Printing Terrain on a Resin Printer

printing terrain on a resin printer

Resin printers deliver incredibly high detailed results compared to FDM printers, but materials cost a lot more in comparison.

Can you print terrain in resin?

Yes but it’s recommended for smaller models such as scatter and walls. Larger buildings are more cost effectively printed in PLA on a FDM printer such as the ender 3.

If you’re new to 3D printing terrain, check out our beginners guide to 3D printing terrain.

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Examples of Resin vs FDM prints

Below are examples of the same models from the Ship Assault terrain set. On the left are prints from and FDM printer (Creality Ender 3), on the right are resin prints (Anycubic Mono 4K). You can see much crisper detail on the resin prints.

Resin vs fdm terrain prints

The detail will be insane… get some models to match!

Resin printers will deliver some high definition results in your prints so make sure you get some STL files that are designed well. All of the terrain at Saucermen Studios are delivered with an impressive level of detail. Buy STL files here.

How to 3d print terrain in resin (summary)

1. Choose an STL file for a piece of terrain that will fit your resin printer’s plate

2. Open your slicer and prepare your model for printing. This where you add supports, hollow out the model and choose quality settings?

3. Prep the resin printer and ensure it is clean and has enough resin (shake your resin well)

4. Send the 3D printable file to the printer (usually on SD card)

5. Start the print and wait for completion

6. Remove the print from the printer and clean/wash it in isopropyl alcohol

7. Remove any support material from the model with clippers

8. Cure the cleaned up model with UV light

Terrain examples printed on a resin printer

Below are some prints from the Zectonium Prison Mines terrain set from Saucermen Studios. These are modular components made up of separate corners, walls, platforms and inserts.This combined platform is 10x10xm wide.

Printed with Siraya tech fast grey on photon mono and Creality LD002. Flat on plate, no supports, hollowed.


Tips for printing terrain in resin

  • Print your resin terrain hollow
  • Ensure you dig multiple holes to allow the resin to drain (multiple holes avoids a vacuum)
  • Print directly on the plate – Freeze the plate to remove prints
  • If the terrain too big for your plate, split it into multiple sections using software such as Meshmixer

Hollow out your terrain prints on a resin printer

To save resin and make the models lighter, you can hollow out the resin prints. In your slicer, add multiple holes to allow resin to drip back out during the printing process.

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Should you print terrain with supports?

Many people recommend printing bases and terrain on a resin printer with supports BUT we’ve found that printing directly onto the plate works great and you get far cleaner and more precise detail. You just need to use a simple technique to help remove the models from the build plate as they tend to stick quite well.

Removing resin prints, stuck on the build plate

When you print directly onto the build plate with a resin printer, you may need help removing the prints. There are three methods for this, each have pros and cons so ensure you consider safety* and potential damage to the model:

  • Using a scraper – Brute force can remove the model but often results in damage or chipping
  • Pour hot water – Use a freshly boiled kettle to pour hot water on the build plate
  • Put your plate in the freezer – Pop your build plate, with stuck models in a tub and freeze for 5 mins. The prints should pop off.

*Safety notes – Using tools forcefully, hot water and resin near food prep areas needs some precautions.

Resin prints can be Brittle

Standard SLA resin can be brittle and does not flex. For these reasons your terrain may not be as durable as needed for games or transporting. If durability is something you need, check out some long-life durable resins such as the TUFF resin from Monocure 3D.

Resin printers are not ideal for printing flexible parts, as the cured resin is generally quite rigid. However, there are flexible resins available that can produce slightly flexible parts. The lack of flexibility also means that using features such as OpenLock Clips may not function as intended.

Be prepared for adding supports and cleaning up the print

Resin prints win on detail but do need some file set-up in the slicer in addition to needing to be cleaned and processed, which involves chemicals and UV light.

Choosing a resin printer for wargaming terrain

The print volume (plate size) and resolution should both be taken into account when selecting a resin printer for 3D printing terrain. The size of the objects that can be printed depends on the build volume, whereas the degree of detail that can be achieved depends on the resolution. It goes without saying that price increases with size and resolution.

Popular resin printers include the following for 3D printing terrain:

  • Elegoo Mars 2, has a build volume of 129 x 80 x 150 mm
  • Anycubic Photon Mono X, has a build volume of 192 x 12 x 245 mm
  • Phrozen Sonic, has a build volume of 134 x 75 x 200 mm