Hello everybody and welcome to another video. Today well be taking a look at the Elegoo Saturn, and we’ll also discuss some new issues which you might want to keep in mind when making your next purchase. As always, what you see here represents my own opinions and no money has exchanged hands. I purchased this machine with my own money in order to do this review.
So to start things off, what is this machine and what are the benefits. Well, this machine in particular has as 4K monochrome screen and was one of the very first at a budget friendly price. The monochrome screen allows the machine to print faster, with the added benefit of the screen lasting much longer. It was so popular for Pre-Order, that the machines sold out within the first couple of seconds and a second round was created with the same issue. Afterwards, it took nearly a year to finally find it back in stock online. This machine boasts a print size of 192x120x200 mm, however it is important to note that there’s actually a couple of different alliterations of this machine which come in slightly different sizes. Mine for instance was the V2, which actually had a slightly larger build plate than some of the more recent one’s. As an SLA printer, it uses liquid photosensitive resin to cure prints layer by layer which makes it ideally suited for detailed prints, however it does require proper ventilation and safety precautions since the resins are toxic.
When I first received my machine, the lead screw weren’t lubricated, and I would highly recommend that you add some lubricant to prevent issues along the Z axis. You’ll also want to double-check to make sure there’s no obvious particles or debris, even though this shouldn’t be an issue. Because of the larger print size, I did find it necessary to coat the FEP sheet with some PTFE lubricant. So long as you have a properly levelled the bed, this should allow the prints to come off the FEP sheet without issue.
When you first get your machine, you’ll need to level the print bed and to do this you’re first going to take out the vat and put a piece of paper on the build plate to protect it. You’ll then need to go to “Settings” + “Manual” + “Home”. Once this is set, you can then loosen the two bolts with the provided Allen Key while holding the build plate flat as you re-tighten them. You can then go “Back” one menu and choose “Set Z-=0” Which will set the Z offset for you. Go Back to “Manual” and re-home the plate and bring it up just slightly by 0.10 increments to make sure you have even distribution pressure when you move the paper. As a side note, if your print isn’t sticking, 90% percent of the time it’s that the build plate that isn’t levelled correctly. You can find issues in the first couple of layers at two key points by listening for the suction sound that’s made when the plate makes contact or lifts away.
For some reason, every so often, I ran into an issue while using the Pause print function. In certain cases the build plate would be slightly off when it returned to the print and this would cause a print failure. In my case, I believe the main issue was a possible a symptom of the LCD screen, which brings up another interesting point. If you notice artifacts in your prints and these artifacts are in the same area and get worse and worse, don’t assume that the screen is broken. You can save yourself a lot of problems and money if you first re-seeding the LCD screen. In my case I had to do this after just 3 prints, however once I did this the issue was resolved. When you reseed the screen make sure to put back the tape that’s holding it in place since this will help prevent it from coming out again. My Anycubic Photon also had a similar issue, so this does seem to be a more widespread issue that’s not always discussed.
I would like to see future alliterations have handles of some sort added to the sides of the build plate to make is easier to grab onto as well, keeping it at a more comfortable angle for removing prints. It’s more stable to hold the bed with the attachment, and this can often lead to levelling issues if you put too much pressure. I’ve since installed a flex build plate to help prevent those issues from arising, but it is something to keep in mind.
The vat has a great design feature which includes 4 bolts that can act as feet when sitting on a table or help lock into the correct position when preparing for a print. Another great feature of their vat design are the handles which they’ve placed on the sides. Both are great features that I which more companies could have, since it really does add quite a lot to the user experience. One thing I’m not so found of, is how the bolts holding the vat to the base can come out completely. I, like I’m sure many other’s, have had these bolt fall straight into the vat when my gloves were covered in resin.
As of recording this video, it’s important to note that the manufacturer which produces the motherboards for this machine and other’s has made an important update which locks the user into using Chitubox. Now you can use either the free version or the pro version and you do need to import these files and slice them into their Software for the time being. While it is possible that they may unlock this in the future or provide other companies with the format to save the files, it isn’t currently the case. Also, important to note is that certain machines are not yet supported, so make sure to find out which version you have of your machine before you make any firmware updates. Now I also found Default Lift distance way too height and that was one of the first settings I changed within the Chitubox slicing software.
The menus are very simple but effective and the screen is easy to read, which is always a great feature to have. They’ve gone ahead and added a clean features which helps expose the full print area. This makes cleaning up after a failed print a lot easier to manage, since you don’t necessarily have to remove the entire vat to clean it. Instead, you go to “Tools” + “Tank Clean” + “Next” and simply pull out and discard the exposed layer.
I have to say that I’m not found on the lid design, however I’m fairly certain that this was to keep the cost lower on the machine. I would love to see a future alliteration which has a door that opens in the front, since it takes up a lot less room currently. Here’s a couple of ideas on what that could look like, all with their own pros and cons. IF the company could have an aftermarket lid option, that would great since It would be an easy upgrade path for me as a consumer. To be clear the lid is currently perfectly functional at the moment, however in a production setting where space is at a premium, most machines would be stacked on top of each other and this does become more of an issue.
So how was the print quality and does it make a difference when printing with a 4K monochrome screen? Using some files that I purchased from Titan-Forge I printed these on two different machines. Here’s the same file printed with the following settings on both the Elegoo Saturn(7h12m44s) and the Anycubic Photon (took7h13m56s). The Anycubic Photon has a regular LCD screen and isn’t 4K. Here’s the print results with Anti-Aliasing turn on as well as Image blur. For testing purposes, I’ve also matched each of their settings for the print height as well as the Anti-Aliasing and blur. Since I don’t currently have another 4k SLA printer at my disposal, I’m not currently able to compare it to something similar.
So what is the Verdict on this machine? Well, honestly it’s a very good machine in general, and it gets a solid 8/10 from me. It produces great prints, and it comes at a very affordable price. Most of the issues that I encountered while using it were minor. Since the connection for the LCD screen will sometimes only appear after a couple of prints, it’s something which can be difficult to check in quality control. It’s most likely the reason why I’ve experienced this same issue from multiple manufacturers. If you have some suggestions of your own, please leave them in the comments below. I hope you guys enjoyed this video and I hope to see you guys soon. Thank you, can take care.
Yasmeen completed both the 2D and 3D animation course at Algonquin College and worked in the animation industry as a freelancer for a number of years before being hired to manage the 3D printing services at ItsYeBoi. While using the Alias of "Jenny" during her services, she was responsible for the testing, maintenance and upgrading of the machine while also filming and developing 3D printable assets for various projects.