Anycubic Mono X 3D Printer Review
Anycubic is well known for its Photon line of resin 3D printers—small, desktop-sized machines that are capable of producing extremely detailed prints that were unheard of at the time. However, it has one “small” drawback: its size. The Photon printers had such tiny print volume that they were often limited to printing tabletop miniatures. Anycubic answered the market need with the Mono X: a significantly larger resin 3D printer equipped with a 4K monochromatic LCD.
The Anycubic Mono X promised vastly larger prints and quicker print speeds back when it was first released in 2020. It even boasted WiFi and an Android app that can remotely control the Mono X. However, poor software support, non-functioning WiFi, and a high launch price tag made it a poor recommendation against the likes of the Elegoo Saturn and Phrozen Sonic Mighty. Fast forward to 2023—with third-party slicer support and a more affordable price of $299, the Mono X has become an appealing choice for those looking to step into the world of MSLA resin 3D printing.
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Back in 2016, Anycubic paved the way for affordable resin 3D printers with the Photon MSLA. This triggered a wave of manufacturers such as Elegoo, Phrozen, EPAX, and Creality to create their own line of affordable resin 3D printers, creating a market for these machines. However, at that time, MSLA resin 3D printers had limited print volumes and were mainly suitable for small figurines used in tabletop miniatures. Hobbyists hoping to print larger figures or models were forced to print them in multiple pieces or find someone with access to an industrial-grade resin 3D printer.
This all changed in 2020 when Elegoo released the Saturn MSLA resin 3D printer, a much larger printer that came in at an extremely affordable MSRP of $499. Anycubic responded in kind with its own Anycubic Photon Mono X, a scaled-up version of that generation’s Photon Mono. Boasting a large 9-inch, high-resolution 4K monochromatic LCD, large build volume, and built-in WiFi, the Photon Mono X stands toe to toe among its peers.
The Anycubic Photon Mono X had a launch price of $799, which was $300 more than the Elegoo Saturn. This made the Photon Mono X a less attractive option on paper back then. However, supply shortages and scalper pricing brought Saturn’s price closer to the Mono X, making the competition more even. Other contenders like the Phrozen Sonic Mighty and the Creality Halot Sky were also in a similar price range.
Today, Anycubic faces stiff competition from other well-established players like Elegoo Saturn, Phrozen Sonic Mighty, EPAX X10, and Creality Halot Sky. All of these have nearly identical internals and are only differentiated by price, branding, and quality-of-life features. To make things even more complicated, The Mono X has now been superseded by Anycubic’s own Mono X 6K and the Photon M3 Premium. Both printers boast a higher resolution LCD capable of producing extremely high-quality resin 3D prints.
So, in response, Anycubic has slashed the price of the Mono X to as low as $299, making this machine the most affordable medium format MSLA resin 3D printer on the market as of the moment of writing.
In this crowded market of affordable, high-quality medium format resin 3D printers, is this price slash enough to make the Anycubic Photon Mono X stand out from the competition? Or is it just another forgettable machine in the flood of new 3D printers coming out every few months? In this in-depth review, we’ll be showcasing everything good and bad about the Anycubic Photon Mono X.
Table of Contents
Key Features To Look For In A Great 3D Printer
When looking for a 3D printer, you should never settle on second best with print quality. To test the Anycubic Mono X, we printed a huge variety of models and figures. On smaller printers, we would usually need to do several separate prints to finish. Using the Mono X, we could do several prints at once. The results were impressive, but we did see a slight pixelation artifact on the robot figurine. Overall, we gave the printer a score of 9/10 for print quality, as it held its ground against the new generation of 3D printers like the Elegoo Saturn 2.
However, print quality isn’t the only thing you should look out for—a smooth printing experience matters, too. The addition of 3rd party slicer support, as well as the growing community around the machine, offer a lot of valuable resources and support to the Anycubic Mono X today.
Thanks to recent print cuts, the cost-to-score ratio really makes the Anycubic Mono X an excellent choice in 2023. Other printers we recommend in this price category and generation include the Elegoo Saturn, EPAX E10, and Phrozen Sonic Mighty.
Ranked #5 of 10
How We Researched This Printer
The Anycubic Mono X belongs to the medium format family of resin MSLA printers. These printers are like larger versions of the popular desktop resin 3D printers, offering affordability, a spacious print volume, and exceptional detail capabilities. With its generous size, the Mono X is the ideal machine to produce figurines, miniatures, and terrain for tabletop gaming. With that in mind, we thoroughly made the Mono X go through a multitude of test prints. For example, we placed it in a number of stressful printing environments, dove deep into the various communities, and more. To get a full view of its performance, we also stacked it against its competitors, such as the Elegoo Saturn, Phrozen Sonic Mighty, Creality Halot, and EPAX X10.
The Anycubic Mono X, initially priced at $799 during its launch, has also seen significant price reductions and now stands at a remarkably low $299. This makes the Mono X the most affordable way to get into medium-format resin printing this year.
Due to the messy nature of resin 3D printers, choosing the wrong MSLA printer can lead to major headaches from poor setup, print quality, and reliability—not to mention the time and money wasted trying to fix and tune such a machine. We spent hundreds of hours testing the Anycubic Mono X, so you don’t have to. In this review, we’ll delve into all the details of the Mono X to help you determine if it’s the right medium-format resin MSLA 3D printer for your needs.
Leveling the bed
The Anycubic Mono X arrives to customers fully assembled from the factory. In fact, it only requires users to level the build plate. When you receive the printer, know that it’s well-protected with foam and covers to keep it safe during transit. Just be careful when unpacking the build plate and resin vat to avoid any stray foam particles. Also, remember to remove all the protective films before using the printer for the first time, as these can cause print failures if left on.
As with nearly all consumer-level resin 3D printers, the Anycubic Mono X requires users to manually level the build plate before first use. It’s a straightforward process that involves loosening four screws, lowering the build plate to the LCD screen, and then tightening the screws again to lock it in the correct position. We found this the simplest and most accurate method of leveling the build plate—very unlike the one or two-screw method found on printers such as the Elegoo Saturn, which can skew the build plate slightly in one direction when tightening.
One of the remarkable strengths of MSLA resin 3D printers, like the Anycubic Mono X, is their ability to produce highly detailed prints that surpass other types of consumer 3D printers. This detail resolution is determined by the LCD screen’s resolution. With the Mono X’s 4K LCD, it can achieve incredibly fine details as small as 50um.
We tested the Mono X in three major areas: the ability to resolve detailed models, z height consistency, and UV exposure consistency across the whole build plate. To test the Anycubic Mono X’s ability to print detailed models, we had it print several figures, both large and small. This included several organic figures, robots, houses, and towers.
The Mono X had absolutely no issues printing small details. To fully utilize its large build volume, we even decided to print both a house model and a robot figure simultaneously. This would have required separate prints on smaller printers, but with the Mono X, we saved an enormous amount of time by handling both in a single print. As with all resin 3D prints, the print quality was fantastic. The only exception to this was a very slight pixelation effect on the flat sides of the robot figure.
We typically print an Eiffel Tower around 10cm in height to test the z-layer consistency of a resin 3D printer. However, since the Anycubic Mono X has such a big print capacity, we decided to scale it up to 20cm in height. While this did consume around 4x the amount of resin we typically use for a print, the results spoke for themselves. With perfect z-layer consistency, the detail and scale of the huge Eiffel Tower really showcased how well the Mono X can deliver great quality prints even on such a large scale.
Finally, we printed a series of detailed tiles across the Anycubic Mono X to test how evenly the UV light is distributed across the build plate. Anycubic claims that their Mono X is equipped with a “special lens system” that can evenly distribute the light from the UV array. If the distribution is uneven, the details at the edges may differ from those in the middle. Thankfully, our tests with the Anycubic Mono X revealed no such issues.
In any other review, we would end the print quality section here. However, while the Anycubic Mono X boasts an impressive 4K LCD, it’s natural to wonder how it compares to the newer resin 3D printers with 8K LCDs, such as the Elegoo Saturn 2 or the Anycubic M3 Premium. To us, it doesn’t really matter. To truly take advantage of the enhanced resolution of these newer machines, users would need to provide extremely high-resolution files and use more expensive resins. For those sticking with standard, more affordable resins, the difference between 4K printers like the Mono X and 8K printers like the Saturn 2 is not very noticeable.
Overall, the Anycubic Mono X outputs excellent-quality prints. We even consider it to be on par with every other 4K monochrome LCD resin printer in its class.
Throughout our tests, it has been proven that the Anycubic Mono X can produce detailed, high-resolution prints. However, there are a few issues that users need to be aware of when making use of a larger resin 3D printer such as this.
The transition from RGB to monochromatic LCD display technology brought significant benefits to resin 3D printing, particularly in speed. Manufacturers, including Anycubic, touted a 3x print speed increase due to the faster curing times of monochromatic LCDs. However, they often overlooked the fact that each layer still required seven to ten seconds to lift the build plate to the next position, which reduced the overall speed increase.
Users need to be aware that while the latest generation of resin 3D printers is fast, they are not as fast as manufacturers claim. In reality, the latest generation of resin 3D printers is only around 30-50% faster than the previous generation, and not the 3x increase claimed by manufacturers.
Build Size Suction Force Issues
Resin prints, especially on larger build plates like the Anycubic Mono X, experience a considerable amount of suction force when the build plate is lifted to the next position. This force dramatically increases with build plate size, and the Mono X is significantly larger than previous generation resin printers. This force has the potential to damage supports and delicate parts or even cause the print to detach from the build plate altogether.
Unlike higher-end machines like the Prusa SL1 (which tilts the resin vat) or the Form 3 (which uses the laser unit to gently push the print to the next position), the Anycubic Mono X does not have a system in place to reduce suction forces during printing. As a result, users might see that prints located near the center of the build plate are more prone to breaking compared to prints near the edges. Anycubic’s default print settings involve very slowly lifting the build plate and using thicker supports, which, by the way, also results in relatively slow print times and increased resin consumption.
High Minimum Resin Levels
Resin 3D printers, including the Anycubic Mono X, require a minimum amount of resin in the vat to successfully complete a print. As resin is much more expensive than filament, users must take this into account when choosing to go with a resin 3D printer.
With smaller resin printers like the Anycubic Photon, this isn’t too much of an issue. After all, it only requires around 30mL to keep the resin at a minimum level. However, with larger resin printers such as the Anycubic Mono X, you must always keep around 75mL.
The Anycubic Photon Mono X maintains the sleek black and yellow design seen in the Photon Mono series of resin 3D printers. With a boxy appearance, it even resembles its smaller counterpart, the Photon Mono, albeit on a larger scale.
The Photon Mono X comes equipped with a removable acrylic lid to protect the resin from UV light from the environment. This is unlike Anycubic’s previous resin printers, like the Anycubic Photon S, which featured a gull-wing door. While the lid provides users 360o access to the build plate, we found it slightly inconvenient to remove and store when accessing the build plate in our small office. We prefer the doors found on the Peoploy Phenom or the doors of the Photon S.
The Anycubic Photon Mono X is constructed primarily of metal and plastic, with most of the metal found in the base. Weighing 10.5kg, the Mono X feels sturdy and solid. Still, it is light enough to be moved around by one person.
The dimensions of the Photon Mono X are quite large, with an overall volume of 270mm (L) x 290mm (W)* x 75mm (H). Users must make sure they have enough desk space to accommodate the machine. However, the advantage of the Mono X’s larger footprint is the generous 92mm (L) x 120mm (W) x 245mm (H) print area, which is substantially larger than standard desktop resin 3D printers such as the Photon Mono.
Anycubic’s Photon Mono X follows the same design language as all other current-generation resin 3D printers of its class, such as the Elegoo Saturn, Phrozen Sonic Mighty, EPAX X10, and Creality Halot Sky. These printers share a metal base and a removable acrylic top. The main distinction of the Anycubic Photon Mono X is its color scheme and the addition of a WiFi antenna.
MSLA resin printers, like the Anycubic Mono X, are mechanically and electrically simpler than filament FDM printers. Typically, resin printers consist of a UV light, an LCD screen, and a single stepper motor, while FDM printers have multiple stepper motors, a heated bed, and a filament heater. This simplicity gives resin printers some advantages in terms of fire and electrical safety.
Resin Health Concerns
Unlike most consumer-grade filaments, resins used in MSLA resin 3D printers come with health risks when handled and cannot be ignored. In particular, the 405nm UV resin that all MSLA resin 3D printers utilize is extremely toxic when ingested. It can also provoke allergic reactions when their fumes are inhaled or when the liquid resin comes in contact with exposed skin.
What’s concerning is how the Anycubic Mono X lacks many of the resin safety features of the newer generation resin 3D printers, such as an air filter like the newer Anycubic M3 Premium line. Precautions need to be taken when handling uncured resin for this machine. Fortunately, Anycubic ships its resin printers with a few extra pairs of disposable gloves alongside a couple of face masks to help reduce fume exposure.
Another consideration is the high-powered UV light source used in these printers, as they can be harmful to the eyes if looked at without safety glasses on. Anycubic has addressed this concern by equipping the Mono X with a yellow acrylic lid. This lid serves as a shield, preventing UV light exposure and ensuring that the UV-sensitive resin is protected during printing. However, it should be noted that the Anycubic Mono X will continue operation even if the acrylic top is removed, unlike professional machines such as the Formlabs Form 3.
Finding Replacement Parts
In resin 3D printing, the LCD and FEP sheets in the resin vat need to be replaced periodically. Fortunately, these are cheap for the Mono X. Packs of two or three FEP sheets can commonly be found for around $20 at many 3D printing retailers.
The LCD of a resin 3D printer also needs to be replaced often. One major advantage the new monochrome LCDs have over older RGB screens is their vastly longer lifespans. Monochrome LCDs are rated for 2,000 hours compared to RGB at 400 hours, resulting in far fewer times the Anycubic Mono X needs to go offline for maintenance. Plus, since the Mono X is no longer considered cutting edge, the price of replacement LCDs has dropped dramatically, and they can be found for as little as $50 when bought directly from Anycubic.
Accessing the Control Board
Since there are very few moving parts on the Anycubic Mono X, opening up the resin printer is, thankfully, a rare occurrence. However, if the user needs to access the control board or any other internal components, it can simply be done by removing a few screws on the base and side of the machine. This already removes the bottom and sides of the printer, exposing the control board and other electronics.
Moreover, as the Mono X is simply a scaled-up version of the Anycubic Photon, users familiar with the Mono X’s smaller cousin will find the process identical.
Features & Upgrades
8.9 Inch Monochrome LCD
The Anycubic Mono X comes equipped with an 8.9″ monochromatic LCD that has an overall XY resolution of 50um. This allows users to print highly detailed models. Additionally, this large-format resin printer offers a much larger print volume, surpassing the capabilities of Anycubic’s smaller models like the Photon Mono SE.
Thanks to the monochromatic LCD screen, the Mono X delivers significantly faster printing speeds compared to previous-generation LCDs. UV exposure times are reduced from six to ten seconds down to just two to three seconds per layer.
Dual Linear Rails
The Anycubic Mono X stands out with its dual linear rails on the z-axis, a feature not present in Anycubic’s smaller resin 3D printers that have only one linear rail. This increases the rigidity and sturdiness of the z-axis and should translate into smoother and more accurate 3D prints.
WiFi and App Control
Anycubic has equipped the Mono X with a WiFi module that allows it to sync and be controlled with a mobile app. This feature allows you to start and monitor prints remotely, offering added flexibility and convenience. However, be aware that the app is for Android devices only and can only be downloaded from a source outside the Google Play store.
When it was launched, the Anycubic Mono X struggled to gain as much traction as its rival, the Elegoo Saturn, due to its much higher initial cost. However, with price cuts and supply shortages from Elegoo, the machine has garnered a sizable community. In fact, there are many large support groups for Mono X, where users can look up guides, tips, tricks, and answers to their various questions.
Users can find information on issues in a variety of places, such as forums, Facebook groups, and subreddits. Some of them include:
The Anycubic Mono X was an overall good first attempt at building a medium-format MSLA resin 3D printer. It has a competitive 4K LCD, a large build volume, and our favorite build plate leveling system. Its launch, however, was marred by poor software support, non-functioning WiFi and app, and an overall much higher price tag compared to the rivaling Elegoo Saturn.
Back in 2020, we would not have recommended the Anycubic Mono X. But with the manufacturer allowing 3rd party slicer support, increased community support, and a huge price cut of $299, the Mono X has fixed the majority of its shortcomings in 2023. If you’re looking for a no-frills, good quality medium format MSLA resin 3D printer, then the Anycubic Mono X is a good choice.
- Build volume: 192mm (l) x 120mm (w) x 245mm (h)
- Printer size: 270 mm(L) x 290mm(W) x 475mm(H)
- Weight: 11kg
- Enclosed print area: Yes
- Display: Color touchscreen
- Drive type: Resin (MSLA)
- Resin capability: 405nm resin
- Connectivity: USB type A
- Build Surface: aluminum
- Bed Leveling: Manual
- Maximum movement speed: 150mm per second
- Maximum XY accuracy: 0.0050mm
- Minimum Z height: 0.00125mm
- 3rd party resin support: Yes
- Operating System: Windows, MacOS, Linux
- Supported Slicers: Chitubox, Lychee Slicer
- Supported File Types: STL, OBJ, M3F
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1. Elegoo.com, “Elegoo, INC.” Accessed July 26, 2022.