Desktop 3D printersPhotopolymer ResinsReviews

Creality’s entry-level resin 3D printers deliver (with some hidden costs)

The systems are akin to budget airlines - they have the ability to get you where you want to be but with potentially unanticipated inconveniences

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Since its founding in 2014, Creality has built a name for itself as one of the leading affordable desktop 3D printer providers in the world and, generally, we are fans of the company’s products. However, its FFF printers seem to be significantly different compared to its resin printers, in terms of functionality and usability.

For example, as you can see in our review of the Creality Ender 5-S1, it was easy to set up and use, right from the start. As it usually goes, the generic prints came out well, but so did our custom prints. This was not the case with the resin printers – the generic prints worked fairly well, but the custom ones were a different story. It’s good to keep in mind that resin printing is necessarily more complicated and time-consuming than FFF printing.

Halot One Pro

The Halot One Pro resin 3D printer can produce 2K resolution parts, almost completely silently. The high-quality touchscreen simplifies the user interface and makes it easier to control and monitor the printing process with intuitive touch-based controls.

The Halot One Pro isn’t without its fair share of drawbacks.

The hidden costs of Creality’s entry-level resin 3D printers. The systems deliver, but with potentially unanticipated inconveniences.

The small size of the build plate (130 x 122 x 160mm) is not necessarily an issue, depending on what you want to create. The upside of this is that the printer does not take up a lot of space, and is more affordable, but this comes at the expense of limited part size and precision.

One of the most critical aspects of any 3D printer is reliability. Unfortunately, prints with the Halot One Pro do occasionally fail (in fact, regularly, in the beginning at least). However, the quality and consistency of our prints did improve with practice – as with most things!

We did manage to waste an entire bottle of jewelry resin trying to print a single castable earring. This was partly due to the lighting in the room, and the general system setup. Considering this, all of these miscellaneous things need to be considered as part of the ‘cost’ of the system – making it slightly less affordable than it initially seems. Using this system is gimmicky, to say the least, but it works, and when it does work, it works well.

Once the settings had been refined (after very much trial and error, and lowering the print speed to below the recommended speed) we were able to print some excellent quality parts, such as the Deadpool bust shown below.

The hidden costs of Creality’s entry-level resin 3D printers. The systems deliver, but with potentially unanticipated inconveniences.

Halot Mage Pro

On paper, the Creality’s Halot Mage Pro resin printer boasts several impressive features, such as a high-resolution 8K LCD screen, fast printing speed, smart resin pump and air purifier, Wi-Fi and ethernet connectivity, and compatibility with multiple different slicing softwares.

While these features are in fact present, and much appreciated, there are several aspects that lower the overall printing experience. To start, the default slicing software feels noticeably incomplete, and it was easier to rely on third-party software instead. The software installed on the printer itself needs some work, too – especially around the user interface. We recommend using Lychee slicer, as it comes with the Halot Mage Pro default settings.

The odor emitted during printing is worth noting – it’s important to set up a proper ventilation system yourself, as the printer does not come with any protective features – except for a built-in carbon filter which only lasts around 3 months before needing to be replaced. This has the potential to be dangerous to one’s health, and should not be ignored. The system does also come with a 1m-long ventilation tube, but it is partially redundant as the system would need to be set up near a window (increasing the potential for contamination).

The system’s resin pump is a nice feature, in theory, but the design needs some work. It is slow, and gets in the way when trying to move the resin tray, and it can end up breaking, which we learned the hard way.

The hidden costs of Creality’s entry-level resin 3D printers. The systems deliver, but with potentially unanticipated inconveniences.

The system advertises a maximum print speed of 170mm/h, but we were only able to print at 70mm/h to achieve good print quality. All these points above are fairly technical – the main point is that it is not an easy system to use, but it is usable.

Once again, after much trial and error, and lowering the recommended print speed, we were able to get some really good quality prints (better than the Halot One) – but it took a long time to get to this point.

Wash and Cure Station

The Creality Wash and Cure Station is designed to offer a convenient and efficient solution for the post-processing of resin prints – boasting several advantages that make it a valuable addition to any resin 3D printing setup.

The station facilitates both water-washable and non-water-washable resin prints, and does so with a high level of accuracy. The station is also user-friendly, with straightforward handling and post-processing procedures, and simplifies the often tedious and messy tasks associated with resin printing. The station also boasts a UV protection cover to protect the user against the harmful UV light needed to achieve a professional finish. If you do choose to purchase a Creality resin printer, we recommend purchasing this station too.

Although this system is certainly a valuable tool, it does come with the drawback of strong odor and toxicity – common across all synthetic resin-based printing processes. Once again, users should ensure that the room in which the station is operating is properly ventilated, and that the resin is handled with care.

Conclusion

In short, I’d compare the two Creality resin printers to a budget airline – the flight tickets are affordable and easy to book. However, the flight may be delayed, the seat may be uncomfortable, the ride may be bumpy, and the experience may not be so enjoyable. But you will likely get where you need to go.

We aren’t saying that these resin printers aren’t worth the hassle, but if you are considering purchasing one, you should include the cost of effort and convenience. Factoring in the amount of time spent trying to get the prints right, it may very well be worthwhile spending a few extra hundred dollars on a higher-end model.

With all this said, we do recommend Creality’s filament extrusion technology, considering the price and quality of printed parts.

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