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Elegoo Mars 3 Resin 3D Printer Review

9.3/10

The ELEGOO Mars 3 marks the latest addition to the highly successful Mars series of resin 3D printers. The standout feature of the Mars 3 is its impressively high-resolution 4K LCD display, setting it apart in this generation of compact resin 3D printers. We find that it’s an iterative step up from its predecessor, the Mars 2 Pro, with its increase in resolution, print volume, and price. 

Overall, we found the Mars 3 to be a worthy upgrade over the previous generation, even surpassing its rivals like the Anycubic Mono 4K and the Creality Halot One. However, to take advantage of its high-resolution LCD display, users might need to splurge on more expensive, high-resolution resin.

9.3/10

Manufacturer: Elegoo

The Pros
The Cons
Picture of Paul Chow
Paul Chow

Co-Founder & CTO

Amazon.com Disclosure: As Amazon Associates, we earn from qualifying purchases.

Last year, we found the ELEGOO Mars 2 Pro to be one of the best small-form resin 3D printers in the budget category. This year, ELEGOO aims to step it up with an upgraded, higher resolution LCD display, improved cooling, larger overall print volume, and a slight design change to help differentiate The Mars 3 from its competitors. ELEGOO claims the Mars 3’s new LCD screen allows for a 30% increase in resolution and a 37% increase in overall print volume. But accompanying these extra features is a 30% price hike compared to the Mars 2 Pro upon its initial release. 

The Mars 3 finds itself in competition with counterparts like the Anycubic Photon Mono 4K, Phrozen Sonic Mini 4K, and new entrants like the Creality Halot One. These contenders roughly have the same specifications and price points. As such, the question now is whether the Mars upgrades make it worth more than the competition. 

On paper, the 30% boost in resolution from its upgraded LCD screen sounds nice. However, as said in our review of the ELEGOO Mars 2 Pro, that printer already produced resin prints with an amazing level of detail. We are skeptical of the claims between the print results of the Mars 3 versus the Mars 2, as it feels similar to when resin 3D printer manufacturers asserted that transitioning to monochromatic screens would result in a 3x print speed enhancement (when it didn’t).

Tough questions like this and whether this machine really deserves your money over its competitors are just some of the things we’ll be answering in this in-depth review of the ELEGOO Mars 3.

Key Features To Look For In A Great 3D Printer

3D printers are becoming more and more popular, and one of the important things to look for is ease of setup. Nobody wants to invest a hefty amount of money in a new 3D printer only to find it requires complex assembling. This is why we love the ELEGOO Mars 3—it comes fully assembled from the factory, allowing even newcomers to go straight to printing.

The next thing to look out for is the machine’s print quality. After all, you bought a 3D printer to make cool stuff. To this end, you’d be happy to know that the ELEGOO Mars 3 Pro is equipped with one of the newest 4K LCDs and is able to print details as small as 35um. We tested out its capabilities by printing a number of figurines, models, towers, and more. In every case, the Mars 3 printed-out models with fantastic quality!

You also want to be on the lookout for potential challenges in maintenance and repair. The ELEGOO Mars 3 replacements for the LCDs are usually in stock directly from ELEGOO and cost around $50 to replace after 2,000 hours of use, resulting in a short downtime. Moreover, the ELEGOO Mars 3 has very reasonable costs for newer generation of resin 3D printers

Lastly, you want to ensure there is strong community support around the machine. Since Mars is already a pretty popular series, the ELEGOO Mars 3 Pro has an extremely large community. This means buyers can easily access a wealth of information to troubleshoot and resolve their issues. In recognition of this robust support network, we’ve awarded this printer a commendable score of 9/10 for its community backing.

93

Overall Score

Ranked #1 of 10
SLA Printers

Learn more about our 3D printer review methodology.

How We Researched ELEGOO Mars 3

The ELEGOO Mars 3 is part of the latest generation of small-form-factor MSLA resin 3d printers specializing in highly detailed and quick 3D prints. Resin printers are known for their small size, ease of setting up, and large community support. 

We put the Mars 3 through a series of different test prints, subjected it to difficult print environments, and dove deep into its support forums. We even subjected it to print things beyond its capabilities. We compared the Mars 3 to other printers in its class to get a baseline, including the Creality Halot One, Anycubic Mono 4K, and the Phrozen Sonic Mini 4K.

Resin printing is continuously evolving quickly, with printers coming out multiple times every year. Selecting the wrong small-form-factor MSLA resin printer can leave you with poor-quality prints, little support, poor setup, and a running tab of repair and power bills. Take the time to read this research piece. We already guarantee our readers that their hard-earned dollars always go towards the best printers and features!

Printer Setup

The ELEGOO Mars 3 arrived to us fully assembled from the factory and nearly ready to print straight from the box. The resin printer itself is well packaged with protective foam around the printer, build plate, and resin vat. And while we noticed small bits of foam scattered around the printer and vat that were broken off from the rest of the packaging foam, we suspect that this was damage caused by overseas shipment. 

Remember to carefully remove any foam particles around the build plate and vat before first use. The resin vat also has a protective film that is difficult to see and must be removed. Otherwise, your prints will fail.

Apart from removing the ELEGOO Mars 3’s protective foam and installing the build plate, users must also level the build plate to the LCD before printing. Just like all resin 3D printers in this category, the build plate must be manually leveled. For the ELEGOO Mars 3, this involves using two large hex screws to secure the build plate in its position and ensuring proper tightening during the leveling process. This method is identical to ELEGOO’s previous printers.

While this kind of setup is okay, we much prefer the spring-loaded build plate of the Anycubic Mono SE or the four leveling screws of the Phrozen Sonic series. Using two hex screws for leveling introduced a minor chance of build plate misalignment or skew.

The primary strengths of resin 3D printers lie in their ability to produce high print quality and capture intricate details, which is determined by the quality and resolution of their LCD screen. The first Mars had a 2K display, enabling it to capture details as small as 47um. Its successor, the Mars 2, featured a slightly larger 2K display with a slightly lower resolution of 51um. However, our tests revealed no discernible difference between the two screens. 

The Mars 3, on the other hand, comes equipped with a much higher resolution 4K screen, allegedly allowing it to resolve details as small as 35um. We ran an extensive array of tests to see if that translates to real-world improvements. In fact, we tested the Mars 3 in three major areas: its ability to resolve detailed models, z height consistency, and consistent UV exposure across the whole build plate. 

To test the ELEGOO Mars 3 Pro’s ability to print detailed models, we had it print several detailed figures, including both large and small ones. When printing small details, the printer had absolutely no issues. We then printed a mech model and figurine. The Mars 3 had no issues printing each of these models, and the texture came out perfectly. 

We later tested the Mars 3’s ability to print tall objects and exaggerate any issues related to the z-stepper motor or with the linear rail along the z-axis. Due to shipping damage, the lead screw for the Mars 3 came extremely bent, and we were worried that this would negatively affect its z print quality. Surprisingly, the ELEGOO Mars 3 had no issues printing out the small details in the tower and showed no issues with z alignment despite the bent lead screw.

Finally, we printed a series of detailed tiles across the ELEGOO Mars 3 to test how evenly the UV light is distributed across the build plate. If the light distribution is uneven, then the details on the edge will look different compared to the details in the middle. ELEGOO claims its UV light system ensures that UV exposure is uniform across its entire build area. True enough, we found no discernible difference between the tiles found on the edge and those found in the middle.

Overall, the ELEGOO Mars 3 outputs excellent-quality prints. We’d say that it’s even on par with every other monochrome LCD resin printer in its generation.

By the way, while using the standard gray resin, we didn’t detect noticeable differences between the 4K screen of the Mars 3 and the lower 2K screen of the Mars 2. However, when we reprinted all the models alongside an even more detailed test model in Siraya Tech’s Navy Gray resin, we could see a very small improvement in how sharp the details are in the Mars 3 prints. This resin was designed with high-resolution printers like the Mars 3 in mind, indicating that you’ll need both an extremely detailed model and higher-quality resin to take advantage of its increased resolution.

The ELEGOO Mars 3 is more than capable of printing some of the best resin prints we have seen to date.

Print Speed

ELEGOO claims that its print speed is around 1.5-3s, suggesting remarkably fast printing speeds. However, this timeframe accounts solely for UV exposure per layer. The print bed’s elevation, typically lasting 5-10s, is an additional step. Crafting a standard 28mm tabletop miniature on the Mars 3 would require around 2-3 hours to complete.

Slicer Compatibility

ELEGOO has endorsed and included Chitubox as its recommended slicer. We highly recommend the Chitubox to all our users because of its presets and support from both ELEGOO and the 3D printer community. What we did not initially appreciate was ELEGOO locking the Mars 3 to just the Chitubox slicer at launch. Third-party slicers such as Lychee Slicer are excellent alternatives, and it was disappointing that ELEGOO locked out compatibility until several months later. It’s a good thing they listened!

ELEGOO Mars 3 Hardware

The ELEGOO Mars 3 maintains the signature red and black design seen in its predecessors, the Mars 2 and the Mars series. However, they replaced the previous straight rectangular lid with a new tapered design. While we appreciate the lengths ELEGOO has gone to differentiate itself from the previous generations and its competition, we personally liked the more minimalist rectangular design of the previous Mars printers … just remember that this particular opinion is purely subjective and plays absolutely no role in the performance of the resin printer. 

The size of the Mars 3 printer also changed, albeit very slightly. With an overall size of 227mm (l) x 227mm (w) x 430mm (h) and weighing in at 5.7kg, it is around 20mm bigger in each dimension compared to the previous Mars 2 to accommodate the larger LCD screen. The Mars 3 grew in size while remaining compact enough to fit on nearly any 3D printing desk or table. Similarly, the build volume of the Mars 3 is bigger at 143mm (l) x 90mm (w) x 175mm (h) compared to the 115mm (l) x 65mm (w) x 160mm (h) of Mars 2. This allows users to accommodate much larger 3D models within its print volume. 

A substantial change from the Mars 2 Pro to the Mars 3 is the heavy use of plastics through the base of the machine. Previous ELEGOO resin 3D printers had the entire outer shell made out of metal, giving the 3D printer a weighty but very sturdy base. Mars 3 changes this by using plastic throughout most of the base. This makes it significantly lighter than Mars 2 at 5.7kg (versus 7.5kg that was the former). While the plastic shell is sturdy, free of creaks, and not cheap, we still prefer the more premium sensation of the metal shell found on the Mars 2. 

Still, this is likely just a cost-saving measure for the manufacturer. It does not affect the overall performance of the Mars 3. 

Similar to most resin 3D printers, the ELEGOO Mars 3 comes with a detachable acrylic lid that protects the resin from external UV exposure. Unlike earlier models, there are no options like the Anycubic Mono SE, which offers a gull-wing door alternative to the removable lid. We’re disappointed with the limited choices in this generation as we lean towards the gull-wing door over the detachable lid. With the latter, users must take off and store the acrylic top to reach the build plate, which we found cumbersome in our small office. While some users might like the 360-degree access it offers, we prefer the convenience of a gull-wing door.

As the vast majority of affordable resin 3D printers utilize the same components, manufacturers have to differentiate themselves with their machines’ construction, durability, features, and price. In this generation, the difference mainly falls into the design of the lid and affordability. The ELEGOO Mars 3 features a tapered lid design, giving it a much more organic aesthetic compared to the previous Mars 2, which had a straight rectangular lid. Although we lean towards the Mars 2’s aesthetics, the Mars 3 design is still a huge improvement over Anycubic’s redesigned lid, where the build plate collides with it when reaching its maximum height.

Safety Highlights

MSLA resin printers, unlike filament-based FDM 3D printers, are electrically safer. Resin printers operate with minimal power requirements for an LCD screen, UV light source, and a single stepper motor. This is in contrast to the high-power heaters and heated beds in FDM printers. The ELEGOO Mars 3 continues this trend with low overall power usage, little electrical risk, and low fire risk.

Resin Health Concerns

Regarding health considerations, however, working with 405nm UV resin carries certain risks. This type of resin is highly toxic if swallowed and can lead to significant allergic reactions when it comes in contact with exposed skin. When handling resin, always take several precautions. The ELEGOO Mars 3 also comes with a small number of extra items to assist with this. For example, when working with resin, nitrile gloves should be worn all the time. ELEGOO includes several extra pairs of disposable gloves and a couple of face masks with its resin printers to minimize fume exposure. 

Additionally, the printer’s 50w UV light source has the potential to harm your eyes and can be dangerous to look at directly without safety glasses on. The red-tinted acrylic top of the ELEGOO Mars 3 acts as a shield against UV light exposure, safeguarding both the user and the resin from environmental UV rays. However, users should be aware that the ELEGOO Mars 3 will continue operating even if the lid is removed, so it still helps to be extra cautious.

Mars 3 Maintenance

Finding Replacement Parts

In resin 3D printing, the LCD and FEP sheets in the vat must be replaced periodically. A major advantage the monochrome LCDs have over older RGB screens is their vastly longer lifespans. Monochrome LCDs are rated for 2,000 hours of usage, compared to the previous generation’s 400 hours. This means that these printers need to be taken offline for maintenance far less frequently. 

Replacement LCDs for the Mars 3 are available for approximately $50 from ELEGOO. In comparison, the Mars 2’s replacement LCDs can be found for as low as $35 directly from ELEGOO and through retailers like Amazon. As for FEP sheets, they are widely available at various 3D printer retailers and are compatible across different brands and models, making them very accessible and inexpensive.

Accessing the Control Board

Since there are very few moving parts on the ELEGOO Mars 3, opening up the resin printer should be a rare occurrence. However, if the user needs to access the control board or any other internal components, it can be done by removing a few screws at the rear of the printer. This exposes the control board and other electronics. 

Unlike some competitors and previous-generation models that required removing multiple panels to access the bottom-mounted control board, the Mars 3 offers a more user-friendly approach, which we vastly prefer. Users can access the control board without the need to flip over the printer, making maintenance easier.

Features & Upgrades

6.6 Inch 4K Monochrome LCD

The latest generation of small form factor resin 3D printers features some of the highest resolution displays available. In the case of the ELEGOO Mars 3, it is equipped with a 4K resolution panel, a notable upgrade from the 2K panel in previous models like the ELEGOO Mars 2 Pro.

ELEGOO boasts that this represents a 30% increase in the print resolution, which should translate to crisper details on resin prints. However, as the previous generation resin printers already produce outstanding prints, it is unknown whether this really translates to any real-world differences.

Community Support

The ELEGOO Mars 3 enjoys a large community following due to the popularity of the Mars series of printers. Users can get information for issues on various places such as forums, Facebook groups, and subreddits specifically for the Mars series of printers. 

Some of them include: 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/elegoomars
Reddit: https://www.reddit.com/r/ElegooMars/
Thingiverse: https://www.thingiverse.com/groups/mars

Final Verdict

The Mars 3 is an iterative update to the excellent Mars 2 Pro printer. It boosts print resolution, enlarges print volume, expands in size, and comes with a higher price tag compared to its predecessor. Producing some of the cleanest and most detailed resin prints, it easily outperforms competitors like Anycubic and Creality in detail, resolving well-thought-out designs and community support. 

However, its stiffest competition isn’t coming from competing brands but its previous generation. The Mars 2 Pro, though older, still delivers similar print quality without high-resolution resins while being more cost-effective both in purchase and maintenance.

Still, the ELEGOO Mars 3 remains one of our top picks for those seeking high-quality small form factor resin 3D printers without breaking the bank.

Technical Specifications

  • Build volume: 143mm (l) x 90mm (w) x 175mm (h)
  • Printer size: 227mm (l) x 227mm (w) x 43-mm (h)
  • Weight: 5.7kg
  • 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: 0.0035mm
  • 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

Disclaimer
3DGearZone.com is a professional review site that receives compensation from the companies whose products we review. We test each product thoroughly and give high marks to only the very best. We don’t guarantee, however, that our suggestions will work best for each individual or business, so consider your unique needs when choosing products and services. 3DGearZone.com is independently owned and the opinions expressed here are our own. 

As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

Sources
1. Elegoo.com, “Elegoo, INC.” Accessed July 26, 2022.

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