Top Picks - Resin Printers 2023

2023 is the year of accessibility. Model car builders everywhere are cashing in on amazing deals and getting printing!
Whether you are looking to buy your first 3D printer or upgrade to a newer machine, the following article will direct you to exactly the printer for you.
While new printer introductions have been few and far between so far this year, the current offerings from all the main manufacturers are top-quality machines. Screen resolutions seem to have plateaued for now, hovering around 4K for most small machines and 8K for midsize machines. Interestingly enough, the largest machines (12.8+ screens) have a wide range of resolutions and often trade size for overall detail.
Wading through all of the specifications can be confusing, so this article takes the hassle out of buying a printer. The following printers are our 2023 top picks for resin 3D printers for model car and truck 3D printing.
Model car and truck builders want a printer that will deliver extremely sharp detail and a quality surface finish. Hassle-free printing and print size are two other important considerations.
If you're looking for a new 3D printer for your model car and truck builds, look no further than our updated Resin 3D Printer Recommendations for Model Car and Truck 3D Printing:
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Small But Detailed
Want to print mostly 1/24 - 1/25 scale motors, wheels, diorama parts, and other details? These resin 3D printers will reproduce every fine detail you can throw their way.
Our Top Pick
Anycubic Photon Mono 4K
  • Anycubic Photon Mono 4K
    The printer we love so much here in The Garage, that we've owned 3. The 6.23" build plate offers decent space for printing parts. The 4K, high-contrast ratio screen prints exceptional detail, especially when paired with a high-resolution resin.
  • Pros:
    Unbeatable price
    Very high resolution and contrast ratio make for very sharp prints
  • Cons:
    Plastic body and vat construction feel cheaper than other offerings.
    Proprietary FEP films with built-in frames are more expensive to replace.

Elegoo Mars 3 Pro
  • Elegoo Mars 3 Pro
    Elegoo's latest offering in the venerable Mars line carries on the family tradition of well-built, robust machines. The Mars 3 Pro features the same 35 micron resolution as the Photon Mono 4K for sharp prints, but adds a metal vat, slightly larger build volume and air filtration to reduce odor.
  • Pros:
    Largest build area in its class.
    The Mars line is legendary for its robust, reliable build quality.
    Elegoo customer service is among the best
  • Cons:
    Price point $100+ over the Mono 4K
    Some users have stated the Mars 3 Pro is noisier than most resin 3D printers.
Budget Buy
Elegoo Mars 2
  • Elegoo Mars 2
    Want to get printing with printer, resin, tools, and cleaner for less than $200 all-in? This is your best bet. The 2K screen won't match the details of the 4K machines, but while supplies last, Elegoo is selling this solid printer for just $120.
  • Pros:
    Can't-be-beat price
    Well built machine
    2K screen gives decent level of detail
  • Cons:
    2K screen can't match the ultra-fine details of newer printers
    Print area smaller than newer printers
Mighty Midsize Machines
If you are looking to print small detailed parts AND full 1/24 - 1/25 scale bodies, look no further than these resin 3D printers.
Our Top Pick
Elegoo Saturn 2
  • Elegoo Saturn 2
    With Elegoo's latest midsize printer, there's no more choosing between resolution and build area. The 8K screen offers a large build envelope AND 28.5 micron resolution for truly stunning details. Extra Z Axis height allows the printing of large bodies, and dual Z Axis rails keep the build plate steady on tall prints.
  • Pros:
    Fresnel lens and 64 LEDs make for consistent prints edge-to-edge.
    Typical Elegoo build quality
    Built-in air purifier and scratch-resistant glass screen protector
  • Cons:
    Small-ish touchscreen for controls
    Early reports of some teething problems for the new printer. These issues should be sorted by now.
Anycubic Photon M3 Premium
  • Anycubic Photon M3 Premium
    The replacement for one of our favorites last year, the new Anycubic M3 Premium boasts nearly identical specifications as the Saturn 2. New upgraded light source improves print consistency. This one falls just short of the top spot because the Elegoo feels just a little bit more, well, premium
  • Pros:
    Dual air purifiers
    Sharp and roomy 10", 8K screen
    Large touchscreen makes using the interface a breeze.
  • Cons:
    Anycubic's standard 4-bolt leveling system doesn't have the ease of Elegoo's ball-joint arrangement.
    Weighs 41 pounds (19 kg)
Budget Buy
Elegoo Saturn
  • Elegoo Saturn
    If you're looking to print 1/24 - 1/25 scale model car bodies and detail parts with good resolution and a low price tag, look no further. The original 4K Saturn is a workhorse.
  • Pros:
    Great price for a midsize machine
    Solid construction
    Enough build area for 1/24 scale and 1/25 scale model car bodies
  • Cons:
    4K screen down on resolution compared to newer machines
    Some machines exhibit distortion right near the build plate
Large Format Printers
Looking to print large scale model car and truck bodies (1/18 scale and larger)? You will need one of these 3 machines.
Our Top Pick
Phrozen Sonic Mega 8K
  • Phrozen Sonic Mega 8K
    If you're going to go big, go big all the way, right? This beast of a machine from Phrozen combines a giant 15" screen and 15.75" Z Axis height, with a very sharp 8K screen delivering a resolution of 43 microns - a resolution that approaches those of such detail powerhouses as the Mono 4K and Mars 3 Pro.
  • Pros:
    Massive build area makes even large-scale bodies possible.
    Factory-leveled build plate means you can unbox and start printing.
    Whisper-quiet cooling fans
  • Cons:
    Long print times, necessitated by slow lift speeds
    Weight - the Mega 8K weighs over 80 pounds fully loaded.
Elegoo Jupiter
  • Elegoo Jupiter
    Elegoo's large-format printer is no slouch either. Compared to the Mega 8K, it has a smaller screen, a shorter Z Axis, and lower resolution, but its price tag is $1000 less. Its 6K screen still cranks out respectable detail and it boasts faster print times too. For users who don't need every inch of the Mega's build area, the Jupiter may be the right choice in the large-format resin printer world.
  • Pros:
    Automatic resin feeding system for large prints
    Robust construction
    Large touchscreen makes using the interface a breeze.
  • Cons:
    Complicated build plate leveling procedure
    Expensive replacement parts
    6K screen provides lower resolution than Mega 8K
Budget Buy
Anycubic Photon M3 Max
  • Anycubic Photon M3 Max
    The largest of the M3 line, the Max offers high resolution (46 micron) and a slightly bigger screen than the Jupiter. It loses points for its plastic construction in a class full of all-metal bodied printers, as well as its awkward-to-handle resin vat.
  • Pros:
    Comptitive price
    Middle-of-the-pack resolution
    Large build area
  • Cons:
    Plastic construction seems cheap in this class of printers
    Unwieldy resin vat could lead to a very messy situation
Wash and Cure Stations
For the ultimate in convenience and cleanliness, a Wash and Cure Station makes light work of post-processing your prints. Here is our favorite:
Our Top Pick
Elegoo Mercury X (XS) Bundle
  • Elegoo Mercury X (XS) Bundle
    This 2-piece set features dedicated wash and cure machines, unlike many of the wash and cure stations which have both functionalities built into one machine. This allows you to wash one print while curing another and eliminates the hassle of removing the cleaning bucket to use the cure feature. The Mercury XS is a little larger - perfect for the Saturn 2.
  • Pros:
    Extra large cleaning bucket
    Separate wash and cure machines prevent accidental curing of parts before they are totally cleaned.
  • Cons:
    2 machines take up more space
    Filling the almost 2 gallon wash bucket with alcohol can be pricey.
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