Elegoo Mars 2 Pro Review
Pros: Exceptionally detailed prints, solid capabilities
Cons: Prints require cleanup, much messier
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Elegoo Mars 2 Pro
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|Pros||Exceptionally detailed prints, solid capabilities||Compact form factor, excellent prints for FFF, easy to use||Great value, large build area||Easy to use, intuitive interface||Great value, braces minimize Z-axis wobble, Large build envelope|
|Cons||Prints require cleanup, much messier||Support could be better, a bit more assembly than other printers||Nonexistent support, little harder to use||Not the best prints, limited capabilities||Print quality could be better, limited customer support|
|Bottom Line||If you value detail above all else and are looking for a printer for high-quality miniature models, then this is our all-around favorite||If you're seeking a great value option, it's hard to beat this user-friendly machine||If you are searching for a solid printer on a budget and don't mind doing a little tinkering, then this model is the perfect choice||While this model didn't make the best prints, it is very easy and intuitive to use, making it a good option for beginners||If you are shopping for a great all-around 3D printer on a budget, the CR-10S V2 is a great choice|
|Rating Categories||Elegoo Mars 2 Pro||Creality 3D CR-10S...||Creality 3D CR-10S||Dremel Digilab 3D20||Creality 3D CR-10 V2|
|Print Quality (40%)|
|Ease Of Use (30%)|
|Print Capabilities (20%)|
|Specs||Elegoo Mars 2 Pro||Creality 3D CR-10S...||Creality 3D CR-10S||Dremel Digilab 3D20||Creality 3D CR-10 V2|
|Build Volume (XxYxZ)||160mmx130mmx80mm||300x300x400mm||300x300x400mm||230x150x140mm||300x300x400mm|
|Maximum Extruder Temperature||N/A||260°C||260ºC||230°C||260°C|
|Layer Cooling Fan?||N/A||1||2||1||1|
|Build Plate Material||Aluminum||Aluminium build plate with an adhesive printing sheet||Glass||Plastic with adhesive printing surface||Tempered Glass with mesh covering|
|Maximum Bed Temperature||N/A||110°C||135ºC||N/A||110°C|
|Compatible with Third-Party Materials?||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||Yes|
|Included Nozzle sizes||Not applicable||0.4mm||0.4mm||0.4mm||0.4mm|
|Print layer Height range||.025mm - 0.1mm||0.1 - 0.4mm||0.1 - 0.4mm||0.1-0.3mm||0.1 - 0.4mm|
|Filament Size||405 nm resin||1.75mm||1.75mm||1.75mm||1.75mm|
|Standalone (SD card or USB drive) Printing||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Our Analysis and Test Results
Given this machine's very detailed prints and smaller overall build area, it's a great option for hobbies that involve miniatures, like model building or tabletop gaming.
First and foremost, we rated and ranked the print quality of each of these 3D printers. For the resin printers, we made a selection of test prints and compared their quality against each other, since the mechanism by which these printers print renders many of our typical FDM printer tests useless. The Mars 2 Pro created some excellent prints, earning one of the better scores of all the printers we have tested.
This printer did an excellent job of recreating all but the tiniest details, which we noticed would occasionally warp, depending on the orientation in the printer. It did very well with bridges and overhangs, as long as they have supported and oriented correctly to avoid islands.
The stairs and spirals on the chess rooks had very smooth curves and an excellent surface finish. It even delivered an almost flawless Eiffel Tower, with even the smallest towards the top of the tower coming through in the print.
The tiny figurines and the icebreaker ship all had immaculate details, with the Mars 2 Pro creating exceptionally thin and detailed features, like the antennas on the icebreaker. These were actually so delicate that we frequently broke them off when cleaning. All in all, we think we would be hard-pressed to expect more from a consumer 3D printer and highly recommend this one to anyone who values print quality above all else.
Ease of Use
Unfortunately, the performance of the Elegoo Mars 2 Pro plummeted in our next metric. While resin printers create exceptionally detailed prints compared to FDM printers, they can also be notoriously more labor-intensive to operate, with the Mars 2 Pro being no exception. This printer earned one of the lower scores of the group overall but comparable to similar resin-based printers that we have tested.
The main difficulty when it comes to using resin printers is the resin itself. You should be wearing gloves if there is any chance that the resin might come in contact with your skin. It also just tends to make a mess, so it makes it much more difficult to swap different resins, as you should filter the resin back into the container, then clean the vat out — usually with isopropyl alcohol — before you can swap in a different color.
Fortunately, the Mars 2 Pro doesn't require a ton of setup or assembly and is essentially ready to go right out of the box. It also is considerably easier to level the build plate compared to an FDM printer in our experience. You usually loosen the screw, lower the Z-axis with a piece of paper separating it from the screen, then re-tighten the screw and set the new Z-axis height.
Files are sent to the Mars 2 Pro via USB thumb drive and the screen gives you some basic operation about the status of the print while the machine is running. However, you also have to deal with all of the cleanup and other tasks that resin printing entails. After a print is removed from the Mars, you usually will need to remove any supports and then thoroughly wash off and properly dispose of any uncured resin on the model.
Finally, you need to post-cure the resin using UV light — either sunlight or a UV-light chamber — before the print is finished. This whole process requires plenty of consumable materials — gloves, paper towels, isopropyl alcohol, toothbrushes, filters, UV lights — so you will also want to take this into account if you are considering the Mars 2 Pro.
Our next round of tests for the Mars 2 Pro and the other printers focused on each printer's different capabilities, such as build volume, available materials, and slicer compatibility. The Mars 2 Pro did a bit better in this regard, earning it a score in the middle of the group overall.
We used the ChiTu Box slicer software for our tests, which is what most people will use with this printer. There are a few other slicers available but you definitely have considerably fewer options than an FDM printer. The build volume for this printer is a bit on the small side, measuring in at 130mm x 80mm x 160mm.
The stock build plate worked fine for our uses with plenty of different resins. We like that this printer is quite open when it comes to materials, compatible with any 405 nm resin — both made by Elegoo or third-party manufacturers.
Our last set of tests focused on the customer support available with this 3D printer. The Elegoo team wasn't the most helpful in our opinions but still did decently well, earning a score just above average.
We like that there are plenty of videos about how to troubleshoot, fix, or replace various components of your machine on the Elegoo website. They also have a contact form and email — but no US phone number — if you need to reach out to them for support. We have had a bit of a mixed experience with their support team, finding them decently helpful but sometimes with considerable wait times in the response.
For producing such excellent prints, the Elegoo Mars 2 Pro is actually one of the more affordable printers of the group. However, it does come with an associated cost in consumable supplies that needs to be taken into account, but even with that, this still can be an attractive budget-friendly option for anyone looking to make highly detailed miniature models.
If you are looking for a top-tier printer that can make an incredibly detailed model on a smaller scale, we highly recommend the Elegoo Mars 2 Pro. It takes a bit more work per print than many of the FDM printers but we think you will struggle to find better prints from another consumer printer at this price point.
— David Wise and Austin Palmer