In 2019 Elegoo has turned the resin printer market upside down by releasing the Elegoo Mars, a printer at less than 250€, while competing machines were selling between 350€ and 500€. I will present you today their latest model, the Mars 2 Pro.
Since the market continues to evolve, with new models, offering some improvements, such as the Mars Pro equipped with a carbon filter to reduce the level of odor, and now the Mars 2 Pro with a new Monochrome LCD screen allowing a 3 to 4 times faster printing, and a screen life of more than 2000 hours (compared to 500-600 hours for the first generation Mars).
Victim of its success, the Mars 2 Pro is relatively difficult to get since its release, Elegoo continues to send new stock to Amazon warehouses every week, but they leave very quickly. Some prefer to buy the machine via AliExpress. [Update Dec. 2020: the stock of Mars 2 Pro now seems to have stabilized]
Concerning the price, this machine is sold for 299€, excluding the promotional period, that is to say about fifty Euros more than the Mars Pro.
For those who don’t know yet about resin printing, and who hesitate with a 3D FDM printer, here are some advantages/differences:
Differences between resin printing / FDM printing :
– In FDM you use filament spools 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 passing through an LCD will harden your resin layer by layer.
Advantages of resin compared to an FDM printer:
– The level of detail is much more precise, you don’t see the printing 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 the resin compared to FDM printing :
– Resin is relatively harmful, and some resins can give off a strong odor. You should 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 out 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 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 160mm print height
– Built-in carbon filter, for filtering resin odors (with gasket for the cover)
– 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 novelty is the LCD screen, monochrome type, which allows a much faster printing.
It is important to know that the LCD screen (the one that lets the UV lights pass under the resin tray) is a consumable that will have to be replaced regularly.
With an old generation LCD screen, it must be replaced approximately every 500 hours. With a Monochrome screen, 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’s platter is a bit larger, 129x80mm compared to 115x65mm for the Mars Pro.
From the outside the two machines look identical.
Let’s unpack the machine
Update of December 2020, update of the article for the unboxing of the machine 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 impression with the Mars 2 Pro
Before starting, it is imperative to adjust the tray, in order to level it. The manual explains this step relatively well, which you can do with a sheet of paper, or with the resin tray installed (empty). UPDATE: you can visualize the manipulation on the video added above.
Before starting your first real printout (your own file), I advise you to print the example file provided on the USB key, the famous “Elegoo test tower”, this will allow you to make sure that the machine is working properly. Count about 3 hours to print them.
Here are mine :
As you can see the rendering is really very clean, with Elegoo brand resin.
Configuration of the Slicer ChiTuBox for the Mars 2 Pro
ChiTuBox is probably one of the most popular software for resin printing today, it is compatible with many machines, such as Photons from Anycubic or resin printers from Creality.
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.
In terms of settings, I keep the default configuration, just changing the media setting to “thick”.
You will notice that the piece has been tilted by about 30°, this to avoid the piece to come off during printing with the “suction” effect.
Difference in estimated printing time between Mars Pro and Mars 2 Pro.
On the left, with the Mars 2 Pro with an estimated printing 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, going from 7sec (on the Pro) to 2sec (on the 2 Pro), but the “pause” time as well as the lift time between each layer remains the same, and this is relatively slow, we still save 2 hours on this type of printing, and on a larger print the saving would be even more interesting.
This is the result of this printing, it is really very clean, the printing quality is similar to Mars and Mars Pro.
Resin of the Nova3D brand, 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 hesitate between the Mars / Mars Pro or Mars 2 Pro, you will not see any difference in terms of print quality. The differences are mainly in terms of comfort (less smell) or 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 am a big fan of these Elegoo machines, which work perfectly, so I recommend these machines without hesitation if you are 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 colors regularly, keeping the resin in the VAT to save time 🙂
Tested and approved with the Mars 2 Pro, this tray fits perfectly to the size.