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Anycubic Photon Mono SE vs Elegoo Mars 2 Pro.


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Hi, having seen some of the really impressive stuff being produced by the likes of Pascal @Iceman 29 I’m thinking of dipping my toe in too...

 

From my very basic research it appears that a lot of these resin printers, of all makes, run on the same basic OS and even share the same motherboard and give pretty similar results, the differences being stuff like WiFi, print area and a few little bells and whistles.

 

Basically, given I can get either of these 2 printers for roughly the same money,  which would be the  one you would go for and why?

 

Personally I’m leaning towards the Anycubic, because it has WiFi, an extra rail, app control and, erm, it looks better...

 

 

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I would say, first and foremost, only buy a printer if you're able to design your own parts.  There isn't much ready-made stuff out there for the scale modeller, and you will mostly be limited to whatever you are able to come up with on your own.

 

I would also point out that both designing your own parts and printing them are pretty much each a hobby unto themselves, with their own learning curve and time commitments.  They're tools that take time to learn and master, not appliances you can just plug in and magically output custom parts.  If you[re willing to put in the time and effort (or already know how), great; if not, I would strongly re-consider.

 

All that aside...  


You're right that most machines are largely the same.  Personally, I wouldn't put any stock in the WiFi or app on the Anycubic - you kind of need to be with the printer when it starts to give the resin a stir and re-fill, and it doesn't do any meaningful monitoring during the print, so I don't see any real practical benefit to it.  I also, philosophically. would rather be in control of the printer myself rather than rely on an app that may cease to function in some indeterminate amount of time. This isn't a point against the Anycubic; it's more that it's not a point in it's favour.

 

Form factor is a bit of a toss-up.  The Mars' bucket style lid (seen on a bunch of other printers, too) is kind of cheap and flimsy, and there seem to be some problems with them crazing and cracking - the larger format printers from all the manufacturers seem to be suffering from the same thing.  Plus, it's a little more cumbersome, and you need to find a place to put it while you're accessing the printer.  On the other hand, it gives you better all-around access to the printer, for levelling, removing the vat, etc.  I have an original Photon, and it can feel a little cramped working inside the box to remove the vat, and it definitely makes checking level a bit harder, since you should do a check for equal pressure moving all around the build plate - it's awkward to reach around and check the back side of the printer.

 

That being said, the Photon's bed levelling system is a lot more robust, and you're less likely to have to re-level if you treat it properly (support it while removing parts, so you're not torsioning the plate).  I've seen quite a few comments that the Mars's single post tends to shift.  So the Photon may be harder to level, but you really only need to do it once; the Mars should be easier, but you may need to do it more often.

 

The twin rails on the Photon are definitely better, but I don't know that they're really necessary.  It's a small build area and a single rail should be robust enough to keep things straight and smooth.  I haven't seen any complaints of Z wobble with either, and that's the only concern, so I'd say it's a wash.

 

So personally, I would go with the regular Photon Mono, not the SE.  I don't see a lot of benefit to much of the SE's 'upgrades', and the regular model will be functionally the same, so you'd be better off saving some money and buying more resin, IMO.  I like the Photon's build plate and levelling mechanism better than Elegoo's, which is why I'd choose it over the Mars.  (though if the Photon is unavailable, the Mars is totally fine, too).  If you're looking to upgrade from the regular Photon Mono, I'd look at Phrozen's Sonic Mighty 4K, which is similar to the Photon and Mars, but has a higher res, 4K screen, so will be capable of finer details.  It's not necessary for most users, but could be worthwhile in certain use cases.

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3 hours ago, Rob998 said:

Hi, having seen some of the really impressive stuff being produced by the likes of Pascal @Iceman 29 I’m thinking of dipping my toe in too...

 

From my very basic research it appears that a lot of these resin printers, of all makes, run on the same basic OS and even share the same motherboard and give pretty similar results, the differences being stuff like WiFi, print area and a few little bells and whistles.

 

Basically, given I can get either of these 2 printers for roughly the same money,  which would be the  one you would go for and why?

 

Personally I’m leaning towards the Anycubic, because it has WiFi, an extra rail, app control and, erm, it looks better...

 

 

 

 

Anycubic Photon (OG) owner here,

 

it's a no-brainer.

The Mono SE have dual-rail and a solid metal case.

The Elegoo got none.

 

Wifi will bring you nothing IRL, USB stick are way safer.

But a solid metal case is a ideal support for tons of upgrades.

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Thanks for that incredibly useful reply @ICMF. I suppose the lids cracking is to do with UV or fume exposure, or a combination of the 2.  Not a deal breaker but something to bear in mind as a possible future expense.
 

I absolutely intend learning to design my own stuff. However, in the realm of Sci-fi, which is my main interest, there seem to be plenty of models (not so many kits, I grant you) and greeblies available for download. It would be informative and perhaps instructional to see how these are constructed...

 

I also have a a secret weapon, my youngest Fruit of Loin has aspirations to work in architecture so she will be doing a 3D Design A Level at college from September, so I might well have a tutor in the making! 
 

I suppose Fusion 360 and Cura or Chitubox are the go to software for PC? Are there any good ones for iPad Pro?
 

 

 

 

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Anycubic's wifi does not work as you might think.

It is really only used to check that the printing is going well and to know the end time, it is just a remote control, It does not intervene directly in the printing process, even if the link is broken, the printing continues. . For the rest the file must be on the usb key anyway. The application can possibly be used to choose the file to be printed, so this function is useless.

 

For my part, wifi is very useful to know the status of the printer because I don't stay in the room where the printer is located to avoid breathing the vapours. 

 

I would recommend the Anycubic Mono SE, or Mono X if you want to make a large pieces . I am quite disappointed with the Sonic mini 4 K which I also have, despite its 30 microns. The new 4K mono photon is very reliable, your first impression will be successful. 

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Thanks Pascal, lots of love for the Anycubic then. If I can get results halfway as good as yours I’ll be ecstatic! 

 

Now, what other stuff am I going to need? I see there’s a Wash & Cure booth available, is that a worthwhile upgrade over a tub of Isopropyl Alcohol, and a UV lamp? 
 

What about tools? They seem to come with spatulas etc, but what other stuff have you found useful? 
 

Any particular brand of resin? And how long does it last once open? I know about filtering it and keeping it away from sunlight. 
 

Any other helpful tips would be gratefully received.
 

 

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Well, the bullet has been bit, a SE is on it’s way, with a kilo of resin...

 

Need to look at software now...

Edited by Rob998
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2 hours ago, Rob998 said:

I suppose the lids cracking is to do with UV or fume exposure, or a combination of the 2

 

I don't think it's really known yet, but probably more fume related.  That said, I haven't heard the same kind of issues with the smaller printers like the Photon/Mars; the cracks seem limited to the Saturn/Mighty/Mono X.

 

Sci Fi is indeed better covered than military subjects, so there's less to worry about there.  Though I wouldn't undersell the time/effort required to become a talented CAD designer.  It's absolutely possible, but it really is a whole other hobby.

ou

For software, you'll need something to design parts - Fusion 360 is a popular, free, CAD package for designing geometric-type objects; Rhino is popular for more organic sculpting.  There are myriad other options, though, and 'best' depends on your budget and what you want to do.  Once you have a file, you'll need something to slice it - turn it into the individual cross sections for printing.  Cura is only for filament printers.  Chitubox/chituslicer is the default software for most resin printers (Chitu manufacturers the motherboards), though LycheeSlicer is another popular alternative.  Anycubic used to have their own version of Chitu's slicer, but you'll be further ahead just using Chitu, as it's the most feature rich and up to date.  Theoretically, Fusion 360 should work on an iPad since it's cloud-based, but I couldn't say for certain.  You'd be (much) better off using an actual computer to design files, however.

 

For other items...  

 

A baking sheet to put under the printer to collect any possible drips is a good idea.  Nitrile gloves for handling stuff.  A UV lamp to cure resin and a container to cure stuff in (something shiny inside.  IMO, you're better off with a DIY approach rather than a wash/cure station - I think it's easier and cleaner, really.  If you've got a large-ish tub full of solvent, you can just shake to remove excess resin (holding it securely closed), then transfer to a second tub of clean solvent for a final rinse.  I would also get an artist's pallette knife to remove prints from the build platform; it'll come with a paint scraper, but a proper pallette knife is MUCH thinner and more flexible, so it's easier to get under the print, will cause less damage to the print and plate, and is less likely to knock your build platform out of level.  And lots of isopropyl alcohol or ethanol for cleaning.  Oh, and LOTS of paper towels and an easily accessible, enclosed garbage bin.

 

It's also handy to have an extra USB drive so you don't have to go to the printer to retrieve the drive any time you want to load a file.  I keep a drive by the computer, place files on it when I need to print, then retrieve the one in the printer at the same time.

 

If you switch to water washable resin (not a bad idea), an ultrasonic cleaner is a worthwhile investment.  Don't use it with alcohol, though, as it's an explosion hazard.  Your printer needs to go in a dark area away from sunlight (or else the resin will cure in the machine), but if this isn't possible, some sort of cover will be necessary; you can use the box it comes in.

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hello Rob,

 

I would also recommend Fusion 360.  I have an Anycubic Photon and have only started to learn CAD recently and, already, I am able to draw things that are recognisable.  Check out my 'learning by doing' post.  There are examples in Fusion 360 within the thread.

All the best,

Mike

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Good choice Rob!
 

I use the standard grey Elegoo resin, it doesn't smell, but you always have to be careful. It is much cheaper and more efficient, more available on the market also in Europe. 


 My life as a cleaner has changed since I got the little wash and cure from anycubic. It's very safe and it avoids sniffing alcohol. The end result of the part is better. Beware of the exposure time to Uv, it can deform small parts, reduce it if necessary, these bi-frequency Uv are very efficient. 
 

il you have any question, Rob. I’m here. I use thé saliver Lichy now, the best i think, free version. Lot of problems with Chitubox and Anycubic in the last version, not very professionnal. 
 

https://mango3d.io/downloads/

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I do have a few small cracks on the transparent cover of the printer at the base, after more than 200 hours of printing, but nothing serious, it doesn't prevent me from printing and doesn't affect the quality. If I had to buy a printer I would buy the mono X without hesitation, nothing to do with the photon S which I also own and which has taken its well-deserved retirement in a corner of my workshop . 

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Has a tone got experience with the Elegoo Saturn? I'm looking to upgrade from a Photon. I've considered the Mono X but the Saturn is cheaper and has greater Z axis accuracy. I don't need the extra 50mm z travel of the mono x either. 

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@ICMF, thanks again, this is great practical knowledge, thank you so much for spending the time to answer so comprehensively. These kind of tips, like the pallete knife thing, are so useful! I have a laptop, but I actually hardly ever use it, I’m just so used to using the iPad, so I might actually rip all the rubbish cluttering it up off, and use it as a dedicated 3D machine. I have a lot of 99.9% IPA too, I’m a vinyl record collector and it’s a pretty standard ingredient in most record cleaning solutions, so I’m pretty used to handling it, and thank goodness it’s cheap again after the panic buying at the beginning of the pandemic.

 

@bootneck, thanks Mike, I have a lot of spare time on my hands at the moment, been off work with long Covid and I don’t think I’ll be going back for a while... so I might be able to devote a lot of time to “learning by doing” , which is actually the way of learning that works for me, closely followed by “monkey see, monkey do”! So I’ll be checking in on  your progress too! 

 

@Iceman 29, it’s been your Nomadic project that has been a big influence on me deciding to go for it, so if it all goes tits up, I’ll expect you to bail me out, mon ami 😉!

With regard to the wash and cure, I'll see how I get on with a manual approach for a while, and maybe ask for the Wash and Cure as a birthday present in a few months! 

Edited by Rob998
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