True, probably if you asked a neophyte the difference between an FDM printer and an SLA printer, he wouldn't know how to answer me. And that's perfectly normal, because when it comes to 3D printing, everything can be said, except that these particular devices have become a consumer electronics product. And this is so for various reasons, one above all the real "usefulness" of these products in everyday life (there is no doubt that not everyone would find benefits in purchasing a 3D printer), flanked by a printing process that is not always intuitive, the rather high cost and printing speed not always lightning-fast (especially if you want to contain the expense).
Lately though, things are changing deeply also in this sector. And if on the one hand it is possible to find excellent economic 3D printers of the FDM type, on the other the limitations of resin 3D printers economic, that is, very slow printing times and small dimensions, have been solved by brands that have managed to produce very interesting models, which are also sold at rather low prices.
And the Anycubic Photon Mono X is proof of that. Because it is equipped with a 4K monitor which, on paper, should make the printing process even more precise, it is decidedly more generous than average in size, and is accompanied by another product called Wash & Cure More, with which (after printing) you can wash the object just made, and make it even more resistant. But let's go in order.
Anycubic Photon Mono X review
FDM printing vs. SLA: what are the differences (and which one to choose)
Before getting into the heart of the review of the Anycubic Photon Mono X, let's take a second point on the differences between FDM and MSLA printing. In reality, there are many 3D printing technologies, but there is no doubt that the most widespread is the one made in FDM (acronym for fused deposition modeling), that is the one using polymeric plastic filaments such as ABS and PLA, which are melted and extruded by a high temperature nozzle, to then be positioned on a motorized printing plate, which will follow a precise movement in order to make your 3D project "real".
Le SLA and DLP 3D printers instead they are less common, even if lately they have become much more attractive on the consumer market for a significant fall in prices. And in order not to get too technical, the substantial difference with FDM 3D printers lies in the fact that the heart of this printing technology is the liquid resin. To print in SLA (i.e. stereolithographic printing) this particular liquid resin is immersed in a tank which is then polymerized with different technologies, which vary according to the type of printer used.
In the case of Anycubic Photon Mono X, a monochrome LCD with a resolution of 4K and one is used to produce the objects 8.9 "diagonal on which the different layers of the object will be reproduced, to then be “solidified” layer by layer.
It is clear, therefore, that these are very different 3D printing processes, each of which has pros and cons. Filament 3D printers generally are less expensive than the SDA ones, they are easier to use and in principle are much cheaper also in terms of printing management.
Those SLAs though are far more resolute, have details that are able to have a definition down to 0.025 microns, can produce prototypes with a smooth external finish and are able to print much more complex shapes. However, they cost more, and not so much for the purchase of the printer itself, but for the cost of the resin useful for printing, and the various accessory management costs: in the case of Anycubic Photon Mono X, the Wash & Cure is practically essential, and it also needs isopropyl alcohol eg cleaning and drying of the prototype.
Design and features
Anyone who knows Anycubic's printers, in the Photon Mono X you won't find any difference in terms of design. The new SLA 3D printer follows the appearance and aesthetic characteristics of the company's other products, but with a larger format. The total print volume is 192 x 120 x 245 mm which, it is clear, does not even come close to that of a medium / low-end FDM printer, but is significantly wider than the economical MSLA printers which, among other things, are also slower: the Anycubic Photon Mono X is capable of printing at a speed of 60 mm / h (against an average of 50 mm / h in the economic models) and thanks to the monochrome LCD display with 4K resolution and 8.9 "diagonal it is able to print with a resolution of 50 microns and a layer thickness ranging from 0.01 mm to 0.15 mm.
And it is precisely considering the printing characteristics that we understand the sense of using an LCD screen in 4K instead of a typical 2K (resolution much more common in this type of 3D printers): the higher resolution of the screen should not be considered as an improvement. in the print resolution, but how an increase in the print area. The new projector also plays an important role: it is located right below the display and covers its entire size, and compared to previous models it is characterized by a more correct approach than High power LED and a reflector.
The result is a light emitted with a wavelength of 405 nm, suitable for virtually all photopolymer resins, which makes the Anycubic Photon Mono X much more dynamic and usable also with third-party products.
The base of the pan is very simple to assemble and requires only the fixing of two screws positioned on the edges, and is characterized by consequently larger than average dimensions: its totally free design allows it to be moved with a extreme comfort, which also makes resin management much easier both in preparation for the print and when the print is finished.
Anteriorly there is a 3.5 "LCD touch screen display with which you can manage (albeit in a rather limited way) the printer and the various integrated functions, while on the right side the power button, the input for the power supply, and a USB port to which is It is possible to connect a pen on which the project to be printed has been saved.
It is also possible to connect a WiFi antenna, with which the Anycubic Photon Mono X it will be possible to connect to the wireless network and be managed by the official app of the company, basically created with two very specific purposes: sending projects to be printed directly from smartphones and tablets, and checking the work status. But I tell you one thing: forget it the connection to the WiFi network, because it is complicated and the game is not worth the candle.
Here are the full technical specifications of the Anycubic Photon Mono X:
- Technology: LCD
- Display: 3,5 "color touchscreen
- External dimensions: 270 x 290 x 475 mm
- Weight: 10,45 kg
- Build volume: 192 x 120 x 245mm
- Print resolution: 3840 x 2400 (4K)
- Positioning accuracy: XY - 0,05mm; Z - 0,01 mm
- Min. Layer height: 10 µ
- Max. Printing speed: 60 mm / h
- UV wavelength: 405 um
- Printable materials: UV sensitive resins
- Software: Anycubic Photon lab
- File formats: STL
- Connectivity: USB, Wi-Fi
- Operating system: Windows, macOS X
3D printing software and quality
Anycubic Photon Mono X, as well as all the other 3D printers of the brand, can be managed by the Slicer produced in-house by the company. Specifically, the Photon models are accompanied by Photon WorkShop, a Slicer available for both Mac and Windows. But clearly it is not the only software with which it is possible to manage the printer: all the models of the brand, for example, have also been included in the beta there Chitubox, and with the models equipped with WiFi such as the Anycubic Photon Mono X it is also possible to use the app for smartphones and tablets, available for both iOS and Android.
And before thinking about the Slicer for Mac and PC, which in fact is the most professional solution and rich in printing options, let's take stock of the mobile app. Is called Anycubic 3D and, let's face it, it's an application that needs a little extra care. Let's be clear, with Anycubic 3D you can print and check the print status, or get an idea of the amount of resin needed for each particular print, but the app is only available in English and is characterized by a very rough interface .
However, it works very well, also thanks to a integrated file manager where you can store all your projects, which will be sent to the 3D printer totally wireless and with good speed.
Returning to Photon WorkShop instead, the only salvation for Mac users is given by the various alternatives available: the Anycubic Slicer in its version for Apple's OS not intact the profile for the Photon Mono X, which is why in the end, after numerous attempts, I opted to use Chitubox.
However, anyone who has used any Slicer will find no noticeable difference in Chitubox. As in any Slicer it is also possible to manage with this app every little detail of printing and you will also have access to an estimate on the quantity of resin needed for each prototype to be printed and the relative production time: once the various printing parameters, the size and so on have been set, just click on the "Slice" button and the application will generate a file to be saved on a USB stick (or to be transferred to the smartphone), ready for printing.
Anycubic Wash & Cure Plus: what it is for and how it works
As the name suggests, the Anycubic Wash & Cure Plus it is an updated version of the machine used to wash one's resin printed prototypes, and make them even more resistant. Basically it is a device that integrates a washing tank and a further one UV emitter with which you can make the object just printed even more solid.
The first phase to be carried out, as soon as the printing is finished, is that of washing. To do this you will have to fill in the plastic container of isopropyl alcohol, insert the printed object into the basket and place it in the liquid very slowly. In this case, it is also possible use water, but the results will be qualitatively worse and will be characterized by a washing time at least three times longer.
To start cleaning, simply select the "Wash" item with the front button, choose a duration time and start the process: the brushless motor will start to rotate the magnets inside it which, in turn, will start the rotation of a metal propeller positioned inside the container. This will create a real vortex, which will clean the printed object from any residual liquid resin: every minute the motor will change direction of rotation to remove the excess material.
After washing, we then move on to the next one solidification. Then comes the time to disconnect the basket with the washing liquid and place the transparent plate, under which a reflective sheet must be placed, which comes out in the package. The process is very simple: just place the prototype on the plate, fold the upper part of the emitter in such a way as to ensure correct diffusion of UV rays, choose the “Cure” mode and start the process. But be careful, it is essential that you position yourself well there protective cover, so as to prevent UV rays from escaping.
Price and conclusions
The official selling price of the Anycubic Photon Mono X is $ 759, which becomes 699.00 through the coupon you find below. You can also buy the printer paired with the Wash & Cure Machine, going from $ 888.00 to $ 818.00 discount. If you want to buy only the Wash & Cure Machine Plus, the updated version of the product, the amount to spend will be dollars 169.00 but attention: this price is a promotion available only for the first 1000 devices sold, after which it will become dollars 249,00. Find in boulder link and price converted into euros.
And considering these prices, always keeping in mind the market average and the characteristics of competing products sold at the same figures, the Anycubic Photon Mono X offers great value. And it does so not only for the excellent printing precision, but above all for a larger printing area and for the more powerful UV lamps with which those of Anycubic have practically managed to halve the printing time compared to other 3D printers. MSLA.
Il Wash & Cure Plus then, it simplifies all post-production, cleaning and solidifying the printed prototypes even more: its dimensions are perfect for handling models much larger than what we printed for the review. In short, if resin is your passion and if you don't want to be limited by time or size, the combo between Photon Mono X and Wash & Cure Plus could make your life easier. My advice, however, is to buy it for no more than 699.00 dollars (which is equivalent to about 590 euros).
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