My Adventures in 3D Printing

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masterjedi322

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I think I'm finally ready to take the plunge and pick up my first 3D printer!

Based on the research I've done thus far, I'm pretty settled on getting an SLA / resin printer due to ease of post-print processing (i.e. much less sanding).

My first intended project with this printer will likely be a Mandalorian armor set followed by a ShoreTrooper, so looking at maximizing the print volume. Going forward, I would like to venture into hand props and perhaps some one-off things for around the house.

I'm hoping to keep things ~$1000 but have a little flex in the budget.

I've looked at:
  • FormLabs Form 2 and 3 - super nice, but super pricey. Also, relatively small print volume unless you want to spend $10k...
  • Elegoo - nice printers, but small print volumes
  • Sonic Mighty - looks decent, but also small print volumes
  • Phenom L - large print volume but higher in price than other entry-level printers ($2800, although I could probably pull the funds together)
  • Anycubic Photon Mono X - decent print volume (not as large as the Phenom), but at 1/3 of the price. You can pick up the printer along with a cleaning/curing station for $900 right now
So I'm thinking, as a complete noob, Anycubic is the way to go, recognizing I'll likely need to splice and weld larger pieces together. But I think it'll be a good way to cut my teeth.

In the future, if the print volume becomes a problem, I can always upgrade to the Phenom (or whatever is the latest thing if that time comes...).

But I know folks here have WAY more experience with this than I do, so looking for recommendations, things to watch out for, tips, pointers, etc.

Thanks!

Sean
 
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xeno

Sr Member
Look at the resolution of the screen compared to the size.
Some have large screens but compared lower resolution, and you might still have to sand because of stepping.

unfortunately most of the bigger screens have less reolution per mm2 then the smaller screens that usually have a 4K screen.
but you would have to cut up the parts and assemble to get a helmet.

something you might also want to look at are the Mono screens, these can print faster, and for really big print this can save a lot of printing time.
 

masterjedi322

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Thanks!

The Anycubic has a 8.9" 4K monochrome LCD, so I think it covers all the points you mentioned. It prints up to 60 mm/hr, which seems pretty good based on the models I compared it to.

Sean
 

Starbase101

Sr Member
For the record, fusing resin prints is easier than FDM prints - just "paint" uncured resin on the seam like an adhesive and then cure with UV light. It's just as strong as if it were printed as one piece.
 

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masterjedi322

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
For the record, fusing resin prints is easier than FDM prints - just "paint" uncured resin on the seam like an adhesive and then cure with UV light. It's just as strong as if it were printed as one piece.

I watched a few videos on this and was blown away! One guy literally painted some uncured resin along the joint between two pieces and ran a UV light over it - welded!

Elegoo Saturn is pretty big and they're starting shipping again.

TazMan2000

Thanks! I did look at the Saturn, but it’s print volume is smaller than the Anycubic Mono X, although the Saturn is less expensive.

Sean
 

Zinger

Active Member
My Makerspace has a Form 3 and several Phrozen printers. For armor, the Form 3 has excellent surface finish and its larger build volume will be really nice. Fewer pieces to join and sand.

The disadvantage of the Form 3 is it's slow and expensive. The Phrozens print a layer at a time using an LCD panel, so they are much faster than SLA. Also, the resin is cheaper. Plus, the Mini 4Ks are cheap, $400 and post-processing is faster and easier. The Minis have a small build volume though.

We also have a Phrozen XL 4K. I haven't used it yet, but it's supposed to be good. Much more expensive than the Minis though. $2,400.
 

masterjedi322

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
My Makerspace has a Form 3 and several Phrozen printers. For armor, the Form 3 has excellent surface finish and its larger build volume will be really nice. Fewer pieces to join and sand.

The disadvantage of the Form 3 is it's slow and expensive. The Phrozens print a layer at a time using an LCD panel, so they are much faster than SLA. Also, the resin is cheaper. Plus, the Mini 4Ks are cheap, $400 and post-processing is faster and easier. The Minis have a small build volume though.

We also have a Phrozen XL 4K. I haven't used it yet, but it's supposed to be good. Much more expensive than the Minis though. $2,400.
I would love to get a Form3, but they’re very expensive compared to the Anycubic with a much smaller print volume. The largest Form printer is almost $11k, so a bit out of my price range...

Maybe I’m just missing them, but there seems to be a huge gap between ~$1000 and $3000 printers will medium/large print volumes...? The Anycubic Mono X and the Phrozen XL 4K have comparable print volumes, both at around $600.

Seems the next size up gets you into the Phenom L territory, which is $2800. Wish there something in the $1500 range will a larger volume than the Mono X...

Sean
 

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TazMan2000

Master Member
I watched a few videos on this and was blown away! One guy literally painted some uncured resin along the joint between two pieces and ran a UV light over it - welded!



Thanks! I did look at the Saturn, but it’s print volume is smaller than the Anycubic Mono X, although the Saturn is less expensive.

Sean

True. The X and Y are the same but they Z height is +45mm on the Mono X. Initially I was all for the Saturn, since I was already a Mars owner, but your thread had me investigating further and besides cost, the Mono X had a bit more going for it...One being that is is available now, without having to constantly monitor Amazon. So I bought a Mono X and took the plunge into Anycubic.

TazMan2000
 

Pyrotechnic

New Member
I have a Saturn and I love it, the print quality is amazing. It's try there's less sanding required after a print, but there is quite a lot of post print faffing to do; draining, IPA washing, post curing etc. Resin is fairly toxic too, so anything you're going to be touching will need paint and/or lacquering before use.
 

masterjedi322

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
True. The X and Y are the same but they Z height is +45mm on the Mono X. Initially I was all for the Saturn, since I was already a Mars owner, but your thread had me investigating further and besides cost, the Mono X had a bit more going for it...One being that is is available now, without having to constantly monitor Amazon. So I bought a Mono X and took the plunge into Anycubic.

TazMan2000
I ended up doing the same!

After doing a lot of research, AnyCubic seemed to be the best fit for my needs at a great price point. Plus, they have a sale going on, so I was able to get the Mono X for $100 off.

I ended up springing for the Wash & Cure 2.0 station as well, and then, today, they announce the Wash & Cure Plus, which appears to be sized to work with pieces coming off the Mono X. I emailed them to see if they could swap out the 2.0 for the Plus for my order. I'll let you know what they say.

Sean
 

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TazMan2000

Master Member
I though SLA stuff was a lot more fragile then FDM - I did not know you could print armor with it.

Generally most resin is pretty brittle and wouldn't be a good choice for armor, unless it is expressly for display. However there is some resin out there that is quite ductile, but the stuff is expensive.

TazMan2000
 

Starbase101

Sr Member
Although probably too brittle for wearable armor, the cured resin would not be too brittle for use as a master to mold and cast parts in a more-robust material.
 

xeno

Sr Member
Generally most resin is pretty brittle and wouldn't be a good choice for armor, unless it is expressly for display. However there is some resin out there that is quite ductile, but the stuff is expensive.

TazMan2000

I'm using Elegoo ABS like resins, they are a lot tougher, also you can mix some flexible resins with brittle resins to create a more tougher or bendy material.
you have to watct that the curing times are the same, and not mix regular with water washable :)
 

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