Anycubic is a Shenzhen-based Chinese company. They were founded in 2015 and have been producing a variety of 3D printers. The Photon Ultra is their most well-known product, but the Photon D2 model from Anycubic is the next generation. The D2 model is more advanced and includes all the attributes necessary to be successful in both the intermediate and beginner markets. Anycubic makes quality products that are easy to use and versatile. This is evident in its past releases like the Photon series, and the i3 mega.
Their latest release, the Anycubic Photon D2, is their attempt to break into the hobby market. They keep a strong focus on miniatures, and have high part resolution. After the success of the Ultra, this printer is the latest in the Photon series.
This 3D printer uses some new technologies that are not possible with the Photon Ultra.
Double algorithms are used by the D2 to achieve 92% light uniformity with anti-aliasing. This dramatically increases the accuracy of printing miniatures.
DLP(Digital Light Processing) is used by the D2 to produce LCD resin printers with a longer lifespan. This allows for a lower power consumption and long-lasting prints. The bed texture is another feature that distinguishes this printer from other competitors. This texture is created by lasers and not sandblasting. This gives it more adhesion, which in turn makes it more reliable.
Anycubic Photon D2 build plate & resin vat. Photo by 3D Printing Industry.
While there are many positive points to this printer it is almost certain that there will be some weaknesses.
This is the case with the Photon D2. The user interface of the slicer is outdated and does not compare to other packages. You also have limited options for creating your own profiles. These points and more will be discussed in the article.
We were optimistic about this review because we had great success with the Photon Ultra, our previous 3D printer. The 3D printer produced dimensionally precise parts and we tested its repeatability. Overhang capabilities, adhesion, and precision were all also tested thoroughly, as this gives us perfect insight into the printer’s abilities.
The Anycubic Photon 2: Key Features
Digital Light Processing is a unique feature of the D2 and is possible through a partnership with Texas Instruments. This company is well-known for its electronic chip systems. Anycubic will bring this exclusive technology to the consumer market. This technology improves the accuracy and hardens resin particles in the vat.
The aluminum bed is used for the printer’s printing. Lasers have been used to give the bed’s surface a rough but precise finish which is another way this printer stands out from its competition. These measures ensure that you have the best printing environment.
Blue acrylic lids are used by the printer to cover the resin bed and vat. This serves two purposes. To keep out the UV light that may prematurely cure the resin & stop any dust or contaminants from entering the resin and ruining the prints. This setup is common on resin printers as it’s simple and serves its purpose well. These lids are often smaller than the printers’ build volumes. The Anycubic D2 has a smaller workspace 130.6mm x 73.4mm x 165mm (5.12” x 2.87” x 6.50”), than other resin printers, but this is made up by the other professional features that are built into the machine.
Anycubic Photon D2 resin pot. Photo by 3D Printing Industry.
The printer can work with many types and brands of resin. The settings can easily be changed in the slicer. All resins will produce the same quality results. Texas Instruments’ curing method makes the printer quieter and consumes less power than other resin printers.
The printer currently sells for around £700-£800 depending on sales or discounts. The printer comes with a lot of technology and is very affordable. This printer is great for beginners as it is simple to use and intuitive. The Photon D2 is ideal for professionals as well as hobbyists looking for a reliable printer that is easy to use.
Aluminum & plastic are the main material used in the build of this printer as they are cheap, light, and strong. It is easy to see the quality of this printer and it is comparable with other models in the same price range.
Anycubic Photon 2 unboxing. Photo by 3D Printing Industry.
First Impressions and Unboxing Photon D2
The printer was packed very securely. It is placed inside a cardboard box with many soft foam pieces to protect the machine from damage. The acrylic is protected with additional protective plastic once the printer has been removed from its box. This protects it against any cracking or scratching that may occur during transport.
These precautions are particularly important for shipping from China to Europe. It is crucial that the Z axis of a resin printer is secured as it is the most volatile part of the machine. The D2 came shipped with all the usual accessories of a resin printer including a bed scraper, plastic reservoir scraper, face masks, gloves, USB pen & complimentary bottle of DLP craftsman resin. The tools you need to assemble and maintain your printer.
The parts were simple to assemble and we had the printer running in no time at all after unboxing.
The test file included with the printer was used for the first print. These test files are optimized for the printer and can be used to demonstrate the quality of the printer’s output given the right parameters. This model was printed exceptionally well and served as a benchmark by the printer.
Anycubic Photon Digital 2 first print from SD Card Photo by 3D Printing Industry.
Software and slicing of the Photon D2
Anycubic offers its own slicing program, called Anycubic Photon Workshop. The company has developed this slicer, and it’s already well known from use on previous Photon printers. It’s easy to use, but it can also be set up to create complex designs for more advanced users. Software includes support, scale, and hollowing of parts.
The auto-supports are generated automatically without user input if necessary. But, if the user requires, they can still control all parameters. This option is great for all customers and can provide a learning opportunity to help you explore more complicated settings.
One thing that we didn’t like about this software was the inability to generate support for all of the models simultaneously. This means the user has to do it piece by piece. A button would allow us to do the same thing with all parts after they have been placed on the build platform.
Comparison of and testing results for the Photon D23D printer
Similar to our other tests, we print a Benchy every time. The model has many overhangs and circular trajectories. Bridges and holes can also be found. This can often cause printing problems if they are not addressed properly. To verify the accuracy of the machines, the dimensions of the print can also be measured. This print was very high quality. It was one of the most beautiful Benchys that we have ever printed. After post-processing with isopropyl Alcohol, there are no defects. This printer produces a remarkable result.
A printer was used to do more in-depth benchmarking, using specific models that measure each parameter.
The first test to determine how accurate a printer is when printing identical parts was repeatability. The dimensions of the printed parts were measured with a micrometer and compared to the file’s parameters. With a result of 0.0406mm, the average deviation for all axes was below the target of 0.05mm. The standard deviation, 0.0406mm, is slightly higher than the target of 0.025mm. These tests yielded satisfactory results, but they are not perfect.
It’s also interesting to see that the printer loses accuracy the larger the dimension is. For example, a difference of 0.10mm in length (30mm) on X-axis is 0.0408mm in tube thickness (2mm) on X-axis. This shows that the Y-axis produces better results than its counterpart, the X-axis.
We found an unusual result during height testing during our testing. The Z dimension of this piece was 168.5mm. However, the maximum build height of the printer is 165mm. This result confirms that the printer can print at its maximum height. This also means that the E steps for the Z-axis have not been properly calibrated. However, the build volume on the X & Y coordinates also matched the specification.
The overhang test gave similar competent results. Overhangs up to 60° are perfect however, on 65° there is some curvature instead of a straight-angled overhang. The model still completed without failure, but we would classify the overhang limit for this printer to be 60°.
Additional tests, including precision parts, were also conducted. This is because resin printers work well in this area. The simple nut-bolt was printed again and the results were satisfactory. There were no complaints from our engineers.
The overall results of this printer are positive and competitive, considering that they are less expensive than other companies who can produce the same quality parts. All parts are measured with either micrometers or vernier calipers, depending on their intended use. These results are compared with the CAD model’s designed dimensions to produce an accurate benchmark.
Anycubic Photon D2 jewelry prints. Photo by 3D Printing Industry.
Texas Instruments DLP technology
Texas Instruments is an organization that specializes in the design, manufacturing, testing, and maintenance of analog and embedded semiconductors. These chips can be used for many purposes and Anycubic utilizes this technology to improve its DLP arrangement. Mirrors and a projector are used below the resin vat to ‘sort’ light into a gridlike arrangement to cure the appropriate shape of resin for each layer. This printer works well, based on our experience. Because of the ability to pick up very fine details, such as figurines, this technology is particularly well-suited.
Overall review verdict for Anycubic Photon – D2
This printer was flawless, which is an enormous plus for such a high-end machine. One thing that could be improved upon is the slicer’s user interface. Comparing to its rivals, the slicer could benefit from a visual overhaul. Some of the settings and menus are out-of-date compared to the layout and options offered by newer slicers. It was also difficult to assign our own parameters to a profile. These issues can be easily solved if Anycubic is attentive to the situation.
We have already mentioned the slicer issue. There are no other negatives that this printer has. This is an extremely positive result.
The built platform is strong and allows excellent adhesion due to the laser engraved texture. Each component is well-designed. Each mechanical part is optimized for its respective purpose. Thanks to the combined linear rail system and central lead screw, Z-axis travel can be smoothed and uninterrupted. The dimensions of the work space are very comparable to the overall machine size.
It is easy to use the touchscreen and navigate through the menus. This is a clear sign that Anycubic really thought about the user interface of this machine. The touch-to-register process is seamless, unlike lower-end resin machines.
The only problem with dimensionally precise parts that are less reliable is when they are longer. However, for most users this won’t be an issue. It would be an issue if the user was prototyping large parts with this machine. But, I’m sure Anycubic could fix this.
The Anycubic Photon D2 printer is great for beginners because it is easy to use both on the digital and physical ends. This printer is a great way for beginners to learn while also allowing them to have a machine that can handle complicated parts and parameters.
Overall we are very pleased with this printer and the results we were able to produce using it, As usual, Anycubic hasn’t disappointed, and I am sure that this printer will follow in the legacy of the Photon Ultra and be a popular choice for 3D printing enthusiasts.
You can buy the Anycubic Photon 2 3D printer here. The system is available to order now for 589€ during black Friday sales.
Anycubic Photon 3D-Printed Parts D2 Photo by 3D Printing Industry.
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The featured image is an Anycubic Photon D2 and other boxed parts. Photo by 3D Printing Industry.