Author Topic: help me decide........................  (Read 681 times)

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draskouasshat

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help me decide........................
« on: December 05, 2022, 04:59:19 AM »
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my plans to be printing heavyweight passenger cars and steam locomotive boilers. the long straight sides of heavweights will show the build lines im guessing. i know resolution time plays into this alot as well.
id like to stick with a brand that will be around in years to come for parts needs. its so damned hard to decide on which printer/process to go with.

what should i go with for the cleanest finish? has anyone printed some heavyweights or cars with slab sides? i dont mind spending the money, well maybe not formlabs money!
thoughts and pictures would be GREATLY appreciated.

drasko
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PiperguyUMD

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Re: help me decide........................
« Reply #1 on: December 05, 2022, 07:59:28 AM »
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Following! I have similar interests and am hoping to upgrade my anycubic photon. I think 8k is a must, but the size of the build plate is an important consideration, especially for passenger cars.

Chris333

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Re: help me decide........................
« Reply #2 on: December 05, 2022, 12:53:22 PM »
+8
I would purchase whatever printer comes out right after the printer you just bought.

draskouasshat

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Re: help me decide........................
« Reply #3 on: December 05, 2022, 01:14:31 PM »
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I would purchase whatever printer comes out right after the printer you just bought.

I guess it's a good thing that i haven't bought one yet then! Ill just continue chasing my tail lol
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Chris333

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Re: help me decide........................
« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2022, 03:16:03 PM »
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When ever I list what I think is a good printer someone else will post some newer higher spec model that I didn't even know was out yet.

I have a Phrozen Sonic mini 8K

There is an Elegoo Saturn 2 8K with a 10" screen that looks nice. Found it right after I bought mine and for just a few bucks more.

draskouasshat

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Re: help me decide........................
« Reply #5 on: December 05, 2022, 04:33:08 PM »
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When ever I list what I think is a good printer someone else will post some newer higher spec model that I didn't even know was out yet.

I have a Phrozen Sonic mini 8K

There is an Elegoo Saturn 2 8K with a 10" screen that looks nice. Found it right after I bought mine and for just a few bucks more.

Eh, screwem. I know you do alot of printing so the experience shows over someone that just bought one.
How does yours stack up to with the elegoo or photon 6k?
Do you think dlp is the future over sla?
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I want a 3800 class santa fe 2-10-2!
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mu26aeh

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Re: help me decide........................
« Reply #6 on: December 05, 2022, 04:51:39 PM »
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Watch Amazon for lightning deals, I just got a Anycubic mono X something 4K for less than $300.  They've been running a lot of deals

Chris333

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Re: help me decide........................
« Reply #7 on: December 05, 2022, 05:05:10 PM »
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When I got the Sonic mini 4K I had to brace up everything to keep it from flexing. The Sonic Mini 8K didn't have any problems. I got it because the build plate was long enough for a HOn30 passenger car. If I was buying one right now I'd get the Saturn 2 8K.

My 4K still works great and I still use it.

I don't have the others to compare.

And I'm sure you know the 2k 4k 8k billionK doesn't mean much. You want to check the size of the pixels. Smaller the more detail.

draskouasshat

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Re: help me decide........................
« Reply #8 on: December 05, 2022, 05:42:56 PM »
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And I'm sure you know the 2k 4k 8k billionK doesn't mean much. You want to check the size of the pixels. Smaller the more detail.
That last part is good info to know. Is there  a benefit to finding one not too small?
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Chris333

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Re: help me decide........................
« Reply #9 on: December 05, 2022, 06:19:14 PM »
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Just imagine you have very tiny square blocks to build your model with. The smaller the blocks are the more detail you can put into your model. And curves will be smoother. My first old Anycubic Photon had 47 micron pixels. Sonic 4K had 35 micron pixels. Sonic 8K had 28 micron pixels. I believe the smallest one out there is 22 microns (but blink and that could be old news).

Going from 47 to 35 might not be a big change, but 47 to 28 sure is.

Form Labs uses a laser so instead of tiny square pixels you have a tiny round laser beam.

Not sure how this all relates to DLP. That uses a small mirror to focus light (I think).

Honestly the lower spec ones are so dang cheap now. You could just get one of them to get your feet wet. If you want keep it for lesser projects and get a newer printer later.

And all those reviews on Youtube showing prints from different machines. Well those are war game figures so how does that show you how a boxcar will print? So yeah it is hard to say "hey get this one". When you find the one you want look for a Facebook group on that specific printer and see if they are reporting any major problems. Most printers use the same boards and same screens just built into different boxes.

robert3985

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Re: help me decide........................
« Reply #10 on: December 06, 2022, 06:12:16 AM »
+2
I'm in the market too, and my research has led me some interesting conclusions that I wasn't expecting.

First, ya gotta decide what you're gonna use your printer for.  Are you going to be doing small prints or larger prints.  My needs fall somewhere in the middle between small detailed parts, and middle-sized detailed parts.  I doubt I'll be doing ANY large prints, so a really big printer with a large printing envelope isn't something I'm interested in.

Next, do you want sharp sharp details, or smooth layer-line-less curved surfaces.  Are knife-sharp corners needed or can you stand corners that aren't quite so sharp?  Will you want sharp details enough to not use any anti-aliasing, or will you be using anti-aliasing to try and get rid of layer-lines?  For me, again, I'm somewhere in the middle, favoring smooth curved surfaces with minimal layer-lines over super sharp details with small but prominent layer lines...while still retaining excellent details, such as small holes on brake platforms, engine running boards, and sharp enough corners on window parts that don't look "blobby"...such as caboose cupola windows.  I also want divisions, such as space between sheathing on cars and building, or mortar lines between N-scale bricks to be sharp enough, but still no layer-lines...or very very minimal layer-lines.

I don't care about power consumption, but a bit more printing speed would be nice.

Probably the largest thing I'll be printing would be passenger car bodies, or engine boilers...with engine facility buildings too.  I could probably divide up the really big walls well enough to not have an obvious seam on the buildings, but not on passenger car bodies...so a print volume that will allow me to print passenger car kits is one of my limiting factors.  If the print volume is too small for that, then I won't consider it.

Resin usage.  It seems to me that printers that have a really large print volume always require more resin...even if printing only something small and quick.  This might be a disadvantage, maybe not once I get my work flow decided...but it's something to think about, but not a deal-breaker.

As far as quality of the actual machine's build is concerned, I'm pretty happy with the quality of Anycubic, Phrozen, and Elegoo.

Now, as far as ultimate resolution or pixel size is concerned.  Although I love the capabilities of the Phrozen Sonic Mini-8K at 22 microns, I don't like the small, odd sized print envelope of 16.6 X 7.2 X 18 CM (6.5 X 2.8 X 7 inches) although it's still big enough to print a passenger car kit or maybe two.  Not big enough to seriously print roundhouse walls and floors however, but its print quality is superb and would be okay for me to do personal volumes of 99.5% of everything I want.  If I want to start offering parts commercially, I want a larger print volume, but for personal use, this printer is almost perfect, and at today's prices, I'd buy it without hesitation if I didn't think print volume is going to be important for me in the near future.

DLP vs SLA.  From results I've seen from various sources, DLP IS going to be the future for several reasons.  First, DLP is a much more durable technology...there are no screens to wear out.  Focus is much sharper with DLP because there isn't any screen material for the light to go through and be dispersed...so it's really not possible to compare resolutions between DLP and SLA...because what light arrives at the print with SLA has been dispersed...so you're not really printing at 22 microns...but much more.  This is why Anycubic's DLP printers, which are rated at 51 microns, are just as sharp...or sharper when the light reaches the print layer, than a 22 micron SLA resolution after it's been dispersed through an LCD screen...then reaches the print layer.  Determining actual resolution at the print layer would be a good technology to develop...or to reveal.

So, the next printer to look at IS Anycubic's DLP 2, which has some advantages over any SLA printer, but has some disadvantages too. In the past, although the first DLP printer Anycubic brought to the market was exceptionally sharp, it was TOO sharp...meaning the even though the resolution was superb, layer-lines were very prominent...more sharply defined than on the Phrozen Mini-8.  In my mind, this detracted from its desirability because I want my curved caboose roofs and clerestory roofs to be as smooth as possible, and the anti-aliasing on this first DLP machine didn't allow that.  HOWEVER, the new Anycubic DLP 2 advertises that it has a new anti-aliasing algorithm which cures the layer-line problem.  I haven't seen any tests of that yet, but at least AnyCubic was/is aware of the problem of its DLP prints being too sharp.  What puts me off mainly about this printer is its small print envelope...smaller than the Phrozen Mini-8K. Print volume for the Anycubic DLP 2 is 13.1 X 7.3 X 16.5 cm, or 5.44 X 2.87 X 6.50 inches.  This would require me to tilt up a passenger car body print (which I do anyway) to barely fit the print envelope...maybe.  Although I am pretty sure that DLP is the future of resin 3D printers, the build volume needs to be increased...which will probably happen in the next iteration of Anycubic/Texas Instruments collaboration for consumer-level DLP 3D resin printers. If the print volume on this printer were bigger, and I could find somewhere that shows the print quality with anti-aliasing in use was just as good as the Phrozen Sonic Mini 8K, I'd probably get this one for personal use.  But, the print volume is too small for me dammit.

The next question is "How much resolution is necessary for excellent 3D prints for N-scale models?"  Or, at what point is increasing resolution unnecessary since I can't see a difference with either my camera or my naked eye after I paint it.  From side-by-side comparos of different resolution printers, it appears to me that for N-scale models, the cut-off point for good-enough resolution is 30 microns.  Any finer resolution than that is not going to be apparent unless you are pixel-peeping with macro photography or a microscope...especially using a good/excellent anti-aliasing algorithm. This lead me to a conclusion I didn't expect...that after a certain point, more resolution isn't necessary...so even though the 22 microns of X-Y accuracy of the Phrozen Sonic Mini 8K is extremely impressive, I can't see any difference between what it prints and what come out of other new 8K printers with 28 or 28.5 microns of X-Y resolution...with equal or greater Z-axis accuracy.

Soooo...coming to this conclusion, I am looking strongly at three 8K printers, that print the same excellent quality as each other, but have different features and prices.  These three printers have a resolution of 28.5k or 28k - basically the same, and compare very well to both the Phrozen Mini-8k and the Anycubic DLP 2 resolution-wise...meaning, you can't see the difference, especially after you use anti-aliasing, but have MUCH larger print volumes.

These are all in the same ballpark as far as price right now...and you can get them all with free shipping.  These are, in descending order of price, Anycubic Photon M3 Premium, Phrozen Sonic Mighty 8k, and the Elegoo Saturn 2 8k ...all within approximately 100 bucks of each other.  All will print equally well, but each has its own special features, hardware and build quality.  I'm almost equally interested in all of them (I'm leaning a tiny bit towards the Anycubic Photon M3 Premium) and will be purchasing before Christmas, but right now, I need to do a little more research before I make up my mind.  I'll be wanting new, larger sized "wash & cure" hardware than what I have for my old Anycubic Photon...so, a package deal is also to be taken into account along with 2 liters of 8k resin.

Anyway, hope this helps a bit.  I like watching the comparos and reviews on YouTube, but most of the time, what they're printing doesn't translate well to model railroading since they usually print intricate gaming figures with very few or no smooth, curved surfaces such as car roofs and sides.  Yeah, I want "details" but I also want smooth surfaces with no discernible layer-lines. I think I can get that combination with any of these three 8k printers with enough print volume to make just about anything I'll be coming up with.

So, I'd suggest going online and looking at their technical specifications, ease of use, connectivity, build quality, size, build materials, print speed and their special holiday deals before making a decision...but frankly, I doubt there will be much difference in print quality between these three...all being excellent.

Hope this helps a bit in making your decision!

Cheerio!
Bob Gilmore



peteski

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Re: help me decide........................
« Reply #11 on: December 06, 2022, 01:25:27 PM »
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I was surprised that DLP printers were not mentioned until Bob's post.  Yes, it is a new technology for those home 3D printers, but it seems to have plenty of advantages over SLA printers using LCD screens.
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Chris333

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Re: help me decide........................
« Reply #12 on: December 06, 2022, 02:21:38 PM »
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Because DLP is new. I doubt anyone here even has one yet.

JeffB

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Re: help me decide........................
« Reply #13 on: December 06, 2022, 02:30:30 PM »
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I'm in the market too, and my research has led me some interesting conclusions that I wasn't expecting.

So, I'd suggest going online and looking at their technical specifications, ease of use, connectivity, build quality, size, build materials, print speed and their special holiday deals before making a decision...but frankly, I doubt there will be much difference in print quality between these three...all being excellent.

Hope this helps a bit in making your decision!

Cheerio!
Bob Gilmore

Very good and detailed analysis Bob...  I'm not an expert by any means, but I agree with your conclusions.  My first printer was a Photon I.  I still use it for some things I print, because those parts don't need a lot of detail and I've dialed in the models and print settings so that I get exactly the parts I want.

My second printer is a Sonic Mini-4K...  Like Chris333, I had to do a lot of bracing to it to keep it from flexing.  But now that I've done that and dialed in the print settings, I'm getting really good parts that I'm very happy with. 

My most recent printer is the Mini-8K...  Haven't set it up yet, cause the thing is so much bigger than the 4K and I don't have the workbench space for it (and I'm REALLY slow at using new equipment, just ask Chris333, he'll tell you!).  I bought it because of all the stellar reviews I saw on YouTube.  That 22 micron resolution really sells it.  But like you say, the build plate/area isn't super big.  I'm working on a project now that really could use the extra length that the 8K offers, so I might be putting the 4K aside to make room for the 8K soon.

You are 100% right on DLP versus SLA...  DLP ARE the future.  If I hadn't already bought the Mini-8K, I'd have bought the D2 instead.  Or perhaps the Mighty-8K, just to be able to print some equipment in Sn2, which I occasionally work with (mostly an HOn30 modeler).

JB

haasmarc

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Re: help me decide........................
« Reply #14 on: December 07, 2022, 11:10:50 AM »
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I was wanting the mini 8k for the resolution.  It's build plate will handle 99.5% of anything I'd want to print.  Plus, I have a friend who just got one of the bigger 8k printers so if I really need something bigger printed I can farm it out to him since I laser cut lots of stuff for him.

Amazon had their $100 off plus another 10% and I went to pull the trigger.  When I refreshed my screen, the $100 off was gone.  This was the Sunday before Thanksgiving so I figured they would just put it back on for Black Friday.  I kept checking back and about 2 hours later they posted a lightning deal for it.  Score.

So with the Amazon deal plus $90+ of Amazon rewards, the mini 8k cost me about $270 with a free bottle of resin.

I usually miss out on deals but sometimes a blind squirrel gets an acorn.
Marc Haas
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