ELEGOO Saturn 3 Resin 3D Printer Review


The mid-size resin 3D printer segment in 2023 is a hot zone of innovation and cost-cutting. Resin 3D printer manufacturers, both old and new, are releasing resin printers and are constantly churning out new machines in hopes of either out-innovating or undercutting the competition. ELEGOO is hoping to do a bit of both with their new Saturn 3 resin 3D printer.

By upgrading its LCD screen from 8K to an impressive 12K panel, all while reducing the price to a budget-friendly $399, the ELEGOO Saturn 3 is an iterative step up from its extremely well-reviewed predecessor, the Saturn 2. What the Saturn 3 lacks in bells and whistles found in more expensive printers is made up of some of the best outputted 3D prints we’ve ever seen. This is largely thanks to the 19-micron XY resolution of its 12K screen.

Although, it should be noted that the difference between the older 8K panel to the new 12K “older” machine has not been rendered obsolete.

If you’re looking for an affordable and fuss-free mid-size resin 3D printer that offers the best XY resolution today, then the ELEGOO Saturn 3 should be at the top of your list.


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.

This review features the 3D printer, which has been kindly provided to us by the manufacturer for the purpose of this review. While the manufacturer has supported us by supplying the printer, they have not influenced the content of this review in any way. Our assessments and observations are entirely our own, and we have conducted our usual thorough testing to ensure we provide an accurate evaluation of the product. At 3DGearZone, we are committed to transparency and honesty, ensuring that our audience can trust the content we produce.

Manufacturers such as ELEGOO and Anycubic have dominated the resin 3D printer market for several years. However, the landscape has changed significantly in 2023, as increased competition has led to the emergence of several new players such as UniFormation and Concepts3D. Additionally, older rivals such as Phrozen and Creality have reentered the scene, causing an explosion of new machines to hit the market on an almost monthly basis.

3D printing manufacturers are currently going down two paths to differentiate themselves: including better quality-of-life features (such as WiFi, automatic bed leveling, resin sensors, and heated build chambers) or cutting down on costs. ELEGOO has mostly chosen the latter with the Saturn series. Case in point: the Saturn 3 was released with an affordable $399 price tag. Compare this with the Saturn 2’s launch price of $599—which was already an amazing deal at the time.

ELEGOO finds itself in a challenging position as it encounters fierce competition in both innovation and price reductions within the resin 3D printer market. After all, the Anycubic M5 resin 3D printer matches the Saturn 3 in both specs and price, while UniFormation’s GKtwo and Concept3D’s Athena have several innovative features that the Saturn 3 lack. 

So, does the Saturn 3 have what it takes to stand out in the crowded resin 3D printer space? Or will it have to pass its title of one of the best resin 3D printers to another printer? We’ve extensively tested the ELEGOO Saturn 3 and subjected it to a series of demanding test prints to see if it’s truly worth the $399 asking price.

Key Features To Look For In A Great 3D Printer

When looking for a MSLA resin 3D printer, the first thing to consider is its print quality. When we were testing the ELEGOO Saturn 3, we printed several figurines, robot models, houses, tiles, and a tower. The results were great across the board. The printer churned out some of the most highly detailed prints we’ve seen thanks to its 12K monochromatic LCD screen. The Saturn 3 scored an easy 9/10 for print quality. 

Then again, print quality isn’t the only feature you should 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—the larger the printer, the greater the force. 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 located near the center of the build plate area more often than prints located on the edges. Newer generation machines like the Concepts3D Athena and Anycubic M5S have force sensors that can detect and dynamically adjust lift speeds to reduce the chances of failure. Hopefully, ELEGOO can come up with its own innovative solution for future models. 

However, you can’t argue with the price. To date, the ELEGOO Saturn 3 is one of the cheapest mid-size 12K resin printers currently on the market at $399.

Overall, the cost-to-performance ratio really makes the Saturn 3 printer a top contender for users looking to print medium to large objects. If you’re looking for a better quality at a higher priced experience, competitors such as the Anycubic M5, Concepts3D Athena, and the UniFormations GKtwo also have great quality with additional quality of life features.


Overall Score

Learn more about our 3D printer review methodology.

How We Researched This Printer

The ELEGOO Saturn 3 belongs to the medium format family of resin MSLA printers. These printers are well known to be “scaled up versions” of the smaller desktop MSLA printers. Key features of this class of resin 3D printers include affordability and the ability to produce extremely detailed prints like jewelry, figurines, and tabletop miniatures. Printers like the ELEGOO Saturn 3 are perfect for crafters looking for extremely high quality prints without the volume constraints found on smaller resin 3D printers. 

We thoroughly tested the Saturn 3 in a series of grueling test prints, placed it in a number of harsh printing environments, and traveled to the corners of the internet to get a feel of how the Saturn 3 community is like. To get a complete understanding on where the Saturn 3 lands, we stacked it against its competitors such as the Anycubic M5, Concepts3D Athena, and the UniFormations GKtwo. 

On paper, the Saturn 3 lacks many of the creature comforts such as WiFi connectivity, or resin heating found on many of the latest generation 3D printers. However, it does substantially undercut many of its competitors on price.

Resin printers like the Saturn 3 combine incredibly high resolutions with a relatively large print volume and can accommodate the majority of miniatures and figurines that users may like to print. However, with the messy nature of resin 3D printers, choosing the wrong MSLA printer will 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 ELEGOO Saturn 3 so you don’t have to. Keep reading to learn all the ins and outs of the Saturn 3 to see if this is the right medium format resin MSLA 3D printer for you.

Printer Setup

Unboxing and Assembly
Nearly all resin 3D printers come fully assembled from the factory and ready to use right out of the box. The only user input needed is leveling the build plate and press print. The Saturn 3’s unboxing experience is very similar to the vast majority of resin 3D printers, with the printer well-packaged in foam, cardboard, and plastic wrap. 

One thing we appreciated about the Saturn 3 is that ELEGOO has the shipping box open from the side as opposed to the top. This made it significantly easier to unbox the printer. After removing the foam and plastic wrap, it was a simple matter of attaching the build plate to the z-axis, leveling the build plate, and plugging in the USB-powered charcoal filter.

Leveling the bed
The most involved process before printing is leveling the build plate. But first, users should carefully inspect both the resin vat and the build plate to ensure they are free from any particles of foam or dust that could negatively impact the printing process. Fortunately, in our testing, we did not find any bits of foam on the build plate or vat. It’s also important to note that the resin vat typically comes with a protective film that may not be immediately visible. Users must remove this film before printing. Otherwise, the prints may fail due to improper adhesion.

ELEGOO Saturn 3’s leveling process is identical to the original Saturn and Saturn 2 – there are two large hex screws that lock the build plate in place and must be tightened during the process. This is a common practice for all of ELEGOO’s resin 3D printers (with the exception of the upcoming Saturn 3 Ultra). 

We found that with large printers such as the Saturn 3, large hex screws can slightly skew the build plate and, over time, can come loose. Competitors such as Anycubic have released printers with an auto-leveling build plate or Phrozen’s tried-and-true four-screw leveling plate, which makes it easier to level and keep level. So, while the leveling mechanism of the ELEGOO Saturn 3 is adequate, we prefer the automated bed leveling or four-screw leveling system found on Anycubic or Phrozen printers.

What sets a resin 3D printer apart from a traditional FDM 3D printer is its ability to resolve extremely small and precise details, making them perfect for figurines, miniatures, or jewelry. The Saturn 2 was equipped with an 8K screen that’s capable of resolving details as small as 29um, which is the best we have seen proper to the Saturn 3. The Saturn 3 is equipped with an eye-watering 12K, which has an even better 19x24um resolution. We ran an extensive array of tests to see if that translates to real-world improvements. 

For the purposes of this review, we used ELEGOO’s 8K resin. These extremely high-resolution resin 3D printers require equally high-quality resins to highlight their ability to resolve extremely tiny details. We tested the Saturn 3 in three major areas: ability to resolve detailed models, z height consistency, and consistent UV exposure across its build plate. 

With the advent of 8K and greater resolution LCD screens, the need for higher-quality resins has emerged to fully leverage the benefits of such high-resolution displays. However, at 12K resolution, we are now approaching the point of diminishing returns where it becomes impossible to see the difference in print quality with the naked eye. 

Throughout our testing, we often compared the results of the ELEGOO Saturn 3 with its predecessor, the Saturn 2. Unsurprisingly, we discovered that the print quality difference between the two machines was exceedingly minimal. In fact, we had to employ a macro lens on our camera to discern any notable variations. 

When we first trialed the ELEGOO Saturn 3, we started with 28mm miniatures that are commonly used for tabletop gaming. Unsurprisingly, the printed miniature is the best we have ever seen, thanks to incredibly high XY resolution. Every feather, spike, and tiny detail on the model was present, with no signs of voxels or layer artifacts. We continued printing tabletop models with a larger dragon bust. After conducting more experiments, we continued to be extremely impressed. The scale texture, teeth, and other extremely small details were reproduced with no issues.

Organic models 
Organic models such as the dragon bust and the tabletop miniature represent one set of challenges for many resin 3D printers, the other being figurines featuring inorganic shapes such as robots and mechas. In the past, these types of prints often suffered from layer and voxel artifacts, which were particularly noticeable on flat surfaces and sharp corners. Fortunately, advancements in resolution have helped reduce the severity of these artifacts. 

Our house test model combines both organic and inorganic shapes. It’s relatively large, too, with flat features (such as walls) and tiny organic features (such as rock and tile textures). Based on our observations, this difficult test model proved to be no issue for the Saturn 3. 

Using the ELEGOO Saturn 3, we also printed a robot figurine with lots of pronounced edges and flat surfaces to highlight these issues. Our findings show that with the new 12K screen, these issues are all but gone. Again, we were really impressed with the level of quality that the ELEGOO Saturn 3 has brought to the table.

Tall objects
We later tested the Saturn 3’s ability to print tall objects and exaggerate any issues related to the z-stepper motor or with the linear rail on the z-axis. Given its robust metal construction and the presence of twin linear rails, we had high expectations for the Saturn 3’s performance in this aspect. We used the Eiffel Tower as our test model.

Our analysis revealed that the Saturn 3 performed admirably, successfully capturing and reproducing the small details of the tower with precision. We observed no issues with z alignment, which can be attributed to the printer’s sturdy construction and the inclusion of dual linear rails on the z-axis.

UV light distribution
For our last test, we printed a series of detailed tiles across the ELEGOO Saturn 3 to test how evenly the UV light is distributed across the build plate. If the light distribution is uneven, then details on the edge will look differently compared to the details in the middle. With such a large build surface, we were interested in how evenly lit the build area of the Saturn 3 truly is. 

ELEGOO’s UV light system employs a series of lenses to ensure that UV exposure is uniform across its entire build area. They even claim it produces over 90% light conformity—which is all true based on our tests. The ELEGOO Saturn 3 outputs excellent quality prints that set the benchmark for medium format resin 3D printers of this generation.

The ELEGOO Saturn 3 produces amazingly crisp and detailed prints that rival injection molded products. However, there are a couple of issues users need to be aware of when making use of a larger resin 3D printer such as this.

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 3 is amongst the biggest resin printers we have ever used. The suction force can damage supports and delicate parts or even completely detach the print from the build plate. 

Some of the newer 3D printers, such as Concepts3D Athena, make use of a force sensor to dynamically adjust lifting speed to increase reliability. Meanwhile, commercial-grade machines such as the Form 3 use their laser unit to gently push the print to the next position. For cost-cutting reasons, ELEGOO does not have a system in place. As a result, users may see that prints located near the center of the build plate break more often than prints located near the edges. We recommend that users consider larger 3D printers such as the Saturn 3 only if they have a use case for its larger build volume.

Minimum Resin Levels
A 3D printer’s resin vat must contain a minimum amount of resin that does not get consumed. 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, this isn’t too much of an issue as they only require around 30mL to keep the resin vat at a minimum level. However, with larger resin printers like the ELEGOO Saturn 3, there must always be around 150mL of resin in the vat that never gets used in prints. This surplus resin in the vat can contribute to additional costs, which users may feel in their wallets, particularly when working with more expensive “8K ready” resins.

Charcoal Filter
A charcoal filter is a must-have QoL feature for any resin printer. This integrated filter can remove resin fumes before they have the chance to escape outside its print volume. However, we found that ELEGOO Saturn 3’s charcoal filter has little effect, as we could still smell resin fumes when it’s operating. Users looking to reduce resin fumes would be much better off with a hose adapter connected to a proper HEPA-certified ventilation system mounted on the lid.


ELEGOO is slowly moving away from the simple and minimalistic box design of its resin 3D printers from a few generations ago to have a distinct branded styling. As a result, the Saturn 3 is a handsome red and black 3D printer that is mostly boxy in design with some organic styling on the front face. Aesthetically, we prefer the simple box design of the older ELEGOO machines, but this has no bearing on the Saturn 3’s 3D printing performance.

We do want to highlight that the ELEGOO Saturn 3 bears a striking resemblance to its predecessor, the Saturn 2, as both models use the exact same chassis. Users will find it challenging to visually distinguish between the two generations of machines. However, there are two notable indicators that differentiate the Saturn 3 from the Saturn 2: the presence of the “Saturn 3” label on the specifications sticker at the back of the machine and the “Saturn 3” message displayed on the LCD screen when it first boots.

The Saturn 3 is a large machine measuring the print size of 306 mm (L) x 273mm (W) x 567mm (H), demanding a considerable amount of space to operate. It is officially classed as a mid-size resin 3D printer, but we think the Saturn 3 is closer to a large-sized one. This also applies to the removable red acrylic lids. It would be recommended to acquire a larger 3D printer table prior to acquiring this printer.

Similar to other ELEGOO resin 3D printers, the Saturn 3 features removable red acrylic lids. However, compared to the original Saturn, the acrylic lid on the Saturn 3 is noticeably larger and boasts a sloping design. Nevertheless, its purpose remains the same—to prevent UV light from entering the building area and to contain resin fumes within the machine. 

Still, users need to remove and store the acrylic top to access the build plate, which we found rather inconvenient to do in our small office. Other printers, such as UniFormation’s GKtwo and Concept3D’s Athena, have a lifting door that allows full access to the machine while removing the need to lift and store the lid. We much prefer the latter’s method of accessing the build plate.

But despite its large size, the Saturn 3 is actually significantly lighter than many of its competitors. Weighing in at 14kg, it is easier to move around compared to its fully metal competitors. Although primarily constructed using plastic, the Saturn 3 doesn’t compromise on sturdiness. We even found the machine to be robust, without any noticeable flex or quality issues. 

Safety Highlights

MSLA resin printers, such as the ELEGOO Saturn 3, are always the safer choice compared to filament-based 3D printers when looking at electrical or fire hazards. This is primarily because resin printers require minimal power to drive their LCD screen, UV light source, and single stepper motor, whereas FDM printers rely on multiple stepper motors and high-powered heaters for the hot end and heated bed. As a result, MSLA resin printers do not have the electrification or fire risks associated with FDM 3D printers.

Resin Health Concerns
Resin fumes are both foul smelling and pose health risks when inhaled, and the 405nm UV resin that is used with all MSLA resin 3D printers is extremely toxic if ingested. It can even cause severe allergic reactions when it comes in contact with exposed skin. Fortunately, the ELEGOO Saturn 3 does try to mitigate the risks involved with resin 3D printing in a few ways.

For example, when handling resin, it’s good practice to use nitrile gloves to reduce any chances of the resin coming into contact with your skin. For this reason, ELEGOO makes it a point to ship their resin printers with a few extra pairs of disposable gloves. There are even a couple of face masks to reduce the user’s fume exposure. 

Another consideration is the MSLA resin printer’s high-powered UV light source that can harm your eyes. In the case of the ELEGOO Saturn 3, the acrylic top is tinted red to prevent UV light exposure. This serves as a shield for you and prevents UV light from the environment from reaching the UV-sensitive resin within. It should be noted that the ELEGOO Saturn 3 will continue operation even if the acrylic top is removed, unlike other machines such as the Formlabs Form 3. Always exercise caution when handling this printer.


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 easily sourced from various 3D printer resellers, including MatterHackers and Amazon. You can also purchase them directly from ELEGOO.

The LCD of a resin 3D printer is also considered a “consumable” and often needs to be replaced. A major advantage monochrome LCDs have over older RGB screens is their longer lifespans. With a rating of 2,000 hours compared to the 400-hour rating of RGB screens, monochrome LCDs greatly reduce the frequency at which the ELEGOO Saturn 3 needs to be taken offline for maintenance. 

Still, as the Saturn 3 is a brand-new machine, ELEGOO has not established a supply chain for exclusive parts like the 12K LCD panel. No replacement LCD screens are available at the time of writing.

Accessing the Control Board
Resin 3D printers are mechanically simple machines. It’s rare for printers like the Saturn 3 to be opened up for maintenance or repair. In the event that the Saturn 3 needs to be opened up, however, know that it is extremely easy to access the control board and the rest of the printer’s internals. Just remove the four screws on the back of the printer and pop off the rear plastic cover. This experience is identical to the Saturn 2 and is by far the easiest and most pain-free disassembly experience we had with a resin 3D printer.

Features & Upgrades

10.1″ 12K Monochrome LCD
The ELEGOO Saturn 3’s flagship feature is its 12K resolution 10.1″ monochrome LCD. Specifically, The Saturn 3 has 11,520 pixels x 5,120 pixels, which gives it an XY resolution of 19 x 24 um. This is currently the highest resolution found on any resin 3D printer in 2023, and we are excited to test its ability to print tiny details. 

One aspect that raises some concern is that, unlike previous generation LCDs, the XY resolution is a rectangle as opposed to a square, which may cause certain 3D printing artifacts. However, we intend to fully test its performance and let you know if there are any issues with the new rectangular pixels on the ELEGOO Saturn 3’s 12K LCD.

Dual Linear Rails  
The Saturn 3 returns with the well-received dual linear rails on the z-axis. This increases the rigidity of the z-axis, granting it the extreme level of precision it needs to produce highly detailed prints.

USB Powered Charcoal Filter 
Now a standard feature across the latest generation ELEGOO MSLA resin 3D printers, the USB-powered charcoal filter is a compact module fitted with a charcoal block and a small fan. This allows the Saturn 3 to effectively filter out 405nm resin fumes and reduce the odor emitted during the printing process.

Vent Port Mount
In the previous generation of resin 3D printers, it was a common practice for users to drill holes into the acrylic lid in order to mount a commercial air purifier. This was done to effectively remove resin fumes and particulates generated during resin 3D printing. ELEGOO has taken notice of what the community has done and implemented their own mounting points on the acrylic lid for these air purifiers. These mounting points are also compatible with the company’s upcoming Mars Mate large-format air purifier.  

Laser Etched Build Plate
ELEGOO has incorporated a laser-etched hexagon pattern onto the build plate of the Saturn 3. This pattern adds a subtle texture to the surface, facilitating improved resin adhesion during the printing process. As a result, the likelihood of print failures caused by the resin print detaching from the build plate is reduced.

In our extensive testing of previous Saturn resin 3D printers, we did not experience any resin adhesion issues. However, it is never a bad thing to improve build plate adhesion!

Voxeldance Tango Slicing Software
ELEGOO has taken a bold step by including a full license to Voxeldance’s Tango slicing application with the Saturn 3. Voxeldance is a relatively new player in the resin 3D printing slicing industry, and their Tango slicer is yet to establish a proven track record. However, we are excited about more competition in the resin 3D slicer space as it will force industry standards such as Chitubox and Lychee to innovate.

Community Support

The ELEGOO Saturn series enjoys a large community following due to its popularity as one of the most affordable and high-quality medium-format resin 3D printers. As the Saturn 3 is a brand-new machine, there is no dedicated community behind it at the moment. However, The Saturn 2 has garnered a strong following within various Saturn groups and online communities, and we expect that the Saturn 3 is likely to follow a similar trajectory.

If you’re looking for tips, tricks, tutorials, and fixes, you can be found throughout multiple Saturn communities on Facebook, Reddit, and various forums. The largest ELEGOO Saturn groups can be found below: 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/elegoosaturn
Reddit: https://www.reddit.com/r/ELEGOOSaturn/

Final Verdict

2023 is proving to be an extremely exciting year for resin 3D printers. Several resin printers are being launched with innovative features while striving to keep the technology affordable, bringing down the cost barrier that previously existed for medium-format resin printers. The ELEGOO Saturn 3 perfectly exemplifies this trend, combining a 12K LCD screen with an impressively affordable price tag of just $399.

Our investigations have revealed that the ELEGOO Saturn 3 consistently delivers exceptional resin 3D prints, surpassing many of its counterparts. Users looking for injection molded quality prints will be extremely pleased with the performance of the 12K LCD that the Saturn 3 is equipped with.

However, it is also important to note that the ELEGOO Saturn 3 lacks many of the flagship features that other resin printers are known for, such as WiFi connectivity, heated resin vat, automated bed leveling, and resin refill/detection. Users looking for those QoL features should look to the Anycubic M5s, Concepts3D Athena, UniFormations GKtwo, or ELEGOO’s upcoming Saturn 3 Ultra.

Additionally, if you already own an ELEGOO Saturn 2, you don’t need this upgrade. Despite the resolution increase from 8K to 12K, there is barely any discernible difference between the Saturn 2 and Saturn 3’s print quality, even when paired with ELEGOO’s 8K resin.

Still, the ELEGOO Saturn 3 is the current king of resin 3D print quality and at an unbeatable launch price of $399. Based on our first-hand experience, we can confidently recommend the ELEGOO Saturn 3 to users looking for great resin print quality at an affordable and frills-free package.

Technical Specifications

  • Build volume: 218mm (l) x 123mm (w) x 250mm (h)
  • Printer size: 306 mm(L) x 273mm(W) x 567mm(H)
  • Weight: 14kg
  • 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: 0.0019mm
  • Minimum Z height: 0.00125mm
  • 3rd party resin support: yes
  • Operating System: Windows, MacOS, Linux
  • Supported Slicers: Chitubox, Lychee Slicer, Voxeldance Tango
  • Supported File Types: STL, OBJ, M3F

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. 

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