As we’ve discussed in our previous articles, ChiTubox is a versatile and powerful slicing program for use with SLA or resin 3D printers.
There are other good alternatives to ChiTubox, but this slicer currently dominates under 3D printer users.
There are a number of different resin 3D printers on the market and ChiTubox serves the majority of them. However, in this article, I’m going to be looking at resin settings specifically for the Anycubic Photon.
The company itself was founded in 2015 and has since grown to be one of the largest manufacturers of 3D printers in the world.
Their Photon series of SLA printers is among the most popular around and has expanded to several variations.
In fact, there are currently 21 different Photon models on the company’s website! For the purposes of this guide however, we’ll be going through the settings for the standard Anycubic Photon Mono.
So, let’s get started!
Setting Up ChiTubox for Anycubic Photon
With ChiTubox, you can set up various profiles for whichever machine you’re using.
The slicer itself caters for virtually every SLA printer currently on the market, with regular updates adding new models as they appear.
The Anycubic Photon has been around for some time now, though, so there should be no problem setting up a profile on ChiTubox.
Let’s then go through setting up a profile step by step.
The first and most obvious thing to do is open up ChiTubox on your computer. In doing so, you’ll be presented with the UI (User Interface) screen, which should hopefully be familiar to you.
Find the “Settings” button in the right-hand panel beside the support settings section and click on that. This will open up a separate menu, and this is where we’re going to set up the profile for the Photon.
Click on the “+” icon in the top left corner, and this will bring up a list of printer brands.
Conveniently, Anycubic is the first on the list, and clicking again on the arrow next to it will drop a list of models.
Select “Anycubic Photon” (again, first on the list) and then click “OK”.
Once you’ve done this, it’ll take you back to the profile screen, and you’ll see that Anycubic Photon has been added both in the “Name” and “Machine Type” boxes.
The name is in fact editable, so you could if you wish change this to something distinctive to you.
This may seem irrelevant but could be of use if you have more than one Photon and need to differentiate between profiles.
So that’s the basic start to your profile, but now let’s look in more detail at the recommended settings.
Best ChiTubox Anycubic Photon Settings
Getting the right settings for a resin printer is crucial if you’re going to produce quality prints.
Each model of printer will have its own recommended set up settings for use with different types of resin.
The following table gives you a quick overview of those settings specifically for the Photon Mono. It also shows each setting for the different resins you could use.
|Basic Resin||Plant-Based||DLP Craftsman||Flexible Tough||Water Wash+||Standard||ABS Like +||Plant Based+|
|Waiting Mode (Light Off Delay)||13.2-14.2s||13.2-14.2s||13.2-14.2s||13.2-14.2s||13.2-14.2s||13.2-14.2s||13.2-14.2s||13.2-14.2s|
|Bottom Layer Count||6||6||6||6||6||6||6||8|
|Bottom Exposure Time||40s||40s||40s||40s||40s||40s||40s||25-30s|
As you can see from the table, there isn’t much difference between some settings.
However, its essential to get the settings right in order to hopefully get the perfect print.
The settings are based on Anycubic’s own range of resins, but each resin manufacturer will give its own recommendations.
However, they won’t be much different than these anyway.
So, why are these settings so important? Let’s try and answer that by looking at each one in turn.
Layer Height For Good Balance Between Print Speed and Quality
This is needed to get a good balance between print speed and quality. If you compare this to the same setting on an FDM printer, the lower the layer height, the higher the quality.
The same applies here, but the measurements are much more precise. As you can see, there isn’t any difference between the settings for each different resin.
The height of each layer is 0.05 mm, which is minute. If you compare this to the thickness of the average piece of tissue paper at 0.1 mm, it’s literally half of that.
If you plan to print a small object, such as miniatures, you’d probably need to reduce the layer height to 0.03 mm.
Keeping this setting accurate is essential for a good quality print and smooth finish, but in this case, there isn’t really a “best” setting for this. As per the table above, though, the recommendation would be 0.05 mm.
The recommendation from Chitubox is also to start at 0.05 mm.
The exposure time again relates to the quality of the print you’re hoping to achieve.
Resin 3D printing relies on light as its heating medium to form the resin into a shape.
Therefore, the time that the resin is exposed to light on each “pass” affects the model forming. This can also be referred to as “curing” and is the most important aspect of the whole process.
The longer the exposure time, the harder the resin will cure.
The calculation for this would be based on the layer height and is around 40x that measurement.
As in the table above, the recommended exposure time is 2-2.5s. I’d advise following the instructions of the resin manufacturer as these are more the value depends on resin used for the prints.
Anyway, you’d need to again test the best values for your printer and resign you’re using. The Photonsters Validation Matrix is one of the most used calibration test for exposure time.
The exposure time of the first layer should be significantly higher, as these require to be well cured to better “sit” on the build plate – more on that later.
This is the period of time between each exposure as mentioned above.
So, the light is on for 2 seconds, off for 0.5 seconds, on for 2 seconds and so on.
This ensures stability of the print by allowing it to cure on each layer.
However, the light needs to be on more than it’s off, otherwise the printing process will fail.
If you compare this to an FDM printer; if the hot end were to continually drop temperature for too long, the filament wouldn’t melt correctly. The result; a failed and messy print.
Waiting time (Light-Off Delay)
This is a feature that again allows for the printed resin to cure and the fresh resin in the vat to reform.
The recommended minimum light-off delay in ChiTubox is 13.2-14.2 seconds, which is appropriate for all resin types.
Bottom Layer Count
The bottom layers of your print are the base of your model, so need to be strong.
Unless you are using 100% infill, you need a good few layers to get the print off to a good start.
This will add stability and help with build plate adhesion.
The bottom layer count in each resin type is recommended by ChiTubox at between 6 and 8 meaning that you’ll get an initial thickness of 0.3-0.4 mm.
This may not seem much but in the case of resin, it’s strong enough.
Bottom Exposure Time
As we’ve mentioned, the bottom layers are important for the quality of your print.
The exposure time for these first few layers is, as you can see, much longer than for the rest of the print. This is to ensure a good cure to the resin, which again assists with good adhesion to the build plate.
The calculation here is around 20x the standard exposure time, so ChiTubox recommends the setting to be at 40 seconds.
The distance that the build plate raises above the level of the resin tank on each print pass is called “Lifting Distance”.
This again allows for the curing of the printed resin and aid in its correct formation. This setting also coincides with the bottom layer light off as well.
The ratio would be a similar to that of the “Light Off Time” mentioned above. So, if the light is on for 40s it will be off for 10s, and so on.
The lifting of the build plate allows, as we’ve said, for the printed resin to cure. It does also though allow for fresh resin to “settle” into the vacated space in the resin vat.
Quite literally, the speed at which the build plate is lifted during the previous process.
For instance, if the lifting distance is 6 mm and the lifting speed is 4 mm/second; then it should take 1.5 seconds to perform the lift. This again allows for better curing and forming of the model.
If the model wasn’t lifted from the resin tank, it wouldn’t allow any uncured resin to drain.
You’d then end up with a pretty deformed model.
The retract speed is the reverse process to lifting and is set again to ensure the correct formation of layers during printing. You’ll notice it being faster than the lifting speed in most cases.
The recommended speed of 4-6 mm/s is that advised by ChiTubox, but the Anycubic Photon will show a measurement of 150 mm/minute as the default for the machine.
Anycubic don’t suggest altering this but as you can work out, 4-6 mm/s relates to 80-120 mm/minute.
As we’re looking at ChiTubox recommended settings, let’s go with that one.
So, those are the settings, and we’ve hopefully shown you why they’re important.
Once you’ve determined which ones you need from the table, you’d then enter these into the profile that you started in ChiTubox.
The beauty of having multiple profiles in ChiTubox is that, once you’ve set the printer and the resin type, it can be saved for every time you use that combination.
You can then setup another profile for use if you decide to print with a different resin type.
The settings shown in the table above are of course only the recommended ones proposed by the manufacturer.
Once you get used to using both the printer and the resins, you may find your experience leading you to “tweak” things a bit.
That’s fine and again, you can set up a separate, custom profile for your own printing parameters.
Something that hasn’t been mentioned but is relevant is the color of the resin you’re using. As light is made up of a combination of colors (the spectrum) it plays a big part in the resin printing process.
Different color resins will act differently when exposed to light, so take note of the additional setting recommendations for each one. This will be shown on the resin packaging.