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Trying different types of resins is an effective way to nurture your creativity. Epoxy resins and UV resins are very similar and also the two most uniquely different resins in the market. Epoxies are conventional resins popularly used for a wide variety of coating and casting applications. They are easy to use and preferred by beginners and veterans alike. On the other hand, UV resins are more designed for shallow pours. Whether you use epoxies or UV resins, understanding their differences can bring some hidden pros and cons to your attention.
While both epoxy resin and UV resin are very similar, there are significant differences in the processing from mixing to casting thickness, curing, clean up, quality of products, and cost.
One of the main advantages of UV resins is the ease of use because it is already mixed and packaged in a single bottle ready to use. You open the bottle and start your project instantly. Epoxy resins consist of two parts, the clear and the hardener. Both are liquids and should be mixed in a specific ratio to make the resin mixture. You’ll have to master the art of mixing before you can start casting. With UV resins, you can skip the tedious mixing process and go straight to casting.
Repetitive work can be brutal. Unfortunately, UV resins are less versatile with a maximum of 3 mm applied per cast. You’ll have to repeat the process several times to attain the desired outcome. UV resins are only suited for applications with shallow pours like bezels. On the other hand, epoxy resins are great for casting in molds and a wide variety of applications. They allow for deep pours.
Epoxy resins rely on a chemical reaction to harden and cure into a solid. The chemical process starts as soon as the clear and the hardener are mixed together. As the name suggests, UV resins are cured using either natural UV rays from the sun or artificial UV light emitted by special lamps or torches. The curing process used by both resins is significantly different.
Epoxy resins have the longest curing time and can range between several hours to three days. Lengthy curing time makes it unsuitable for urgent projects. The chemical curing process is slower than curing with UV light. When exposed to sufficient UV light or rays, UV resin can cure completely into a solid within 1 to 5 minutes. It is the ‘resin for the impatient.’
With epoxies, be prepared to scrub sticky resin from your mixing cups and syringes. It is tedious just thinking about it. UV resin eliminates the mixing of the components. So, you don’t have to clean syringes and mixing cups anymore. Without mixing cups and syringes, your clean-up process will be a lot shorter.
UV resin completely cures to a crystal clear solid with a hard surface. It has a higher yellowing resistance and glossier than most epoxy resins. Sometimes, UV resins shrink significantly once it cures. You don’t have to worry about shrinkage with two-part epoxy resins.
UV resins are more expensive than epoxy resins. You’ll get a lot more epoxy for your hard-earned cash than UV resin. If you live in the northern US or central Europe, you will have to spend more on special lamps with UV light or other curing equipment. Natural sunlight in these regions is not strong enough to support the curing process. With epoxy resins, there are no additional expenses.
UV resins are only durable for about 6 months. On the other hand, your epoxy resin can remain usable for nearly a year if you store it properly. It has double the shelf-life of UV resins!
Epoxy resins are versatile, cost-effective, and have a longer shelf-life. But, they’re tedious to mix and cure slower. If you seek versatility, cost-cutting, and love mixing resins, epoxy is perfect for you. With UV resins, you have the shortest cure time, easy clean-up, and ready-to-use mixture. But it will cost you. If you don’t have the patience or the time to wait several hours for your resin to cure, you should consider using UV resin. Regardless of the differences using epoxy vs. UV resin, both are perfect for specific situations and projects.