The Elegoo Mars was the first SLA LCD printer we tested a few months ago and it won us over from the start. With the Elegoo Mars Pro, the manufacturer is now bringing a significantly improved version onto the market. We received the model from the manufacturer in advance and were able to get an impression of the new printer.
- Elegoo Mars Pro 3D printer
- at Amazon
|Model:||Elegoo Mars Pro|
|Speed :||24 mm / hour|
|Printing process:||LCD SLA|
|Printing area:||120 x 68 x 155 mm|
|Layer height:||0.01 to 0.2 mm|
|Particularities:||improved UV LEDs, activated carbon filter|
What is different from the Elegoo Mars?
Outwardly, not surprisingly, not much has changed – but a little. There is a removable cover again, this time made of red, clear plastic. But there is a first change here: A rubber seal for the cover, which is primarily intended to contain the development of odors. Indeed, a problem with many SLA printers, because the resin smells very strong and unpleasant.
There is again a 3.5 inch touch display , and the USB port moves from the back to the front. Now you no longer have to reach behind the printer and look for the USB port. Not a big change, but a useful one.
There are some accessories again, this time gloves, two masks, filament pliers, filters for the resin and both a metal spatula and a plastic spatula. Interestingly, this time there is no resin included. Fortunately, we now have a few bottles here; but if the Mars Pro is your first printer, you have to buy one. A 500g bottle of resin from the manufacturer costs about $30 on Amazon .
Other innovations are not externally visible, so according to the manufacturer better UV LEDs were installed to reduce the required exposure time. There is also a new firmware version and a new stepper motor, which should ensure smoother printing.
Perhaps the most interesting innovation is a built-in activated carbon filter. This should also ensure that less resin fumes are distributed in the room. In combination with the sealed cover, this should significantly reduce odor pollution. Whether this really works, more on that later.
The first prints
Leveling and troubleshooting
Before the first print you have to level the printer once. Anyone who has already dealt with SLA printers already knows how to do it. A sheet of paper between the platform and the display, move the platform to the home position, slowly lower it further until the sheet of paper can hardly be pulled out and set the position as the new Z = 0 position.
As a test, I started the first print without leveling and, as expected, the print failed. Only the first layers were cured, but did not bond to the pressure plate, but stuck to the bottom of the tank. Before the first print, the tank and pressure plate are also clean, so you save yourself having to clean both particularly thoroughly. So do the leveling beforehand.
Unfortunately, I also had the problem that the prints did not adhere well enough to the platform despite the fact that the leveling was actually successful and after a while (during printing) they were in the tank. So I lowered the starting point by another 0.2 mm, after which the print was initially successful without any problems. However, the subsequent print failed again for the same reason. Leveling up again did not bring any improvement either.
What finally solved it was increasing the exposure time of the bottom layers. Not because the print would not harden enough there, but because it did not adhere firmly enough to the printing plate. I set more bottom layers and almost doubled the exposure time from 45 to 80 seconds, and reduced the exposure time of the other layers from 7 to 6 seconds. Since then, almost all of the prints have been received, and the other misprints were then due to the slicer and not the printer.
The test file
First of all, it is best to start with the enclosed and finished sliced test file. Elegoo will have thought of something to pack it into. There are two test towers that we have already printed with many other printers. The layer height is 0.05 mm, the model consists of 1,000 layers, and the print took about 3 hours.
The print succeeded immediately (with a correctly leveled printer). The printing time of only three hours is pretty good, which has taken longer with other printers. Both towers can be easily removed from the platform with the metal spatula. Be careful not to scratch the plate.
The level of detail of the test prints is already impressive. The battlements of the two towers can be pushed together with millimeter precision. I don’t even know if that’s how it is intended, but it shows how precisely the printer simply works.
More test prints – fantasy miniatures
In addition to the finished print file of the tower, there are also a few fantasy figures on the memory stick . Here we cooperated with the website myminifactory.com , where the models come from. There is even a .pdf file with short background stories for the eight wizards, warriors and others.
Because of the more complicated shape with partially overhanging limbs, weapons or other things, support structures are essential. The automatically generated supports are sufficient for the first attempt, but you should at least roughly check whether all protruding parts are really covered.
I inclined the barbarian, which I printed first, a little. In the past I had already made the experience that the support structures and the smooth floor are not properly connected when the figures are standing straight. This meant that no further printing was carried out after the support structures. The connection works better with a slightly sloping floor.
Printing ideas – what do you actually do with a 3D printer?
Test prints are all well and good, but what is useful to print out? I picked out a few examples for you that we printed with the Elegoo Mars Pro.
Board games & Co
With the enclosed files of the fantasy figures, Elegoo already gives a direction here. Miniatures are not only pretty to look at, they can of course also be used as game material. These can be new characters for Monopoly, but also detailed characters for the next D&D round. If you then paint the figures, it looks even more impressive.
You can also print out terrain pieces and the like for more extensive games, as I did for my Wargaming terrain collection.
School and art projects
How can you depict something better than in 2D on a sheet of paper or a canvas? Of course in 3D! Assuming the appropriate template or print file, you can print out anything and use it for better illustration in presentations. Or you use it artistically. The print below is a scan of a real sea urchin case that was subsequently used for a project in art school.
It’s a bit more specific and limited to a few small parts. In this example, I’ve printed out a cable / microphone mount. The original showed signs of wear and tear and threatened to break off. Spare parts cost around € 12, a print only a few cents. This makes the decision easy, and the cables hold up again.
We already know the slicing software. The installation file for the latest version of ChiTuBox (1.6.1) can be found on the attached USB stick. Nothing has changed in the design, everything works as usual.
Elegoo has already put some files on the USB stick for test prints. The well-known tower is included as a sliced .ctb file, but as mentioned there are also several fantasy figures as .stl files (you can see some of the results here in the article). They can easily be imported and edited. The models can be moved using the mouse pointer; the left display can be used to rotate, scale and / or mirror them.
Then it goes to the printer settings, especially the exposure times. For the first print (the barbarian) I used the values set previously (and recommended by the manufacturer): 6 seconds for the individual layers and 45 seconds for the 5 bottom layers. With the predecessor, the Elegoo Mars, we still printed with 8/60 seconds. The more powerful LEDs make it possible.
If you select the Elegoo Mars Pro in the settings, you now also have the option to set the speed of the Z-axis and the distance that is covered after each layer. This function was completely missing before. Even the smallest changes can significantly reduce the printing time. With 1,000 shifts, the printer drives the route 1,000 times.
Price and availability
After the release was originally planned for November 2019, the date has been postponed several times. Our information was initially that sales should start in mid-January, but it turned out to be February.
The Elegoo Mars Pro is now available on Amazon – sometimes. Apparently stocks are low and the printer is often sold out. Prime customers can enjoy the particularly fast Prime shipping, but none of the others wait longer than a few days because shipping is from Germany.
Conclusion – buy Elegoo Mars Pro?
The Elegoo Mars Pro follows on from its predecessor almost seamlessly. It’s still easy enough to use that even beginners can quickly get to grips with it. Although I had to tweak the settings a little more before the prints were reliably received, everything went smoothly after that. The quality and level of detail of the prints are unchanged. The only point of criticism on my part is that the filter for better containment of odors during printing does not work as well as hoped.
If you want to buy either printer, look at the price. If Mars is a lot cheaper, take this because it is already very good. If you can get the Mars Pro for roughly the same price, you can also get it here.