Anycubic's most recent series of Stereolithography (SLA) printing machines bring high quality and affordability to the market. The Photon series features a variety of machines from premium to value printers, and a selection of wash & cure combo machines such as its Wash & Cure Plus station. Take a look at the Photon Mono in our hands-on Anycubic Photon Mono 3D printer review!
Anycubic Photon Mono 3D Printer Verdict
The Photon Mono looks incredibly similar to most of the budget SLA printers on the market, with a removable UV blocking cover and a large base for the unit to house its electronics. The front of the machine features a touch-screen for selecting options and print files, and is reasonably responsive if a little unresponsive at times. As for the USB port, it's disappointingly on the right-hand side at the rear, which is less convenient than machines that have it front-facing, but not too much of a hassle on a spacious table.
As a good value SLA printing option, the Anycubic Photon has only a small build size, but a surprisingly fast layer cure time and a high LCD resolution, allowing for some very detailed prints in a shockingly quick print time. Among other quality of life features, the resin vat has a spout for easy pouring and the FEP sheet is built to be easily replaced.
As for consistency, the Photon is a reliable machine, in personal experience suffering failed prints remarkably infrequently. Although this does depend on the type of resin used, even with the variety of resins used, from water-washable, matte grey, and clear blue, our results were spectacular.
- Fast layer cure time
- Reliably consistent print quality
- Small build area
- Budget machine means resolution could be better
Anycubic Photon Mono: Assembly and Setup
Very little setup is required for the Photon out of the box, the machine comes fully assembled bar the build plate and resin vat, which are simply slid on and screwed tight. Before printing, the build plate needs to be leveled, which is a simple process the same as most other SLA printers, manually moving the loosened plate down to level it, and tightening to fit.
Anycubic Photon Mono Features
As a budget SLA printer option, the Photon Mono doesn’t have much to write home about in special features, but the variety it does have makes it a high-quality option for its price range and a lasting option if you’ll be happy with a budget printer for the foreseeable future.
Quick FEP Replacement
Replacing the FEP sheet on the resin vat is designed to be an easy process, replacements can be ordered from the AnyCubic store and simply need to be screwed onto the bottom of the vat.
Top Cover Detection
Thanks to a sensor on the back, the machine can detect when the cover is removed and automatically pause the printing. While I can’t think of any practical uses for this, it means that you won’t be able to start the print leaving the lid off, and if you desperately need to access the inside mid-way through then you simply need to take off the cover.
Matrix Parallel Light Source
With the UV light distributed evenly underneath the LCD screen, the strength of the light and the speed of the curing process will remain even along the whole printing surface. This is just a small feature that greatly improves the quality and consistency of prints, as well as the machine’s potential lifespan. Thanks to this, you can be sure that wherever your model is printing, the results will be the same, and models will have the right amount of curing time no matter the size or quantity. Another bonus is the improved heat dissipation from the device.
Anycubic Photon Mono 3D Test Prints
To put this printer to the test, I've printed a selection of models to highlight the impressive capabilities of this budget machine, and give some examples of the quality you can expect from models of varying detail, material, and size.
Each of the models was post-processed first with a small pickling jar of 99.9% IPA to rinse off the majority of the excess resin, and then using the Wash and Cure pro on clean mode with more IPA before curing the models on the machine’s cure mode.
Loaded on the supplied USB stick was a print file for a mesh cube with the Anycubic Photon wordmark on banners inside. This model really shows off the capabilities of the printer, with only small structures to build upon the print could fail more easily on a lesser machine with not enough surface area to keep the next layer attached, but not only did the photon manage to print this with ease but even maintained the correct dimensional accuracy in the case of the base piece which is marked with its diameter.
Though it only has a small print area, a scaled-down statuette like this one is still easily printable and great for a small gift or decoration. This model was printed in a translucent blue resin to create a striking energy effect when painted. The details of the model printed incredibly well and are clearly defined, which makes it excellent to paint after the fact.
Aperture Companion Cube Dice
A popular use for SLA printing is for creating positives for resin casting. These dice models are perhaps on the more difficult side in terms of complexity, but as you can see the details came through decently, though the automatically generated support structures were in places that have caused surface errors and deformities in the number faces. This could likely be improved with different cure time settings or support placement and create some more perfect molds for casting.
Water Mage Miniature
Miniatures for tabletop games are one of the bigger selling points of the smaller SLA printers, as they’re the perfect combination of high-resolution and low price. This printer is one of the better options for that use case, as you can see with this stunning miniature. The book and mage are printed in a basic grey filament, while the magical effects and base were printed in the same translucent blue, although at different times causing different finishes. The details on the model are incredibly defined considering the ~2inch size of the print, and the finish of the resin textures came out incredibly.
The specifications for this printer are very reasonable, and competitive with many other printers on the market.
Anycubic Photon Mono Specs:
- System: ANYCUBIC Photon Mono
- Operation: 2.8 inch Touch Screen
- Software: ANYCUBIC Photon workshop
- Connectivity: USB
- Technology: LCD-based SLA
- Light-source: high-quality filament（wavelength 405nm）
- XY Res.: 0.051mm 2560*1620（2K）dd>
- Z-Axis Res.: 0.01mm
- Layer Res.: 0.01 ~ 0.15mm
- Printing Speed: MAX 50mm/h
- Rated Power: 45W
- Printer Size : 227mm(L)*222mm(W)*383mm(H)
- Build Volume: 130mm(L）*80mm(W）*165mm（H）
- Material: 405nm UV Resin
- Net Weight: ~4.5kg
Final Thoughts Should You Buy the Anycubic Photon Mono?
It’s no surprise that even Anycubic’s budget model from the photon series is one of the best value SLA machines on the market, for its low price the results that you can produce with the right settings and the right materials are absolutely phenomenal. With an incredibly competitive layer cure speed and, thanks to the matrix UV technology, a completely even cure speed, along with its 2k resolution screen which on this smaller machine more than suits its capabilities, the Photon Mono is an easy recommendation to make. This kind of printer won’t suit anyone looking to make larger models, but for dice goblins, miniature enthusiasts, and not to mention entry-level SLA customers, the value you can get out of this machine is unmatched.
Your turn: which 3D printers do you recommend?