Peopoly Phenom 3D Printer Review

In this Peopoly Phenom 3D printer review, we look at the features, specs and performance of the unit. Read on.

Peopoly revolutionized the 3D printing industry with its high-precision MSLA (LCD + LED) printers that come with a large print area and are affordable

Among the printers are the Peopoly Phenom series resin 3D printers .

In 2017, Hong Kong-based startup Peopoly unveiled its first 3D printer, Moai, on Kickstarter. The startup received a quarter of a million dollars in funding. This 3D printer is still one of the most affordable SLA printers, and was followed by the Moai 200 and Moai 130 that had large print areas.

In 2019, Peopoly released the Phenom 3D printer, and in March 2020, expanded the line with the Phenom L and Phenom Noir models. All these printers use MSLA technology.

Peopoly Phenom 3D Printer Review

In this guide, we’ll go through the features of the Phonom 3D printer, specs and more to give you an idea of what to expect.

Let’s get started.

Size Matters

Peopoly 3D printers stand out from competitors with their large print areas: 276 x 155 x 400 mm for Phenom, 345.6 x 194.4 x 400 mm for Phenom L, and 293.76 x 165.25 x 400 mm for Noir.

Thanks to its modular design and ease of use, the 3D printer is aimed at small and medium businesses. Professional 3D makers who are interested in printing one-piece large objects or one-time printing of a large number of small models will also love the printer.

In this review, we’ll focus on the Phenom 3D printer. We’ll also touch a little bit on the Phenom L and Phenom Noir printers.

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Phenom Series 3D Printer Comparison Chart

Peopoly Phenom L  Peopoly Phenom Noir Phenom
Price Check Price Check Price Check Price
LCD resolution 3840 x 2160 (UHD) 4K 3840 x 2160 (UHD) 4K 3840 x 2160 (UHD) 4K
Print area 345.6 х 194.4 х 400 mm 293.76 х 165.24 х 400 mm 276.48 х 155.52 х 400 mm
XY-axis positioning accuracy 90 microns 77 microns 72 microns
Light source LCD + LED mono LCD + LED LCD + LED
Print speed 15-20 mm / h from 30 mm / h 10-15 mm / h
Display 4.3 “, color, touch 4.3 “, color, touch 4.3 “, color, touch
Connection interface Ethernet / USB Ethernet / USB Ethernet / USB
power usage 24V 6A 24V 6A 24V 6A
Weight (without packaging) 58 kg 43 kg 42 kg
Dimensions (without packaging) 525 х 395 х 780 mm 465 х 370 х 780 mm 452 x 364 x 780 mm

Phenom L 3D Printer

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This is a new addition to the Phenom series, which boasts 50% more print volume than the original Phenom. The printer has a  build area of ​​345 x 194 x 400mm and prints about 20% faster than Phenom.

This unit comes with a new printbed designed specifically for printing large models.

Phenom Noir

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The Phenom Noir was designed with speed in mind. By using a monochrome LCD panel, UV loss is significantly reduced, which shortens printing times. According to Peopoly, using Noir in combination with the company’s resin will realize a 80% to 100% print speed increase over the current Phenom.

Also, the life of the Noir LCD panel is 3-4 times longer thanks to the new cooling system. The printer has a print size of 293 x 165 x 400mm, which is about 12% larger than the original Phenom.

Peopoly Phenom

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Printing Technology

Why did Peopoly decide to move away from SLA exposure to MSLA?

Both technologies use ultraviolet light to cure the resin resin. The key difference is that while the SLA laser system illuminates each point of the layer in turn, MSLA displays the entire layer on the LCD on which UV light from the LED ray shines.

By effectively curing one layer at a time, MSLA is a faster method for making large (or large numbers) objects.

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12.5-inch 4K Peopoly Phenom LCD Screen

Peopoly Phenom features a 12.5-inch 4K resolution LCD screen with a UV LED panel underneath. Between them is a special lens designed to evenly distribute light over the work surface and. The lens also blocks infrared radiation from the lamps.

Combined with an array of fans and a heatsink, great care has been taken to maintain a consistently low operating temperature for the LCD screen. Inability to withstand high temperatures is one of the weak points of MSLA technology. Long-term exposure to heat will destroy the liquid crystals of the LCD.

Using such a large LCD panel and requiring a lot of infrared radiation to illuminate the entire area generates a lot of heat. Peopoly took steps to extend the panel’s lifespan and installed large fans. As expected, the large fans are quite loud. However, the fans also help to cool the LCD during operation.

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The lifespan of the LCD-display from Peopoly Phenom ranges from 200 to 800 hours (400 on average). After expiration, you can purchase Peopoly branded panels for replacement.

Based on discussions on the Peopoly forums and other community portals, panel replacement takes no more than 30 minutes.

Printer Appearance

Externally, Phenom looks very simple and measures 452 x 364 x 780 mm. The printer’s door may seem flimsy but the unit is reliable where it matters. For example, there is a robust work platform cantilever arm, and the Z-axis drive has a heavy-duty ball screw and linear guide rails.

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The printer weighs 42 kg, which ensures it’s stable during operations.

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The front panel of the Phenom features a 4.3-inch color touchscreen with simple ChiTu firmware. From this screen, you control all the functions of the 3D printer. For example, you can move the print bed up and down, adjust the UV brightness, and start or stop printing.

During printing, the user interface provides complete information including printing time, total number of layers, rendering of each layer as it is printed, and so on.

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Connection interface

The Peopoly 3D printers do not have a Wi-Fi module. Instead, connectivity is achieved through USB or Ethernet. The lack of Wi-Fi connectivity is surprising but has no effect on the result.

Also, it would have been a good idea to equip the printer with a resin level indicator based on the size of the objects you can print on.

Installing and Configuring the Printer

The Peopoly Phenom printer is delivered fully assembled and ready for use.

To get started with printing, just insert the resin bath, install the printbed, plug in the power supply and you’re done.

The printer come calibrated from the factory. However, the calibration may have lost during shipping and thus, it is better to do this procedure again.

The build platform is pre-calibrated manually using a sheet of paper, as is the case with most of these printers. To calibrate it, place a sheet of paper on the LCD screen, lower the platform down and use the screws to fix the platform at the correct distance from the screen.

Materials

Phenom 3D printers can use third party materials. However, different resins require different settings. Therefore, you will need to adjust parameters (specifically LED power and exposure time) for different types of resin.

Check this list of  recommended settings by Peopoly. There is also an active community of users on the  Peopoly forums who share their settings.

Print Quality

Below are photos of the printed models and some comments about them.

The first printed model is the Peopoly test cube that came with the included USB stick. The model was printed with Peopoly Deft Resin, which was shipped together with the printer.

The test print lasted 13 hours and had no problems. The printer handled fine mesh details very well. The only drawback is that the edges of the cube were slightly curved.

Through trial and error, including leveling the working platform, we successfully corrected the situation.

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After recalibration, the test cube turned out to be flat on the sides (left) versus curved on the first try (right).

The Peopoly Phenom 4K LCD screen has a resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels, which gives it an XY positioning accuracy of 72 microns. This may not seem to be good for printing small model details. However, as you can see, even the smallest models printed on the Phenom are detailed and accurate enough.

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But let’s be honest, when printing on a giant like Peopoly Phenom, you are unlikely to be focused on printing small figures only.

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With a build height of 40 cm, Phenom allows you to print impressive designs in one piece.

When printing some models, we encountered some problems with the adhesion of the first layer to the platform. The models either partially detached from the printed surface or fell entirely into the bath.

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To rectify this situation, we lightly sanded the printed surface and adjusted the exposure time of the first layers. This way, the situation improved significantly.

It takes some time to select the correct settings so that later the print results will be flawless.

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Below is a printed mechanism produced by the printer.

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Gear teeth and screw threads are well aligned with each other

Here are some more Peopoly Phenom printed models by other users:

Flash Helmet

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The Flash helmet above was printed using Phenom to full-size helmet without the need to glue and fit it. Printing lasted 47 hours and there were no problems in the process.

From the result gotten, we highly recommend the Phenom printer for cosplayers who are into making weapons and armor. By using the printer, you will not have to do a lot of sanding or glueing.

Dragon Chess Piece

Next we have this set of dragon chess pieces. There are a total of 32 models in the set, and to print them on a standard size printer, it takes 120 hours of continuous printing. On Peopoly Phenom it only takes 31 hours, which is significantly faster.

For a small business like this, this level of mass production cannot be underestimated.

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Slicer

Peopoly has ditched the Asura slicer designed for the Moai series of printers, opting instead for the well-established and popular ChiTuBox slicer that many 3D printer manufacturers work with. But you can also use any other 3D printing slicer.

ChiTuBox slicer is specially designed for preparing 3D models for printing on printers with MSLA technology. While slicers for FDM and resin 3D printers may look the same, their capabilities differ significantly.

ChiTuBox offers a function that allows one click to create a cavity within the model, leaving a user-defined wall thickness. This function is important when printing on resin printers.

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Another beneficial effect of hollow models is the reduction of the UV radiation area, which theoretically extends the life of the panel.

You can also  create a hole that will allow the liquid resin to drain if it suddenly gets stuck in the hollow model. The ChiTuBox even allows you to print the hole plug separately. This way, you can seal the model with a plug and a UV lamp.

Another prerequisite for successful printing with resins is the ability to create the required number of supports.

The function of creating automatic supports in ChiTuBox is sufficient in most cases. However, sometimes it is necessary to add supports manually for certain protruding elements, or if you wish to increase the chances of successful printing for a complex model.

The ability to select the strength of the supports is very useful. Depending on the size of your model, you can have complex or thick supports, which reduces the number of footprints when removing supports.

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Thick and thin supports on the same model

While many useful features make ChiTuBox a well-suited slicer for resin printers, it also has some drawbacks.

First, on not powerful computer,s ChiTuBox encounters difficulties when working with a large number of models at the same time. For example, it can freeze or shut down.

Another drawback, not related to the ChiTuBox slicer itself, but to the specific ChiTu firmware Phenom runs on, is that it uses a somewhat outdated file format (.cbddlp). The file sizes are quite large. Other modern resin printers, such as the Elegoo Mars Pro, which also work with ChiTu firmware, use the newer and lighter .ctb file format. There is a noticeable difference when writing a file of, say, several hundred kilobytes, compared to six hundred megabytes for the Phenom.

Conclusion

Peopoly Phenom impresses with its print quality, ease of use, robust construction and, massive print volume that surpasses most of its competitors.

Although the print resolution may not be as high as some other resin printers, the difference is barely visible to the naked eye.

The Peopoly Phenom is easily the best resin 3D printer for beginners. However, professional craftsmen or small and medium-sized businesses needing to produce large-scale finished parts, objects or prototypes in large batches will also find it an excellent addition in their workshop. Just make sure your computer is powerful enough to prepare your files in the slicer, change the LCD panel and bathtub film in time, and get creative!

What we love: this is a desktop resin printer that prints in the same sizes and with the same detail as many industrial machines that are much more expensive

Yes, the printer is loud. Therefore, you will not want to put it in the bedroom or living room. Still, the issue of noise can be ignored if you consider the many advantages of the SLA printer.

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