Anycubic Photon hit the market in early 2018 and created a lot of positive buzz about its capabilities and price. At the time of Anycubic Photon’s launch, no other brand was offering special same 3D resin printing capability for the price of a mid-range FDM printer. Many were intrigued, while the users of the Anycubic Photon were pleasantly surprised.
As expected, other brands tried to capture the same response, but most failed, and Anycubic continued to lead the market. The announcement of a newer version of the Photon by Anycubic was much anticipated and well-received, as the company promised some interesting additions to the famous predecessor. The latest iteration, dubbed the Anycubic Photon S has a similar look to Photon with a few tweaks, but are they enough to warrant an upgrade.
First of all, an upgraded UI has been added, which is different from the menu look available on ghd original Photon, Chiron, and Mega, which is supposed to be more user-friendly. There is also talk about improved stability and better UV LED performance.
Today, we are reviewing the Anycubic Photon S, a budget-friendly 3D printer with great promise. We will explore if Photon S is worth the investment or should you stick with the original Photon with its well-deserved reputation as the best in the market.
This Anycubic Photon review will examine Anycubic Photon S key features and weigh them against any worthy alternatives to inform you if you should buy the Photon S.
The incredible success of the original Anycubic was well earned because it’s affordable and has fantastic resin printing capability, which is the ideal combination for hobbyists. Its main strengths were its superior print quality and beginner and amateur-friendly operation that most others failed to provide.
The Photon S builds on the solid foundations of the original Photon with some new but minor changes. Although most of the upgrades on Photon S are positive, some, unfortunately, fall short. The latest UI is a pleasant change and has made the printer easier to operate; the same can’t be said about the mechanical and electronic tweaks because they had little to no impact on the print quality, which is a shame.
There are some QA issues, and the body of the printer doesn’t feel as sturdy as the original Photon, but overall, Photon S is a great 3D printer. So should you upgrade? No! If you already have a Photon printer, then we recommend that you stick with it because the Photon S doesn’t offer enough to make the switch.
However, if you are deciding between the Photon and Photon S, we encourage you to get the latest version if you can find one for a great price.
Key features of Anycubic Photon S
Anycubic has done it again with the Photon S by offering a range of fantastic features for an affordable price:
The affordable price of the Anycubic Photon S may lead you to believe that it is a mediocre 3D printer, but it offers excellent quality prints, despite the price tag. Firstly, because the Photon S is a resin printer, it is able to produce better prints than FDM 3D printers.
It also offers fantastic flexibility in choice because it works with 405 nm photosensitive resins. Overall, we were quite impressed with Anycubic Photon S’s quality of the prints of the Photon S. This is hands down the best within the price range because most others don’t offer a comparable print quality. In fact, many can’t even come close to what Photon S provides, so it is excellent value for money despite its shortcomings.
With its 115mm x 65mm x 165mm build volume, the Photon S is ideal for printing miniatures.
Ease of use
The Photon S exceeded our expectations when it comes to ease of use and beginner friendliness. If you’re new to 3D printing, this device is the way to go!
We love the simplicity of the LCD screen. The plug-and-play software that comes with the printer has a more user-friendly interface than the original Photon. The simplified layout means things are easier to operate and manage, so if you come with little to no experience of 3D printing, there is no need to worry!
3D printing is more straightforward on the Photon S, and it’s a great place to start if you want to progress to using advanced slicer software.
If you are a beginner, then there is more great news if you choose the Photon S as your first 3D printer – there is little to no assembly required to get this printer up and running. Therefore, it is easier to get started on your first project when using the Photon S for the first time.
Getting this printer assembled takes little time, especially when you compare it to other 3D printers in the same price range.
Unfortunately, the Photon S lacks in the connectivity department because there is no WiFi connectivity, which is a real bummer since we expect modern devices to at least have this feature. You can only connect your Photon S printer through the USB port.
The original Photon also didn’t offer WiFi connectivity, so providing this upgrade in the latest version would have been a great addition, especially considering that similarly priced 3D printers have WiFi connectivity. Despite this, the limited connectivity issue isn’t a dealbreaker for us.
Anycubic’s Photon S comes equipped with its own Photon Workshop Slicing program, which is accessible via the provided USB stick. The benefit lies in its simplicity, even if it appears to be archaic. This significantly reduces the difficulty of understanding the software procedure.
It will not take much time to locate the existing 3D models on the internet to begin studying with. As your confidence grows, you could start changing current models and experimenting.
You are not bound to the same program, just as you are not bound to the same resin. Any third-party software is fully compatible with the printer as your confidence increases, and you desire more advanced capability.
With this versatility, a budget printer becomes even more appealing to individuals who have to save money. Many manufacturers will often keep the device inexpensive but limit its functionality to the company’s attachments, which are supplied at a premium.
Air Filtration System
Another welcome upgrade to the Photon S is the improved air filtration system on the Photon, which works better than the original Photon.
The emission of unpleasant odors is a common issue with 3D printing because the printers use different chemicals. To reduce this problem, good-quality 3D printers come with built-in air filters. The new air filtration technology of the Photon S works exceptionally well at eliminating the smell.
Although it doesn’t get rid of the odor entirely, it reduces it quite well. Just remember to use your Photon S in a well-ventilated area, and you won’t have any problems with the unwanted smells.
The Photon S comes with a 12-month warranty, while the LCD screen has a warranty of three months. Although we would have liked to have a more extended warranty, there is nothing to complain about. The Photon S is of good quality and is durable, so it is unlikely to cause many issues.
Of course, there are 3D printers available in the market that come with longer warranties, but they don’t work as well as a Photon printer l.
Performance of Anycubic Photon S
If you do a cost to performance comparison, Anycubic Photon S lives up to expectations and fully proves its worth. However, if you are hoping for a performance that compares to a 3D printer that costs thousands, you are setting yourself up for disappointment.
Anycubic Photon S is an excellent 3D printer for printing 3D models like miniatures or jewelry with reasonable accuracy. These printers are designed for resin printing. Resin and curing with UV light allow you to achieve high-quality 3D model printing with impressive accuracy and significantly fast printing speed.
Some disagree with Anycubic Photon S being fast because of its 20mm/h printing speed; however, it is faster than most other 3D printers in the same price range.
Pros of Anycubic Photon S
We love and highly recommend Anycubic Photon S for a number of reasons. The top 5 pros of this 3D printer include:
Simple and easy for beginners
Anycubic Photon S is perfect for all users regardless of their expertise level. It is specially designed for beginners, so 3D printing with Anycubic Photon 3D printer does not require prior training or experience. With this printer, you can start your journey to becoming an expert at 3D printing miniatures, jewelry, and other models.
Minimal assembly time
You don’t have to worry about the lengthy and complex assembly procedure before you can start 3D printing with your Anycubic Photon S. The assembly process is so quick and simple, making it an ideal choice for people who are new to 3D printing.
Smart air filtration technology
3D printing involves the use of various chemicals and materials that causes excessive odors. The smart air filtration system of Anycubic Photon S helps reduce unwanted odors. Keep in mind that even with the air filtration feature, the printer should be operated in a well-ventilated location.
High-quality 3D prints
If you want to print high-quality miniatures within no time, then Photon S is the best option. Its excellent print quality gives tough competition to other leading 3D printers. We offer top marks to Anycubic Photon S when it comes to producing high-quality models. Photon S fully justifies its price by providing excellent value for money.
Durable and well-constructed
Anycubic gains top marks for its excellent built quality. The machine is designed to last, so it is highly durable and well-constructed, making it a perfect option for beginners looking for a reliable 3D printer that wouldn’t cost them an arm and a leg. We wish that Anycubic Photon S came with a better warranty because the 12-month 3D printer and 3-month LCD screen warranty don’t seem ample. On the contrary, the built quality is top-notch, so you have nothing to worry about, and the limited warranty period shouldn’t stop you from investing in this excellent 3D printer.
Cons of Anycubic Photon S
Let’s preface this segment by saying that the Photon S is one of the best affordable 3D printers in the market. Having said that, we would also like to discuss some of the device’s weaknesses, which we believe could have been improved to make Photon S even better than its predecessor.
Tricky user manual
Although the Photon S is targeted towards beginners, the Manual Leveling is tricky because the bed has to be leveled manually, which is a severe learning curve for anyone who is new to 3D printing. The original Photon has the same mechanism, so there are no upgrades in this department.
Even though learning how to level the bed isn’t complicated and instructions have been provided in the user manual, beginners will have to take their time getting used to the Z-movement buttons, and there is a more significant chance of mistakes.
No major updates
The Photon S does not have any major upgrades, except one major positive change, such as the air filtration system.
Average printing speed
Unfortunately, both Photon printers have almost the same print quality, which is great. The Photon S is quicker with a 20mm/h speed than Photon’s 10mm/h.
Your Photon S will come with access to Photon Workshop, a basic slicing software that is great for beginners, but if you are more experienced, you will need to find something more advanced.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Is Anycubic Photon S a good option for beginners?
Most definitely, Anycubic Photon S is the perfect choice for people who are new to 3D printing. Suppose you are on a strict budget and you want a reliable, easy-to-operate 3D printer for high-quality miniatures and jewelry printing. In that case, Anycubic Photon S proves to be an excellent option.
Q: Is Anycubic Photon S WiFi compatible?
The Anycubic Photon S lacks WiFi compatibility. It offers USB connectivity.
Q: Is the assembly of Anycubic Photon S time-consuming?
The simplicity of Anycubic Photon S’s assembly process is one of its most significant advantages. The assembly process does not have any complex steps, so you do not need professional assistance. Any beginner can assemble Photon S within no time.
Q: Does Anycubic Photon S come with a warranty?
Yes! You get a 12-month 3D printer and 3-months LCD screen warranty with Anycubic Photon S. Some users complain about its short warranty duration; however, due to its excellent built quality, you’ll rarely face any issue.
Q: What print speed and build volume does the Anycubic Photon S offer?
Anycubic Photon S offers a reasonable 20mm/h printing speed and a 115mm x 65mm x 165mm build volume. This is a pretty decent speed and build volume for a budget 3D printer for printing small objects like miniatures and jewelry. However, If you want to print good quality, medium-sized models at a fast speed, then Anycubic Photon S isn’t the best option.
What differentiates the Photon from the Photon-S?
Anycubic Photon is among the most successful and reasonably-priced resin 3D printers on the market because of its ease of handling and upkeep, high resin compatibility, and good value for money. Despite newer models made by Anycubic and other firms attempting to enter the low-cost resin printing industry, this machine remains popular today. Let’s start with the adjustments and upgrades to the S model.
Photon-S Is Light-Weight
Photon-S appears slightly different, both visually and structurally. Furthermore, the enclosure and machine are now mostly made of plastic, reducing the printer’s weight, which is a problematic alteration from the Photon with metal. The printer has more oversized “windows” to observe the process, but Photon had no issues with it. The machine also shed handles located on the sides and front.
For Taller Builds
Photon-S has a somewhat higher construction volume. The X and Y have been kept unchanged but increased slightly in Z, enabling taller prints.
The Photon-S includes multiple rails in the Z-axis, which is unusual for a low-cost DUP printer. Unstable Z-axis can cause print abnormalities and quality concerns; having two of them allows for easier printing work.
The printing bed for the Photon-S is made of a “hairline build plate,” which is just textured metal. This little relief on the plate aids the print’s grip on the plate and secure placement throughout the printing process.
Matrix LCD light source
Anycubic improved the operation of the LCD screen, which in the S model includes a focusing lens for each diode. This modification improves resolution and reduces superfluous curing. Furthermore, the light source’s output has increased from 40W to 50W. Photon-S features 28 diodes on the plate, whereas Photon has only four.
Updated user-interface and filters
Photon-S offers a unique control display and user interface. It also includes a secondary air filter (while Photon had only one). Other minor but functional enhancements include the ability to do an exposure time test after firmware upgrade and the alias slicer feature (which smooths the print surface).
Moving on to the commonalities, there are plenty of them. The resin reservoir and construction plate structure remained unchanged. Photon-S also requires Anycubic’s own slicing program, and with the firmware change, the unit can no longer read files sliced in other applications (like Chitubox). Overall, there aren’t many reasons for Anycubic Photon users to upgrade to the S model.
Photon-S is a better machine for beginners who want to explore resin printing without spending a fortune.
We have some mixed reactions for the Photon S because it has some decent upgrades and great features, but it failed to impress us in all departments and has left us disappointed in some ways.
It would be completely fair to say that we expected more from the new iteration of the much loved Anycubic Photon S. The Photon S is in no way bad or not worth the investment because it still offers a ton of useful and powerful features that are far better than most other 3D printers in the same price range.
It is extremely beginner-friendly thanks to the LCD and the new interface, which makes the printer easy to operate. There is some scope for mistakes in the bed leveling system, but that is to be expected from the learning process.
However, if you’ll compare it to the original Photon, the differences don’t stand out so clearly. While the Photon S has better printing speeds and improved air filtration, we are afraid that these upgrades just aren’t enough to replace the Photon.
In conclusion, the Photon S is a great choice for anyone looking for a new 3D printer, but not for those who already own a Photon. This printer offers one of the best print qualities for an affordable price and minor assembly.
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