Resin Printer Cover Mod – How to Upgrade SLA Printer Lid



Instructions

In today’s article, we’ll be looking at modifying your Resin Printer lid to make it more space efficient.   As always, do this modification at your own risk, and I’m in no way responsible if any damages may occur.

I, like many others, had pre-ordered the Elegoo Saturn 2, and although I had received it some time ago I was unable to use it because of space restrictions.  In my case, this was caused by the lid design which, although fairly robust, requires several inches to properly remove the cover.  It’s for this reason that I started working on this simple modification for my machine.  To make these changes easier, I’ve reworked the initial design to ensure that the original lid could be reused and that only a limited amount of printing would be required.  This makes it easier for more people to undertake, while also leaving additional room for customization in the future.  Now I will be including the tools, supply list and STL on the main website at YarkspiriFantasyArt.com should you also be interested in doing this yourself.

Before undertaking this, you’re going to want an easy to clean space, since this will create a lot of debris which will be difficult to clean up latter.  So I’d highly recommend you have a vacuum at the ready since this debris could damage your FEP if it gets into the vat.  You’ll need a rotary tool kit along with a cutting disk that will be large enough to cut through the full thickness of the material. Having a Back saw will help cut all the way through if you don’t have the proper disk thickness, and will also help straighten the cut.

Before we start cutting, we’re going to place some painter’s tape along the edge of the machine. The cut will be at 2.5 inches from the back of the lid, so you’ll want to cover that area, so you can make your markings.  With the Painter’s tape in place, you’ll then either use a combination square or a simple ruler to draw out your lines.  As mentioned previously, I made it 2.5inches from the back of the machine so that it just barely cleared the linear rail system.  It’s very important that you clear the rail system, which we’ll be attaching the printed portions to this latter.

Before cutting into the materials, I did some practice runs with a similar plastic to make sure I had the proper speeds for my rotary tool kit.  In my case, I found that a speed of either 3 or 4 was a great balance between speed and control.  Anywhere past the 5 mark and you will risk melting the plastic, which can cause the disk to melt into place.  The cutting disk I was using, was fairly small therefore it didn’t cut all the way through, forcing me to use my Back saw to finish the procedure.  This had the additional benefit of straightening out my cuts, but shouldn’t be necessary if you have the correct supplies.  I began from one side, going all the way around, making sure that I was always facing the backside of the lid.  This helped ensure that I always cut from the same side of the markings.  Once I finished both sides, I then worked on the top of the lid, being very careful not to put too much pressure on it.  While finishing up with the Back saw, I made sure to hold both portions together while I cut through.  

With the two pieces cut, It was time to deburr the edges and clean the entire area before moving forwards.  This is actually a very important step since material can get stuck in the tape and become difficult to remove later on.  I used a vacuum cleaner to clean the workspace and the lids fully.  Although the lid could fit currently together, it’s better to add a ledge to prevent any light from bleeding through.  Any fully opaque thin plastic will work for this purpose.  I had some material lying around, so I used this, however most art or hardware stores have various materials which could be used for this purpose.  Just make sure whatever you choose will be resistant to isopropyl alcohol and the resin. To attach this material, you’ll have two main options.  You can use a double-sided adhesive or, like me, I used Gaff tape since it doesn’t leave a residue.  If you do decide to use Gaff tape, be aware that you’ll need to replace it every 1 to 2 years.  By putting this tape on both sides of the edge, it allowed for a tighter fit, which in turn prevents the front from coming off as easily.   I did leave about 1 inch clear from the bottom since I was concerned about the tape absorbing resin.   I ended covering that area later on because it allowed too much light through the openings on either side.  What I did do, however, it uses kapton tape to attach the material to that area since it’s more resilient to chemicals.

After 3d printing these two parts, we’ll superglue this to the top of the Linear rail enclosure.  This will help make sure that the back lid stays in place, since we don’t want this to move around. Using some more Kapton Tape, we’ll tape the bottom edge of the lid to the rest of the machine.  With everything attached, I could finally start testing this new machine.  

So while this may not be necessary to get a fully functional machine, this mod has made a big difference in my ability to fully utilize my work space. Removing the lid is a lot easier now and has speed up my overall workflow.  I hope you guys enjoyed this video and I hope to see you guys again soon

Personal Notes

Supplies + Tools

  • Deburring Tool
  • Rotary Tool
  • Cutting Disks
  • Back Saw
  • Painter’s tape
  • Marker
  • Ruler
  • Combination Square (Optional)

SLA Printer – What is it? – Pt 01 3D Printing Basics



This guide includes diagrams, FEP sheet replacement, Parts and motherboard explanations, troubleshooting tricks, cleaning, maintenance, settings, firmware + Bonus Resin Scoop and much more.

Unlike FDM printers, SLA one’s function quite differently depending on the type that you’re using.  In today’s article, well go over the basics of what an SLA printer is and how it works.

Although there are multiple types of resin printers, today we’ll be focusing on SLA one’s since these are the most common types found in households. These types of printer’s can actually come in 3 different varieties, with the most affordable being the LCD based version. All of these printers use a resin which cures when exposed to a UV light and stores this resin within a container called a vat. The vat itself has a transparent film on the bottom, which allows the resin to be exposed to the light source. DLP, also known as digital light processing, uses a Projector to expose the resin to UV light. LCD or MSLA resin printer’s, use a UV light source in conjunction with an LCD to help cure the resin. Both DLP and LCD printers, cure each layer simultaneously, making them faster when fully utilizing the build plate. Although the term SLA is used as an umbrella term for all of these types, it’s more specifically used to describe stereolithography based printers which use a laser to cure the resin. While these laser printers can potentially produce better levels of details, they can take much longer to complete depending on how much of the build plate is being utilized. Almost all the lower cost resin printers on the market today will be the LCD or MSLA printers, so these will be the ones we’ll be covering today.

The best way to understand LCD resin printers, is to see them as working similar to screen printing. Each object is made up of several different layers of exposed resin. Each layer is created by shinning a UV light source through the base of the machine, while the LCD masks out any areas which shouldn’t be exposed. This means that it can cure many objects simultaneously without taking additional time. As each layer is cured, the machine will lift before going back down into the next position for the next layer. Originally these printers used RGB screens which were similar to that of a tablet but because of the efficiency, speed and longevity, the y have since been replaced with mono screens for the most part. The RGB stands for the Red, Green and Blue filters which create a black mask, while the mono screen uses just the one layer instead. These new screens allow more of the UV light through because it doesn’t need to go through as many filters. RGB screens create coloured images, while the mono one only create a grey scale one.

The layer thickness, determines the resolution of the print it in the Z axis. The resolution of the X and Y are determined by the screen resolution. Although many machines are described as being 2k or 4k in resolution, a better method of determining the potential of the machine is to calculate the pixels per inch instead. IF you have a 4k screen that’s 8 x 6 inches and boasts a pixel count of 3840×2160 this will actually be a lower resolution than 5 x 3 inch display with the same pixel density. The reason for this is that you are dividing the pixels to the overall size of the screen. So in order to get a measurement that’s easier to compare, you divide the pixel count by the size instead. Not all companies will readily make this information available, but a quick search on the manufacturer’s website can normally give you the number’s to calculate this.

Safety is a high priority when dealing with these machines, and that’ll be something we’re going to cover more thoroughly in the next article. When that one’s made available, you will see the link HERE.

Updating the Firmware – Anycubic Mono X Resin Printer



Every machine runs off of firmware, and the Anycubic Mono X is no different.  While in most case, updating the firmware isn’t necessary, it can sometimes address certain issues that come stock with the machine.  In this article, we’re going to go through the process for this particular machine.  As always, there’s a certain element of risk involved when doing, so I’m in no way responsible if any damages may occur.  

Updating the firmware is important for a couple of main reasons. If you’re upgrading the free license of Chitubox from an earlier 1.8.1 version, then this update will make it compatible with the software.  These updates also help address some common bugs and on other machines that can sometimes included additional functionality. 

Before updating anything, you’ll first need to reformat a USB stick to make sure there’s nothing can can interfere or cause issues. In windows, you’ll right-click this drive and select the format option.  In this case, we can simply use the Quick Format while making sure it’s set to FAT32.  Once completed, we can then begin downloading the files.

Currently, there are two versions of the firmware for this particular machine, and they currently come bundled together when you download them from the main website.  Luckily, Anycubic realized this could cause issues and made it so that only the correct version would install, so long as the proper order is followed.  Going to the main website, you’ll download these by going to, 3D Printers + Photon Series + Mono X. You’ll then scroll all the way down until you reach the firmware section where you’ll be able to download the package.  Be very careful about installing these files in the correct order.

Once you’ve unzipped the files, you’ll notice 4 files within the folder.  There’s the ReadyMe document along with the 3 firmware files.  You’ll transfer the .bin files to the root director of the USB stick and plug it into the Machine.  In order to run these updates, we need to print them.  So we’ll first Print the P_MXV5_4_0812(1).bin file.  It’s important to start the update process with this file, otherwise you may run into issues.  After confirming that you want to update, the process will begin and the machine will be restarted.  This can take a couple of minutes, so be patient. With the first part is completed, you can then run the remaining two updates.  Only one of these two files will work, the with one will be showing an error. With the update completed, you’ll remove the USB stick and restart the machine to make sure that everything has been enabled.  I personally didn’t need to change any of my settings after doing this update, however your millage may wary.

Unlike many of the original machines, this one lacks a protective glass layer to protect it from spills and damages.  To keep your machine in good working order, you can view this article here for information on how to protect your machine’s screen. Protect your LCD Screen



Saturn Vs Mono X – Resin Printer Showdown


It can sometimes be difficult to tell which resin printer might be better for your needs, so today’s we’ll be going over both the Anycubic Mono X and Elegoo saturn.  While both being very similar, they have quite a few important differences in their overall design and function.  What you’ll read in this article, represents my own opinions and no money has exchanged hands.

Both have similar specifications and build style, but their implementations are quite different. While the Saturn has a build volume of 192 x 120 x 200, the Mono X has a slightly larger one at 192 x 120 x 245.  As is common with newer machines, each uses a mono screen to mask out the UV light for the curing process.  Both work with the Chitubox slicer, although they will need to have the firmware updated if using the latest version.  Unlike most FDM printer’s today, neither company has currently released a wiring diagram to make repairs easier, so I’ve released my own that you can find here DOWNLOAD PAGE.  One great feature is the inclusion of the raised feet for the vats of both machines.  This is great news for most user’s since it prevent accidentally damaging to the FEP sheet when it’s placed on a surface. It also has the added benefit of locking the vat into the correct position for printing.

The Elegoo Saturn when it was first released was quite innovative in its offerings.  It was the first to use a mono screen and implement raised feet to lock the vat into place.  During the initial release, it was an extremely affordable machine, but was limited in its availability.  Currently, at the time of making this video, the price is no longer as competitive, but it’s still quite affordable for the features which are included.  The build plate design uses a ball joint mechanism, which makes it easy to un-level during the print removal process.  It’s well worth considering a flex build plate to prevent this issue for arising. On my particular machine, I did in fact notice some Z wobble, but I haven’t seen anyone else complain about it, therefore perhaps only a few machines have been affected. The Saturn and the Mono x both require a firmware update prior to using the most recent Chitubox release.  The Saturn does use a Chitubox board, which does limit which slicers can be used with the new firmware. Chitubox does provide a free version at this time, but this is not guaranteed to be the case in the future.  While inspecting the wiring, I did discover that it had tinned connections, which I recommend replacing with ferrule one’s instead.  I do have a video walking through that process that you can check out here. 

When the Mono X was first released, it was several hundreds of dollars more than the Saturn, however at the time of recording this video it is no longer the case.  In fact, if you keep an eye out for the sales, you can get it at a much cheaper price point. The Mono X uses its own proprietary motherboard, which does allow Anycubic more flexibility in how it’s implemented.  For instance, some great features include the ability to change the UV light strength for the machine overall, rather than relying on the slicer to do so with exposure settings. Additionally, this machine isn’t locked within the Chitubox ecosystem, and they’ve readily made it available for other slicing software.  This more open approach makes it more flexible in the long term, but it also means, you will need to purchase any replacement components through their company, which is good so long as they are still available for purchase.  Unlike the Saturn, this machine does have proper wire connections and is the only company that I’ve found doing this so far.  Both their curing station and their Mono X use proper connectors, which is a great sign.  Along with these proper connections, we also have the integration of Wi-Fi, which thankfully is an optional implementation.  This coupled with the sturdy build plate and linear rails system has made this by far my most used resin printer.  But there’s also one huge problem with this machine.  The knobs have a nasty tendency to melt when exposed to isopropyl alcohol and to this day, machines are still being shipped with the defect.  You can see the MELTING Knob Fix at this link.

So with all this information, what is my final verdict?  Well, it’s going to depend on what you’re planning to do with your machine.  I found that the Mono X was very reliable and consistent, however the knobs were a pain to deal with until I printed new one’s.  The Saturn was much more capable at printing detailed pieces once properly calibrated, especially once I added a flex build plate.  With the release of new versions coming to market, their prices have become a great value for what they offer.  I was very tempted to pick some up for my production runs but since you guys want to see more videos I’ve pre-ordered some newer machines instead.



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