About a decade ago, 3D printing was once a relatively vague form of printing technology, only utilized by a small circle of industries because what was available were massive and expensive machines. Fast forward to a decade after, 3D printers are now commonly used by creative professionals, engineers, and even hobbyists. The future of printing technology is indeed here and it’s going to get even increasingly popular in the years to come as the prices of 3D printers continue to drop. Before you buy the best 3D Printers for miniatures in 2021, this article shows you what you need to know, and recommendations you can follow.
At a price point of about $200, you can get an entry-level 3D printer that is easy to use, reliable, and produces miniatures of high quality. With the right 3D printer, you can create just about anything ranging from tabletop games to favorite animation characters. If you are bothered about building a miniature from scratch because it is too complex, you can download free models from sites like Thingiverse and Dutchmogul.
Upon downloading these models, you could either print them right away or edit them first before printing. So now onto the big question: Which 3D printer is best for miniatures? In a bid to answer that, we have carefully selected the top 12 3D printers and also included a buying guide to make the process even more seamless for you. Let’s then take a look at what your best options are.
Comparison Table for Best 3D Printers for Miniatures in 2021
Last update on 2021-10-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Last update on 2021-10-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
- Comparison Table for Best 3D Printers for Miniatures in 2020
- Creality Ender 5 Plus 3D Printer
- BIBO 2 Touch Laser Dual Extruder 3D Printer
- Flashforge Creator Pro 3D Printer
- Dremel Digilab 3D20 3D Printer
- Elegoo Mars UV Photocuring LCD 3D Printer
- Monoprice Voxel 3D Printer
- Makerbot Replicator+ 3D Printer
- Qidi Technology X-Max Industrial Grade 3D Printer
- Snapmaker Original 3-in-1 3D Printer
- Anycubic Mega X 3D Printer
- Congrow Creality Ender 3 PRO 3D Printer
- Longer LK4 Pro FDM 3D Printer
- Choosing the Best 3D Printer for Miniatures in 2020: A Buying Guide
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12 Best 3D Printers for Miniatures in 2021
We take 12 best 3D Printers for Miniatures in 2021 for a spin in this review, and hope the information will help you make a better buying decision. Please note that qualifying purchases through links on this page may earn us a small commission. This is to support our work.
Creality Ender 5 Plus 3D Printer
Ender 5 Plus is currently the largest 3D printer you can get from Creality. It was primarily created for people who intend on making large prints without having to break the bank. It has an elegant build with a cubic aluminum frame. This external metallic build up provides the needed pressure to push the filament through the printer’s nozzle. Although the printer has to be fully set up by the customer, its modular DIY structuring makes it very easy to assemble.
Ender 5 Plus also has a large printing volume of 350 × 350 × 400mm and this makes it more preferable than the later released Ender 6, which has a printing volume of 250 × 250 × 400mm. Its auto-bed leveling BL touch feature also ensures that your miniature is built with perfect print layers. You also wouldn’t have to worry about a wobbly hot-bed as it is held securely with two screws on the Z-axis frames. Furthermore, thanks to its thermal protection feature, the printer halts automatically and stops heating when the temperature rises excessively. Its 4.3” HD touch screen is also user-friendly and time-saving.
It also offers strong power support that is likewise safe and stable. Your hotbed can be heated up to 100°c in just about 10 minutes. Also, if the power supply system is abruptly cut off during a printing process, it continues printing right from where it stopped as soon as it is restarted. With its filament monitoring end sensor, printing can also be paused if the filament runs out or disconnects. If you are all out for excellent dimensional accuracy and printing precision alongside all the aforementioned qualities, the Ender 5 Plus is certainly one you’d love.
KEY FEATURES – Creality Ender 5 Plus 3D Printer
• Printing Technology: FDM (Fused Deposition Modelling)
• Mainboard: Creality V2.2
• Nozzle Diameter / Temperature: 0.4mm / ≤ 260°C
• Hotbed Temperature: ≤ 110°C
• Operation: 4.3” HD Touch Screen
• Layer Resolution: 100 microns
• Weight: 51.4 Pounds
• Package Dimensions: 28.8 × 28.6 × 13 inches
• Printing Speed: 200mm/s
• Dual Y and Z-axis
- Generous print volume
- Sturdy external cubic frame
- Good print quality
- Ender 5 Plus uses an old 8-bit board with noisy drivers
- Power supply fans are likewise noisy
BIBO 2 Touch Laser Dual Extruder 3D Printer
BIBO is currently the most featured 3D printer with impressive reviews on Amazon. Though its external design might appear somewhat bland, if you are looking for a 3D printer with dual extrusion capabilities below the $1000 mark, this is one of the best options you can get on the market. It has a sturdy 6mm thick aluminum frame that is certainly more reliable than a plastic frame. It also has a full color touchscreen that is user-friendly and easy to operate. One of the features that make BIBO even more desirable is its dual extrusion capability, and there are several benefits you stand to gain from this feature alone.
Firstly, it is easier to print support structures in different filament types and colors which makes it easier to remove. If you are using a dissolvable filament to build the support, it would eventually dissolve away leaving only the finished product. Next up, this feature allows you copy print. You can print two objects at the same time and by doing so, your typical printing time is reduced significantly. Its dual extruders also make printing miniatures with two colors possible and amazingly, you wouldn’t have to change the filament during the printing process, thanks to the programmed G-code file that tells the printer exactly when to use corresponding colors.
BIBO also has an included Wi-Fi networking feature that allows you to control the printing process from a PC or a phone. If the spool runs out while printing, the printer automatically pauses, giving you time to reload a fresh spool and pick up from where it stopped. This feature comes in really handy in large volume model printing. So indeed, we are inclined to agree that the BIBO 3D Printer is actually worth the hype.
KEY FEATURES – BIBO 2 Touch Laser Dual Extruder 3D Printer
• Weight: 40.1 Pounds
• Package Dimensions: 21.34 × 19.92 × 17.09 inches
• Print Volume: 214 × 186 × 160mm
• Layer resolution: 0.05 – 0.3mm
• Nozzle Diameter: 0.4mm
• Max Nozzle Temperature: 270°c
• Max Hotbed Temperature: 100°c
• Connectivity: Wi-Fi, USB
• Printing Speed: 60 – 80mm/s (outer), 100mm/s (infilling)
• Filament: ABS, PLA, TPU, Dissolvable filament (HIPS), Nylon etc.
- Dual extruders
- Support multiple filaments
- Multicolor printing
- Build space isn’t very large
Flashforge Creator Pro 3D Printer
Creator Pro is one of the best mid-range 3D printers on the market today with a ton of notable upgrades from its predecessor, FlashForge Creator. Creator’s original wood frame has been replaced with a sturdy and more reliable metal frame in the Creator Pro. It also has a 6.3mm thick aluminum build platform that remains stable and doesn’t warp even under intense heating. You can heat up the build platform up to about 130°c, but its preferable to stick to an average of 90°c, not because the platform might warp, but to prevent your miniatures from sticking. This new heat resistant metal platform replaced the old plastic supports.
A 10mm thick Z-axis guide rod also ensures steady and precise movement during the printing process. Also, the Creator Pro has a new acrylic cover that encloses the chamber completely as such insulating it and regulating the temperature effectively. This closed unit feature comes in really handy when carrying out ABS printing. The printing area now also has LED light illumination thereby offering the just needed visual experience. The SD card slot has also been repositioned for easier access and the LCD screen is relatively easy to operate with its errors greatly minimized. The printer’s front door can also now open to about 180° which makes it easier to remove sizable items.
Speaking on size, I observed that even when the resolution of the printer has been adjusted to its highest point, small objects still have jagged edges and some slight imperfections. As such, the Creator Pro is best suited for printing medium to large objects. Just like BIBO, the Creator Pro also has dual extruders which makes it possible to print supporting structures and two colored miniatures. It however doesn’t support Wi-Fi connectivity but you still have the common options (USB and SD-card) available to you.
KEY FEATURES – Flashforge Creator Pro
• Printing Technology: FFF
• Build Volume: 227 × 148 × 150mm
• Layer Resolution: 100 – 500 microns
• Layer Thickness: 0.1 – 0.3mm
• Nozzle diameter: 0.4mm
• Filament: ABS, PLA, PVA
• Filament Diameter: 1.75mm
• Product Dimensions: 16.14 × 22.05 × 18.9 inches
• Weight: 24.2 Pounds
• Connectivity: USB, SD card
• Printing Speed: 100mm/s
- Dual extruders
- Decent print quality
- No automatic way to level the print bed
- Doesn’t support a wide range of filament materials
- Product warranty is difficult to redeem
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Dremel Digilab 3D20 3D Printer
3D20 is Dremel’s most reliable budget-friendly 3D printer that is suitable for new hobbyists, tinkerers, and home users. It is also currently one of the most trusted consumer-grade 3D printers available on the market today. This isn’t a shocker because Dremel, a company that was established in 1932 with over 85 years of experience, has proven itself worthy of consumer preference because of the quality and versatility of its products. 3D20 in this case is no exception.
Its simple yet functional design ensures consistent printing over a long period of time. 3D20 is highly recommended for beginners because it is easy to operate, and quick to begin 3D printing with it. Several features make this possible, one of which is that the printer comes fully assembled upon purchase. Also included in the package is an easy-to-follow quick start guide which details instructions on how to begin printing. Their open-source system also allows you to download and print free models from the web. You could also use their CAD software to create your own designs and bring those creative imaginations to life!
3D20 is also fully enclosed; the temperature is kept stable and this also serves as a protective feature that prevents children from sticking their hands in the printing area while a job is being done. You can also interact directly with the printer using its full color 4” LCD touch screen. Dremel also offers a world-class customer support system with its average call pick-up time being 45 seconds. If any issues arise with your printer, your solution is only a quick email, phone call, or live chat away. This product also comes with a one-year warranty as such, so you can have your printer fixed within that period at no extra cost.
KEY FEATURES – Dremel Digilab 3D20 3D Printer
• Build Volume: 9.0 × 5.9 × 5.5 inches
• Build Plate Material: Acrylic
• Operation: 4” Full-Color LCD Screen
• Resolution: 100 microns
• Product Dimensions: 18.5 × 13.39 × 13.78 inches
• Weight: 15.43 Pounds
• Filament: PLA
- World-class customer support service
- The printer comes fully assembled
- One-year warranty
- Manual build Plate leveling
- Doesn’t support a wide range of filaments
Elegoo Mars UV Photocuring LCD 3D Printer
Elegoo has been manufacturing 3D printer components over time and having amassed the required knowledge, the company has finally developed its own 3D printer using the UV photocuring technology. When budget-friendly yet reliable printers are being spoken of, Elegoo Mars is certainly among the ones being discussed. It has a durable all-aluminum framework built with an acrylic cover that is not only sturdy, but also elegant. On its interior, it has a unique industrial steel-ball design and the system is generally user-friendly.
Mars is also highly recommended for beginners as the printer comes semi-assembled. The other parts can be set up easily in no time and in less than 10 minutes, you can commence printing the first available model. The protective package box also contains all the necessary parts that you would require to start printing almost immediately, as well as a user instruction manual. Mars also has a colorful 3.5” touch screen that provides you with the much needed real-time display experience. This product also has a one-year machine warranty although the FEP and 2K LCD consumable parts only come with a 3-month warranty.
Elegoo has also newly released a slicer software (CHITU DLP slicer) that you can utilize in building up your models. Mars also has an integrated computer board for printing models directly from USB. This allows for offline printing which means you don’t necessarily have to connect it to a computer while printing. More interestingly, Mars is a resin-based printer! Resin printers are generally known to create models with smoother surfaces but are also quite expensive compared to their corresponding FDM counterparts. Mars, on the other hand, is an incredibly affordable resin printer. Priced at $190, you can get all these features and more on the Elegoo Mars without having to drill holes in your pockets.
KEY FEATURES – Elegoo Mars
• Color: Mars Red
• Operation: 3.5” Full Color Touch Screen
• Printing Technology: LED Display Photocuring
• Layer Thickness: 0.01 – 0.2mm
• Printing Speed: 22.5mm/h
• Build Volume: 4.72 × 2.68 × 6.1 inches
• Product Dimensions: 15.75 × 16.54 × 7.87 inches
• Weight: 16.98 Pounds
• Filament: Photopolymer Resin
- Affordable resin printer
- Easy to use
- Quality prints
- Sleek design
- Loud beeping noises at the beginning and end of the printing process
Monoprice Voxel 3D Printer
Voxel is a unique, easy-to-use 3D printer with a beginner-friendly interface. Monoprice is also well-known for its team of friendly and knowledgeable technicians that are readily available to answer whatever questions you might have on their products.
It has a simple menu displayed on a 2.8” color IPS screen and tons of features that would surely spike up your interest. One of which is its quick-change nozzle. Unlike other 3D printers that would require tools and up to about 30 minutes of work to get a nozzle changed, Voxel allows you to change the nozzle within seconds without the need for any kind of tool.
This product also features 8GB of internal memory that can be used for storing 3D models, a USB port for flash drive connectivity and a built-in 2MP HD webcam for monitoring printing operations. Voxel is also cloud-enabled; you can control the printer from anywhere at all provided you have internet connection. The webcam also makes it possible for you to regularly check on how your print is doing. It also comes fully assembled with a removable, flexible build plate that can be heated without warping. This feature enables you replace it if it becomes damaged or simply swap to a new build plate to commence fresh printing.
Voxel also carries out auto-leveling; calibration is reduced to a single tap on the touch screen. This product also comes fully assembled and is likewise suited for creatives that do not have prior knowledge of 3D printing. With all the required components and parts provided in the package box, you could start your 3D printing journey in barely a few minutes after unwrapping this machine.
KEY FEATURES – Monoprice Voxel 3D Printer
• Color: Black/Grey
• Operation: 2.8” Color IPS Touch Screen
• Dimensions: 19.6 × 16.9 × 20.2 inches
• Weight: 28.4 Pounds
• Compatibility: Windows XP, Mac OS X, Linux, Vista 7/8/10
• Connectivity: Wi-Fi, USB Disk
• Build Volume: 150 × 150 × 150mm
• Max Extruder Temperature: 240°c
• Resolution: 100 – 400 microns
• Layer Thickness: 50 microns (Min)
• Printing Speed: Up to 100mm/s
- Fully assembled
- Quick-change nozzle
- In-built webcam feature
- Could expose you to lead
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Makerbot Replicator+ 3D Printer
Replicator+ is currently MakerBot’s most popular printer for professionals and educators (preferably those who teach 3D designing). Everything about this machine down to its features, screams powerful. It has been engineered and tested for faster and more reliable printing. Replicator+ is also a massive step up from its predecessor with a handful of impressive upgrades. It prints high-quality models easier, faster, and with a large build volume. All these combined with its powerful workflow tools, Replicator+ would certainly streamline your desktop 3D printing experience.
Delving a bit deeper into the upgrade details, MakerBot sought to achieve improved performance as against its previous model and they achieved it with the Replicator+. This printer has a 25% bigger build volume, 30% faster printing speed, and a much more studier construction. Its state-of-the-art automation allows you to focus more on the design of your models rather than the printing process. Replicator+ is also cloud-based and supports CAD integration, and you can source for free models using your browser and have them printed directly.
It is compatible with MakerBot’s tough PLA filament and its front-facing filament drawer allows you to change out colors/materials types without moving the printer around. It also supports Wi-Fi connectivity and has an onboard camera that enables you to effectively monitor the printing process. Replicator+ also has an easy-to-replace smart extruder+ and a flexible build plate.
KEY FEATURES – Makerbot Replicator+
• Build Volume: 11.6 × 7.6 × 6.5 inches
• Filament Compatibility: MakerBot Tough PLA Filament
• Min Layer Height: 0.1mm
• Operation: Full Color LCD Screen
• Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Ethernet, USB Stick/Cable
• Weight: 2 Pounds
• Dimensions: 20.79 × 16.14 × 17.36 inches
- Relatively quiet while printing
- Powerful software
- Impressive print quality
- Can print via USB, Ethernet and Wi-Fi
- The set-up could be somewhat tricky
Qidi Technology X-Max Industrial Grade 3D Printer
QIDI — a manufacturing company with over six years of experience in 3D printing developed a series which is popular among consumers called the X series, of which X-Max is a part. X-Max is a top advanced 3D printer that was designed to enable users to carry out a handful of features that you aren’t likely to come across in other 3D printers. Some of these features include the ability to print large size models, printing not only in common materials such as PLA, ABS, and TPU but also in advanced materials like Nylon, Carbon Fiber, PC, and the likes, etc.
X-Max gives you that much needed top quality printing experience with a host of other desirable features. This model from the X series has been updated from the single Z-axis to double Z-axis which is more solid to accommodate large print sizes. This machine also has dual extrusion capabilities and these extruders are labeled A and B. Each of them also carries out unique functions. Extruder A is used for printing models in PLA, ABS, TPU, and other similar materials, while Extruder B is used for printing models with advanced materials. Its full color 5.0” touch screen has a lot of intuitive options and is easy to navigate through.
This printer also has a curved, removable metal build plate that carries out dual functions. One metal plate can be used in printing with multiple filaments. The front side of the build plate supports printing with normal filaments while the reverse side allows printing with advanced materials. Likewise, there are two ways to place the filament in the X-Max. You could choose the ventilated printing option that would require you to place the filament outside or the enclosed printing option that requires you to place the filament inside. The former is used when printing with normal materials, while the latter is used for printing with advanced materials because they require constant temperature which can only be achieved in an enclosed space.
QIDI’s newly introduced slicer software improves the print quality by 30% and the printing speed by 20%. This software version is free and compatible with all QIDI Tech 3D printers. QIDI also has an interactive support team that would respond to your messages within 12 hours peradventure any problems that arise with the printer. X-Max also has a one-year warranty and the customer support is stellar.
KEY FEATURES – X-Max Industrial Grade 3D Printer
• Build Volume: 11.8 × 9.8 × 11.8 inches
• Operation: 5.0” Full Color Touch Screen
• Filament Diameter: 1.75mm
• Filament Compatibility: PLA, ABS, TPU, PETG, Nylon, Carbon Fiber, PC etc.
• Printing Technology: FDM
• Layer Thickness: 0.05 – 0.4mm
• Dimensions: 29 × 26 × 24 inches
• Weight: 61.6 Pounds
- Quiet printing
- Multi-material support
- Large print volume
- High speed
- No automated bed leveling
Snapmaker Original 3-in-1 3D Printer
This 3-in-1 3D printer is a first-generation product of Snapmaker that is sure to thrill many in the industry. It has three interchangeable modular functions which are 3D Printing, CNC Carving, and Laser Engraving. It makes sense to have a machine that can perform all three functions at a reasonable price, doesn’t it? Snapmaker Original has an all-metal external frame build which allows for high precision and quality prints. It is suitable for hobbyists, home users as well as educationists. This machine also has a powerful yet easy-to-understand software (Snapmakerjs) that can carry out tasks for all three functions. It auto-updates regularly with a constant array of new features that are sure to spark up your creativity.
Snapmaker Original also comes with an enclosure that gives you a quieter printing environment while still serving as a safety feature. The entire setup would have to be put together by the consumer, although this might seem a bit tasking at first, all the parts are modular and the printer can be set up fully in less than an hour. This modular feature also allows for future upgrades. Snapmaker also has a user-friendly community on Facebook with over 13,000 active users that are ready to assist and share in the creative fun! You could also email their support team or search up their official website to get their contact phone numbers for a real-time response. Let’s now consider its three functional modules in more detail.
• Resolution: 50 – 300 microns
• Heated Bed: Up to 80°c
• Build Volume: 4.9 × 4.9 × 4.9 inches
• Supported Materials: 1.75mm PLA, ABS etc.
• Laser Power: 200mV
• Work Area: 4.9 × 4.9 inches
• Supported File Types: SVG, JPEG, PNG, etc.
• Supported Materials: Wood, Bamboo, Leather, Paper, Plastic, Fabric, etc.
• Work Area: 3.5 × 3.5 × 2.0 inches
• Shank Diameter: 3.175mm
• Supported File Types: SVG, STEP, DXF, DWG, etc.
• Supported Materials: Wood, Acrylic, Jade, Carbon Fiber, etc.
Other Key Features
• Weight: 21.5 Pounds
• Dimensions: 11.4 × 13.2 × 10.7 inches
- 3-in-1 machine
- Excellent print quality
- Powerful, yet easy-to-understand software
- Pen nib wears down quickly
- Useless textured sheet which quickly wears out nibs
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Anycubic Mega X 3D Printer
Mega X is an excellent 3D printer choice for makers who are keen on large build volume printers, without having to break the bank or compromise on quality. It is also a perfect choice for beginners and new users because it comes with two guiding modules which help to make assembly easy and allows you printing right out of the box. This machine has a rigid metal frame structure that minimizes vibration while printing, thereby enhancing the quality of prints. It also has dual Y and Z-axes which helps to improve the stability of the hot bed and reduce printing errors.
Its UL60950-1 power supply compliance enhances the safety of your printer by protecting it against electrical surges, and the filament sensor/resume printing feature saves you time and material in case any disruptions occur during the printing process. Mega X also has a powerful extruder that is compatible with a ton of materials including flexible ones such as TPU. Anycubic offers a one-year warranty on this product (with the exception of the consumables), as well as lifetime technical support.
KEY FEATURES – Anycubic Mega X
• Printing Technology: FDM
• Build Volume: 300 × 300 × 305mm
• Layer Resolution: 0.05 – 0.3mm
• Nozzle Diameter: 0.4mm
• Average Printing Speed: 60mm/s
• Filament Compatibility: PLA, ABS, TPU, HIPS, etc.
• Operation: TFT Touchscreen
• Max Hot Bed Temp: 90°c
• Max Extruder Temp: 250°c
• Product Dimensions: 26 × 24 × 10.6 inches
• Weight: 44 Pounds
• Connectivity: SD Card, USB port
- Generous build volume
- Sturdy construction
- Great print quality
- Tricky interface
Congrow Creality Ender 3 PRO 3D Printer
Ender 3 Pro is currently one of the best 3D printers under the $300 mark, that you can get on the market today. This isn’t coming as a shocker because this machine has a few qualities that you wouldn’t even find in more expensive printers such as a sizeable build volume of 220 × 220 × 250mm, a magnetic heated bed, and the resume printing function. This 3D printer is also a great choice for beginners, home users, and hobbyists as it is easy to set up and avails you the opportunity to learn the basic construction of 3D printers.
This machine also comes with a UL certified power supply which protects your printer from unprecedented power surges and heats up the hot-bed to about 110°c in just 5 minutes. The power supply is also stable, so you can be sure of printing without any disruptions, and even if there are any, the resume printing function makes up for that. Ender 3 Pro also has a removable surface build plate that makes it easy to remove models after cooling while still providing protection to the heated bed. Congrow offers 24 hours of professional service and lifetime technical assistance.
KEY FEATURES OF THE WACOM INTUOS PRO MEDIUM
• Build Volume: 220 × 220 × 250mm
• Dimensions: 20.94 × 15.04 × 7.91 inches
• Weight: 18.96 Pounds
• Max Surface Plate Temp: 110°c
- Easy to assemble
- Great print quality
- Compact design with a decent build volume
- No automated leveling
- The bed may require often re-leveling which could cause disruptions in the printing process.
Longer LK4 Pro FDM 3D Printer
The LK4 Pro is an excellent beginner printer; it is easy to set up and offers great performance at an affordable price. 90% of the machine is factory-assembled as such, you would have no troubles putting it together, and can commence printing immediately after its unboxing. Unlike most 3D printers with an extension of 20 × 20mm, LK 4 Pro has a new aluminum extension of 20 × 40mm which makes it studier and enhances its stability compared to preceding models.
There are two screen sizes available for the LK4 Pro: The 2.8-inch touch screen (priced at $199.99 on Amazon), and the 4.3-inch full-color touch screen (priced at $219.00 on Amazon). The 4.3-inch touch screen version is more in demand thanks to its user-friendly interface and easy navigation.
The LK4 Pro also has a tempered glass bed which ensures better adhesion and fast heat-up times. It also has a filament detector that stops printing when the filament runs out, and the machine resumes printing after a power outage. Either way, you wouldn’t have to start printing from scratch thereby saving you time and materials. Longer offers a one-year warranty on this product and commendable technical support. Though their support team isn’t as prompt as some others are, their service is quite satisfactory. That said and done, if you are all out for an affordable printer with a sizeable print volume and simple operation, the LK4 Pro should definitely be your choice.
KEY FEATURES – Longer LK4 Pro FDM 3D Printer
• Operation: 2.3-inch / 4.3-inch Full Color Touch Screen
• Printing Technology: FDM
• Build Volume: 8.66 × 8.66 × 9.84 inches
• Filament Compatibility: 1.75mm PLA, ABS, and Wood
• Connectivity: USB cable, SD card
• Product Dimensions: 20 × 19 × 7.5 inches
• Weight: 21.3 Pounds
- Relatively quiet thanks to its TMC2208 drives
- Touchscreen lacks numerical keyboard
- Noisy power supply fan
- No automated leveling
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Choosing the Best 3D Printer for Miniatures in 2021: A Buying Guide
3D printers indeed provide an endless array of possibilities in printing technology, and there is a variety of 3D printers available on the market today to choose from. Whether you are creating new games, printing a smartphone case or even a door stop, there is certainly a printer out there that would work just fine for you. These various 3D printers available on the market today come in different sizes, and of course, different capabilities.
They also employ different technologies ranging from FFF (Fused Filament Formatting) to SLA (Stereo lithography), FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling) and a host of others. The level of detail that the printer would reproduce in the created miniatures should also be considered, and to get a satisfactory quality, there are certain features to look out for in the printer. From the tips that would be provided below, you should be able to identify the right 3D printer with corresponding qualities that would suit your needs and budget. Let’s consider them.
The Size of the Miniature
Before buying a 3D printer, the size of minis you intend to print as well as the build volume of the printer in question, should be considered. If you are looking at the more common 28mm or 54mm sized miniatures, an FFF printer which melts plastic filament would be just fine. However, if you intend on printing smaller miniature sizes, you would have to go for a SLA printer which uses liquid resin to build up and then solidifies it.
If you don’t fall into any of these categories and would want to print even larger models, that would require expensive 3D printers. Perhaps you are on a low budget, not to worry. Quality is readily preferred over size anyways, and you can still employ the use of the aforementioned printers to create larger models as there are now exciting ways to divide the parts of your models when printing and then joining them back afterwards.
The Material Type
The type of material to be used in printing the minis should also be considered as it should be suitable for the printer you intend to buy. Most FFF printers commonly used ABS or PLA plastic in building their models. If you decide to use ABS, you shouldn’t just run off to start utilizing your miniatures. In order to achieve a smooth finish, you would have to sand and vapor bath the miniature in acetone. This shouldn’t be done only when using ABS as post-processing is required after any part is built. There are likewise different techniques peculiar to different material types.
While the miniature is being created by the printer, a hot plastic is extruded from a certain hole and this hole is called the nozzle. To ensure precision and finer details in your minis, the nozzle diameter of the printer you intend on buying shouldn’t be more than 0.4mm.
While the printing process is ongoing, different layers are being combined to form the full miniature and the height of each of these layers is what we refer to as layer thickness. For precise detailing, the layer thickness that the printer is reproducing should be low. Although slimmer layers would eventually translate to slower printing time, the quality of the minis are of greater importance. To that effect, you should look out for a printer that creates layers of 100 microns (0.01mm) thick or less.
Perhaps before buying the printer, you could be given an opportunity to test run it or see sample printers when working. If so, you would also need to look out for the accuracy in the movement of the printer’s head in the X and Y direction.
When buying your printer, you should also look out for safety measures that the printer carries out by default. For instance, an FDM printer might cool the nozzle and the heated bed as soon as you conclude the printing job. Likewise, some printers might move the nozzle away when printing is paused so as to prevent the formation of excess filament, as well as excess heat from damaging the miniature.
Do not forget to also look out for the printer’s resolution. Resolution in 3D printers is usually measured in microns. FDM printers are generally at the lower end starting at about 25 microns while resin-based printers could have up to 100 microns. FDM printers also makes it easy to adjust the resolution of your final design. To wrap things up, you should look out for a printer that is easy to adjust with a high number of microns included in its specifications list.
Good Customer Support
Finally, before closing up that payment deal, take out time to research the manufacturer’s customer support system. Is there a professional support system in place for this brand or is there just a Facebook group? These and many more are some of the likely questions to enquire about before making that purchase because it could go a long way in affecting your overall printing experience, perhaps if something goes wrong.
Provided you are ready to invest your time with a willingness to learn the ropes; you should be able to master the basics of 3D printing in no time. This fast-growing form of printing technology is sure to revolutionized your professional, as well as your personal relationships. The question remains: Are you ready to take the plunge?
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