any cu­bic pho­ton printer

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3D World - - CONTENTS -

Should you con­sider this 3D printer from Any­cu­bic?

T here are a num­ber of dif­fer­ent types of tech­nol­ogy used for 3D print­ing, but in the last cou­ple of years it looks to be LCD ex­po­sure mask­ing that has changed the bal­ance be­tween qual­ity and cost, bring­ing it to lev­els the keen en­thu­si­ast can af­ford. Any­cu­bic are lead­ing this trend, with their Pho­ton ma­chine grow­ing in pop­u­lar­ity as var­i­ous Youtu­bers spread the word, es­pe­cially for those look­ing for fine de­tail in ar­eas such as war-game minia­tures and ter­rain, den­tal print­ing and other work where fine def­i­ni­tion and clar­ity are es­sen­tial.

The Pho­ton comes well pack­aged and needs al­most no work to get up and run­ning. A sim­ple door han­dle needs to be screwed on (it’s sep­a­rate to pre­vent dam­age in tran­sit), then a quick cal­i­bra­tion and bed lev­el­ling process are needed, which takes just a few min­utes.

The build qual­ity is ex­cel­lent, with well-ma­chined, an­odised alu­minium com­po­nents in a neat desk­top case, with ad­justable feet and Uv-re­sis­tant win­dows that stop your resin cur­ing be­tween prints.

Which brings us to the print method. This printer uses liq­uid resin that cures un­der UV light ex­po­sure to pro­duce mod­els. This makes for smoothly fin­ished mod­els, with less vis­i­ble strata from the process, but it does come with some down­sides. Firstly the fumes are less than pleas­ant and I would strongly ad­vise us­ing in a well-ven­ti­lated area. I ac­tu­ally printed an adapter for mine and use a length of 4-inch hose to vent out of a win­dow.

There is also the fin­ish­ing process to be aware of. You’ll need a space to wash off ex­cess resin, clean the model and then cure fully. This can be done in sun­light or you could use a UV lamp, but ei­ther way you’ll need a ‘wet’ area and a sup­ply of gloves, iso­propyl al­co­hol and suit­able con­tain­ers. That said the process isn’t dif­fi­cult, so don’t be too put off.

In fact, it’s fair to say that it’s a small price to pay for the re­sults, which are some of the best you’ll see at even three times the cost. Once you have nar­rowed down your layer ex­po­sure set­tings, which take a lit­tle trial and er­ror, you will be print­ing with ex­cel­lent re­sults. Some of the parts this ma­chine is ca­pa­ble of are so clean and smooth they could be mass-pro­duced in­jec­tion moulded, rather than printed at home. De­tails are ex­cep­tional for a de­vice of this type and although the build vol­ume isn’t huge at 115mm x 65mm x 155mm, it’s plenty for a resin printer and you can get cre­ative with your lay­outs. Just watch the cost of resin, as it fluc­tu­ates al­most weekly.

Lastly the slic­ing soft­ware is good too. It may not be the pret­ti­est in­ter­face and lacks in fi­nesse, but the slic­ing op­er­a­tions are fast and the sup­port op­tions are good too and work well.

It’s clear to see the qual­ity avail­able at this price point is far im­proved over the last few years and the Pho­ton is ahead of the game, with a solidly built ma­chine that delivers, con­sis­tently.


a neat, nicely built ma­chine, the pho­ton is a fan­tas­tic op­tion for those look­ing for a resin printer

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