Released in 2018, the Phrozen Sonic XL 4K 3D printer (https://top3dshop.com/product/phrozen-sonic-xl-4k-3d-printer) is the third in the Sonic line from renowned Taiwanese manufacturer Phrozen. The brand was created in 2014 through the efforts of three engineers who raised funds for their first designs through crowdfunding. Since then, Phrozen has grown to become one of the most respected companies in the field of 3D. The brand’s vision is to offer the widest possible population affordable printers that provide the highest quality prints. As utopian as this idea sounds, Phrozen is doing an excellent and consistent job of bringing it to life.
The Sonic line has focused from the beginning on solidifying layers as quickly as possible without losing print quality. Thanks to the new monochrome liquid crystal screen created specifically for this series, a 50 micron layer cures in just 1 second. This is a significant competitive advantage of Sonic devices, with which other manufacturers of low-cost printers still find it difficult to compete. This review will focus on the main features of the Phrozen Sonic XL 4K, its differences from other models of this series, as well as the areas in which this model will be most in demand.
Phrozen Sonic XL 4K 3D printer overview
The design of Phrozen Sonic XL 4K is laconic and stylish at the same time. Here is how this model looks from different angles:
Here is the package in which the printer is delivered to customers:
For comparison, here’s what the predecessor model of the Phrozen Sonic looks like. The visual difference is primarily in the dimensions:
And this is what the Sonic Mini model looks like, the smallest in the series:
There is a consistent complication and improvement of the printers of the series. Every customer can choose the model that best suits his or her needs and budget. Common features for all Sonic devices are resolution 10 microns on Z axis and also presence of unique light system ParaLED (about it I will tell in details below).
This is how object models look in the Phrozen 3D slicer, which is included with the device:
The Phrozen Sonic XL 4K is an updated and enlarged version of the Phrozen Sonic. Thanks to its larger working area, this device allows you to print larger objects. Like other units from Phrozen, this model works on polymers with LCD technology that can provide maximum print quality with minimum costs.
The printer is equipped with ParaLED optical system, which is the company’s own development: this powerful system is based on parallel illumination of UV-LED matrix. This distributes the light streams extremely evenly over the entire print surface, and the accuracy and quality of the print is noticeably improved. The printer is cooled by three integrated fans.
WARNING: Multiple objects can be printed simultaneously on this model.
Phrozen Sonic XL 4K works with 405 nm liquid polymers. Printing speed reaches 200 mm/h, minimum layer thickness is 10 microns. The surface of printed items is worked out to the smallest detail, the edges are extremely accurate. The stability of the printer housing and the clever configuration of the Z-axis also contribute to this. Z-axis resolution ranges from 10 µm to 300 µm and moves on a double ball-screw rail. The resolution of the XY axes is 75 µm.
The device is compatible with Windows and Mac operating systems. The printer’s own operating system is called Phrozen OS. Other devices can be connected to the printer via USB, microSD, ethernet or Wi-Fi. The printer can be controlled both via the touchscreen and remotely via a Wi-Fi connection.
The weight of the printer is 18.5 kg, the dimensions are 290 mm × 330 mm × 470 mm, the dimensions of the working area are 190 mm × 120 mm × 200 mm. By comparison, the Sonic’s predecessor model weighed 11.5 kg, and the dimensions of the working area were 120 mm × 68 mm × 170 mm.
ATTENTION: thanks to the increased transparency of the liquid crystal display, the curing time of the printed object is reduced to 0.2 seconds for one layer.
The kit includes the brand’s own slicer, Phrozen 3D. This program is free and has a lot of useful features, and its interface is very simple and clear. Phrozen 3D has, among other things, an option of automatic generation of supports for the model, moving supports, generation of grid filling.
The manufacturer noted the following features of this model:
- microscopic printing accuracy;
- high speed of operation;
- reliability and ease of use;
- Specially made to order monocrystalline screen.
The monochrome liquid crystal display specially designed for this device is particularly resistant to high temperatures and external pressure, as well as effective heat dissipation. This gives the printer a service life of up to 2,000 hours.
The basic principle of the ParaLED system has already been briefly described above, but now it makes sense to focus on its comparison with similar systems in other 3D printers. Most devices using LCD technology are equipped with multiple light sources. At the command of the controller, the LCD opens a set of pixels assigned to each layer. Thus, light passes through some areas freely, while other areas are blocked. However, the distance between the light source and the pixel is usually too long, which makes the light distribution uneven.
With the Phrozen Sonic XL 4K, the light source is not multiple lamps, but a single LED array with ultraviolet light. The flow of light is more uniform and the prints are of higher quality. The difference in quality is especially noticeable on large prints.
WARNING: The printer retails for about $2400. For its capabilities this is more than an acceptable level.
We should also look in detail at another difference of this model from other printers that use LCD-technology. The essence of the technology is that on top of the liquid crystal panel is placed a reservoir of polymer, the bottom of which is transparent. To build each layer, the LCD panel is turned on and light passes through the tank in the right places, so the model hardens. After one layer is worked through, the platform is raised by the thickness of that layer, and the process repeats.
The highlight of the Phrozen Sonic XL 4K is that its resolution on the XY axes reaches 3840 × 2160 pixels. This is a very impressive figure, thanks to which the dimensions of the workspace have been expanded without any loss in quality.
Dimensions, mm 290x330x470
Phrozen OS software
Weight, kg 19,5
UV wavelength 405 nm
Resolution along Z axis 10-300 microns
Resolution along X and Y axis 50 microns
Working chamber area 120х190х200 mm
Speed 200 mm/hour
Thickness of layer from 10 microns
LCD 8.9″ 4K display
RJ45, USB, microSD, Wi-Fi
In addition to the printing device itself, the delivery set consists of:
- from the power cord;
- USB flash drive;
- USB adapter for Wi-Fi;
- spatulas (plastic and metal);
- a set of screws;
- A detailed manual with clear illustrations.
WARNING: The printer is shipped to you almost completely assembled. Once you take it out of the box, you only need to fix the working surface and the polymer reservoir in the correct position. Then you simply load the pattern files into the unit and the printer is ready to go.
Print quality and product examples
Here are examples of objects that dentists can print on the Phrozen Sonic XL 4K:
Here are examples of using the device for the jewelry industry, as well as the production of costume jewelry and souvenir products:
WARNING: all Phrozen products are divided into three segments: for beginners, for a wide range of users and for professionals. Phrozen Sonic XL 4K belongs to the “For Professionals” segment.
Who is suitable for whom?
Phrozen Sonic XL 4K is called a 3D printer for dentists. It is convenient to print eliners, impressions of the jaws, models of veneers, bridges, crowns and other items. Finished objects are absolutely safe for health, their perfectly smooth surface and rounded edges reduce to zero the risk of internal micro-injuries of the oral cavity.
Also due to its high accuracy, the device is in demand among jewelers who use it to print earrings, rings, pendants and other jewelry.
WARNING: Usually working areas of printers for dentists and jewelers have a smaller working surface because they print compact objects. But the Phrozen Sonic XL 4K with its large workspace allows you to print a large batch of objects in one go, and this is one of its important competitive advantages.
Another promising area of application for this model is rapid prototyping. Thanks to its high printing speed and the ability to print multiple objects simultaneously, the printer is able to produce prototypes in any quantity needed in the shortest amount of time.
What materials are used?
This printer is compatible not only with native Phrozen polymers, but also with 405nm consumables from other manufacturers. LCD, DLP, and SLA UV polymers can be used. The device successfully prints on biocompatible polymers.
Instructions for initial setup and preparation
After unpacking the printer, follow the algorithm below:
- Connect the black cable to the machine and turn on the power switch.
- The printer will automatically start up. The first startup will take approximately 2 minutes.
- Then you will need to calibrate the Z-axis. This is the only aspect in which the assembled and almost ready to use unit requires additional user intervention. To do this, open the front cover of the unit.
- Make sure that there are no foreign substances on the working surface and remove the polymer reservoir. Put a clean sheet of A4 paper under the LCD screen.
- Click on the Z-axis calibration icon on the home page of the display.
- Use the hex wrench to loosen the four locking screws on the sides of the print surface and click on “Next”.
- The work surface will slide down and align with the sheet of paper.
- Supporting the work surface with one hand, use your other hand to tighten all four screws one at a time. This completes the Z-axis calibration.
- Click the Done button on the display.
- The unit will automatically raise the work area to the desired level.
In the future, you may need to recalibrate the Z-axis if you move or relocate the printer to a new location and the axis shifts. You will also need to recalibrate if your prints are uneven or defective. In addition, the Z axis will need to be recalibrated after replacing the screen.
When calibration is complete, the polymer reservoir can be put back in place and gently filled. It is recommended that you only fill half of the reservoir with polymer. Shake the polymer container thoroughly beforehand.
WARNING: Polymer is not supplied with the printer, it must be purchased separately.
You do not need to connect the printer to a computer to download files for printing. Simply insert the USB card with the files into the slot on the printer and then use the buttons on the display to control the printing process. First click on the Plates button, and then click on the USB icon. Select the file with the desired model and mark that you would like to print it. Look at the preview, make sure that all the parameters are correct, and then send the file to print.
WARNING: The printing surface and polymer reservoir must be perfectly clean before you start. Otherwise, you will only waste polymer because the object will be printed with distortions.
The Phrozen Sonic XL 4K is designed primarily for professional use by dentists and jewelers. Operating with LCD technology, this printer offers high speed and accuracy. It differs favorably from its predecessor in the extended dimensions of its printing surface and is also capable of printing several objects in one go. Phrozen Sonic XL 4K is compatible not only with native polymers, but also with consumables from other manufacturers. It comes virtually ready-to-use – all the user has to do is perform a simple Z-axis calibration. The printing process can be controlled via display or Wi-Fi without connecting the printer to a computer. This model provides high quality printing at a very reasonable cost. It will undoubtedly be appreciated by those who need to print objects with the highest quality of miniature details.