We get down and dirty with Creality's all-new LD-002R MSLA 3D printer. Read on for our early impressions after a few short days with the printer in this hands-on review.
The go-to manufacturer of better-than-most budget desktop 3D printers, Shenzhen-based Creality has mastered its craft with fused deposition modeling (FDM) machines such as the CR-10 and Ender 3.
For the nascent hobbyist desktop resin 3D printing, such success has not been as forthcoming. The company’s past three masked stereolithography (MSLA) 3D printers barely nudged the needle when held against stiff competition of the likes of Anycubic’s Photon and the newer Elegoo Mars. Which is odd, since these machines are all much of a muchness. All offer 2K masking LCDs at their heart, making small, highly-detailed prints effortless, and all offer on or around 120 x 68 mm build space in the X- and Y-axes.
Perhaps fourth time’s the charm, as Creality launches the LD-002R, its latest MSLA offering.
Creality’s past resin printers have flown under our radar somewhat – perhaps because they always seemed a little uninspired and never really caught on with the community at large (something we try to monitor when deciding which printers are worth looking at.)
Perhaps we need to revise this approach, because after a few days of printing with the Creality’s imminent arrival, the LD-002R, it’s clear this is anything but a humdrum rerun.
Similar in many regards to Elegoo’s (also imminent) Mars Pro, the LD-002R presents a clean and uncluttered user experience with a well thought out design that defuses many of the irritants we’ve had with other, similar budget printers.
Whizzing through a few of the main design points and features, our attention is drawn to the front-accessible USB port (it’s located on the side of the printer, which does impact on the usable footprint a little), and, perhaps best of all in a why-doesn’t-everyone-do-it-like-this way, a resin vat with staggered markings for various levels of milliliters. If your slicing software gives an estimate of the milliliters of resin required, you need only look at the vat on the LD-002R to know for sure if you have enough. It’s simple and effective.
An unusual sight on the LD-002R is the inclusion of a perforated print plate. More commonly seen on large format resin printers, it certainly does the job in securing the bottom layers of a print to the plate with an iron grip, although you’re sacrificing the possibility to print directly on the plate without necessitating you sand the bottom of prints.
One potentially standout feature that has a huge question mark over its head is the possibility of wireless printing via WiFi. It’s not an advertised feature of the LD-002R, but remains a toggleable option in the networking section of the printer’s menu. Possibly a hangover from using an unaltered state of ChiTuBox that supports WiFi, another possibility is that it is an optional add-on – something that would align with Creality’s recent drive to offer myriad official upgrades and add-ons for its printers.
This theory is backed up by the inclusion of a mainboard diagram in the manual that alludes to a cluster of pins reserved for a WiFi module. Of course, this is just a theory – as things stand WiFi is not a supported connectivity option of the printer out of the box, but it would give it something of an advantage over the competition.
After a few days printing, we can confirm that the first prints are exactly in line with what one might expect from this class of machine – high detail, visible voxels if you really scrutinize. No hint of artifacts or inconsistency from the light engine.
We have had some failed support structures, but attribute this to the unusually watery sample of resin provided in the box. Switching over to a resin we find to be quite reliable, the print errors disappeared.
At approximately $270, the LD-002R’s price point puts it squarely in competition with the likes of the Elegoo Mars Pro and Anycubic Photon S, undercutting both by a narrow amount (although this might get absorbed by shipping and import fees, so take with a pinch of salt.) Based on our initial time with it, perhaps the competition should be worried.
Check back in the New Year for our full verdict after some more weeks of printing.
There are a few defining features of the Creality LD-002R, which is a revision of Creality’s LR-002 MSLA 3D printer. On first impressions alone it looks to be a snazzy little printer that at the very least keeps up with the competition (assuming it doesn’t launch with a grotesque price tag – this has yet to be announced.) We have a unit in office and will put it through its paces in the coming weeks. For now though, here’s the feature run-down.
Great emphasis is being placed on the LD-002R’s robust build quality and the components of its motion system, which is underpinned by a ball screw and single linear rail for the Z-axis.
MSLA 3D printers use an LCD screen to mask an image of a layer over a UV light source. Comprised of hundreds of thousands of pixels, each a little rectangle itself, this tech leaves a telltale sign of the edges of these pixels on the print surface. Often barely visible, this effect can be lessened through the use of a digital processing called anti-aliasing, which interpolates between these edges, smoothing the effect out.
Creality’s LD-002R uses ChiTu Box firmware and pairs with the ChiTuBox slicer, which features 4x and 8x anti-aliasing as standard. So if you really really need your prints to be imperceptibly smoother, they can be.
Quick leveling in the sense that the machine will lower the print plate to the vat for you, yes the LD-002R is quick leveling. Four hex screws feature on the print plate – loosen them before dropping the plate, and it will align to the level of the screen. Tighten and you’re good to go. Standard MSLA fare.
Something of an oddity on a small desktop MSLA machine, the Creality LD-002R has a perforated print plate. Typically seen on larger bottom-up machines where larger prints present additional pull that might dislodge an improperly adhered print, it’s unusual, and perhaps even distracting overkill, to see it on a smaller machine. It’s not a bad thing, but it makes you wonder why they did it.
A small box at the rear of the print chamber contains a pouch of activated carbon. This should help to remove part of the stench of exposed resin from the air.
It would appear that the Creality LD-002R is available now (it’s been unspecifically listed as coming “next month” up to the posting of this initial review.) Helpful shopping links on the right.
License: The text of "Creality LD-002R Review: Our First Impressions" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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