Phrozen Sonic 4K vs Phrozen Sonic Mini 4K: 3D printers are fast now
The Phrozen Sonic Mini 4K is designed for the hobbyist or somebody who's just getting into 3D printing. It isn't as accurate as its bigger sibling, but the savings are significant. This is the printer to buy if you aren't worried about commercial applications.
- Far more affordable
- Mono screen is still fast
- Smaller footprint
- Slightly smaller build volume
- Less accurate
If you are looking to use a 3D printer for highly detailed work such as dentistry or other commercial applications, this is a great place to start. It's accurate and very fast.
- One second layer time
- Extreme dimensional accuracy
- Good sized build plate
- Significantly more expensive than Mini
Phrozen has some of the best 3D printers, including the two at the core of this article, although they're based on the same technology but aimed at very different markets. The Sonic Mini 4K is a high-speed resin 3D printer for the masses, while the bigger Sonic 4K is aimed directly at the commercial sector. Let's see a run-down of the specs.
Phrozen Sonic 4K vs Phrozen Sonic Mini 4K tech specs
|Header Cell - Column 0||Phrozen Sonic 4K||Phrozen Sonic Mini 4K|
|Print volume||5.2 x 2.9 x 7.8 inches||5.2 x 2.9 x 5.1 inches|
|Light Source||405nm ParaLED Matrix 2.0||405nm ParaLED Matrix 2.0|
|XY Resolution||35 µm||35 µm|
|Screen type||Mono 4K LCD||Mono 4K LCD|
|Connectivity||USB and Ethernet||USB|
|Z axis||Lead screw and two linear rails||Lead screw|
Phrozen Sonic 4K vs Phrozen Sonic Mini 4K: Design and features
Despite using the same UV-led array and the same mono 4K LCD screen, these two printers' design languages are very different. The Phrozen Sonic 4K is a solid machine, wrapped in metal with a hinged lid. It has two linear rails and a standard lead screw that helps with dimensional accuracy and reduces any wobble from the Z-axis. The Sonic 4K also has the option to connect it to an Ethernet cable, which allows you to set it up as a farm with other printers and control them from your PC.
The Sonic Mini 4K, on the other hand, is far more bare-bones. Like many budget printers, the Mini 4K comes with a removable acrylic lid and a single lead screw for the Z-axis. While this can introduce a little Z wobble, I didn't notice any on completed prints. One of the ways the Mini 4K offsets this by printing at a slightly slower speed than its bigger sibling. Instead of the one-second layer times that the Sonic 4K can achieve, the Mini 4K can only do two-second layer times. Keep in mind that it's still significantly faster than the resin printers of last year, as their screens only allowed for 8-12 second layer times. Two seconds is really fast any way you look at it.
When it comes to a direct comparison between models, there is very little in the way of obvious differences. If you are a hobbyist, like me, you're likely making models or miniatures, and for those, the Mini 4K is more than detailed enough for anyone. It's when you are looking at mechanical prototypes or dental scans that the Sonic 4K really comes into its own.
Dimensional accuracy is something I've talked about a lot, but it's an important aspect of commercial prints. If a model of Jackie Chan is supposed to be 34.5mm deep but is only 33.8mm, it's not a big deal, but if you are making molds to cast dentures, then that 0.7mm could be the difference between teeth that fit in someone's mouth and ones that don't. The Sonic 4K is specifically designed to reduce this offset as much as possible, and it succeeds. In my test of printing a 20mm cube, the Sonic Mini 4K printed a 20.7mm cube, while the Sonic 4K managed a 20.05mm cube. That's pretty impressive.
Phrozen Sonic 4K vs Phrozen Sonic Mini 4K: Which one should you buy?
Choosing between the Sonic 4K and the Sonic 4K Mini is pretty easy. If you are a commercial user — especially a dentist or a jewelry designer — and require a high level of accuracy from your prints, then the Sonic 4K is the right printer for you. The price is high but not for a business, and not for the level of quality, the Sonic 4K can provide.
For everyone else, the Sonic Mini 4K is a more than capable 4K, high-speed resin printer that makes beautiful models in a fraction of the time of other printers. If you have never used a resin printer before, this is a great place to start but remember you will need these must-have 3D printing accessories for use with resin printers. It isn't the biggest printer around, but it is fast and accurate and perfect for a hobbyist.
For everyday use, go with the Phrozen Sonic Mini 4K
The Phrozen Sonic Mini 4K is clearly aimed at the hobbyist market. It's affordable and in line with other products on the market. The mono 4K screen means it is really fast and looks amazing, but the Z-axis isn't quite as rigid.
Fast and Affordable
An excellent printer for hobbyists
It might not be as flashy as the Phrozen Sonic, but this is the right printer for most people.
The Phrozen Sonic 4K is aimed squarely at dentists
The Phrozen Sonic 4K is an over-engineered but insanely accurate 3D printer designed for commercial use. While there is very little difference visible to the naked eye, dimensional accuracy is critical when printing using dental resins designed for practical application. If you are a dentist looking to get into 3D printing, this is a great first choice.
Fast and Accurate
A dentists delight
This 3D printer has super clean lines, powerful features but a price point that's too high for hobbyists.
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James built his first PC when he was 13 and has never looked back. He can be found on Windows Central, usually in the corner where all the 3D printers are, or huddled around the Xbox playing the latest games.