Review: Anycubic Photon M3 Premium 8K MSLA Resin 3D Printer
I put the new Anycubic Photon M3 Premium to the test so that you can decide if this printer is worth your money.
Anycubic just released the newest model in their Photon line of resin 3D printers: the Photon M3 Premium. This printer promises high detail at a large build volume, which is enticing to those who want to make the switch to resin printing without sacrificing size. I put the new Anycubic Photon M3 Premium to the test so that you can decide if this printer is worth your money.
Disclaimer: Anycubic provided me with this printer free of charge, but this review is as unbiased as possible. Anycubic did not pay for this review and these are entirely my own thoughts.
Before I get to my thoughts about this printer, let’s first take a look at the objective specifications.
- Build volume: 219 x 123 x 250mm (8.62 x 4.84 x 9.84 inches)
- XY resolution (pixel size): 28.5µm
- Max printing speed: 95mm/hour
- Interface: 4.3” full-color touchscreen
- Connectivity: USB, Wi-Fi (Anycubic Cloud app)
- Z axis: dual linear rails, ball screw
- Software: Anycubic Photon Workshop
The first thing I noticed upon receiving my Anycubic Photon M3 Premium review unit is that this thing is huge. The build volume isn’t that much bigger than competitors, like the Phrozen Sonic Mighty 8K that I recently reviewed. Rather, the base (everything below the vat) is larger than most other MSLA printers. I suspect this is a consequence of the new LighTubo 2.0 UV light source, so this isn’t a negative unless you have limited space — it mostly increases the height compared to similar printers.
The next thing that stood out was the Z axis ball screw. That is very thick and machined well. In theory, it should provide better Z axis resolution than the conventional lead screws that we see on most MSLA resin 3D printers. The dual linear rails are also beefy, but that is typical of modern resin printers of this size.
Keeping in the line with the general theme of “bigger” is the resin vat, which has greater volume than any other model I’ve seen. Anycubic says that the vat can accommodate 1,350ml, which is a lot. That keeps you from having to refill the tank, which is especially useful when you’re printing massive objects. The downside is that the large footprint requires quite a lot of resin just to fully cover the film.
The final noticeable exterior feature is the dual air purification system. The Anycubic Photon M3 Premium comes with two active air filers that pop into slots inside the chamber. These do a great job of removing fumes, which is an awesome feature when you print in an enclosed space.
For all of my test prints, I used the provided gray Anycubic ABS-Like Resin Pro. I also used the default print settings in Anycubic Photon Workshop. The only exception was that I decreased the first layers’ exposure time, as the build plate adhesion was too strong.
I printed several test models, including a few that Anycubic suggested. Obviously they wanted me to use those models because they felt that they would highlight the M3 Premium’s good qualities. But I don’t think there is any nefarious about that — the models have small details and that is exactly what I wanted to test. To be thorough, however, I did also print models of my own choice.
I’m not going to talk at length about every model, but will instead show you some pictures and talk about my thoughts.
If you want the TL;DR, then here it is: the quality is fantastic and there is nothing bad to say about it.
I was clearly getting some over-exposure, but that is easy enough to deal with. All users should expect to tune settings for each resin type they use, regardless of the printer. But even with a bit of over-exposure, the detail was remarkable. For example, in this test print you can see the individual 0.1mm columns in the grouping.
Similarly, in the Ameralabs Town test print, each “hair” is distinct and printed correctly (the bent hair is from my handling). Overhangs and bridges also printed well, without any sagging.
I think a major reason for the great print quality, aside from the pixel size and light engine, is the NFEP vat film. Anycubic says that this has a special coating the releases better than standard FEP film and I believe it. Delamination and warping caused by sticking FEP film is a common problem with MSLA resin printing, but I didn’t see (or hear) any of that with this NFEP film. I’m not prepared to say that it will prevent sticking entirely, but I believe that it does help.
The Anycubic Photon M3 Premium is a really good MSLA resin 3D printer, especially when you consider the price. At launch, that is just $619. Compare that to $899 for the Phrozen Sonic Mighty 8K, which was the last MSLA printer I reviewed and the one I was keeping for my personal use.
I couldn’t test the Anycubic Cloud app, because that won’t be available until early 2023. But everything else was great. I especially like the air filters, the ball screw, and the NFEP film.
The Anycubic Photon M3 Premium’s only real negatives are the large size and the software. I believe that large size is worth it to get a better light engine, but some may find it too bulky and heavy. On the software side, Anycubic Photon Workshop is glitchy and isn’t very good even when it does work. However, users should be able to switch to other slicers once they add support for this model.
Those are minor nitpicks, though. The Anycubic Photon M3 Premium is a very good deal. You get amazing resolution and huge build volume at a competitive price, which means this printer should be at the top of your consideration list.