Epoxy resin and UV resin couldn’t be more different. Epoxy resin is a 2-part resin, combining resin with a harder component, while UV resin is a 1-part resin that can be used immediately.
While epoxy resin can cure all on its own without any aids, UV resin can only be cured under UV irradiation and will at most be 1 mm thick.
Epoxy resin, on the other hand, can be as much as 5 cm thick per casting. These differences also affect what you can use epoxy resin and UV resin for.
For example, since UV resin will always need to be cured using a UV lamp it is only suitable for use in small areas. But because epoxy resin doesn’t need any aids to cure it, it can be applied on large surfaces like industrial floors.
Of course, no matter what resin you’re working with you should always wear a dust mask.
But while epoxy resin doesn’t give off any emissions once cured, UV resin continuously evaporates. UV resin is only durable for a year, and isn’t scratch-resistant or heat-resistant.
For durable, long-lasting results you’re better off going for an epoxy resin that not only looks better, but lasts longer.
However, if durability isn’t an important factor, and you need to finish a project quickly, then you can opt for UV resin.
So while epoxy resin doesn’t need to be cured with UV light, you may be wondering how UV light cures other types of resin in the first place, how long resin takes to cure under UV light, and what the difference is between UV lights, black lights, and LED lights when it comes to curing resin.
We’ll answer all these questions below.
UV Light and Resin: All You Need to Know
Firstly, let’s start by taking a look at the difference between a black light and an ultraviolet light. Well, a black light is just a type of UV light that emits ultraviolet (or UV light) radiation.
UV radiation has a shorter wavelength than violet light, which is the shortest wavelength of light that we can see in the electromagnetic spectrum.
LED and UV nail lamps emit UV wavelengths, and so work in exactly the same way. However, UV lamps emit a wider spectrum of wavelengths, as opposed to LED lamps that produce narrower wavelengths, and only produce a certain amount of wavelengths.
However, LED lamps have a longer shelf life than UV lamps. UV lamps frequently need their bulbs replaced.
So if epoxy resin doesn’t need UV light to cure it, what about regular resin? Well, UV light does not have an effect on the curing process of non-UV resin. In fact, strong UV might affect the color of some types of non-UV resin and might even degrade them.
This is because UV-resin works differently to non-UV resin. One-part resin is stable until a particular wavelength of UV breaks down the component in the resin that allows it to cure.
So how long does it take for UV light to cure resin? After about 24 hours you can start working with poured 2-part resin components, but for the UV resin to really cure, you should leave it for 3 days.
However, the process with UV resin is much quicker, taking only 15-20 minutes for each layer to be cured under a UV lamp. In direct sunlight, you can cure UV resin in a few minutes.
Still, if you are curing resin without a UV light, you’ll need to be patient. After 24 hours the mixture will still be malleable, but should be cured fully after three days.
But you know what they say, good things come to those who wait! And after 3 days you should see the best results.
Placing a resin object in direct sunlight if you don’t have a UV lamp is a good way to cure it, but of course, if the weather is overcast, or you live in an area with a low UV index then it may take longer to see results.
A lot of people wonder about the toxicity of UV resin, and if it is more or less toxic than epoxy resin. However, cured UV resin is non-toxic and even food safe, meaning you can use UV resin to make plates or containers in which you would store food.
This is because the liquid toxins have hardened and can’t be ingested or seep into your skin. Still, UV light can also cause hard synthetic resin to decompose, and these decomposed components are toxic.
If we can cure UV resin in sunlight, is this also the case for curing UV glue? Yes, it is, as long as the UV rays emitted from the sun are strong enough.
It’s best to try this on a hot day when there are no clouds in the sky. The stronger the UV rays, the sooner the adhesive will dry, and the stronger the bond will be.
But if you are curing UV resin under a UV lamp, how many watts are needed to cure the resin effectively? Well, it is a general rule that having a UV lamp at 4 watts will cure resin in around 2-3 minutes.
The best UV lamps for curing UV resin are usually nail curing lights or UV flashlights.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can Resin Be Cured With An LED Light?
Much like curing resin with a UV light, you’ll need at least 4 watts of power to cure resin with an LED light. This can either be with an LED lamp or a UV LED flashlight.
Why Doesn’t My UV Resin Shine?
There are a few reasons why your resin projects might turn out foggy. The mold may not be clean beforehand, so make sure it is completely dry and clean before pouring your resin in.
If your mold is shiny, then your resin will be shiny and so will the finished product. However, if you’re using a silicone mold that is considerably matte, then the resin will appear matte and dull.
While epoxy resin doesn’t need any aids to cure it and can be used on large surface areas, it takes longer to cure than UV resin, although it is more durable.
But you don’t need a UV lamp to cure UV resin. If you live in a warm area, you can even cure UV resin in direct sunlight as long as it is not overcast outside.