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Made in us
Regular Dakkanaut





So,
You've probably heard pretty good things about the Sonic mini 4k. At least I did..

I got mine on Dec 30th. By Jan 10th, it was in a failstate.

Maybe 150ml worth of resin used.

So what failed?

The Z-axis Jammed. What jammed it?

The threads are plastic on the armature to the Z-rod. The threads were worn sharp and plastic shavings were building up in the threads. The z-axis then was able to cock and jam. It took a lot of force to manually turn the z-rod to remove the armature.

I am waiting on Phrozen's response to what we can do to remedy this as the threads are bad to the point that there would be no z-axis accuracy and the z-rod would likely crossthread and jam again soon after reassembly.

Here's the Pics. I don't have a macro so this was the best I could do.




Consummate 8th Edition Hater.  
   
Made in us
Powerful Pegasus Knight





Texas

Ugh - z-axis threading made in plastic!!!??? Maybe they were counting on lots of lube always on the threads and somehow you got one that was not properly lubricated?

My Novella Collection is available on Amazon - Action/Fantasy/Sci-Fi - https://www.amazon.com/Three-Roads-Dreamt-Michael-Leonard/dp/1505716993/

Check out REALM LORDS-For Castle and Country! - KS page: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/mdsw/realm-lords-for-castle-and-country?ref=5ra4gp&token=54b51f2f 
   
Made in us
Regular Dakkanaut





Even more it appears those threaded parts are replaceable. Though I have not heard back from Phrozen yet today. I was able to remove both threaded components.

There is a good bit of force on those threads when pulling the layer free from the PFE sheet. So all that load goes into those plastic threads.

I am still floored that they are plastic....

All that wear in such a short use time. I am starting to regret my choice in 4K printer.

Along with other issues that are annoying but fixable with a little work. The printer is flawed.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/01/11 20:55:58


Consummate 8th Edition Hater.  
   
Made in gb
Wise Ethereal with Bodyguard







I am sad for you :(

Its no fun when.your new.toy is fundamentally flawed.

Good luck to you in getting a fix. See if you can hold.out for a metal replacement screw upgrade or.something

Please excuse any spelling errors. I use a tablet frequently and software keyboards are a pain!

Terranwing - w3;d1;l1
51st Dunedinw2;d0;l0
Cadre Coronal Afterglow w1;d0;l0 
   
Made in us
Regular Dakkanaut





In this continuing saga I am going to have to make a video about this and spread the news. I don't want other's to be caught unaware.

I will state this. Phrozen is helping with the problem. But the problem should not exist in the first place. Not after 9 days of operation.

But the biggest kicker was in the most recent email.

If the stepper motor for the z-axis fails (shuts down as they call it) then it won't be warrantied.

What does that mean?

It means Phrozen's 2000 screen life warranty means squat. The motor is not covered under ANY warranty. It could die day one and you'd be stuck with a 400 dollar paperweight.

The thing is, because of the design failures in other places the z-axis motor is subject to additional strain....

So, while I am certain I will get a new sleeve bearing, how long that bearing will last is unknown and on top of that the motor is now clearly not warrantied.

I will NOT buy another Phrozen product. I've made my mistake. Don't make the same one.

The video will detail the problems and certain fixes that can be done. I've considered asking for a dimensioned drawing of what they called the T-Plate so that I can have a superior one cut for about 120 bucks by a local precision machinist which will include metal bearings to replace the plastic part. But still. Honestly. When I opened up the printer I was further surprised to see that the front touch screen was held in place with more of that heavy electrical tape they used to seal the top of the screen. It wasn't placed in the nice and clean way the placed the tape on top. I twas just sort of haphazardly attached.
The pluses of the Phrozen were it's screen warranty and it's aluminum vat. But all of that pales in comprasion to the other issues and problems, even the solvable ones that show an underlying design problem.

Consummate 8th Edition Hater.  
   
Made in us
Powerful Pegasus Knight





Texas

I can only speak for Elegoo resin printers, of which I have a 3rd gen original Mars - That means any serious bugs from the 1st gen should have been worked out.

The result? I am ecstatic with the performance and the reliability of this machine. Elegoo understandably do not provide warranty on the FEP film or LCD screen, but the rest of the machine has a 1 yr warranty. I bought my machine off of Amazon and after about 3-4 weeks of HEAVY use, my LCD went bad. Elegoo customer service sent me one free of charge. However, if any motor went out within that year, I am sure they would send a new one and help with the install, as these are fairly simple machines when it comes right down to it.

I have gone through a few more LCD screens, but in my estimation from some games I have been producing from a KS I did and other personal/Friend games, I have almost 1,000 print runs on my Mars and I am on my 4th LCD screen - well within acceptable life standards, so I am happy.

Maybe you should cut your losses and not pay to have additional pieces manufactured, but get it back together with original parts so it is all OE and maybe sell it - take the money and buy one of the Elegoo printers. This is what I did when I first started with my FDM A8 clone - did a alot of mods and then sold it to get a Creality Ender 3 Pro - the difference was night and day, as the Ender is about the best FDM printer in the low-cost range.

FYI - The Mars I have has an aluminum vat and a super clean design and solid build plate.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/01/12 21:07:23


My Novella Collection is available on Amazon - Action/Fantasy/Sci-Fi - https://www.amazon.com/Three-Roads-Dreamt-Michael-Leonard/dp/1505716993/

Check out REALM LORDS-For Castle and Country! - KS page: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/mdsw/realm-lords-for-castle-and-country?ref=5ra4gp&token=54b51f2f 
   
Made in us
Regular Dakkanaut





 MDSW wrote:
I can only speak for Elegoo resin printers, of which I have a 3rd gen original Mars - That means any serious bugs from the 1st gen should have been worked out.

The result? I am ecstatic with the performance and the reliability of this machine. Elegoo understandably do not provide warranty on the FEP film or LCD screen, but the rest of the machine has a 1 yr warranty. I bought my machine off of Amazon and after about 3-4 weeks of HEAVY use, my LCD went bad. Elegoo customer service sent me one free of charge. However, if any motor went out within that year, I am sure they would send a new one and help with the install, as these are fairly simple machines when it comes right down to it.

I have gone through a few more LCD screens, but in my estimation from some games I have been producing from a KS I did and other personal/Friend games, I have almost 1,000 print runs on my Mars and I am on my 4th LCD screen - well within acceptable life standards, so I am happy.

Maybe you should cut your losses and not pay to have additional pieces manufactured, but get it back together with original parts so it is all OE and maybe sell it - take the money and buy one of the Elegoo printers. This is what I did when I first started with my FDM A8 clone - did a alot of mods and then sold it to get a Creality Ender 3 Pro - the difference was night and day, as the Ender is about the best FDM printer in the low-cost range.

FYI - The Mars I have has an aluminum vat and a super clean design and solid build plate.



Isn't the Mars only 2K printer. The Saturn is the 4k model. How are reports on the Saturn?

Consummate 8th Edition Hater.  
   
Made in us
Dakka Veteran




Seattle, WA USA

Yes, the Saturn is a 4k model, but its build plate is significantly larger than the Phrozen Sonic Mini 4K, so its x-y resolution is actually more equivalent to the Mars of about 50 microns (the Sonic Mini 4K is 37 microns).

So far, I haven't had any issues with my new SM4K, but it also hasn't gone through a lot of prints yet.
   
Made in us
Regular Dakkanaut





 Valander wrote:
Yes, the Saturn is a 4k model, but its build plate is significantly larger than the Phrozen Sonic Mini 4K, so its x-y resolution is actually more equivalent to the Mars of about 50 microns (the Sonic Mini 4K is 37 microns).

So far, I haven't had any issues with my new SM4K, but it also hasn't gone through a lot of prints yet.


Neither have I. less than 150ML worth of resin used and the plastic threads cross-threaded and were wrecked.

Did you do the tape-mod that is recommended for proper leveling?

From what I am hearing from others is that the Phrozen mini 4k seems to be having a QC problem. Some seem great. Some, not so great. Mine was great until suddenly it wasn't.

The lack of a motor warranty bothered me greatly. To quote the support team's canned answers..

"Mostly we provide this part for replace, but it your z motor shut down, we can not cover the warranty.

Hope my answer helps. If you need more info, please reply to this email. We will be in assistance shortly."

We are on the fourth email in the chain now, each one takes a whole day since Taiwan is literally on the opposite side of the world from me. So they email me at about 10:30-11pm my time and I respond in the morning and then at 10:30-11PM I will get the next response.

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Made in us
Dakka Veteran




Seattle, WA USA

I didn't do any special tape-mod, no, and I also didn't have any issues leveling. I know that on some early models I had heard that the build plate's clamp seemed to be too tight so it took extra force to get it loose enough to level, but mine seemed fine and didn't need any extra force.

I had heard decent things about the original Sonic Mini, but it does seem that some of the early batches of the Mini 4k do have some QC issues. There was certainly a high demand for them, so it's unfortunate they seem a bit rushed out, and some seem to be having issues.

Best of luck!
   
Made in us
Regular Dakkanaut





 Valander wrote:
I didn't do any special tape-mod, no, and I also didn't have any issues leveling. I know that on some early models I had heard that the build plate's clamp seemed to be too tight so it took extra force to get it loose enough to level, but mine seemed fine and didn't need any extra force.

I had heard decent things about the original Sonic Mini, but it does seem that some of the early batches of the Mini 4k do have some QC issues. There was certainly a high demand for them, so it's unfortunate they seem a bit rushed out, and some seem to be having issues.

Best of luck!


I got mine on December 30th. So it's not an early batch. It broke 9 days into use. The QC problems are an ongoing problem.

The problem isn't an "early or late". The screen is above the height of the top of the machine. So your vat isn't actually resting fully on the top of the printer but on the screen. Its a small thing but it puts a lot of extra stress on the FEP as the screen is pressing up on the FEP film. Its a design flaw for the Sonic Mini 4k.

The fix is pretty easy. You find a tape that is the right thickness to cover the height difference and replace the black tape that is already there. You can then actually properly level the build plate.. not that the build plate is not level but the vat and FEP being bowed upwards is making for a bad mix. The height above the top of the screen isn't consistent. Mine happened to be exactly two layers of my artists tape, so that works out.
I'd take extra care in lubing your Z-rod because by the time you notice you have an issue it will be jammed from crossthreading. Which can burn out your motor if you don't pay attention.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/01/13 00:31:39


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Made in us
Powerful Pegasus Knight





Texas

I would think Phrozen would step up and correct an obvious quality problem in their product before you (ahem) blow this up all over the internet, facebook and print forums (ahem)... and their sales take a serious nosedive.

My Novella Collection is available on Amazon - Action/Fantasy/Sci-Fi - https://www.amazon.com/Three-Roads-Dreamt-Michael-Leonard/dp/1505716993/

Check out REALM LORDS-For Castle and Country! - KS page: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/mdsw/realm-lords-for-castle-and-country?ref=5ra4gp&token=54b51f2f 
   
Made in us
Regular Dakkanaut





 MDSW wrote:
I would think Phrozen would step up and correct an obvious quality problem in their product before you (ahem) blow this up all over the internet, facebook and print forums (ahem)... and their sales take a serious nosedive.

So far it's all been a 24 hour cycle for responses so since it broke it has been back and forth with them thanks to the hours difference between Taiwan and where I live.

But yeah. I am going to blow this up. Regardless. It happened. It's almost been a week of back and forth with them and then.. when am I going to get the parts? Who knows. Mail isn't exactly reliable in the USA right now. A week more, if I am lucky. So I get product mis-delivered (not their fault, was Fedex. I live on a road that is not properly surveyed), I get it 24h later from my neighbor who they left it with. I set it up and then get started printing on the 1st.. by the 9th it had failed. From then it was a weekend so wait till monday to hear back then play e-mail tag.

Its a part that shouldn't have failed. I had heard after mine shipped that there had been QC issues and at first I was happy. But as I read about the engineering flaws.. and then about the fact that motor isn't warrantied. Also the time-scale between problem and likely another week to two weeks to receive parts, a month has then passed.

It's just unacceptable. If it had failed after heavy use, hey, wear happens. Even "early wear". But having threads strip out and jam up after 8 days of sporadic printing. Yeah. There will be a youtube video and I have been in contact with other large following youtubers and who will link my video outbound. So, horse has already left the barn. There is little they could do at this point to restore my confidence. I am sure the printer will work again, but for how long? Realistically?

They said that the plastic threads are not sacrificial.. ok, so then why use plastic (the use of a sacrificial part in engineering is to enable a failure to not destroy more expensive and difficult to replace components, in this case the z-rod and motor are more expensive and harder to replace than the thread-sleeves which are plastic kept in axial accuracy -backlash for the machinists among us- through a pressure spring on the inside.. so by definition, a sacrificial part that protects the threads on the z-rod and the motor).

I am going to go over the failures, the slow nature of comms (simply a matter of no domestic support), the reports on the net on QC problems. My own experience. The mods to make it better. But I will wait till this story completes.

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Made in us
Member of the Malleus






Sorry to hear about this. I was really looking forward to getting this printer because of the pixel density of the screen. I'm seeing lots of QC issues though so I am holding off for now.

Please be sure to post the link to your video when it is up, and thanks for sharing.

   
Made in fi
Focused Fire Warrior






I too strated researching 3D printers and this specific model was recommended in some "best 3D printers in 2020" article. Hard to believe that a Taiwanese company dropped the ball like that on motor warranty and using plastic parts. The product is undoubtedly built to a very aggressive price point.

Hope you get your machine sorted out!
   
Made in us
Powerful Pegasus Knight





Texas

It is not uncommon for machines well into their production life-cycle move to other production methods to keep the older tech still competitively priced. The threads may have only recently been replaced with plastic.

My Novella Collection is available on Amazon - Action/Fantasy/Sci-Fi - https://www.amazon.com/Three-Roads-Dreamt-Michael-Leonard/dp/1505716993/

Check out REALM LORDS-For Castle and Country! - KS page: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/mdsw/realm-lords-for-castle-and-country?ref=5ra4gp&token=54b51f2f 
   
Made in us
[DCM]
Longtime Dakkanaut





That's unfortunate to hear. I have several Phrozen printers and have never really had much of an issue with them.

If you're not, you should be in the Phrozen facebook group (which is their official support forum). Posting this kind of thing can get a turn around in supports behavior as the executives of the company do read stuff there from time to time as I've seen them make announcements about permanent changes to their warranty support, for the better, based off of posts. https://www.facebook.com/groups/Phrozen3DPENG

This message was edited 3 times. Last update was at 2021/01/14 18:19:39


 
   
Made in fi
Focused Fire Warrior






I found a video review about this unit and some of its potential issues in design:

https://youtu.be/RTUhHnlZ6-8

Would you say this review is accurate in its assesment? This model is one of the few 4K resin printers with a small plate, so if it really is a bit of a fail, that's really disappointing.. Many of the other 4K printers I have checked out all have big plates and therefore output lower rez.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/01/14 21:09:10


 
   
Made in us
Regular Dakkanaut





 tauist wrote:
I found a video review about this unit and some of its potential issues in design:

https://youtu.be/RTUhHnlZ6-8

Would you say this review is accurate in its assesment? This model is one of the few 4K resin printers with a small plate, so if it really is a bit of a fail, that's really disappointing.. Many of the other 4K printers I have checked out all have big plates and therefore output lower rez.



Yes. it is accurate. The screen spacing problem is easily fixed, as he says. The thin T-plate, yes it flexes.

But at it's price point, it is one of the highest resolution printers out there. The extra flex and strain on the t-plate leads to the plastic thread wear. Or in my case, utter failure almost instantly. You can see on mine the black marking which is the plastic wearing and being left behind on the z-axis screw. I've watched videos of other folks with this printer. A lot actually. All of the people with printers months older than mine have black marking (wear from the threads) visible on their z-axis screw showing that the screw is eating the threads.

I would recommend the screen and PFE fixes. I would also recommend you oil, OFTEN, the z-axis screw. The oil will slow the damage process. Won't stop it, but it will slow it. The fix to the PFE and Screen Height Issue will also reduce the strain on the screw threads and extend life, reduce chances of the horrible failure I had. It will also make prints more consistent and dimensional accurate because you will have less light bleed.

The only other change that really needs to be done to make this printer awesome is: Metal Threads and a reinforced T-Plate.

Consummate 8th Edition Hater.  
   
Made in fi
Focused Fire Warrior






 meatybtz wrote:
 tauist wrote:
I found a video review about this unit and some of its potential issues in design:

https://youtu.be/RTUhHnlZ6-8

Would you say this review is accurate in its assesment? This model is one of the few 4K resin printers with a small plate, so if it really is a bit of a fail, that's really disappointing.. Many of the other 4K printers I have checked out all have big plates and therefore output lower rez.



Yes. it is accurate. The screen spacing problem is easily fixed, as he says. The thin T-plate, yes it flexes.

But at it's price point, it is one of the highest resolution printers out there. The extra flex and strain on the t-plate leads to the plastic thread wear. Or in my case, utter failure almost instantly. You can see on mine the black marking which is the plastic wearing and being left behind on the z-axis screw. I've watched videos of other folks with this printer. A lot actually. All of the people with printers months older than mine have black marking (wear from the threads) visible on their z-axis screw showing that the screw is eating the threads.

I would recommend the screen and PFE fixes. I would also recommend you oil, OFTEN, the z-axis screw. The oil will slow the damage process. Won't stop it, but it will slow it. The fix to the PFE and Screen Height Issue will also reduce the strain on the screw threads and extend life, reduce chances of the horrible failure I had. It will also make prints more consistent and dimensional accurate because you will have less light bleed.

The only other change that really needs to be done to make this printer awesome is: Metal Threads and a reinforced T-Plate.


So it's a business opportunity for aftermarket mod developers I'd say. These printers have been selling, pretty sure almost everyone who has one of these would be interested in such a mod.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/01/16 10:11:36


 
   
Made in us
Powerful Pegasus Knight





Texas

Highly recommend white grease, or Lithium grease I believe it is called for lubricating plastic parts. Grease will stay put and not get tacky, whereas oil does not stay put and can become sticky and not useful very quickly. Some oil can also degrade the plastic.

Whatever you use, do NOT use WD-40 or the type - that lubricates immediately, but actually displaces the lubrication (oil, grease, etc.) and after a very short time you end up with less stuff lubricating your parts than when you started.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/01/19 14:21:19


My Novella Collection is available on Amazon - Action/Fantasy/Sci-Fi - https://www.amazon.com/Three-Roads-Dreamt-Michael-Leonard/dp/1505716993/

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Made in us
Regular Dakkanaut





Got the parts in yesterday and did the repair. Used my PTFE lubrication. It "bedded" the plastic threads, which means it ate a bit of them but it seems fairly stable now.

Long term? No idea. I need to add the voice overs since I am in a very "live" room and am not some Youtuber with a studio. Once that's done you guys can see it all.

Also noted that they did use some blue locktite in a few spots, which was interesting.

So the timeline so far:
Dec 30th misdelivered (not Phrozen's fault, that was on fedex)
Jan 1st Received from neighbor. Setup and get cracking.
Jan 9th, Printer Z-axis Jammed.
Jan 11th Begin Email Tag.
Jan 15th End Email Tag with Shipment.
Jan 20th Parts Received. Box was put through a shredder but parts, being mostly metal were fine.

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Made in us
Powerful Pegasus Knight





Texas

Nice you got metal parts for it and fairly quickly. Hope it works like a gem now.

My Novella Collection is available on Amazon - Action/Fantasy/Sci-Fi - https://www.amazon.com/Three-Roads-Dreamt-Michael-Leonard/dp/1505716993/

Check out REALM LORDS-For Castle and Country! - KS page: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/mdsw/realm-lords-for-castle-and-country?ref=5ra4gp&token=54b51f2f 
   
Made in fi
Focused Fire Warrior






Yes, hope its all good from here on! I want to see prints from that thing
   
Made in us
Regular Dakkanaut





 tauist wrote:
Yes, hope its all good from here on! I want to see prints from that thing


First test print failed. I need to recalibrate my exposure time. I was told that the teflon lubricant alters the UV absorbtion of the FEP and it does. First print was fine but the test cube tore free of the support which when I checked it out were soft and flexible with the "abs" like resin. Upped it by about .2s exposure in Lychee to 3.2s (according to Phrozen the ABS like should print at 2.8 default) and added a few medium supports to see if I can keep that damned cube from ripping free. Also slowed the lift speed to 60, from 100, default is 150. Even with clean and lubricated FEP tuned tightness to a little gituar app on my phone. Nice good tone. Still have adhesion issues with larger cross section without a LOT of support.

Still in the adjustment phase of this printer. I never really had time to calibrate the resin exposure or do more than sort some print angle, layers, and run some test prints before the thing up and failed. So now back to testing. I do have a low res freebie ork printed with a shoota.



This is the sum total of printed things (I tested the ruler I made in blender to a failure point, thus the crack in it. It super glued back together just fine. some warping) before the printer failed. 9 days. Let's go a little longer this time I hope.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/01/21 19:04:19


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Made in us
Member of the Malleus






Did you sand your build plate? I know that was recommended and I believe by Phrozen themselves. I have read many posts on one of the Facebook groups that sanding helped a lot with adhesion issues.

Are you still intending to get metal replacement parts fabricated for the parts that initially failed?

   
Made in us
Regular Dakkanaut





 Taarnak wrote:
Did you sand your build plate? I know that was recommended and I believe by Phrozen themselves. I have read many posts on one of the Facebook groups that sanding helped a lot with adhesion issues.

Are you still intending to get metal replacement parts fabricated for the parts that initially failed?


It sticks to the build plate but tears off of the support about halfway through, the rest stays attached to the build plate. My test print includes a solid X shaped 1mm x 20mm support (to try and work on elephant's foot or sagging on the bottom corner of the cube) and then medium supports for the rest. Sometimes I've noticed I have to put heavy supports in, a lot of heavy supports. But that was causing the trapped resin and uneven surface issue with the supported areas on the cube being ripply from the trapped resin causing unevenness.

Arguably the printer prints "figures" fine. But cubes seem to baffle it as to flat surfaces. The test ork printed just fine right out of the gate. The translucent measuring tool had three failures before a success, those narrow cross sections were enough to cause issue. Ended needing a LOT of supports to keep it from ripping free of the supports. Could be a lychee support problem. The contact cross section on the lychee supports is pretty much the same as the chitubox ones.

This was the "large" cube printed, the big divots are from "large supports" in lychee. As you can see it is not really a cube at all....



This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2021/01/21 19:32:18


Consummate 8th Edition Hater.  
   
Made in us
Powerful Pegasus Knight





Texas

I think you are on the right track with upping the exposure per layer a bit to keep from ripping free with the addition of a few thicker supports.

I had a similar issue with some prints on my Mars and just got into the habit of adding a few medium supports right at critical points with all of the light supports just to help keep it all attached to the build plate. Only when doing something super huge will I add a few heavy ones.

My Novella Collection is available on Amazon - Action/Fantasy/Sci-Fi - https://www.amazon.com/Three-Roads-Dreamt-Michael-Leonard/dp/1505716993/

Check out REALM LORDS-For Castle and Country! - KS page: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/mdsw/realm-lords-for-castle-and-country?ref=5ra4gp&token=54b51f2f 
   
Made in gb
Deadly Dire Avenger





Im so on the fence between a Sonic Mini 4k and and Elegoo Mars Pro 2. Im a complete noob to 3D printing, so kind of fear that any issues like in this thread will phase me - i want it to just work!

That said the prints at 4k just look so much better.

Does anyone have advice on what to start with? Will it be that much different between the two?
   
Made in us
Regular Dakkanaut





 Fraggle wrote:
Im so on the fence between a Sonic Mini 4k and and Elegoo Mars Pro 2. Im a complete noob to 3D printing, so kind of fear that any issues like in this thread will phase me - i want it to just work!

That said the prints at 4k just look so much better.

Does anyone have advice on what to start with? Will it be that much different between the two?


Only on high detail models. Most "free" models are not detailed enough to show a great difference. But on the top tier sculpts it will show in the fine details, the sharpness of the edges, the "finer" details like scratches on a belt or leather harness.

Currently printing a freebie Imperial Guard Priest stand in. As usual for things not a cube, it appears to be printing fine. I ran a series of resin calibrations last night and adjusted my cure time based on it. We will see how it turns out.

Consummate 8th Edition Hater.  
   
 
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