GEEETECH Low-Cost 3D Resin Printer

Geeetech Alkaid Printer

Over the years I’ve reviewed lots of resin 3D printers in here but nothing recently (2023) – so I was rather excited when I was offered a Geeetech (model Alkaid – and yes, three EEEs) and even more excited when it turned up around June 19, 2023, just a few days after the offer – and better yet, complete with a 500ml bottle of Geeetech GT-WR01 skin-coloured (PINK) water-washable resin. No assembly required.

The printer arrived here in Spain from the company’s European depot in Germany in record time. Maximum print size for the inexpensive Alkaid printer is 82X130X190 mm.

The Alkaid came complete with a standard-looking EU-plug 12v 5A power supply – nothing exciting – and around the back of the printer a USB2 connector, on-off switch, power connector and that’s about it.

Accessories include tweezers, spatula for cleaning/part-removal, a small allen key and an 8GB USB memory stick – all very familiar so already this is looking like your standard budget resin printer which works from images stored on the memory stick (and I’ve not yet opened the instructions).

The printer has no other physical buttons or controls but there’s a large 9cm diagonal touch-LCD display on the front and of course the 2K LCD top development plate.

The first thing I noticed was the LCD display – capacitive – responsive – good – my last printer had a resistive display which worked but was awful to use.

Time to get the manual out because as I went through the controls doing my usual blind testing, I noted that the NETWORK option was greyed out – and the test models on the memory stick were STLs and the printer of course would recognise them as it requires a file processed for printing – they all do.

On the display you have a choice of languages – my Alkaid came up in English from power-up.

There’s a marked visual similarity between this printer and my Anycubic Mono (but this printer at current pricing is cheaper). Minor point – a spare clear FEP sheet (base of the vat which holds the resin) would have been nice – they don’t last forever. The company do claim “quick FEP replacement design” with “only” 14 small bolts to remove – I didn’t get any spares BUT READ ON.

I opened the user manual (v1.1). As I read through, I came across “Set Z=0: Useless parameter”. Also “Network: Non-function”. Not the best start. Instructions were otherwise OK, pretty standard and all in English in my case.

“Slicing” instructions stated that the product only supports the Chitubox slicing software. It is just as well that my experience with Chitubox has been fine up to now. The manual states that you should wear a mask and gloves, neither of which were provided though the video included with the memory stick says they should have been.

We are then instructed to pour the resin into the resin tank through the filter funnel (again, the funnel was not included). There is even a picture of a funnel but I checked carefully before binning the packaging – and I didn’t get one.

The instructions do give a full set of parameters to enter into the Chitubox software (supplied on the included memory stick) so anyone with even minimal if any resin printer experience should have no problem setting this up (and with that, I’m diving into the memory stick to have a look).

At the time of writing I had Chitubox 1.8.1 on my PC and that is the version that Geeetech mention in their manual. However as I powered up my existing Chitubox (free version) on my PC I noted it was offering to update to v1.9.5 – I went with that update. So far, so good.

I set up the parameters for the Alkaid model as per the manual – took a few minutes – I could not find any way to save them but as it turns out, they’re saved automatically – just as well because Geeetech does not feature in the list of predefined printers in my updated Chitubox (Windows 11 64-bit not-very-powerful PC in case you were wondering).

On the supplied memory stick are the user manuals for both the printer and Chitubox. The printer manual is identical to the printed item that comes with the Geeetech.

There is also a Chitubox “profile” file for the printer (could have saved me a few minutes had I checked first). Also supplied are various test models (.STL format) for importing into Chitubox which will then spit out a suitable file for the printer.

Now that I look, on the memory stick is a video that tells you all about the printer including opening etc and shows a KIT of parts that include several pairs of gloves, a mask and a filter funnel. I didn’t get ANY of that! Good job I’ve had so many printers I already have a supply of funnels and gloves – and as for masks – well, we probably all have some of those floating about thanks to Covid.

The setup is also included in the video as is some particularly obnoxious background music which I simply turned off.

The one piece of information I really needed which was not included in the manual – incoming sample files included on the stick were in .STL format but no mention in the manual of which format output the printer will handle. Thankfully that’s covered in the video… “Chitubox Slicer” .CTB format. Simple.

Eiffel Tower in Chitubox

And with that, I saved the (converted to .CTB format) Eiffel Tower example file I’d opened in Chitubox, back onto the memory stick – removed the stick and inserted it back into the printer.

Now, having levelled the base (tighten up Allen bolts while gently pressing down) I was ready to open the PRINT menu on the printer and open up the new .ctb Eiffel Tower. Next – some resin. I had no idea how much resin to use so I took a guess.

Did I want a PINK Eiffel tower? Hell no, so I took a chance, opened up my Elegoo water washable clear green Photopolymer resin which I’ve had lying around for a while – the worse that could happen surely would be a dead model.

Eiffel Tower in the new Geeetech printer

Within a few minutes I was 5% through the printing process with an estimated 5 hours to go before my half-size tower would be complete – thankfully the printer is quiet and with the cover on, very little in the way of odour.

The Geeetech is not going to break any speed records that’s for sure but then perhaps I should have picked a very low-height model for my first test.

Now with just 2 hours to go, my little Eiffel Tower is coming along very nicely. Don’t worry, I only took the cover off for long enough to take a picture.

5 hours later – I showed off my first print – almost perfect but I think next time I use that resin (not the recommended resin I may add) – a TAD more exposure – but generally – not bad – see photo below.

Not as much as a spot of soap needed, the head and model cleaned easily in plain tap water and within 15 minutes sitting in the sun, the model was bone-dry and ready to put on display. I note the spec states xy resolution of 0.051mm and I can see that looking at the finer lines on my first test model. Pretty good for a budget printer. That model was less than 6 inches tall.

For the curious, this (below) is how the printer and skin-coloured resin arrived – obviously with black sellotaped plastic covering the boxes.

Geeetech

Finally, I decided to print out a set of dice I found on the THINGIVERSE website. That failed as the models (5 identical dice) failed to stick to the base – well, I WAS using the wrong resin after all). At that point I had a request from my wife to print out a pyramid.

I found a pyramid (Stargate variety) on THINGIVERSE and printed it out after arbitrarily hollowing it out in Chitubox to save resin and that worked perfectly. The pyramid base however did not – again failing to stick to the base.

I now had a choice – adjust the base settings or try the recommended resin – as I’d now run out of my clear blue resin the first option was a non-starter so I tried the skin-coloured resin as provided with the printer. As the base is (thankfully) not as high as the pyramid itself, the whole printing operation was over in 50 minutes.

Failed base. At this point it began to dawn on me that the bulk of the surface area was on the top with the base offering very little surface area to hold onto on what I’d set as the bottom – so I went back to the model in Chitubox, turned it upside down and tried again.

The dice failed again – no idea what I did wrong (clearly I need to extend the base exposure time a little) – but the base for my pyramid is fine. A LED torch will have to do for the light source for my new pyramid until I figure out a LED/battery arrangement.

Isn’t that lovely. Another attempt at dices and didn’t I go and mess up the FEP sheet – I contacted the people who sent the printer and they’ve contacted Geeetech to get a couple of replacement FEP sheets.

Meanwhile, using clear resin, I eventually managed to get a leak in the corner of the FEP sheet such that resin leaked onto the LCD screen which, thankfully, seems to have handled that OK.

Not having a replacement FEP sheet provded to be a temporary game-stopper. I was informed that Geeetech currently has no European stock of FEP sheets and that they’d have to come from China -that was the end of my printer testing for a while. I’ve had several resin printers before this – and damage to the FEP sheet has never happened – I put it down to a failed set of dice sticking to the sheet – when I carefully removed the remnants with the supplied spatula, I can only imagine I wasn’t careful enough. I’ve since looked at GEEETECH’s site and the replacement FEP sheets – and indeed the whole tank assembly are dirt cheap.

July 05, 2023 Update

A couple of weeks later, i.e. yesterday, I received not just a replacement FEP sheet but actually one sheet plus a replacement black tank with FEP sheet pre-fitted. So now I can start absolutely from scratch, adjusting the exposure upwards a little so hopefully I won’t now have any issues. Not only that but SUNLU have (separately) sent me some resin samples – white water-washable.

For reference in case you’re interested – from the company who supplied the printer… The price is in dollars… I’m not sure I’d want to pay that “daily price” but at the discount price… sure. Note: The resin I received is not included with the price. See further down, I think the SUNLU resin is nicer but that’s just me.

GEEETECH ALKAID LCD: https://www.geeetech.com/344.html
Daily price: $233.71
Page coupon: New member registration, over $100 off $5
Final price: $99

Geeetech Resin Printer

And just yesterday 07/07/2023 I just received the water-washable WHITE resin from SUNLU – one more attempt at the DICE…

SUNLU water-washable resin

I have so say I was apprehensive as the original tank proved to be a duffer (I fitted the new FEP sheet and it leaked on a water test) – there’s a crack in the fixing plate – so now I have a new tank and new FEP sheet but no spares.

And as if by magic. Six dice in a row.

Thankfully it is height, not width that slows down resin printers so at least I didn’t have to wait all day to see results.

An hour later… 6 healthy set of baby dice courtesy of the Geeetech Alkaid printer and Sunlu white water-washable resin – though I must say I’d have made the holes a little deeper if I’d designed the model 🙂 ABSOLUTELY no problems. I didn’t need any isopropyl – just plain tap water to clean everything up. The dice came off with only finger pressure leaving no residue after a quick rinse under the tap.

Baby dice on the Geeetech Alkaid using Sunlu resin

Ok, do dice are hardly ambitious – so last night as we went off to the pub, I left a Stargate and an amphibian (courtesy of Thingiverse – I’m not THAT brave) running. This morning I got up bright and early and…. wheee.

No supports – no touching up – my new Stargate just WORKED.

Stargate courtesy of Sunlu resin and Geeetech printer
Stargate courtesy of Sunlu resin and Geeetech printer

I’ve since been mass-producing geckos for our walls – there’s a shortage of the real thing this year and we like them. I won’t bore you with dozens of photos of geckos – here is my first batch. I used the scaling and mirroring features on Chitubox to make sure no identical models.

Geckos

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