Did I waste money on my Epax Lamp?
For those of us who love to tinker with 3d printing, printers and the many different types of resins, this is a dream. Finally a printer that has an upgrade option. In last weeks tutorial and video, I broke down the steps needed to install the Epax X1 Parallel lamp upgrade, what you needed and how to do it. I hope you enjoyed it, but if you missed that video, click here!
Now, I’ve spent the last couple of weeks printing my little heart out. I’ve used six different types of resin, printed about 80 different objects, and its time to look at the before and after, printed models to see if there really is a difference in the quality of the print.
What is the better lamp for?
First, I really need to clarify that the Parallel lamp is not added to your Epax printer to make it print better quality. It is actually made to create more dimensionally correct prints. This may be difficult for you to understand, unless you have an engineering degree. Instead of projecting a light up at an angle, the lamp is actually meant to project light directly towards the LCD mask display, and remove the chance of errors in printing very fine detail where accuracy is extremely important.
Many of you have no need for this.
Watch the video here
How the lamps work, and you’ll see why….
If you look at the array on the left, you can see that the light, in this case, the UV light, is projected up torwards the lcd display in a parallel manor, the light on the right, the standard uv lamp, projects upward, however at multiple angles.
When we speak in terms of engineering, the lamp on the left, the parallel lamp, would be more accurate as the light is not distorted at an angle. This, in theory, gives us a more accurate level of printing dimension, but, remember, it will not necessarily increase the quality.
These are printed with the Standard Lamp
These are printed with the Parallel Lamp
The Resins I used!
Here is a list of the resins I used to print these test prints. I’ve had really good luck with these resins in the past, and I keep using them because, like my Epax X1 and my other resin printers, they just work well.
I used the Ifun Red Castable resin to print some of the jewelry models, and I believe that the before and after prints with the Ifun resin turned out really well. I’ve had extremely good luck printing with this resin, and I think that it is very affordable. I paid just about $100.00 for a liter of the resin, and if you use it well, it will last a long time.
Additionally, I used the Grey Elegoo Resin. I know, you’ll have told me, everyone prints with that resin. To be honest, I find it one of the best resins, and because I tend to print spall items, it prints details very good. I’ve stocked up on this, because it is my resin of choice.
I also used Siraya Tech White resin. I’m not a huge fan, mostly because I’ve had mixed prints with this resin, but once you get your settings dialed in, it does print well. Additionally, I’m not a white resin fan because the jewelry items I tend to print do not show much detail, the white resin washes out the details of the item. However, this resin cures very hard, and makes durable items to use for other things…. like my motorcycle stuff!
What did I find?
Well, I’m going to be very honest. I know that some of you are going to complain, some of you are going to tell me that I wasted my money. Some of you are even going to tell me that I did something wrong! Well, I did everything right during the upgrade, and I also did enough tests to make my one opinion.
To be honest, and now you must remember that I tend to print small things, and those things tend to be jewelry related, although I dabble in a bunch of other stuff. I didn’t see a difference in the quality that would have been very noticeable to most of you.
Quality of the prints
So, with the old lamp, as well as the new lamp, the Epax X1 3d printer works great. I can’t really complain. It is quicker then most of the competitors, and I love the fact that I never have to align the build plate. That is a huge plus for me.
The quality of each of the prints from the old lamp to the new lamp look great. I will say that with the Siraya Tech resin, I think I got a much better print with the Parallel lamp, and the other surprise was that just about every castable resin I used with the Parallel lamp upgrade printed slightly better, showing a small but noticeable improvement in angle quality on the items I printed.
Again, I want to ask you not to beat me up… LOL… (I really don’t care)!
Try and remember, the purpose of the Parallel lamp is to give/print more dimensionally accurate models. I think that concept is fantastic. However, I don’t think that it works for rather small 3d printers, such as the Epax X1 or the Elegoo mars, or others built on that platform.
I’ve seen, worked with and really want to get my hands on a 12 inch 3d resin printer soon. I will say that, even though the resolution will probably be the same as the Epax, the addition of a Parallel uv lamp on a printer that size, would really benefit from the use of that style uv array. Smaller 3d printers and models, tend not to be effected by the use of standard uv lamps, and for the most part, I always adjust for size anyway, and that didn’t show an improvement with the Parallel light because my print, well, was too small!
Don’t waste your time or money if you aren’t looking to have the absolute highest accurate prints with a printer of this size! The Elegoo mars printer and the Epax X1 print with similar quality. The lamps, while not the same, serve the same function. The fact that the UV Parallel lamp is lower power than the original included uv lamp, just means that you’ll have to slow it down about 3% to match the Elegoo.
However, keep this in mind. The Epax X1 offers the following benefits, and these to me, are rather big benefits!…
It is faster on the z axis. Significantly…
The build plate doesn’t have to be adjusted Every Time I Print! OMG
The frame is build out of Metal. It is sturdy and I know that as long as I take care of it, it is going to hold up!
It is easy to maintain, like most in its class, but, I just love my Epax X1. I’m glad I did the upgrade, but, if you don’t need dimensional accuracy? Save your money!
Thanks for reading, and I sure hope that you found this helpful!