Auto Feed, fast printing speed and large installation space. These are some of the outstanding features of the new Anycubic Photon M3 Plus 3D printer. It seems Anycubic is having no mercy on FDM 3D printers with the release of the new unit.
SLA 3D printers work with liquid resin instead of plastic filament. The use of resin involves a lot of work. Apart from this, the printers usually have a smaller installation space. However, with the Anycubic M3 series, this is bound to change.
The Anycubic M3 series includes the Photon M3, the Photon M3 Plus and the XXL resin printer, the Photon M3 Max.
Anycubic Photon M3 Plus Review
The Anycubic M3 Plus has a print volume of 197 x 123 x 245 mm. This is slightly larger than what the Mono X offers. In this new model, Anycubic has integrated the new UV matrix light source (Anycubic LighTurbo), an auto-feed system and the online platform, Anycubic Cloud.
3D Printing Specifications
|Build Volume||197 x 122 x 245 mm|
|Layer Height||10 microns|
|XY Resolution||34 microns (5,760 x 3,600 pixels)|
|Z-axis Positioning Accuracy||0.1 mm|
|Printing Speed||100 mm/h|
|Third-party filament||Yes (excludes auto-fill)|
|Recommended Slicer||Anycubic Photon Workshop|
|Operating System||Windows / macOS|
|Connectivity||USB, LAN (Anycubic Cloud)|
Dimensions & Weight
|Frame dimensions||475 x 360 x 290 mm|
Automatic Resin Refill System
The Anycubic M3 Plus comes with the new auto-feed system, which takes over the work of refilling resin when you are printing large models. The system independently monitors the amount of resin in the tub and, if necessary, supplies fresh resin every five minutes.
There are two simple contacts that determine whether there is still enough resin in the tank. If there is not enough resin, the auto-feed unit pumps air into the resin bottle attached behind the printer through a silicone hose. Another hose leads from the bottle through the auto-feed unit to the resin tank into which the resin is refilled.
The resin 3D printer also has a sensor to detect when the refill bottle is empty and reports this to the printer. This then gives a one-time signal and switches off the auto-feed function.
Even more exciting is the Anycubic LighTurbo, which a more powerful UV matrix light source. With this technology, the printer achieves faster curing times, and thus higher printing speeds.
The best results we got with the white Anycubic Standard Resin was 1.8 seconds (18 degrees room temperature / 80% UV power). With the Anycubic Craftman Resin Apricot, we got 1.5 seconds (18 degrees room temperature / 80% UV power).
Frosted FEP Film
The next innovation in the Anycubic M3 Plus is the new frosted FEP film. This isn’t just a rough protective film; it delivers results. This new film creates significantly less adhesion. This means that even more filigree components can be printed.
The film is precise and yet does not wear out quickly. Model surfaces printed at 90 degrees to the platform are just as rough as the foil and not as smooth as before.
Compared to its predecessor, the operating display is slightly larger and more intuitive. You can swipe to choose between Print, System, Tool and Cloud. Under Systems and Tools, you can set UV Power, Fan Power, and Exposure Tests.
SLA printers coming with WLAN and a LAN socket is nothing new. However, there is something new to be excited about: Anycubic Cloud.
Anycubic Cloud is something similar to what Creality is doing with Creality Cloud. On this platform, you can get 3D models for printing (something similar to Thingiverse), and upload your own files to this. On the “Workbench” tab, you can see all printers connected to the platform, find out which ones are printing and which ones are free.
You can also connect a camera to see your prints, get statistics on failed and successful prints, among other things. Anycubic’s Cloud is a hybrid of Thingiverse and Lychee Slicer’s 3D Printing History in its early days.
The M3 Plus comes well packaged. A couple of resin filters, disposable gloves, a metal spatula and the auto-feed unit are supplied with the printer. The auto-feed unit consists of a black attachment containing a mini compressor and a measuring unit. There are also two silicone hoses, a metal bracket and the bottle attachment with aluminum rods.
Assembling the auto feed unit is easy. To begin, remove the plastic cap on the printer housing on the left-hand side. Next, connect the cable underneath to the auto-feed unit and screw it tight. From here, connect the two silicone hoses to the unit. Finally, thread this through the recess behind the pressure arm and connect it to the bottle attachment.
The connections are marked with Roman numerals to prevent any confusions during assembly. It is important that you use the black hose for Roman II position. This protects the photosensitive resin as it passes through.
Continue by removing the protective film from the mono display, and then insert and fix the construction platform. Loosen the side screws until the platform is loose. A sheet of paper serves as a placeholder for the slide. The paper is placed on the display.
Use the menu to align the platform to home. It’s the little house as a button. The platform will moves onto the paper as far as it will go. Press the platform evenly onto the underside with one hand and then fix the four silver screws again. After that, adjust the construction platform in 0.1 mm increments so that the paper grinds stiffly. Then confirm the Z zero position (Confirm). Move the construction platform back up, remove the paper and fix the resin tank with two screws. After this, you can start printing.
However, there is one small criticism of the auto-feed function. At first everything worked perfectly. The resin dribbled easily every five minutes during printing. A complete bottle emptied during printing.
However, when we inserted a new bottle, the printer beeped that something was wrong. The beep means the bottle is empty and should be changed. At the same time, the auto-feed function switches off. However, the bottle was full to the brim. The reason for the beep was a loose screw in the cover that had no contact. We quick tightened the screw and this solved the problem. \
During this troubleshooting, we also noticed that there is a slight hissing sound as the pressure builds up during pumping. So we cut a sealing ring to size, fixed it and the problem was solved. After this, the resin no longer dripped from the hose,
The Photon M3 uses the Anycubic Photon Workshop software. This is quite passable for an in-house slicer and seems likes an improved Chitubox. At the bottom right is a Settings button, where the correct printer model is set under “Machine”.
New STL models can be dragged and dropped into the software. The models can be moved, scaled or rotated using the buttons on the left. After this, the software switches to support mode and, if necessary, creates a support structure for overhanging parts.
You then have to press back on slice and use the preview to confirm whether the model is sitting correctly on the platform, and that there are no blank spots. Next, slice the model onto a USB stick and put it in the printer. Wait for the files in the USB disk o load and then select the print model. After this, the Anycubic M3 Plus will start printing.
The Anycubic M3 Plus achieves print times of 1.5 -1.8 seconds per layer. This is very fast compared to the old SLA printers with RGB displays, which only manage 8 to 11 seconds. With the M3’s fast printing speeds, it seems resin printing can be a real alternative to FDM printers.
We ran four tests with three resins. For the best results, we had to determine the correct exposure time beforehand. The time will depend on the printer model, resin and room temperature.
We chose the Resin XP2 Validation Test and the Siraya test file. The test objects are very low and thus printed quickly. With the Resin XP2 Validation Test, we needed about half an hour for four tests. The models consist of elevations and depressions that show different results with different exposure times.
When overexposed, peaks are crisp and clear. When underexposed, the pits are more accurate. Overexposure merges the voids more, while underexposure leads to unstable peaks. The aim is to find a good average for all areas.
With the Anycubic M3 Plus, the exposure times are between 1.5 – 2 seconds at a room temperature of 18 degrees.
Here are some test prints we made with the M3 Plus.
In terms of quality, the M3 Plus beats its predecessor, the Mono X.
The Mono X performed well on the Notre Dame model. However, it had some adhesion problems on the railings of the towers and the nave balustrades. Clearly, a long straight surface with the finest struts down is a challenge for adhesion to the component and not to the film.
The M3 Plus raises the level again. There are no more printing errors to be seen and even the smallest knobs on the pointed roofs of the aisle are printed. We measured with Fusion 360, the struts of the towers are just 0.1 mm thick in their minimum diameter and those of the aisle 0.34 mm thick. That’s a precise print quality.
During our photo session, we didn’t manage to capture the fine layers. Moreover, they are almost impossible to see with the naked eye.
The Marvel heroes Rocket and Groot printed without any problems. Even the little seedling on Groot’s knee printed with it.
Finally, we designed our own model to find the definitive limit of the Photon M3 Plus. As you can see in the photos, the printer put up with even this well. If the exposure times are set well, such results can be achieved without any problems.
We are also happy with the rough FEP film. Unlike a conventional FEP film, the rough FEP film printed the last print model without errors.
Anycubic Photon M3 Plus Price
The Anycubic Photon M3 Plus is available for about $700 (check current price). You can find the unit through it the official Anycubic website as well as Amazon. If you are looking for a similar printer but with a larger installation space, the Anycubic Photon M3 Max is for you
You can also sign up at 3DTechDeals to get notified whenever there are deals on the Photon M3 Plus, or other 3D printers you may be interested in.
The Anycubic Photon M3 Plus prints better than its predecessor, and has a slightly larger print volume.
The unit also has an auto-feed system that takes care of refilling resin. Not only is this comfortable, but misprints are also reduced since the added resin will be of the same temperature as that which is currently in use. Adhesion problems can occur due to temperature differences when you add fresh resin to resin that is in use.
The addition of an internal camera and the connection to the Anycubic Cloud make the M3 Plus an upgradable closed system that offers users new convenience and worry-free printing of high-precision 3D models.
We also love the new rough FEP film that ensures proper adhesion of prints.