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What Resolution Really Needed?


nheather
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First we had the big breakthrough of 2k mono screens, then there were 4k and now we are looking at 8k.

 

I understand that build plate size is a factor - if you want a bigger plate then you need more pixels to achieve the same resolution.

 

What I’m interested in is the trade off between resolution, print speed and cost.

 

So in the Mini size sector we are looking at resolutions of

 

For 2k - 50u

For 4k - 35u

For 8k - 22u

 

The lower the number the better it sounds but - more layers so longer print time and I’m guessing the cost of replacement screens will be higher (8k > 4k > 2k).

 

What I would like to know is what difference can you see with the eye - not the magnifying glass, not a microscope.

 

I recently read a review of the Mars 3 (4k) and that concluded that it was hard to see a difference between 50u and 35u so given the 35u prints took significantly longer the recommendation was to print at 50u.

 

My primary interest would be printing wargaming figures (AFVs mostly) in scales ranging between 10mm and 28mm.

 

Just wondering whether to go for the new 4k and 8k models or whether a cheap 2k would be more than good enough.

 

Cheers,

 

Nigel

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You're confusing pixel size - X/Y resolution - with layer height - Z resolution.  The two variables are entirely divorced from each other.  Higher X/Y resolution doesn't need any more or less time, it just prints bigger pixels.  Thinner layer heights (higher Z resolution) DOES effectively take longer, because you need to print more layers*.  X/Y resolution is fixed on a printer - whatever screen you have, that's your resolution, and you can not change it.  Layer height IS user configurable depending on the print, but this is the same on every mSLA printer - they'll all print pretty much the same range of usable layer heights no matter what the X/Y resolution is.  There's a small caveat that a smaller pixel size might have a thinner ideal theoretical layer height, but in practice, it's not going to make much difference to the way users actually print with them.

 

 

 

FWIW, actual exposure times will be lower, because you're not exposing as much resin at a time, but it'll be net slower because you've got to raise/lower the print bed more times, which takes most of the actual print time anyway.

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6 hours ago, ICMF said:

You're confusing pixel size - X/Y resolution - with layer height - Z resolution.  The two variables are entirely divorced from each other.  Higher X/Y resolution doesn't need any more or less time, it just prints bigger pixels.  Thinner layer heights (higher Z resolution) DOES effectively take longer, because you need to print more layers*.  X/Y resolution is fixed on a printer - whatever screen you have, that's your resolution, and you can not change it.  Layer height IS user configurable depending on the print, but this is the same on every mSLA printer - they'll all print pretty much the same range of usable layer heights no matter what the X/Y resolution is.  There's a small caveat that a smaller pixel size might have a thinner ideal theoretical layer height, but in practice, it's not going to make much difference to the way users actually print with them.

 

 

 

FWIW, actual exposure times will be lower, because you're not exposing as much resin at a time, but it'll be net slower because you've got to raise/lower the print bed more times, which takes most of the actual print time anyway.


I’m not really confusing them, I understand the difference, but I appreciate where you are coming from.

 

But my question remains, at mini size, XY resolution is typically ranges from 80u, 50u, 35u and 22u depending on the pixel resolution of the LCD (for the same size build plate).

 

I understand that the whole layer is printed at once do takes the same time regardless of the number of pixels printed.

 

I agree that the level height is independent but I was saying is that if you do want to reduce it to match the XY size (so you are printing cubes not oblongs) then the print will take longer.

 

The point of my question is 1k, 2k, 4k, 8k (80u, 50u, 35u, 22u), realistically, at what point does the human eye stop being able to tell the difference.

 

If you printed at the same layer height can the human eye discern the difference between the prints from 2k and 4k budget printers.

 

To me it makes sense to bring out higher resolution screens to accommodate bigger build plates, but not so convinced with this trend to squeeze more and more pixels into similar sized mini plates, but interested to hear what others think.

 

Cheers,

 

Nigel

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These are probably both quite niche, but for me, the two main areas I've been interested in these very high resolution printers are for text and transparencies. I feel like these are both things where further increases in resolution will have an impact that's visible to the human eye, but I understand that they're not what most users of these printers are likely to be needing them for, so I can't comment on whether the increased resolution is really necessary...

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Think I’m going to hold off.  I missed the Mars 3 pre-order.  I tried for the AnyCubic ultra but fell victim to the kickstarter crash.  Then their is the Phrozen 8k, interesting, looks like a good price but then you need to add postage, VAT and admin fees.

 

I’d like to see what the DLP technology is like - see some real world reviews.

 

I’m not convinced that xy resolution matters, sure in some cases, but generally not.  We shall see because the AnyCubic Ultra is 80u which on paper makes it a low resolution printer but the technology is meant to offset that.  The real issue with the ultra is the tiny build plate.

 

With the technology advancing fast with a new ‘leap’ every year I’m not convinced that paying premium for the latest is the best way to go.

 

Cheers,

 

Nigel

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I to agree that, unless you want to do nameplates on OO scale locomotives or other minute detail, then a standard printer still gives good detail.  I have had an Anycubic Photon for about 10 months and am happy with the output I get; plus I don't even print at the highest resolution.

 

Printed with Anycubic Photon S and using Anycubic's ECO plant based UV resin, no need for IPA to clean.

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cheers,

Mike

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9 hours ago, nheather said:

If you printed at the same layer height can the human eye discern the difference between the prints from 2k and 4k budget printers.

 

In figures and busts, yes I think so. You get contour lines showing up on what should be smooth skin on every amateur printed model I've ever seen. Some better. some worse, but always something.

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On 11/10/2021 at 17:51, Bertie Psmith said:

In figures and busts, yes I think so. You get contour lines showing up on what should be smooth skin on every amateur printed model I've ever seen. Some better. some worse, but always something.

 

The contour lines come mainly from the layer hight on the Z axis, and as such aren't really connected to the screen resolution. All the Mars printers, and I imagine most other resin printers can go down to a 0.01mm layer hight which would smooth out the contouring by creating more, but lower steps. The downside is that you'd get really long print times.

 

In practice, the contouring only really shows up in close-up photos. To the naked eye the prints look fine. The bust in the photo below was printed on my Mars Pro, which only has a 2k screen, and was printed with 0.05 layer hight, and the contouring is only just discernible in the zoomed-in section.

 

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I've not tried the Mars 3 or any other 4k printer, but I doubt the extra X,Y resolution would dramatically increase the detail on the print. The Anycubic DLP should presumably give slightly crisper details, but we'll have to wait and see.

 

Andy:cat:

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12 hours ago, Andy Moore said:

 

The contour lines come mainly from the layer hight on the Z axis, and as such aren't really connected to the screen resolution. All the Mars printers, and I imagine most other resin printers can go down to a 0.01mm layer hight which would smooth out the contouring by creating more, but lower steps. The downside is that you'd get really long print times.

 

In practice, the contouring only really shows up in close-up photos. To the naked eye the prints look fine. The bust in the photo below was printed on my Mars Pro, which only has a 2k screen, and was printed with 0.05 layer hight, and the contouring is only just discernible in the zoomed-in section.

 

51581424476_caf84067e3_h.jpg

 

I've not tried the Mars 3 or any other 4k printer, but I doubt the extra X,Y resolution would dramatically increase the detail on the print. The Anycubic DLP should presumably give slightly crisper details, but we'll have to wait and see.

 

Andy:cat:

Many thanks for this, it goes some way to confirm my thoughts.

 

New 4k, 8k and DLP printers are very enticing but they are more expensive to buy unless you are lucky enough to catch an early bird.  And I wonder about maintenance - I’ve read that inevitably LCD screens have to be replaced from time to time, and would a 4k or 8k screen be more expensive than a 2k screen.

 

What got me thinking about this is the AnyCubic Ultra DLP which on paper has a poor resolution, just 80u but the prints that are being showcased look stunning - but bear in mind that the only videos and reviews to date are coming from AnyCubic and their supporters.

 

Where I do think higher resolutions are put to best use is for bigger build plates - in fact we saw the reverse in the AnyCubic ultra, which with a 720P array has to reduce the build plate to little more than a credit card just to achieve a 80u XY resolution.  I don’t need a big build plate for my needs but even so the Ultra is probably too small.

 

With the Phrozen you need to add delivery, taxes and admin charges so they are more expensive than they first appear.

 

So I am still looking at the Mars 3 (still kicking myself that I missed the pre-order) but the reason I started this is that I wonder whether I would be better off with a Mars 2 plus a wash and cure for the same price.

 

Cheers,

 

Nigel

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2 hours ago, nheather said:

So I am still looking at the Mars 3 (still kicking myself that I missed the pre-order) but the reason I started this is that I wonder whether I would be better off with a Mars 2 plus a wash and cure for the same price.

My understanding is that the wash and cure setup is only useful for the standard, toxic, resins and is no use for the plant based ECO resins.  I used the plant based resins on my vehicles and radar in the photos I showed, then just give them a swirl in warm soapy water.   A rinse in warm clean water then blast with swmbo's hair dryer and they are ready for curing in sunlight.  Don't think I can achieve anything cheaper than that, plus that method doesn't take up any room.

cheers,
Mike

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2 hours ago, bootneck said:

My understanding is that the wash and cure setup is only useful for the standard, toxic, resins and is no use for the plant based ECO resins.  I used the plant based resins on my vehicles and radar in the photos I showed, then just give them a swirl in warm soapy water.   A rinse in warm clean water then blast with swmbo's hair dryer and they are ready for curing in sunlight.  Don't think I can achieve anything cheaper than that, plus that method doesn't take up any room.

cheers,
Mike


That does sound good.  Must admit that I was aware of plant-based resins but had dismissed them as I assumed that they would be a compromise - cleaner but not as good.

 

Have you tried both standard and plant-based resins - if so do you find them the same - same precision/accuracy, same strength etc.

 

Many thanks,

 

Nigel

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Hi Nigel,

 

I didn't find any noticeable difference, although I did change to plant based very early in my learning on 3D printing because I developed a very serious chesty cough, almost like bronchitis, even though I wore gloves and mask whilst cleaning.  The fumes must have been in the air during the printing, or the IPA was too strong for me when cleaning afterwards.  The cough disappeared as soon as I changed to plant based and soapy water.

 

Herewith some views of printing with the standard, toxic, resin.  Settings all to a layer height of 0.05mm.

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and with plant based resin.

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Mike

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On 13/10/2021 at 13:37, bootneck said:

The fumes must have been in the air during the printing, or the IPA was too strong for me when cleaning afterwards.  The cough disappeared as soon as I changed to plant based and soapy water.

That's interesting Mike and good to know. I've used a standard resin/IPA process for the last couple of years and occasionally find the fumes an issue, mainly in winter when keeping the studio heated to printing temps.

 

May I ask if you have you tried the plant based stuff below the 0.05 level?

 

Best,

Tony

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Hi Tony,

 

not yet, I'm still at the experimental stage of learning CAD; so the printing is more for test prints at the moment.

 

cheers,
Mike

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  • 2 weeks later...

Interesting topic indeed!

 

While we are used to measure the printer performance on objective data, in the paper the smaller the resolution the better always, this uses to turn into a subjective matter when this also uses to depend on its impact on the actual print and the end-user preferences often.

 

If you ask me, I would say that current mono LCDs 0.050mm resolution is a rather effective one covering almost everything you may want to print, from tiny and fine parts to bigger and much detailed figurines and busts. And combining the 0.050mm resolution with the matching 0.050mm layer height delivers a much convenient comprise between surface detail and printing speed too so we are good to go. Do not led the specs to mislead you.

 

But, there is a but always because that´s not all. The print geometry and shapes also play here. Organic shapes use to be more forgiving than geometrical / mechanical ones often. And the scale is also relevant. In the case of the layer steps, the bigger the print the less relevant they use to be in example.

 

I use to print small 72nd or 48th scale parts. For me the resolution and the layer step uses to be relevant always and I can notice its impact in my prints. So I´m pretty sure that a smaller resolution printer (matched with a lower layer height) should deliver better prints for my needs. Now, for rapid prototyping, I use to print at 0.050 layer height but for some parts I decrease it for having a smoother surface in example. Do not get me wrong, 0.050mm resolution is far enough for having all the tiny and fragile details I would need (no regrets in this area) but a smaller resolution printer would also give me a smoother and more detailed cross section too.

 

These jerrycans are 72nd scale... not bad for a 2K printer.

 

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Funny enough, a few days ago I test printed a rather big –for my standards- 1/24th scale wheel prototype at 0.050mm layer height and I would say that was the best wheel I have ever printed, no matter that layer height and printer resolution, just because the bigger size minimized their impact in the actual print. It looked perfect!

 

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So far I have been resin 3D printing for a couple of years using the cheapest 3D printers out there and I have zero regrets, quite the opposite. And while I would love to give it a try to one of those 4K or 8K printers I´m not in the urgent need of switching for a more precise one, no matter I positively know I´ll do in due time. But fact is that every time I see what is in my 2K mono build plate after a print run my jaw drops the floor like day one actually.

 

I think that this tech is already mature enough for delivering a more than reasonable surface finish and detail good enough for anyone... and it´s faster than scratchbuilding! Yes, there is some room for improvement in resolution but if that´s relevant and a must have for you it is a question linked to what you will be printing in the first place. Not necessarily a higher resolution printer will deliver better prints for your needs.

 

Regards!

Alvaro

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

A question:

 

When printing wheels 72nd & 48th @ 4K .030 layer thickness, what is the best way to orientate the .stl files in the Software (Chitubox) to get the best printed results please?

 

Vertical, Horizontal or angled any advice would be appreciated?

 

Pete

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I've posted this elsewhere, but it is pertinent to the original  question. I started off getting prints done at a commercial print bureau,  and eventually decided that I was spending enough to invest in my own 3D printer. I went for a Phrozen Sonic Mini 4k. 

 

The pictures going clockwise from top left are:

Phrozen 4k at 35um, print bureau at 50um, cheapskate's stamp, another 35um print cleaned too vigorously  resulting in some detail being brushed off.

 

The prints are simply text raised vertically and have no slanting components which would suffer from Z-axis resolution. The same STL has been used for the prints.

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