Test: Anycubic Photon Mono X 6K

Test: Anycubic Photon Mono X 6K

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Epblogs verdict

Anycubic Photon Mono X 6K sets a new standard for resin-based 3D printers. Here you get size, speed and details for a fairly reasonable money. Enthusiasts can create larger models faster and with greater detail than before – in a user-friendly system.

Anycubic Photon Mono X 6K Specs
Operation3.5 “touch screen
SoftwarePhoton workshop
Connection USB-A 2.0 / LAN
TechnologyLCD-based SLA UV Photocuring
Light source Parallel matrix (LED x 40 wavelength 405 nm)
XY- resolution5760 x 3600 px (6K)
Layer thickness0.01-0.15 mm
Print speed80 mm / h
Printer size47.5 x 29 x 27 cm
Model range24.5 x 19.7 x 12.2 cm
MaterialUV resin
Net weight11 kg

AnyCubic Photon Mono X 6K may be just what you are looking for if you have previously experienced having to downgrade the size or print quality. Many consumer-oriented SLA 3D printers on the market usually give you either greater print capacity or higher resolution, but not both. However, you get that with the Photon Mono X 6K.

If you are not so versed in the world of 3D printers, consumer-oriented models often fall into two categories, namely stereolithographic (SLA) or fused deposition modeling (FDM). The FDM type melts a line of solid filament and builds up the model layer by layer on a heated surface. SLA printers take advantage of a print base immersed in a UV-reactive resin tub and process each layer with a flash of UV light.

AnyCubic Photon Mono X 6K falls into the latter category. Thus, it has a number of advantages and disadvantages compared to FDM printers such as Anycubic Vyper. FDM printers are often something you resort to to create larger models, as resin-based printers are often much smaller. However, FDM printers struggle to get small details and run many prints. Even the best optimized editions provide models with clear lines that show all the layers.

Thus, larger resin models such as the Photon Mono X 6K have some advantages when driving larger models. The level of detail is higher than what you usually get with FDM printers.

This is one of the largest printers in the AnyCubic directory. The largest possible print format is 24.5 x 19.7 x 12.2 cm. This is slightly larger than what you get with other medium to large solutions such as the Elegoo Saturn. But the real advantage is not only that the format is larger, but that it also prints in 6K resolution. This gives you a greater level of detail.

AnyCubic Photon Mono X 6K came on the Norwegian market for 8995 kroner, but it is already available for less than 8000 kroner. This is a good chunk of money anyway, but still a fair price for a good, resin-based 3D printer. You also get the AnyCubic’s standard 12-month warranty, with the exception of the LCD screen, which only has a three-month coverage. However, these can be purchased separately from both AnyCubic’s website and other retailers.

If you are looking for a printer that can drive larger models or many models at once, AnyCubic Photon Mono X 6K is perfect, especially for enthusiasts or prototypes. With larger models and richer details, it is well suited for statuettes, cosplay props and dioramas .

Design

One of the advantages of resin printers is that they usually require minimal configuration. Anycubic Photon Mono X 6K is no exception. You just take it out of the box, follow some instructions for leveling up the print base and a couple of other safety precautions, and then you’m ready to print. You can go from unpacking to starting the first print in less than half an hour.

A clever case that is included in the delivery is a screen protector, of the same type as you see on mobile phones . It’s a bit clumsy to attach, just like those for mobile, but it’s definitely worth the effort. The durability of the touch screen can get a hit if you spill liquid resin on it.

The print base is spacious 24.5 x 19.7 x 12.2 cm, which is slightly larger than the standard model Anycubic Photon Mono X, with its 24.5 x 19.2 x 12.0 cm.

Photon Mono X 6K has a 9.25-inch screen, which is slightly larger than the 8.9-inch on the original version Photon Mono X. This new model is, as the name suggests, capable of creating models in 6K, giving a resolution of 34 micrometers.

The 6K version of Mono X has a resolution of 5760 x 3600, while the original version can only boast 3840 x 2400. That is a pretty big difference. Even when printing small statuettes or models, you can easily see the difference. When the models have been treated, a much sharper level of detail emerges.

A 3.5-inch color touch screen is used to control the device. It is easy to read and user-friendly, and it responds well. Our only problem is with cleaning the resin tank, as brands such as Elegoo often have a setting that simply says “tank clean”, which means that the entire tank is processed so that the resin can be easily peeled off.

Photon Mono X 6K also does this, but you can find the setting during exposure, which makes it very difficult to find.

We also have an objection to the USB port being located on the left side of the computer, next to the on button. It’s definitely better than placing it on the back, but it still makes it harder to load new printers into the Photon Mono X 6K than if it were placed on the front, as on the Elegoo Mars 2 Pro.

The fans do an excellent job of cooling the Photon Mono X 6K, but they are incredibly loud compared to those found on many SLA printers we have tried. This can be quite distracting, and although we would never recommend you stand near the printer when it is working – due to the steam from the resin – you will probably also hear the whirring of the fans through a closed door, as we experienced.

Features and functions

There are also some other changes that separate the new 6K model from the original Mono X variant. Where the original has a plate in brushed aluminum, you will find here a laser engraved surface that will provide better grip and reduce the risk of printing errors. We experienced some errors in our tests, but no more than expected. Thus, it is difficult to say whether the laser engraving has had any positive effect.

It obviously also has an improved light matrix, with 40 LED lamps that provide 90% light uniformity, which seems to be a 200% improvement from Mono X. This provides much faster printing, but you probably will not see any physical difference between the lamps themselves – unless you take the printer apart (which will probably affect the warranty).

As with all Anycubic resin printers, the Mono X 6K will officially only be compatible with Anycubic’s own Photon Workshop program. However, there are some detours if you would rather work in Lychee, but we found no ways to use this printer with other routing routines such as Chitubox or Chitubox Pro.

Otherwise, there are not many properties worth mentioning. The printer comes with a yellow acrylic cap that both provides UV protection so that the liquid resin in the tank does not solidify in the sunlight, in addition to preventing most of the toxic exhaust gases from escaping during printing.

We always recommend the use of face masks and disposable gloves when operating a resin printer. Fortunately, this comes in the box with the Anycubic Photon Mono X 6K, along with some other useful tools, such as a metal scraper to loosen the finished models from the plate.

You can also send files to the printer over a local network, if you connect to the printer through the same wireless source. However, we only recommend that you do this when running firmware updates. This eliminates the need to put the file on a physical memory stick and plug it into the printer.

Performance

Photon Mono X 6K can print up to 80 mm per hour. This is a bit faster than the Mono X, at 60 mm per hour, and much faster than the Elegoo Saturn’s 30 mm per hour. The write time is affected by file size and resolution, but we can confirm that this is a case that works quickly.

If this is your first 3D printer, we recommend that you do not run the included test print. It will probably give you a bad first impression. There is nothing wrong with the file itself, and it demonstrates excellent printer skills. But it must be printed directly on the plate without supports, so that it is almost impossible to remove without damaging the model.

If you have a print that sticks to the disc, there are a few things that can be done. One thing is to load the file into the Anycubic Photon studio and manually insert your own supports to lift the model from the disc. Another is to buy a razor-sharp window scraper that can loosen it from the plate. You can also pour boiling water over the area where the model is stuck, so that the plastic expands and can be loosened more easily.

Despite some printing errors, the results of our tests are as expected. Details like the Minotaur bust above have a lovely sharpness, where hair strands are clear, while the print lines are not. You have to go pretty close to see the difference in the quality of this printer and a lower resolution printer, but the Photon Mono X 6K can really create some of the finest detailed models you get from a printer if not of the industrial kind.

Even when the run-out fails, and in our case the error was due to resin being spilled on the LCD screen (where the said screen protector turned out to be its weight in gold) – you get the details in the clothes of a model that is only 3 cm high.

Care must be taken with the fragile FEP coating at the bottom of the resin container (the thin, clear plastic film that contains resin while UV light to solidify it lets it through), as it can be quickly punctured. Fortunately, you can buy new ones, either directly from Anycubic or from various retailers. The screen protector can also be replaced, but so far we have only found it at Anycubic.

All in all, this is a great printer. With the larger format, users do not have to reduce the quality to be able to scale up the size of the models. Thus, it is no wonder that this model has become popular. 

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