From creating intricate jewelry to printing human organs for medical research, the applications of 3D printing are endless. Resin 3D printing specifically is ideal for producing complex parts and components with extraordinary detail.
This article will delve into the exciting possibilities of resin 3D printing and provide a review of the best resin 3D printers on the market.
Table of Contents
What Is Resin 3D Printing?
Resin 3D printing is a vat photopolymerization form of additive manufacturing that uses liquid resins to create objects layer-by-layer. A light source cures liquid resin, solidifying it in layers until the entire product has been printed.
Due to the thin layers and precision of the light, resin 3D printers can produce models with higher detail, accuracy, and a smoother finish than other 3D printing technologies.
Since Charles Hull invented the first resin-based 3D printer in 1984, the technology has come a long way. Several generations of resin 3D printing technology have been developed, including Stereolithography (SLA), Digital Light Processing (DLP), and Masked Stereolithography (mSLA).
Each emerging technology significantly improves over its predecessor and broadens the range of objects for 3D printing. mSLA, the latest generation of SLA 3D printing, uses masks to control where light reaches the build plate. Masked light ensures that only specific areas are exposed to the light, allowing for highly detailed prints that can be printed faster than traditional SLA printers.
Since it projects pixels straight on, it creates more consistent parts from edge to edge. Plus, the LCD panels used in this process are much more readily available than DLP chips–and at resolutions of 8k and beyond. This leads to overall faster printing speed and reduces the cost of producing objects.
Resin 3D Printing vs. 3D Printing with Filaments
Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) 3D printing uses heated plastic or metal filaments to produce objects layer by layer. The printer feeds a solid polymer filament into an extruder assembly where a motor drives it through a thermal core. The materials heat close to their melting point before they are extruded onto a build plate through a nozzle. The melted materials are deposited layer-by-layer until the entire object is formed.
Though it’s a popular 3D printing technique, there are some drawbacks to filament 3D printers. They can’t print with the same level of quality and detail as resin 3D printers, and they tend to print much more slowly than resin printers.
Resin 3D printing can also produce more accurate and detailed objects than filament 3D printing. The thinner layers and precision of the light result in smoother surfaces with higher resolutions. Due to the liquid nature of resins, they can create complex shapes or internal structures that are impossible to make with filaments.
Resin 3D Printing vs. PLA
Polylactic Acid is one of the most common 3D printing filaments used in Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) 3D printing. Unlike resin 3D printing, which uses a liquid photopolymer, PLA filament 3D printing utilizes molten plastic that is extruded in layers.
Compared to printing with resin, PLA filaments do not produce as accurate or as detailed objects.
Best Resin 3D Printers
Here is a review of some of the best resin 3D printers in the market:
1. Nexa3D XiP
The Nexa3D XiP is a professional desktop resin 3D printer that uses a patented Lubricant Sublayer Photocuring (LSPc®) technology to achieve ultra-fast printing speeds. It combines a compact footprint with a 4.8L print volume and fast print speed to deliver high-quality prototypes on your desktop.
The Nexa3D XiP printer allows parts to print up to 10 times faster than other leading 3D printers on the market. Its LSPc® technology has a self-lubricated membrane that eliminates the forces between the parts being printed, enabling faster print speed without sacrificing the print quality or surface finish. The XiP is also affordable, with printing packages starting at $6295.
The XiP is used by professionals for engineering, designing, and manufacturing. Liquid Sound Technologies, a business that develops sound-enhancing accessories for acoustic instruments, used the XiP 3D printer for its patented product, the Droplet Sound System. This partnership enabled them to print a batch of 60-70 pieces in less than 30 minutes and cut production costs by up to 90%.
Best for: Professional engineers and designers who need rapid iteration prototyping or small businesses who need low volume production.
Ready to experience the XiP in action?
2. Nexa3D NXE 400Pro
The Nexa3D NXE 400Pro is an industrial-grade 3D printer that offers high throughput, low operational costs, and incredible precision. It has a 17L build volume, ultrafast speeds and uses patented Lubricant Sublayer Photo-curing (LSPc®) technology to deliver accuracy with a superior surface finish. It can accommodate a range of materials including polypropylene, acrylonitrile butadiene styrene and other functional materials.
The NXE 400Pro is used for industrial applications, rapid prototyping, and consumer products. For example, iconic brand PepsiCo has found the ultrafast, high-throughput of the NXE 400 3D printer–and accompanying material performance–is ideal for producing the mold components it needs. The NXE 400Pro allowed for up to a 96% reduction of cost compared to traditional metal tooling.
Best for: Production and on-demand manufacturing and functional prototypes.
Request a NXE 400Pro sample part.
3. Nexa3D NXD 200Pro
Nexa3D’s NXD 200Pro is an industrial-grade resin 3D printer that can print large, high-resolution models. This device is perfect for dental applications and has made its mark in the industry due to its reliability and accuracy.
It has an unprecedented 8.5L build volume measuring 275 x 155 x 200 mm, an open material platform that supports different types of resins, and a dual Linear Motor system for consistent accuracy. Plus, the patented Lubricant Sublayer Photocuring (LSPc®) technology enables maximum print speeds up to five times faster than traditional resin 3D printers.
The NXD 200Pro offers a high throughput and large build plate to create up to 20 flat 3D-printed dental models in less than 30 minutes. This makes it ideal for dental resin models, splints, impression trays, occlusal night guards, and more.
Plus, the NXD 200Pro is a scalable, cost effective solution in comparison to other 3D printers on the market. Using the NXD 200Pro’s LSPc® technology for dental molds, pontics, and splints, Excel Orthodontist was able to see not only a significantly higher ROI in the short term but also a longer lifetime to compound that value.
Best for: Dental and orthodontic labs for high throughput model making.
Request a sample part from the NXD 200Pro.
4. Anycubic Photon M3 Plus
The Anycubic Photon M3 Plus is a desktop resin 3D printer with quick print times, and large build plate size. It has a 5.9L print size measuring 245 x 197 x 122 mm. This device comes with a 6K LCD resolution and an open material platform that can accommodate different materials.
Best For: Hobbyists and small-volume part production.
5. Phrozen Sonic Mega 8k
Phrozen Sonic Mega 8K is a professional desktop resin 3D printer with a build volume of 330 x 185 x 400 mm. The device has an 8K LCD screen that lets users print detailed models better and weighs 35 kg. It offers energy-efficient LED lighting and a wide range of temperatures so it can print with high-temperature materials like ABS, ASA, and Polycarbonate.
Best For: Model making and printing detailed parts and small-scale miniatures.
6. Prusa SL1S Speed
The Prusa SL1S Speed is based on mSLA printing technology and uses a high-resolution LCD panel and a UV LED array to cure thin layers of resin to achieve unprecedented detail. It has a build volume of 127 × 80 × 150 mm. The printer runs on an open-source platform with a physical dimension of 225 x 237 x 400 mm.
Best For: Rapid prototyping, designing, and manufacturing detailed models and objects.
7. Formlabs Form 3+
Formlabs Form 3+ uses low-force stereolithography 3D printing. Form 3+ is an evolution of Formlabs’ first-generation laser-based system and comes with a build volume of 145 x 145 x 185 mm. This device also uses advanced optics to ensure detailed prints and runs on an open platform.
Best For: Users that require user-friendly desktop 3D printing technology to produce prototypes.
Read more: Formlabs Form 3+ vs Nexa3D XiP
8. 3D Systems SLA 750
3D Systems SLA 750 is a production-grade resin 3D printer for industrial applications. This device has a build volume of 750 × 750 × 550 mm and it comes with an automatic calibration system, self-monitoring capabilities, and open platform support.
Best For: Printing complex mandrel tooling cores and aids for large cooling ducts, pipes, and manifolds.
9. Creality Halot-One Plus
Creality Halot-One Plus is an industrial-grade resin 3D printer that can print large, detailed models with a build volume of 172 x 102 x 160 mm. It has an LCD resolution of 4K and a physical size of 310 × 300 × 530 mm. Its embedded temperature control system helps ensure consistent printing conditions.
Best For: Large-scale industrial 3D prints and end-use production parts.
10. Elegoo Mars 3
Mars 3 is ELEGOO’s first ultra-4k high-precision, compacted-size desktop LCD resin 3D printer. It has a good print quality and features a 5.4L build volume measuring 143.43 x 89.6 x 175 mm, an LCD resolution of 2K, and it supports many resin materials.
Best For: Early-level miniature 3D printing
11. Phrozen Sonic Mini 8K
Phrozen Sonic Mini 8K is a professional-grade resin 3D printer with an 8K LCD screen and a build volume of 165 x 72 x 180 mm. It has an 18 cm Z- axis and 8K LCD screen, making intricate miniature printing better. The 3D printer has a physical dimension of 299 x 299 x 430 mm and weighs 13kg.
Best For: Model making and printing detailed parts and miniatures.
12. Carbon M3 Max
Carbon M3 Max is a production-grade resin 3D printer for producing end-use parts. It has a build volume of 307 x 163 x 326 mm, a light engine of 4K, and it runs on an open platform for various materials.
Best For: Printing elastomeric parts and parts with features that are more sensitive to high forces.
13. Stratasys Origin One
Stratasys Origin One is an industrial-grade resin 3D printer for end-use production. It has a build volume of 192 x 108 x 370 mm, a proprietary P3™ Programmable Photopolymerization technology, and it uses optics to ensure detailed prints.
Best For: Industrial-grade printing and mass production of resin-based consumer parts.
14. Elegoo Saturn
Elegoo Saturn is a resin 3D printer with a build volume of 192 x 120 x 200 mm and runs on an open platform. It has an 8.9 inches 4K mono display, supports various resin materials, and offers good print speed and accuracy.
Best For: Mid-sized to large prototyping.
More About Resin 3D Printing
Before buying a resin 3D printer, it is important to consider a wide range of factors such as build size, accuracy, speed, and open platform support. Here are more details about resin 3D printing:
Best Resin 3D Printers for Beginners
For beginners just transitioning into 3D printing, the Anycubic M3 Plus and Prusa SL1S Speed are two great options. Both devices offer good print quality and are suitable for hobbyist beginners.
Best Resin 3D Printers for Miniatures
Miniatures and figurines require a resin 3D printer with higher accuracy and detail. In this category, the Nexa3D XiP and the Elegoo are two of the best devices that offer good print quality for miniatures and figurines.
Best Budget Resin 3D Printer
Builders looking for affordable 3D printers can opt for the Elegoo Mars and Anycubic. These devices offer good performance at an economical price point, especially for hobbyists.
Large Resin 3D Printers
The Nexa3D NXE 400Pro, Carbon M3 Max, Stratasys Origin One are the best large resin 3D printers available. These devices offer a larger build size with higher resolution for printing larger parts or models.
Best 8k Resin 3D Printers
The ideal 8k resin 3D printers are the Phrozen Sonic Mini 8K and the Anycubic Photon Zero. These devices offer good print quality and accuracy.
What is Resin 3D Printing Best For?
Resin 3D printing is best for models and products that require high accuracy, detail, and resolution. It is also ideal for producing end-use parts with a smooth finish. Many industries, such as automotive, medical, and aerospace, use resin 3D printing for rapid prototyping.
For instance, MotoCillino, an Italian automotive company, is using Nexa3D’s XiP 3D printer to accelerate its design iteration and validation for car part production. The company has reduced its lead time by up to 90% and improved product quality using this advanced resin 3D printing technology.
Choose the Best Resin 3D Printer
Now that you have a better understanding of resin 3D print technology and the best resin 3D printers available, you’ll be in a much better position to make a purchasing decision.
If you’re ready to experience the power of ultrafast resin 3D printing, request a free sample part from Nexa3D. With a lineup that includes a wide range of high-quality 3D printers, such as the XiP, NXE 400Pro, and NXD 200, printers can get the highest-performing 3D printing system for their needs.
Interested in learning more resin 3D printing materials?
Download our free ultimate material guide for 3D printing in 2023.