Anycubic is back with another new addition to the Photon 3D printer family, with the Anycubic Photon D2, the sequel to its first DLP printer, the Photon Ultra.
Anycubic has been on a roll, releasing a steady stream of new printers over the past two years. Earlier this year we discovered the Photon M3 series of printers, alongside the Kobra FDM printer line. Now Anycubic is back with the Photon D2 DLP printer. The Photon D2 represents a major improvement over the Photon Ultra.
Much like the differences between FDM printers and resin printers, some unique properties of DLP printers are worth considering. Projectors in DLP printers generally have a much longer lifespan than LCDs, so you won’t need replacement parts as often, and the technology they contain essentially eliminates light converging (light bright areas of the LCD screen spreads into unlit areas). This means you get sharper details than equivalent resolution LCD printers.
So, is the Anycubic Photon D2 on our list of the best 3D printers? Let’s take a look at the newest member of the Photon family and see how the improved DLP projector works.
Anycubic Photon D2: design and configuration
The Photon D2, like the other printers in the Photon range, is easy to set up and use. After unpacking everything, attach the U-shaped bracket to the print bed with the four print bed screws. Tighten the screws only halfway; you will need it to level the build surface. The print bed is then installed and the printer is powered on. The first step is to level the build surface by selecting the Tools menu and moving Z. Then you press the home button.
Make sure the bed is loose and there is a piece of paper on the glass to prevent damage and to level the bed. Apply light pressure to the bed after it settles before tightening the four screws that hold it in place. When you’re done, return to the main tools menu and press z=0 to save the level. When you’re done, press Enter again to raise the bed. Install the resin tank, load the resin and start printing.
The photon line has always been relatively easy to set up. The most important factors to consider will be your exposure times and your lifting speeds. Anycubic’s DLP Craft Resin User Manual includes time and speed recommendations.
In terms of design, there’s not much to say about the Anycubic Photon D2 if you’re familiar with resin 3D printers – it’s a relatively compact printer measuring 17.2 x 9.3 x 8 .9 inches. There is a 2.8 inch touchscreen on the front of the device and the connection ports are on the side.
In terms of appearance, the Photon D2 is similar to the previous Photon Ultra, with blue-tinted UV coverage – not the typical yellow covers that Anycubic is known for. The 2.8″ touchscreen is also clear and easy to navigate, making menu navigation and model selection simple.
Anycubic Photon D2: Specs and Features
DLP 3D printers use a digital projection screen to flash an image of one layer across the entire platform, curing all points simultaneously. Light is reflected off a Digital Micromirror Device (DMD), a dynamic mask made up of microscopic-sized mirrors arrayed on a semiconductor chip. It is a 3D printing technology used to quickly produce photopolymer parts.
It’s very similar to SLA with one significant difference – where SLA machines use a laser that traces a layer, a DLP machine uses a projected light source to cure the entire layer at once. The part is formed layer by layer. It could directly at the bottom of the resin vat and could provide more even light and achieve the high precision printing results.
Specifications Anycubic Photon D2
Operation: 2.8 inch color touch screen
Software: ANYCUBIC Photon Workshop
Printing technology: DLP (digital light processing)
Light source: DLP optical projector
XY resolution: 51um (0.051mm)
Z axis resolution: 0.01mm
layer res. : 0.01~0.15mm
Build Platform: Laser etched build surface
Nominal power : 15W
Build volume: 130.6mm(L)*73.4mm(W)*165mm(H)
Net weight: ~ 5kg
In terms of consumer LCD 3D printing, Anycubic has always been a pioneer. In 2021, Anycubic applied Texas Instruments’ DLP technology to 3D printing and developed the first ultra mainstream photon DLP 3D printer. The device managed to rake in more than $2 million. To further enhance users’ experience with the DLP 3D printer, Anycubic has launched the second-generation Photon D2 DLP 3D printer. Based on Photon ultra features,
Anycubic has added the latest light uniformity algorithm and improved anti-aliasing effect to the Photon D2. As a result, the new Photon D2 3D printer features noticeable improvements, such as larger build size, higher projector resolution, and finer print details. It brings a new premium 3D printing experience to users.
The Photon D2 is intended for professional users such as jewelers and dentists. That said, it’s also a great choice for miniature tabletop games or miniature printing and collecting. The 1440p resolution of the second generation DLP projector is a significant improvement over the 720p resolution of the previous Photon Ultra model.
The Photon D2 also uses a new illumination algorithm to facilitate stable and uniform exposure while reducing power consumption. This can result in somewhat slower print rates than the Photon Ultra, but the time difference wasn’t big enough to be a concern in our testing.
Anycubic Photon D2: print quality and speed
In terms of quality, the Photon D2’s new 2K DLP projector does not disappoint. In comparison to other resin printers I’ve used in the past, all of the models we printed in our tests came out very clean and crisp. Anycubic DLP Craftsman resin is recommended. We’ve created some of the cleanest, cleanest models we’ve ever printed. Layer lines were barely visible to the naked eye when using the standard 0.050mm layer height.
We used the included Photon Workshop slicer with the same slicer settings for all the models we printed. Other slicers, such as the popular Chutubox and Lychee slicers, do not currently support the Photon D2, but support will be added in the near future.
The included test print is the first print we’ve made with the Photon D2. This is a small vase-style print covered in various textures and patterns that show just how much detail is possible with the new 2K DLP. The level of detail achieved is astounding. These are some of the most detailed prints we have ever produced.
Wicked3D’s new Konshu (opens in a new tab) Statue was the next print we chose. The attention to detail on the bandages, head, hands and hieroglyphics on the stick handle is astounding. The fibers of the fabric used to make his costume and his cape were almost visible. This print came in several pieces, which we put together after printing and curing. The components all fit together cleanly and comfortably. Again, the level of detail is incredible and sharper than any of the LCD printers we tested.
We printed the Mr. Knight statue from Wicked3D (opens in a new tab) to stay with the Moon Knight theme. His suit and clothes were impeccably tailored, down to the knot of his tie. Like the Konshu statue before it, this model was cut into several pieces and then assembled. The components all fit together perfectly.
The next print we wanted to try was a one piece model from Wicked3D (opens in a new tab). Ultron’s statue is depicted here. We scaled the model down to 15% of its original size. We were worried that it wouldn’t print due to the size of some parts. The Photon D2 did not disappoint. Print quality was comparable to other models we tested. The images are self explanatory.
Finally, we created a trio of Hex3d skulls. We have reduced the size of these models by 20%. All three skulls are covered in ornate detailing and were a great choice to demonstrate the capabilities of the new second-gen DLP. The three skulls are printed perfectly and the level of detail is exceptional, as with the other models.
Anycubic Photon D2: price and warranty
The Anycubic Photon D2 has an MSRP of $679.99 and can be purchased directly from Anycubic (opens in a new tab)or through Amazon (opens in a new tab). It’s reasonably expensive for a printer of this size, but you’re paying a premium for the DLP technology which, when you look at the results above, is a fair trade-off.
As with all Anycubic 3D printers, you get a one-year warranty. This generally covers any parts other than the LCD that would qualify for a three month warranty – since the D2 doesn’t have an LCD, we don’t know what the DLP projector’s warranty period is. We have contacted Anycubic for clarification and will update this review when we receive a response.
Should I buy the Anycubic Photon D2?
During our time with the new Photon D2, we had no issues with any of the printing processes. We used exposure times and lift speeds recommended by the Photon Workshop slicer. The print quality is amazing, and whether you’re a professional maker creating small, ornate jewels or miniatures for tabletop games, the Photon D2 is a great choice. The Photon D2 is a great choice for all printing needs that require crisp, clean, crisp detail, even for hobbyists.