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We test and review the highest-resolution mSLA resin 3D printer for consumers today: Phrozen's new Sonic Mini 8K! Norm explains what 8K resolution means for resin printing miniatures, and how the Mini 8K's unique print bed size compares to other printers like the Elegoo Mars 3. Check out the side-by-side comparisons of prints from a 4K vs this 8K printer to see if you can spot the differences.

 

The top three-dimensional printers that are resin offer greater detail than filament-powered counterparts, but in the crowd of SLA printers, the Phrozen Mini 8K is a standout. It boasts 7500x3240 inches of LCD module, which is more than any other printer that is available and allows it to make one of the more complex designs we've ever seen especially when you utilize Phrozen's proprietary 8K resin. The top-rated Prusa the SL1S just has 2560 1620 resolution on the LCD. Phrozen's Sonic Mini 4K which is a different top 3D printer made of resin, has 3840x2160.

Its Sonic Mini 8K not only offers great output, it is prebuilt and simple to calibrate, giving an outstanding experience out of the box. But at $599, you're paying twice the cost of competitors with lower resolution that have similar volumes of production, so you must really desire the best quality output to justify the cost.

 

Specifications - Phrozen Sonic Mini 8K

 

Machine Footprint

11.4" x 11.4" x 16.5" ( 29cm x 29cm x 42cm)

Build Volume

6.5" x 2.8" x 7" (16.5cm x 7.2cm x 18cm)

Resin

DLP Photopolymer Resin

UV Light

Linear Projection LED Module

Masking LCD Resolution

7500 x 3240

Masking LCD Size

7.1"

Screen

3.5" Touch Screen

XY Axis Resolution

0.022

Included in the Box: Phrozen Sonic Mini 8K

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

The Phrozen Sonic Mini 8K comes with everything you require to start printing from the moment you take it out of the printer. The printer comes with a strong metal scraper with your logo engraved on your build plates, as well as a flimsy plastic scraper to use with the FEP film funnel disposable glove and along with an Allen key, as well as two North American and European adapters for the power cord. 80 grit sandpaper is included to help refresh on the building plate.

Printing Safety and Security with Phrozen Sonic Mini 8K

The Phrozen Sonic Mini8K has the same precautions for safety similar to other resin printers. Uncured resin poses a risk and the solvents that are used in cleaning prints may cause irritation to your skin. Wear safety glasses and gloves when handling resin or pouring it into prints that are not cured.

Be sure that the space in which you will use your printer is properly ventilated to avoid breathing fumes. The resin that has spilled out or drips should be cleaned immediately using 99percent isopropyl alcohol. After printing, be sure to clean the printer as well as bottles in order to eliminate any smudges left by resin that is not yet cure. Keep your resin sealed and away from children and pets.

Assembling the Phrozen Sonic Mini 8K

The printer comes completely set up with the vat and build plate that is screwed in place. After the heavy pack material had been taken away it was now ready to connect and set up.

Calibrating the Build Plate on the Phrozen Sonic Mini 8K

As with all 3D printers like the Sonic Mini 8K, it needs to be calibrated prior to the first print. Setting the build plate to the right level is simple and takes only a few pieces of paper as well as the supplied Allen wrench.

There isn't much play on the build plate, and I could make it level on the first attempt. It is recommended to use one sheet of paper, however I discovered that using three or four sheets with a gentle stroke will result in the bed being level without the first layer being squished.

To level the machine, unhook the vat first, then place three pieces of newspaper on the display screen. Unlock the four adjustment screws located on both sides (not on the top!) that are on top of the plate. The build plate must move without restriction.

Press Tools, then press Z Calib , then Z. allow the plate to slide down towards the LCD display.

It's not necessary to put down the plate that you build - it's sufficient weight. Make sure the screws are tightened using the Allen wrench using an arc of crisscross. Your paper must be squeaky after you've finished.

Additionally, take the time to clean the Z direction as well as apply general lubrication using an old towel to ensure an easy run.

Design of Phrozen Sonic Mini 8K

Its Phrozen Sonic Mini 8K is not light with a weight of 22 pounds due to its predominantly-metal construction. It comes with a strong built plate, a vat made of metal and two rails to create the most strong Z axis. The plate for the build is laser etched for additional grabbing power, but perhaps a bit too excessive if you're not careful. I had to adjust the recommended Bottom Exposure Time, otherwise I needed a hammer to cut models off of the plate.

The cover made of plastic looks similar to other desktop printers. It is capable of protecting the resin and your model from sunlight and harmful UV radiation. It's not sealed, which means it's possible to feel the scent of the resin after the use. The cover is difficult to keep clean, and once the smudge has gone unnoticed it will cure and become an element of the décor. Handles are a great feature.

Its top is designed to be angled, allowing most of the resin to flow in the vat after the printing is complete.

A flaw in this design is the presence of recessed screws at one side of the building plate. This area accumulates resin each whenever the building plate is submerged and can be difficult to clean after switching materials. I was forced to put the plate into the tub in a large size and then make use of a syringe filled with isopropyl alcohol to rinse the crevices.

Slicers compatible With the Phrozen Sonic Mini8K

 

The 8K Phrozen Sound Mini comes already compatible with the most current editions of ChituBox as well as Lychee Slicer. The printer included ChituBox Basic 1.9.0 and a separate profile for the printer to download. Version 1.9.1 is the version that comes with features from the Phrozen Sonic Mini 8K profile that was released following our tests.

Printing Workflow on the Phrozen Sonic Mini 8K

Slicing software designed for 3D printers gives you the option to add support structures, hollow out your model and even add drain holes. This is vital to cut back on the cost of resin. I utilized ChituBox to conduct this review. Phrozen provides an excellent Slicer instruction in the help section for those who are new to resin printing.

Please note:I had to lower the Bottom Exposure Time down to 20 seconds due to the fact that the prints were too difficult to take off the paper without damaging them the recommended time of 40 seconds.

You'll need to conduct your own tests of exposure to determine the most suitable options for setting your printer since the type and brand of resin as well as the temperature of the room are all factors. Phrozen comes with one testing of exposure .STL file that is stored on your USB thumb drive.

After being cut, CTB files can be loaded onto the USB thumb drive, and then connected to the slot located on the machine's front. Click the Print button to choose the file you want to print, and then click go.

Phrozen Aqua Gray 8K Resin and Sample Prints

Phrozen has developed a unique 8K formula resin that brings out the finer details of the latest high-resolution models. The resin with a low-odor is viscous, and only requires a 2-second exposure time per layer instead of 3 seconds with ordinary resins.

Many designers haven't created models designed specifically for printers with ultra high resolution and you'll need to look for models that truly take advantage of the Sonic Mini 8K's capabilities. However, even when you find models specifically designed for printers with 2K resolution the Sonic Mini 8K can reveal hidden features that older printers ignored.

The model I created was RipJaws in Dark Gods Eternal which is available in the Phrozen Epic Bundle during the pre-sale. The model was cut at an .03 millimeters of height and divided into multiple components. It took two days of printing and each of the small spikes was difficult to assemble. However, the print quality is incredible. It is clear to see every bump, spike, and wrinkle in the hide of the monster.

I wanted to know whether I could see how the Sonic Mini 8K handles budget resin So I printed the Wekster bust in both Phrozen Aqua Gray 8K and blue Inland Water Washable resin. The models printed at the .05 layer height, and then the tilt was at 45 degrees to maximize the resolution of the XY. Both models took seven hours, 13 minutes for printing with exposure times of 2 seconds for each layer.

Here's a conversion of the image to black and white to give a more precise comparison. They're both excellent and the 8K one on the left has sharper detail in both the teeth and fur. Notice the grain of leather in Rocket's jacket as well as the wood grain on Groot's forehead.

This close-up image Loubie3D's Sky Warrior was printed using Phrozen Aqua Gray 8K resin at .05 layer height . It also shows no lines of layer. The model measures 120 millimeters tall and is made of 2401 layers. It was printed in 9 hours 55 minutes with 2 seconds each layer exposure.

Miniatures designed for tabletop gaming look beautiful with the Phrozen Sonic Mini 8K even without Phrozen's top resin. Small details on the sword and armor are very evident. The images below printed using an .05 layer height and a 3 second exposure, which took 4 hours and 36 mins to print. The fighters can be downloaded for free from Prusa Printers.

Washing and Curing

Before you can view your prints, it is necessary to clean and dry. Phrozen recommends a 30-second rinse in 95% isopropyl alcohol followed by a second dip in a different glass with cleaner IPA. A soft brush could be used to scrub the corners and crannies spotless.

Dry the print completely using the help of a hair dryer set to cool. IPA that remains on the print will become white. It is also possible to allow the print to air dry in a location far from direct sunlight.

Remove the supports prior to UV cures the image because they are much more brittle. Utilize side cutters and tweezers to take out the supports. Always use gloves when handling uncured prints.

Then put the print on an UV curing facility for a few minutes or in the bright sun for a couple of hours.

Your IPA is not a good idea to flush into the sewer, particularly after it has been contaminated by uncured resin. Instead, use your resin up until filthy, and then open the container for it to dry. The remaining sludge is treated using UV light or sun before being dumped.

Supports must also be treated before disposal.

Bottom Line

It's a fantastic machine that produces stunningly detailed prints straight from the box. However, as with the ever increasing resolutions on our large screen televisions or handheld phones, it is necessary to ask yourself if you actually require 7500 dpi for a 3D printer made of resin? Perhaps not, but you'll surely be pleased with the result.

The Phrozen Sonic Mini 8K was the very first in the market with this kind of resolution. This means that very few designers are developing models that fully take advantage of the capabilities of this printer. However, even printing standard models this Sonic Mini 8K reveals hidden information that is not available when printing with a lower resolution printer.

It's a bit pricey. Phrozen Sonic Mini 8K is currently listed at $600, roughly the same for the Phrozen's Mighty 4K with a much bigger build plate. Those who want to save money can check out this model: the Elegoo Mars 2 Pro that features a self-leveling build plate for less than half the cost and a smaller resolution.