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Elegoo Mars 3 Pro Review (Tested for Miniatures and Detail)

The Elegoo Mars 3 Pro is a fantastic entry-level resin 3D printer, that is often highly recommended when people ask for suggestions on where to start with 3D printing miniatures.

This is my Elegoo Mars 3 Pro Review. Be aware that the Mars 3 Pro and non-pro are very much the same machines, so this review will mostly apply to the Mars 3 non-pro as well.

Note: Elegoo sent me this 3D printer as a review copy. Elegoo has no say in what I write here and it does not sway my opinion that they sent me this copy instead of me buying it. Read my Review Copy Policy here.

If you want a bigger machine than the Mars 3, take a look at our Saturn 2 review.

Elegoo Mars 3 Pro

Screen Resolution (px): 4098 x 2560

Screen Size (Inch): 6.6

PPI (Pixel per Inch): 732

XY resolution (μm): 35

Build Volume: 143 x 89 x 175

“Pro Features”: Carbon Filter & Anti-scratch screen

My quick take on the Elegoo Mars 3 Pro and Elegoo Mars 3:

The Elegoo Mars 3 Pro is an amazing printer. It cuts costs in the places where it does not impact the performance or detail of the print. The size of the printing area is very acceptable for printing miniatures and models. The screen has enough quality that the “next tier” of printers will likely not make a big difference in visual quality for most people.

Sadly, right now, the “Pro” version is a bit too expensive compared with the non pro version – but that is because the Elegoo Mars 3 non-pro is priced so ridiculously low right now. The pro version of the Elegoo Mars 3 has an active carbon filter and an anti-stratch screen, for which you are paying about $100 more than the non-pro version. The rest of the specs are exactly the same.

You should of course make your own decision, but my take is that the pro version is kind of a trap. You can get a set of screen protectors and two carbon filters for about $50, so I feel the price difference should be more along those lines.

On the other hand, the price point of the Elegoo Mars 3 non-pro is just too good. You are buying, what for some, is their “end game printer” and you are only paying $200ish for it.

I have paid at least $250 for my printers of similar/smaller size and they are all worse in terms of quality of print. That is just how fast the 3D printing market has moved in terms of making products cheaper and better each year. You could wait for the next great thing, but this is, buck for buck, the best time to enter the Resin 3D printer market I have seen.

When I see images from one-man companies that 3D print and sell the miniatures, it is no surprise I see a lot of Mars 3’s on those images. The combination of price and performance is yet to be beat.

If I was looking at getting a resin 3D printer for miniatures, I would look to snag the Elegoo Mars 3 at the next available sale.

Elegoo Mars 3

Screen Resolution (px): 4098 x 2560

Screen Size (Inch): 6.6

PPI (Pixel per Inch): 732

XY resolution (μm): 35

Build Volume: 143 x 89 x 175

No “Pro Features”

Feature image for the Elegoo Mars 3 Pro Review

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Elegoo Mars 3 Pro: Overview of the printer

The Elegoo Mars 3 Pro is a smallish resin 3D printer from Elegoo. It follows the success of the Elegoo Mars 1 and Mars 2. Elegoo is a very reputable firm in the resin 3D printing space, and the Mars 2 Pro and Mars 3 are often recommended printers for beginners – whether that is for printing miniatures or other small things where details are important.

The Elegoo Mars 2 Pro was released in early 2020. The Elegoo Mars 3 and Elegoo Mars 3 Pro were released in 2022. With the Mars 3, this line of printers now has that coveted 4k screen.

It sits on a 6.6 inch screen with a 143 x 89 x 175 mm build plate, making the size of each pixel 35 microns (μm), also called the XY resolution. The Pixel Per Inch (PPI) is about 732, which is pretty good compared to the competition in this price range (see our list of resin printers to compare it with specs of other printers).

This makes it comparable to other 4k printers in this price range and in most cases, it has the best build volume of 143 x 89 x 175 and the best PPI. While this is not a big printer like a Saturn 2 or Photon Mono X, neither is it tiny.

The Elegoo Mars 3 Pro without the cover on
The Elegoo Mars 3 Pro without the cover on

The Mars 3’s come fully assembled. All you have to do is take some protective film off and insert the plate into the printer. This “fully built” approach is very common with resin printers, but if you are used to FDM printers that might not be something you expect (as they often come in kits that need assembly).

You can get printing within only a few minutes with a resin printer like this.

While I think the pro features of the Elegoo Mars 3 are slightly overrated (screen protectors and standalone active carbon filters are a thing), the specs of Elegoo Mars 3 and the price are really good. I like it so much that I put it at the top of our article about the Best 3D printer for miniatures.

Pros of the Elegoo Mars 3 Pro & Non-pro

Cheap printers

The price of the Mars 3 series is very competitive compared to their own line and other producers. I think it is the best small 4k printer right now, but it is also one of the cheapest.

Solid 4k Screen

The screen is 4098 x 2560 px on a 6.6″ surface. It gives you a solid XY resolution of 35 microns, a build volume of 143 x 89 x 175 and a PPI of 732. For that price, there is nothing above it.

Good quality components

The quality of the screen, build plate, screws and casing is very good. Not expecting to repair or replace anything for the foreseeable future.

Very easy to use

Using the standard slicer and standard settings, this printer was up and printing great looking miniatures right away. Failed prints have been very rare with this machine. There is room for fiddling, but it is not strictly necessary

Cons of the Elegoo Mars 3 Pro & Non-pro

Not a lot of extra features

The printer prints, but that is about it. It is the same old USB dongle way of transferring files and there is no auto levelling or anything.

Pro version is over costed

While the pro features are nice to have, in this instance they seem over costed.

Poor onboarding

Poor manual and little and vague safety guidance (but this is, sadly, standard for the market).

Not for big prints

If you want to print big pieces in one go (monsters, terrain or other big models) the very standard sized build area will not suffice.

Screen of the Elegoo Mars 3 Pro & Non-pro

Let us start with the most important aspect of any 3D printer: what is the screen resolution, how big is the screen and how big a build volume does it provide?

The screen is a 4k screen with a standard resolution of 4098 x 2560. But actually, that does not tell us a lot about the quality of the print. You see, what matters more is the size of each pixel and how many pixels you can roughly get per inch of screen.

The screen on Mars 3’s is 6.6″, which gives us an average pixel per inch of about 732 (you can calculate different screens here). The size of each pixel is 35 microns or “μm”. Roughly speaking, printing at a layer height below the pixel size is not something I would recommend.

So when comparing resin 3D printers to each other, it is not enough to say “this is a 4k screen and this is a 4k screen, so they are likely to output the same quality of print”.

As an example, while the old Elegoo Saturn S had the same screen resolution, it had a pixel size 51 of microns and a PPI of 531. This is because the screen on the Saturn S is a 9.1″ and not 6.6″. So the larger the screen/build area is, the better the screen has to be to output the same quality as smaller screen. Funnily enough, the old Mars 1 has roughly the same PPI and pixel size as the Saturn S, but one is a 2k and the other is a 4k screen.

Note: this is a very simplified way of looking at things. A lot of other things can determine the quality of a resin 3D print:

  • How precise the light is (imprecise light will bleed out and blur the detail)
  • The type of resin used (some resins are more precise than others)
  • The stability of the printer (if the printer wobles, it matters little what the size of the pixels are as everything will be imprecise).
  • How well the settings and exposure have been dialled in for the specific resin, 3D printer and temperature

But, XY resolution (pixel size) and the PPI (how many pixels you get per inch) give us a metric to compare resin 3D printers against each other. Later on I will provide a table with specs on the Mars 3’s and how well they compare to the competition in various specs.

But real quickly, the Mars 3’s stack up well to the competition in terms of the screen:

  • Mars 3 Pro and non pro: PPI 732, 35 μm
  • Anycubic Photon 4k: PPI 727, 35 μm
  • Phrozen Mini 4k: PPI 724, 35 μm

Grab your copy of the Resin 3D Printing Supplies Checklist?

The screen of the Mars 3 Pro is an anti-scratch screen. While it is cool to be protected against scratches, my biggest concern is getting resin on the screen and damaging it. Even if you get a Pro version, a screen protector is never a bad idea.

Build volume of the Mars 3
Build volume of the Mars 3’s

Build volume of the Mars 3 Pro & non-pro

The build volume of the Mars 3’s is a respectable 143 x 89 x 175. This is a small’ish printer bed and it is unlikely that you can print big vehicles, monsters, large characters, big terrain or big models in one piece. For that, I would get a Saturn 2 instead (my favourite big resin printer).

I can put about 15-20 32mm supported miniatures on the build plate of the Mars 3, depending on the size and how much time I use to optimize the placement. For me, that is a respectable number of minis to print in one go.

The print bed compared well to the close competitors:

  • Mars 3 Pro and non-pro: 143 x 89 x 175mm
  • Mars 2 Pro: 129 x 80 x 160
  • Anycubic Photon 4k: 132 x 80 x 165mm
  • Phrozen Mini 4k: 135 x 75 x 130mm

While getting the slightly bigger build volume is nice, it does not matter that much. As an example, I could fit 20 supported 32mm miniatures on the Mars 3, but trying to do the same thing I could only get about 16 of them to fit. In the end, small differences you see above are not that important.

Image of the filled build plate of the Mars 3

But the build volume you get is not that small and small is not always bad in the case of 3D printers.

Firstly, as we talked about above, a smaller print bed mean a smaller screen. And that small cheap 4k screen will produce a better quality model than a big 4k screen with a bigger build bed.

Also, screens on resin 3D printers are considered a consumable and are expected to be replaced after some time (just like the FEP at the bottom). Smaller screens are cheaper to replace than big screens. The Mars 3 screen will cost you $50 and lasts about 2000 hours of print time. If you break your Saturn 2 Screen, it will cost you $100 instead.

Another thing to note is that printing miniatures on a small resin 3D printer can be slightly easier than a big one, meaning they are easier to dial in and get consistent successful prints with. With a big printer, it is harder to level the build plate exactly, they can have more wobble when printing and the FEP are bigger (giving various problems when the print has to be pulled off that big FEP).

So while bigger certainly means more options, there are some drawbacks. For most people starting out printing, I would suggest starting with a printer in the Mars 3 size category, instead of going directly to the big printers.

Cones of Calibration v1 printed on Mars 3
Cones of Calibration v1

Testing and dialling in the Elegoo Mars 3 Pro

Now that we have talked about the most important parts of the printers, let us talk about testing and dialling in the printer. After all, printing is the fun thing here! Later we will talk about other less important aspects of the printer.

The Elegoo Mars 3 comes with the standard Rook file on the USB drive sliced at very standard and conservative settings. I was pretty confident that it would print with no issues and I did not want to waste resin on it. Also, that Rook is not very detailed nor does it tell you anything about what settings to change. if you really want to print at stock settings just to make sure everything is okay, print something that you want to put on a shelf.

Because I print miniatures and models with a lot of detail, it is very important for me to dial in a resin printer to make sure it can capture that detail and print successfully every time.

In the case of the Elegoo Mars 3 Pro, the stock settings from Elegoo are an exposure time of 2.5 seconds for each layer with a layer height of 0.05. That is not the worst in the world, but I want to print at 0.035 layer height (the XY resolution of the printer). My guess is that with a room temperature of about 25 Celcius and the Elegoo Standard Grey resin with that layer height, I am pretty certain that I will end up somewhere around 1.2 seconds of exposure time for each layer.

Left: Cone of calibration v2. Right: cone of Calibration v1.

I decided to dial in using the awesome Cones of Calibration found at TableFlip Foundry. These are designed for dialling-in resin printers for miniatures and I find them much easier to use than other testers (and they are much cooler looking). If you can get over the DnD theme, which I personally love, these are the best I have found.

This is a whole other topic, but this test helps you dial in exposure in a way so you are able to print supports consistently while getting the most detail on the miniature. I used the v2 of the cones, which prints faster than v1 (it is in beta, but you can get it via the Tableflip Foundry Discord Server)

My first print was a surprising failure. When testing the Elegoo Mars 2 Pro back in the day, I found that prints stuck way too well to the build plate. The settings I used for exposure and first layers were very similar to my dialled in Elegoo Mars 2.

I had a suspicion it was not levelled correctly, as the right side of the build plate seemed to stick on the paper while the left side was looser. I cleaned the tank, re-levelled and tweaked some settings It seemed I had forced the screw too tight, so the right side of the plate was slightly lower than the right side.

Next print was a success and it turned out the levelling was an issue but it also needed more exposure time on the burn in layers than me Mars 2.

My dialled in settings for my Mars 3 with standard elegoo gray

You are welcome to copy my settings, but do know that they might not work – even though you use the same machine and resin. Variables like temperature, humidity and the “spirit” of the particular machine and resin means you need to dial it in your own machine with your own resin.

One thing surprised me a lot at this stage: the resin is way, way hotter coming from the vat of the Mars 3 than the Mars 2.

It seems like the Mars 3 is using the heat from the screen and the machine in a way to heat up the bed. This is good, as heating and consistent temperatures are a big issue with resin printers. The resin will be less viscous and drip faster from the build plate, so it caught me off guard the first time. It helps to get resin faster off the build plate and into the vat when taking prints of. But, it also means I have had more spillage from the Mars 3 than my Mars 2, so be aware and handle it carefully.

The temperature of the Mars 3 Pro resin after printing for 4 hours was about 43°C
The temperature of the Mars 3 Pro resin after printing for 4 hours was about 43°C
The temperature of the Mars 2 Pro resin after printing for 4 hours was about 27°C
The temperature of the Mars 2 Pro resin after printing for 4 hours was about 27°C

While having heated resin is a true blessing, it was also something I needed to factor into my 3D printing proces. Resin needs different exposure time depending how hot or cold it is. This means when I start my printed it needs more exposure per layer than later in the print. If the difference in temperature is very big, it can cause issues and failed prints. I have begun preheating my resin (either before I put it in the vat or directly in the vat) to make sure it has almost the same temperature all the way through the print.

Cones of Calibration v2. on the Mars 3 Pro

Dialling in the Mars 3 Pro was not as much of a joy as I had hoped. While I could get my exposure dialled in pretty well, I kept getting weird anomalies in my print. After further investigation, I think it was the levelling that was slightly wrong on one side. In short, I had to be more careful when tightening the screws than I was used to on the Mars 2.

The test miniature from Tableflip Foundry. Hands are weird.
The one arm of this sad crossbowman from Tytan Troll Miniatures is paper thin. This was because of the bed levelling issue.
Because the build plate was not perfectly level, a few minis got distorted. It caused a thin film of resin to form around some minis. I printed this batch after I thought I had fixed the issue, but I had not.

After much faffing about, the prints finally came out perfect. The left side is the Mars 2 Pro with a layer height of 0.05. The right is the Mars 3 pro with a layer height of 0.035.

Left: Mars 2 Pro. Right Mars 3 Pro. Notice the detail level on the shoulder pad is slightly better.
Left: Mars 2 Pro. Right Mars 3 Pro.

Quality of the Elegoo Mars 3 (Pictures of 3D printed miniatures)

So, if we look past all the specs and stuff, how well do miniatures from the Elegoo Mars 3’s look?

Below you can find an assortment of miniatures I have printed with the Mars 3 Pro and the Mars 2 Pro. While a camera can often pick out details (and various layer lines and voxel issues), I have a hard time seeing a major difference going from the Mars 2 to the Mars 3.

So yeah, if you own a printer (with a mono screen) that you are happy with, I think upgrading to get more detail is unlikely to be worth it.

That said, there is a perceivable difference in quality, just not as big as you might expect. The quality is great, nothing bad to say really.

Notice that all of these miniatures are printed with the Elegoo Gray Standard. It is not the best resin for perfect detail, so it might be holding the Mars 3 Pro back a little. At some point I will do some tests with other resin and between printing at 0.035 layer height and 0.05 layer height and update here.

A Tytan Troll Guard printed on the Mars 3 Pro
A Tytan Troll Guard printed on the Mars 3 Pro
A Tytan Troll Guard printed on the Mars 3 Pro
A rogue printed on the Mars 2 Pro and primed white
A rogue lady printed on the Mars 2 Pro and primed white
A rogue lady printed on the Mars 2 Pro and primed white

UV light of the Mars 3 Pro

So, I am just a person printing miniatures. I do my research and I know a lot. But I have no understanding of the technical aspects of light, bleed-through and all the “feature bull” the 3D printing manufacturers want to sell you.

Elegoo will say that the light of the Mars 3’s is more consistent than earlier versions, which means that the details of your models will come out more crisp and clean.

The image about the light of the Elegoo Mars 3 on Elegoo’s site

This is what they have to say on the subject:

“Upgraded free-form surface COB lens consists of 36 highly integrated UV LED lights, paired with Fresnel lens to deliver an even beam of 405nm wavelength with 92% light uniformity for a more smooth surface finish and incredible printing quality.”

Elegoo Mars 3 Pro

That all sounds fancy and stuff, but what I care about is the visual difference of quality in a practical setting. It is hard to test, since we do not have a version of the printer and screen with the old light to test versus the new light.

So now you know as much as I know. It seems nice, but is better than competitors? No clue.

Stability of the printer

Having a stable resin 3D printer is insanely important. When printing at 0.05mm layer height and below, any wobble or drifting will cause a ton of issues. What you think is caused by the resin, the exposure or whatever might just be your printer wobbling when it prints. When your 3D printer moves to the top of the rail, wobbling can especially be a problem.

The first thing I noticed with the Mars 3 was that it was more stable when I put it on my desk. The Mars 2 Pro had these small stupid legs and it was not level when placed on a level surface. You would think you could level the legs via some sort of mechanism, but no luck.

The Mars 3 does not have this problem and seems to be level. While I do wish it had some legs I could screw up and down (old houses tend to have non-level surfaces), having it just be level is good enough.

Small feet on the Mars 2
Bottom of the Mars 3 Pro

I have not experienced any wobbling that would concern me in any way with the Mars 3. But yeah, I did not expect that to be the case, since it is a small well built printer.

Mars 3 Pro besides the Mars 2 Pro

Design of the Elegoo Mars 3 Pro & Non-pro

The Mars 3 has a more curved screen. I do not really care that much, but some think it looks cool. It is what it is. The USB slot AND the power button is on the front. Praise the gods!

On the Mars 2 Pro, we had the super janky rubber seal. It is gone on the Mars 3, which is a bit of a shame. I would rather they had just made it a proper part of the printer. The screws and nuts of the machine seem the same as my Mars 2 Pro, which means it is sturdy enough.

It seems the same grease/oil has been used for the Mars 3 as my Mars 2. I do not really care for it, as it kinda clumps up. I might have to chance it at some point.

Taking the vat out of the Mars 3 pro

The VAT comes out completely, with no tray or screw left. This makes it easier to level the machine and is a welcome change.

Notice the max fill line and the oil clumping up.
Where did this go? With the Mars 3 you do not get the bed plate angler

Weirdly enough, the janky 3D printer holder is gone. This is used to angle the build plate, to make it easier to get all of the liquid resin out before you remove models. At first I found it annoying that it was not there, because this makes it more likely that new people will have spills. But with how hot the resin gets, it is less of an issue. This is because the resin more readily falls from the plate after a finished print, making it less mandatory to angle the plate.

Using the Mars 3 Pro and ease of use features

Resin printers are, in essence, quite easy to operate. You can print good looking models and miniatures with stock settings out of the box in no time with the Mars 3. While the stock settings are conservative on some parameters, they are not conservative enough in other areas. I suggest dialling in your printer and reading one of the better guides to 3D resin printer settings.

One thing I have to say is that the manual is, like earlier versions, quite poor. Elegoo is not really helping you that much to get started.

As an example, my unit was shipped with the platform lowered all the way down. The first thing the manual says is to attach the build plate, but that was impossible without lifting the platform. And you had to find out how to lift the platform another place in the manual. Small things like that do not make a great experience for a first time buyers.

While the manual is technically correct, there are some issues with naming things wrong, not saying things in the right order, not mentioning things that can be important, having the wrong images in the manual and so on. It is not as bad as on my Mars 1 (where the manual was totally wrong), but it is just not good enough.

This printer is very bare bones in ease of use features. It has the “clean tank” feature, which is great to have, but other than that nothing to really help you out. Elegoo is also not doing you any favours with their “test print” and gives you no help with dialling in the printer.

You have to find other sources of information, and while they are readily available (and some are great), if you want help straight from the manufacturer, Elegoo is not the place. I would look at something like the Prusa resin printer if you are looking for handholding and great support directly from the manufacturer.

Build Plate of the Mars 3 Pro and levelling

At first I thought it was the same build plate as on the Mars 2 Pro, but it is not. It is sanded somewhat and has a good texture. On my Mars 2 Pro, I had to lower my bottom exposure /burn in layers significantly to avoid having them stick insanely well to build plate. On the Mars 3 Pro I do not have to lower them that much. Minis still stick well, but not too well.

I found it was easier to dial in my burn layers / bottom layers to make sure they were easy to get off the plate but still stuck enough to give me no failed print.

Levelling

There is no fancy auto levelling, but the classic style where you you unscrew the nuts, use a piece of paper, home the printer, tighten the nuts, move the printer up a bit and set home.

I have had some issues with the nuts on the build plate. If I screw them too tight, the build plate is not level. I can feel the right side of the build plate puts more tension on the paper when levelling. If I do not screw them tight enough, the build plate gets loose when I take prints of it. I think this is the root cause for all of the issues I had with dialling in the printer. It might just be my machine, but it is an issue that I did not have on the Mars 2.

After measuring and looking at what happens, it looks like my build plate is very slightly bent. I put a very small extra sliver of paper on the right side where the issue was and this made it almost perfectly level.

This might sound like a big issue, but Elegoo build plates are usually built very well. A quick search confirms I am not the only that has had this problem, but it is not a common issue.

I wish we would see more auto-level functions from Elegoo and the other manufacturers (as they are beginning to show up in resin printers), but this time was not it. I think instead of some carbon stuff and anti-scratch, auto levelling would be a good “pro feature” instead.

Maybe white is not the best colour for a thing that gets smushed with black carbon?

Active Carbon filter of the Mars 3 Pro

Elegoo made a big hullabaloo about the active carbon filter of the Mars 2 Pro. Sadly, it was all hype. The active carbon filter was inside the machine, but that carbon needs to be changed out after a few months. There was no way of doing that without seriously opening the machine up.

Thankfully, the carbon filter on the Mars 3 Pro is now outside the machine, but still inside the cover. While it is neat that the filter is powered by the machine, there is no big difference between that and the standalone batteri power carbon filter.

The active carbon will help reduce some fumes and some odour from your 3D printing. But the resin is still toxic as hell, so please do not believe this suddenly means you can print inside your house without some sort of ventilation. Just because you cannot smell it, does not mean the air is not toxic. I wish Elegoo would be a bit more upfront with that.

The noise of the Mars 3

Be aware: I am extremely aware of noises, so even just the pitch things annoy me.

Just like with my other Mars machines, the fans come blaring on the instant you turn on the machine. I hate that there is no feature to just turn it on when it is needed, but that is sadly standard in the consumer resin printers.

The fans on the Mars 3 are certainly not silent and are quite noisy in my ears. The pitch is a bit better than my Mars 2, where the volume changes slightly every few seconds the printer is running.

You can audibly hear the motor when the printer goes up and down. There is less noise from the FEP when the build plate sucks off the model, but maybe it is just because the FEP is quite new and not as loose as on my other printers.

Standing very close to the printer it emits something like 30DB from the fans and about 40DB when the motor moves every few seconds. It is certainly not something I would like to sit beside.

The noise from the fans can easily be blocked by good noise cancellation headphones. If you have music on it will also cover the motor noise.

But my suggestion is that the printer should be in a place where you cannot hear it. Both from an audio perspective, but also with regard to toxicity.

Shipping and the package of the Elegoo Mars 3 Pro

As with all my Elegoo products, it was shipped carefully and with a ton of foam. Unlike with FDM printers, resin printers like this come fully assembled.

There are no wires to attach or anything that can go wrong. While I find the amount of foam and wrap to be slightly wasteful, I respect that I got my machine without anything being broken or knocked loose.

Touchscreen

We have to touch on the touchscreen for a bit. It is what it is really. It has colour this time around, which is nice I guess. You will be pressing it so little that it does not really matter that it is one of those touch screens that feels awful to touch. The UI is okay, but not amazing.

Speed of the Mars 3

My fully dialled in Mars 3 Pro takes between 2.5 – 4.5 hours to print 32mm miniatures at a 0.035 layer height and with conservative settings tuned for getting consistent successful prints. It all depends on how big the tallest point is.

I found the printer to be able to print quite fast, while still getting successful prints. I buy the argument that printing reliably and successfully is faster than trying to tweak settings to go ultra-fast and risk failed prints. This is because failed prints take a lot of time to clean up, can damage your printer, is wasted time/resources and just annoy me very much.

But the Mars 3’s support the option of using “Two Stage Motion Control” (TSMC). This means you can set a slow setting for one part of the Lift Speed and Retract Speed and a faster speed for the later part of the movement, where slow movement is less critical. All you need to know is that you are getting the best of both worlds: conservative/slow settings without sacrificing that much speed of print. I love it!

Just a fun anecdote: printing the same file and using almost the same settings on my Mars 2 Pro and Mars 3 Pro, they were done at almost exactly the same time. But the Mars 2 Pro was printing at a layer height of 50 microns and the Mars 3 Pro was printing at a layer height of 35 microns and taking advantage of TSMC settings. For me, that is amazing.

Odour and toxicity of the Elegoo Mars 3 Pro

This is a bit of a pet peeve of mine, but I think it is just that important. I have a hard time understanding how 3D printing manufacturers can sell resin printers and resin without better guidelines on handling this super toxic stuff.

In the manual it says to wash prints in IPA, to use the printer indoors and to avoid direct sunlight, to wear a mask and gloves before using and to avoid direct skin contact.

On the bottle of resin, it says to wear gloves and a mask when using + various warning signs.

All of these statements are true, but so much is left unsaid. If you are just starting out: read up a lot on this topic, as it is very likely you do not have a suitable environment for printing resin miniatures. Be sure before you buy a printer! I think companies like Elegoo should be better at giving good guidelines for how to set up a ventilated printing area, the process of handling resin and the process of getting rid of the waste. But all that is an article for another day.


The contents of the box

Extra supplies in the box

The Mars 3’s comes with a very standard and boring array of supplies and utilities. This is what you get in the box:

Besides the printer the box includes:

  • Power cord
  • The classic blue nippers (actually okay)
  • Extra screws and tools
  • USB dongle (low quality and should be changed)
  • 2 masks (you should use something better)
  • Some nitrile gloves
  • Plastic scraper (pretty bad and you should use something better)
  • Metal scrapper (kinda bad)
  • Paper funnels
  • A small cup
  • Extra FEP for the vat

Upon arrival, I would put both scrapers, the mask and the USB drive in a drawer and forget about them. The masks are not nearly enough protection, and by providing them Elegoo is sort of stating that it is. The plastic scrapper is not good enough to use on the build plate and I would never put that thing near the FEP. Some like the metal scrappers, but I do not want to gauge my build plate.

The USB drive is the worst because it causes failed prints without people realising that it is hurting them. I used it for this test (had no spare), but this happened at my fourth print on the Mars 2

USB drive fail on the Mars 2 Pro

I understand that cheap supplies keep the cost of the machine down, but I would rather get nothing or pay more and get stuff that is ready to throw out upon arrival.

Release date of the Elegoo Mars 3 Pro

The Elegoo Mars 3 was released in Summer 2022 and Mars 3 Pro was released Fall 2022.

Differences between the Mars 2 Pro and the Mars 3’s

If you are looking at upgrading from the Mars 2 Pro to one of the Mars 3’s, here is what you need to know:

  • Build volume will go up slightly
  • XY resolution will go from 50 microns to 35 microns
  • The PPI is better
  • Build quality is overall the same, with some minor improvements
  • Vat comes off completely on the Mars 3 and is a designed in a different way

But overall they will operate in very much the same way. What you should decide is if the jump in quality is worth it to you. If you are trying to decide between getting a Mars 2 Pro or a Mars 3 version, I would go with the Mars 3 non-pro. The price difference is so small that the jump in quality is well worth it.

Difference between Mars 3 Pro and Mars 3 non-pro

The two machines are almost identical. Here are the extras on the Mars 3 Pro:

  • Anti-scratch screen
  • Anti carbon filter

Some say the FEP has changed, but it looks like it is only a name change.

Me in full protective gear, but also slightly miffed that I paid more for my Mars 2 Pro a year ago than I can get a Mars 3 Pro for today.

When will the Elegoo Mars 3 Pro be outdated?

It will be a few years before this totally gets outclassed. I think the Mars 4 will be a slight upgrade, but not the big jump in quality we have seen from the Mars 2 to the Mars 3. Overall, I think the market is settling on 4k being entry-level and 8k being premium for these smaller-class printers.

The competition will likely shift to focus on other features than pure specs. Maybe DLP printing will become standard for miniatures and detail, we will see.

But I think the Mars 3 series is a very safe purchase in terms of not feeling like you bought in at the wrong time.

How does the Elegoo Mars 3’s stack up against other similar sized 3D printers

At this price point, I think value for money is super important. These types of printers are likely to be first time 3D resin printer purchases, so there is no reason to make the entry into printing cost more than it should. So let us compare the Mars 3’s with similar sized printers. You can sort the table yourself, depending on what you want to know.

PrinterStoreImage of printerScreen Resolution (px)Screen Size (Inch)PPIXY resolution (μm)Build Volume (XYZ, LWH mm)Seen for $
Elegoo Mars 3StoreElegoo Mars 34098 x 2560 px6.673235143 x 89 x 175$209
Elegoo Mars 3 ProStoreElegoo Mars 3 Pro4098 x 25606.673235143 x 89 x 175300
Elegoo Mars 2 ProStoreELEGOOMars2Pro-21620 x 2560 px6.0849850129 x 80 x 160$160
Phrozen Sonic Mini 4kStorePhrozen-Sonic-Mini-4k3840 x 21606.172435135 x 75 x 130400
Phrozen Sonic Mini 8kStorePhrozen-Sonic-Mini-8k7500 x 32407.1115022165 x 72 x 180700
Anycubic Photon Mono 4kStorePhoton Mono 4k3,840 x 2,400 px6.2372735132 x 80 x 165$190
Anycubic Photon M3StoreAnycubic Photon M34096 x 25607.663540 164 x 102 x 180260

I have studied the current 3D printer market quite heftily, especially at this price point and size of printer. Unless you want to go with an 8K printer from Phrozen, Mars 3 will give you the best PPI and the same XY resolution as the other printers. For miniatures printers, that is want you want.

The Mars 3 has a smaller build volume than the Anycubic M3, but that printer has a lower PPI and only 40 micron pixel size.

With regards to price, the price of the Mars 3 non-pro at $200 ish (depending on the sale) seems too good to be true. Unless you go with a 2k printer, only the Anycubic 4k rivals that price. And the Anycubic 4k has lower specs all around and is in older machine.

So yeah, the Mars 3 compares very favourably to the competition here. This is also why I have deemed it the “best 3D printer overall“, since it is the best printer in the entry level/small printer bracket.

The same thing cannot be said for the pro version of the Mars 3. You will have to decide if the small set of extra features warrants the price jump for you.

If you think the build plate is too small, I think you should get the Saturn 2 instead. If you feel like the detail is not on the level you would like, get either the Phrozen 8k Mini or Anycubics DLP D2 printer.

Is the Mars 3 Pro and non-pro worth it?

The Mars 3 is hands down the best buck for buck resin 3D printer you can buy right now. It is easy to use and it focuses on being a great 3D resin printer without costly features. It beats the competition in the important aspects while being one of the cheapest options. The Mars 3 is a real value pick, and value for money is something I would strongly consider if I was starting out my own resin 3D printing adventure anew.

The Mars 3 Pro is a bit of a different case. I think the features are overcosted, but it is likely just because the Mars 3 non-pro seems to be so well priced. Only get the Mars 3 pro instead of the non-pro if you really like that anti-stratch screen. Next time elegoo, why not give us wifi and auto bed leveling on the pro version?

Elegoo Mars 3 Resin Printer

Best entry-level printer

The Elegoo Mars 3 (non-pro version) is a super value resin printer that consistently prints high-quality miniatures – even for beginners. Getting a modern 4k printer for this price is an insane value.

Elegoo Mars 3 Pro Resin Printer

Best entry-level printer with extras

The same great printer as the Mars 3, but with an anti-scratch screen and built in carbon filter

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