The 5 Best 3D Printers for Miniatures in 2021

There’s nothing more fun than 3D printing your favorite fictional characters into cute little miniatures. And if you’re a first-timer, don’t worry because it isn’t that complicated or expensive. In fact, printing your models can save you money in the long term. You’ll also get a new hobby and even make a business out of it.

In this guide, we’ll review some of the most top-rated 3D printers so that you can pick the best 3D printer for miniatures.

Comparison Table

ModelBuild VolumePrint SpeedLayer Resolution
ANYCUBIC Photon Mono X192 x 120 x 250 mm60 mm/hr0.01-0.2 mm
ANYCUBIC Photon Mono130 x 80 x165 mm50 mm/hr0.01-0.2 mm
ELEGOO Resin Mars 2 Pro129 x 80 x 160 mm50 mm/hr0.01-0.2 mm
Monoprice Maker Select200 x 200 x 180 mm70 mm/s0.1 mm
Creality Ender 3 V2 Upgraded220 x 220 x 250 mm200 mm/s0.1 – 0.4 mm

The 5 Best 3D Printers for Miniatures in 2021

Setting the basic specs aside, let’s dive deeper into the feature list of these 3D printers to see what they have to offer.

1. ANYCUBIC Photon Mono X – Best Overall

ANYCUBIC Photon Mono X

We’re kicking off our list strong with the ANYCUBIC Photon Mono X, a versatile miniature printer with blazing fast print speeds.

This high-precision 3D printer has a speedy single-layer exposure, lasting no more than 2 seconds. Not to mention, it can print at a maximum speed of 60mm/hr, which is many times faster than other 3D printers in this class.

In addition, it boasts a generous 192 x 120 x 250 mm build volume that enables you to 3D print miniatures of all sizes and shapes. And with a layer resolution of 0.01- 0.2 mm, your miniatures will be as detailed as they can get.

One unique feature is that you can remotely control your printer, adjust print parameters, and print your miniatures from far away, thanks to the dedicated remote control app.

Additionally, the Photon Mono X utilizes quartz lamp beads with a uniform light source that can be coupled with a 4K monochrome screen for the ultimate precision. As for connectivity, the Mono X supports USB and Wi-Fi 3D printing. Our only concern is that the slicer can be a bit awkward.

What We Like:

  • Fast print speed
  • Large build volume
  • Remote control
  • UV light source
  • Supports Wi-Fi
  • Durable aluminum platform

What We Don’t Like:

  • Slicer is a bit awkward

Bottom Line

With a sturdy aluminum platform, large build area, and Wi-Fi support, it’s hard not to recommend the ANYCUBIC Photon Mono X.

2. ANYCUBIC Photon Mono – Budget Pick

ANYCUBIC Photon Mono

The ANYCUBIC Photon Mono is yet another 3D printer from ANYCUBIC that has many tricks up its sleeve. It shares many similarities with its older sibling, the Mono X, and it comes at almost half of its price.

Moreover, this printer flaunts a build volume of 130 x 80 x165 mm, which is more than enough for small or medium-sized models. And just like the Mono X, the Mono is capable of printing at 2.5x the speed of regular 3D printers with a top speed of 50 mm/hr.

Also, its 2.8” touchscreen display enables you to control the printer and adjust its settings conveniently. Not to mention, the release film is super easy to replace, sparing you some time and effort.

Additionally, the printer’s parallel matrix source takes printing accuracy to the next level by improving heat dissipation, exposure, and efficiency. And the Photon Mono 3D printer is equipped with one hell of a 6.08” Monochrome 2K HD LCD that can cure the resin in as little as 1.5 seconds/layer. That’s way faster and more efficient than RGB LCD 3D printers.

Finally, the printer features a transparent UV-blocking cover too. It’s capable of blocking 99.95% of the 405nm UV light, ensuring that your prints come out perfect. Nevertheless, it’s worth noting that this printer has no Wi-Fi feature.

What We Like:

  • Fast print speed
  • Affordable
  • Easy controls
  • Easy release film replacement process
  • Great printing accuracy

What We Don’t Like:

  • No Wi-Fi
  • Build volume is only suitable for small models

Bottom Line

ANYCUBIC Photon Mono is an excellent choice for budget-minded miniature fans who want a capable printer without breaking the bank. It’s beginner-friendly and super fast!

3. ELEGOO Resin Mars 2 Pro – Best for Small Models

ELEGOO Resin Mars 2 Pro

With a build volume of 129 x 80 x 160 mm, the ELEGOO Resin Mars 2 Pro has enough space for you to build small-sized miniatures.

Furthermore, Mars 2 Pro boasts a 6.08-inch monochrome 2K HD LCD that takes 2 seconds/layer for resin curing, maximizing your printing power. Mono LCDs typically last longer than RGB LCDs, and they’re more stable when it comes to performance. So, you’ll probably fall in love with this LCD!

It’s also worth noting that the printer integrates a COB UV LED light source with a high luminous maintenance rate, excellent dissipation performance, uniform light emission, and an advanced spot-elimination system. There’s also a built-in linear guideway that ensures a smooth, stable, and accurate movement for the best possible printing results.

Moreover, the printer has built-in activated carbon, which, coupled with the turbo cooling fan and silicone rubber seal, absorbs the resin’s fumes and eliminates foul odors. And the icing on top is that the Resin Mars 2 Pro comes with a 1-year warranty against manufacturing defects.

What We Like:

  • Mono 2K LCD
  • Built-in activated carbon
  • Robust linear guideway
  • 1-year warranty
  • Fast resin curing

What We Don’t Like:

  • Small build volume
  • No Wi-Fi

Bottom Line

If you’re going to print small models exclusively or need a portable 3D printer for printing on the go, the ELEGOO Resin 3D Printer Mars 2 Pro is your best bet.

4. Monoprice Maker Select – Best Value Pick

Monoprice Maker Select

The Monoprice Maker Select aims to deliver high-end features at a reasonable price. This 3D printer is far from being a DIY kit. It comes fully assembled and ready for action right out of the box. It’s as simple as plug and play!

It features a 200 x 200 x 180 mm build volume, which is pretty significant compared to other 3D printers on this list. So, you should be able to print any type of miniatures you can think of comfortably.

Furthermore, the Maker Select supports direct SD card printing. It also comes with a free SD card that’s preloaded with ready-to-print 3D models. And it doesn’t just end there; you get a free sample PLA filament so that you can get started with your first home-built miniature right away!

In addition, the Maker Select has a heated build plate that gives you more material choices. And the produced heat enables you to print miniatures with slow cooling materials like ABS, modified ABS, PLA, and PLA blends. However, the printer doesn’t support assisted leveling, and the layer thickness could be better.

What We Like:

  • Spacious build area
  • Supports direct SD card printing
  • Comes with a free sample PLA filament
  • Ships fully assembled
  • Can be used with slow cooling materials

What We Don’t Like:

  • Doesn’t support assisted leveling
  • Layer thickness isn’t that impressive

Bottom Line

The Monoprice Maker Select leaves little to be desired with an adequate build volume, direct memory card printing, and a free filament included in the package.

5. Creality Ender 3 V2 Upgraded – Most User-Friendly

Creality Ender 3 V2 Upgraded

The Creality Ender 3 V2 Upgraded has an extruder with a rotary knob to allow for easy filament loading and feeding. There’s also an intuitive control panel, making the loading and feeding filament process much more manageable. So, the printer is very user-friendly.

Not to mention, it integrates a powerful UI that has all the functions you could need to print magnificent miniatures. It also has a large 220 x 220 x 250 mm build volume. We also like the fact that the Ender 3 has a resume printing function, enabling you to continue from where you left off in case of power outages.

Additionally, this 3D printer is equipped with a carborundum glass platform for faster heating and more effective adhesion. This guarantees smooth printing on all layers of the miniatures.

Last but not least, the Maker Select barely produces any noise during operation, thanks to its silent motherboard.

What We Like:

  • Resume printing function
  • Rotating knob
  • Silent operation
  • High-quality glass platform

What We Don’t Like:

  • Filament loading is a bit complicated

Bottom Line

The Creality Ender 3 V2 Upgraded ticks many of our boxes regarding user-friendliness, print quality, and build volume.

See also: The 5 Best 3D Printers Under $200 in 2021

How to Pick a 3D Printer for Miniatures

Here are some of the factors to consider when you’re shopping for a miniature 3D printer:

Build Volume

The first thing you need to think of when looking for a 3D printer for miniatures is build volume. After all, you won’t be able to print your favorite miniatures if the printer doesn’t have enough space for you to unleash your creativity.

For example, if you only need to print small miniatures, a 2D printer with a 130 x 100 x 100 mm build volume will suffice. In opposition, larger models require a larger build area.

Print Speed

Print speed may not matter that much if you only need to print a couple of miniatures every now and then. But if you’re planning on printing lots of models, opting for a 3D printer with a fast print speed will save you a lot of time. It’d also be super helpful if you want to run a miniature-making business.

Print Quality

Do you think that your miniatures require a high level of quality and precision? Then, you need to ensure that the printer has a thin layer thickness. Anything around 0.01mm is a great place to start.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is It Cost Effective to 3D Print Miniatures?

Definitely! Printing your own miniatures can save you a ton of money. On the one hand, the average cost of an unpainted miniature is $5. On the other hand, 1 KG of PLA filament allows you to create lots of miniatures, and it only costs you $25.

How Long Does It Take for a 3D Printer to Print a Miniature?

3D printing a miniature can take anything from 30 minutes up to 10 hours, depending on the 3D printer, the size of the miniature, and the level of details and complexity of the model.

What Materials Are Used in 3D Printing?

There are lots of materials that 3D printing enthusiasts use, which include:

  • PLA
  • ABS
  • Resin
  • Nylon
  • PVA
  • Paper
  • Carbon Fiber
  • Stainless steel
  • Gold
  • silver

Which Is Stronger? ABS or PLA?

ABS has the upper edge over PLA when considering mechanics, as it’s more robust and more stable and durable. However, ABS may require some experience, especially since crafting defect-free miniatures with it can be tricky, as it’s prone to warping.

Also, keep in mind that PLA is favorable if aesthetics are a big thing for you. Most miniature lovers pay attention to minor details, so they like to use PLA.

Final Verdict

To recap, printing your miniatures can definitely be an excellent investment in the long term, especially with a quality printer. If you’re looking for the best 3D printer for miniatures, you can go for the ANYCUBIC Photon Mono X. This 3D printer has a spacious build volume, prints quickly and precisely, and can be controlled remotely.

Alternatively, you can opt for the smaller and cheaper Photon Mono if you’re looking for a smaller build volume. Finally, you might want to consider getting the Monoprice Maker Select if you want a beginner-friendly 3D printer that requires little to no effort to set up.

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