Anycubic Photon Printing: Ultimate 3D Resin Print Guide [Your First 3D Print]
You can use your Anycubic Photon X 4K or Photon S after reading this manual. I’ll follow you through the Slicing, assembling, printing Post Process, and cleaning procedures. It’s indeed a Joy to see your Digital Sculpt coming to life with 3d printing.
Check out My Youtube Video – How I made these 3d Sculpts using Nomad sculpt App On iPad( Barbara P)
Check out My Youtube Video – How I made these 3d Sculpts using Nomad sculpt App On iPad( Digital Sculpt)
What is “3-D Printing”?
The term “3D printing” refers to a manufacturing method that takes a digital file and uses it to generate a three-dimensional solid object.
The three-dimensional items produced by 3D printers are made by successively stacking thin layers of the same material on top of one another. This process continues until the desired end result is attained.
Resin, plastic, graphite, metal, and carbon fibre are the types of materials that are utilized the most frequently in 3D printing.
How Anycubic photon operates
Printing on the Photon is distinct from most other 3D printers on the market today, whether or not you are new to 3D printing. The Photon is an SLA (Stereolithography Apparatus) printer, but the majority of 3D printers are FDM, which explains why (Fused Deposition Modeling).
Each layer of your print is “cured” by an SLA printer using a focused or UV light on a resin vat.
While FDM printers melt a spool of plastic filament to create each layer, SLA printers use a focused or UV light on a resin vat to “cure” each layer of your print.
In other words, every layer is essentially a projector-projected picture. Because of this basic distinction, neither OctoPrint nor regular slicing software like Cura can be used. So, I use Lychee Slicer for slicing & prepping the Model for 3D printing. I mostly use the pro version of Lychee Slicer.
Here is the Step By Step Guide to using Anycubic Photon
1. Level the Printer
This is an Extremely Important step while printing using any Resin printer
Before you begin each print, check the bed level. I have taken care of the topic of Anycubic Photon bed leveling in a separate guide.
There are many articles talking about the manual paper method for bed leveling Anycubic Photon but trust me – You’re doing it wrong[ bed leveling]… The paper method may not fix your problem.
Well, as a matter of fact, There are 2 methods to do the Bed leveling in Anycubic Photon 3d printer( manual leveling)
- The Paper method – This may not work perfectly[ I have tried & Tested it]
- Flint read method – This is the most reliable method of bed leveling with Anycubic Photon 3D printer
Leveling the Flint Read way
YouTube video from Flint Reed leveling to the FEP instead of the Paper method. Personally, I had better luck with Flint Read way but try both to see what works for you. Not sure how a Google search didn’t direct you to the video but here’s the link: https://youtu.be/roAqm5c3rfU
2. Download & Use Slice software
Since slicing software is directly responsible for the ability of the 3D-designed object to be printed subsequently, using it in 3D printing is unavoidable at some point. Due to this, there are numerous different slicers available, such as the Anycubic slicer, PrusaSlicer, and Cura Slicer.
However, with the Lychee Slicer( From Mango3d) there are also other fascinating capabilities like real-time cavity/hallow construction, island detector, adding support, and much more in addition to the classic aspects like precisely preparing the model for 3D printing and then slicing it. I use the Lychee Slicer pro version Of it. It costs me 6 Euros per month.
3. Configure your 3D machine
The first time you use Lychee Slicer, you’ll need to configure your 3D machine. To do this, launch Lychee Slicer and click Add New Printer. Select AnyCubic Photon or AnyCubic Photon-s from the drop-down menu. Then, close the Settings panel.
4. Configure your resin settings
You will need to configure the settings so that they are optimal for the resin you are using, much like you would have to configure the settings of an FDM printer for the various types of filament you use.
Check out this awesome list of Anycubic Photon resin settings that was crowd-sourced in order to find the settings that correspond to your resin. The printer came with a bottle of Grey & Clear Anycubic resin, so I’ve been using that. These are the parameters that should be entered into the spreadsheet in order to print with a layer height of 0.04 mm:
Printing Settings for Photon Mono 4K
|Resin Type||Basic Resin||Plant-Based Resin||Flexible Tough Resin||Water-Wash Resin+||Standard Resin+||ABS-Like Resin+||Plant-Based Resin+|
You can change these settings by going to Settings > Print. Use the Off time value that is listed on the table for both the Light-off Delay and the Bottom Light-off Delay.
A layer height of 0.02 is unnecessary for the majority of prints; I just want to test this printer’s capabilities in terms of producing extremely fine detail.
3. Import your model from Lychee Slicer
Adjust the dimensions of the model.
Simply dragging the model into Lychee Slicer will start the loading process. If the model is going to be printed on a bed that is smaller than its dimensions, click the resize button in the sidebar.
After that, select either the desired size or Scale to fit depending on how large the model is going to be. In order to save some time, I shrunk the size of each model by an arbitrary amount.
After that, check to see that the model is in contact with the plate. I made this mistake because I assumed that it would do this by default; however, when I went to print something, I found that the print was floating above the build plate. To accomplish this, select FIT To bed after clicking the move button located in the sidebar.
A word about the printing schedule When comparing SLA printers to FDM printers, one of the most fascinating differences between the two is that adding more models to a SLA print does not always increase the amount of time it takes to complete the print. There will be no difference in the amount of time required to print the model as long as all of the additional models are smaller than the tallest model. This is due to the fact that an identical number of layers is being generated.
4. Hollow the model and add drain holes
This step is not required, but it is a strongly recommended step in order to save resin and reduce the amount of peel force that is applied to the print when changing layers. I do this to all my 3D Creatives
Hollowing is a feature that is unique to SLA printing, and drain holes should be added so that resin can flow out of the part.
If you cannot find a model that has already been prepared in this manner, you can prepare it yourself by using the Hollow and Dig Hole buttons that are located at the very top of Lychee Slicer software.
You can adjust the width of your model and also how deep you want the hole to be. Holes are made to drain out resin trapped inside the mode land and also for cleaning inside during the washing process.
Next, add Raft. You have various options to choose from for the type of raft as per your preference and success rate. raft is important to make sure you model I printed is intact as it is.
Finally, add support. for your first print use ‘auto ‘ mode and medium strength support. Hit Auto generate supports. Once done you can manually add more supports in areas highlighted as yellow checkers called Islands. Usually, these are the areas that need support.
Add a few manual supports don’t go crazy with it. As you learn you can also use branching by adding supports manually keeping alt+control key presses and dragging another end of support to main support around the island. There will be a lot of islands not all needs support. You can ignore some.
5. Slice the model In Lychee Slicer
Slicing is basically the process of further optimizing your 3d model and preparing it in the format recognizable by a 3d Printer.
For your first print, you can start by clicking the export button to slice the model and leaving the other settings as they are by default. You should store the newly created file in the external USB drive, such as the one that was included in the packaging for your printer.
If you have set up the right printer in the Lychee settings the file it generates for printing will be easily recognized by your printer when it is time to print. If you don’t see that file in the printer after inserting the USB drive it means the file format is incorrect and that usually happens coz you had set up the wrong printer in Lychee. Oops!
6. Don’t Forget to use your Safety Gear before starting printing
Because you do not want any uncured resin to come in contact with your skin or eyes, put on some Nitrile gloves and a pair of safety glasses.
In the event that you decide to open the printer while it is still printing, I strongly advise wearing protective eyewear that is resistant to UV light. In any other case, you should make sure that the cover of the printer is always closed while it is operating to protect your eyes from the light.
Open resing has fumes that could cause burning. sensations in the eyes and has a strong odor to make sure where you set up your printer has good ventilation, Garage or shed is a good place. Also to get away from the noise that step-up fan makes within the printer during printing.
7. Add Resin to Resin VAT(Tray)
Shake the bottle containing the resin for five to ten seconds. After that, fill the resin vat until you reach the first “line” on the bevel. You will be able to print more than you think with this quantity of resin.
If you need to add more for a very large print, you can do so while the print is being done; just pour it very slowly and, as many people will tell you, don’t pause the print because this can mess it up. If you need to add more for a very large print, you can do so while the printing is in process. Just top it up.
After you have practiced 3D printing for a while, you will eventually be able to reduce the amount of resin that you pour in because you will have a better idea of how much is required for each print.
When you are finished, make sure the front cover is closed.
8. Load the Print Model & Start the print
As a matter of fact, the Photon and Photon S can only have prints loaded into them through the use of a USB cable.
Place the USB drive that contains the printing file that you generated into the USB port that is located on the right side of the printer. Select Print from the primary menu, then chooses what you want to print and click the icon that looks like a play button to begin the printing process.
9. Important Post-processing Procedures
After the print is complete, we will need to remove any excess resin from the object and then allow it to cure completely. Any left-out resing can be reused.
I use Anycubic Wash & Cure station that I Purchased from Amazon. This is an amazing machine for post-processing your 3d Model.
Here is the Step-by-step guide for Post-processing
Take off the print now.
Make use of the metal print scraper that was provided in order to carefully remove the print from the plate. After that, remove any excess resin from the print by running it under warm water in the sink. At this point of time support can be removed from the print.
Make the print look clean.
Isopropyl alcohol (IPA) with a concentration of 99.9% should then be used to remove any uncured resin. There are many methods for accomplishing this, one of which is the utilization of an ultrasonic Cure; however, the method that I typically use is to simply immerse the print in a bath of IPA for about three minutes.
If you get any resin on your skin or another surface, wash the affected area with soap and water as soon as possible, and be sure to scrub it thoroughly.
In the end, you should allow your print to fully cure by leaving it in the sunlight or placing it under a UV lamp Or You can use AnyCubic Wash & Cure Station. I’d prefer Anycubic wash & cure station for curing my 3D Models because natural sunlight has many wavelengths of UV but this machine will make your work easy and smooth. This will ensure that it is as strong as possible.
Make sure there is no IPA on the resin before curing else you will see scarring on your print which will need to be sanded off later on.
Now, Get rid of the IPA
To properly dispose of the saturated IPA that was used as bathwater, first place the container outside in the sun to cure the resin, and then pour the water through a water can Or running water into a clean container. After this, the water can be disposed of safely.
10. Clean up your 3D Printer machine
While your print cures fully in Wash & Cure machine, let’s clean things up. Remove the resin vat and clean it using some IPA and paper towels. Put some isopropyl alcohol (IPA) onto a paper towel and carefully clean the LCD projector screen and print head.
Reusing excess/Leftover resin
There is no question that resin can be reintroduced into the container; however, it is absolutely essential to filter out the hardened and already-used resin in an appropriate manner.
If this step is skipped, the pieces of resin that have hardened can contaminate the resin that is still contained within the bottle, which will reduce the quality of any subsequent prints.
Here’s What To Do With Leftover 3D Printing Resin
Reusing any leftover resin: You can recycle the excess resin by passing it through the paper filters that were included with the printer and then pouring it back into the bottle of resin.
This can be done if you want to reuse the resin. Getting particulates into the resin isn’t worth the potential print problems it could cause, so in most cases, I avoid doing this even though resin can be quite pricey.
Leftovers of the 3D printing resin can either be recycled for use in subsequent printing projects or discarded. There are a few steps that need to be taken before 3D printing resin can be reused in a secure manner. Because of the chemicals that go into its production, working with resin is a more complicated process than working with filament.
If the remaining resin is still in a liquid state, you should probably save it for later use. It is not dangerous in the least to keep the raw resin in the tank that is used for 3D printing as long as it is adequately protected from heat and ultraviolet light in order to keep it from becoming solid.
It is recommended by professionals in the field of 3D printing that you purchase multiple resin tanks for your printer if your builds require the use of distinct types of resin. Therefore, it will be simple for you to switch between tanks and put them away when they are not in use.
After switching resins, the time-consuming process of filtering, emptying, and cleaning the tank can be cut down significantly when there are multiple tanks available. Make sure that any pieces of resin that have solidified in the tank are removed before continuing.
if your printing is failing it will usually be because of the following issues :
- Your digital 3D model quality is poor
- Supports used during slicing are inappropriate
- Mostly the culprit is bed leveling not being done correctly
- Sticky FEP stuck to LCD screen
- Inappropriate exposure time
- The printer is not on a stable surface or vibration
- I am sure there are more reasons you will discover. Resin Printing ( with Anycubic Photon MONO X )had a small learning curve and sometime could be frustrating due to failures but that usually happens for silly reasons which you will discover as you print more. But the Joy of seeing your print in physical form is immense.
11. Enjoy your 3D work coming to Life
This is an Awesome Experience. below are a few of my first 3d prints…The amazing Journey of crafting sculptures digitally ( using Nomad sculpt Or Zbrush)to printing them using 3D printers.
I create likeness sculptures and illustrations. Mostly on an Ipad app called Nomad Sculpt. You can see my work here and on the Youtube
Also Read: Top 7+ 3D sculpt Apps for Tablets & iPad
How to Prepare & Print the 3d Model- Quick Guide
Create your Object in 3d printing software like Nomadsculpt and make it ready for 3d printing
Optimize the mesh in Nomad sculpt: A solid volume and closed edges produce a mesh that is watertight. Would anything leak if you filled your model with water?
Make sure all of your normals are facing outward by checking them (any flipped normals will be read as holes by the printer). You might need to remove any internal geometry that booleans could have unintentionally left behind.
- Merge the object ( all parts) and decimate ( because you want to reduce the size to Under 500MB for Lychee Slicer)- Download LYchee Slice here
- Export out as STL or OBJ file
Upload the STL/ OBJ file to LYCHEE slicer software( Free & paid Versions)
Since slicing software is directly responsible for the ability of the 3D-designed object to be printed subsequently, using it in 3D printing is unavoidable at some point. Due to this, , there are numerous different slicers available, such as the Anycubic slicer, PrusaSlicer and the Cura Slicer.
However, with the Lychee Slicer, there are also other fascinating capabilities like real-time cavity construction, island detector, and much more in addition to the classic aspects like precisely preparing the model for 3D printing and then slicing it.
Print your Creative
Export the Sliced version of the 3d creative to a Pendrive and Import it to a 3D printer. I use the Anycubic Photon X Resin printer for all My miniatures. I use Monocubic UV resin to print my Miniatures.
It takes approx: 7-18 hrs depending on the size of your creative
VOLIA!! Enjoy you sculpt coming to Life…
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About the Author:
Manny Acharya is the co-founder of Artmellows. Your Goto place for Design, Digital Art, Digital sculpting, Photography, Tools & Gears Info, and Product Reviews. Manny is a Digital Artist, 3D Sculpt Designer, Ardent Photography, Drone flying Enthusiast & Tech Lover. He supercharges Digital Art & Design by crafting memorable 3d Sculpts & 2D Design & Art.
PS: Manny has created a Beginner Friedly ebook to Learn Nomad 3d Sculpt App. Know More about the eBook. Know more about Manny