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If anyone is thinking of buying an Anycubic Photon resin 3D printer then now is probably the best time for it.  Anycubic has a sale of the Photon for only $169, that's around £130 including and free shipping.  That's a massive saving on Amazon pricing.  Anycubic has a distribution centre in Germany, so VAT is included and no customs charges for us in UK.

I bought mine from Anycubic and delivery took about 4 days.

 

The sale is on from now until 20th August and the Photon comes with all you need to get started straight away, including a test print, 500ml resin, masks, gloves and tools etc.

 

Mike

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That's VERY tempting.

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I've had my Photon for a couple of months and I find the results are as good as standard resin items that have been cast from a master mould.  I'm sure that I read somewhere that an aftermarket producer does this.  They design the master in CAD and then print it on the 3D printer.  Because of the long time to print, they then make a cast of the 3D item and then fast-cast, using the pour into mould method, to produce quantities of items quickly.

 

Getting back to resin 3D printers, here are some views of a 1:144 scale Jolly Green Giant/Pelican test print I did earlier. 

As can be seen, the surface is smooth and there are no grooves or lines.

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Mike

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16 minutes ago, bootneck said:

here are some views of a 1:144 scale Jolly Green Giant/Pelican test print I did earlier. 

That looks fantastic!

 

My only concern is getting the time to get to grips with the software so that I can design my own stuff. Also my PC is Linux and I believe Fusion 360 isn't available for that operating system, so I would need to find suitable design software. I had a look at 'FreeCAD' a couple of days ago but was far from impressed. I've been meaning to have a look at 'Blender' but haven’t had the time yet.

Thanks for the information.

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5 hours ago, bootneck said:

If anyone is thinking of buying an Anycubic Photon resin 3D printer then now is probably the best time for it.  Anycubic has a sale of the Photon for only $169, that's around £130 including and free shipping.  That's a massive saving on Amazon pricing.  Anycubic has a distribution centre in Germany, so VAT is included and no customs charges for us in UK.

I bought mine from Anycubic and delivery took about 4 days.

 

The sale is on from now until 20th August and the Photon comes with all you need to get started straight away, including a test print, 500ml resin, masks, gloves and tools etc.

 

Mike

Thanks for this information Mike, I am looking into getting a printer, and there are so many options.

Two questions

Some say it is tricky to set up the parts for printing, did you find that so?? I am still very much learning and I have started using Shapr3d but starting to grips with it and have had some parts printed by others for me so far so I am heading in the right direction as far as that goes BUT now would like to do some of my own printing.

 

Do you have the wash and cure machine? Do you think it would be good or helpful to have one of them?

 

cheers Ali

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Hi Ali,

 

When you mention setting up the parts for printing, I am presuming you already have the parts drawn and saved as an STL file and that you are talking about the actual printing of them.  I am almost 72 years old and have never had any previous experience with these new-fangled machinations; however, after unpacking my printer, setting it up and using the test file they supply, I had my first print in two hours.  I think the discussion about setting up may be to do with the supports needed to hold the item in place whilst printing, and avoiding distortion.

Unlike FDM printers,  the Photon and the Eligoo Mars (same technology) printing is upside down, meaning that the print is built on a plate that is inverted.  The plate is lowered into the vat of resin and lifts, very slowly, and each layer prints as it rises.  If the supports are not in the correct locations or the item is too heavy (settings not done for the weight) then the item is liable to drop off the plate and into the resin VAT.

 

A point to note here;  if an item is ruined by dropping into the vat etc,, all is not lost because the un-solidified resin can still be re-used.  Anycubic supply a few paper filters for this, and the unused resin can be poured back into the bottle, or the vat, by pouring it through the filter.  Any dregs or part solidified resin caught in the filter can then be discarded (safely, as with any resin disposals).

 

there are plenty of tutorials online, from setting up to trouble shooting etc.

 

HTH

 

Mike

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Sorry Ali,  I had to cut this short as I was called to dinner.   I find that you don't need the wash setup unless your have a busy routine and need to leave things to wash etc.  I'll explain further after dinner and I shall also try and take some photo's of my setup and, hopefully, explain my routine with pictures.

Mike

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Thanks Mike, that's more than tempting.  I've now started the negotiations with the other half...  

Regards

Tim

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Thanks Mike looking forward to your next instalment after your dinner or when you have the time, no major rush.

yes I am asking about the actual printing and sorting out the supports, but  you did answer some points already, so I am certainly learning lots, will also seek out more videos etc. on you tube and such.

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That is an excellent price, I imagine there’ll be more than a few folk here tempted to jump on that

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When setting up a file for printing on the Anycubic Photon, or I imagine any other resin (inverted) printer, the piece(s) tend to be best positioned when angled and support.  The angle is in order to reduce weight at any given point, remember this will be upside down and want to drop off, so it is best if there is minimal down force anywhere.

 

Here is a quick demo of how I prepare my pieces for printing.  In this case I am using the free slicing software that comes with the Anycubic Photon although others, such as Chitubox, are also free and available on the net.

 

This is a typical piece to be printed, in this case the framework of a 1:144 scale Bell 47 Sioux.   This is really tiny, the whole model is only 59mm long; however the parallel length and weight on piece could cause the drop off or even distortion.

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By changing the angle to about 45deg or more, it can be seen that less area is weighing on the plate on any given line/time.

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By rotating the view, to look from underneath, the software will point out areas that need supports.  These are shaded red and the deeper the red the greater the requirement to add supports there

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Supports have been added in this view. Depending on the weight of the piece and the angle etc., more or less supports might be required.  This is probably the area of concern, mentioned in the post about setup and is trial and error until you get it right.  After a while, you get a feel for where the supports are needed; however, one mustn't get complacent as it sometimes bites you in the bum!  Ask me how I know this. :blush:

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Here we can see a full set of pieces that were printed using the Photon.  Although only one piece was used in this demo, all of these pieces were printed together on the same plate.  Each was angled and supported differently due to their size and weight.  This was a test print and, as noted, the canopy was also printed as a solid with the same resin.

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I made another print of the canopy, this time using clear resin.

The first canopy didn't come out too clear and I think it was because I washed it in dirty IPA.  The contaminations stuck to the clear part and caused it to look cloudy

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A second print came out fine and this time I only washed the piece in clean soapy water before curing it.   Then I gave it a coat of Vallejo clear varnish.

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I'll do a walkaround of my setup next, showing the printing station, cleaning station and my post-printing area.

 

cheers,


Mike

 

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Excellent Mike you really are doing a good job.

One question, the screen you are showing where you set it all up for printing is that on the printer or on your computer? I only ask as I need to find out how this will all work with Shapr3D as it is all based on the iPad.

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Hi Ali,

that's on my desktop PC.  Once the set up has been done, you slice the file, using the hatched symbol on the lower left, and then save the file (xxxxx.Photon).  I recommend that this is saved to your PC, laptop, ipad or whatever, before the next stage.  This is just so that you have an original stored on a hard drive.  The next stage is to copy that file to a memory stick, again; one is conveniently included with the Photon package.  Take the memory stick with the file and insert it into the Photon, select print, select the file and then select go.  Simple as that.

One of the reasons I state about making an original and a separate copy for actual printing is that resin printers should not be set up in the home, especially areas like bedrooms or kitchens as the toxic fumes will linger and can cause health issues.  Unless, of course, you are using plant-based resins which are Soya based and non-toxic.  Another good reason for using plant-based resins is that they can be handled straight off the printer, can be cleaned with warm soapy water followed by clean water; plus, and this is a big plus, they do not need IPA to cleanse off the residue resin.  With the current CV-19 situation, and its expected prolonged effects, the prices of IPA have gone through the roof. 

So, if you are using the standard, toxic, resins then it is safest to have it situated away from the home environment, prefeably in a shed.  You may not notice the smell yourself, some don't, but you may go off to work each day and leaving those toxins around the house affecting partners, children and/or parents etc.  Not good in the long run.

 

cheers,

 

Mike

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18 minutes ago, Ali62 said:

Excellent Mike you really are doing a good job.

One question, the screen you are showing where you set it all up for printing is that on the printer or on your computer? I only ask as I need to find out how this will all work with Shapr3D as it is all based on the iPad.

Although I am not Mike, I can answer this one for you.

Shapr3d is just the design software. You’ll need other software ( a slicer) that can preferably also help with positioning and support placement. 
I don’t know of slicer software that runs on the iPad.

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3 minutes ago, Pouln said:

Although I am not Mike, I can answer this one for you.

Shapr3d is just the design software. You’ll need other software ( a slicer) that can preferably also help with positioning and support placement. 
I don’t know of slicer software that runs on the iPad.

Ok thanks for that, so I will need to take the stl file from my iPad to either my Apple desktop or my PC laptop......... I am getting to it now with all of your help.

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Right, herewith my personal view on how a printing station should be set up.  First off, if using standard resins; as opposed to plant-based resins, the standard resins are toxic.  They can cause breathing problems and lung issues, so WEAR A MASK AND GLOVES when handling them!  Another point, do not use the (dark blue?) cheap Latex gloves as these have been found to let the resins leach through into the skin.  Any ex-service person will understand the effects of blood and nerve agents on the body and these resins aren't too dissimilar.   Sorry for the morose message but it is a serious point to take.

 

My set up is in the shed and the first thing I did was put in an extractor fan. £20 off Amazon and 30minutes work, even for an old duffer like me.!
Here's my printer, with the fan behind and the resins to the left.

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Note that I use a labelling system, for a few simple reasons.

-  if using the standard (toxic) resins then I gown and mask up fully for the work

-  if using the plant-based (ECO) resins then I only need to wear gloves.

-  sometimes I forget which resin I have used, especially if I've left it for an overnight print.  I don't want to get mixed up with what I have used, or pour a standard resin back into a plant-based bottle etc.

-  the clear resin is absolutely clear, so much so that the vat actually looks empty - there's a risk of pouring coloured resin into the vat, thinking it is empty.

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The cleansing station is situated on a separate table alongside the printing station.  I use to airtight sealed containers, got mine from B&M for a couple of quid. and these contain IPA

The method I use is to remove top (printing) plate and then remove the pieces, which are adhered to the plate, with a steel plasterer's spatula.  You get a plastic one in the package but that wouldn't shift this.

Put the pieces in one container of IPA (warm soapy water if plant-based resins). Best to mark this one "cleaning".  Then seal the container and give it a fairly vigourous swirl (don't shake as you might break pieces) for a few minutes.  Then, using tweezers, transfer the pieces (let any dirty fluid drop back into the washing container first) into the rinsing container and repeat the process,

Note the plastic spoon.  Drill a few holes into one and keep it near the wash station, as the fluid can become quite dirty and the spoon act like a sieve to find and remove the pieces!

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Once the pieces have been washed and rinsed, remove them and place onto some kitchen type towelling and move them to the post-processing area.  This where I remove the supports from the pieces.  I have found that it is best to do this straight after the cleansing process. This is because the parts are still soft and the support can be removed quite easily, sometimes I can just run a fingernail along the edges and the supports will break away cleanly

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UV cured resin is, as it states cured by being subjected to UV light.  This means that the resin starts to harden as soon a UV light/daylight is exposed to it.  So don't leave the lid off the bottle for any length of time; also keep your area covered from the effects of light.  I normally keep the shed door closed and windows covered but, in the heat of recent weeks, I had to open the door to get some fresh air.  To compensate for this, I have strung up an old bedsheet to act as a screen.

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And finally, if I have left any resin in the printer vat, perhaps to do another print of the same the next day, then I will cover the printer to shield it from any UV sources.  The method I use is an old pillow case.

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Well, a bit long winded but I hope this will be of some help when considering how to set up your printing station.

 

cheers,


Mike

 

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43 minutes ago, Ali62 said:

 

Ok thanks for that, so I will need to take the stl file from my iPad to either my Apple desktop or my PC laptop......... I am getting to it now with all of your help.

Yes indeed. The slicer will live on your pc (or Mac). 

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4 hours ago, Gorby said:

 my PC is Linux and I believe Fusion 360 isn't available for that operating system, 

Virtual box?

Hth.

Rick.

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5 hours ago, Gorby said:

That looks fantastic!

 

My only concern is getting the time to get to grips with the software so that I can design my own stuff. Also my PC is Linux and I believe Fusion 360 isn't available for that operating system, so I would need to find suitable design software. I had a look at 'FreeCAD' a couple of days ago but was far from impressed. I've been meaning to have a look at 'Blender' but haven’t had the time yet.

 

Thanks for the information.

Looking forward to the eventual project a massive ultra obscure never made land cruiser that takes the best part of a decade to print

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13 hours ago, bootneck said:

If anyone is thinking of buying an Anycubic Photon resin 3D printer then now is probably the best time for it.  Anycubic has a sale of the Photon for only $169, that's around £130 including and free shipping

I wasn't but at that price ...

 

I've a few projects in mind where this would pay for itself

 

Thanks for the advice on resins relative toxicity

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Thanks for the heads up.  I’ve been teetering but had decided to hold off until the monochrome printers with slightly bigger build plates come along.  But this price is very attractive.

 

How does it compare with the Elegoo Mars - that is the only one I have looked at so far.

 

Cheers,

 

Nigel  

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I don't know much about the Elegoo Mars; however, having seen video demo's it does look to be clunkier to use, and having to lift off and refit the box like lid doesn't look simple. Check out this review here, especially at 16 to 17 minutes, where he describes the risk of the plate dropping into the vat.

 

Mike

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11 hours ago, Rick Brown said:

Virtual box?

I'm not sure what that is but if it it involves MS Windows running on my PC then it wouldn't be something I would want. I use Linux to avoid Windows.

 

Thanks anyway Rick.

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6 minutes ago, Gorby said:

I'm not sure what that is but if it it involves MS Windows running on my PC then it wouldn't be something I would want. I use Linux to avoid Windows.

 

Thanks anyway Rick.

👍

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Elegoo Mars and standard Photon are basically the same machines. Main difference is in packaged slicing software and cover. The cover of the Mars is very basic but functional. The benefit is you can reach into the printer from all sides without being constrained by sidewalls like on the photon. To me this is a huge plus. The slicer for the photon is probably a variant of chitubox and can be used with chitubox, while the mars uses chitubox right away.

 

The glove information needs to be clarified. No matter the color or the price - DON'T USE LATEX. This is the message. Use Nitrile gloves.

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