Claiming the Top Pick Award for being one of our all-time favorite resin printers, the Elegoo Mars is a great option for anyone looking to make exceptionally detailed and high-quality 3D printed models. It made some absolutely excellent prints but it is definitely more difficult to use than an FFF printer, as most resin printers are. It doesn't have the largest build area or the most amazing customer support but will make truly excellent prints if you are willing to put in a little extra work.
Elegoo Mars Review
Pros: Fairly inexpensive, high-quality prints
Cons: Hard to use, support isn’t as good as other models
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Elegoo Mars, like most UV resin printers, can be a bit daunting for beginners. Between the general messiness of resin to the need to wash and post-cure your prints, it can be a lot to take in. However, you can truly get some exceptional prints and make some really cool things with this machine once you get the hang of it.
The most important of all our testing metrics, Print Quality is responsible for 40% of the final score for the Elegoo Mars and all of the other printers in the review. We made a series of different prints with each resin printer and compared them side-by-side, with the Elegoo Mars earning a 10 out of 10 for its top-notch performance.
This printer made some truly phenomenal models, creating exceptionally detailed models on a scale that would be next to impossible to achieve with an FFF/FDM plastic filament printer. We made a series of low-poly miniature figures that all came out fantastic and some intricate twisted frame chess pieces.
This is a fantastic printer if you are a fan of model making or tabletop gaming, allowing you to create your own pieces. You can print your own board or game pieces. The Elegoo Mars is also a great choice if you need to make intricate prototypes or you can even use a castable resin to make investment castings for rings or other jewelry.
However, details can get sloppy or prints can fail completely if you don't have the correct resin exposure settings.
It's always important to do some exposure tests with a new type of resin to ensure you are getting the best print quality possible.
Ease of Use
Next, we moved on to rating and scoring how much of a hassle it is to actually use each 3D printer, which is responsible for 30% of each product's total score. We evaluated and compared the difficulty in leveling the bed or build plate, changing or adding resin, cleanup, the amount of effort required to get each printer set up out of the box, and how you send files to the machine to print. Unfortunately, the Elegoo Mars isn't the easiest printer to use, earning a 2 out of 10.
The Elegoo Mars is pretty much ready to go right out of the box, you just need to remove all the cushioning and then place the build plate and resin vat into position. However, you should level the build plate before you add the resin tank and try to print. Luckily, this is a fairly easy process.
You loosen a pair of screws, home the machine, and then drop the plate down until it just holds a piece of paper in place, tighten the screws and set the new Z=0 position. There are plenty of resources in the manual and online detailing exactly how to do this, as you can actually crack your screen if you do this incorrectly, so it's worth making sure you are very aware of exactly what you need to do before you start.
You just pour resin in the vat — making sure you don't overflow it — and then you are ready to print. Files are sent to the Elegoo Mars via a USB thumb drive and the screen shows you the current printing progress while the machine is in use.
However, there is also a certain amount of extra work associated with resin printing in general and the Elegoo Mars is no exception. You need to strain the resin through a filter after a failed print to make sure there aren't any cured chunks floating around and store it away from UV light to ensure it doesn't prematurely cure.
You also need to thoroughly wash any uncured resin off of a finished print, remove supports, and then post-cure it under a UV light source, all which add significant time and effort to the printing process.
Next, we evaluated and compared the capabilities of each printer, looking at things like what materials you can print in and how large of objects you can print. The Elegoo Mars delivered moderate results in this metric, which is responsible for 20% of its final score, earning a 5 out of 10.
The Elegoo Mars doesn't have the largest print area, only capable of printing a maximum of 120mm x 68mm x 150mm. It has an anodized aluminum build plate that we generally didn't have bed adhesion issues with once the level and settings were properly dialed in, though we did have a handful of failed prints in the process of getting there.
The Elegoo Mars is compatible not only with Elegoo UV resin but with any 405nm curable resin, so you aren't restricted to proprietary materials. The 3D slicer, ChiTu Box, to prepare files is free to download as well.
Our last round of tests focused on the quality of the customer support and service we received from Elegoo, which is responsible for the remaining 10% of the final score. The Elegoo Mars finished with another middle-of-the-road result, earning it a 5 out of 10.
There are a handful of resources explaining the basics of operating this machine and we overall thought the documentation was quite helpful and thorough. However, we did have some mixed results when it came to actually contacting Elegoo. They only have an email to use to contact support and we struggled to get a response from them but we were trying to contact during the Lunar New Year when the factory was shut down. They do claim that this machine has a 1-year limited warranty — excluding the screen and FEP — but we would suggest that you only get this printer if you are willing to do a little troubleshooting on your own or if you purchase from a third-party retailer that has a generous return or exchange policy.
The Elegoo Mars is a solid value, offering some top-tier performance at a fairly reasonable price. However, you do need to keep in mind that the cost of all the additional required elements — UV curing station, gloves, filters, and cleaning solutions — can add up and are recurring costs if you are shopping for a 3D printer with limited funds.
Overall, the Elegoo Mars is our top recommendation for anyone who values detailed prints above all else when shopping for a new 3D printer. This machine made excellent prints and is fairly capable, providing you are willing to put in some time and effort for your prints and aren't scared of doing a little troubleshooting on your own if you run into issues. It's one of our favorite resin printers of all-time and we readily would recommend it.
— David Wise and Austin Palmer