Thursday, April 9, 2020

Phrozen 4k review.....write up

So a while back I bought a new Resin 3D printer.  I have some experience 3D printing...ahem.  Mostly FDM (Dimension, Makerbot, Ultimaker, Cetus3D, Prusa etc.). On the Resin side I ran a small army of Resin printers at RISD.  We had three Formlabs printers and two Asiga printers.  After managing resin printers, especially in an environment where students were involved, the resin would  GET EVERYWHERE!.  As hard as we might to keep everyone aware and clean, the technician and I would have to completely decontaminate the print room with IPA every semester. There was resin on the monitor. There was resin on the door knobs and drawer pulls. There was resin on the walls and floor. There was resin on the window. There as resin on every surface that a human hand could touch.  It drove me totally insane!  I would just walk in the room and get resin on me.  I would go pick up a pencil....resin.  I would go to open the window to let in some fresh air....resin.  I would go to pull the chain pull to turn on a light....resin. It was slow torture. After having a health issue related to resin in the past I guess I am super sensitive to the smell and feel of it on me.

So long story short. I fought getting one of my own. I just didn't want resin back in my life. I have been outsourcing a lot of my printing and casting for a while now.  If you follow me you probably know that I have been using Shapeways.  I will save my thoughts on them for a future post.

It turns out there are a dozen or so, low cost, decent, compact resin printers on the market.  After talking with a bunch of people and reading a couple of reviews I ending up buying a Phrozen 4k

I have to be honest I wasn't expecting much consider that is was about 1/4 the price of the formlabs printer.  So far I have been impressed.  While the prints are not immaculate they pretty dang good.

I bought mine from a US retailer (Ultimate3DprintingStore) which ended up being a good idea because the biggest issue with these printers in my opinion is the patchy support.  Sometimes you get a great answer and then sometimes you get a cryptic pile of "choose your own adventure" advice.  Which can be a little frustrating. (stop here if technology frustrates you. Do not buy this printer!).  I feel like my wife would have set this thing on fire in some kind of: "burn all the frustrating technology in sacrificial funeral pyre!" Since I am the patron saint of frustrating technology I don't mind having to tinker with things all the time.

If you buy from Ultimate 3D printing you can call and talk to someone and they will give you all the advice you need. They have been great. If you go online.....good luck sifting through all the mess of stuff out there. I will say there are some good resourced online like the phrozen facebook group who shares a google spreadsheet for different resins you can use with this machine.  Also PJ-Chen another fellow Rhino jewelry artist has been doing a great youtube series reviewing the printer. 

Just to be clear, I had some issues with it out of the box.  It turns out it is not exactly turnkey.  There are some things that need to be dialed in before you can get printing.

This ring was the first thing I made on the printer. You can see it took me this many times to get it right.  A little tweak here a little tweak there until I got a perfect print. Now that the printer is dialed in I can make a pretty decent print in a couple of hours.  Yes it seems to be about twice if not three times as fast as the Formlabs printers.  

I have been making these animal rings for the last six months or so in Zbrush and using them to test the printer.  The last couple of photos are of the a final ring I gave to Liz, cast in silver with black diamond for eyes.  I plan to model more of these and now that I know that the printer will print at such an impressive resolution I can print them pretty quickly.  If anyone has any questions about the printer let me know. Maybe I will do a timelapse Zbrush video of the modeling process.