Read our Phrozen Sonic 4K review to find out what this 3D printer offers in terms of features, specs, quality of print, and more.
Welcome to the continuation of Phrozen 3D printers review. We have already reviewed a good number of 3D printers from the company in the past. In case you missed them, here are the links:
Phrozen Sonic 4K 3D Printer Review
Today, we will focus on the Phrozen Sonic 4K printer. The printer is intended mainly for professional use, and more specifically, for use in the dental industry. Therefore, in our tests, we will be printing dental models.
Of course, you can also print other models with this printer. Therefore, we’ll also print some artistic models and jewelry.
What’s in the Box?
The printer is delivered in a small box, ready to use. Everything is packed securely.
The complete set is quite standard for Phrozen resin 3D printers.
Inside the box, we have the following items:
- A piece of sandpaper for sanding the platform in case of adhesion problems
- 8 GB SanDisk USB Flash Drive
- Plastic and metal spatulas
- One hexagon for platform calibration
- A pair of rubber gloves
- Small funnel for draining the resin
- Assembly and troubleshooting manual
- External power supply unit (24V 3 amperes) with cables
- A small box to be installed inside the printer. We thought that the box would be an air filter. However, it is more of a moisture absorber. We know this because there is a bag of silica gel inside.
- The handle, which needs to be screwed to the lid with two screws.
Phrozen Sonic 4K Features
Unlike budget Phrozen printers, the Sonic 4K body,is made of steel and has a flip-up lid. Keep this in mind when preparing the site for the printer.
With the lid open, the Sonic is about 80 cm high.
The lid is large and when opened, you have easy access and visibility to the bathroom and platform.
This is unlike Anycubic Photon, for example, which only has a front cover that opens and side walls that restrict access.
On the lid, there is a small window made of transparent plastic. The window does not allow ultraviolet light to pass through.
The Sonic 4K case is durable. This is important for a printer that will be constantly used.
The print area is not very large; 134 x 75 x 200 mm. However, this size is sufficient for most tasks.
Like all Sonic 3D printers, the printer has a monochrome screen.
The monochrome screen greatly reduces the exposure time of the resin. Moreover, it extends the screen’s lifespan to 2000 hours.
The screen resolution is 3840 x 2160 pixels. With a diagonal of 6.1 inches, the resolution gives a very high accuracy in the XY axes. One pixel is only 35 micrometers in size.
The ParaLed 2.0 system is used as a light source. The system, which is an LED matrix with special lenses installed above it, ensures all print areas are uniformly illuminated.
The print bed is made of anodized aluminum and has a slightly roughened surface.
Slight bevels at the top of the platform allow the resin to drain off. However, a small amount of resin still remains due to surface tension.
The Z-axis carriage is robust and runs on two MGN15 rails.
All this structure is fixed on an impressive stand and screwed to the body. When screwed, there should be no swinging.
The bathtub is also made of aluminum and is slightly rough. The roughness does not affect performance. However, it would be better to wipe the bath with napkins that do not leave lint.
There is no cutout to drain the resin. There are also no markings for determining the volume of the poured resin. You have to pour it by eye.
There is a large touch screen in front.
The menu interface is simple and user-friendly. The interface is similar to that of other Phrozen printers. The functions available on the display include:
- Manual movement of the Z-axis
- Screen and backlight performance test
- The function of illuminating the resin remaining in the bathroom (we recommend using it only in the most extreme cases)
- Menu for selecting files for printing
- The platform calibration assistant
Printing can be started from a USB stick or through a wired LAN. You can use the wired LAN to send files to the printer and start printing from a computer over the network directly from the slicer.
We will not go into the intricacies of the technical part. Let’s just say that Phrozen printers have already established themselves as reliable workhorses capable of performing their tasks properly without causing much hassle and difficulties.
Let’s move on to the most interesting thing; printing.
Calibrating the Platform
After the initial power-up, you need to calibrate the printing platform. This is done in the same way as on all similar printers.
- Loosen the 4 screws of the platform so that it can move freely.
2. Put a sheet of A4 paper on the screen.
3. Go to the Tools menu – Z-calib and click Next.
The platform will lower down until the optical limit switch is triggered
4. Evenly press the platform to the sheet of paper and tighten the 4 screws to fix the platform.
5. Press Done on the screen
That’s it, calibration is complete.
Instead of a piece of paper, you can also calibrate the platform using the film of an empty vat.
It is also advisable to wipe the bottom of the printing platform with alcohol so that it degreases well. You never know who touched it with greasy fingers before you.
Now, you are ready to start printing.
Quality of Print
Printing Dental Bridges
In this review, we decided to print dentistry models. For the first test, we used HarzLabs Dental Sand A1-A2 resin.
Parameter “A” means the color of the models after additional illumination on the Vita scale.
This resin is suitable for printing temporary crowns and bridges and is certified for medical use.
We took a model of the bridge.
You can use various slicers to prepare a model for printing. We used Chitubox as it was in the USB flash drive that came with the printer.
When you open Chitubox for the first time, you just need to select the Phrozen Sonic 4K from the list of supported printers. All the necessary settings are already there.
There are even print settings for some resins, including original Phrozen resins and third party ones such as HarzLabs. This greatly simplified the task.
Even though these settings are not entirely accurate, they can be used as a starting point when selecting parameters.
The bridge model does not have a single flat surface. Therefore, it must be printed entirely on supports.
If possible, the bridge should be positioned in such a way that in the lower part (i.e., the landing area) there are no supports.
If necessary, the front side can be processed a little to get rid of traces of supports.
The exposure time, delay, speed and height of movement were left as it was in the finished profile.
The model was printed without any problem. All supports held up and no distortions were visible.
We washed the model, removed the supports and re-illuminated it.
Here is the result of the bridge.
Some traces of supports can be seen on the front side. However, you can’t get away from them. Some minor post-processing will have to be done.
But most importantly, the seats are flat and smooth.
Printing a Model with HarzLabs Dental Peach Resin
For our next test, we used the HarzLabs Dental Peach resin.
The resin is rigid and has a high resistance to high temperatures. Therefore, it is suitable for printing demo prints and master prints for thermoforming aligners.
We sent a collapsible demo model to the printer.
The model has three parts: fragment of a jaw with a hole, the tooth that should be inserted into this hole, and the counterpart.
All models were also printed suspended on supports, so that there were no supports at the joints.
Everything also printed without problems.
Nothing came off and the geometry is even.
We washed out the model, removed the supports, and lit it up.
We tried to connect it and were pleasantly surprised. The tooth fell into place evenly without any input from us.
The tooth sits tightly and does not stagger.
There are traces of supports on the lower part. However, they do not affect the functionality of the model in any way.
Surgical Template Printing
Next, we tested the HarzLabs Dental Yellow Clear Resin.
This resin is meant for printing surgical templates. Printing surgical templates is probably one of the most useful application of resin 3D printing in dentistry. For example, we printed two conventional surgical templates at the same time.
The template is put on the teeth during the operation. As you can see, the templates have special holes that are guides.
The holes clearly define the drilling location, depth and direction.
Many problems can be avoided if the template has been correctly modeled and printed.
Surgical templates also need to be printed with the inside facing up so they slide into place easily.
You can process the outer side, if necessary, to remove traces of supports.
We used the resin to print a template for gingivoplasty, i.e., plastic surgery of the gums.
It model looks a little different, but it works in the same way as a surgical template.
Printing Jewelry Prototypes from Burnt Resin
Let’s try to print a model from HarzLabs Dental Cast fired resin.
This resin has almost zero ash content.
Phrozen has the same resin, called Phrozen Wax-like Castable in green and purple.
Dental implants, metal crowns and bridges can be cast from the printed models (e.g., clasp prostheses). We decided to diversify this review a little and printed some jewelry from the burnt resin. The Phrozen Sonic 4K printer is more than suitable for this.
Important! We used HARZ Labs dental cast resin in our test to show the high detail of finished models. However, the main field of application of HARZ Labs Dental Cast resin is dentistry, while the burnout temperature of the models should be 950°C. As a rule, furnaces with such a temperature regime are not used in jewelry.
We strongly recommend using HARZ Labs Jewelry J-Cast resin for burning jewelry models. This is because it is more stable, and a lower temperature is required for burning out the models.
We found several rings and pendants in the public domain and printed them all together in one go.
This resin has a longer exposure time than others (about 7 seconds). The color is very beautiful. We didn’t even want to burn it later.
We washed and removed the supports.
Unfortunately, one model didn’t turn out very well. The model had a sphere inside which lacked support. As a result, there was a defect at the bottom. In addition, when removing the supports, they accidentally broke off a little extra.
But the rest of the decorations turned out well. The detailing is excellent. Everything is smooth and beautiful.
3D printing with fired resins opens up tremendous opportunities in the production of jewelry with complex geometries.
3D Printing with Phrozen Aqua Gray 4K resin
How can you not print on the Phrozen Sonic 4K printer with the proprietary Phrozen Aqua-gray 4K resin?
We found a beautiful art model to print. This is the action figure of Lady Alsina Dimitrescu from the Resident Evil 8 game.
This mademoiselle has made a lot of noise on the Internet lately.
The model consists of 4 parts.
The entire hand and head were printed. The lower part was hollowed out on the inside so as not to waste excess resin. The torso was also made hollow. However, it had to be printed separately as there was no longer enough space on the platform.
The printer coped with the task well. We were particularly impressed by the long, sharp fingernails.
There are flaws in the models, albeit due to the settings and not the printer. Also, when separating the supports, small pieces broke off from the edge on a very thin brim of the hat.
The torso also lacked a little support on the arm. As a result, a crack formed. We could have reprinted the torso but we resorted to a little life hack.
We take a couple of toothpicks, a small container (a bottle cap) and an ultraviolet flashlight.
We poured a little resin into the lid, dipped a toothpick into it and transfered the droplet attached to it to the crack of the model.
The resin fills the crack under surface tension.
With an ultraviolet flashlight, we light up the result a little.
We repeated the procedure until the crack closed completely.
Naturally, this life hack is only suitable for art models. However, it can save a lot of time and resin in some situations.
The assembled model looks very impressive.
Experimental Multi-Story 3D Printed Models
Finally, we decided to conduct a small experiment. This time, instead of Chitubox, we used a professional slicer – Formware.
Formware is very sophisticated, functional and has proven itself well with dentists and dental technicians.
According to them, automatic supports are placed here almost perfectly.
Formware is a commercial slicer. However, when you buy a Phrozen Sonic 4K or Phrozen Sonic XL 4K 3D printer, you get a free license key for the full-featured version of Formware.
The slicer already has profiles for Phrozen printers. One of the interesting functions of this slicer is multistage printing.
Let’s say we want to print 6 master models for thermoforming aligners in one go.
We’ll place three models on the platform. After that, we simply click on the “Add multi-level slabs” button.
Something like a gazebo will appear.
The model has several parameters. The most important of them is the ceiling height.
The height must be made such that the models of the first floor fit completely under it. The size of the pillars must be large enough to be held on the platform when the cover is formed. Finally, the angle of the arches should be maximized so that the structure does not intersect with the models.
The rest of the parameters can be left as they are.
Click “Apply” and we will get this structure.
The model is made in such a way that it can be printed without support.
To raise the models of the second floor to the desired height, select them all, click on the “Select floor” button, select the floor, (in our case Floor 75mm) and OK.
The models will automatically rise to the height of the second floor.
Place them on the gazebo and you’re done.
Models can be sliced in this slicer, although it does it quite slowly. Alternatively, you can export them to STL and cut them in your favorite slicer, e.g., in Chitubox.
We sent the whole design to print in the evening. The lifting speed of the platform was reduced to 30mm/s in order to reduce possible problems that can occur when the model is detached from the bathtub film.
The rest of the parameters were left as they are in the finished profile.
The first floor and the “gazebo” were printed without any problems at all.
However, then, some issues arose.
While we poured a lot of resin into the bathroom, when the platform was submerged, it almost reached the edges. In the morning we found that the resin in the bathroom was almost empty. Because of this, two of the three models were not printed.
We added resin and continued printing.
It took about 13 hours for the models to print. 4 out of 6 models turned out very well but 2 were spoilt.
Check the results below.
In addition, a huge amount of resin was used to print the “gazebo” itself.
In general, the circuit is working, the design is printed normally, the printer copes. However, the lack of enough resin in the bathroom to print in one go negates all the advantages. In addition, the printing of the gazebo takes almost more resin than all the models combined. Of course it’s up to you to decide. But, in our opinion, this method is more of a trendy feature than a useful feature.
Like all Phrozen printers, the Sonic 4K made a good impression on us.
We love the robust, reliable housing and all the mechanics of the printer as a whole.
The printer stands out with its monochrome 4K screen that meets the needs of almost any user. It also supports the popular free Chitubox slicer, and Formware professional slicer license is also included with printer.
The Sonic 4K performs well, even under heavy use conditions.
And I would like to say a few more words about HarzLabs resins.
The resins printed well, have practically no smell, and their models stable. The entire dental line has the necessary certificates and can be used in dentistry.