Is it economical/better to 3d resin print or cast copies of a 7" Figure?


Sr Member

I have a question about making copies out of a 7" resin figure.

Namely, if it's better for me to 3d resin print each one, or make a mold/cast each one? The figure would be a clear translucent solid filed piece with no moving parts and I'd want to continuously make them for sale as needed..

I am currently considering getting the Anycubic Photon M3 to print the figure.

Thanks in advance.
I would consider cost, vs reliability/failure rate vs ease of cleaning vs time spent among other things

In regards to time, an advantage of molding is you can create multiple molds from your master and cast them all at once
For a printer, you can print out as many copies that would fit on the plate otherwise you have to get more printers

In think case I think for mass production resin cast copies will be more scalable
With a translucent, I'd vote for mold/cast.... It's going to be a lot quicker in the long run, and you won't have to tie your machine up every time an order comes in. Reliability has improved leaps and bounds with 3d printers over the last few years, but you are never guaranteed a good print. To be fair, same is for casting, but I find it more reliable.
How complicated is the figure? Molds are great for simple designs, but if complex details, protrusions, pockets, stress the mold, it will probably start to tear/ wear put after a few pulls.

Are you good at mold making?

Do you have a degasser or a pressure pot? If not, you will probably have a cloudy mold due to bubbles and thickness.

Resins pours can take up to a day to cure, then usually come out a little hazy and need a little finish work.

I make molds all the time, always casting stuff, bubbles in clear/see through cast are always an issue. Bubbles usually form on the outer part of the cast and can be sanded away.

Casting materials has gone up quite a bit in price in the past two years. If you are not familiar with casting and do you know someone who does.

Resin 3D printing is usually hollow. Print a block o resin takes more times and $$$.

What are your capabilities?
There are pros and cons with each way.


It depends on the X/Y dimensions are on your 7" figure and how many can fit on a build plate at the same time, but you should be able to print at least 4 per go.

With a printer, you can print the object in several colours without having to worry about mixing dyes, so you may be able to charge more for "special" orders.

You don't have to worry about creating 4 or more moulds. Print as you need.

A well engineered and finished master, can create multiple moulds. If a mould gets damaged, you can always make another.

Generally mixing two part resins is less troublesome and there is little cleanup with a one part mould once it cures.

Casting is generally quick and you'll have results in minutes as opposed to hours.

You don't need power to resin cast something, unless you're using a pressure chamber.


With moulds, you have to consider mould marks and problems with the moulds if your figure is complex that will require a two or more parts.

Pinholes are a constant nuisance unless you get a vacuum chamber.

Moulds rip and you can only get so many uses out of them.

Photo resins are generally more expensive. Going with cheap resin, is probably going to cause problems removing the supports decreasing the quality of the prints.

You're going to get layer lines with 3d printing. You can decrease the layer height to make it less noticeable, but they still will be there.

3d printing resin is generally more brittle than casting resin. You can go with the PVC like resins (or other flexible types), but that will be more expensive.

With photo resins there is also the cost of nitrile gloves and alcohol, not to mention the risk in dealing with toxic resins.

There are other costs to casting, as you may need gloves, and will need cups to measure out the 2 part resins.

Sorry if the above ideas are not structured in a chart below each way. I just wanted to convey my ideas. I'm sure I missed several pros and cons.

The chances of failed 3d prints and failed castings are about even so I didn't include them in the list, because it all depends on the experience you have and the quality of your tools.

Hey all,

Circling back to close the loop on my original ask.

I ended up going with a 3d printer, the photon mars x. After a significant week or so of trail and terrible errors, i finally got the knack of it and have been able to successfully print my figures with little clean up. However, with the caveat of it taking 12+ hours per figure, requiring running a good exhaust fan and healthy supply of IPA to clean thoroughly after each print.

Thanks for everyone's input here, took me a while to really settle on the best route to go and glad i checked here.

Here's one of the many printed figures cleaned and acrylic washed:


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