Elegoo Mars is a really successful 3D Printer. Here is the Elegoo Mars Review. So what are the differences between Elegoo Mars and its rivals?
With Mars, Elegoo offers an LCD SLA 3D printer for less than € 300. Can a printer be satisfactory at this price point? We tested the device. We have a 10 Euro voucher for our readers to buy the printer.
In the stereolithography (SLA) process, a photosensitive liquid resin is cured using a UV light source. The light reacts with a chemical activator added to the monomer, which polymerizes the plastic in places when it comes into contact with light. Compared to other processes, such as the widely used Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM), higher print resolutions can be achieved. The disadvantages of this method are usually more complex material handling and somewhat higher material costs.
The Elegoo Mars uses a high-resolution LCD (2560 * 1440) to harden an entire layer (masking) in one exposure process. A resin tank with a transparent bottom is placed on the LCD and filled with liquid photopolymer. A construction platform that can move in the z-axis then moves into the tank and is exposed from below for a few seconds. The object adheres to the construction platform and is pulled upwards layer by layer from the resin tank.
Printer, packaging, and scope of delivery
Our Elegoo Mars comes with a black metal housing and a red UV light protection cover but is also available as a silver/orange model. The device is professional, well packaged, and includes an extensive scope of delivery. The printer makes an extremely stable first impression, is very compact, and has an integrated 3.5-inch touchscreen display.
Elegoo Mars – Technical Data
Software ChiTu version L5.5, ChiTu DLP Slicer
Display 3.5-inch touchscreen
Light source UV light with 405nm wavelength
Installation space size 12 x 6.8 x 15.5 cm
Resolution X, Y 0.047mm (2560 * 1440)
Resolution Z 0.00125mm
Layer height 0.01-0.2mm
Printing speed 22.5mm / h
Device size 20 x 20 x 41 cm
Power supply 110-220V 55 / 60Hz, 12V5A 60W power supply
Scope Of Delivery
1x printer (1x construction platform, 1x photopolymer resin tank with translucent FEP base, 1x light protection cover)
1x quick start guide (English)
1x toolset (1x plastic spatula, 1x pliers, 3x wrenches)
1x 2GB USB stick with saved software and test objects
1x 100ml measuring cup
6x latex gloves
2x face mask
10x resin filters for the reuse of the uncured resin
1x EU power supply with cable
Also, a resin material, a> 95% ethyl or isopropyl alcohol, a waterproof container to rinse the objects with alcohol, paper tissues, and ideally a suitable external UV light source for post-curing are required for printing, which is not included in the scope of delivery.
Setup, calibration, and print start
The printing platform must be plugged in and calibrated before starting. To do this, certain screws must be loosened, a sheet of paper pushed between the LCD and the construction platform, and the construction platform must be calibrated and fixed flat on the display. The process is described in detail in the manual, is extremely straightforward, and can be completed in less than 5 minutes. Then the material reservoir is put on.
For a quick start of printing, a photopolymer can now be filled in and a print object can be loaded and started directly from the USB stick.
The included software ChituBox supports several languages and can be easily installed on our Mac systems. The software already contains the profile of the Elegoo Mars printer and runs stable and problem-free on our Mac. The functions coincide with common slicer software. The necessary support structures, raft, and drainage holes can be added before slicing. The data transfer takes place via a USB stick. We achieved the best printing results with the automated “medium” support structures.
Peculiarities of the SLA printing process
For FDM experienced users, some peculiarities of the VAT photopolymerization printing process should be pointed out. Resin printers like this one require a bit more complex post-printing. These peculiarities are not limited to this model but apply to all printers of this type. Here is a summary of the most important differences in handling:
The processing of the printing material and the rubbing alcohol require careful handling and should always be done with good ventilation, with a protective mask and gloves.
After the process, the printed object must be rinsed in alcohol, dried, and ideally post-exposed. Thereafter, as with other procedures, support structures must be removed manually.
The printing platform and the resin tank must also be cleaned well with alcohol and soft paper towels after each print.
Any excess resin can be filtered and reused.
To achieve consistently good printing results, the FEP film bottom of the resin tank should be replaced from time to time if scratches and deformations have occurred.
To save material, internal structures (infill) can be left out as in other processes. However, completely closed rooms should be opened so that non-hardened resin can run out of the interior after printing. Otherwise, there is a risk of a later exit. In the case of transparent materials, the liquid resin enclosed on the inside can also be exposed subsequently.
Depending on the material manufacturer, the resin smells more or less intensely.
For our test, we used the original Elegoo photopolymer resin in the colors gray and translucent. First, we printed the two pre-saved towers, which were realized after a few hours with astonishing resolution. Then we tested a 12 hour print of a David figure, which however had a few shifted layers every 4 cm. By re-calibrating and strengthening the construction platform, this printing error could be avoided the next time it was printed. We, therefore, recommend calibrating the printing platform again before each major print.
In principle, the software can also pause printing temporarily. The resumption of printing did not always work perfectly in our test, however, because the last layer before the break does not always successfully follow the next. The error is then often only noticed with a delay. An indicator of a failed print is the lack of peeling sound from the base film after each exposure of a layer.
A good cleaning of the resin container and the printing platform as well as a complete drying before the next print is essential.
If you consider these points, the printer worked perfectly and without further incidents. The pressure is comparably slow for the model size. However, since it is a mask process – i.e. a process in which a complete layer is cured at once – several objects can be printed side by side at the same time. This reduces the average print time as the print speed depends mainly on the number of layers printed and less on the actual volume.
In the case of very volume-intensive print jobs, the timely refill of the resin must be ensured. The resin tank must never be more than a third full.
The printed objects can feel soft and sticky after cleaning. This can be reduced by additional post-exposure. For a long service life of the objects created, it is recommended to use a suitable UV-impermeable varnish.
The printer can also be used with resin (for 405nm wavelength) from other manufacturers.