Expanding Materials Available for 3D Printing with Dissolvable Resins

Unmet Need: 3D printing technology requires specific printing materials

3D printing is an ideal technology to rapidly construct objects with complex geometries. Over half of available materials for 3D printing are photo-curing polymers for printing techniques such as digital light processing (DLP), stereolithography (SLA), and liquid crystal displays (LCD). These techniques have drawn wide attention due to their fast print speeds and high printing resolutions. However, these techniques require photoactive moieties to be present in the polymer materials, severally limiting the available printing materials. Traditional photo-curing polymers form covalently crosslinked permanent network structures, and as a result, objects created through photo-curing 3D printing techniques cannot be dissolved, recycled, or reused.  

The Technology: Dissolvable photocurable resins for complex 3D printed molds

The inventors have developed photocurable resins formulated to be polymerized into unique thermosetting polymers that can be hydrolyzed into soluble thermoplastics. Taking advantage of this unique feature, materials without photoactive moieties can be fabricated indirectly through photo-curing 3D printing technologies by first 3D printing a sacrificial mold using the developed resin. Then, casting the desired material into the mold. Lastly, removing the mold to give the part with the designed geometry. The 3D printed resin part can be dissolved and recycled, unlike traditional photo-curing polymers.


  • 3D printable, recyclable photocurable resins
  • Extended materials for printing with DLP/SLA/LCD
  • Fabrication of complex parts with sacrificial 3D printed mold



  • Dissolvable thermoset plastics
  • Indirect 3D printing with previously incompatible materials
  • Complex parts without added cost

Learn More

Punam Dalai
Technology Licensing Associate
Washington State University
Reference No: TECH-22/3441


Jinwen Zhang
Baoming Zhao

Key Words

3D printing
photo curable
sacrificial mold