In this Elegoo Mars 3 review, we go through the specs, features, quality of print and more about the resin 3D printer. What should you expect? Read on.
Elegoo has a new resin printer; the Elegoo Mars 3. This unit comes with a 4K mono display, offers higher resolution and a slightly larger print volume than the Mars 2 Pro. When we consider the resolution and the print volume, the Mars 3 clearly wins. Point.
However, that’s only half the story, because we’re comparing a Mars to a Mars Pro here. Let’s start this Elegoo Mars 3 3D printer review from the beginning.
Elegoo Mars 3 Review
3D Printing Specifications
|Build Volume||143 x 90 x 165 mm|
|Layer Height||10 microns|
|XY Resolution||35 microns (4098 x 2560 pixels)|
|Z-axis positioning accuracy||0.00125 mm|
|Materials||405 nm UV resin|
|Recommended Slicer||ChiTuBox (Pro)|
|Operating system||Windows / macOS X / Linux|
Dimensions & Weight
|Frame dimensions||227 x 227 x 440 mm|
What’s in the Box?
When the item arrived, we noticed that the packaging was good. This is expected of nearly all 3D printer manufacturers today.
Inside the box, we have the following items:
- The fully assembled printer
- Power pack 110-240V with a power cord
- Disposable gloves
- Face mask
- 2 spatulas, side cutters, a couple of Allen keys and a couple of spare screws
- USB stick
- maximum print volume: 143x89x175mm
- Build platform is 149x95mm
- 4K mono display 4098 * 2560 pixels, 35 microns
The essentials are in the box. However, you still have to buy isopropyl alcohol, ethanol or spirit for cleaning your resin print. We also recommend getting a box of nitrile gloves and a few bowls (or a large Wash & Cure station since the building board does not fit into the small ones).
Of course, you will also need resin to print.
Unfortunately, the Elegoo Mars 3 is not shipped with spare FEP foils. This is unexpected given that the Mars 2 Pro came with some.
To begin, the hood and tank of the resin 3D printer have been redesigned to look rounder. As a result, the unit looks more streamlined line. However, looks aside, does the Mars 3 really deliver? We’ll find out below.
The unit is made with a lot of plastic. For example, it’s adjustable feet covered with FEP film are made of plastic. The USB port and power switch are at the front, while the power supply is at the back. The power button is a bit notchy.
There is no drip holder for the building board. However, you can print it out yourself.
The Mars 3 has a newly redesigned tank. The tank has a new shape, is slightly larger, and locks in place differently. While the tank of the Mars 2 Pro is clamped to stay in place, that of the Mars 3 is screwed through.
I don’t see any benefit of the new shape and I haven’t had any problems with the old tanks so far. However, the increased tank capacity is nice.
The tank snaps securely into 4 blind holes next to the corners of the display on the printer. 4 protruding screw heads are used to keep it in place.
On these 4 screw heads, the tank is a little higher on the table and no longer directly on the FEP film. The activated carbon filter and the silicone seal found on the Mars 2 Pro are not included in the Mars 3.
The Mars 3 has a slightly larger build volume than the Mars 2 Pro. With the Mars 3, you can print models occupying a space of 139 x 85mm, while the Mars 2 Pro models can only manage 149 x 95mm in size.
Apart from the build volume, the Mars 3 and the Mars 2 Pro are identical; from the locking screws to the surface of the build plate. The resin tank is securely held in place and there is nothing to criticize.
While more installation space is good, it also means that the build plate is larger. The issue is that the larger plate no longer fits in the Anycubic Wash & Cure v1 station. Keep this in mind if you have the V1 cure station from Anycubic.
Coming to the mechanics of the 3D printer, nothing has changed. This is a good thing since Elegoo Mars has proven itself in terms of mechanics. Unlike some reports on YouTube, I haven’t been able to detect any wobbling of the Z-axis on the Mars 3. The unit works perfectly.
The Mars 2 Pro and Mars 3 use the same UV unit. Elegoo calls it a COB LED with a glass dome over it. The part does a good job on the Mars 3, just like in the Mars 2 Pro.
While you can’t see it so well in the photo because my hand casts a shadow, the illumination is nice and even. The weird corner at the bottom right is the sticker on the protective film, which I should have removed before taking the photo.
The leveling is done as with any other resin 3D printer: take out the tank, loosen the 2 screws on the construction plate, put a piece of paper on the display, and let it go to home. After that, press the platform lightly against the display with one hand and tighten the screws with the other hand.
If necessary, set an offset with Z+ or Z- and then go back one page in the menu and save there by clicking on Z=0. That is all.
If you got lost with the instructions, here is a video showing how to level the printbed of a resin 3D printer:
The menu navigation has remained almost identical. When you pause while a print is in progress, the build plate moves up a bit so you can peek underneath. The Mars 3 allows the exposure times to be changed dynamically during printing.
I noticed that the Mars 3 creaks and squeaks significantly less when it goes to the home position. That always irritated me with the Mars 2 Pro. Despite everything, I find the contact pressure of even a correctly leveled building board on the (sensitive) mono display in the home position very high.
Overall, the Mars 3 is pleasantly quiet when printing. However, you should still use it somewhere in a well-ventilated room and not in living room or offices because the resin fumes are not healthy.
The Mars 3 uses Chitu’s electronics and firmware .
The Pro version of Chitu Box Slicer is included in the Pro version. However, it is only available as a 7-day demo. If you like a 1-year license, you have to get in touch with Elegoo on Facebook.
I don’t like Chitu Box Pro because it just doesn’t work properly for me. For example, I can’t change the printing parameters. I think this is a major issue for software that’s supposed to cos over $150 a year.
While I usually prefer Lychee slicer, it is not compatible with Mars 3. Along with a few new features, Chitu has now encrypted the CTB format used by the Mars with the latest firmware. This means that at least Chitu currently only works with the Mars 3 and nothing else. Unfortunately, that annoys me a bit, especially because the Pro version doesn’t run here.
Therefore, I have no option but to use Chitu Box Slicer Free. Lychee developer says there will be no compatible version of Lychee in the foreseeable future.
Elegoo has heard and understood the protests of the community, but their hands are tied for the time being, because they are only licensees, this change probably came from Chitu.
The Mars 2 Pro doesn’t have this problem and works beautifully with Lychee. That’s a bitter pill to swallow as a Mars 3 owner.
Mars 3 more installation space and more resolution
The Mars 2 Pro has a print volume of 130 x 82 x 160 mm and uses a 2K display with a resolution of 2560 x 1620. This results in a dot size of around 50 microns.
The Mars 3 has a print volume of 143 x 89 x 175 mm and uses a 4K display with 4098 x 2560 pixels. This results in a dot size of 35 microns, i.e. much finer.
The difference in microns doesn’t seem much. However, there is clearly a visible difference, even with the cheapest resin I have; the Elegoo Standard Red.
While the photos below don’t show it well, in real life, there is a clear difference in the “tree bark-like artefacts”. On the left is the Mars 3 and on the right is the Mars 2 Pro. Overall, prints from the Mars 3 looks a bit sharper .
This is the standard test print from Elegoo. The 2 giant towers are printed directly from the USB stick.
I also printed the tower in its original size on the Mars 3 and am super happy with it:
And here again is a comparison of prints by the Mars 2 Pro with Mars 3. This time, we printed the Fireball Wizard by Matt King , 28mm Tabletop Mini. Above Mars 2 Pro below Mars 3:
Here are some more prints, now with a primer:
…and more sample prints by the Mars 3 3D printer.
Amerallabs.Town, Monocure Crystal 2.5s/Layer
The now obligatory deer ( Holiday Christmas Deer by yeg3d – Thingiverse)
As far as print quality is concerned, the Mars 3 has a clear advantage.
In terms of resolution, print appearance, fine detail and maximum print size, the Mars 3 wins without a doubt. I would love if Elegoo brought a Mars 3 Pro very soon, straightened its feet and got rid of the Chitu nuisance.
- High resolution and thus print quality
- Large installation space
- The tank has”feet”
- Not compatible with third party slicers
- Does not fit in my Wash & Cure station
- Fewer accessories included, but you can buy them later
- No activated carbon filter (dispensable?)
- No adjustable feet
Overall, the Mars 3 is a better printer. Its print quality is better than that of the Mars 2 Pro. If you print minis, you will be happy that there are fewer artefacts on bulges.
However, you can’t also go wrong with a Mars 2 Pro. The unit is cheaper than the Mars 3, comes with more accessories, and supports third party slicers.