In 2019 Elegoo turned the resin printer market on its head with the release of the Elegoo Mars, a printer priced at less than £250, while competing machines were selling for between £350 and £500. Today I’m going to introduce you to their latest model, the Mars 2 Pro.
Since then the market has continued to evolve, with new models, offering some improvements, such as the Mars Pro equipped with a charcoal filter to reduce the level of odour, and now the Mars 2 Pro with a new Monochrome LCD screen allowing for 3-4 times faster printing, and a screen life of over 2000 hours (compared to 500-600 hours for the first generation Mars).
A victim of its success, the Mars 2 Pro has been relatively hard to come by since its release. Elegoo continues to send new stock to Amazon warehouses every week, but they go very quickly. Some people prefer to buy the machine via AliExpress. Dec. 2020 update: Mars 2 Pro stock now seems to have stabilised
As for the price, this machine is sold for 299€, excluding the promotional period, which is about 50 Euros more than the Mars Pro.
For those who are new to resin printing, and are hesitating with a FDM 3D printer, here are some advantages/differences:
Differences between resin printing and FDM printing:
– In FDM you use spools of filament as a consumable, the head melts the plastic and deposits the filament layer by layer.
– In resin, you use liquid resin as a consumable, UV light passed through an LCD will cure your resin layer by layer.
Advantages of resin over an FDM printer:
– The level of detail is much more accurate, you can’t see the print layers with the naked eye
– Printing is much quieter than FDM printing
– The machine is already fully assembled, and takes up little space
– Relatively easy to handle, much less maintenance than an FDM printer
Disadvantages of resin compared to FDM printing:
– Resin is relatively harmful, and some resins can give off a strong odour, you will need to avoid printing in a living room, and ventilate well.
– The tray is much smaller than an FDM printer, so you will be limited by this size, you will have to cut your model
– There will be a lot of additional accessories to have, for the post-treatment/cleaning phase of your part, you will have to clean the parts either manually or with the help of a “wash&cure” type machine, and you will have to iron your printed model with a UV lamp to completely harden your print.
After this little parenthesis, let’s go back to our test of this Elegoo Mars 2 Pro!
Features of the Elegoo Mars 2 Pro :
– Monochrome LCD screen
– 129x80mm print area with a print height of 160mm
– Built-in carbon filter to filter out odours from the resin (with seal for the lid)
– USB port for USB stick reading
– Compatible with ChiTuBox (Slicer software for resin printers)
Major differences between the Elegoo Mars and Mars 2 Pro
The main difference is the LCD screen, which is monochrome and therefore allows much faster printing.
It should be noted that the LCD screen (the one that lets the UV light pass under the resin tray) is a consumable that must be replaced regularly.
With an old generation LCD screen, it must be replaced approximately every 500 hours. With a monochrome screen, it needs to be replaced approximately every 2000 hours (this corresponds to approximately 1 year of use if you print 40 hours per week).
Another difference is that the Mars 2 Pro has a slightly larger platen, 129x80mm compared to 115x65mm for the Mars Pro.
From the outside, the two machines are identical.
Let’s go to the unpacking of the machine
Update of December 2020, update of the article for the unboxing of the machine that I had filmed but forgot on my phone 😉
Note that there is no resin supplied with the printer, so you’ll have to think about buying a bottle!
First print with the Mars 2 Pro
Before you start, you will need to adjust the plate, in order to level it, the manual explains this step quite well, which you can do with a sheet of paper, or with the resin tray installed (empty). UPDATE: you can see the manipulation on the video added above.
Before launching your first real print (your own file), I advise you to print the example file provided on the USB key, the famous “Elegoo test towers”, this will allow you to make sure that the machine works properly. It takes about 3 hours to print them.
Here are mine:
As you can see the rendering is really clean, with Elegoo resin.
ChiTuBox Slicer configuration for the Mars 2 Pro
ChiTuBox is probably one of the most popular softwares for resin printing today, it is compatible with many machines, such as Anycubic’s Photons or Creality’s resin printers.
It is of course compatible with the Mars 2 Pro, as well as all other Elegoo machines (La Mars, Saturn, etc…).
The configuration is really very simple, you just have to add a new machine.
As far as settings are concerned, I keep the default configuration, just changing the setting of the supports to “thick”.
You will notice that the part has been tilted by about 30°, this is to avoid the part coming off during printing with the “suction” effect.
Difference in estimated printing time between the Mars Pro and Mars 2 Pro.
On the left, with the Mars 2 Pro with an estimated time of 2h48, on the right the Mars Pro with an estimated printing time of 4h58.
You will notice that we do not divide the printing time by 3 or 4, in fact we have divided the exposure time of each layer, from 7sec (on the Pro) to 2sec (on the 2 Pro), but the “pause” time as well as the lifting time, between each layer remains the same, and this is relatively slow, we still gain 2 hours on this type of printing, and on a larger print the gain would be even more interesting.
Here is the result of this print, it is really clean, the print quality is similar to Mars and Mars Pro.
Nova3D resin, waterwashable, with 2sec exposure time.
Here are some other prints made with the Mars 2 Pro, the level of detail is really impressive compared to an FDM print.
In conclusion, if you are not sure whether to use the Mars / Mars Pro or Mars 2 Pro, you will not see any difference in terms of print quality. The differences are mainly in the comfort (less smell) or the printing speed, and of course the price.
You can now find the first generation Mars at around 200€, the Mars Pro at around 250€ and the Mars 2 Pro at 299€.
I’m a big fan of these Elegoo machines, which work perfectly, so I definitely recommend these machines if you’re looking to print models with small details, or as a complement to your FDM printer.
Interesting accessory for the Mars 2 Pro
Small update of the article to add an interesting accessory for the Mars Pro/2 Pro, proposed by the manufacturer Sovol 3D. This metal VAT with 2 silicone covers to protect your resin. It is always interesting to have several VAT if you want to change resin colours regularly, keeping the resin in the VAT to save time 🙂
Tested and approved with the Mars 2 Pro, this tray fits perfectly.