If we talk about 3D printers of SLA technology, then Anycubic Photon is one of the most attractive options on the market. Anycubic generally has a reputation as a company that manufactures reliable and affordable machines, such as the Anycubic i3 Mega FDM printer. In terms of price, Anycubic Photon was no exception - it is one of the cheapest SLA printers.
A major advantage of SLA 3D printing is that it allows you to create very detailed objects. One of the most important parameters of any SLA 3D printer is the screen resolution. At Anycubic Photon it is 2K, which is pretty good for such a small price.
The working volume of Anycubic Photon is 115 × 65 × 155 mm, which is quite small compared to other devices.
It should also be borne in mind that 3D printing with liquid photopolymer may not be perfect for beginners. Post-processing involves washing objects with ethanol, hardening and cleaning the work surface - quite troublesome. In addition, the polymer smells not very nice. Even though a carbon filter is installed in the Anycubic Photon fan, there will still be an odor.
The 3D printer manufacturer strongly recommends wearing protective gloves and a mask when adding polymer to the printer. Anycubic Photon should be stored and used in a relatively large room with open windows.
In addition to the small working volume, the specification of the Anycubic Photon 3D printer is very similar to the specifications of most other SLA printers.
• Technology: SLA (Digital Light Processing)
• Working volume: 115 × 65 × 155 mm
• Layer resolution: 25–100 microns
• Interfaces: USB, SD Card
• Touchscreen: 2.8 inches, color
• Power: 110/220 VAC
• Operating voltage: 12 VDC
• Printer dimensions: 220 × 220 × 400 mm
Anycubic Photon 3D Printer comes pre-assembled. When you open the box, you will see:
• Anycubic Photon 3D Printer
• Power supply and cable
• Manual (at least in English, German, French and Japanese)
• Tray for polymer
• Various tools
• Protective gloves and mask
• Bottle of polymer
• Filters for polymer. They have a mesh structure to filter out parts accidentally caught in the bath
• 8 GB flash drive. There are several already cut models on it. Printing a trellised cube with a resolution of 50 microns will take about 4 hours.
Anycubic Photon is a fully assembled device. However, there is still something that needs to be done before you start typing.
Assembling and setting up an Anycubic Photon 3D printer is extremely simple. It will take 20-30 minutes or less.
The first step resembles the process of assembling furniture: you need to attach a small handle to the door of the 3D printer. The next step is to open the top cover and make sure that there is no dust on the 2K LCD screen, as well as on the platform.
When everything inside the printer is spotlessly clean, you can plug in the power cord and turn on Anycubic Photon. Now comes a very important point - the alignment of the 3D printer axis Z.
The alignment process of Anycubic Photon is similar to manually calibrating FDM 3D printers. To avoid problems, it is necessary to lower the platform slowly, with a small step. When the sheet of paper is pressed firmly, it is necessary to tighten the platform screw so that it is as aligned as possible. The Anycubic Photon platform should not have the slightest tilt, because otherwise the prints will turn out to be of poor quality or will not work at all.
Before we get to the polymer, we still have to test the ultraviolet LEDs. To do this, raise the platform by about 120 mm and press TOOLS> DETECTION> NEXT. This will run a short UV light test, which will appear as a bright rectangle on the 2K LCD screen.
Now put the polymer bath in place inside Anycubic Photon and tighten its nuts.
So, the Anycubic Photon 3D printer is assembled, and the user can pour the polymer into the bath, filling it up by about one third.
After assembling and leveling the platform, it is time to print. One of the tests is a complex grid cube, on which you can perfectly demonstrate all the advantages of SLA 3D printing technology. Inside the model, between the opposite edges there are two dies, on one of which is written ANYCUBIC, and on the other - PHOTON. Since this model is already cut and loaded onto a USB flash drive, no preparatory settings for printing are needed.
Its prints are very impressive, the surfaces are almost flawless, the details are the smallest. When printing is completed, you must place the object from the platform in a bath of alcohol, then in a bath of water to remove excess polymer.
The next step is UV hardening. Since you may not have a special camera for this, you can use the forces of the sun. The best way to naturally cure an SLA print is to put it in water and leave it in the sun. After a few hours, you get a clean and durable 3D printout.
The second model was # 3DBenchy, the standard test model for FDM printing. Anycubic Photon handled 3DBenchy flawlessly, fulfilling all requirements flawlessly. In particular, no layers are visible on the boat.
Unlike medium-sized FDM 3D printers, Anycubic Photon needs to be thoroughly cleaned both before and after printing. When printing is complete, you must remove the polymer bath and collect floating hardened pieces from it. This can be done by using the supplied filters, fitting them to the bottle into which the polymer is poured.
You also need to clean the LCD projector. It is imperative that there is no dust, polymer fragments, or other contaminants between the projector and the bath. It is best to clean them with isopropyl alcohol. The Anycubic Photon printing platform can also be subjected to the same procedure, which, from constant immersion in the polymer, is finally coated with it.
Use protective equipment, especially gloves, goggles, and a surgical mask, throughout the printer. The latter protects against a choking smell.
Along with Anycubic Photon comes its own slicer. You just open the program - and you will understand how simple it is.
Only a few settings can be changed, including layer thickness, normal exposure, off time, lower exposure, and lower layers. However, if you are not sure which parameter is responsible for what, it is best to just leave everything as it is. The same goes for the resolution settings, which are also predefined.
But where you definitely have to work hard is where the props are. You can trust them to auto-generate or insert them manually.
The slicing process itself is pretty fast, when compared with the work of common similar programs, and the output is a file with the .Photon extension.
At a low price, it is difficult to find reasons not to appreciate the quality of Anycubic Photon. This 3D printer is not only incredibly cheap, it also has surprisingly high resolution. The printer will be an excellent solution for both beginners who want to learn the technology of printing with polymers, and for professionals.
• Extremely low cost compared to other 3D SLA / SLA printers
• Easy to operate and install
• Provides high-quality prints with an impressive resolution of 25-100 microns
• Compact, space used wisely
• Clear instructions for assembly, cleaning, etc.
• Native slicer with good support for generating backups
• Small working volume
• Polymer 3D printing may seem a bit complicated
• Post-processing requires patience and space
• Cleaning the printer well is a long business.
• Protective equipment needed (included)
• Care must be taken when handling hazardous materials.
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