ANYCUBIC set out the manufacturer and distribute a solid, budget SLA 3D printer for people to enter the market without needing to dig so far into their pocket. I think they done pretty well with the ANYCUBIC Photon Zero.
As expected with any budget 3D printer there are going to be benefits that we love, along with downsides that we can just about put up with, but that’s the tradeoff that we should expect.
They definitely have better options if you want higher quality prints and better 3D printer build quality, but if you want a cheap, simple SLA 3D printer this should be your destination.
SLA printers are known to produce finer and smoother prints compared to FDM printers. This comes with a catch; SLA printers are often much costlier.
Due to this reason we would often consider buying an FDM 3D printer, but there is a solution and it is ANYCUBIC’s photon Zero printer. At a price of around $219 (as of official website), it is one of the most affordable professional quality 3D printers out in the market.
The price of the printer can reduce and retail at much lower rates in the range of around $170 (as of official website). This is a UV based resin 3D printer that uses an LCD mask plate to print.
Features of the Anycubic Photon Zero
- 16x anti-aliasing
- Precise Z axis
- Marked resin vat
- UV cooling system
- Improved UV module
- ANYCUBIC’s customized slicer software
- Different exposure printing at the same time
Removes all aliasing effect and provide up to 16x anti-aliasing which can produce highly refined edges. This in turn produces highly smooth surface.
The Z axis is connected to a linear rail that makes the movement along the axis smooth. This also reduces the design complexity of the printer and makes it compact.
Marked Resin Vat
The Photon zero comes with a rein vat that has the levels of filling marked on both of the longer sides of the container. This can avoid possible miscalculation and spilling of resin when the print surface is dipped into it.
UV Cooling System
The printer comes with a dedicated cooling system for its UV module. This increases the life span of the module and can allow longer work hours on a single project.
Improved UV Module
The UV module used in Photon zero is an upgraded one from other previous models. Even though the technology is still diffusion; the printer makes use of various refraction techniques to produce parallel rays of UV spread across the LCD masking screen with equal luminosity or intensity across the plate.
ANYCUBIC’s Customized Slicer Software
The printer comes with customized slicing software that works efficiently with the Photon zero printers. This slicer software increasing the slicing speed and has the ability model hollowing. Another feature of this software is text fitting.
Different Exposure Printing at the Same Time
The Photon zero 3D printers allow its users to print up to 8 different models in the same time at different exposure parameters. This allows the user to find the best exposure settings for a particular resin in a single go.
ANYCUBIC provide with all the required tools and accessories to get stared in setting up and printing. the package of accessories include service card, user manual, SD card reader, power adaptor, proper tool set and other cleaning tools like funnel, glove and scraper.
Benefits of the Anycubic Photon Zero
The first thing about the Photon Zero is it’s extremely low entry costs for any people looking to expand their capabilities with an SLA 3D printer. You’re getting entry into this market for under $200 which is a serious change in the perceived high costs of resin-based printing.
In many 3D printers, one of the most tedious jobs is to set up the level of the build plate. This is due to the fact that most of the 3D printer’s designs rely on a build surface supported by 4 levelling screws. The Photon Zero along with some other models of ANYCUBIC comes with a single screw levelling which is very easy to set up.
The low resolution of the printer is masked to a great extent with the help of Anti-aliasing technology provided by Photon zero.
The print surface provides higher degree of adhesion by using sanded aluminium surface. Sanded aluminium has the ability to hold larger print weights upside down.
One of the main advantages of the printer is its compact and simple design Z axis. The Z axis a linear single rail through which the motion takes place. Hence, it is very easy to set it up.
The build plate moving through the Z axis is fixed to it with a single grub screw. This means that this design removes the task of levelling with the help of multiple screws on the edges. Just tightening the single grub screw does the entire job.
Out the box the printer comes very few parts. This makes it an easy to assemble 3D printer. The Photon Zero can be set up and running with a couple of minutes with the help of the manual. It does not require a higher learning curve to set it up.
ANYCUBIC has a huge community online that is there to help whenever you run into an issue of troubleshooting.
Unlike other SLA printers which weigh a lot; the Photon Zero is a light weight design. With a weight of 4.7 kg this is one of the lightest resin-based 3D printers available in the market.
Another advantage of the printer is the quick FEP replacement design from the bottom of the resin vat. This can be accomplished by removing a bunch of screws from the bottom of the FEP.
One of the main advantages of the Photon Zero printer is its low-power consumption. The printer has a maximum power consumption of 30W. This a very low value compared to other SLA printers.
The cleaning process associated with the printer after use is a tedious task and requires proper accessories to do it. The Photon zero’s package comes with a scraper, funnel and gloves to clean up the residual resin in the vat.
You can choose the amount of resin packed with the printer while purchasing. There 3 options to purchase from; which are none, 1, 2 litres or no resin.
The printer use slicing software called the photon workshop that is customized for the printer itself. The Photon zero uses a modified version of the software which ran in the previous Photon printers. The new slicing software can slice an 80 Mb file in around 32 seconds.
The resin exposure test is given in the USB provided with the accessories. This helps get started fast testing a resin.
ANYCUBIC have a great track record of customer service, so you can trust you’ll get a speedy response for any issues that may arise.
You’re getting a 1 year warranty along with life time technical support.
Downsides of the Anycubic Photon Zero
The printer has a low resolution mask LCD which gives a resolution of 480p. This can often increase the fuzziness of the print while printing finer details.
Being a resin-based 3D printer can bring a lot of disadvantages based on its material availability. Unlike an FDM printer which has many printing materials with different properties and different colours to print from, the resin based SLA printers have a limited option.
When it comes to the Photon Zero, the options of choosing a resin shrinks to the resins that chemically bind in the particular frequency of UV used to print. The frequency of the UV used in Photon zero is 405 nm.
Due to the popularity of FDM printers in the market of 3D printing, they have more attention in the development of materials and upgrades. SLA printers are less popular, resulting in less attention but it’s slowly gaining traction.
The Photon Workshop only works in Windows and Mac; it is not supported in any Linux based Operating system. You have to use this slicer so you don’t have the option to make use of ChiTuBox’s slicer due to the file type the Photon Zero can read.
It’s cheaper but it also looks cheaper which I guess is expected, but still worth mentioning.
Some people have complained about needing to constantly level the bed, but not very often so it could be down to another factor.
One of the disadvantages of the printer is its smaller build volume. With a build volume of around 0.8 litres, it clearly proves that the volume is not sufficient for large projects.
The Z-axis is a lead screw and linear rail setup which doesn’t give it the same level of stability as the original Photon or Photon S, but that’s where the lower price comes in.
Specifications of the Anycubic Photon Zero
- System: ANYCUBIC Photon Zero
- Operation: 2.8- inch Colour TFT Screen
- Software: ANYCUBIC Photon Workshop
- Input format: STL
- Connectivity: USB memory stick
- Materials: 405nm UV-resin
- Technology: LCD Shadow Masking
- Light source: UV-LED (wave length 405nm)
- Z axis Accuracy: 0.01mm
- XY Resolution: 0.1155mm ie; 854*480 (480p)
- Layer thickness: 0.01-0.2 mm
- Print speed: 20mm/h
- Rated Power: 30W
- Dimensions: 180mm (L)x 195mm (W)x 367mm (H)
- Build volume: 97mm (L)x 54mm (W)x 150mm (H)
- Net weight: ~4.7kg
Things to be Considered
Over long use, the Z axis can make noise under wear. In this condition, you should apply lubricant to the Z lead screw.
Avoid using sharp objects to scrap the resin residue off FEP film so you don’t damage it.
The platform must be removed carefully without letting it fall on the curing screen. The screen is sensitive and rash use can cause damage.
Do not leave the left over resin in the printers vat for more than two days if you are not using the printer. This might make the resin lose its chemical properties over time. Try to filter and store the resin in a proper container.
There is a possibility that the FEP film can lose its tension over the course of time. This can be prevented by tightening the screws at the bottom of the resin vat.
If the printer or the curing screen is stained with resin, use alcohol and gently wipe the stained surface to remove it.
Customer Reviews of the Anycubic Photon Zero
With an average customer rating of 4.4 in amazon and within the Amazon’s Best Seller Ranks (#53 in 3D Printers) it shows itself to be a worthy contender in the 3D printing market.
The ANYCUBIC Photon Zero has a majority of positive reviews. Most of the customers found it very easy to set up start printing. The printer has a nice user inter face which most of the customers liked.
The most of the users praised the product for its premium build quality at such a low price. Customers also found it very easy to get help online from social media groups of ANYCUBIC and the life time technical service itself.
Some customers ran with the issue of the printer locking up in the middle of a print. This required them to start from the beginning.
Many customers found it easy to print with less parameter to tweak while printing. Many users found the accessories to be very useful for cleaning the resin and fixing the printer with the provided toolbox.
Another feature that the customers loved the printer for is its ability to print multiple models in varying exposures of UV. This helped them in getting started quickly and easily by finding the right exposure for the resin being used.
Verdict – Worth Buying?
If you are a beginner to 3D printing and you are starting out with an SLA printer, then ANYCUBIC’s Photon Zero is the best budget SLA printers out in the market which is worth buying.
The printer is beginner friendly and comes in a very few parts which are easy to set up with the help of the manual. Even though the printer produces a quality that is par with other SLA printers out in the market, it still produces some fuzziness on the print surface.
If you are pursuing 3D printing as a hobby, then this is not a printer for you and you should consider buying a better version of the ANYCUBIC Photon. This is due to the fact that the printer is not suitable for printing large models.
This 3D printer is better suited to small projects and miniature printing, without wanting to go all-in.
Another major benefit of buying this printer is the simple and understandable GUI provided for the user to operate it. The GUI comes with simple layouts and less tweaking making a lot of work easy.
If you are planning on buying a portable and budget SLA printer, then this is the best option. With a light weight and compact design the printer weighs around 4.7 KG.
One of the major benefits of buying any ANYCUBIC printer is the social media community available to help you when you run with an issue. The tech support of ANYCUBIC is also good and gives you a life time support.
If you are looking for a solution to model small miniatures or test models cheaply, then this one of the best printers to consider purchasing.
Check the price of the ANYCUBIC Photon Zero on Amazon.