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Anycubic Photon M3 Plus Review

Emily Byrnes Posted:
Category:
Hardware Reviews 0

Summertime is for finding new hobbies and avoiding the sweltering heat, and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't entirely consumed by 3D printing. While I live for the puzzle-solving madness that is my filament printer, I definitely enjoy printing more smooth, finely detailed jobs on a resin printer. Thankfully, Anycubic has swept in with the save in the form of the Photon M3 Plus: a large, quality-of-life printer that is looking to put all my other printers to shame.

What can we expect from the Photon M3 Plus? What makes it so different from all of the other printers in Anycubic's lineup? To start, this particular unit is advertised as being "smart and connected." Cue the peanut gallery about smart vs stupid devices. I wasn't sure what to expect when I first received the unit with this kind of description, but I was pleasantly surprised with all of the new features that came along with this device. 

Specifications

  • Price: $699.00 (Base unit, no resin included) (Amazon, Anycubic)
  • Exposure screen: 9.25 inch monochrome screen
  • Printing volume: 5.9 liters / 199.1 ounces
  • Print size: 24.5 x 19.7 x 12.2 cm / 9.6 x 7.8 x 4.8 inches (HW)
  • Printing platform: Laser engraved aluminum alloy platform
  • Light source: Parallel matrix light source (40 LED beads)
  • Machine leveling: 4-point manual leveling
  • Printing accuracy: 6K (5,760 x 3,600 pixels)
  • Printing speed: ≤10cm/hour
  • Control panel: 5-inch resistive touch screen
  • Data input: USB-A 2.0 & 3.0 interface
  • Power supply: On/Off switch
  • Rated power: 144W
  • Machine dimensions: 47.5 x 36 x 29 cm (HW)
  • Machine weight: ~12kg

Like the other printers in their lineup, Anycubic provided a thoughtful assortment of tools and parts with extra pieces and safety gear to help you dive immediately into your very first print. This includes things like a mask, gloves, and paper funnels so you don't have to make a trip to the store and risk the soles of your shoes melting to the pavement.

The setup for the Photon M3 Plus is deceptively intimidating. There are considerably more parts and tubes to connect with this unit than my previous printers so I was feeling a little concerned until I found the user manual. Thankfully, the Anycubic writing team has provided an excellent user guide with pictures to help you along the way. Included with the rest of the part pieces is a USB memory stick that also houses a PDF you can enlarge to see the instructional pictures more clearly. I'm a very visual learner, so this was instrumental in my setup success. 

At first, I was incredibly confused by the inclusion of tubes in my printer setup. What on earth did I need these things for? Well fellow printers, the Photon M3 Plus comes with an auto-feed function that just might save your print. Did anyone else know that this is a potential feature in the 3D printing world? I feel like I missed some kind of printing convention where it was announced that this was even possible. Securing the tubes to their proper connection points on a bottle of resin ensures that your print job can continue printing even when the amount of initially poured resin in the vat starts to diminish. You don't have to lift up the shell and risk another resin headache just to refill the vat, and you can go about your day without worrying that your figurine won't have enough resin to finish the job. This is one of those features that I don't know if I can live without going forward with new printers. It is incredibly convenient for a cat mom that dreads having to open up a print-in-progress and risking stray hairs falling into the vat while I fill it up.

The new Anycubic Cloud also allows you to monitor your print via a live camera feed and to start/stop the process all from an app on your phone. The camera installation inside the unit is entirely optional if you're concerned about security. Having control of the process on both your computer and phone just adds another layer of flexibility that allows you to step away from the printer and monitor its status on the go. As with most cloud products, this requires you to have access to wifi or ethernet to benefit from this particular feature. I haven't experienced any hiccups when activating a print through the wifi, but if you're concerned about file transfer failing you can always use the included ethernet cord to hard-connect your printer. Anycubic Cloud isn't required to print. You can absolutely go with the included memory stick if you don't have a smartphone, but the cloud update is a breath of fresh air for those that are looking for a seamless transition of data.

Everything about the Photon M3 Plus so far has been about an increase in quality of life changes. Even the new touchscreen menu is larger, more sensitive, and undeniably brighter than the previous units. It's such a small detail, but I was actually thrilled with the touchscreen. No need to mash your finger into the screen or twist any buttons, just a gentle, light touch will do. It honestly just feels great to use. 

The Photon M3 Plus is also fairly larger than its predecessors, hence the...Plus. With machine dimensions coming in at 47.5 x 36 x 29 cm, it has a print size of 24.5 x 19.7 x 12.2 cm / 9.6 x 7.8 x 4.8 inches and has a print volume of almost 6 liters (technically, 5.9 liters / 199.1 ounces). A bigger printing area means many, many minis or a very large figurine, which makes my heart very happy. It may just be wishful thinking, but with a 6K screen, the miniatures we have been churning out definitely appear much smoother with higher amounts of detail. It also feels like the prints take at least twenty minutes less to print than our Photon Mono units. Per the Anycubic website, this unit takes 1.2 hours to print a 12 cm high model, so maybe it isn't just my imagination. In my opinion, higher detail, more room to build, and less time to print are definitely worth the price jump. Anyone who knows me well enough knows I have a *healthy* obsession with cryptids, so I can't wait to print out a large, detailed Mothman figurine for my bookshelf. There's also a supernatural convention in my state in October, so who knows, maybe this will be the nudge to jumpstart my small printing business.

Final Thoughts

The Anycubic Photon M3 Plus is an incredible leap forward for printers looking for some quality of life upgrades. The auto-feed function, coupled with the Anycubic Cloud app, is fantastic for hobbyists on the go and offers complete control over your print without you having to be immediately in the room. Less time spent in the printing room means fewer headaches and less anxiety for me, so I’m more than happy with that feature. The high level of detail this unit can print out at 6K rivals anything I have in my current setup. I definitely feel like you can see the difference when it comes to how well the details in the miniature armor and skin texture pop. Any printer that lets me start printing quality miniatures right out of the box is already a positive, but one that goes above and beyond with quality tops my list. 

If I could change anything about this printer, it would have to be the price, but I’m a frugal hobbyist. At $699, this printer is a little steep for someone newer to the printing world, but it makes for a fantastic upgrade and investment for those that are looking to get a little more bang for their buck. In addition to excellent customer service, Anycubic is great about running sales for holidays and seasonal changes so make sure to keep an eye out on their site if you’re interested in upgrading your printer.

The product described in this review was provided by the manufacturer for evaluation purposes. Any products purchased through the Amazon links within this article will result in a small commission for the site at no cost to you. These commissions help to fund the general operations of MMORPG.com and are not directed toward the authors or related to their compensation in any way.
9.0Amazing
Pros
  • Auto-feeder keeps prints going flawlessly
  • Anycubic Cloud: fancy remote print control
  • Wi-Fi printing: someone make this a permanent feature in all printers going forward
  • Beautiful, highly-detailed 6K prints
  • Ready to print with little setup
Cons
  • Price is a bit high for first-time printers


Jensyn

Emily Byrnes

An avid lover of all things fantasy, horror, and stylesheets, Emily spends her spare time trying to balance her affection for both technical and creative writing. One day she'll get there, but until then, she'd rather lose herself in the wonderful stories to be found within tabletop games and rpgs.