Theis a budget LCD resin 3D printer boasting some impressive-sounding features for a surprisingly low price point. Read on as we review the specs.
Entering the world of resin printers, Anet is taking their first dip into the sea of competitors with their N4 printer.
With resin printing on the rise, it’s no wonder companies such as Anet are racing to create the best possible machines for makers on a budget. The booming popularity of SLA printers has brought a new aspect to 3D printing, as the level of detail begins to cross the line of what the human eye can see.
The Anet N4 seems to be entering the market competing for the spotlight with printers such as the Anycubic Photon and the Elegoo Mars. With advertised features such as a 2K LCD projector and a decently sized print area (120 x 65 x 138 mm), the N4 seems to be a fairly well-equipped competitor with specs suitable for its given price range.
Follow along as we take a close look at what Anet is offering in this new printer, and speculate on its performance compared to more established competition.
Right off the bat, we see that Anycubic has built a machine that looks very much like a high-tech blender, with curved accents and a clean, professional aesthetic. With a molded plastic exterior and aluminum framing within, the N4 achieves a sleek, screw-free look while remaining suitably sturdy to perform reliably while printing. On the front is a small 3.5-inch touch screen display, and the top cover lifts off as a single piece, revealing the resin vat and printing platform.
The first feature that pops out on this printer is the 2K resolution (2560 x 1440 pixels) of the LCD. This should allow the N4 to have the same printing resolution as the Elegoo Mars and even the Phrozen Shuffle. With the standard 5.5″ screen size, the printing area should be nearly the same as well, with maximum printable dimensions of 180 x 65 x 138 mm.
The maximum advertised resolutions are 47-microns in the horizontal XY plane and 0.078-microns in the vertical Z direction. This means that the N4 should be capable of high-detailed prints, as is standard for most resin printers.
The N4 features a very handy FEP film resin vat that can be removed from the printer for changing the resin or cleaning. Held down by two screws, the vat should slide out with very little hassle. This feature has also been seen in the likes of the Elegoo Mars and the Anycubic Photon. Similar to these printers, the N4’s build plate features a ball-joint system for leveling the bed, and a magnetic system to remove the build plate from the printer entirely.
The next most notable feature of the Anet N4 is the proprietary slicing software AIprint. Advertised as being much faster than other slicers, user reviews are currently mixed. We had a look ourselves, and while the interface isn’t exemplary, it offers all the features that you could need, including custom supports and even an infill function (more on this in a moment).
The only apparent interface for the N4 is through a USB stick, no other interface methods are mentioned by Anycubic. While this allows for easy offline printing, it does not seem to be possible to use the printer with host software. It also does not seem like the N4 will be compatible with 3rd-party slicers, although this is neither confirmed nor denied in Anycubic’s product description.
On the front side of the printer, Anet has included a full-color 3.5″ touch interface that allows easy access to all of the printer’s built-in settings and features. The exact styling and responsiveness of the UI are unknown, as is the actual firmware being run by the printer itself.
The proprietary slicing software also includes a function to generate hex infill in models, which is said to reduce the material needed for each print. However, as was called out by Tesla Filament in their YouTube review, this only serves to trap uncured resin inside of a print, which results in a similar amount of resin being used as a completely solid print. Upon our own review of the slicing software, we also noted this issue, as there was no option to generate a drainage hole for uncured resin.
The Anet N4 is compatible with any 405 nm sensitive resin, including Anet’s own resin (which can optionally be bought in a bundle with the printer). Third-party resins are completely acceptable, and the slicer software makes it easy to change parameters for cure times based on your material of choice.
Printing Technology: LCD-based Masked Stereolithography (MSLA)
LCD: 5.5-inch 405nm UV 2K (2560 x 1440p)
Build Volume: 120 x 65 x 138 mm
Z-Layer Resolution: 0.078 μm
XY Resolution: 47 μm
UI: 3.5″ Color touchscreen
Connectivity: USB, Wi-Fi
Build Platform Leveling: Manual (Assisted)
Materials: Resins suitable for 405nm LCD-based printers
Software bundle: Anet AIprint (Desktop Slicer)
File types: STL (desktop)
Dimensions: 340 x 340 x 550 mm
Priced at about $350 (with prices varying widely by source), the Anycubic N4 costs only a little more than the Elegoo Mars, and nearly the same as an Anycubic Photon. Also available from Anet is a much larger N7 model, but for not quite double the build volume you’ll be paying nearly three times the price. There are otherwise very few notable variations between the two models. The Anet N4 is available from the retailers listed below.
(Lead image source: Anet3d)
License: The text of "Anet N4 LCD 3D Printer: Review the Specs" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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