Reviews

2019 Phrozen Shuffle (XL) Review – Stunning Prints

Tip tap tapping around the Phrozen Shuffle’s UI to set up a print leaves one thought prominently in mind — this is clunky.

The process requires you to navigate to the file you have prepared, match it to a preloaded resin profile, and then transfer it from the USB stick to the printer’s memory. Only to then find the print again from the printer’s Plates menu (Plates being Phrozen’s lingo for print jobs) and confirm you want to print it.

Overall the process feels cumbersome and needlessly obstructive.

Phrozen Shuffle XL review
The Shuffle XL’s resin vat cover makes for a nifty mouse pad

Similar heavy-handedness comes when attempting to use resins other than Phrozen’s own, which have profiles preloaded on the printer for you to use. To configure new resin profiles, you must hook the Phrozen Shuffle up to a network via LAN cable and tap in the machine’s assigned IP in your web browser (you must be on the same network).

Once hooked into our printer via the network, you get access to advanced configuration options, the ability to pipe prints directly to the printer (although we’d advise against this for the sheer number of timeouts and other errors we encountered doing so), and set up new resin profiles.

Phrozen Shuffle review
Phrozen’s NanoDLP printer host/control interface, accessible via web browser when the Shuffle is on your local network

Phrozen’s user manual — which is bafflingly password protected — points out the relevant variables you may need to adjust when creating a resin profile but doesn’t go as far as to explain what they do or how you might find a particular resin’s correct setting. Discovering the setting to enter can be a time-consuming process of experimentation, curing your new resin “blind” and adjusting based on how it reacts to your current exposure time.

Phrozen Shuffle review
Access denied unless you have the password.

You get no tips or advice on how to proceed, and there are scant few resources at your fingertips that detail this. Phrozen isn’t solving a problem here with the Shuffle, which is a shame considering how workhorse-like the Shuffle is when burning through the company’s resin using its preconfigured resin profiles.

Heck, even NanoDLP — the printer host/control software the Phrozen Shuffle operates on — has an inbuilt resin exposure test to help determine such things, but there’s no mention of it in Phrozen’s secretive manual.

The act of taking a 3D model and preparing it for printing on the Phrozen Shuffle also highlights the lack of maturity in the desktop/hobbyist space for software preparing prints for SLA/MSLA.

Phrozen’s documentation nudges you in the direction of Meshmixer for support generation — a necessary step when printing with resin — before punting the file over to Asiga STOMP for generating an SLC file. If you, like us, find Meshmixer an excellent repair and transformation tool, but a bit cumbersome for support generation, then, of course, you can opt for an alternative slicer with support generation.

The rub here for us, using Peopoly’s Asura software for support generation, is that STOMP does not recognize .stl files generated in Asura, leading us back to Meshmixer to re-export it as an STL. Three programs just for one poxy print seems a step back to prepare prints for a machine as refined as the Phrozen Shuffle.

ChiTu DLP — the slicer used by Anycubic for its Photon MSLA 3D printer — appears to be a viable option. One thing worth noting is that the X and Y axes of the Phrozen Shuffle, for whatever reason, are inverted. You’ll need to flip your prints 90 degrees for the Shuffle to print them correctly oriented on the print plate. We do not know why.

Phrozen Shuffle review
The directory view of a USB stick filled with .SLC files. Scrolling refreshes them into view.

Further small irritation on both of our review units came in the printers’ UIs not displaying the contents of a USB stick until you attempt to scroll down, the action seemingly refreshing the page and jogging your files into view. We only discovered this by accident, after some minutes thinking we were doing something wrong with the printer.

Other small things, such as the progress bar not actually indicating the current action’s progress add up to a sense of roughness that disappoints against the apparent quality of the hardware.

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