Updated December 21, 2023, 11:00 a.m. PT
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Square. Feet of the laboratory room
Heated resin vat
Large building area
The curing station is excellent
Filters do nothing
Slicer is not good
I would like WiFi
With a few exceptions, my experience with consumer resin printers has largely been a test of patience. If everything turns out the way you want, it’s not exactly magical, but the path to get there is more than a little complicated, and there aren’t many companies that seem to focus on simplifying the process. The UniFormation GKTwo resin printer grabs your attention by offering a larger build plate than most consumer competitors while remaining competitively priced. However, it is the entire available hardware suite that complements this printer that really makes the experience something truly interesting.
At its core, GKTwo is a 10.3-inch 8K resin printer with a convenient touchscreen on the front and a hinged door that makes entering and exiting the build space quite easy. In a world where most sub-$1,000 resin printers lack sophisticated interfaces and often have a case that you have to remove and set aside to access the build space, the design alone is something to be proud of you can look forward to. It’s by no means perfect, the interface could use a few improvements when translated into English and the carbon filter attached to the fan on the back could just as easily be decorative because it eliminates fumes and odors, but also the overall experience is a lot less intimidating than many others in this category. It’s also relatively large, which is good news for anyone who wants to print either larger things or smaller things in larger volume.
The GKTwo also stands out because it has a heated tray, which in some cases significantly reduces printing time. A warmer resin pool means it cures faster, meaning less time is spent pausing between print layers to ensure everything went according to plan. This feature is more common on more expensive resin printers, so it’s nice to see more consumer-focused options taking advantage of these advanced options. I think it’s important to highlight that this feature is not enabled by default and that finding the feature in the menu to enable it might provide a better experience. The GKTwo Slicer software doesn’t seem to be aware of this either, which makes its predictions about how long it will take for something to print less useful.
Unified GKTwo specifications
|2 – 3 seconds
It’s only when you add the accessories, washing station and curing station that the GKTwo really feels like something special. Of course, you can use any wash or curing station for this machine’s prints, but the wash tray manufactured by UniFormation is specifically designed to allow you to remove the build plate from the GKTwo and place it directly into it, then press start. This is not a requirement; You can use the included basket to put everything you’ve printed in and take the whole thing out to drain safely for a moment, but the convenience of using the build plate is fantastic.
My only real issue with the wash station is the lack of a secure seal on the lid of the container. A large resin printer requires a large wash station, meaning this system can hold seven liters of denatured alcohol, which can evaporate quickly if not sealed tightly. The curing station couldn’t be easier to use. It features four light strips, each with four UV LEDs, so the rotating center ensures every angle receives the same amount of light.
3D printers are often limited only by the creativity of the user and the ease of use of the software, and unfortunately this is not an area where the GKTwo excels. The recommended slicer for this printer feels pretty basic, offering many of the basic options you’d expect if you’d used another slicer, but nothing special stands out. There’s no way to send files to the printer wirelessly, you’ll need a USB stick to transfer them, and there’s no way to remotely check the progress of an active print other than via the display on the printer. Like many other 3D printers, if a little more attention was paid to the user experience with the slicer, the overall experience would be much better. You can use Chitubox, which is more feature-rich than the standard slicer but still doesn’t offer remote monitoring.
Printing on the GKTwo is consistently good, although somewhat manual. The 8K panel delivers spectacular detail and the only time I had a print fail was entirely due to user error. You really need to know how much resin you have in your vat because there are no measurements on the side of the container or internal scale that can tell you. Likewise, you may occasionally need to re-level the build plate, but the software doesn’t tell you that this needs to happen. These are understandable compromises to keep costs down and fairly easy to incorporate into your routine, but the first time a print fails because one of these maintenance tasks has expired is sure to be frustrating for a relatively new user.
UniFormation’s large green resin printer has a lot to offer. As intimidating as this type of printer may be compared to the wide world of FDM printers, the GKTwo and its accessories represent a total package worth investing in. At the same time, this printer represents a basis for software that the industry as a whole needs to be addressed. If the goal of a machine like this is to get more people excited about printing, the software needs to have the same level of excellence and care as the hardware it supports.