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Anycubic Photon Mono Review

If you are shopping for a resin printer on a slimmer budget, this can be a great option
Anycubic Photon Mono
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Price:   $300 List | $199.99 at Amazon
Pros:  Detailed prints, inexpensive
Cons:  Difficult to use, limited customer support
Manufacturer:   Anycubic
By David Wise and Austin Palmer  ⋅  Jun 24, 2021
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60
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#10 of 14
  • Print Quality - 40% 10
  • Ease of Use - 30% 2
  • Print Capabilities - 20% 5
  • Support - 10% 4

Our Verdict

If you are shopping on a more restricted budget for a resin printer that can create highly-detailed models on a smaller scale, then the Anycubic Mono is a solid option. This printer delivered incredibly detailed prints compared to an FDM printer and is compatible with a wide variety of resins. However, it is a much more labor intensive process to clean and post-process resin prints, so there can be a bit of a steep learning curve for beginners.

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Anycubic Photon Mono
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Price $300 List
$199.99 at Amazon
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Pros Detailed prints, inexpensiveCompact form factor, excellent prints for FFF, easy to useGreat budget buy, solid printing capabilities, decent print qualityExceptionally detailed prints, solid capabilitiesInexpensive, decently capable
Cons Difficult to use, limited customer supportSupport could be better, a bit more assembly than other printersFinicky with ABS, can require a bit of tinkeringPrints require cleanup, much messierInterface can be finicky, limited customer support in our experience
Bottom Line If you are shopping for a resin printer on a slimmer budget, this can be a great optionIf you're seeking a great value option, it's hard to beat this user-friendly machineIf you are looking for an inexpensive bare-bones printer and don't mind making some adjustments to it, then this model is an exceptional choiceIf you value detail above all else and are looking for a printer for high-quality miniature models, then this is our all-around favoriteWhile this printer is a decent budget option, it somewhat failed to stand out from the rest of the pack
Rating Categories Anycubic Photon Mono Creality 3D CR-10S... Creality 3D Ender 3... Elegoo Mars 2 Pro Anycubic Mega S
Print Quality (40%)
10.0
7.0
6.0
10.0
5.0
Ease Of Use (30%)
2.0
7.0
6.0
2.0
6.0
Print Capabilities (20%)
5.0
8.0
7.0
5.0
7.0
Support (10%)
4.0
5.0
6.0
5.0
6.0
Specs Anycubic Photon Mono Creality 3D CR-10S... Creality 3D Ender 3... Elegoo Mars 2 Pro Anycubic Mega S
Build Volume (XxYxZ) 130x80x165mm 300x300x400mm 200x200x250mm 130x80x160mm 210x210x205mm
Maximum Extruder Temperature N/A 260°C 255°C N/A 260°C
Layer Cooling Fan? N/A 1 2 N/A 1
Heated Bed N/A Yes Yes N/A Yes
Build Plate Material Aluminum Aluminium build plate with an adhesive printing sheet Aluminium build plate with a magnetic course plastic sticker Aluminum Tempered Glass with mesh covering (Ultrabase)
Maximum Bed Temperature N/A 110°C 110°C N/A 120°C
Compatible with Third-Party Materials? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Included Nozzle sizes Not applicable 0.4mm 0.4mm Not applicable 0.4mm
Print layer resolution 0.025 - 0.1mm 0.1 - 0.4mm 0.1 - 0.4mm 0.025 - 0.1mm 0.05 - 0.4mm
Filament Size 405 nm resin 1.75mm 1.75mm 405 nm resin 1.75mm
PLA? N/A Yes Yes N/A Yes
ABS? N/A Yes Yes N/A Yes
Network Printing No No No No No
Standalone (SD card or USB drive) Printing Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

Our Analysis and Test Results

One thing to consider when looking at a resin printer is that the procedures for layout, orientation, and supports differ wildly from a filament printers, so you should also be prepared for some trial and error when you are just starting out — even if you have a decent amount of filament-based 3D printer experience already.

Performance Comparison



Some petite prints made by the Mono.
Some petite prints made by the Mono.
Credit: Jason Peters

Print Quality


Our most important series of tests focused on the print quality of each 3D printer. For the resin printers, we made a different set of test prints than the FDM printers to get a better assessment of their performance head-to-head with each other, since the printing mechanisms differ by so much. The Mono did exceptionally well, earning one of the top scores of the entire group.


For these printers, we did a few benchmark tests designed just for resin printers, a model of the Eiffel Tower, a spiral tower with stairs, a hollow statue, some small figurines, a skull, and an icebreaker ship, as well as a few other models to compare performance.

This printer managed exceptionally detailed models.
This printer managed exceptionally detailed models.
Credit: Jason Peters

The Mono did decently well in the first benchmark print but some of the thinnest features warped just a bit more than with some of the other ones. However, just about all of the other small features are very well-defined, even with the bridges and overhangs. The Eiffel Tower looks almost flawless, though it seems some of the smallest gaps got overexposed as they were filled — even after being thoroughly cleaned before post-curing.

The surface finish was impeccable.
The surface finish was impeccable.
Credit: Jason Peters

The tower and the rook both came out great, with smoothly curving sections and small details that are defined very well. The words at the top were readable as well.

Even very fine details came through with this printer.
Even very fine details came through with this printer.
Credit: Jason Peters

The icebreaker ship and the trio of smaller figurines also came out great, though the skull model did have some smaller gaps that got filled in.

This printer can be a pain to use though.
This printer can be a pain to use though.
Credit: Jason Peters

Ease of Use


OUr next metric focused on the ease of printing with each 3D printer. The Anycubic Mono — like most resin printers — didn't fare the best in this category, earning a score well below average.


Luckily, it is an easier process to level the build plate on the Mono than many of the resin printers, as you just loosen the retaining screws, lower it down until it holds a piece of paper against the screen, re-zero it, and tighten the retaining screws. We generally found this to be much quicker and easier than a filament printer, where you are dealing with three or four different adjustment screws. It also is very easy to load resin, as you simply pour it into the vat — being careful not to overfill — and you are ready to go.

You should be prepared to spend a lot of your time cleaning up resin.
You should be prepared to spend a lot of your time cleaning up resin.
Credit: Jason Peters

However, this is all assuming that your printer is clean. One of the reasons that makes resin printers more difficult to use is the need to clean them, which usually involves proper PPE and isopropyl alcohol. You'll also need to fully clean and wash your finished prints to remove uncured resin, then post-cure them under a UV light source for the resin to fully react and reach its peak mechanical properties.

All of this cleaning and curing leads to considerably more consumable materials that you need to have on hand to safely and effectively use your Mono, like paper towels, disposable gloves, isopropyl alcohol, filters for resin.

On top of all that, it can also be a bit of an art form when it comes to placing the supports in the slicing software for your models with resin printing. This isn't an insurmountable amount of work by any means but it is an order of magnitude more effort than most of the filament printers in our experience.

The build plate usually provided plenty of adhesion when set to the...
The build plate usually provided plenty of adhesion when set to the proper height.
Credit: Jason Peters

Print Capabilities


For our print capabilities metric, we looked at the build volume, build plate, compatible materials, and the different slicers that could be used to prepare files for each printer. The Anycubic Mono did decently well, earning a middle-of-the-road score.


This printer is compatible with the free Anycubic slicer, as well as a few other free and paid programs. We used the Anycubic slicer for testing and found it to be just about as easy to use and as capable as the typical resin slicing software.

The build volume on this printer is a little on the smaller side, topping out at 130mm x 80mm x 165mm. The build plate is anodized aluminum and we didn't struggle too much with any bed adhesion issues.

This machine has a decently small footprint.
This machine has a decently small footprint.
Credit: Jason Peters

We do like that this printer is compatible with any 405 nm curing resin, regardless if it's made by Anycubic or a third-party.

The Anycubic customer support didn't impress us too much.
The Anycubic customer support didn't impress us too much.
Credit: Jason Peters

Support


We looked at the available customer support for each of these printers for final metric, basing scores on how helpful the setup and troubleshooting information is and how responsive the manufacturer was to our questions. The Mono didn't do the best, earning a below-average score with its lackluster showing.


We found a few videos on the website that walk you through some maintenance and component replacement but not too much that actually deals with the slicing/printing/cleaning process.

They have a contact form to fill out but limited other ways to get in touch with customer service. We also found it to be quite difficult to elicit a response from them in our experience, so you might want to choose a different printer if you were planning on having a responsive manufacturer to regularly rely on.

Value


Fortunately, the Mono is one of the more budget-friendly options out there. However, you do need to consider the cost of all the consumables when you are looking at its value.

Conclusion


All in all, we think the Anycubic Mono is a great budget-friendly option for anyone trying to create very detailed prints on a smaller scale. There is a bit of a learning curve and a higher amount of effort required per print but you can get some downright astonishing prints on a miniature scale once you get the hang of it. It's not as versatile or beginner-friendly as a filament printer though, so beginners might want to check out some other models first.

David Wise and Austin Palmer