Having your own 3D printer could be a life-changing decision. Not only will it be accessible for you at all times, but it’ll also save you a ton of money in the long run. That’s beside the apparent advantages that include 3d printing your own designs and bringing them to life.
However, picking a 3D printer for miniatures isn’t as easy as you might think. There are hundreds of options on the market, making it difficult to narrow them down to the best ones. Well, it’s your lucky day. I’ve come across tons of 3D printers and decided to create this list of the best 3D printers for miniatures to help you find what you’re seeking.
So, without further ado, are you ready to meet your next 3D printer?
Top 3 Best 3D Printer for Miniatures
|Budget Friendly||Best Overall||FlashForge Creator Pro||
||Check Today’s Price|
|Budget Friendly||Runner Up||Creality Ender 5 Pro||
||Check Today’s Price|
|My Choice||For Multipurpose||ANYCUBIC Photon||
||Check Today’s Price|
5 Best 3D Printers for Miniatures in 2020
1. FlashForge Creator Pro: Best Features
I’m starting off this list with my all-time best 3D printer, the FlashForge Creator Pro. With a volume of 8.9 x 5.8 x 5.9 inches, this 3D printer is perfect for miniatures without taking up too much space; it’s perfect for smaller offices or hobbyists.
The Creator Pro has a dual extruder, making it perfect for miniatures because you’ll be getting high print quality with excellent details similar to an inkjet envelope printer.
This printer uses Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) printing technology, which works by printing thin layers on top of each other. It’s also known as Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) if you’re more familiar with that term. While we’re on the subject of layers, this printer’s layer thickness is 0.1 to 0.3 mm, thin enough to capture all the details of your miniature.
Regarding the printer’s build, it’s made from a sturdy metal frame that’ll keep it stable while printing your model. Also, it has a 6.3 mm thick aluminum plate so it can withstand the heat generated during the printing process. Moreover, it features a nozzle with a 0.4-mm diameter, which isn’t the thinnest option on the market, but it’s good enough to produce excellent models similar to these best printer for vinyl stickers.
The FlashForge Creator Pro is compatible with PLA and ABS filament types, the two most popular materials for FFF printing. That’s not all; this printer is also compatible with any filament material you can think of, taking versatility to a whole new level similar to these best printer for heat transfer t shirts.
For a smooth printing experience, the Creator Pro has an LCD screen that you can use to control the printing at hand. Additionally, you can print from an SD card or via a USB cable that you can connect to your PC or laptop, and it accepts most file formats, including 3MF, STL, and even JPEG.
- High-quality build
- LCD screen
- Accepts SD cards and USB connections
- Compatible with most file formats
- Compact size
- A little noisy
If you’re looking for the best 3D printer for miniatures, the FlashForge Creator Pro is an excellent choice. The FFF printer is compact enough to provide you with optimum space for miniature printing without taking up too much room, so you can keep it in your office.
2. Creality Ender 5 Pro: All-in-one model
The Creality 3D printers speak for themselves for their high quality, and the Ender 5 Pro is no exception. This printer’s newest model incorporates a mute motherboard that guarantees a quiet printing process, so you can keep it in your office or house, and you won’t notice it there!
Being an FDM 3D printer, this unit prints your model one layer at a time with a layer thickness of 100 to 400 microns. Moreover, the Ender 5 Pro boasts a metal extruder that can keep the heat for longer, which results in a more energy-efficient operation and a high-quality output because all the layers just melt together seamlessly.
What’s more, it boasts a 0.4-mm nozzle that’s also convertible to a 0.2 or a 0.3-mm one for excellent details in your miniature model. Speaking of details, this printer has a double Y-axis design for unmatched accuracy. Every single print you get with this unit will come out perfectly similar to these 3d printer for cosplay.
It has a volume of 8.6 x 8.6 x 11.8 inches, so if the FlashForge Creator Pro seemed a little too limited for your liking, you’ll definitely love the Creality Ender 5 Pro. To add, the overall size of this 3d printers for miniatures is still compact enough to fit into a small office.
It’s compatible with most slicing software programs, including Cura, Simplify 3D, and Repetier-Host, in addition to most file formats like STL, OBJ, and AMF. No matter which software program you use to design your 3D miniature, this printer can read and understand the file similar to the best fine art printer.
Regarding the compatible filament materials, the FlashForge Creator Pro can use PLA, ABS, PETG, and TPU materials. Whether you want a sturdy output or a more flexible one, this printer has your back.
Lastly, this unit is quite speedy with a printing speed of 40-80 mm/s, so your miniature projects will be printed much faster than you’d expect.
- Decent printing speed
- Compact but with a decent build
- Double Y-axis design
- Silent operation
- The build plate isn’t the best
The Creality Ender 5 Pro is the best 3D printer that needs no introduction. Once you swap out the build plate for a glass one, you’ll end up with a perfect 3D printer for miniatures with excellent output print quality, no matter which filament material you use.
3. ANYCUBIC Photon: Best for Multipurpose use
If you’re not a fan of FDM 3D printers, the ANYCUBIC Photon printer might spark your interest. This LCD-based SLA printer is a unique one that uses resin, a wear-resistant material with a smooth finish, making it perfect for long-lasting miniatures output.
With the printer’s 2.8-inch 2K LCD screen, you have full control over the output. On the resolution front, this printer offers an XY resolution of 47 microns, and its layer resolution ranges from 25 to 100 microns, making for a highly-detailed miniature.
What I loved most about this printer is its design. It’s quite compact and slim so you can fit it into the corner of your office and it won’t look out of place. In fact, this printer will add a more modern look to the office’s aesthetics.
The ANYCUBIC Photon has a build of 4.52 x 2.56 x 6.1 inches, perfect for miniatures, but not really for larger projects. If you want to use your printer for other models as well, this might not be the one for you.
Let’s discuss the unique thing about this printer, its material. Resin is quite flexible yet sturdy, so even if you knock down your printer model, it won’t break or crack unlike these best epson printer for sublimation.
What’s more, if you usually struggle with leveling your best 3d printers for miniatures, or if you’re new to the world of 3D printing, you’ll love that this unit is easy to install with a three-step leveling design. For your convenience, the printer comes with its own slicing software program, Photon Slicer, that’s incredibly easy to use with no freezes or glitches.
However, if there’s one thing to complain about, it would be that the resin doesn’t have the most pleasant smell. I recommend leaving the room while the printer is working and keeping a window open because the smell is quite strong.
- Easy to level
- Ease Of Use
- Smooth slicing software
- Flexible and durable outpu
- Resin is expensive
- Releases an unpleasant smell while printing
If resin’s flexibility and durability are what you’re seeking for your miniatures, you’ll love the ANYCUBIC Photon 3D printer. This slim printer has a 2K LCD screen and its own slicing software that ensures the best output possible. Just keep it in a well-ventilated room, and you’re good to go.
4. Creality Ender 3: The sleek 3d printer for your prints
While this is an older model, it’s still an excellent choice for miniatures printing. My absolute favorite thing about the Ender 3 is the fact that it’s an open-source piece of hardware, meaning you can contribute to the community to further improve the 3D printer on a daily basis.
This best 3d printers can also survive a sudden cut in power as it’ll just continue from where it was interrupted once the power is restored, potentially saving you a lot of material, time, and effort.
This FDM printer is compatible with 1.75-mm PLA, ABS, or TPU filaments, so it has something for everyone. Whether you prefer the environment-friendly PLA, the lightweight ABS, or the elastic TPU, this printer has got you covered.
Furthermore, it has a layer thickness range from 100 microns up to 400 microns and a nozzle diameter of 0.44 mm, ensuring a high-quality miniature with perfect detailing.
What’s more, I found this 3D printer to be one of the fastest options on the list. It heats up quite quickly and immediately starts the printing process, which is also incredibly quick, but not too quick where it won’t give enough time for the filament to cool down; it’s just perfect.
Also, it has a build of 8.6 x 8.6 x 9.8 inches, making it the second-largest volume on this list. Even though the printer itself isn’t too bulky, I wouldn’t describe it as a portable unit. Still, it’s compact enough to fit in a small-sized office.
For connectivity, you can 3D print your model using a USB cable or an SD card. Besides, the Ender 3 accepts STL, OBJ, and G-Code file formats.
- Decent printing speed
- Reasonable price point for 3d miniatures
- Large, but not bulky, build volume
- Resumes printing when power is restored
- Instructions aren’t too clear
The Creality Ender 3 is yet another excellent printer for miniatures with its impressive printing speed. Also, it accepts multiple filament types and file formats, so you’d have full creative freedom over your printed models.
5. ANYCUBIC Photon S: Best for speedy prints
The ANYCUBIC Photon S is the newer model of the previously-mentioned Photon 3D printer. It offers a few new features in addition to the already existing ones in the original Photon, but they make all the difference.
To begin with, it has the same build volume as the Original Photon, which is 4.52 x 2.5 x 6.1 inches, so there isn’t really an upgrade there. Also, it uses the same 3d printing technology, LCD-based SLA. They both also use UV lights to dry down the resin quickly.
Now here’s where the Photon S really shines; it added an air filtration system that uses two fans to minimize the unpleasant smell products. I have to be honest, the smell is still there, but it isn’t nearly as strong as the original Photon.
If you loved the 2K LCD screen, you’re in luck because the Photon S also has it. Besides, it uses the Photon slicing software, which was pleasant to use for how smooth it is and how many functionalities it offers.
Another new feature that the Photon S houses is the double Z-axis rail, which significantly improves the printer’s stability and therefore results in a smoother finish and better-looking level of detail.
The Photon S has a layer resolution of 25 to 100 microns, which ensures a high-quality print output that’ll make a huge difference when 3d printing miniatures, specifically.
For connectivity, you can 3D print your model by connecting the printer to your laptop or PC via a USB cable, which is quite convenient.
The reason why this printer isn’t my top pick is the fact that it’s quite pricey. It does offer many extra functions that the original Photon doesn’t, but it’s up to you to decide whether they’re worth the extra dollars.
- Easy to use
- Quiet operation
- Dual Z-axis rail
- Excellent slicing software program
- Low quality plastic casing
If you like the original Photon, the ANYCUBIC Photon S is definitely for you. Besides the fact that it’s an LCD-based SLA printer, this unit is perfect for miniatures for how high-quality its output is. If you’re willing to invest the extra cash into a high-quality 3D printer, this is exactly what you’re seeking.
How to Pick a 3D Printer for Miniatures
Before going for the most popular 3D printer on the market, you need to take a moment to consider whether it’s actually suitable for miniatures or not. More often than not, 3D printers focus on 3d printing speed and size and spend less time perfecting the 3d printing resolution, which is a critical factor for miniatures.
So, keep on reading to learn what you need in your next 3D printer for miniatures.
The two 3d printing technologies I mentioned throughout this article are FFF/FDM and LCD/SLA, so which one should you go for?
FDM printers work by 3d printing one layer at a time until the whole model is complete. It’s the most popular type of 3D printer, and you can find numerous options that use this technology. On the other hand, SLA printers also build the model one layer at a time, but they use a different material, mostly resin.
For miniatures, SLA printers are the more popular choice because they have a high 3d printing resolution that’ll result in highly-detailed models. However, that comes at a price because resin is an expensive material.
In other words, is your main priority going for a budget-friendly printer or one that produces the best miniatures print possible? Answering that question will take a step closer to finding the perfect 3D printer for you.
If the price isn’t really an issue for you, it boils down to which material you prefer: PLA and ABS or resin, which we’ll discuss right now.
3d Printing Material
As you can see, FDM printers offer more material compatibility than SLA printers, but does that mean that they’re better? Well, it depends on what you’re seeking.
If you’re new to the world of 3D printing and you’re not exactly sure what you need, I recommend going for a printer that accepts as many print materials as possible, so you’d have the freedom to explore different print types and test for yourself.
Resin is a flexible print material that’ll provide you with a smoother print finish and excellent level of detail on print. However, Resin is quite messy and hard to deal with. Also, the resin has an unpleasant smell, so if you decide to opt for an resin SLA printer, I recommend keeping it in a well-ventilated area.
For your convenience, try to go for the smallest 3D printer possible, so you can just fit it into your office. You should already have a clear idea of how large your miniatures will be, so try to match that to your printer’s volume.
However, if you want to use your printer for more than just miniatures print, go for a medium-sized or even a large-sized print volume. It just depends on what you’ll be 3d printing.
Compatible Software and Format
Before settling on a 3D printer, make sure you double-check the file formats and software programs it’s compatible with.
Some 3D printers use their own slicing software that you can import your files into, which is a double-edged sword. If that software is smooth and reliable, you’re in luck, and the printing process will take just a few minutes.
On the other hand, if the print software is all glitchy and keeps freezing, I recommend just staying away from that printer because print software issues are frustrating, and it’s not easy to work around them during a print job.
Going for a 3D printer that uses USB connectivity is crucial. Whether you’re designing your own miniatures or already have ones ready to print, they’re most likely stored on your computer, right? The easiest way to connect any device to a PC or a laptop is through a USB port because you’ll have immediate access to the files you need.
Also, some 3D printers accept an SD card, which is an excellent option if you’re more comfortable using SD cards. Moreover, you can check out our guide on how you can print using a Samsung tablet.
Now that you’ve reached this part of the article, you should have a clear idea of what you need in your next 3D printer, and maybe you’ve come up with a final decision on the best 3D printer for miniatures that fits your needs. In case you could still use a little more guidance, here’s a quick recap of my top picks.
My absolute favorite 3D printer is the FlashForge Creator Pro for its incredible miniatures prints’ look and feel. Not only is it energy-efficient, but it’s also compatible with most file formats and slicing software, so you can start 3d printing as soon as you plug it into an outlet.
Another printer that I highly recommend is the Creality Ender 5 Pro. This printer runs so silently that you can sleep in the same room, and it won’t disturb you. Additionally, it’s quite fast and precise, so you’ll be getting incredible miniatures in no time. Also, make sure to check out our guide on what is print spooling!