Anycubic Photon M3 Premium review: bigger and better

Large scale resin printing has never been easier thanks to the phenomenal Anycubic Photon M3 Premium 3D printer.

Anycubic Photon M3 Premium_ 3D printer in full (21 BY 9)
(Image: © Future)

Space Verdict

Hobbyists will rejoice as the Anycubic Photon M3 Premium offers not only stunning print quality and one of the largest vats on the market, but at a decent price too.

Pros

  • +

    Large print volume

  • +

    Fast printing speeds - 4 mm/s lift 6 mm/s retract

  • +

    8k LCD with Anycubic LighTurbo 2.0

  • +

    Built-in Dual Airpure filters

  • +

    Easy to navigate menus

Cons

  • -

    Photon Workshop still isn't great

  • -

    WiFi support not ready at launch

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The Anycubic Photon M3 Premium 3D printer represents the pinnacle of Anycubic's' research and development team, who have long been a market leader in FDM, MSLA, and, more recently, DLP. Even as Anycubic celebrates its 7th anniversary, it continues to surprise and amaze.

Upgrades include a new 8K LCD panel and the new Anycubic LighTurbo 2.0 UV system, which has a newly designed chip-on-board (COB) light source and cooling system. We'll go into this in more detail later on, but it is definitely a game changer for those who print with resin.

We put the new Anycubic Photon M3 Premium through its paces to see how much detail the new 8k LCD and the new LighTurbo 2.0 system can provide. With a price of $599-$649 USD will the new Photon M3 Premium live up to its name and be able to compete with the best 3D printers out there?

Anycubic Photon M3 Premium: Design and setup

The Anycubic Photon M3 Premium features a black front face, gray sides and back, and a classic yellow UV cover. Unlike previous designs, the cover here is not square-shaped, but each side jets out slightly in order to make room for the expanded base.

The bigger vat will be one of the most noticeable changes as it’s much deeper than standard resin vats. This allows for larger prints without the risk of resin running out during the printing process. The Anycubic Photon M3 Premium also includes dual airpure air filters that plug into two cradles on the printer base – very handy when working with the likes of resin! The air purifier filters include standard carbon filters that last about 3 months depending on printer usage.

Also new to the Photon M3 Premium is the replacement of the standard Fluorinated Ethylene Propylene (FEP) film with a treated nFEP film, which held up much better in our testing than the standard FEP film. There is also a monitor that keeps track of print layers and when the nFEP film needs to be checked and replaced.

In terms of set-up, the Photon M3 Premium can be ready to start printing in a few simple steps. This is in parts thanks to the included 4.3-inch display for controlling the 3D printer, which makes navigating the various menus straightforward.

All you need to do after unpacking the printer is to turn it on and raise the Z axis by 50 mm, remove the protective film from the LCD, and loosen the four screws on the print platform before securing it to the platform arm with the black knob. Next, you’ll need to place the leveling paper on the LCD, select Move Z from the Tools menu, and press the home button. Once the printer has been reset, gently press down on the print bed and tighten the four screws on the bed.

When that’s finished, press the z=0 button on the screen and enter. The platform will be raised to allow for the installation of the resin vat. With the vat in place, all that remains is to install the two airpure filters, remove the filter tops, and get rid of the plastic cover from the carbon filters. They can be a little messy, so once installed make sure to thoroughly clean your hands before touching anything else. Insert the filters into the cradles on the 3D printer's back and you're ready to go.

Anycubic Photon M3 Premium: Specs and features

Anycubic Photon M3 Premium_box contents

(Image credit: Future)
KEY SPECIFICATIONS

Build volume: 219 x 123 x 250 mm

Printer size: 328 x 350 x 626 mm

Resin: UV Resin/ Water wash+ resin/ ABS-like pro resin/ A BS-Like+

Light source: Anycubic LighTurbo 2.0

COB light resolution: 8K 7680x4320 px

LCD: 10-inch LCD

Nfep film strandard

Interface: 4.3-inch touch-control

Build Platform: Laser engraved

Dual Anycubic Airpure filter system

Wi-Fi connectivity (Anycubic Cloud compatible coming soon)

Aside from the larger vat, the dual airpure air filters, and the NFEP film we talked about in the section above, the Anycubic Photon M3 Premium has other exciting new features that are worth talking about.

The Anycubic LighTurbo 2.0 light source employs COB lighting technology. It is made up of a COB light source, a concave reflector, and a smart cooling system for the light source. The light will be collimated and turned into an aligned and consistent beam thanks to the design of the concave mirror.

Anycubic Photon M3 Premium: illustration of features

(Image credit: Anycubic)

There are several benefits to the new LighTurbo 2.0 system. Firstly, it improves print consistency. When all screen areas are cured at the same time, a higher average light uniformity value provides better texture uniformity and accuracy when printing large models. 

The Anycubic LighTurbo 2.0 Lighting System has an average light uniformity of more than 90%, which in itself is significantly higher than the average light uniformity of a typical COB light source + Fresnel lens. When printing large formats, it could ensure that all of the printing details and textures are uniform.

This new system also eliminates aperture artifacts. Different light sources have varying degrees of light diffraction. The lower the dispersion value of the product light uniformity, the fewer trace patterns in the printed model. According to Anycubic Lab data, the COB light source + Fresnel lens solution has an average light dispersion of 105.02, whereas the Anycubic LighTurbo 2.0 (COB + concave mirror) has an average light dispersion of 36.205, which is nearly two times lower. As a result, it may help to improve the print quality. Furthermore, it also eliminates the aperture pattern issues caused by the concentric circles on the Fresnel lens's surface.

This all results in razor sharp details on your prints. As light travels, it will deviate. As the printing progresses layer by layer, some areas of resin accumulation can appear. As a result, the prints here will not be thoroughly cured and the details will be lost. According to Anycubic Lab data, the stray light level of the LighTurbo 2.0 is 1.26%, which is significantly lower than the 3.47% stray light level of the COB Light source with a Fresnel lens. As a result, it may achieve more consistent print results and reduce print accuracy loss caused by the semi-curing issue in some areas.

The Anycubic Photon M3 Premium also has a temperature sensor built into the back of the COB lighting system. When the temperature rises above 65°C, the smart cooling system activates the fans to speed up cooling. The heat will be effectively dispersed by the large heat sinks on both sides of the COB light, ensuring that the working temperature of the light source is within 65°C, thereby significantly extending the life of the COB light source.

Finally, you will soon be able to use the Anycubic Cloud app to remotely operate your printer, a feature that has been sorely missed and highly requested. There will be over 20,000 STL files on the service which users can download and start the printing job remotely through the App, anytime and anywhere. We haven't been able to test this feature as the app won't launch until Q1 2023, but we'll update this review with our experience when it does go live.

Anycubic Photon M3 Premium: Print quality and speed

We decided to go big for our first test print, using the Ares model from B3dserk (opens in new tab) and their Patreon. Ares is a 1/6 scale statue made up of 28 pieces. Phobos, his dog, comes in six pieces. Now, this statue is massive, and the amount of detail on Ares' armor is astounding. The benefits of the 8K resolution and the new Anycubic LighTurbo 2.0 light system can be seen right down to the grain of his leather. We used the Anycubic water wash+ resin and the Photon Workshop default settings at 16x AA. There were no problems with any of the prints; everything securely adhered to the build surface and none of the pieces failed.

Following the success of the first print, we decided to try another of B3dserk's incredibly detailed models. This time, we chose the Soloman Grundy statue and printed it at 50% size. The statue was completed in only three prints. For this print, we used Anycubic ABS+ resin. 

We used the same slicer settings as before, but increased the exposure time to 2.2 seconds on regular layers and 1 second off time. The results speak for themselves; the level of detail attained is truly remarkable. The seams in his jeans and the texture of the cloth on his jacket are all clearly visible. As seen, the upgrade to the new 8k LCD and COB light system is well worth it.

We decided to print a few miniatures for our final set of models – one 25 mm tall and two 75 mm tall. We chose models from Archvillian Games (opens in new tab), a company known for producing miniatures with a high level of detail. We used the Anycubic ABS+ resin once more because it is stronger than standard resins and is ideal for miniatures. The three models turned out better than we expected. The amount of detail in the 25 mm miniature is incredible, from his armor to the cross he holds in his hand. The model is flawless in every way. Once you remove the insane number of small supports, you'll be the envy of your other tabletop gaming friends.

The Photon M3 Premium really is a miniature gamer's dream. We’d also like to note that the Nfep performed admirably throughout our testing. Nothing stuck to the film, and it was easy to clean as the resin beaded right off. We printed over 30,000 layers during testing and passed the first automatic check reminder. After all this the Nfep was still undamaged and ready to go.

Anycubic Photon M3 Premium: Price and warranty

  • MSRP: From $639
  • 12-month warranty

Prices for the Anycubic Photon M3 Premium start at $639 (opens in new tab) (currently slightly cheaper at $619). Throw in the Air Pure+ and the Wash & Cure Machine Plus and that’ll cost you $838 (opens in new tab) (again, slightly cheaper at the moment at $818). 

If you want to include some resin with your order then that’ll add an extra $35 for 1 kg of resin or $66 for 2 kg. Resin can get expensive, so be sure to keep your eye out for deals – we’ve seen Anycubic offer three for the price of tw (opens in new tab)o on their website fairly regularly. 

Anycubic offers a 12-month warranty with this particular 3D printer, but this doesn’t include tools and or the nFEP film.

Should you buy the Anycubic Photon M3 Premium?

Anycubic Photon M3 Premium_ 3D printer in full with test prints

(Image credit: Future)

Right out of the box, the Anycubic Photon M3 Premium has everything you need to have an enjoyable experience with minimal setup and calibration. Once you get it going, the level of detail attained in each print is seriously impressive. If you are a maker, whether a hobbyist or a professional, the Anycubic Photon M3 Premium could be the right fit for you.

We particularly loved how the new LighTurbo 2.0 COB light source added to the quick speeds. The oversized vat was also a big plus. Thanks to the Anycubic Photon M3 Premium’s larger-than-normal resin vat – a maximum capacity of over 2 liters – you can be confident that you will have enough room to fill the print area and won't have to worry about running out of resin in the middle of a print. This teamed with the included dual AirPure air filters makes working with resin much easier.

Throw in the incredibly crisp and sharp print results provided by the new 8k LCD, and Anycubic has once again raised the bar. Our only complaint is that the included Wi-Fi support which will enable the use of the Anycubic Cloud app was not available during our testing/at launch, but this has great potential and will hopefully be ready soon.

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Freelance contributor

Will is a freelance writer from Canada and 3D printing guru. If you need to know anything about 3D printing, slicing software, or 3d modelling, he's your guy. As a result, you'll find him reviewing the latest 3d printers for Space.com, as well as offering handy tips and buying advice for newcomers to the field.