Large resin 3D printers: a new trend?

Stereolithography (SLA) has been around for decades, with two main sub-technologies: laser SLA and DLP (Digital Light Processing). These resin 3D printing methods offer highly accurate and smooth results but are generally limited to small build volumes, unless you’re looking at industrial systems worth several hundred thousand dollars.

However, another SLA sub-technology has recently made its way to the market: MSLA (Masked Stereolithography). In short, MSLA 3D printers use LCD screens as light masks over LED lights, simplifying the resin 3D printing process and drastically bringing prices down.

On that account, large volume resin 3D printers are now affordable enough (and actually available on the market) for SMEs and entrepreneurs, whether it’s for prototyping or small production series.

That said, there aren’t many options yet, as you can see in our large format resin 3D printer selection below. This selection is based on large resin printers that are priced under $20,000, hence excluding large industrial SLA printers which we’ll soon cover in another guide.

Our guide also covers the main pros and cons of resin 3D printing, which resin materials are available, and how fast resin printers are.

Best large volume resin 3D printers 2022

BrandProductBuild sizeCountryPrice
Approximate starting prices based on supplier-provided information and public data. Prices may vary by region, over time and do not include additional products or services (taxes, shipping, accessories, training, installation, …).
PeopolyPhenom L345 × 194 × 400 mmChina$ 2,799Quote
PeopolyPhenom XXL527 × 296 × 550 mm$ 6,999Quote
FormlabsForm 3L336 × 200 × 300 mm$ 12,000Quote
PhotocentricLiquid Crystal Magna510 × 280 × 350 mm$ 19,920Quote
Nexa3DNXE400270 × 160 × 380 mmUnited States upon requestQuote

The products in the table are ranked by price (low to high).

TITRE:
BrandProductBuild sizeBuild volumeCountryPrice
Approximate starting prices based on supplier-provided information and public data. Prices may vary by region, over time and do not include additional products or services (taxes, shipping, accessories, training, installation, …).
PeopolyPhenom L345 × 194 × 400 mm26.77 LChina$ 2,799Get a quote
PeopolyPhenom XXL527 × 296 × 550 mm85.8 L$ 6,999Get a quote
FormlabsForm 3L336 × 200 × 300 mm20.16 L$ 12,000Get a quote
PhotocentricLiquid Crystal Magna510 × 280 × 350 mm49.98 L$ 19,920Get a quote
Nexa3DNXE400270 × 160 × 380 mm16.42 LUnited States upon requestGet a quote

Overview of the best large format resin 3D printers

http://Peopoly%20Phenom%20L
Selection This product is featured in a buyer’s guide.
CountryChina
Build size345 × 194 × 400 mm
Price
Approximate starting prices based on supplier-provided information and public data. Prices may vary by region, over time and do not include additional products or services (taxes, shipping, accessories, training, installation, …).
$ 2,799

The Phenom L is an enlarged version of the Peopoly Phenom, which is also included in this selection further below. Peopoly’s other resin 3D printers, such as their flagship Moai series, use laser-based SLA. Phenom 3D printers, however, are based on MSLA 3D printing technology with LED lighting and a 4K LCD masking screen.

Its large build volume enables users to print small production series and tall parts (400mm). The Phenom L is one of the largest resin 3D printers available.

Selection This product is featured in a buyer’s guide.
CountryChina
Build size527 × 296 × 550 mm
Price
Approximate starting prices based on supplier-provided information and public data. Prices may vary by region, over time and do not include additional products or services (taxes, shipping, accessories, training, installation, …).
$ 6,999

The Peopoly Phenom XXL is a large resin 3D printer that uses MSLA technology. MSLA stands for Masked Stereolithography, which is based on the use of an LCD screen to mask a projector’s light.

Peopoly, a Hong Kong-based 3D printer manufacturer, launched this large resin 3D printer to cater to more advanced users in automobile, entertainment, and medical industries. The Phenom XXL offers a 500% bigger build volume than the standard Peopoly Phenom, and provides over four times more volume than the Formlabs Form 3L.

Selection This product is featured in a buyer’s guide.
CountryUnited States
Build size336 × 200 × 300 mm
Price
Approximate starting prices based on supplier-provided information and public data. Prices may vary by region, over time and do not include additional products or services (taxes, shipping, accessories, training, installation, …).
$ 12,000

The Form 3L, based on the standard Form 3, is the only large resin 3D printer on this list to use laser-based SLA, providing an excellent 23-micron resolution with two 250mW lasers. It features constant, closed-loop calibration and is able to send user alerts for users to remotely monitor their print progress.

The printer’s interface and cartridge-based workflow are geared towards ease of use, and Formlabs has developed a wide range of proprietary resins over the years to suite numerous applications.

Selection This product is featured in a buyer’s guide.
CountryUnited Kingdom
Build size510 × 280 × 350 mm
Price
Approximate starting prices based on supplier-provided information and public data. Prices may vary by region, over time and do not include additional products or services (taxes, shipping, accessories, training, installation, …).
$ 19,920

The Liquid Crystal Magna is the largest resin 3D printer in its price range, with a 23.8-inch 4K Ultra HD LCD masking screen. This printer, destined for professional and industrial use, is advertised by Photocentric as “the right tool for custom mass manufacture”.

The LC Magna does sport a pretty fast curing speed of 5 to 8 seconds per layer (13.3mm/hour). Its large build platform enables the production of small, detailed series. For example, as displayed on the Photocentric website, it’s possible to 3D print up to 46 dental arches in 2 hours.

Selection This product is featured in a buyer’s guide.
By Nexa3D
CountryUnited States
Build size270 × 160 × 380 mm
Price
Approximate starting prices based on supplier-provided information and public data. Prices may vary by region, over time and do not include additional products or services (taxes, shipping, accessories, training, installation, …).
upon request

The NXE400 is a professional 3D printer produced by Nexa3D. Nexa3D is a 3D printer manufacturer based in United States. The NXE400 was released in 2019 and uses resin 3D printing technology.

Resin 3D printing: main takeaways

We highlight a few of the key advantages of using a resin 3D printer while also touching on a few of the cons.

SLA vs FDM vs SLS

While many FDM 3D printers offer bigger build volumesresin 3D printers provide much smoother results in terms of accuracy and surface quality. In this price range, the only kind of printer that could potentially match resin printing quality would be a desktop SLS 3D printer. There’s a very limited range of available powder types and colors, however.

Benefits of resin printing

These are some of the main, high-level advantages of resin 3D printing.

  • Smooth surface finishes – Resin printers are able to produce very thin layers that are barely visible to the human eye, if not invisible.
  • High level of details – It’s possible to print complex, intricate models with tight tolerances.
  • Unique resins – The selection of specialty resins is quite impressive, from colored or transparent resins to strong, rubbery, or castable resins.
  • Speed* – Whether you print one small object, several parts, or one large model (all either simple or intricate) of the same height, the overall print time will be the same.

*Does not apply to laser-based SLA 3D printers.

Resin 3D printing drawbacks

While resin 3D printing offers compelling advantages, there are still a few things you may want to keep in mind.

  • Material prices – Resin can be expensive, especially if the system you choose doesn’t work with third-party resins.
  • Post-processing – Prints must be washed and then cured with UV light or sunlight. Most manufacturers sell separate, dedicated “stations” for these steps to make them less troublesome.
  • Toxicity (and smell) – It’s important and necessary to wear gloves, and working in the same room as an active resin 3D printer is highly discouraged.

3D printing resins: what materials are available?

Most manufacturers sell basic or standard resins in several colors, plus specialty resins for different kinds of applications.

Here are some common types of resin:

  • Biocompatible
  • Castable
  • Transparent
  • Hard
  • High-tensile
  • Temperature-resistant
  • Flexible

Not all resins are compatible with all resin printers, and some resin printers only tolerate their manufacturer’s proprietary materials (e.g. Formlabs). This is true for other technologies, too, such as FDM/FFF, e.g. Stratasys with proprietary filaments, or SLS, with almost all manufacturers curbing compatibility.

Resins can also be specially formulated for certain types of technologies. For example, MSLA printers won’t be able to cure resins made for laser SLA printers. This is partly because they use a less powerful light source.

Resin 3D printing: how fast is it?

Resin 3D printing speeds are generally listed in one of two ways:

  • As a maximum height reached in a certain amount of time (mm/minute, cm/hour)
  • As the amount of time it takes to cure one layer (seconds/layer, layers/minute)

It’s a good idea to keep resin 3D printing speeds in mind, even if a variety of factors– namely layer thickness and type of resin– make that number hard to narrow down. For reference, the PartPro 120 xP from XYZprinting is currently one of the fastest 3D printers on the market. It’s capable of printing a 3-cm-tall part in only 10 minutes, while some resin printers would require over an hour.

FAQ

What’s the largest resin 3D printer available?

At the moment, that would be the UnionTech RS Pro 2100, which happens to be an industrial SLA 3D printer. This massive machine has a build area of 2100mm x 700mm x 800mm.

Is 3D printing resin toxic?

Yes, while toxicity levels can vary, resin is something you’ll want to keep off your skin and out of your eyes. Gloves and protective eyewear are necessities when working with any type of resin.