After my initial post, Testing 3D Printed Stamps, I decided to taking my findings and actually give it another shot. One of the things I had found was that flexible resin outperformed the other filaments and resins I tried. However, it was far too flexible and fragile. One of the recommendations for using flexible resin was to mix it with standard resin to make it more durable. I didn’t have the recommended resin at the time but I did order some to try.
Monoprice’s rapid resin does come in clear, but the yellow was $10 cheaper at the time I was ordering. Also, I’m still testing, so the transparency of the stamp material really wasn’t a concern.
After a couple of posts on making stamps, I started to wonder how you would clone a stamp? Do mass producers of stamps really go through this process for each stamp? After seeing some of the stamps on the shelves I would guess that they would make a mold and fill it with photopolymers and then zap it with UV light. Some photopolymer stamps have two colors of resin in them (black and clear) and you could do that if you had a mold.
I decided to try and make a mold of my last stamp, the panda from my post, Testing 3D Printed Stamps. There are many methods and products that can make molds and I’m going to start by trying one of the least expensive methods: silicone caulk molds.
I’ve seen 3D printed stamps around the various 3D printing download sites for many years. The results I’ve seen never seemed particularly good. For a long time the only filament you could print with were hard plastics and now that some flexible and alternative filaments are available I wanted to try printing stamps with them.
So you want to start making photopolymer stamps? I’ve been posting pictures to social media about making stamps and some have asked how it’s done. I’m no expert, but over the past few weeks of trial and error along with a lot of research, I’ve been able to put together a pretty decent work flow.
Let’s start with what you’ll need. I’ve tried to include everything I use and included amazon, web links and stores where you can find these items.
For the stamp I’ll be making in this post, I used my drawing of a pumpkin and you can download it __here__ if you’d like to follow along with it.
My mother, after seeing my doodles and watercolor post, suggested that I try making stamps, which sounded fun. I had most of the equipment from other projects to give it a go. All I really needed was the photopolymer. After ordering a bottle of COLOP photopolymer off amazon, it showed up a few days later (it wasn’t even amazon prime, so I was impressed).
My first idea was to shove it into my 3D printer. The whole idea behind my new printer was that it uses UV Resin, which is what a photopolymer is. Shine a UV light on it and it cures. It turns out that this stamping resin is so highly viscous that it’s barely a liquid and 3D printer resin is still quite liquid. I started pouring it into the printer and it was hard to stop it from pouring because it was pulling itself out of the bottle.
Well, I can tell you that didn’t go well. It was far too thick and the printer didn’t like it. After editing the 3D printer’s program to see if I could make it work, I found the cured photopolymer wasn’t sticking to the platform and just ended up making a mess.