The ELEGOO Saturn 4K, which I reviewed last year, was a fantastic resin 3D printer. ELEGOO then released the Saturn S, which had some nice upgrades. Now they're taking pre-orders for the new Saturn 2, which has some big spec upgrades. Here you'll find my review of the new ELEGOO Saturn 2 8K MSLA resin 3D printer.
Full disclosure: ELEGOO provided me with the Saturn for this review. But, as always, this review is as honest as unbiased as possible.
MSLA resin 3D printer manufacturers are currently in a bit of an arms race, with each new model coming with significant improvements to LCD resolution, UV LED array power, or build volume. This is great news for consumers, because it means that the technology is rapidly advancing.
When compared to the original ELEGOO Saturn, the new ELEGOO Saturn 2 has almost double the resolution in the X and Y axes. That results in a pixel size of 28.5μm, as opposed to 50μm for the original Saturn. In practice, that means better print quality with finer details.
The LCD panel is also a bit bigger (10" vs 8.9") and it has a taller Z axis, yielding a larger build volume. The original Saturn had a build volume of 4,704,000 cubic millimeters, while the new Saturn 2 has a build volume of 6,734,250 cubic millimeters.
Other upgrades include a new Fresnel collimating lens for the UV LED array, a built-in air purifier similar to the one on the Saturn S, and a "PFA Release Liner" FEP film that should reduce peeling forces.
On the aesthetics front, the new Saturn 2 has a more angular base and that design carries up to the molded UV cover. The original Saturn had a minimalist design that I quite liked, but the Saturn 2 still looks very nice. I especially like the power button sitting front and center on the machine.
I'm starting to wonder if I should even include details on the unboxing, since my statements always seem to be the same: the printer arrived well-protected in a sturdy cardboard box.
After removing the foam and scratch-protection film, I was left with the ELEGOO Saturn 2 itself, a power supply, and a tool kit. The tool kit included a manual, a USB thumb drive, scrapers, the active carbon filter, hex keys for securing the build plate, masks, resin funnels, and latex gloves.
As I've come to expect from ELEGOO, the ball mount for the build platform makes leveling very easy. All I had to do is was loosen the two big bolts on the ball mount, remove the vat, lower the platform onto the provided piece of paper, and then tighten the screws.
Other than that, the only other step to get the Saturn 2 ready for printing is installing the filter. This plugs into a USB port next to the vat. The filter has a compartment that contains the carbon. Just pop that open, remove the plastic wrap on the carbon, and close it back up. Easy!
The new ELEGOO Saturn 2 ships with Chitubox on the USB drive, which is what I used for slicing all of my test models.
But users are not locked into the Chitubox ecosystem. The Saturn 2 will work Lychee and other third party slicers. Which slicers you can use is a matter of which developers choose to add support for the Saturn 2. I expect it will be most of them, since the Saturn 2 is bound to be a very popular model.
I won't dive too much into my experience with Chitubox, since ELEGOO doesn't control the software and you can find many opinions on it elsewhere. But overall, Chitubox is satisfactory for my needs. The automatic support generation works well enough and other features are straightforward.
I printed all of my test models with Siraya Tech Build resin using the standard 50μm profile in Chitubox.
Normally I would describe a handful of the test print results in detail, but that would get repetitive in this review. That's because all of the results were flawless.
The print quality is fantastic, thanks to the high LCD resolution and the Fresnel lens. Even the tiniest details in the models turned out great. All of the surfaces were clean and smooth. And even large models didn't have any noticeable warping, which I attribute to the new PFA release liner.
I always try to find something to nitpick in these reviews, but I have no complaints at all regarding the print quality. It is about the best I've seen from any MSLA resin 3D printer, with the possible exception of the Phrozen Sonic Mini 8K that I recently reviewed.
There are a few things I'd like to cover about the printing experience that are separate from the print quality. These are things that don't necessarily affect the models, but which are important for usability.
The first is the built-in air purifier. I'm a loose cannon who likes to live my life on the edge, and so my resin printers sit on a desk right next to me without any special filtration setup. Usually this means that I can smell the fumes from the resin, and those can even cause a headache if the resin is particularly pungent.
But the Saturn 2's air purifier does a great job of eliminating those fumes. In fact, I couldn't smell them at all. There is also a removable panel on the UV cover next to the purifier, which is great for those of you who do use some kind of exhaust system.
I'm also impressed with the build plate. It has a sandblasted surface that provided great adhesion, but not so much that prints were difficult to remove.
The included tempered glass screen protector is great for handling scratches and gives you a defense against resin spills that make their way under the vat.
Finally, the build plate itself was easy to remove, too. It attaches to the mount using a huge knob. That gives you lots of grip and torque to twist, so you can easily remove the built plate without hand cramps.
If it wasn't obvious from the rest of my review: I really like the new ELEGOO Saturn 2. So much so that it will become my primary resin 3D printer that I use for projects.
Its price (currently $550 for pre-orders) is competitive and puts it right in the sweet spot for consumers wanting to upgrade from an entry-level MSLA printer like the Mars 3.
The original Saturn was a great printer and the Saturn 2 is more than worthy as a successor.