ELEGOO Saturn 4K MSLA Resin 3D Printer Review
I'm just going to come out and say it: I love this 3D printer.
Until recently, resin 3D printers were small and expensive when compared to FFF 3D printers. They were suitable for figurines and other small models that require a lot of detail, but not general 3D printing. Now that has changed, thanks to a new generation of LCD panels. The ELEGOO Saturn is a resin 3D printer that is large enough for general 3D printing and I put this exciting model to the test.
Full disclosure: ELEGOO provided me with the Saturn for this review. But, as always, this review is as honest as unbiased as possible.
With that disclosure out of the way, I'm just going to come out and say it: I love this 3D printer. My primary point of comparison is the UNIZ IBEE, which I tested recently. At the end of that review, I said that I would keep the IBEE for my own personal use. And that was true until I received the ELEGOO Saturn, which will now replace the IBEE in my toolbox.
Before I dive into my experience with the ELEGOO Saturn, let's go over the basic specifications:
- Build volume: 192 x 120 x 200 mm (7.55 x 4.72 x 7.87 inches)
- Layer thickness: 0.01-0.15 mm
- LCD: 8.9" 4K (3840 x 2400) monochrome LCD panel
- Print speed: 30-40 mm/h
- Control interface: 3.5" color touchscreen
- Connectivity: USB and Ethernet
These specs are very similar to the UNIZ IBEE's, with a few minor differences. The IBEE has a 1" taller build volume, which might be important to some, but isn't a practical concern for me. It also has a larger 4.3" touchscreen and built-in WiFi, though the latter wasn't useful for me. UNIZ claims a print speed of up to 80 mm/h, but actual speed was close the Saturn's in practical tests.
On paper, the UNIZ IBEE seems superior to the ELEGOO Saturn in most regards. So why am I choosing to keep the Saturn instead of the IBEE? This is a perfect example of specifications failing to tell the whole story.
When I unpacked the Saturn, my first thought was that there must have been a mistake. The Saturn's overall size is far smaller than the IBEE and I thought that maybe I received an ELEGOO Mars by mistake. But there was no mistake — the Saturn is just much more compact than the IBEE. Despite having an almost identical build volume width and length, the Saturn is a more efficient use of space.
Like the IBEE, the Saturn is very well constructed. The UV cover is a solid piece of plastic in a nice translucent red color. The machine is sheet metal and machined aluminum. The machined Z axis assembly has a pair of robust parallel linear rails with a ballscrew.
The Saturn's resin vat is also machined aluminum. A pair of thumb screws hold it in place and take less than 10 seconds to remove. Replacing the FEP film is a chore, as it is with all resin 3D printers. But the replacement film is affordable and easy to find, which is not true for the IBEE.
The build platform is easy to level, thanks to the ball mount. Loosen two screws, home the Z axis with the the leveling sheet in place, then tighten the screws and you're ready to go. Removing the build platform is also a snap and takes a couple of seconds. The plate's texture is great, allowing for both solid adhesion and frustration-free part removal.
Setting up prints is also a pleasant experience, thanks to the fantastic CHITUBOX slicing software. CHITUBOX is third-party software that is more refined and proven than UNIZ Maker. It has a built-in configuration for the ELEGOO Saturn. After selecting that, it only takes a few minutes to position an STL file and automatically create supports.
Starting prints is as straightforward as it gets. With a USB thumb drive in the machine, it only takes a few taps on the touchscreen to get the process going. The interface is intuitive and shows you a thumbnail of each model. During printing, you get data on elapsed time, time remaining, a representation of the current layer.
I performed a handful of test prints, both in the default 0.05 mm layer thickness and at 0.025 mm. All of my tests turned out great. Aside from having to clean up the support contact points, the prints were flawless and all of the little details were crisp and defined. I used ELEGOO standard resin for all of the parts.
Reviewers like myself try to end these articles with any complaints or gripes we have. But I don't have any. I can't think of a single thing that I didn't like about the ELEGOO Saturn.
When compared to the UNIZ IBEE, the ELEGOO Saturn is more affordable, more compact, and has better slicing software. The IBEE does have an additional inch of build volume height, so that is work consideration if you often print tall parts.
Otherwise, I wholeheartedly recommend the ELEGOO Saturn. Not only does it compare well to the direct competition, it can even replace a FFF 3D printer in many cases thanks to the large build volume.