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. But what improvements can you expect to find in the Elegoo Mars Pro? Is it really worth getting this new model? Review the features and specs to find out.
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 also implemented an additional 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.
All in all, we’d say that these numerous improvements make the Elegoo Mars Pro well worth its $299 price tag. For about $30 more, you get all of the aforementioned safety and performance features not included in the original Mars model. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like an upgrade kit will be made available to owners of the Elegoo Mars, so they’ll have to purchase the Pro model separately if they want to indulge in these new features and improvements.
It’s also worth adding that, in the video announcing the Elegoo Mars Pro, the manufacturer alluded to the coming release of a large-format resin 3D printer.
Here are the technical specifications for the Elegoo Mars Pro:
The Elegoo Pro Mars is expected to be available in November 2019, but an exact release date has yet to be announced. Stay tuned to find out where you can purchase the new LCD 3D printer.
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