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Last updated: August 30, 2021
3D printers offer great opportunities for hobbies and one of them is creating mini models for games, entertainment and even architecture. Yet we understand how difficult it is to find the proper printer capable of high-quality printing with sharp edges and clear details.
We have reviewed the best 3D printers for miniatures, taking into account their respective benefits and drawbacks to help you choose the right product for you. For our review, we factored in key features such as the layer resolution for quality, the printing speed, volume and technology for custom output, and the weight and dimensions of the printers.
Anycubic Photon S is our top choice for miniatures because it employs SLA technology which produces objects with high precision, amazing detail and a smooth texture because the process applies less force. The 50-watt unit offers printing speed of 20 mm/hr and high layer resolution of 25 microns. It comes with a 2-inch TFT screen that allows you a glimpse of the object before it prints it, a 405 nm UV LCD light source and a user-friendly slicer that allows you to set your preferred print settings.
We consider this model the best 3D printer for models that are complex because it is equipped with high-quality features to get the job done.
Why are we impressed?
We like the sturdy frame, the competitive price range, and the resin-based printing which creates very detailed objects that are also smooth. It is simple to set up because it comes fully assembled. You can level the bed easily, preview the print on the intuitive touchscreen interface and customize settings on the Photon slicer software. It also features USB connectivity, dual fans that create good ventilation for a safe environment, and activated carbon air filter that prevents odor.
What negatives must you be aware of?
This model has printing volume of 4.5 x 2.5 x 6.4 inches which is a significantly smaller size when compared to the other products we have listed as the best 3D printers for making miniatures. Users appreciate the ability of Anycubic Photon S to design specialized prints but they admit that the material can be costly since resin 3D printers use proprietary products. The plastic printer cover also feels flimsy.
ELEGOO Saturn MSLA provides decent printing volume of 7.55 x 4.7 x 7.8 inches to print several full-sized objects simultaneously. The surface is sandblasted to strengthen adherence for large 3D prints and the build plate features set screws for stable leveling that reduces the need for frequent calibration. The display is 8.9-inch 4K monochrome LCD with high resolution of 3840 x 2400 pixels which also increases layer printing speed. There is a USB port for transferring files over your Ethernet and a matrix LED light source with 405 nm UV-resin printing. The dual linear Z-axis improves precision in motion for greater accuracy, more detail and a smooth surface.
This is the best 3D printer for figurines with super-vivid detail for board games. The 8-time anti-aliasing has been upgraded with image blur mechanism for smoother and accurate prints.
What are its best features?
Compared to Mars Pro, this 3D printer for minis prints layers at a 60% faster rate. It comes with a 1-year limited warranty and a shock absorption unit at the base to prevent wobbling and muffle sound for quiet operation. We also like the Chitubox slicer with a user-friendly interface and multiple adjustable settings, for thickness and density among other qualities. Finally, it is well-packaged with protective foam and plastic layers.
What could be improved?
There is an initial learning curve when using Chitubox software. Check YouTube tutorials for efficient use. There are complaints about this printer being costly because there are vendors selling it at a high price, but you can get it cheaper if you order it from Elegoo. Make sure you pre-order because you may have to wait for a while before receiving your unit. However, it would definitely be worth the wait.
Monoprice MP Cadet comes with multiple accessories that include a USB cable, power cord, card reader, microSD card, build plate tape, filament coil and, an Allen wrench. It has printing volume of 4.7 x 4.7 x 7 inches and a high printing speed of 100 mm/sec. The PLA and ABS compatible machine has a 3.7-inch IPS screen on top as well as a QR code sticker that allows users to download the manual.
This is among the best cheap 3D printers for miniatures which we can recommend to novices on a budget.
Why are we impressed?
We like the high speed and the detachable metal build plate which you flex to pull out objects. It prints with either polylactic acid (PLA) or acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) filaments, providing users with another option for those who would rather not use ABS which is prone to emitting unpleasant fumes. Buyers also appreciate the impressive +482°F max extruder temperature which enables the printer to be compatible with any filament.
What negatives must you be aware of?
The most noticeable drawback of this 3D printer is the printing volume which is the smallest among the models we have reviewed. Some users had trouble setting up the printer and leveling the bed, and others report inaccurate temperature reading with no way of configuring it for the filament. Other complaints include jamming filaments and some thermostats malfunctioning after a while. Otherwise, most buyers recommend this printer as an entry-level model.
Creality CR-10 has the highest printing volume among our featured products; 11.8 x 11.8 x 15.75 inches. It features a durable aluminum frame and “Triangle-Slot” wheels for a stable printing platform, a 0.4 mm nozzle and a glass bed with an even surface. The 3D printer for models has decent maximum extruder temperature of +212°F. It is compatible with 1.75mm PLA filaments. Other features include adjustable layer thickness of 0.05 to 0.4mm and maximum printing speed of 200mm/s which is ideal for large-scale projects.
The build space of this model makes it suitable for a wide range of custom projects for hobbyists to create figurines, miniatures and other objects.
What makes it stand out?
This 3D printer has amazing speed and printing speed and it includes a roll of PLA filament to start you off. Most users were able to create several objects as soon as they received their unit because the machine is easy to operate. It is also quiet. We would have liked it more if it had automatic leveling option and detailed instructions and it was easy for prints to adhere to the glass bed. Apart from that, this is a printer we highly recommend for diverse prints.
Which disadvantages must you keep in mind?
Owing to the ample build space, Creality CR-10 is also large with dimensions of 23.6 x 23.2 x 24 inches which might not fit in limited spaces. Setting it up is a hassle because of the multiple components that need to be tightened with screws. Some users found the YouTube tutorials useful in easing the process. You may also have to update the included slicer software. Fortunately, the firmware is open source and not proprietary.
Creality Ender 3 is a great bargain. It features high 491°F max extruder temperature, an upgraded extruder that limits the chance of a clogged nozzle, 7 in/sec printing speed, and resume printing function in case of power outage. You get these features at a budget-friendly price for such a 3D printer for minis. There are wheels to ease mobility and the branded power supply enables the hot bed to reach 110℃ within 5 minutes.
This is a great printer for introducing children to 3D printing. It is also a suitable choice for students and beginners.
What stands out?
The printer arrives partially assembled and includes the tools for complete installation. It is easy to level the bed and the bed’s surface grabs the plastic so you won’t have to use glue for adherence. This is a great alternative to resin 3D printers which can be expensive over time because resin costs a lot more than filament. It produces fairly good prints with a few tweaks and upgraded firmware.
What cons did we manage to find?
The filament that comes with the printer is very short. This makes it difficult to attach it to the notches in the hot end. The directions are not detailed, so users have to watch videos online for comprehensive tutorials. The placement of the micro SD card could be better, and a couple of users report that the quality of their prints was inconsistent when they printed the same file several times.
FlashForge Adventurer 3 Lite is compatible with various types of filament such as ABS, PLA, PEARL, metal, or wood. It comes with a detachable nozzle that heats up quickly to 392°F in 50 seconds, an intuitive 2.8-inch touchscreen and FDM printing technology. This is the lite version of Adventurer 3D; unlike the latter, this model does not come with a full roll as well as a web cam for viewing your prints on Ethernet. It would be ideal for small prints for beginners because it has a small printing volume of 5.9 x 5.9 x 5.9 inches.
This 3D printer for models is suitable for offices and classrooms because it operates quietly, generating noise of 45 decibels which is equivalent to a library.
What stands out?
The prints stick to the heated bed and you only need to calibrate the build plate, but you cannot level it since that’s already done at the factory. We consider this a plus although some users find the limited ability to customize the printer as a drawback. We also appreciate its Wi-Fi connectivity and Ethernet capability because it means you don’t have to rely on USB or SD card to transfer files.
What cons did we manage to find?
The printer comes with only a quick start guide. Users have to download the manual on the Company’s website. The sample filament included with this lite version 3D printer is so small that you must babysit it while printing to prevent it from binding on itself. Besides that, this 3D printer for making miniatures mostly uses proprietary software and accessories such as spools which are smaller than the standard-sized spools.
There are cheap 3D printers for miniatures that cannot detect when the filament is running out. That is not the case with Monoprice Voxel which comes with auto feeding function as well as an integrated sensor that detects low filament levels and pauses printing until you reload filaments. There is also assisted leveling function, and you can adjust the settings on the 2.8-inch IPS touchscreen. Other features include printing speed of 60 mm per second, +464°F max printing temperature, 8 GB internal memory, and a nozzle that you can quickly change in seconds without requiring any tools.
This 3D printer for minis would be an ideal choice if you are creating objects for your hobby, or you are a student who needs a good machine for practice. This is because it has a low volume of 5.9 x 5.9 x 5.9 inches which wouldn’t meet a high 3D printing demand.
What makes it special?
It has sensors to alert you when filament is depleted and stop the machine from operating at that time as a safety precaution. We like the inclusion of a built-in camera, USB port for prints transfer, and sample filament and 3D models. You can easily dislodge the model from the bed by flexing the removable build plate which can be heated to temperatures of up to 60°c. Lastly, it comes fully assembled and it is easy to swap nozzles.
What cons did we find?
You can only access the camera by using an IP address which must be configured whenever the printer restarts with a different MAC address. This can be tedious. Some buyers report that they had issues when their printers could not connect with any slicer software they tried to print the model. The company would also do well to update this product’s description and remove “auto leveling” which is false advertising.
The large printing volume of Artillery Sidewinder X1, high speed of 150 mm/sec and power of 600 watts makes this the best 3D printer for D&D. It is compatible with PLA, ABS and thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) and flexible materials. The unit features a synchronized dual Z-system, super quiet stepper driver, direct drive extruder which is ideal for flexible filaments, and resume print function to protect your project during power failure. Maximum Build Plate Temperature: 130C
The 3D printer for models has been upgraded with a new lattice glass bed with excellent adhesion, a flat surface and a steady heated curve. It has noise deafening technology that is suitable for both home and work environments.
What are its best features?
There are sensors for power failure recovery and others that prompt you to reload filaments when they run out, and also auto pause printing. The printer comes with a full touchscreen, a rapid heating AC heat bed and an assembly tool kit. It has maximum build plate temperature of 130C and works with multiple types of 3D printing software. The unit has wonderful print quality and the customer support is responsive.
What could be improved?
Some of the users had difficulties with the Z-system because of setting up the rods incorrectly. Tensioning the Y axis carriage rollers properly, adjusting the couplers and heat cycling the build plate a few times with the leveling knobs loosened seem to fix the issue. This also helps with removing the little dip that forms a concave at the center of the bed. Lastly, we wish this 3D printer for minis had leveling probe support.
QIDI TECH Shadow 6.0 Pro has been upgraded with features that enhance the quality of the final objects. These include 3.5-in TFT touchscreen, UV LED 405 nm arrays and a printing area that is 20% larger than the previous version. It also has dual Z-axis and 4 optical axis structure that improve stability to increase precision when 3D printing. The printer works with resin filament with diameter of 1.75 mm and the output volume is 5.11 x 2.75 x 5.9 inches. You can adjust layer thickness to a range of 0.01 to 0.2 mm.
Buyers recommend it to collectors who wish to duplicate logos, D&D, chess pieces and emblems.
What are our favorite features?
This 3D printer for D&D is an upgrade resin model with UV LED arrays which provides higher resolution and shortens the curing time to a maximum of 4 seconds. We like the larger print envelope in this version, and the UV matrix improves accuracy of the prints’ dimensions across the entire build plate. The dual axis offers stable operation, the prints are have good detail, and it is easy to use the intuitive user interface. Buyers also applaud the excellent customer support that is quick to address any issues regarding their products.
What could be better?
There are users who had prints sticking hard to the build plate and causing damage to the plate when you try to lift them from the bed. This is fixed by configuring the correct time, which varies according to the type of resin, for bottom layer exposure. A few buyers had an initial learning curve with the leveling firmware. Lastly, it would be great to include instructions on how to put the resin in for novices.
Junco Evolution X is a resin 3D printer with a 2K HD LCD screen for previewing models, a 2.3-in TFT touchscreen, and T type ball bearing linear guide that increases stability of the platform and smoothens the surface to produce prints with a smooth texture. The printer with 8 GB internal memory supports Wi-Fi connectivity and online printing. It comes with built-in JUNCO slicing software and is compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux systems.
This is a great product that is suitable for offline printing. The new version uses 8% less power and its UV energy uniformity is up by 10%.
What stands out?
It has layer resolution range of 0.02 to 0.1mm, printing volume of 5.1 x 2.8 x 5.9 inches, and it features a full metal body that is durable. The 3D printer for making miniatures supports Ethernet, USB and Wi-Fi connectivity, and you can update the integrated software directly over Wi-Fi. The printer comes with 250g of fluid rapid resin that is meant to reduce printing time in LCD and DLP printers.
What cons did we manage to find?
We recommend that you operate the printer it in a well-ventilated area because of the strong smell. Because it takes a while to learn your prints orientation, this may not be the best product for beginners. Besides that, resin printers do not make great ideal starter models because resin is costlier than filaments. Those are the only minor drawbacks we could find since there are very few user reviews of this printer.
Things to Consider
We have recommended the best 3D printers for making miniatures and models such as figurines and D&D. We have included SLA Resin and FDM models. In this section, we will discuss the features that should guide you when choosing the best 3D printer for miniatures. You will also learn how to clean your printer and how to scale 3D prints for miniatures.
How To Scale 3D Prints for Miniatures
A layer height of 0.01 mm is a great starting point that won’t take long to print.
You can increase printing time by increasing layer height if printing several figurines that don’t require intricate detail.
Fine-tune the settings for top layers to print objects with a flat and smooth base.
A great way to calculate the size of a figurine is to scale it to a 1-inch 3D model, use the anatomy to scale, and use a printed miniature with a real miniature for scale. Watch this video for visual instructions:
How to Pick the Best 3D Printer for Miniatures
Before making your decision on the best 3D printer for minis you should buy, compare the following key features that will determine your unit’s performance, ease of use and costs.
Trusted SourceSLA’s 3D Smart Nation map debuts on the world stageThe Singapore Land Authority (SLA) has revealed the highly anticipated first phase of its national 3D mapping project to an audience of more than 16,500 of the world’s leading geospatial professionals – at the Esri International User Conference (UC) in San Diego this week.
produces objects with higher resolution and details and a smooth texture. FDM printing with PETG, nylon or PLA achieves the same, albeit at a longer printing time. LCD printers are cured by UV light and they produce objects that are more precise and superior than SLA printers that use laser light. They also operate at a faster rate. You can improve layer resolution in FDM printers by switching to a wider nozzle although this might affect the precision and final quality of the prints.
All the 3D printers for figurines that we have reviewed use filament rolls that have a diameter of 1.75 mm.
Dimensions and weight
You should factor in the amount of space available to set up your printer to confirm that your intended purchase will fit. Models with large components such as the build plate will increase the overall dimensions of the printer. Some brands such as the Creality products we have featured are equipped with wheels to ease mobility. This is a handy feature especially for heavy 3D printers for making miniatures.
Overall, 3D filament printers are faster than resin-based printers which print a smaller surface area of every layer, and also involve additional steps during post-processing. A wider nozzle will also reduce printing time in FDM models because they extrude material at a high flow rate. Having said that, 3D printers for making miniatures that use UV curing light or a light projector have the fastest printing speed.
FDM and SLA are the two forms of technology often used in 3D printers for figurines. They each have their individual pros and cons. Filament printing is suitable for beginners because there is little learning curve and it costs less to maintain it. SLA is designed to handle more complex designs with superior resolution and detail, and this could take time to muster. Besides that, the resin is more expensive than filaments.
You will find that the 3D printers we have featured differ in the type of filaments they are individually compatible with. For instance, Monoprice MP Cadet is compatible with polylactic acid (PLA) or acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) filaments whereas FlashForge Adventurer 3 Lite supports a wider range of filaments such as ABS, PLA, PEARL, metal, or wood.
Most 3D printers have enough space for building miniatures, but you should take vertical prints into consideration
The printing volume will depend on the size of the build plate, also known as a printing bed or platform. This is a flat surface from where you build your model. It is made from metal, plastic or glass. Printing volume will determine the number of items you can print at once, or the largest model size your 3D machine can print. Please note that the dimensions of print area listed by manufacturers do not indicate the optimal print size, but the maximum allowable print dimensions. This means that the model will lose some detail and resolution if you print it at the maximum size.
Generally, filament printers such as Creality CR-10 have a larger bed size and print volume. It has printing volume of 11.8 x 11.8 x 15.75 inches compared to the resin printing Anycubic Photon S with volume of 4.5 x 2.5 x 6.4 inches.
The standard guarantee for 3D printers for minis is a limited warranty of one year for the unit. This does not cover the touchscreen user interface, FEP films, or the tool kits.
We have reviewed the best cheap 3D printer for miniatures that connect to USB and Wi-Fi for easy transference of files over Ethernet. Some come with spacious built-in memory for extra storage.
Extra features and accessories
This includes sample resin and filaments to start you off, tool kit for quick assembly, integrated software that may require to be upgraded for efficient operation, resume printing function after power outage, microSD card, USB cable, power cord, and assisted leveling function.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recommends
Trusted Source3D Printing Safety at Work | NIOSH | CDC3D printing, or additive manufacturing, is increasing in popularity. This technology is becoming less expensive and more accessible to both businesses and consumers. It is currently used in a wide variety of settings, such as labs, factories, hospitals, schools, libraries, and homes.
using gloves and safety glasses when operating 3D printers. They also advise running the printer in an enclosure in a well-ventilated environment to trap chemical emissions.
The best 3D printer for 28mm miniatures is a resin-based model which can print small objects with amazing detail, resolution and precision. The prints will also have a smooth surface because this form of 3D printing does not use as much force as filament printing. FDM printers suits bulky buildings and terrains.
Absolutely! It is one of the most cost-effective ways you can recreate your Dungeons & Dragons characters in the original version which was first published in 1974, or in subsequent versions.
You can use Monoprice MP Cadet for that task, it allows you to customize your designs for props such as dice towers and for figurines.
You should clean your printer after every few prints or if you notice issues. Run the soft and sticky cleaning filament to clean particles from the extruder head and gears. Remove stubborn debris with compressed air, and lubricate the X and Y axis with sewing machine oil when they become rigid or dry. Do the same for the Z axis after every 6 months.
Our top pick is SLA-based Anycubic Photon S 3D printer which uses 405 nm UV LCD light to create prints with high resolution, extensive detail and a smooth surface, making it the best 3D printer for 28mm miniatures. It is also suitable for designing complex prints
ELEGOO Saturn MSLA comes with a 8.9-inch 4K monochrome LCD which has high resolution, a dual linear Z-axis and image blur technology for greater accuracy and precision, and shock absorbers at the base. The upgraded version is also faster and quieter.
Monoprice MP Cadet ranked among our top best 3D printers for miniatures because it includes several accessories and is quite affordable for beginners. The model is compatible with PLA and ABS filaments. It has high maximum extruder temperature and layer resolution range of 0.05 to 0.3 mm.
SLA’s 3D Smart Nation map debuts on the world stage
The Singapore Land Authority (SLA) has revealed the highly anticipated first phase of its national 3D mapping project to an audience of more than 16,500 of the world’s leading geospatial professionals – at the Esri International User Conference (UC) in San Diego this week.
3D printing, or additive manufacturing, is increasing in popularity. This technology is becoming less expensive and more accessible to both businesses and consumers. It is currently used in a wide variety of settings, such as labs, factories, hospitals, schools, libraries, and homes.