Review of the ELEGOO Saturn resin 3D printer – ELEGOO mid-size MSLA printer with 4k mono screen and larger build area than the ELEGOO Mars
Elegoo Mars was and is one of my favourite 3D printers of all time. Yes, I love my Prusa SL1, but you have to face the fact that the SL1 is seriously expensive in comparison to the Elegoo lineup.
After waiting to see what Prusa would come out with as a follow-up to the SL1, I saw they had gone for speed rather than size, so that cemented my decision that my upgrade was going to be my next Elegoo, and I went with the Elegoo Saturn.
TL;DR I love the ELEGOO Saturn
Hardly surprising, really, but I love the Saturn as much and maybe even more than the ELEGOO Mars.
Think of the Saturn as an embiggened Mars with a monochrome screen, at an aggressively good price.
ELEGOO Saturn Specifications
- Build area 192 x 120 x 200mm (7.55″ x 4.72″ x 7.87″)
- 8.9″ Monochrome LCD (4K resolution / 3840 x 2400)
- Z-Axis Linear rails and lead screw (rock solid)
- Ethernet networking connectivity (print over network)
The main attraction for me was the massive size increase the Saturn has over the Mars while still being a comparatively compact unit:
|Build Plate||5.08″ x 3.15″||7.55″ x 4.72″|
|Printer Size||7.87″ x 7.87″ x 16.14″||11.02″ x 9.44″ x 17.55″|
Essentially, the Saturn having a monochrome screen means it cures resin faster (up to 60% speed boost over the Mars) and the screen lasts longer.
ELEGOO Saturn isn’t the first or only machine to have this, of course, and under the hood they all mostly use Chitu hardware and firmware, but it does make a noticeable difference in printing speed.
What are ELEGOO Saturn prints like?
The prints are as good as the Mars and maybe marginally better.
Rather than print the default rook test print I filled my print bed with the beautifully detailed STLs from the Lost Adventures Kickstarter.
I also put the settings on ludicrous speed – 240 mm/min lift.
All of the prints looked excellent, even despite me pushing the speed as far as it could go and using Chitubox default automatic supports.
Yes, I like to live dangerously!
Seriously, though, I wanted my review to be as close as possible to “get it out of the box and hit print” as I could while taking advantage of the enhancements over the Mars.
One part bowed at the start and recovered later, but fortunately the model was a ruined wall so no problem.
What is NOT good with the ELEGOO Saturn?
There are a couple of gripes I still have with the machine that don’t spoil the experience but should certainly be thought about and resolved for future models.
An obvious area people have complained about that I do NOT think is a problem is the “mid-size” middle ground – being simultaneously both not big enough and not small enough. While I would LOVE more build area, there was just no way fit one of the large format machines into my home (even I could afford to buy one). There are enough choices in the market that I don’t think the Saturn being all things to all people should put anyone off.
First, the serial number that you use to determine firmware compatibility for upgrades is on the base of the machine.
Sounds like a minor issue until you discover that you only know you NEED that serial number after you have filled the vat with resin and the machine refuses to print.
Which leads to the second gripe. Turns out while I had been out of the loop we got a whole new lineup of Chitubox software, and the machine and Chitubox Basic are incompatible without a firmware update.
I was vaguely aware because I follow Uncle Jessy (and I fixed my Patreon PayPal issues just so I could be sure I was paying him as a thank you). Wonder how many support requests and Amazon returns that issue has caused.
While I am not convinced I will pay for a pro license for Chitubox yet, thankfully now I can at least print.
The lid is also a pain. I prefer hinged lids, especially lids that actually stay open. This instead is a lift off deal, and anyone who has lifted a resin printer off knows it is not exactly a smooth action until you have performed the manoeuvre a LOT.
Finally, the USB port is on the side, and the power is on the back. Again, a potential resin spill hazard. Wish they had the ports conveniently on the front, maybe with a little roof over to protect from any drips that might fall.
I am delighted. Yes, the ELEGOO Saturn has a great deal of competition, and I was interested for a short while in the Anycubic Mono X, but in the end I think ELEGOO is the better company and the Saturn was the right choice for me.
You can buy from a bunch of places but I bought mine from Amazon due to prime shipping and the extra reassurance of their customer service and returns policy. Even better I got it at $669.99 CAD (around $550 USD?), which I think is a great deal. It is $500 USD at Amazon.com but import duty etc makes the Canada store more convenient.