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Affordable SLA 3D Printer under $300

2018 Sparkmaker – Review the Specs of This 3D Printer

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An SLA 3D printer under $300? Unbelievable! We take a look at the specs of the Sparkmaker 3D printer. Review the specs here!

An SLA 3D printer for $249? That was an offer 2.137 people couldn’t refuse: They backed the Sparkmaker 3D printer on Kickstarter.

The Sparkmaker is an SLA 3D printer. These machines are mostly used to manufacture small objects with the most intricate details. Previously, the SLA printer sector was dominated by Formlabs and their Form 2 desktop printer. Since early 2017, more affordable alternatives have surfaced. Besides the Sparkmaker, the Anycubic Photon, the Wanhao Duplicator D7, and the Peopoly Moai are affordable SLA/DLP machines available on the market.

Please note this is not a full Sparkmaker review, yet. But we can provide you with insights on the specifications and give you insights from the community.

If you want to dive even deeper, take a look at this interview with Sparkmaker’s Co-Founder Blue Zeng.

Sparkmaker

Product image of Sparkmaker
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2018 Sparkmaker – Review the Specs of This 3D Printer Review the Specs

The specifications of the Sparkmaker 3D Printer are very similar to other SLA 3D printers.

  • Technology: SLA (stereolithography)
  • Build Volume: 98 x 55 x 125 mm
  • Layer Resolution: 10 micrometers (Z-layer)
  • Connectivity: SD card
  • Printable materials: 
  • Weight: 3 kg
  • Input rating: 110V/220V AC
  • Working Voltage: 12V DC

The printer comes pre-assembled, you just have to mount build plate, put the tank in place and add the resin.

In the box you find:

  • The assembled printer
  • The red plastic cover that keeps the resin liquid by blocking UV light.
  • A hex tool used for the bed leveling and unscrewing the resin tank.
  • Power supply for your country
  • The manufacturer provides a bottle of special LCD-W resin. Instead of using Isopropyl, you can clean your prints with pure tap water.
  • If you have chosen the sample set version of the Sparkmaker, you’ll also get a choice of resins.

You will need additional parts before you start 3D printing:

  • Something to get the prints off the build plate. A metal spatula will do.
  • A 5-liter bottle of 99% Isopropanol to clean the prints.
  • Plastic gloves. SLA is a messy process. Also, you shouldn‘t get resin on your skin.

In the long run, you’ll probably invest in an FEP replacement sheet for the resin vat and even a UV curing light.

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2018 Sparkmaker – Review the Specs of This 3D Printer What Special about it?

Image of 2018 Sparkmaker – Review the Specs of This 3D Printer: What Special about it?

The Sparkmaker is an SLA machine. This technology differs from the more common FDM 3D printing.

Instead of melting plastic filament in a heated nozzle, DLP and SLA printers use liquid resins that are cured by light. The resins are stored in a tank. The build plate dips into this tank to build the desired object. Whereas DLP 3D printers use a screen to harden the liquid resin, SLA printers use a laser to harden the resin. Once it’s cured, the build plate moves up a layer and the process repeats.

The benefit of SLA printers is that they can print highly detailed objects.

Please be advised resin-based 3D printers are not perfect for beginners. Post-processing involves washing the prints with ethanol, curing them, cleaning the build plate – it can be a messy process. Also, the smell is not pleasant.

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2018 Sparkmaker – Review the Specs of This 3D Printer Pros and Cons

Image of 2018 Sparkmaker – Review the Specs of This 3D Printer: Pros and Cons

Here are some pros of the machine:

  • Highly affordable: The Sparkmaker is one of the most affordable SLA printers on the market. With a suggested retail price of $379 and a current offer of $289, it is even cheaper than the Anycubic Photon or the Wanhao D7.
  • Non-proprietory resins: You are not bound to resins from the manufacturer.
  • Simple mechanics: Instead of a touchscreen, you get a simple button that starts the print and also shows the progress of the print with an LED ring. It’s not fancy, but it will do the trick.
  • Dedicated Slicer Software: For preparing the print, you have to use the Windows-only software SparkStudio. A Mac version is in the making.

No printer is perfect, and the Sparkmaker is no exception. Here are some drawbacks the Sparkmaker 3D printing community ran into:

  • Build Volume: The build volume is small, even compared to other affordable SLA 3D printers (98 x 55 x 125 mm)
  • Still in delivery: The first units have been delivered to some Kickstarter backers, while others are still waiting for it to arrive.
  • Problems with early units: It seems some of the units weren’t as perfect as Sparkmaker promised them to be. Some Kickstarter backers complained about sloppy drive nuts, a wobbly lead screw, and a leaking resin tank. Sparkmaker promised to take care of these problems.
  • Database: The advertised “free database of print-ready 3D models” consists of a handful of demo content – but you’re better off searching for printables on other repositories.
  • Additional costs: It comes with the bare necessities, so you will have to invest a small sum to get some gloves, a spatula, and Isopropyl.
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2018 Sparkmaker – Review the Specs of This 3D Printer Where Can You Buy it?

Currently, the Sparkmaker is on Gearbest, Amazon, on the company website and some online dealers.

Product image of Sparkmaker

Sparkmaker

Unlike other SLA 3D printers that require a computer connection, SparkMaker supports offline printing and has the ability to print in higher resolution compared to DLP 3D printers.

You will find additional information on the Sparkmaker 3D Printer on the company’s website. Also, the Sparkmaker Kickstarter page provides some support and status update.

License: The text of "2018 Sparkmaker – Review the Specs of This 3D Printer" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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