Take care- tight lines.