The popularity of resin 3D printing has been growing over time. There are various reasons for this, but one of them is the increase in size of the print volume of resin 3D printers. With the Anycubic Photon M3 Max, you can print models of up to 300 x 298 x 164 mm in size. We tested this XL printer and have a review for you.
Anycubic Photon M3 Max Review
The Anycubic Photon M3 Max not only has a large installation space, but also an automatic resin filler system. The M3 is the first 3D printer by Anycubic to have this system. The printer also comes with a new matrix light source known as LighTurbo, and a new frosted FEP film for the resin tank.
As the first XL resin printer from Anycubic, the Photon M3 has a larger print size than the competition by a few millimeters. Moreover, since the printer is cheaper than what the competition is offering, these few millimeters are critical to the buying decision of anyone looking for a large format resin 3D printer.
We already know about the Elegoo Jupiter, which has a large installation space of 300 x 278 x 156 mm. The M3 tops it with its whopping 300 x 298 x 164 mm.
In this review, we’ll be looking at the print quality of the M3 to determine whether it’s the better resin printer, despite its lower price.
3D Printing Specifications
|Build Volume||298 x 164 x 300 mm|
|Layer Height||10 microns|
|XY Resolution||46 microns ( 6480 x 3600 pixels)|
|Z-axis positioning accuracy||0.01 mm|
|Printing Speed||60 mm/h|
|Materials||405 nm UV resin|
|Recommended Slicer||Anycubic Photon Workshop|
|Operating system||Windows / macOS|
Dimensions & Weight
|Frame dimensions||400 x 408 x 596 mm|
The large installation space of the Anycubic Photon M3 Max is made possible by the huge mono display that measures 298 x 164 mm, and has a resolution of 6,480 x 3,600 pixels (7k).
Thanks to the new light matrix, the printer’s print speed is on par with other current stereolithography printers (SLA). And that’s remarkable given the usually clear difference in size. With the Photon M3 Max, we achieved exposure times of between two and three seconds. This is comparable to what we managed with the Elegoo Saturn S, Anycubic Mono X and the Voxelab Proxima 8.9 4K .
The Photon M3 Max also has an automatic resin filler system on board. As the name suggests, the system automatically refills fresh resin when the resin tank is running low. With a high resin consumption due to the large installation space, this system is absolutely necessary.
The auto-resin filler system not only relieves you of the task of refilling the tank, but also reliably guarantees consistent printing results. If resin is poured in too quickly, printing errors can occur due to the temperature difference. This system eliminates this issue.
The Photon M3 Max has a larger Z spindle than the Mono X. This part moves the double-bearing pressure arm up and down, and offers even more precise guidance as is the case with the smaller Photon M3 Plus.
Anycubic has also introduced a new FEP film on the M3 series. This is a matte, frosted film. This is a first with resin 3D printers since only clear films have been used before this printer.
This frosted FEP film consists of a smooth side, which faces the display, and a rough side that faces the inside of the tub. We had good results with the film when we tested the M3 Plus and we then ordered it for all other printers. Compared to the smooth foils that we’ve been using, the prints definitely come off more easily on the frosted FEP film. As a result, we have had almost error-free prints of highly delicate print components.
The Photon M3 Max also comes with a new light source matrix known as LighTurbo. However, because of the larger mono display, the matrix does not have the same light intensity as in the M3 Plus. It offers a maximum light intensity of 44.395 lux, while the M3 Max matrix offers 23.905 lux, i.e. almost half. This extended light intensity affects the exposure times, which were between 2.5 and 2.9 seconds in the test. In comparison to the Photon M3 Plus, it is almost a second longer but still within limits.
The menu navigation can be accessed through the touchscreen display, as is the case with the Photon Mono X. On it, we have a couple of things. For example, there is the exposure button menu, with which the resin tank can be cleaned. There is also a leveling menu, through which the construction platform can be moved up and down.
However, unlike is the case with the Mono X and M3 Plus, there is no way to adjust the UV intensity.
When it comes to software, the M3 Max uses Anycubic’s in-house slicer, the Photon Workshop. The slicer has definitely improved in quality over the last few years. Therefore, we can recommend it to everyone when starting SLA 3D printing. However, we prefer to work with the Pro version of Lychee Slicer because it offers more settings for hollowing out and supporting 3D models.
The M3 Max didn’t get the same new touch display as the M3 Plus. This would be even clearer and better structured. However, for the lower price, we do without this comfort.
Anycubic should definitely refresh the firmware of the Photon M3 Max with an update for the RERF exposure test. This test, introduced with the Mono X, simultaneously exposes eight models with different exposure times. The feature helps to easily determine the perfect print settings for each resin. The practical feature is one of the reasons we highly recommend the Mono X.
We are crossing our fingers for a future firmware update with a resin exposure test for the M3 Max.
However, Anycubic has informed us that no new firmware update with a corresponding RERF test is currently being considered for the first generation 3D printers. But apparently, the development team is already working on a firmware with RERF test for future generation printers. We hope that the first generation will also benefit from this in the medium term.
The Photon M3 Max comes in a huge, waist-high box. The 21 kg monster is embedded in a large amount of foam and a custom-made aluminum frame.
After removing the printer from the box, it was time to set it up.
With this enormous size, the housing is divided into two halves. The rear cover is fixed to the lower chassis, while the front half is detachable.
To install the auto resin filler module, we simply plugged in and fixed it with two screws. This was done quickly. The process involved attaching the silicone hoses, threading them through the channel behind the pressure arm, and finally connecting them to the resin bottle attachment.
Anycubic has informed us that this sealing ring has already been retrofitted to all newer printers.
Next, we attached the huge pressure plate slide and loosened the screws on the left and right with the Allen key provided for the first leveling. We then used the supplied level paper to set the distance between the display and the construction platform, confirmed Z=0 and the installation was done.
The final step was to remove the protective film from the resin tub and mount it on the display.
Small spoiler: after the first prints, we had adhesion problems due to an improperly leveled sled. The big pressure carriage didn’t make it easy for us. It took us a few tries before we managed to press the print carriage evenly onto the construction platform and tighten all four screws at the same time.
Admittedly, we had our doubts that the quality of the prints could be maintained with the enormous increase in the installation space. It’s quite a bit more weight that the spindle has to push back and forth.
However, the print results disapproved us. Of course, the M3 Max takes longer to print due to the longer exposure times and slower up and down movements of the heavier printing platform.
Here are some prints we made with the Anycubic Photon M3 Max:
The print results are just as detailed and fine as those of the M3 Plus. We measured with Fusion360 the struts of the towers and those of the aisle. The struts of the tower printed in the test measure just 0.1 mm in their minimum diameter. The struts of the aisle measure 0.34 mm. These are surprisingly precise results.
The XL printer also mastered the large prints such as the Eiffel Tower and the vase without any problems. Right up to the top, the M3 Max delivers excellent printing results.
We recommend using resins from Anycubic. We especially like the Craftman resin with its slightly higher UV reactivity.
There are several factors that determine how successful your printing will be and the kind of results you would get. The factors include the right exposure time, a properly leveled build platform, an intact FEP film, good resin and a model with properly set support. The Anycubic Photon M3 Max comes with the right hardware. So, the rest is up to the user.
The Anycubic M3 Max currently costs slightly above $1000 (check current price). We usually find that the price on Anycubic website is lower than that on Amazon and other third party retailers. From our point of view, this price is justified and even cheap considering the size.
By the way, if you’d like to get notified of deals and discounts on 3D printers and supplies, sign up at 3DTechDeals. The website offers weekly emails on deals you won’t find advertised publicly.
With the M3 Max, Anycubic offers quite a lot for a cheaper price. The XXL SLA printers from the competition, the Elegoo Jupiter (check price) and the Phrozen Sonic Mega 8k (check price), cost considerably more, and only the Sonic Mega 8k has an even larger installation space.
The Anycubic Photon M3 Max can print just as finely and detailed as the Photon M3 Plus. The only downside is that it’s a little slower.
Together with the newly developed FEP film, the convenient automatic resin refill system ensures even higher quality printing results. If you are looking for a resin printer with a large installation space, the M3 Max is the best choice.