In 2020, ELEGOO blew open the medium format resin 3D printer market with its ELEGOO Saturn printer. Combining at the time new LCD technology, a much larger print volume, and an unbeatable starting price of $499, it quickly became the benchmark of a medium format resin 3D printer. Not letting its competition catch up, ELEGOO released its Saturn 2 resin 3D printer in 2022 with an even more significant build volume and an extremely high-resolution 8K LCD display. However, the ELEGOO Saturn 2 came with a considerable price increase of $699.
Today, ELEGOO faces tough competition in this segment, with the Anycubic M3 Premium, Phrozen Sonic Mighty 8K, and the Epax X10 8K joining the race. Interestingly, the ELEGOO Saturn 8K has emerged as its own rival, offering the same great 8K display but in a smaller form factor and a lower price of $599. Nevertheless, we would happily recommend the Saturn 2 with its winning combination of ultra-high resolution and large build volume, but budget-conscious users should definitely opt for the cheaper Saturn 8K.
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Until 2020, resin 3D printers that could print anything larger than a tabletop miniature were out of reach of most hobbyists. This changed with the introduction of the ELEGOO Saturn. As a medium-format MSLA resin printer, it had a build volume that was substantially larger than its competitors, was relatively easier to use, and came at an unheard price of $499. It quickly triggered a pricing war between some of the 3D printing’s largest manufacturers like ELEGOO, Anycubic, EPAX, Phrozen, and Creality. This resulted in a massive win for consumers, and the market was flooded with affordable, larger, higher-quality resin 3D printers.
With competitors quickly catching up to ELEGOO, the manufacturer retaliated by releasing an updated Saturn 2 resin 3D printer in 2022. They upgraded the impressive 4K LCD display to a larger, more capable 8K LCD display. They also integrated a charcoal air filter into the machine and increased the print volume. Plus, while its starting price of $699 was a substantial increase over the previous ELEGOO Saturn, it still undercuts the competition by at least $100 with comparable offerings from Anycubic, Phrozen, and Epax.
In the race for dominance, ELEGOO is up against some tough competitors like the Anycubic M3 Premium, the Phrozen Sonic Mighty 8K, and the EPAX X10 8K. However, the most interesting competitor we’re seeing is ELEGOO’s own Saturn 8K. This crafty contender takes the tried-and-true Saturn chassis and upgrades it with a new 8K panel, all while offering a lower price tag compared to its own Saturn 2 by $100.
So, is the Saturn 2 a worthwhile successor to the original Saturn? Or are you better off purchasing one from its rivals or a previous generation Saturn? We’ll answer that question and more in this in-depth review of the ELEGOO Saturn 2.
When looking for a resin 3D printer, you should never compromise on print quality, as that’s one of the main reasons you purchase a resin 3D printer. To test the ELEGOO Saturn, we printed several figurines, robot models, houses, and a tower. The results were excellent across the board, with the machine churning out some of the most highly detailed prints we’ve seen, thanks to its 8K monochromatic LCD screen. The Saturn 2 scored an easy 9/10 for print quality.
Then again, print quality isn’t the only thing to look out for. You also want to make sure your printer is reliable enough for everyday use. For example, resin printers experience a great amount of suction force when the plate is lifted to the next position, and the larger the printer, the greater the force. Unfortunately, ELEGOO does not have a system in place to reduce suction forces, and with a 10″ screen, this is amongst the biggest we have tested yet. As a result, users may see their prints near the center of the build plate break more often than prints on the edges.
Printers such as the Prusa SL1 make an attempt to reduce suction force by tilting the resin vat, dramatically improving the system’s overall reliability. There are also machines like Formlabs Form 3, which uses a laser unit to push the print to the next position gently. Hopefully, ELEGOO can develop its own innovative solution for future models.
Still, it’s hard to argue with the price since the ELEGOO Saturn 2 is one of the cheapest mid-size resin printers on the market. Its cost-to-performance ratio makes it an excellent option for those seeking to print larger models compared to smaller printers like the ELEGOO Mars 3. That being said, competitors such as the Anycubic M3 Premium, Phrozen Sonic Mighty 8K, Creality Halot Sky, and the ELEGOO Saturn 8K also offer comparable performance and are highly recommended choices.
With such a range of great options, users have a ton of flexibility to choose a resin 3D printer that best fits their needs and budget.
Ranked #8 of 10
The ELEGOO Saturn 2 belongs to the medium format family of resin MSLA printers, which are well-known as scaled-up versions of the smaller desktop MSLA printers. Affordable, with a large print volume, and capable of producing incredible amounts of detail, the ELEGOO Saturn 2 is the perfect machine to make figurines, miniatures, and terrain for tabletop gaming. With this in mind, we conducted extensive tests on the ELEGOO Saturn 2, subjecting it to various challenging print scenarios and gathering feedback from different communities. We also compared its performance against strong competitors like the Anycubic M3 Premium, Phrozen Sonic Mighty 8K, Creality Halot Sky, and even its own Saturn 8K.
While the Saturn 2 shares many similarities with its competitors on paper, such as build plate size, screen resolution, and overall dimensions, the machine sets itself apart with its integrated charcoal filter, a vent port in its lid, and a lower MSRP of $699.
Due to the messy nature of resin 3D printers, choosing the wrong MSLA printer will lead to significant 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 ELEGOO Saturn 2, so you don’t have to. So keep reading to learn all the ins and outs of the Saturn 2 to see if this is the suitable medium format resin MSLA 3D printer for you.
Leveling the bed
The ELEGOO Saturn 2 comes fully assembled from the factory and is nearly ready to print straight from the box. The only thing users need to do is level the bed. The resin printer is well packaged with protective foam around the printer, build plate and resin vat. However, it’s essential to check for any foam particles around the resin vat before use, as we encountered some during our testing. Users should also note that the resin vat has a protective film that is difficult to see and must be removed—otherwise, your prints will fail.
Leveling the build plate to the LCD is the one thing users need to do before printing with the ELEGOO Saturn. 2 All other budget-friendly resin printers require the user to level the build plate before use.
Unlike other budget-friendly resin printers, the ELEGOO Saturn 2 requires users to level the build plate before use. In fact, ELEGOO Saturn 2’s leveling process is identical to its predecessor: there are two large hex screws that lock the build plate in place and must be tightened during the leveling process. This method is common for ELEGOO’s line of 3D printers.
However, some competitors, like Anycubic, have taken a different approach by implementing a spring-loaded build plate for better leveling or using four-level screws, as seen in printers like the Phrozen Sonic Mighty 8K. So, while the leveling mechanism of the ELEGOO Saturn 2 is all right, we highly prefer the leveling system found on Anycubic or Phrozen printers.
Resin 3D printers excel in print quality and their ability to reproduce intricate details, which relies on the quality and resolution of their LCD screen. The original Saturn sported a high-resolution 4K display, allowing it to resolve details as small as 47um. However, the Saturn 2 takes it to the next level with a larger, ultra-high-resolution 8K display, capable of resolving details as tiny as 29um. We’ll be running an extensive array of tests to see if that translates to real-world improvements.
We tested the Saturn 2 in three major areas: ability to resolve detailed models, z height consistency, and consistent UV exposure across the whole build plate. One of the most common things for resin 3D printers to print are highly detailed figurines and models. We tested the Saturn 2’s ability to print detailed models by having it print a variety of intricate figures, both large and small.
When it came to printing small details, the printer performed flawlessly. We also pushed its capabilities with organic models, printing a mech model and figurine to test its ability to resolve more angular features. Again, the Saturn 2 had no issues printing each of these models, and the texture came out perfectly.
We later tested the Saturn 2’s ability to print tall objects and exaggerate any issues related to the z-stepper motor or the linear rail on the z-axis. Unsurprisingly, the ELEGOO Saturn 2 had no problems printing out the small details in the tower. It also showed no issues with z-alignment because of its sturdy construction and dual linear rails on its z-axis.
For our final test, we utilized the ELEGOO Saturn 2 to print a series of detailed tiles across its build plate. This was to test how evenly the UV light is distributed across the build plate. If the light distribution is uneven, the details on the edge will look different compared to those in the middle. With such a large build surface, we were interested in how evenly lit the build area of the Saturn 2 truly is. After all, ELEGOO claims that its UV light system ensures that UV exposure is uniform across its entire build area. And true enough, we found no discernible difference between the tiles on the edge and those in the middle.
All in all, the ELEGOO Saturn 2 outputs excellent quality prints that set the benchmark for this generation’s medium format resin 3D printers.
Saturn vs. Saturn 2
With the addition of the 8K LCD screen, we were eager to see if there was also a difference between the already impressive 8K LCD of the original Saturn compared to the newer Saturn 2. When printing with the standard gray resin, however, we couldn’t discern any significant distinctions between the two.
We then decided to reprint all the models using Siraya Tech’s Navy Gray resin, which is specifically designed for “8K ready” resin printers like the Saturn 2. To this end, we noticed a subtle improvement in the sharpness of details in the Saturn 2 prints compared to the original Saturn. This only highlights how users would normally need an extremely detailed model and higher-quality resin to take advantage of the increased resolution of the latest generation of resin 3D printers.
The ELEGOO Saturn 2 produces amazingly crisp and detailed prints. However, there are a few issues that users need to be aware of when using a larger machine such as this.
When resin 3D printer manufacturers transitioned from RGB to monochromatic LCD display technology, it ushered in a wave of print benefits—most notably, the speed of resin 3D printing.
With RGB LCDs, each layer takes anywhere from 6-10s to cure, and monochromatic LCDs reduce this time to just 2-3%. Every manufacturer, including ELEGOO, marketed it as a 300%+ print speed increase. However, always remember that every layer still requires 7-10s to lift the build plate to the next position, significantly reducing the overall speed increase to around 30-50%. So, while the latest generation of resin 3D printers is fast, they are slower than manufacturers claim.
Build Size Suction Force Issues
Resin prints experience a great amount of suction force when the build plate is lifted to the next position. This force dramatically increases with build plate size, and the ELEGOO Saturn 2 is amongst the biggest resin printers we have ever used. The suction force can damage supports and delicate parts or completely detach the print from the build plate.
Higher-end machines like the Prusa SL1 tackle the issue by tilting the resin vat. There are also commercial grades like the Form 3, which uses a laser unit to push the print to the next position. ELEGOO does not have a system in place to reduce suction forces. As a result, users may see prints near the center of the build plate break more often than prints near the edges.
Minimum Resin Levels
Resin 3D printers require a minimum amount of resin in the vat that does not get consumed during printing for successful completion. As resin is much more expensive than filament, users must consider this when choosing a resin 3D printer. This isn’t too much of an issue with smaller machines, as they typically only require around 30mL to keep the resin vat at a minimum level. However, with larger resin printers, like the ELEGOO Saturn 2, users must always keep around 150mL of resin in the vat. This can easily add to the cost of owning the Saturn 2, especially when using more expensive “8K ready” resins.
The charcoal filter on the ELEGOO Saturn 2 is a great quality-of-life feature on paper. By being integrated within the print volume, it can filter out any resin fumes before it has the chance to escape into where the printer lives. However, we found its effectiveness to be limited. Despite being integrated within the print volume, we could still smell resin fumes during printing. You’re better off with a hose adapter mounted on the lid and a proper ventilation system.
The new Saturn and Mars 3D printers differentiated themselves from the previous generation by adopting a more organic design language. Gone are the minimalist boxy lids, and in are the curves and slopes. This is purely an aesthetic choice and does not affect the performance of the Saturn 2 in any way. However, we do prefer the previous generation’s minimalist boxy design. Nevertheless, fans of the classic red and black color scheme will be pleased to see it return in the ELEGOO Saturn 2.
With the larger print volume of the ELEGOO Saturn 2, there’s also an increase in its overall dimensions. The ELEGOO Saturn 2 measures 306 mm (L) x 273mm (W) x 567mm (H)—a substantial increase when compared to the original Saturn. In fact, the Saturn 2 completely dwarfs the original Saturn so much that it almost approaches the size of large-volume resin 3D printers. Users should be mindful of the available space they have to accommodate such a large machine.
Another big change is the heavy use of plastic throughout the main body of Saturn 2. For reference, the original Saturn’s base was made primarily of metal, which had its clocked at 13kg. Despite its massive size, the Saturn 2 weighs just 14 kg, thanks to its plastic construction. While this may affect the premium feel of the printer, the plastic body remains sturdy and does not affect its printing performance.
The ELEGOO Saturn 2 retains its signature removable red acrylic lid, a common feature among the manufacturer’s resin 3D printers. However, the lid is now larger and has a sleek sloping design but still serves the purpose of blocking UV light and containing resin fumes within the machine. As a result, accessing the build plate requires removing and storing the acrylic top, which we found somewhat inconvenient in our small office. Some users may appreciate the 360-degree access it provides, but we personally prefer the doors found on the Peopoly Phenom.
By the way, the original ELEGOO Saturn came equipped with an ethernet jack for network connectivity, which the ELEGOO Saturn 2 removed. Still, the original Saturn never made use of the ethernet jack anyway, so we don’t really consider it a con for the Saturn 2.
In summary, the Saturn 2 is substantially larger and made of more plastic instead of metal compared to its competitors. It’s also very big. Those looking for a more compact resin 3D printer may want to consider the likes of the Phrozen Sonic Mighty 8K or the ELEGOO Saturn 8K instead.
When it comes to safety considerations, MSLA resin printers like the ELEGOO Saturn 2 are often considered a safer choice compared to filament-based FDM 3D printers. This is because resin printers need very little power to drive an LCD screen, UV light source, and single stepper motor, whereas FDM printers require high-power heaters to melt filament and heated beds. As a result, MSLA resin printers have fewer electrification and fire risks.
Resin Health Concerns
When it comes to health concerns, there are risks involved when dealing with a 405nm UV resin printer that cannot be ignored. For example, this type of machine is highly toxic if ingested and can cause severe allergic reactions when it comes in contact with exposed skin. In addition, resin fumes are foul-smelling and can pose severe health risks when inhaled. ELEGOO ships its machines with a few extra pairs of disposable gloves (together with a couple of face masks) to help reduce fume exposure. You should never operate without wearing nitrile gloves when dealing with any resin 3D printer.
Another consideration is the high-powered UV light source that has the potential to harm eyes if looked at without safety glasses on. The ELEGOO Saturn 2 takes this seriously by incorporating a tinted red acrylic top, acting as a shield to prevent harmful UV light exposure. This protective cover not only safeguards your eyes but also prevents external UV light from reaching the UV-sensitive resin inside the printer. However, it should be noted that the ELEGOO Saturn 2 will continue to operate even if the acrylic top is removed, unlike professional machines such as the Formlabs Form 3. Always exercise caution and wear appropriate safety glasses to protect your eyes when printing with the Saturn 2.
Finding Replacement Parts
In resin 3D printing, the LCD and FEP sheets in the resin vat need to be replaced periodically. Fortunately, these are relatively cheap and can be found in packs of two or three for around $20 in many 3D printer retailers.
The LCD of a resin 3D printer is also considered a consumable and often needs to be replaced in the lifetime of a resin 3D printer. A significant advantage monochrome LCDs have over older RGB screens is their vastly longer lifespans. Monochrome LCDs are rated for an impressive 2,000 hours, while RGB screens typically last around 400 hours. This means the Saturn 2 will require far fewer maintenance intervals, keeping it up and running for more extended periods before needing any LCD replacements. Unfortunately, because of how new the ELEGOO Saturn 2 is, replacement LCDS are expensive (around $139 last we checked) when purchased directly from ELEGOO. For reference, a replacement LCD for the original Saturn resin 3D printer costs only $85.
Accessing the Control Board
As a mechanically simple machine, resin printers such as the ELEGOO Saturn 2 rarely need to be opened up for maintenance. But on the rare occasion that it needs to be opened up, take comfort in the fact that accessing its internals is practically a breeze. Removing just eight screws on the back of the printer allows you to effortlessly pop off the rear cover and gain full access to the control board and other internal components. This is the most painless experience we’ve had with getting inside any printer.
10.1 Inch Monochrome LCD
The original Saturn came equipped with an 8.9″ 4K monochrome LCD, which allowed a resolution of 47um and produced amazingly crisp high-quality resin 3D prints. The ELEGOO Saturn 2 takes things to the next level with its upgraded 10.1” 8K monochrome LCD, offering an even higher resolution of 29um and a larger build area. While the increased resolution looks promising on paper, its real-life benefits remain to be seen.
Dual Linear Rails
Like the original Saturn, the Saturn 2 returns with dual linear rails on the z-axis. This design choice enhances the rigidity of the z-axis, which plays a crucial role in achieving precise 3D prints.
USB Powered Charcoal Filter
ELEGOO released a battery-powered charcoal filter that could be placed into the build area and reduce the smell from the resin fumes. While it was a great addition to any resin 3D printer, we found it slightly inconvenient as it requires regular charging. The ELEGOO Saturn 2 addresses this by adding a dedicated USB port within the build volume to keep the charcoal filter always powered.
Vent Port Mount
A popular mod for many 3D printers is to hook up a hose to vent out resin fumes. ELEGOO noticed this trend and added mounting points to the acrylic lid. This allows users to easily hook up a hose to vent out resin fumes without the need for drilling holes or making irreversible modifications.
The original ELEGOO Saturn enjoys a large community following due to its popularity as the cheapest mid-size resin 3D printer, and the Saturn 2 is no exception. As a result, there is a vast community following this machine, where they can find a wealth of guides, tips, tricks, and answers to all their questions.
In addition, users can get information about issues on various places such as forums, Facebook groups, and subreddits. Here are our most trusted ones:
The original ELEGOO Saturn made waves in the 3D printing community, impressing users with its excellent print quality, larger build volume, and rock-bottom pricing. The ELEGOO Saturn 2 takes all this to the next level with an even better 8K LCD panel, larger print volume, and integrated quality-of-life features such as USB powered charcoal filter. The Saturn 2 proves to be a worthy successor to the beloved original.
Naturally, there’s a catch: these upgrades come at a larger size and a higher price tag. Priced at $699, it’s $200 more than the original ELEGOO Saturn and boasts about 30% more volume.
While the ELEGOO Saturn 2 competes with the Anycubic Photon M3 Premium and Phrozen Sonic Mighty 8K, we feel that its biggest competition may be its own sibling—the Saturn 8K. The Saturn 8K offers the same quality as the Saturn 2 (thanks to the new 8K LCD panel) but in a more compact chassis and at a more budget-friendly price of $599.
We wholeheartedly recommend the Saturn 2 to users who need the extra print volume or appreciate the quality-of-life features like the charcoal filter or vent adapter. However, if budget is a significant concern, users may want to look at the cheaper Saturn 8K instead, as it offers the same amazing print quality in a smaller size and price tag.
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1. Elegoo.com, “Elegoo, INC.” Accessed July 26, 2022.