With the Nova3D Elfin we got another SLA 3D printer, which we would also like to introduce to you. Its special features are a particularly strong adhesive pressure plate and the option to integrate it into the WLAN.
|Speed :||30 mm / hour|
|Printing process:||LCD SLA|
|Printing area:||130 x 70 x 150 mm|
|Layer height:||0.025 to 0.1 mm|
|Particularities:||Fully assembled, 4.3 inch touchscreen, “NovaMake” slicing tool|
While Kristian continues to test one FDM printer after the other (currently the Creality CR10 V2 is on), I take another SLA printer. After the Elegoo Mars and the Anycubic Photon S , the Nova3D Elfin is now our third model. We still have a model of Anet standing around here, but we were missing a few parts and the forwarding didn’t really work … no matter, other topic. 🙂 This is now about the Nova3D Elfin.
Packaging & processing
There are no surprises here, the printer comes in an “ordinary” box, which is naturally somewhat larger than the printer itself. But not much either; the available space was used well. Everything is tightly packed and encased in foam so that nothing happens to the device as long as the box is handled carefully. In any case, our model is undamaged.
The appearance is reminiscent of the already mentioned Elegoo Mars. There is again an orange cover that is completely slipped over the printer. This prevents too much UV radiation from getting inside. Nice side effect: The cover seals the smell of the resin extremely well . Even during printing and with a full tank, you will not notice the resin as long as the cover remains closed.
The display and power button are at the front, the power and USB connection at an angle at the back. But there is no real back, because the Nova3D Elfin is triangular and tapers towards the back. An unusual design with which one would like to stand out a little from the rest.
The resin tank is also slightly different. Unlike other printers, the tray is not pushed into the holder and fixed with two screws. There are four hooks on the side of the tray with which it is hooked into the printer from above. This makes it easy to remove something, but it is not as tight as it is on other models. However, this had no noticeable effect on the quality of the prints.
Otherwise, we have the Z-axis tower, as usual, on which the pressure plate is raised and lowered via a spiral rod. The plate, including the bracket, looks very massive, but can be easily removed as with the other models. It is attached with a locking screw on the top.
The casing of the base is made of plastic, but like most models the printer is still quite heavy (7.3 kg). Of course, the large display sits on the front.
The accessories are also not entirely unimportant, especially if the Elfin is your first printer. There is a power cable (with DE plug) including a power supply unit and a small bottle of resin, which is basically all you need for printing. There are a few small Allen keys and spare parts for the resin tank. The test file and slicing software are on a small USB stick.
A plastic spatula is included to remove the prints from the plate, but we broke it early on. We’ll come to the peculiarity of the printing plate in a moment. There are also a few disposable filters for the resin and a small funnel.
Like all SLA printers, the Elfin has a small print space (compared to FDM printers). But: Here it is at least slightly larger than with Mars and Photon S. ( 13 x 7 cm compared to 12 x 6.8 and 11.5 x 6.5 ). Not much, but still. The height of the print is slightly lower at 15 cm, which is usually not used to the full. After all, the amount of pressure in the end is decisive for the duration, while the dimensions of the X and Y axes have no effect on it. (Tilting a narrow, tall model instead of printing it upright will massively reduce your printing time.)
The height of the layers is between 0.1 and 0.025 mm. This means that not all the details are possible as with the two comparison models, but that is not necessarily a disadvantage. We remember: Even with a layer height of 0.05 mm, the individual layers are barely recognizable, depending on the model. Everything below that is an optional extra, especially since it involves significantly longer printing times. It is important to note at this point that there are similarly expensive printers with a higher level of detail.
The test file (sliced), which is on the enclosed USB stick, is the octopus seen in the picture. It has already turned out very well, even though it is a model with moving parts. Layers are hardly recognizable here, the layer height of the test print was 0.05 mm . The octopus looks particularly good because of the slightly transparent resin used.
The next print was the Eiffel Tower seen here. We printed it with the minimum layer height of 0.025 mm ; the pressure took a correspondingly long time (approx. 22 hours) because of the pressure.
Take a look at the pictures for yourself, the level of detail is unbelievably good. All structures within the tower are successful, nothing protrudes here and there are no unsightly loops or fiber residues. That’s why I love SLA printing. Take a look at the individual beams of the railing in the middle, all of which were correctly printed.
I would like to mention one peculiarity of the printer here: The prints adhere extremely well to the printing plate . I would even say: Too good! The exposure time of the bottom layer with 20 seconds as the standard value in the slicing software is already much shorter than with other printers (often 40-60 seconds). Nevertheless, the print is very difficult to remove from the plate, and hardly without damaging it in the process. After I had set the exposure time even higher, it was no longer possible at all without leaving scratches on the plate myself. The following picture looks bad, but believe me: There was no other way.
Basically this is a good thing, because at least my prints with the Elfin never failed because the print wouldn’t stick to the plate. Just be careful when removing the prints. In fact, lower the exposure time at the beginning if you didn’t want to ruin the printing plate, which unfortunately is already partly the case with us. I am now ready to set the exposure time for the first layers no longer than for the rest, and the prints still hold up more than sufficiently well.
The slicing software NovaMaker
Nova3D includes its own NovaMaker slicing software on a USB stick with the printer. It can be easily installed from there and, at least in our case, started without any problems. basically the software works exactly like ChiTuBox or Anycubics Photon Workshop, but the interface differs significantly from these two programs.
All settings are on the left, while in the top right there are only buttons for rotating the model or aligning the view.
Also in the bar on the left we find the button for the support structures. However, these can also be inserted here both automatically and manually.
The other settings for printing are located at the bottom of the screen. Select the printer from the list, set the layer thickness and exposure time, and you are ready to print.
It should also be mentioned that the printer supports WIFI printing . This means that you can integrate it into your WLAN and control it directly from your computer or laptop. After slicing, you no longer have to drag the file onto a stick and then plug it into the printer, you can start printing directly from NovaMaker.
I would like to point out that the integration into the WLAN did not work right away for us. There were always connection errors, but then suddenly they didn’t occur again. Sometimes it works right away, sometimes not at all. I can’t say exactly why that is at the moment. Most of the time I still use the USB stick.
The first step is to manually connect the printer to the WiFi. Simply navigate via the display to Settings and then to Network Settings and enter the network data there. Then you will see an IP for the printer, which you enter in the slicing software – done. The corresponding computer must be in the same network.
Now you have the possibility to control the printer directly via the software. You can move or recalibrate the print platform, send print files to the printer, and start and monitor printing. This saves you having to look at the display again and again and you can even operate the printer in a different room and still monitor it from your workplace.
In order to have a few more comparison models, we really wanted to try out the Nova3D Elfin. The WIFI support, in particular, makes printing even more pleasant – even if it doesn’t change anything in the print result itself. The previous prints are good to very good, you only have to be careful with the strongly adhesive printing plate. We’ll be trying and printing more, and we’ll let you know when we find out more.
To be honest, I have so far lacked the major unique selling points of the SLA printers. The technology is apparently much less error-prone, and where you have to struggle with clogged nozzles and improperly screwed axes in FDM printing, you no longer run into problems with SLA printing (after you have leveled correctly once) that are not caused by the right one Slicing are to be solved.
So the details decide. What I particularly like about the Nova3D Elfin is the beautiful display and the very, very pleasant WIFI printing. The printing plate is more of a love-hate relationship. After scratching it with a plastic and metal spatula at the beginning, it went better when I significantly reduced the exposure time. Overall, I can definitely recommend the printer. What speaks best for him is that prints simply work very well right from the start.