EPAX X1 Resin 3D Printer Review
The EPAX X1 at first glance looks like a horrible deal as it shares the same hardware as the Anycubic Photon S and Elegoo Mars Pro but with a price tag of $100 more. However, with the X1 arriving fully leveled and ready to print from the factory, brand agnostic part compatibility, included resin profiles and western based aftermarket support sets the EPAX X1 apart from its siblings and we would highly recommend it as one of the most beginner friendly resin 3D printers we have reviewed. While newcomers to the resin 3D printing space will be well served with the EPAX X1, budget conscious users will be better served with the Elegoo Mars Pro as it shares the same internal components at a fraction of the cost of the EPAX X1.
Amazon.com Disclosure: As Amazon Associates, we earn from qualifying purchases.
The affordable resin 3D printer boom began in 2018 with the release of the Anycubic Photon, taking the 3D printing world by storm. At the time, comparable printers cost around $2,000, which is why when the Anycubic Photon released their printer for $1,000 it was unmatched in the market. However, in order to get to that price point, Anycubic made several compromises, mainly in quality control, user friendliness and customer support.
In 2019, an American company with manufacturing based in China, created EPAX to address the shortcomings of the Anycubic Photon. The aim was to combine western aftermarket support with eastern manufacturing, and the result was a relatively low cost, newly improved resin 3D printer with warranty support. The EPAX X1 was priced at $499, making it $50-100 more expensive than its competitors (the Anycubic Photon S, Elegoo Mars Pro and Phrozen Sonic Mini).
In this in-depth EPAX X1 review we’ll take a deep dive on overall performance to see if the design changes and aftermarket support are worth the extra premium over its competitors.
Table of Contents
Key Features To Look For In A Great 3D Printer
It’s no shock that everyone should be on the lookout for 3D printers with the best quality print. The EPAX X1 passed all tests when it came to ability to resolve detailed models, z height consistency, even UV exposure across the build plate, & more. This printer has earned a 9/10 for print quality, hands down!
You also want to make sure the quality of the hardware is sound. The EPAX X1 is heavier than the Anycubic Photon S and Elegoo Mars Pro due to its metal construction. This makes it heavier to move around but is still small enough to fit in most places. This build also makes it feel sturdier in comparison to other printers that use flimsy plastics which speaks volumes around the quality of the build. Even with that said, it’s still easy to replace parts such as the LCD screen and FEP film. Replacement LCDs can be found in 3D printing stores and large retailers for $20-$40 dollars. This is a huge advantage over the newer printers with monochrome LCD as replacements are significantly more pricey at $100.
Once you know you have yourself a great 3D printer in terms of quality, you want to make sure it won’t take lightyears to produce a print! The EPAX X1 is equipped with a more powerful UV light source and should have quicker print speeds than printers in its class. However, we found no discernible difference between the EPAX X1 and the Anycubic Photon S or Elegoo Mars Pro. Only the Phrozen Sonic Mini is much quicker due to its monochromatic LCD.
Lastly, you don’t want to go in on this alone if you’re new. You need a support group to get you through all the hiccups. The EPAX X1 hsa a small but very active group of users. Due to part compatibility with other companies, users can also use experience from other machines for the EPAX X1!
Ranked #5 of 10
How We Researched This Printer
The EPAX X1 belongs to the budget small-form-factor MSLA resin 3d printer family that specialize in highly detailed prints. These types of printers are also known for their small size, ease of setting up, low cost and large community support.
With that said, we decided to test the EPAX X1 using a number of test prints, try it in harsh printing conditions, traveled to the ends of its forums and groups, measured sound output if you’re living in a small space, tinkered with some settings to make it go beyond, and more. To get a better idea of how well it performs, we compared it to its competitors like the Elegoo Mars Pro, Anycubic Photon S and Phrozen Sonic Mini.
With its higher price tag, the EPAX X1 is unique in that it comes fully leveled and ready to go out of the box. We tested this by asking a brand new user to 3d printing to try and do some test prints with the EPAX X1.
This is research you don’t want to skip. If you select the wrong small-form-factor MSLA resin printer, you can be left with difficult set up, poor quality prints, very little support when running into technical difficulties, and overheating that can cause your cooling bills to skyrocket! With new 3D printers continually being released, we make sure that all the features justify the new price tag.
The EPAX X1 comes fully assembled from the factory and packaged in a large cardboard box with protective packing foam. The interior of the build area was packed with foam to prevent the build plate from moving during shipping. A unique feature of the EPAX X1 is that it comes fully leveled from the factory. This removes the manual leveling set up that all other consumer resin printers require users to follow.
In the event that a user needs to level the build plate, it can be easily done using 4 adjustment screws located on the corners of the build plate. We prefer this method of leveling compared to the one adjustment screw found on the Anycubic Photon S since it removes the chance of skewing the build plate from tightening the one adjustment screw on the Photon S’ build plate.
Users simply need to unpack the machine, fill the vat with resin and press print. We found the EPAX X1 extremely quick and easy to set up, and even had our first prints ready to start within 10 minutes of unboxing the resin 3D printer.
Resin printers are capable of extremely detailed prints that FDM prints do not compete with. The limit of how much detail a resin printer can resolve is determined by the resolution of the LCD screen used. The EPAX X1 has a 2K screen, allowing it to resolve details as small as 47um capable of printing almost any level of detail.
We tested the EPAX X1 in 3 major areas: ability to resolve detailed models, z height consistency and consistent UV exposure across the whole build plate.
To test the X1’s ability to print detailed models we had it print several detailed figures both large and small. First we had it print a small figure and a medium sized dragon figure. The printer had absolutely no issue printing details such as a thin sword and did a very good job at reproducing the scales and texture found on the dragon model. Next, we printed a much larger house model and robot figurine. The X1 again had no issues printing each of these models.
We then printed an Eiffel tower to test the X1’s ability to print tall objects and to exaggerate any issues related to the z stepper motor. We noted that there were no issues with the X1’s ability to reproduce the details on the tower or issues with z alignment.
We finally printed a series of detailed tiles across the X1 to test how evenly the UV light is distributed across the build plate. If light distribution is uneven, the details on the edge would look different compared to the details in the middle. We found there was no difference between the tiles found on the edge and those found in the middle.
Overall, we were extremely pleased with the print quality coming out of the EPAX X1 and found it on par with all other resin printers in its class.
The Photon S produces excellent quality resin prints and is very easy to use. We found the print quality to be on par with other resin printers in its class.
Equipped with a more powerful UV light source, the EPAX X1 should have faster print speeds. However, in practice, there was barely a discernible difference between the EPAX X1’s, Anycubic Photon S’ and Elegoo Mars Pro’s print speeds. Only the Phrozen Sonic Mini is considerably faster due to its monochromatic LCD.
The EPAX X1 is compatible with both Chitubox and Lychee slicer, both having well tuned profiles and presets for the X1. However, the resin printer is not compatible with PrusaSlicer and Anycubic Workshop which are locked to the Prusa SL1 and Anycubic Photon S, respectively.
Setting Up Prints
The EPAX X1 uses a Chitubox slicer to create print files. Chitubox is one of our recommended resin slicers because it offers many features that are considered essential to resin 3D printing, like automatic and manual support, hollowing models and adding drainage holes to hollowed models. The Chitubox and Lychee slicer both come with print profiles for the EPAX X1, making getting prints ready extremely easy and taking the guesswork out for the user. In our tests, we used the default print profiles for the EPAX X1 in Chitubox.
One major advantage EPAX has over the Anycubic, Elegoo, and Phrozen is the research that has been done on 3rd party resins 3D printers. Users can find resin profiles for all major resin brands on the EPAX’s website to use with the X1.
Files are loaded into a USB flash drive which is inserted into the X1’s USB port. The EPAX X1 features an easy to navigate touch screen and menu, identical to the Elegoo Mars Pro and the original Anycubic Photon. However, the Anycubic Photon S features an improved user interface with larger icons and text.
Unlike FDM printers, resin printers only have 1 stepper motor used to move the z-axis, making the Photon S extremely quiet in operation. The loudest components of the EPAX X1 are the cooling and vent fans that are always running. We recorded a 43db noise level when the EPAX X1 was printing, and for comparison, both the Anycubic Photon S and Elegoo Mars Pro outputs were about 40db of noise.
The EPAX X1 is a relatively compact desktop 3D printer with a build volume of 115mm (l) x 65mm (w) x 155mm (h), overall size of 230mm (l) x 230mm (w) x 420mm (h) and weighs in at 10kg. It is considered to be part of the smaller class of resin printers.
While it shares the same build volume as its competitors, like the Anycubic Photon S and Elegoo Mars Pro, the EPAX X1 is slightly larger and substantially heavier due to its metal construction. Although it is heavier to move around, the machine feels more substantial compared to the plastic shells of the Photon S and Mars Pro.
The EPAX X1 features a gull wing door to access the build plate, something we much prefer over the removable acrylic lid of the Elegoo Mars Pro and Phrozen Sonic Mini. The EPAX X1’s door was designed to hinge halfway across the top panel rather than being at the back of the top panel, a flaw in the Anycubic’s design. This updated design allows users to rest the door at the top of the machine instead of requiring users to flip the door all the way to the back. To some this would be considered a minor improvement, but we welcomed the change.
MSLA resin printers are considered to be much safer compared to filament based FDM 3D printers. Resin printers need very little power to drive an LCD screen, UV light source and 1 stepper motor, compared to high power heaters used to melt filament and heated beds found in FDM printers. As a result, MSLA resin printers such as the EPAX X1 do not have electrical fire risks associated with FDM 3D printers.
Resin Health Concerns
The 405nm UV resin has a few known health hazard risks, however. 405nm UV resin is extremely toxic if ingested and can cause allergic reactions when coming in contact with bare skin. Several precautions should be taken when handling 405nm UV resin, for instance Nitrile gloves should be worn at all times when handling resin. Users are responsible for using nitrile gloves, and unlike other resin 3D printer manufacturers, EPAX does not ship the X1 with nitrile gloves included.
The 50w UV light source has the potential to harm eyes and should never be looked at without safety glasses. The acrylic windows on the gull-wing door are tinted to prevent UV light exposure. This serves as a double measure to prevent UV light from the environment reaching the UV sensitive resin found within the machine.
Finding Replacement Parts
The LCD screen and the FEP film in the resin vat are considered consumables and are expected to be replaced roughly every 400 hours. Therefore, replacing these parts needs to be both inexpensive and easy. Fortunately, for the EPAX X1 and many of its competitors, finding replacement LCDs and FEP film sheets is easy and inexpensive. Replacement LCDs can be found in 3D printing stores like Matterhackers, and large retailers like Amazon for $20-40. This is a huge advantage over the newer generation resin printers with a monochrome LCD as replacements are much more expensive at $80-100 or more. What is even more impressive, is the EPAX is compatible with screens from Anycubic and Elegoo, making it incredibly easy to source LCD replacements for the X1.
Replacing the LCD can be intimidating as it requires the user to pry off the old LCD and to worm the connector through a small slot to connect with the control board. However, EPAX does provide video instructions on its website to guide the user through.
Accessing the Control Board
Since there are very few moving parts on the EPAX X1, 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 on the base of the machine. This provides a large amount of space to access the control board and other components of the EPAX X1. We really appreciate the amount of space that users have to access the control board as it is extremely cramped on competitors such as the Anycubic Photon S.
Features & Upgrades
50 Watt UV Light Source
EPAX X1 is equipped with a 50 Watt UV light source, a 25% power increase from the Anycubic Photon S and Elegoo Mars Pro. In practice, this result would result in slightly reduced print times, and layer curing times reduced from 9s per layer to around 8.5s per layer on average. The EPAX X1 features a lens system similar to the Anycubic Photon S that spreads the UV light evenly across the entire build surface. Resin printers without the lens system tend to have its UV light focused around the middle of the build area resulting in the loss of details around the edges of the print area.
A unique feature of the EPAX X1 is its ability to accept LCD screens and other components from different manufacturers, such as Elegoo and Anycubic. This allows the X1 to be easily repaired and serviced if required. The EPAX X1 can be easily upgraded with a new generation monochromatic LCD screen without requiring users to buy a completely new machine, which is a major cost benefit in our opinion.
EPAX X1 offers a monochromatic screen upgrade which equips the resin 3D printer with a high light transition LCD screen. A monochromatic LCD allows up to 300% more UV light to pass through, resulting in much faster curing times and overall faster print speeds.
The EPAX X1 has a small but very active group of users. Due to part compatibility with other brands, users can also leverage knowledge from other machines for the EPAX X1. Users can get information for issues, upgrades and modifications from forums, Facebook groups and subreddits. Some of them include:
Thingiverse Forums: https://www.thingiverse.com/groups/epax-3d-printer-owners
EPAX is unique in that it offers a 1 year warranty on its machines and offers support without the time difference associated with 3D printers that have support in eastern time zones.
The EPAX X1 is an extremely well polished resin 3D printer. It has the research and attention to details that Prusa is well known for and applies it to an affordable resin 3D printer. EPAX has improved on many details such as the design of the resin printer, providing resin profiles for many 3rd party resins, aftermarket support and warranty that could not be found on many of its competitors. However, it is more expensive than its competitors with similar quality prints and many monochrome LCD resin printers are nearly the same price. We would highly recommend users look at the EPAX E6 which is EPAX’s next generation resin 3D printer equipped with a monochrome LCD that starts at the low price of $299.
- Build volume: 115mm (l) x 65mm (w) x 155mm (h)
- Printer size: 220mm (l) x 220mm (w) x 400mm (h)
- Weight: 6.6kg
- 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: 50mm per second
- Maximum XY accuracy: 0.0047mm
- 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
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.
1. Epax3D.com, “EPAX 3D” Accessed July 26, 2022.