When you’re looking for flawless surface quality and intricate details in your 3D printed models, an FDM 3D printer just isn’t going to cut it – what you need is a resin 3D printer. Up until a few years ago, resin-based processes like stereolithography (SLA) were largely reserved for professionals and small businesses with a few thousand dollars to burn, leaving the average maker without access to this high-resolution 3D printing technology.
But this all changed when several 3D printer manufacturers started rolling out affordable and surprisingly adept LCD 3D printers. In a newly formed budget-friendly market segment that was first conquered by the Anycubic Photon, the Elegoo Mars was one of the top challengers to emerge shortly thereafter.
Unveiled back in 2017, the Elegoo Mars remains one of the most popular desktop 3D printers for consumers on a strict budget. Priced below $400, we reviewed the Elegoo Mars and found it to offer exceptional print quality, not to mention it was a cinch to assemble, level, and get printing.
Now, the Chinese manufacturer has gone back to the drawing board, refining and improving upon its flagship LCD 3D printer – resulting in the Elegoo Mars Pro. This isn’t just a rebrand with a few simple tweaks, the Elegoo Mars Pro actually has an astounding number of design and performance enhancements, ultimately improving upon the already reliable printing process of its predecessor.
Priced at $299, the Pro version is just slightly more expensive than its low-priced predecessor, but still quite affordable considering what it has to offer.
It would appear December is the month of resin for us at All3DP. With a review of the Peopoly Phenom in the works, and privileged first-looks at both Creality’s upcoming LD-002R and now Elegoo’s Mars Pro ahead of their launches, things are looking peachy for those in the market for a desktop resin printer.
Ahead of bashing all of our thoughts of the Elegoo Mars Pro into a full review, here are our initial findings and a whistlestop tour of the new features and our experience printing so far.
Out of the box, the Elegoo Mars Pro is nearly indistinguishable from the original Mars. Modestly packaged, but coming with a generous box of accessories to ease print cleanup and post-processing, the printer cuts a functional figure with no unnecessary bloat.
The Mars Pro boasts of several subtle design changes, all the result of user feedback, claims Elegoo. We recap what’s new in other sections of this review-in-progress, but will jump in early to say the two most visible improvements, the relocation of the USB port to the front, and the rubber gasket (to prevent the smell escaping the print chamber) are both sensible, unexciting changes that – as best as this initial summary can conclude – sum the machine up pretty well.
Not covered in the company’s coverage of the Mars Pro’s announcement is the inclusion of Elegoo’s new style of resin vat. Similar to its recently launched spare resin vat kit – a pack of four plastic trays for making quick swaps of resin with no cleanup – here the new tray comes in heavy-duty machined metal and holds more resin than the original Mars’ did. Another nice enhancement is the inclusion of a maximum resin fill line.
The original Elegoo Mars is a simple and effective machine – only small non-deal-breaking niggles drew the focus of our criticism. But really, there was little about it worth getting up in arms about. After a few days of frantic printing to put this update out before the holidays, we feel pretty confident saying the Mars Pro hits the mark in surpassing the normal Mars, ironing out the aforementioned frustrations while maintaining a fuss-free printing experience.
It’s quiet (oh so quiet), the print quality and reliability appear to hold up to the standard set by the original Mars, and a slick update to the firmware means the Mars Pro makes use of lighter files, quickening the workflow with no perceptible dip in quality. As for its long-term reliability, and that of the firmware, not to mention getting creative and ambitious with different resins and complicated prints – we’ve yet to truly test the Mars Pro.
We’ll continue printing over the coming weeks to bring you a full verdict, but so far, so good. Launching mid-January for approximately $300, the Mars Pro will be a tad more expensive than the original Mars, but with our longer-term verdict, we hope to definitively answer the question “Is it worth the upgrade?” Stay tuned.
Comparing the Elegoo Mars Pro and the original Elegoo Mars, the first difference you might notice is the “P” added to the brand name located beneath the touchscreen. Otherwise, a quick surface-level glance doesn’t seem to indicate much variance between the two.
Like its predecessor, the Elegoo Mars Pro features a compact 120 x 68 x 155 mm build volume, a 2560 x 1440 pixels screen resolution, along with a 3.5-inch color touchscreen. Furthermore, this machine essentially has the same black and red frame rounded frame design, UV-blocking lid, and base.
At this point, you may be wondering what exactly makes this new version so special? Well, most of the improvements have been subtly implemented to the design or made under the hood of this LCD 3D printer. While it might not look like much, the Elegoo Mars Pro has been reworked to provide a much better all-around resin 3D printing experience.
Here’s a quick recap of the improvements that the manufacturer has made to the Elegoo Mars Pro.
Perhaps the most notable enhancement made to the Elegoo Mars product line is the improved Matrix UV lighting, which offers improved UV power with faster curing speed. According to the manufacturer, this refined LCD technology cures the first layer of a print in 45 seconds, followed by six seconds per each subsequent layer.
The Elegoo Mars Pro also has increased light uniformity that provides equal power across the entire build chamber, making the outer edges of your 3D models as precise as the parts positioned over the center of the LCD screen. You’ll also find a new build plate with a high-quality CD grain surface, which supposedly increases the success rate of the oftentimes fickle resin 3D printing process.
Aiming to make the printing setup more convenient for users, one notable change found in the Elegoo Mars Pro is that the USB port has been moved to the front of the device. In other words, no more blindly reaching behind the machine and fidgeting around to tether your PC to the 3D printer.
Underneath the UV-blocking lid, you’ll also find a new stepper motor and MGN linear rail that aims to make the 3D printing process smoother, steadier, and quieter. The manufacturer also claims to have integrated new M6*8 screws to prevent wear and tear from longterm use. Additionally, to help contain the hazardous odor of resin material, the Elegoo team has implemented an extra cover casket to seal any gaps between the base and UV lid.
Another major change that you’ll notice on the Elegoo Mars Pro is a built-in carbon filter attached to the 3D printer’s frame. This was added to improve the absorption of volatilized resin at a high rate, making the hazardous resin 3D printing process safer for you and those around you. Anyone who has used a resin 3D printer knows how rank and nauseating the smell of resin can be, so it’s a pleasant surprise to see a carbon filter mounted onto a sub-$300 3D printer.
Elegoo has also refined the compatibility between the Mars Pro and Chitubox 3D printing slicer. The exclusive “CTB” file format is reportedly 20 times smaller than standard files while also maintaining small details featured in larger 3D models.
Alongside these improvements to the slicing process, the Elegoo Mars Pro also comes with a new firmware update that includes improved anti-aliasing, which is said to lead to smoother surface quality during the printing process.
Here are the technical specifications for the Elegoo Mars Pro:
The Elegoo Mars Pro has been delayed somewhat from its original launch month of November. Expect to see it hit stores mid-January, 2020.
License: The text of "Elegoo Mars Pro Review: Our First Impressions" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.