Prepare to unleash your creativity with Anycubic’s Photon Mono M5s from Anycubic, a 12K resin 3D printer that’s more addictive than collecting rare loot in your favorite RPG. This powerful unit is a game-changer in the realm of 3D printing, promising mind-blowing detail and precision that will make even the most battle-hardened printers shed a tear of joy. Whether you're a seasoned 3D printing wizard or a novice adventurer looking to dip your toes into resin printing, the Photon Mono M5s is your trusty companion, offering an intuitive interface and a myriad of new features that push the boundaries of 3D printing. In this review, we'll explore the enchanting capabilities of the Photon Mono M5s and discover why, in my opinion, it reigns supreme amidst the competitive landscape of resin 3D printers.
- Price: $499.00 (Pre-Order Sale); $539.00 normally (Anycubic)
- Touch Screen: 4.3 in. Resistive Screen
- Software: Anycubic Photon Workshop (compatible with others)
- Connectivity: USB Drive, WIFI
- LCD Screen: 10.1 in 12K
- Light Source: Matrix LED light
- XY Resolution: 11520 * 5210
- Z Axis Accuracy: 0.01 mm
- Dimensions: 256 mm(L) x 285 mm(W) x 460 mm(H)
- Build Volume: 218.88 mm(L) x 122.88 mm(W) x 200 mm(H)
- Weight: 8.9 kg
We’ve been here a few times already, so you know the drill: packaging and components. Anycubic puts much more thought into the actual quality of its product as opposed to wasting resources on any special branding for the packaging they come in. The Photon Mono M5s came packaged securely in a brown cardboard box with cushioned styrofoam and handled the trip overseas just fine. Thank goodness, because seeing the outside of a banged up box always terrifies me. Prying the Photon Mono M5s carefully out of the box, I was greeted with a set of protective equipment, Allen wrenches, funnels, scrapers, a USB drive for files, and a surprising addition - a screen protector! I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure we’ve had to buy screen protectors separately in the past, so having one included with this printing unit was a lovely surprise.
As for any components needing to be put together, there really wasn’t much that I needed to do on my end. The base of the Photon Mono M5s was already pretty solid and contained most of the working elements, and all I had to do was install the screen protector, secure the resin vat, and mount the print platform. And plug in the power adapter, of course. I did notice that the knob that screws in the print platform is considerably larger with this model. It’s a great design because it lets you grab and tighten the platform much easier without any strain or having to contort your fingers at odd angles.
This particular unit of the Photon Mono lineup also has a nice, curved, beveled edge compared to the sharp square of its predecessors. I do like that Anycubic continued with the yellow coloring because it gives all of our printers a nice, uniform look, but I can still easily distinguish the Photon Mono M5s from its cousins at first because of the subtle differences in its shell and size.I really can’t praise resin printers enough for beginner hobbyists. There are pros and cons to both resin and FDM. For example, for resin printers you of course have to properly dispose of resin, and deal with the toxic smell/fumes, cleanup, and curing. However, it is so fun to not have to put in so much work to start up your first print. The Photon Mono M5s is definitely a great example of this. Less than 20 minutes later, and I was almost ready to print
One of the newest features to come with the Photon Mono M5s is the leveling-free system. Definitely one of my favorite features, the leveling-free system does all the heavy lifting with a special sensor on the cantilever arm that automatically adjusts based on its feedback. Supposedly, letting the machine do all of the leveling for you ensures a higher success rate. This means you don’t have to place a piece of paper between the print platform and the machine anymore! Manual leveling has been the scariest part for me of learning 3D printing, because if you’re just a little off it can wreck your prints and you have to start back from square one.
Now, one of the biggest highlights on Anycubic’s website for the Photon Mono M5s is that it has an increase of 3x the normal printing speed. Let me type that out again so we can re-read it together: 3x printing speed. That has to be an exaggeration, right? Surprisingly, it isn’t. The standard Anycubic test cube file printed in as little as 25 minutes. That is absolutely mind-boggling. Speed is an incredibly important factor for both hobbyists and commercial printers, because the more miniatures you can print in less time, the more efficient and productive you can be. And, if you’re selling them, the more money you will make!
However, it might feel a little misleading at first glance. In order to achieve those super fast speeds, I needed to use Anycubic’s special High Speed Resin. While that might seem like a gimmick, there is a clear difference in viscosity between the High-Speed Resin, and normal resins we’ve purchased from Anycubic before. The High Speed Resin is much more watery, and flows freely out of the plastic bottle it came in. In addition to the High Speed Resin, the layer thickness needed to be set to 0.1 mm thickness, and for the model to be hollowed out. If you don’t have this special resin, you can still use others like the Anycubic Craftsman Resin to achieve a printing speed of 70 mm/s and get the most out of the Photon Mono M5s 12K resolution.
The process of printing the test cube couldn’t have been more user-friendly. The Photon Mono M5s notably has a new touch screen with a fancy GUI that is easy to navigate without needing to glance at the included manual. The screen reacts with little to no force to touch, which was previously a bit of a pet peeve of mine. I also had the option of utilizing either the Anycubic Cloud app to control the print over WIFI, or to manually transfer the file with the included USB drive. I’ve already tested Anycubic Cloud before, and I wanted to see if there might be any other included test files so I opted for the standard USB drive method. Like everything else with the Photon Mono M5s so far, surprisingly quick and simple!
The test cube was a straightforward and simple print. Even with a few other miniature print jobs, I didn’t get to test out the resin detection feature because I just didn’t run out! If I did, the preset resin detection mode would have alerted me before even starting the printing process.
For the final lap of this review, let’s talk about the 12K printing resolution. Of course, I forgot to snag some example photos when I was visiting the fiance’s office where our printers are set up (with proper ventilation), so just bear with me here. I tried to do a little digging, and unless I’m missing something, Anycubic may be the first printing company to come out with a mainstream 12K resin printer. Because of that, we really don’t have much to compare it to, besides other Anycubic units in their own lineup.
While we don’t have an 8K printer, we do have a 6K, and I can honestly say that there is a pretty hefty jump in detail between the two. Armaments and skin details pop much more, and I’m pretty sure we can even see scratches on skin and shields much better. All around, the prints just look higher quality, and that translates fantastically to when we get started painting. Deeper three-dimensional details give miniature paints that much more room to settle and create better shadows, which really helps create a satisfying finish - especially after a wash is applied.
I was also really surprised at the durability of the resin miniatures - they felt just as sturdy as any other print we’ve made. Maybe in my mind I was worried that the miniatures would feel more fragile since the high-speed resin was so watery, but that wasn’t the case at all.
The Photon Mono M5s puts out beautiful, high quality prints, in a fraction of the time at a fantastic price point. And-it’s extremely user-friendly. Slowly but surely, I think the Photon Mono M5s has moved its way up to the front of our small lineup of printers to be our number one and favorite resin printing unit.
If you’re looking to jump into the 3D resin printer game, I would honestly highly suggest the Photon Mono M5s. It comes with a lot of nice bells and whistles, while simultaneously being affordable, fast, and semi-portable because of its smaller size.
There really isn’t much more I can say about this product other than I really like it! For the first time in forever (cue music), I don’t think I legitimately have any negatives for the Photon Mono M5s. It’s just an all around great machine and I think I need about 10 more units and a bigger office space to hold them all.
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