Up to this point, we have mainly talked about FDM 3D printers, FDM meaning fused deposition modeling (basically layering molten thermoplastics on top of one another). While those are some of the more popular 3D printers on the market, some printers use UV curing resin to build layers on top of one another. These printers use technologies such as SLA (Stereolithography), MSLA (Masked stereolithography), and DLP (Digital light processing). The printer we’re reviewing today, the Creality Halot-One, is an MSLA printer that uses an LCD screen as a masked layer to only cure the specific pixels displayed.
Straight out of the box, the Halot-One is practically fully assembled, besides the need to screw on the build plate. The packaging was really nice and has always been positive with Creality printers. There was plenty of foam padding around the printer, and the included parts in the box.
In the box, besides the printer, there was a paint scraper, an instruction manual, 6 sheets of FEP film for the vat of resin, a brush, some Allen wrenches, a 16Gb USB drive, a power cable, and some paper filters for draining the resin vat. Besides resin and the necessary safety equipment, this is practically all you’ll really need while printing. The paint scraper included was nice, it was sharp enough to be effective when removing objects from the build plate. Everything included seemed to be high enough quality as to not pose any future issues.
The USB drive included has the Halot Box slicer pre-installed, which is Creality’s slicer for the printer. This is apparently only the Windows version, though it seems that they are coming out with a Mac version in the future. The USB drive also has a test print, a video, and a PDF of the instruction manual on it.
The instruction manual included gives a general overview of the parts provided, like what the marks on the vat mean, how to use the software, how to use the machine, etc. It is decent enough at showing you how to start printing and telling you what replacement parts to buy (in the case of the FEP film). It also includes a nice diagram of the mainboard and even shows where everything is plugged in, such as the cooling fan or the power supply.
It even includes a short list of different types of resin and gives a lot of good information about each of them, such as tensile strength and the heat distortion temperature. What is slightly irrelevant is the information about FDM filaments and their printing temperatures and bed temperatures you should use with them.
An important fact missing from the instruction manual is that you should not inhale the fumes produced by the resin or get the resin in your eyes. You should always wear a mask and eye protection while working with resin. They did mention, however, not to get the resin in contact with your skin as it can irritate it, or even cause an allergic reaction.
Before we get into how the printer functions, we need to talk about the software that comes with it. Creality actually includes a slicer made for their line of resin printers called Halot Box. When starting up this software, you are treated to a license agreement entirely in Chinese. I know most people don’t read these, but it would be nice to at least see what it is saying before agreeing blindly to it.
This slicer exports .cxdlp files which are proprietary to Creality printers. These files store no information about print settings, that is all done on the machine itself through the menu system.
At first glance, it’s just a basic bare-bones slicer that works for your slicing needs until you try and slice a model that you add supports to. When you do this, the model moves off the print surface, basically meaning the printer starts printing in thin air. This was corrected in an update to the software that you can get to by navigating to the menu in the top left and hitting the update button. While this was easy to fix for us, there was no prompt for an update when the program was started.
Other than that, the slicer seems to have pretty decent options to customize how you want it to slice your model. The options you get are to open a file, move, scale, rotate, clone, add support, drill, and print (This is in order from top to bottom in the menu to the left of the picture above). This may not be the most advanced slicer, but it did the job well in most cases. it seems that wireless printing through the Halot Box slicer also works.
Once we figured out the slicer, we wanted to see how well the app worked with the printer. As of now, the printer wouldn’t connect to the app by any means. The printer was connected to the same network that was used with the phone and we scanned the QR code that it asked us to. This didn’t work, and instead, gave an error. We then manually typed in the ID of the printer into the app, and it still didn’t connect. It seems that there is no app support now, but that doesn’t mean it won’t come in the future. But just as fair warning, it isn’t working currently at this time.
Creality promises OTA updates with this printer. While that isn’t false, it isn’t true straight out of the box. In the upgrade menu in system settings, all that is displayed is the local upgrade option. You need to upgrade the firmware with either the USB drive or with a PC hardwired to the printer to be able to use OTA updates. Honestly, this is just a minor inconvenience as you essentially just drag and drop the update file into the USB drive and then go to the local upgrade menu and hit update when the screen prompts you to. Once this is done, OTA updates should work perfectly fine.
So now that we’re past software, let’s get to the hardware. The printer itself has a USB Type-A port for transferring files such as printable files or firmware. Right below it is a USB type-B port for hooking up the printer directly to an external computer for either hardwired printing or updating firmware.
According to their shop page, it also has a custom heat sink for the quad-core ARM Cortex-M4 processor and an activated carbon filter in line with the cooling fan to mitigate some of the fumes produced by the resin.
Their site says “Auto-leveling: Easy manual leveling” which means there is a leveling button in the menu that drops the plate down, but you have to manually level it from there. Manual leveling isn’t nearly as large a hassle on this printer as it is on filament printers. You just drop the build plate down on a piece of paper then tighten a few hex screws, and you’re done. You can learn more about this in the video at the end of this review.
The Halot-One uses an array of UV LEDs underneath a 5.96″ LCD. The display is monochrome and has a resolution of 2560 x 1620 and, from Creality’s site, it apparently has an integral light source as a UV backlight. After some brief confusion followed by some Googling, it seems this means that it uses lenses between the LEDs and the mirror that reflects the light up to the resin to get a more even spread (At least I think that’s what it means by “formed by the optical principle of reflection + refraction”). This is supposed to be superior to other printer designs that do not incorporate lenses and just use LEDs and a mirror. From their advertising, it seems that this is so efficient, that up to five of the LEDs could stop working and it would still print well.
But those are just specs, how well does it print? Well, it prints quite decently from our tests. With the few days I’ve messed around with this printer, I’ve grown quite fond of it. The resolution of the printer is quite good for making highly detailed models such as busts or mini-figures (for D&D or otherwise). As was previously stated, the hardware is actually quite good and makes it a fun printer to mess around with.
While the printer may work well, it is not without faults. When you press the pause button, the print platform does NOT rise. Unlike FDM printing where the object is practically always visible, the vat obscures a good portion of your print for a good portion of time (from my tests, around 2-3 hours). This is the reason that most resin printer’s print beds rise when you pause, so you can either check if the print is actually printing or refill the vat on a large print. Without this feature, this printer can waste a lot of your time trying to diagnose failed prints and restarting.
Overall, this is a printer with great hardware, but software that seems unfinished in some places. I assume that Creality will fix these issues in the near future, especially since at this time it has only been released for a few months. But until then, some glaring issues would need to be fixed before this printer will become a true competitor as a budget resin printer. Overall, I’d either wait for this printer’s software to improve or go with another option.
Firmware update for Halot-One (Just navigate to the resin printers section and to the Halot-One)
Machine size: 221*221*404mm
Print size: 127*80*160mm
Machine noise: < 60dB
leveling: machine assisted manual leveling
Machine Weight: 7.1kg
Package Weight: 8.8kg
Input voltage: 100-240V
Power Output: 24V, 1.3A
Package size: 295*295*545mm
Power supply: 100W
XY-axis precision: 0.01-0.05mm
UI style: Creality UI Style
Processor: ARM Cortex-M4
Connectivity: WI-FI, USB type-A, and type-B
Front Display: 5″ color touch screen
Printing Display: 2560 x 1620 monochrome display
Are you a manufacturer or distributor that would like us to test something out for review? Contact us and we can let you know where to send the product and we will try it out.
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