Cheap resin 3D printer setups are all the rage right now among hobbyists and professionals alike. From designers to architecture firms, SLA printers are becoming the gold standard when it comes to high-quality printing.
Any business where rapid prototyping is a major facet of the product development process should consider picking up a cheap SLA printer for 3 reasons:
- Smoother surface finish on printed projects than FDM printers
- High resolution so that all details of the design are sharp
- Fast print speeds, which puts the “rapid” in ‘rapid prototyping’
What are resin 3D printers?
Resin 3D printers, also called SLA printers or simply resin printers, use resin to create objects. The printers shoot a laser through the resin, which causes a chemical reaction resulting in solidified plastic.
The lasers can control precisely where the SLA resin hardens, which gives SLA 3D printers superior control over detail resolution in comparison to their FDM counterpart.
SLA vs FDM
The ‘SLA’ in ‘SLA 3D printer’ stands for “stereolithography apparatus.” SLA 3D printing is often more effective for businesses than FDM (fused deposition modeling) printing for a few reasons: speed, quality, and convenience.
Resin 3D Printer PROS:
- 3D SLA printer speed: SLA printers are often super fast compared to FDM printers, which means you can iterate on a design idea much faster using SLA vs FDM printers.
- 3D SLA printer resolution: prints that come out of SLA printers are known for their superb level of detail. FDM printers are limited by the width of their nozzles and the shape of the filament layers when it comes to producing fine details. SLA printing has none of these limitations.
Resin 3D Printer CONS:
- 3D printer resin cost: the ‘resin’ part of 3D resin printers can be quite expensive. Usually, the cost of 3D printer resin is the most expensive part of owning and operating a 3D resin printer over time.
- Fumes: SLA printers sometimes produce more noxious vapors than FDM printers, so make sure to set up an SLA printer in a well-ventilated area.
1. LONGER Orange 10 3D Printer
One of the main reasons to go with the Longer Orange10 3D SLA printer is its relatively low cost. It serves as a good introduction to resin printing since it won’t break the bank right off the bat.
In general, this printer is way easier than most beginners anticipate. If you already have some experience with FDM printers, you might be prepared for a learning curve. The learning curve with this printer is probably going to be smaller than what you are expecting
Compared to other 3D SLA printers, the Orange comes in a much smaller box. Despite its small size, the box comes with everything you need to start printing right away, including resin.
All of the parts and manuals for the printer fits very snugly into the box and are protected in custom-fit foam. That offers protection so that nothing is damaged during shipping.
The build is very solid. The base of the printer is super sturdy and clearly a lot of thought was put into the design of the printer.
The acrylic cover needs to be assembled but assembly is straightforward. The cover fits together using notches that make it very sturdy. The resin vat stays in place really well so that it doesn’t move around during printing.
Ease of use
The Orange SLA printer is very easy to use. Getting started is a synch. The first thing to do before printing is leveling the build plate, of course, and there are clear instructions that explain exactly how to do that.
The micro SD card included with the printer has a few models preloaded and already sliced and ready to print, which makes it super easy to get started. The touch screen works well and is easy to use and understand.
This SLA printer uses a slicer called Longerware and created by Longer3d. The slicer is very simple to use: simply choose the model SLA printer you have and all of the pre-configured settings will load automatically.
Most importantly, the Longerware slicer makes every model easy to scale, move and rotate around. It also autoloads supports where needed, as any good slicer will
If you have any experience with FDM printers, then you will find that this SLA printer offers a huge improvement in print quality. The details are sharp and the surfaces are smooth.
You can print with resin from most other manufacturers and expect superior results. There are many projects that you can print on this SLA printer that are not possible on FDM printers.
Conclusion: Perfect introduction to SLA printing for beginners
For beginners to the world of 3D printing, the Longer Orange SLA printer is the perfect machine for you to start with. This printer is a cheap resin 3D printer that actually works.
The Longer Orange SLA printer is easy to use and quick to get started with. It also comes with a slicer with several preloaded, pre-sliced models so you can test it out immediately. Combined with the unbeatable price, this is one of the best deals on the market.
2. ELEGOO Mars UV Photocuring LCD 3D Printer
It’s hard to express how good the Elegoo is given the price. Everything about this SLA 3D Printer is superb, from the build quality and ease of use to the customer service. This is a fantastic SLA 3D printer for beginners and professionals.
The packaging for the Elegoo is top-notch with a beautiful box and foam inserts to keep everything from shaking around inside during transport.
The box comes with everything you need to get started immediately, including slicer software and resin. Simply set up the printer, install the slicer, load one of the pre-sliced models and hit print. Some users have gone from unboxing to printing within 30 minutes.
As many hobbyists know, one of the best ways to gauge the quality of any product manufactured in China is by looking at its screws. The better the screws, the better the quality of the product is likely to be. And boy are the screws on the Elegoo high quality.
The rest of the SLA printer (DLP printer, technically) is as good as its screws. Everything is made of high-quality materials and the construction is solid. Nothing is going to wear out on this machine for a long time.
Ease of use
If you already know what you are doing with an SLA 3D printer, you could be printing 5 minutes after unboxing this SLA printer. Everyone else can expect to be up and running in 30 minutes. The instruction manual is not your typical mishmash of bad English and poorly rendered drawings. It is clear and easy to read.
After the initial prints using the included pre-sliced models are complete, there is a slight learning curve when it comes to learning how to use the slicer to create new designs. But if you are a beginner, you can expect to be reaching a satisfying level of complexity and detail in under a week if you spend some time every day working on it.
Print quality and reliability
The detail of the prints that the Elgoo SLA printer produces is incredible. If you are only used to printing with an FDM printer, get ready for a shock. This printer has a resolution that gets measured in microns.
Once you have the settings figured out, you can expect this SLA printer to just work. Period. It will produce high-quality prints every time. And if there are issues or something isn’t working to your satisfaction, simply contact customer support and they will help you troubleshoot setting and replace malfunctioning parts.
Conclusion: Top-notch cheap resin 3D printer with fantastic quality and reliability
The Elegoo resin printer is one of the best resin printers on the market for one simple reason: it just works. Once you set it up, it is easy to use and the quality of the prints is reliably high.
When it comes to SLA 3D printing for beginners, there are few better options. If you have no experience with 3D SLA printing, then the Elegoo will give you the perfect combination of ease of use and small learning curve so that you can get started quickly and easily. Definitely worth buying.
3. ANYCUBIC Photon S 3D Printer
The Photon by Anycubic is one of best SLA Printers on the market today simply because it ticks three major boxes: ease of use, reliability, and quality of prints. If you are looking to make the switch from FDM printing to SLA printing, then this is a great machine to start with.
Once you start using this printer, you will be able to rely on it to get all of your printing needs done quickly and accurately. That is why this printer is a favorite among businesses and hobbyists alike.
The Photon comes in a sturdy box, and it will usually be inside another cardboard box for shipping purposes when it arrives. Inside the box, the unit itself is surrounded by styrofoam, but there was also Styrofoam inside the printer’s housing to protect the LCD and any moving parts from damage.
The box contains everything you will need to get started immediately, including a clear instruction manual, resin, and a tool for removing prints. Just plug it in, add the resin, and start printing.
The build quality of the Anycubic Photon is superb. It is solidly built and the parts are high quality. This model even comes with dual z-axis which eliminates Z-wobble for higher print quality.
If there is one downside to the build quality, it’s the enclosure, which is not as nice as the original Photon. That being said, it is still better than the so-called “bucket style” enclosures that come with many competing SLA printers.
The quality of the prints that come out of this cheap resin 3D printer are better than anything an FDM printer can produce and might be more accurate than any of the other printers on this list. When measured with a digital caliper, the details are often exact down to the micron.
Air Scrubbers and LCD Screen
SLA printer resins are notorious for their bad smell, so Anycubic included air scrubbers in this printer to help control the vapors. No more acrid odors from your 3D printer wafting around the room.
In addition, this printer comes with an LCD screen to make adjusting settings super simple. It will also display the current layer that is being printed, which is a really cool feature and fairly unique among SLA printers in this class.
Conclusion: Fully featured cheap resin 3D printer with air scrubbers and an LCD screen
If you are making the leap from FDM to SLA, or simply looking to upgrade to a higher quality SLA printer, look no further than the Photon by Anycubic. It is perfect for beginners and experts alike, and we recommend it to anyone who is looking for a relatively cheap resin 3D printer.
With dual z-axis to prevent z-wobble and air scrubbers to cut down on resin smells, this machine is definitely worth the price tag. You can even follow the progress of the prints layer by layer on the LCD screen.
WARNING: Monoprice Mini SLA LCD Resin 3D Printer [DO NOT BUY]
Ah, the Monoprice mini… what to say about this fun yet underwhelming little machine? Unfortunately, while the Monoprice Mini SLA Printer is a good little toy, the problem is that it only prints successfully around 20% of the time.
Bottom line: it is not worth buying. We only included it because so many have already spent money on it and been disappointed, we figured we would try to save our readers the trouble.
At best, this machine is ok if you are ready to tinker with it. You will have to troubleshoot it constantly and maybe even replace parts. So if you are up for the challenge, then all power to you. But if you are looking for something that will print well every time, then it’s best to look at one of the other printers on this list.
At the end of the day, even if you do tinker with it, there is no guarantee you will be able to solve all of its problems or that this SLA 3D printer will even work at all after a few prints. Sure, it is cheap, and the quality of the prints are quite good when they do finish successfully, but if it does not work consistently or breaks after just a few prints, then what’s the point of buying it?
This printer has so many problems that we can’t recommend it. It’s too bad because we wanted to love it. Maybe someday Monoprice will fix it up, but for now, it’s best to just stay away. If you want to read more about some of the problems, check out the reviews here.
Conclusion: Cheap Resin 3D Printers
SLA 3D printers are growing in market share compared to FDM printers because they are so easy to use and the quality they produce is far superior to what FDM printers are capable of at the moment. Sure the resin is a bit expensive, but that’s a small price to pay for the guaranteed satisfaction that SLA printers provide.
Whether you are new to 3D printing or a veteran FDM printer looking to make the switch, the printers in this list will get you started with a cheap resin 3D printer for a relatively low cost.
Leave us a comment below with your thoughts on these models. And as always, happy printing!