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You may know Creality for its FDM printers, such as the Ender3 or the CR-10, but Creality has also been a manufacturer of resin printers for several years, even if they are much less popular.
The resin market is in full evolution, with affordable printers, at less than 300€, like the Photon and also the Elegoo Mars which became one of the best selling machines of the moment (top sales on Amazon in the category of 3D printers), It is true that the printing quality of these machines is incredible and the price of the resin has also been greatly reduced, unfortunately a printing surface much smaller than an FDM, and safety precautions to be taken (gloves, masks, do not print in a living room because the resin is relatively harmful to health. ..).
The existing Creality resin printers were not the most attractive price level, usually over 400€, but Creality is determined to take back market share with this new machine around 250€, which has nothing to envy to the competing machines in terms of functionalities.
The Creality LD-002R, is currently sold on Creality’s official website at 269$, that is to say around 245€ with a stock in Europe, count between 4-7 days to receive it, and therefore without customs fees! It is currently available on Amazon USA (comgrow seller) at 279$, and should also be available soon on Amazon France, probably around 279€, a bit more expensive than on the official website, but with the Amazon Prime advantages.
On paper, what is this Creality worth, compared to an Elegoo Mars or a Photon S?
Globally all these machines look alike, they all offer a 2k resolution screen, a motherboard made by ChiTu, and a print size almost identical.
However, the LD-002R has some assets:
– It integrates an active carbon filter, unlike the Elegoo Mars (sold for 259€), which limits the diffusion of resin odors during printing.
– The Z-axis is mounted on a linear rail for greater fluidity.
– Powerful UV lamp for faster printing (you will see in the following article my tests to see the limits of this machine)
– More ergonomic than its competitors, for example the power button is on the front (on the back for the Mars), the USB on the side (on the back for the Mars), and the LD-002R is equipped with a small maintenance hatch on the side to facilitate the replacement of the LCD screen (you have to remove everything on the Mars or on the Photon S).
Overall the print quality will be similar to competing machines, so it’s these small details that will make the difference.
Unpacking the machine
The machine is well packed to protect it during transport. Some useful accessories are supplied with the machine, but you will need to buy gloves or filters for the resin. I got a 250ml bottle of resin with the machine, but I don’t know if it will also be sold with resin, some carriers refuse to transport “liquid” from China, I also got spare FEP films.
User manual: The user manual is clear and easy to understand, a beginner should be able to understand how to use the printer for the first time.
Assembly: The printer is ready to print, like the Elegoo Mars, the materials used seem very solid, there is nothing to assemble. The quality of the structure is much better than that of the Longer Orange 30 (this printer has a cheap cover that you can assemble yourself), the cover is stronger.
Note, on my beta machine I received a perforated tray, many of you on social networks ask me why they didn’t receive this tray, they have a full tray, in fact Creality has in the meantime chosen to put a full tray. It’s true that I had told Creality that this tray was not very practical to clean, I would also have preferred to have a full tray.
Before starting the first print, it will be necessary to adjust the plate, this is quite simple, just unscrew the 4 screws on the plate, press the “home” button for the Z axis is positioned at point 0, and then tighten the screws, it takes only 1 minute, and no need to do it again for each print!
First print: I noticed that the file extension for the models was the same as for the Elegoo Mars, so for my first impression I used the test model of my Elegoo Mars (the tower), it worked without any problem, so for my first tests I simply used an Elegoo Mars profile under ChiTubox.
In the meantime ChiTubox has added support for the native Creality LD-002R, with a new file format “ctb”, which has the advantage of being lighter and faster to slice, so it is possible to use both formats.
To test the power of the UV lamp, I tried to reduce the exposure time as much as possible, to test the limit of the machine.my first print with an exposure time of 6 seconds worked without any problem.
I did some tests with water washable resin, and standard resin (recommended time is 8-10sec), so it was a good surprise to only print with an exposure time of 6sec.
The next test, with only 4sec exposure time, no worries!
Even with a different color, it works perfectly.
With an exposure time of 3 seconds, I’m starting to lose some details.
With an exposure time of 2s, it failed, only the media was printed.
In conclusion, the best exposure time was 4sec per layer, already very fast!
Here are some other test prints, with a very good rendering.
What about spare parts?
I opened the beast in order to look at the reference of the LCD screen, because on a resin printer the LCD screen remains a consumable with a limited duration (about 600h of printing), by wanting to dismantle the screen I unfortunately “broke the tablecloth” which is very very fragile, this is totally my fault, but this mistake allowed me to discover a very interesting point, the LCD screen is exactly the same as the one of the Elegoo Mars, I had one in stock, so I could test it, and it works perfectly! Knowing that this screen is sold for 19€ on Amazon, it’s already easy to find this part that will have to be replaced one day or another.
In conclusion, this new LD002R resin printer surprised me, knowing that it was a beta unit I was expecting to have some problems, finally everything works perfectly.
Some people asked me if it was better than the Elegoo Mars, the print quality is the same, it prints faster than the Elegoo Mars and it is equipped with a charcoal filter, so I would tend to answer that yes, this LD-002R is better than the Elegoo Mars (version 1), knowing that the Elegoo Mars Pro will be released, but more expensive than the LD-002R, it’s a good compromise.