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I‘ve been using the Trigorilla Anycubic Photon for a few months and have really gotten a chance to try a few different resins as well. This is my first foray into resin printing and there is a definite learning curve when moving over from FDM printing. If you are wondering whether or not you should purchase the Photon as your first LCD resin printer, read on!
Well, honestly this depends on what your 3D print. The limit on most affordable resin printers is the print size. If what you are typically printing are larger and simpler prints, I would say stick with FDM. If you spend a lot of your time printing miniatures or game pieces, then a resin printer is a no-brainer. The print quality that resin offers over FDM is really amazing. The price point that the Anycubic Trigorilla Photon comes in at is truly astonishing. Just a few years ago, a printer with these specifications would be over $1000 USD.
The Photon Wins with High Quality and High Value!
Like I had mentioned above, the Photon is coming at a more affordable price point than some of the other competition in LCD resin printers. Competition is pretty fierce for the affordable LCD resin printers, with many companies offering similarly price machines. The Trigorilla Anycubic Photon comes equipped with a 2560 x 144 (2K) LCD screen. It comes with a build volume of 115mm x 65mm x 155mm. This compares pretty favorably with some of the other options available. It also doesn’t need to be tethered to a computer or processing unit. Once you slice a file, load it onto the USB stick and start printing!
The Photon came well packaged with good quality foam supporting the frame and all of the ‘non-assembled‘ bits inside. I say non-assembled, but the printer was pretty much 100% assembled besides attaching the build surface and fastening the resin vat in place. I will also mention that my Photon came with a bottle of transparent green Anycubic Resin and some extra FEP films for my resin vat. There was also some instructions, some small funnels, a small number of tools and a USB thumb drive. On the thumb drive were a pre-sliced file, some instructions, and the Photon Slicer app. The instructions were easy to use and read, and it was relatively simple to get going.
After completing the assembly, I read the leveling instructions and leveled with the sort of paper tension that I use on my FDM printers. Leveling the bed on an FDM printer isn’t really the same as settings your Z=0 on the Photon. It took me a few failed prints to get it dialed in correctly. You need to make sure that the build surface is as level with the LCD screen as possible, and with a very tight squeeze on a regular sheet of paper. This needs to be to the point where you can pull the paper out with lots of resistance and are UNABLE to slide the paper back in. After getting this dialed in, I haven’t had any leveling related failures. Remember, ‘Z=0’ isn’t the same as your ‘Home’.
First Completed Print
After getting the Z=0 position figured out the test print of the ‘Anycubic Photon Cube’ came out great. Perfect print quality and no discernible layer lines. I was blown away. If I had tried this model on any number of my printers, there would be been issues. The model is a perfect example of what you can do with LCD resin technology. It also brings me to my next point…
The Smell of Resin in the Morning
The Anycubic Transparent Green is some stinky stuff. If you plan on using this printer as is in a living space, rethink your plans. I cracked a window and let the print finish. After this, I moved the printer to the garage for the rest of the prints with the green resin. Not to derail this review, but all resins are not created equal. I used some Elegoo White resin and it didn’t smell bad at all. Elegoo White was closer to some stinky PLA, not the assault on your senses like the Transparent Green. Be sure to check out any available MSDS sheets and use this at your discretion.
Using the Photon Slicer
The Anycubic Photon Slicer software is really easy to use after installing. Make sure you have a video card that supports GLX 4.0 or better. If you find that the software loads up fine but lacks the build plate and doesn’t show models, it’s not working with your video card. Adding supports is pretty easy as well, but this slicer lacks the option to hollow out models and add drain holes. This pretty much an imperative feature when using a resin printer. Other than the lack of hollowing and drain holes, I had no issues with the slicer. I sliced up this Alien Xenomorph, Rook, and Knight and they came out great with the default settings with the green Anycubic resin. Adjusting the settings is pretty easy when using different resins.
What the Photon Does Well
The Photon delivers an incredible amount of features at a low price point. With the 2K screen and decent build volume, it’s much bigger than anything else at this price point. The machine was well packaged and besides just some poorly translated info in the manual, it’s a good manual. Print quality is great compared to FDM. The touchscreen interface is really easy to use once you understand that Z=0 isn’t the same as ‘Home’.
Honestly, for what it is… not a whole lot. The Z axis isn’t the most stable design. This has been rectified in the newest model of Photon, the Photon-S. This helps with ‘Z Wobble’ on taller parts. The Photon also currently lacks any anti-aliasing. This is a feature that smooths out pixels to clean up ‘jagged’ edges, which can happen with certain surface angles in relation to the print surface. If you find that you are getting strange artifacts on your prints, rotate the model and try printing again. There is no official word from Anycubic on whether they will add this feature in the future. You can see the lines on this Knight that I printed.
Should you buy a Trigorilla Anycubic Photon? If you are eager to try resin printing for the reasons that I listed above, I would highly recommend this printer. It has been relatively trouble-free, besides me accidentally ripping the FEP film. The quality of the printer that you get for your money is hard to beat compared to some of the other competition. With the release of the Photon-S, the price could drop even further as they attempt to clear the older model out. I love mine and I am pleased with my purchase. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this to someone else looking to get into the resin printing game.
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