If you take a look at the specs, the Sonic Mini stands out from its competition by its capability to print fast. How is it able to overtake the competition?
Like its bigger brother, the Phrozen Sonic, the Sonic Mini continues Phrozen’s exploration of mono-LCD technology – an alternative type of LCD masking screen that, while lower resolution than the 2K screens typical of budget LCD printers, allows more UV light to pass through. This lowers layer cure time and dramatically speeds the printing process up.
It is claimed that this new panel is harder wearing and longer-lasting than conventional panels, with the company claiming a lifetime of 2,000 hours. If so, that would have it lasting some four times longer than competing printers’ LCDs. There’s no word yet on the expense of replacing a mono-LCD, though, so we’ll reserve judgment on whether this is as spectacular as it sounds at face value.
Quality vs. Speed
As we haven’t printed with the machine yet, we obviously can’t judge its quality yet. But the specifications suggest that the extra speed comes at a price. Sacrificing some detail, the Phrozen Sonic Mini features an XY resolution of 62-microns – down from the 47-microns found on the original Phrozen Shuffle.
The documentation swirling around the printer’s announcement suggests a layer cure time as fast as 0.5 seconds per layer (0.05 mm layer height), which would be magnitudes quicker than the masking LCD printers commonly available today.
The manufacturer states that the maximum print speed is 50 mm per hour printing at a particular resolution.
The Phrozen Sonic Mini will be running on Phrozen’s Phrozen OS. Model preparation will be handled by the easy-to-use ChiTu Box software, which recently added compatibility with a number of Phrozen’s machines.
Please be aware that the Sonic Mini has a smallish print bed of 120 x 86 x 130mm; so don’t expect to print extra tall objects.
We have heard directly from Phrozen that the Sonic Mini will be available for $199 via Phrozen’s official online store. When, and if there are any hidden costs attached to this, remains to be seen. This price would certainly correlate with Phrozen’s pitch for the Sonic Mini as the printer for newcomers. And if it’s as good as it promises, what a start!