I was lucky enough to receive a Beta unit of Creality’s new resin printer, the LD-002R, which I’ve been testing since December and which is now available for sale.
You may know Creality for its FDM printers, like the Ender3 or the CR-10, but Creality has also been making resin printers for several years, even if they are much less popular.
The resin market is evolving, with affordable printers, under 300€, like the Photon and also the Elegoo Mars which has become one of the best selling machines of the moment (top of sales on Amazon in the 3D printer category), it’s true that the quality of printing of these machines is incredible and the price of the resin has also greatly decreased, unfortunately a printing surface much smaller than an FDM, and safety precautions to take (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 in terms of price, generally at over 400€, but Creality is determined to regain market share with this new machine at around 250€, which has nothing to envy the competing machines in terms of features.
The Creality LD-002R is currently sold on the official Creality website for 269$, which is about 245€ with a stock in Europe, count between 4-7 days to receive it, and therefore without customs fees! It is currently available on Amazon USA (comgrow seller) at 279$, and should also be available soon on Amazon France, probably around 279€, a bit more expensive than via 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?
Overall, all these machines look the same, they all offer a 2k resolution screen, a motherboard made by ChiTu, and a nearly identical print size.
However, the LD-002R has a few advantages: – It has an activated carbon filter, unlike the Elegoo Mars (sold for 259€), which limits the diffusion of resin odours during printing – The Z axis is mounted on a linear rail, for more fluidity – Powerful UV lamp for faster printing (you will see in the rest of the article my tests to see the limitations 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 dismantle everything on the Mars or on the Photon S)
Overall, the print quality will be similar to competing machines, so it is these small details that will make the difference.Unpacking the machine
The machine is well packaged to protect it during transport. Some useful accessories are supplied with the machine, but you will need to buy gloves and 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 the Longer Orange 30 (this printer has a cheap cover to assemble yourself), the cover is more solid.
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 pointed out to Creality that this tray was not very practical to clean, I would have preferred to have a full tray too.
Before launching the first print, it will be necessary to adjust the tray, this is quite simple, you just have to unscrew the 4 screws present on the tray, press the “home” button to position the Z axis at the 0 point, and then retighten the screws, it takes 1 minute, and no need to do it again for each print!
First impression : 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 Creality LD-002R natively, with a new file format “ctb”, which has the advantage of being lighter and faster to slice, so it is possible to use these 2 formats.
The use of ChiTubox is really appreciated, for the old Creality resin printers, it was necessary to use a Creality software, which seems to be rather limited/unappreciated, probably one of the reasons of the little success of these old models
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 tested with water washable resin, and standard resin (recommended time is 8-10sec), so it was a nice surprise to print with only 6sec exposure time.
The next test, with only 4sec exposure time, no worries!
Even with another colour, it works perfectly.
With an exposure time of 3 seconds, I start to lose some details.
With an exposure time of 2s, it failed, only the substrate 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 the spare parts?I opened the beast to look at the reference of the LCD screen, because on a resin printer the LCD screen remains a consumable with a limited duration (approximately 600h of printing), while wanting to dismount the screen I unfortunately “broke the tablecloth” which is very very fragile, that is completely my fault, but this error will have enabled me to discover a very interesting point, the LCD screen is exactly the same as that of the Elegoo Mars, I had one in stock, I could thus make the test, and that functions 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 expected to have some problems, finally everything works perfectly.Some people asked me if it was better than the Elegoo Mars, the print quality is identical, it prints faster than the Elegoo Mars and it is equipped with a carbon filter, so I would tend to answer 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 is a good compromise.