What Is It?
The Anycubic Photon Zero is an SLA (stereolithography) 3D printer. Essentially SLA is a form of 3D printing technology used for creating models, prototypes, patterns, and production parts in a layer by layer fashion using photochemical processes by which light causes chemical monomers and oligomers to cross-link together to form polymers. Those polymers then make up the body of a three-dimensional solid.
The Photon Zero is the latest in the SLA line from Anycubic. The previous models include the Photon S and the widely used and beloved Photon. Anycubic has also made a slate of great FDM (fused deposition modeling) 3D printers as well, including the Mega and Chiron.
The Photon Zero is considered an entry-level economic printer geared at first-time users and people looking to make small but extremely detailed 3D prints, and it does its job very well.
- Technique: LCD-based SLA
- Light Source: 405nm
- XY Res.: 0.1155mm, 854*480p
- Z-Axis Res.: 0.01mm
- Layer Res.: 0.01~0.2mm
- Printing Speed: 30mm(H)/hour
- Power: 30W
- Materials: 405nm UV resin
- Machine size: 180mm(L)*195mm(W)*367mm(H)
- Printing Volume: 97mm(L)*54mm(W)*150mm(H)
- Weight: ~4.7kg
As an avid 3D printer, I had heard many great things about the Anycubic line of products. After a few years of trying other companies’ products—you can read my previous articles—I decided to step up to the plate and see what the Anycubic Photon series had to offer.
Luckily for me, Anycubic reached out to contact me about their new entry-level printer, the Photon Zero. Once I received my Zero in the mail I was very excited to try out a new machine in a very successful line. Upon opening, I could immediately tell I was looking at a rock-solid, well-designed machine. The Photon was well protected in thick blocks of foam, and, thankfully, the lid came in one piece so that I did not need to spend an hour getting the lid put together like I had been accustomed to in previous machines. In fact, there really was not anything to put together at all. I had to put the build plate in place, level it to the bed using a piece of copy paper, install the tank by tightening two screws, and fill it with resin.
I was happily surprised by how clear and responsive the menu screens on the front of the printer were. Many resin printers I have used are outfitted with touch screens that are as responsive as a snail on a hot summer day. I easily navigated to the print menu and fired up the famous Anycubic test cube.
This intricate cube took only a little over 2 hours to print, and for something that looks so fragile, it became very sturdy after the curing process.
Once I had my test out of the way it was time to use my Photon Zero for what I had intended it for: making gaming minis. I decided to make some minis to use in the new Cthulhu 5E expansion module from Peterson Games called Yig Snake Grandaddy.
I fired up Photon Workshop, the software included in the printer, and set up the presets for the Zero. Once I had that out of the way I filled up the build plate with three figures—you could probably put up to five 28mm minis on this build plate—and printed. Four hours later I received my new minis ready to wash and cure.
I was extremely pleased with the outcome of my print. The minis came out with crisp detail and a solid build without any supports, which is truly amazing. As you can see in the above picture, the feet of the mini held them well enough to the build plate. Once easily removed I gave them a bath in Mean Green and then 30 minutes under a UV lamp, and then they were ready to prime, paint, and base.
Final Thoughts and Recommendation
I want to start by pointing out the features that make this better than any other sub-$200 3D printer.
- Easy setup and printing
- Essentially it is fully assembled, needing only to attach two more pieces and leveling one.
- Fully functional touch screen menu
- Many of the sub $200 screens I find need a stylus to be responsive, and this does not.
- The screen not only displays the model at first but also shows each layer as it is printing, which is super cool and useful.
- Easy to reach full-sized USB on the side
- No need to fiddle with a micro USB chip that may or may not fall into the machine.
- Super small build plate
- The 97mm(L)*54mm(W)*150mm(H) build plate essentially limits you to mini objects and jewelry. If you are looking to print terrain or busts, you may want to look elsewhere or need to master cutting your prints up into small pieces.
- I know the build plate is small, but the 854*480p resolution is also not very “hi-def.” My models have great definition and detail, but it could still be a bit better.
The Anycubic Photon Zero is the best entry-level resin 3D printer on the market. It far outshines the Longer Orange 10 that I previously recommended at this price point. You get a great product at an amazing price. It’s true that bed size and resolution are limiting, but if you are looking for something to make gaming pieces, jewelry, and some bits and bobs, this is definitely the machine to go with.
You can currently purchase an Anycubic Photon Zero for $219.
A sample of the Anycubic Photon Zero was made available by the manufacturer. The opinions expressed in this article are mine alone and not that of the manufacturer or editorial board. To read my previous articles, click here.