Elegoo Mars 4 – DLP Resin Printer – First Details

Last Updated on Febbraio 2, 2023 by FauxHammer

I love having an exclusive, but I’m scratching my head at this one. Elegoo releasing a DLP printer is a big deal – yet as of right now, I can’t find any articles about it online. Why not? Why is nobody else talking about this? I mean it’s (daftly) called the Mars 4 for one. Surely that would drum up interest just being one number higher than the incredibly popular Mars 3? Well, let’s have a look at the first Mars 4 DLP details as Elegoo gear up to compete directly with Anycubic.’s DLP offering.

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Elegoo Mars 4 – What is DLP?

We’ve covered this before, in fact for more details, I’ll copy a video I made below for the Photon D2, which is another DLP printer from Anycubic.

Basically, DLP is a different method of curing liquid resin. Your traditional resin printer uses an LCD to block out light as it cures each layer of a model. DLP uses a projector to do essentially the same thing.

However, because we are working with light, and light does not like to travel in straight lines. With an LCD reason printer, you have a huge chamber of light shining through an LCD panel. but that light bounces upwards and outwards. causing a little bit of fade around the edges of a print.

No matter how high the resolution of your printer LCD is. The nature of this technology will always soften the edges of each layer and cause some bloat on the overall print.

And as we add stronger light arrays to printers with an aim to decrease curing times, the opportunity for bloat and softening increases.

A projector however is different. anyone who has a home projector will know this, at a certain distance from a wall and with the correct focal aperture, the projected image is super sharp. Well, the same is true for these printers. They are preconfigured for the focal distance to be at the point where the screen meets your vat of liquid resin. and when the image is resolved here, it is sharp, super sharp. So sharp that if it is projecting a pixelated edge on each layer, you will clearly see that on a print as several of these layers grow to become a voxel.

Both LCD and DLP show layer and voxel lines on prints, but Antiailiasing features tend to resolve most of this effect. With LCD it further softens the edge, with DLP it does add softening, but in a controlled manner chosen by you, rather than just how resin happens to cure because of LCD bloat.

Make sense? Ok, check out the video I mentioned above…

Elegoo Mars 4 First Look Video

Check out our video version of this article which is much prettier.

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Elegoo Mars 4 – Main benefits of DLP?

As mentioned above, you have the benefit of print accuracy and therefore more control over the resulting print output. this could be a plus for some and a minus for others. However, there is a reason that most high-detail prototyping businesses favour DLP as a technology, Which means for miniature printers who want high-detail, DLP is something to be very interested in.

There’s also Laser SLA, but I’m yet to see one in the consumer space.

there are more practical benefits to DLP too.

Because of how direct the light is, the successful exposure range is much wider on DLP. With LCD you need to expose long enough to ensure bed/layer adhesion, and so that details are rendered. but too high and the bloat issue exacerbates greatly. For modern printers, you are looking at dialling this into a 0.1-second range, with some enthusiasts even going as low as a specific 0.01-second exposure time.

On DLP, once you have that minimum exposure, you can ramp up the exposure a good few seconds without any noticeable detriment on the printed result.

They are just so much easier to use, and for your more tenacious bendable resins, they generally need the extra exposure time. This is a huge help. And this is exactly why we’ve said that the Photon D2 is the best printer for miniatures, because miniature printers need to ensure the most minute details and textures are there, and they are sharp.

The power of projected light is not only sharper, but it’s also stronger, which reduces your overall print time. It’s not a huge difference but can be a difference of around 20 minutes on an 8-hour print (at 0.05mm)

But the best benefit is how long the printer will last.

A typical LCD screen is rated for 2,0000 hours before it needs replacing. It’s classed as a consumable part you know. And I’ve seen many show signs of degradation long before this. Dlp Projectors are rated for 20,000 hours. The hardware lasts 10x longer. though Im yet to perform the part replacement process on a DLP printer. How easy/difficult this would be is hard to determine, as I believe they need to be factory calibrated for the sake of getting the right focal distance. Not sure, I’m guessing here.,

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Elegoo Mars – FOUR!?

Yep, I need to have a go at the name here. Mars 4 suggests that this is a direct successor to the Mars 3. Il Mars Range has been consistently evolving with increasing resolutions and print sizes. But the DLP printer is a different beast altogether.

Many will expect that this moniker means it is an improvement over the Mars 3, but it’s such an different machine, it honestly shouldn’t be compared this closely

Does Elegoo only intend to release only DLP printers under the Mars Series name from now on? if so, ok crack on guys.

But if not, it should not be called the Mars “4”, it should be clearly marked as different from the Mars 3. It’s not like they don’t have other planets still to choose from? the Elegoo Venus is still up for grabs, they could bring back Pluto. Even Earth would do. I’m sure we can all agree Uranus is out! especially in case the printer underperforms

But the Mars name, sells printers.

Fine, stick with Mars, but at least call it the Mars DLP.

Just not Mars 4.

Elegoo Mars 4 – Features

So here’s what we know about the Mars 4 so far,

We learned all of this from MEME chan on YouTube, who somehow has early hands on.

It appears to be a cheap entry into the DLP 3D printer market, let’s not be shy about that, Elegoo make cheaper printers when compared to their competitors. Everything from materials use to the user experience echoes this principle.

But they work, so who really cares what they are made from?

Il Mars 4 has mostly plastic housing. similar in style to the rest of the mars line. though it appears they are adding the go-faster stripes to the case, a design element that Elegoo started featuring with the Neptune 3 FDM printers. VROOM VROOM! We’ll be getting Chrome Exhausts next.

Mars 4 DLP 8-10

External dimensions are 450 x 250 x 230 mm (Height x Width xDepth), slightly larger in every dimension than the Mars 3 Pro. DLP printers do require a larger base to house and reflect the projector’s light.

On the cheaper side of things again, they have the usual Elegoo sandblasted (read as; “smooth”) build plate. As I said in my Mars 3 Pro Review, you really don’t need an etched build plate like the other manufacturers offer. So this cost-saving measure is fair.

The vat is metal, I’ve not seen a plastic one from Elegoo yet, but this cost-cutting measure that Anycubic adopted on their DLP printer was just poor. The Vat is also quite wide so it’s easier to top up resin from the side mid-print. (don’t do it as a layer is printing though as you could shift partially cured resin and ruin the print. Pour it in during the lift/retract). The vat also has alignment prints which really helps get it into place, Though this is fairly standard (expected) now on 3D printers

The Build plate is also standard Elegoo and has the ball joining mechanism. Whilst the Saturn 2”s balljoint is large and definitely an improvement over previous generations. I still have problems when these are on smaller printers and much prefer the 4-screw attachment adopted by Anycubic and Phrozen.

The printer is controlled from a 3.5″ touchscreen and very much has the same UI as the Mars 3.

Once again, which now seems standard for Elegoo printers, is the inclusion of an internally powered USB Carbon filter to take the nasties out of the air.

Onto the mechanics, the printer has a single linear z-rail, though this is now 20mm wide. the housing around this is completely metal so whilst the rail is alone, it is secured and stable.

it is also rumoured to come with a new slicer. Known as Tango Slicer by Voxeldance. Whether this is to do with a new hardware/software partnership or a fallout with Cura, I don’t know. I’d never heard of Tango Slicer before.

Elegoo Mars 4 – Specifications

Finally, we’ve saved the best til last, resolution and print volume.

The display area is a 9H tempered glass plate, there is no LCD below this because below this is a mirror reflecting the image projected by the display unit. here’s another benefit, if you get any resin cured on the display. Just wipe off what you can, cure the rest and scrape it off with a soft blade.

Build volume-wise. we’re getting 132.8 x 74.7 x 150 mm (WxDxH)

Which for reference is 10.2 x 14.9 x 25 mm smaller than the Mars 3 Pro (40% smaller), and when compared to the photon D2, the Mars 4 DLP is 1.8mm wider, and 1.7mm deeper. but loses 25mm in height – it’s 6% smaller than the D2 overall, but many would argue that the larger build area is far more important than the height, especially if your focus is printing miniatures. But it’s still a pretty small volume, and to many people, would be restrictive.

Mars 4 DLP Open

What we don’t know though is the resolution, well. that or the price. It will be interesting to know what price band this is in so we can compare it to other printers in that range. I would hope that it’s somewhere around the $300 mark!

For those unaware, DLP printers are lower resolution than their LCD counterparts, but before you panic, because I need to keep explaining this to those who shriek at the numbers I’m about to discuss. LCD’s bloat prints, so you rarely get the advertised resolution anyway, and when you do it’s soft. DLP is accurate so prints are much closer to the digital representation that spawns them.

The Photon Ultra was standard 720 and the D2 was 2k, but a fake 2k at that. It uses a component to vibrate and refract the existing 2k projection to 2 separate places at a high frequency. The projector still projects at 720, but this component essentially doubles it – it’s also why the D2 is slower per layer than the Ultra.

I expect Elegoo to once again be the cheap option of comparable printers which means we could be looking at a 720 display or a 2k display using similar technology to the D2. However, on a larger screen area, this makes the projected pixels larger leading to more voxel lines.

Now if Elegoo were to instead include a native 2k projector, this is where things would be really interesting as it would easily beat out the D2 without breaking a sweat.

Whatever the case, we’ve already confirmed with Eleghoo that we are getting one. so make sure you are subscribed to our YouTube Channel for the first Elegoo Mars 4 DLP review.

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