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A little about me firstly.

 

I'm a complete novice when it comes to 3D printers of any description. Like may whom finally venture into purchasing a 3D printer I have been using CAD to produce 3D printed models via a printing company with satisfying results. For sometime i have been considering this purchase and the time is right, prices have fallen significantly in the entry level machines costs at printing companies and shipping all add up. Whilst not my ultimate machine i decided to purchase the Elegoo Mars to get my feet wet.

 

I love this hobby and along my way have self taught myself a wide variety of skills from electronics and programming to producing etched artwork, 3D CAD, PCB making, resin molding and the like so my theory is it can't be that hard. The information on this machine and the resins are sketchy to say the least so I start with an open mind.

 

Having said all that I am under no illusion that along the way there will be failures and hopefully from them failures which hopefully I will gain more experience.

 

This topic is for designed to share those experiences and maybe help others to make the decision they are contemplating.

Success or Failure i will post it.

 

My machine arrived yesterday and sat quietly in the corner until this morning when at 5:00 am i unboxed it and started the journey. After doing the set up procedure as instructed i started the 1st ever print, the test file it comes with. As i type this post the machine is whirring away in the background.

 

1384821685_ElegooMars.jpg.f1f7fd701c8e34993da7300f3ca698dd.jpg

 

The first thing to say is the machine is well built, many of the reviews on this machine slate the positioning of the USB port and On/Off switch which are at the rear of the machine, whilst not ideal it doesn't bother me that much. It could be extended with a simple plug in lead and enclosure (printed of course) and put under the machine so it is at the front.

What drew me to this machine was the Tank cover which is a one piece acrylic lift-off design. Of the machines i looked at the Anycubic Photon and Photon S had hinged lids and i thought this a possible weakness in design maybe not so much on the Photon which is mainly metal which cannot be said of the newer Photon S machine. As i don't have either model i cannot and probably will not ever confirm this.

 

One thing to note is that the machine does not come with any resin supplied. I plumped for the makers own brand Water Washable Photopolymer Resin (Ceramic Grey) which is more expensive due to the water washable part but probably safer to use. This of course does not mean you can wash your parts in the sink! 

 

The file has now printed 91% but i must admit that up until 47% i could not see if the print had stuck to the build plate. Nerve racking times as there are plenty of post out there on the web that say sand the build plate, wipe it with PTFE  etc. Thankfully mine has adherred to the build plate sucessfully without any alterations to the print file or the machine settings, so i guess the lesson there is to trust the manufacturer. I will however admit to wiping the build plate with Isopropyl alcohol before filling the resin into the tank, allowing time for it to flash off and comke back to room temeperature.

 

Whilst i'm waiting for the final 9% to print i will take the oppertunity to mention that i had thought that the Resin would have come with some data about the minimum wall thickness, embossed and engraved surface detail thicknesses but it did not. As a designer i have worked with these guidelines for many years and so the next print will need to be something that determines these guidelines.

 

The print has finished and in due course, once cleaned i will post the results.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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10 minutes ago, Ark Royal said:

One thing to note is that the machine does not come with any resin supplied. I plumped for the makers own brand Water Washable Photopolymer Resin (Ceramic Grey) which is more expensive due to the water washable part but probably safer to use. This of course does not mean you can wash your parts in the sink! 

 

 

Congratulations on making the jump into 3D printer ownership. It sounds like you've gone in with your eyes open - there will be frustrations along the way - but being able to iterate designs is the beauty of having the printer at home!

 

On wall thickness, I tend to design for 0.5mm BUT in practice this depends on the size of the wall in question, and how well if is supported on other sides. For 2mm/N scale wagons, I've concluded I need to design sides of open wagons etc considerably over scale thickness if I don't want them to bow inward. (even though it will successfully print at scale thickness).

 

One word on the resin though - even if it is "water soluble" I'd really urge you NOT to wash uncured resin in the sink! Even if it's water based rather than solvent based, it is still composed of some pretty nasty chemicals, which will harm wildlife through the watercourse, just as handling uncured resin directly will harm you. The water washable stuff is really designed to save you having to buy in supplies of IPA or whatever, rather than intended to be washed in the sink.

 

I think the best advice is to simply let water (or IPA) that is dirty with resin evaporate, then bin the sludge.

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Quote

One word on the resin though - even if it is "water soluble" I'd really urge you NOT to wash uncured resin in the sink! Even if it's water based rather than solvent based, it is still composed of some pretty nasty chemicals, which will harm wildlife through the watercourse, just as handling uncured resin directly will harm you. The water washable stuff is really designed to save you having to buy in supplies of IPA or whatever, rather than intended to be washed in the sink.

 

Couldn't agree more, that's is what i intend to do 

 

Thanks Justin for the wall thickness information. 

 

 

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Test Print Results

 

Picture Speak Louder Than Words 

 

Pair.jpg.a3851278ef34d226bdcc5e9695fcbdcb.jpg

 

1389340090_Single1.jpg.5f4f98bf8294396802e1d88f682127f1.jpg

 

1332044386_Single2.jpg.503a071aedd63e0f396407106325984e.jpg

 

Top.jpg.237311c5cb7bd15f676e01924cdca183.jpg

 

Impressed !

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I've got a couple just like that ;)

 

The Mars is great, although I haven't used it that much yet.  I designed and printed two sleeper spacing tools, which are really simple but worked first time.  I just printed these directly on the build plate.

 

Next will be some station canopy support columns.

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Really interested to see this as I have come close a couple of times to abusing the credit card on one of these. The more I am seeing the more that my will power is failing. 

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36 minutes ago, Kris said:

Really interested to see this as I have come close a couple of times to abusing the credit card on one of these. The more I am seeing the more that my will power is failing. 

LOL Kris i know the feeling 

Stick with me - i'll break your will power !

 

So as part of this venture i have decided to keep a track of the consumables usage with a view to putting a price on the cost of each print.

 

If my maths are correct then the test print used 23.6666 cm3 of resin and cost £1.04 for both items.

 

Hard to put a cost on electrics as the print took 3hrs 30mins even though the Elegoo Mars told me 4hrs 19 mins :scratchhead:

My smart meter was at 24p and ended at 37p but i consumed too many cups of coffee during the print time and the smart meter rockets when you put a kettle on. A search of the internet gives a power consumption of between 50 to 60 watts per hour with the fan on constant and the LED screen intermittently on. So an average 60w light bulb consumes £0.007 per hour so rounded up £0.03 for the electricity.

 

Materials were minimal with careful handling meant 1 pair of disposable gloves, 8 kitchen towels and a beaker of IPA which is stored ready to be a 1st rinse on the next items. Resin wastage was kept to a minimum so given that i'd call that acceptable wastage.

 

Total cost around £1.07 for both models

 

Concerns on Resin Smell

 

One of my concerns was the vapours that were given off during printing. These have been documented on the web as being nauseous. Its worth pointing out that the unit should be used in a well ventillated area and face masks are provided. I kept the outside door open during the print, the fan runs constantly while printing and this spreads the fumes around the room but i didn't have any concerns over the smell. However when i was emptying the tank of left over resin the door was closed and although the machine was turned off, and thus the fan not running the smell was quite pungent.

 

 

 

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5 hours ago, 55020 said:

I've got a couple just like that ;)

 

 

Game of chess then sir ?

 

Good luck for the next try, feel free to share 

 

Mark

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21 minutes ago, Ark Royal said:

LOL Kris i know the feeling 

Stick with me - i'll break your will power !

 

So as part of this venture i have decided to keep a track of the consumables usage with a view to putting a price on the cost of each print.

 

If my maths are correct then the test print used 23.6666 cm3 of resin and cost £1.04 for both items.

 

Hard to put a cost on electrics as the print took 3hrs 30mins even though the Elegoo Mars told me 4hrs 19 mins :scratchhead:

My smart meter was at 24p and ended at 37p but i consumed too many cups of coffee during the print time and the smart meter rockets when you put a kettle on. A search of the internet gives a power consumption of between 50 to 60 watts per hour with the fan on constant and the LED screen intermittently on. So an average 60w light bulb consumes £0.007 per hour so rounded up £0.03 for the electricity.

 

Materials were minimal with careful handling meant 1 pair of disposable gloves, 8 kitchen towels and a beaker of IPA which is stored ready to be a 1st rinse on the next items. Resin wastage was kept to a minimum so given that i'd call that acceptable wastage.

 

Total cost around £1.07 for both models

 

Concerns on Resin Smell

 

One of my concerns was the vapours that were given off during printing. These have been documented on the web as being nauseous. Its worth pointing out that the unit should be used in a well ventillated area and face masks are provided. I kept the outside door open during the print, the fan runs constantly while printing and this spreads the fumes around the room but i didn't have any concerns over the smell. However when i was emptying the tank of left over resin the door was closed and although the machine was turned off, and thus the fan not running the smell was quite pungent.

 

 

 

What size are the towers that you have printed?

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Kris

 

There in lies a tale.

 

Bear in mind these are provided with the machine on a USB stick. There are 2 files , 1 is the .cbddlb file which is the ChituBox file that provides the slicing and build gcode information this was loaded into the machine to print. The other is an OBJ file which i imported into my CAD package. Strangely the 2 files show quite different dimensions.

 

The actual printed dimensions are:

 

Base Diameter 30 mm

Top Diameter 24 mm

Height 50 mm

 

I'm not sure why they are different. I am tinkering with the slicing software as we speak for the next print. Not much in the way of documentation so i may be a while. What i can say is that the file i have imported into the slicing software is coming up with an initial message of "The model is too small, do you want to scale to the fit size ?" (botom corner).

 

image.png.b38e3f55d74d812b91b0ee7115b825f4.png

 

Its is apparent that you can scale items within this software and so that would equate to the reason for the differences in size. 

I can only assume that this was done for the test model sent with the printer as i did not touch any setting before i printed the file.

 

Why do you ask ?

 

Mark

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Congrats on a successful first print. I have a Photon and now a Mars as of last week that I'm yet to unpack.  99% of print failures are due to bad levelling of the build plate, incorrect settings for the base layers  or insufficient support structures, you shouldn't need to sand the plate unless it is not true flat.

 

If you use microfibre cloths (the soft fluffy ones like Teddy bears) to wipe out the vat, the FEP sheet will stay less scratched over time. I've found that they can be re-used for several weeks if after use they are given a quick swish in the IPA that I have just washed the parts in..

 

Also, you can keep the resin in the vat for ages if you aren't printing - - I've  gone 3 weeks between prints with a vat full of resin  because I forgot about it and the resin was  still good to go after a bit of a stir - just don't let the sun at it!

Edited by monkeysarefun
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I’ve also had a Photon for 6 months or so, and bought a Mars last week. I dislike having to remove the cover all the time, but the printer is nicely put together and is slightly more user friendly than the Photon to get started. My first major print showed a lot of layering marks, more so than the Photon, I’m re-running another to compare. 
 

The Mars smells markedly less than the Photon. So far I’m impressed with it. I’m glad I didn’t just buy a second Photon. 

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Hi monkeysarefun

 

6 hours ago, monkeysarefun said:

If you use microfibre cloths (the soft fluffy ones like Teddy bears) to wipe out the vat, the FEP sheet will stay less scratched over time. I've found that they can be re-used for several weeks if after use they are given a quick swish in the IPA that I have just washed the parts in..

 

Thanks for the tip. 

 

Now that is interesting, i hadn't really thought about replacement of the FEP sheet other than if it got damaged and certainly not over several weeks !

So i guess another lesson learnt " Be prepared to change the FEP sheet." As the Elegoo Mars kit i purchased did not come with replacement FEP sheets that's certainly one to order now.

 

It then occurred to me that if the FEP sheet failed during print when the vat was full, resin would seep underneath the vat as it is retained by a lip around the screen and you would effectively be curing resin directly onto the screen. :nono: Then what do you do ?

Is there a chemical that would soften the cured resin without damaging the screen ? Has this happened to anyone on this forum ?

Better to have the answers before the event.

 

Hi njee

 

Both of you purchased a second machine at roughly the same time so the moons must have been aligned.... or a big sale event.

Either way you must enoy or make a lot of 3d prints to warrant another machine. Having said that it strikes me as one part of the hobby where it could quite easily become addictive if you are having success after success. Anyway its great to have others on this forum that are using the same machine.

 

 

I want to highlight that the user manual states fill the vat 1/3rd full of resin. On my 1st print i felt this a little conservative and went closer to the 1/2 full point. Whilst printing i noticed that the level had risen due to the displacement caused by the print plate. Nothing surprising there but sometimes you overlook the simplest of things when new to the hobby. Given the statement about damaged FEP sheets above and the possible consequences, stick to the manufacturers guidelines !!!!

 

You can pause a print and always add more resin , allow the bubbles to settle and then continue your print.

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Whilst setting up my next test print , i have been looking at the features of Chitubox the slicer software.

One cool feature is the ability to set the price of your resin and then the software calculates the price of the model for you.

 

1808625219_ScreenShotSettings.jpg.53cbd12529198be81c4fc67b501c0168.jpg

 

2116966442_ScreenShotResins.jpg.bbf89fa7f1241c2cbc724a2392cf06f0.jpg

 

Then when you open a .stl file into Chitubox for slicing 

 

849859311_ScreenShotRookSlicing.jpg.319378766acf7f4d47147e433b44534a.jpg

 

In my case i wanted to open the 1st print file so i opened the .cbddlp file and it converted it for imaging to stl then i hit slice.

 

1062238220_ScreenShotResinsPrice.jpg.772bd09621264ff1c02adc893c3b273e.jpg

 

et voila, £1.03 which as per my original costing post was 1p out.

 

Nice feature anyway.

 

Mark

 

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2nd Test Print

 

For my 2nd test print i wanted to determine some design guidelines for the resin i am using rather than jump straight in and have a failed print with no idea why it failed.

This is kind of hard to know what to do so what parameters do i need to know

 

Material Thickness

 

Screenshot_Material_Thickness.jpg.1aeb7d0265b1ed25e916dbf2d2489ded.jpg

 

Embossed Text Detail

 

Screenshot_Embossed_Text.jpg.13b28e33e05c2f33ee6bea7a86570585.jpg

 

Embossed Rivet Detail

 

Screenshot_Embossed_Rivets.jpg.eb8da8edd3acf3aeb7d4f6760f82b791.jpg

 

Embossed Cylinder Detail

 

Screenshot_Embossed_Cylinders.jpg.0b822ee7162cbac6b02445fc355a118b.jpg

 

 

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Embossed Strip Detail 

 

Screenshot_Embossed_Strips.jpg.2d27b989adcacbc9f4545b6e05d95e80.jpg

 

Engraved Detail

 

Screenshot_Engraved_Slots.jpg.aa0534a959c0c2052852e3d8255ac7ce.jpg

 

Phew think that covers it !

 

1st Model Slicing

 

The file was sliced at the same 0.05mm layer height.

I created a folder on the USB stick prior to exporting this file and then once exported i uploaded it into the Machine

It failed to recognise it.

I removed the entire folder , done the process again without adding a folder.

The software added a folder and the machine accepted the code.

 

The printer is whirring once more 

 

 

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Test like these are invaluable. Here is my simpler version, but just as useful:

1684442820_experimentalgauges.jpg.d1de4a47afdcb515917a1f4bbc72de4e.jpg

 

Unlike you I did not add lettering to denote the different sizes and really regret not doing so. Might be tempted to revisit and add it.

 

Also worth printing at different layer heights and exposures.

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Resin Test Piece Results.

 

I'm honestly blown away by this little machine. I half expected this to be at best a partial failure, mainly down to the minimum 0.4mm material thickness.

The file took a lot less than the 12 mins it said to print, during the print the characteristic pop as the build plate peels the cured layer off the FEP could not be heard and i'd resigned myself to it being stuck to the FEP.

 

How wrong i was !

 

593334269_ResinTestPieceResults.jpg.12d75f86e7298c985e404c4197d2e9d2.jpg

 

Length: 40mm

Width: 20mm

Min Thickness: 0.4mm

Max Thickness 1.5 mm

Cost: £0.03

Electricity £0.02 (no cups of coffee).

 

I can't really discuss the test results as the item has not fully cured. Certainly it looks helpful for determining seperation between detail, widths and depths of detail.

I measured the actual length and width as shrinkage is reported at 7% . Uncured it is on the money in both measurements.

 

Mark

 

PS I've included the .OBJ file should anyone wish to use it 

Resin Test Piece v6.obj

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8 minutes ago, MikeTrice said:

Test like these are invaluable. Here is my simpler version, but just as useful:

1684442820_experimentalgauges.jpg.d1de4a47afdcb515917a1f4bbc72de4e.jpg

 

Unlike you I did not add lettering to denote the different sizes and really regret not doing so. Might be tempted to revisit and add it.

 

Also worth printing at different layer heights and exposures.

 

 

Mike,

 

Very nice, looks like it may also be interlocking if you had 2 for fits and clearances ?

 

Mark

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Posted (edited)

Something else for you own tests is to print at different angles.

 

On my own test piece I can determine any enlargement that occurs during printing and at present get a 0.1mm enlargement on each edge so the overall block would be original length + 0.2mm. A reduced exposure reduces this enlargement, an increased exposure adds to it. Once I know the enlargement I simply adjust the 3D model accordingly if I want two parts to fit.

 

I don't believe the increase is a uniform %. In my case I am using a Photon.

 

Like you I also did a specific test for rivets which included their shape. Any test print like this is time and money well invested:

1530105017_rivettest.jpg.2b587be11d5b432aa5d4aec9e471e259.jpg

Edited by MikeTrice
Rivet test added

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15 minutes ago, MikeTrice said:

Like you I also did a specific test for rivets which included their shape. Any test print like this is time and money well invested:

 

 

Totally agree Mike.

Plenty of food for thought .... Thank You

 

Mark

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5 hours ago, Ark Royal said:

As the Elegoo Mars kit i purchased did not come with replacement FEP sheets that's certainly one to order now.

 

Mark, if you enroll to the Elegoo Mars official facebook page they will send you a free FEP pack.  Of course it would be better if they simply included it with the printer, but for some reason they've chosen not to.


https://www.facebook.com/groups/elegoomars/
 

The LED screen is also considered a consumable, so getting a spare from Amazon when they become available is not a bad idea.  I've no idea how long the screen lasts, but I figured it'd be better having one on the shelf waiting rather than having a prnter out of action for a while. 

 

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55020 "Nimbus"

 

Thanks for the info on the free FEP pack and the LCD Screen which is bound to go wrong when you least expect it.

 

Mark

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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, Ark Royal said:

Now that is interesting, i hadn't really thought about replacement of the FEP sheet other than if it got damaged and certainly not over several weeks

Sorry, I've written something that wasn't clear. I was referring to the microfiber cloth lasting several weeks, The fep should last a lot longer if you treat it right, but that said it is wise to always have have a spare handy. 

I cracked the LCD on my photon and a second one failed after an unbelievably hot day here that also fried the LCD on my multimeter  so now I make sure I have a spare of that too.

Edited by monkeysarefun

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Hi monkeysarefun

 

Thanks for clearing that up, i thought it a bit strange but now it's clearer, either way you prompted me to get some spare FEP sheets - fore warned is fore armed.

I will also get a spare LCD screen aswell. 

 

Mark

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