With the Photon M3, the manufacturer Anycubic offers another resin 3D printer in the budget range. If you take a closer look at the advertised features, you can see that it is a very useful addition to the budget 3D printer range. Higher print speeds, with better precision from the Anycubic LighTurbo light source, herald the next era of SLA 3D printers. Also newly added is a 7.6″ 4K+ LCD monitor that shines with high resolution during operation. The newly installed technology, enables high efficiency, with lower heat dissipation. This greatly increases the lifespan of the monitor. You can find out how the Anycubic Photon M3 concludes in our test in the following review.
Technical specifications of the Anycubic Photon M3
|Printer technology:||LCD-based SLA|
|Dimensions installation space (L x W x H):||180 x 102 x 163 mm|
|Maximum print speed:||50 mm/h|
|XY resolution:||4098 x 2560 pixels (4K+)|
|Material:||405 nm UV Resin|
|Slicing Software:||ANYCUBIC Photon Workshop|
|Compatible input formats:||STL, OBJ, AMF|
|Inputs:||USB Type-A 2.0|
|Control:||2.8″ touch screen|
|Price:||$339 ($10 off with code 10SITEWIDE)|
Scope of supply of the Anycubic Photon M3
The accessories for the Photon M3 are very extensive, so we have divided them into three parts. Starting with the operating instructions and a note describing how to correctly apply the included protective film. The power supply is also taken care of, with a power supply unit and a cold-device plug. For the later attachment of the resin container over the monitor, there are two screws with plastic heads.
Moving on to tools. The M3 comes with four Allen wrenches so that most of the screws needed for operation can be loosened. Spatulas have also been thought of, and Anycubic includes a large metal spatula for the user in addition to the conventional plastic spatula. This helps immensely when removing the printing piece from the printing plate later. Anycubic also includes a USB stick with the file for the first test print. The yellow plastic packaging contains wipes for cleaning the monitor. They find their purpose as soon as you want to stick on the protective foil.
Rounding out the accessories are a few useful utensils for during and after printing. Starting with nitrile gloves. Which you should definitely use as soon as you start handling the resin. You should also wear a respirator to avoid being too exposed to the fumes of the resin. Anycubic includes extra medical masks with the Photon M3 for this purpose, but we don’t think they are sufficient. In addition, the package still includes varnish filters that guarantee clean filling into the bottle after printing.
Design and finish
Anycubic has stayed true to the design of the Photon series with the M3. A black base with a yellow hood. The UV-protective hood is curved at the front and features a white Anycubic logo. It can be conveniently lifted upwards and finds the perfect hold on the base thanks to corresponding grooves. For the right ground clearance, the Photon M3 stands on four feet, through which the air supply for the internal components is guaranteed.
If you lift off the UV protection hood, you can see in more detail what is hidden underneath. On top of the base is the 7.6″ 4K+ LCD monitor, which is covered with a thin protective film when it arrives. Above that, the tower or Z-axis, to which the printing plate is attached and moves up and down during printing by the threaded rod coupled to a motor. The back side has two information stickers, also the power connector can be found here.
If you take a closer look at the front, the 2.8 inch touch screen immediately catches your eye. The small indentation in the front moves the screen back a bit and visually enhances the front. The white lettering above the screen also enhances the front.
The right side, on the other hand, is rather inconspicuous and contains the power button and the USB port for uploading print files.
Another feature of the Anycubic Photon M3 is the laser engraved printing plate. The plate is littered with small boxes, which are grooved and have a rough texture. Textured boxes alternate with grooved boxes. This is intended to improve adhesion during printing. In reality, this makes the printing plate susceptible to scratches as soon as you remove the printing piece with the metal spatula, for example. Nevertheless, the engraving works very well and the print holds very reliably to the printing plate.
Before you start printing for the first time, make sure you have everything ready to go. This will help prevent large smears and allow you to clean the parts that come in contact with the resin in the best possible way.
For your start, we have listed here once the tools we recommend:
- Maxxi Clean Maxxi Clean | Reines Isopropanol (99,9%) Reinigungsalkohol | 1x 1.000 ml Fettlser & Lsungsmittel | rckstandsfrei anwendbar zur Reinigung von elekt. Bauteilen, Schallplatten, Druckkpfen und mehr*
- Silicone funnel with paint strainer*
- Nitrile gloves*
To prepare for the first print, it is necessary to properly adjust the Z-axis and thus establish the correct distance between the monitor and the print bed. Known this process in 3D printing also as leveling. To do this, you grab the enclosed paper and place it on the monitor. Then you loosen the four silver screws above the print plate a bit and mount the entire print platform to the printer. Now you jump into the menu and press the home button under the item “Move Z”. The print platform now automatically moves to the lowest point and stops there. Now apply light pressure to the printing plate with one hand and tighten the four previously loosened screws with the other hand. Once you have done this, you jump back into the menu and set the lowest Z point under “Tools”. This can be done conveniently via the menu item “Z = 0”. Simply click on it, confirm and start up the printing platform again. The printer is already set up and you can start with the rest of the preparation for printing.
Printing with the Anycubic Photon M3
Printing works really well with the Photon M3 and is conveniently designed. Just insert the USB stick into the port on the right side and select the ready prepared file. Put the lid on and the magic happens automatically. When filling the resin into the pressure vessel, you should pay attention to the maximum filling amount, because the volume is increased by the immersing pressure plate and the resin can spill over.
The Photon M3 is fast, we can tell! Compared to previous models, it takes about 30 minutes less to print our test file, according to the slicing software.
After a few test prints, we can now share a conclusion on the print quality of the Anycubic Photon M3. Overall, we were very pleased with the print speed and print quality. Unfortunately, we didn’t quite warm up to washing the ECO resin used. For this, we followed the recommendation and put tap water with a dash of dishwashing liquid in the container. In our tests, this always left a few cloudy spots. Especially with the Anycubic cube. Nevertheless, the fine details on our test prints speak for themselves and we can say that the print quality and the fineness are implemented by the Anycubic Photon M3 in a first-class manner.
Our test prints are figures up to 52 mm in height. Especially with our smallest object “Slimer”, the arms fascinated us. They have about the dimension of a small support and were realized grandiosely.
Preparation of the printed part with the Anycubic Wash & Cure Machine Plus
The Wash & Cure Machine Plus is not a must for cleaning and curing the print. However, it simplifies the process immensely. But let’s start with the design first. The Wash & Cure Machine is also covered with a yellow UV protection hood. Anycubic has immortalized itself on the hood with a white logo, similar to the Photon M3. The base is black and is equipped in the front with a button, a time display and a dial to set the time.
For washing, the Wash & Cure Machine Plus comes with an 8.5 liter container that holds magnetically on the platform. Thus, it is protected against possible overturning during washing. In addition, the container has a sealed lid, which is secured via a lock. The advantage is that when isopropanol is used as the washing liquid, the odor is somewhat contained and the liquid can be stored in the container. Inside there is a metal basket, which can be conveniently lifted out upwards. In operation, a whirlpool is created and so the cleaning effect is produced.
However, the Wash & Cure Machine Plus has another special function. Due to the built-in UV lighting, the print can then be cured conveniently and quickly. For this, one exchanges the container for a transparent platform. A mirror film is placed underneath the platform so that the UV rays also reach the print from below. Then press the button on the front to switch to Cure mode. Now you place the print piece on the platform and start the process with an arbitrary time. For small prints, the upper part of the illumination tower can be aligned downwards. After the time you can take out the print or repeat the process. It probably doesn’t get much more convenient than this!
The in-house Photon Workshop software, is in itself very clearly designed. However, if slicing software is new territory for you, it definitely helps to watch a tutorial on Youtube. On the home page, you have the option to select the uploaded model and then move, resize or rotate it on the platform. There is also the option here to select the available 3D printer and set parameters for the final slicing. The upper right tab allows you to conveniently add supports; you can choose to do this manually or have the software create them automatically. The button “Slice” prepares the print and you can select a storage location. The calculated print time is also displayed here, which in our experience is often adhered to very precisely.
Conclusion on the Anycubic Photon M3
With the Anycubic Photon M3, you get a very solid SLA 3D printer in the budget price range. The design and build quality are outstanding, as you would expect from Anycubic. After a short familiarization phase, the software is very clear and offers enough functions to prepare the print appropriately. The print bed adhesion is given thanks to the laser engraved printing plate and is thus another well implemented feature. The only point of criticism is the nature of the printing plate itself, as it tends to scratch very easily, but this has not caused any cracks in the adhesion so far.
The Cure & Wash Machine Plus also convinced us completely. It makes the process of cleaning and curing the print incredibly easy. It saves not only time but also nerves and makes a very good figure in terms of optics & processing.