Marilyn knows how to present the dullest topic in an interesting and easy-to-read way. When she’s not teaching English Literature at a local school or writing for our site, Marylin loves to knit and bake for her two grandchildren.
Julie owns a shop specializing in sewing equipment and accessories. No wonder she knows everything when it comes to technical specifications of practically anything we review. In her free time, Julie loves quilting and scrapbooking.
Last updated: September 21, 2021
Crafty Hangouts is reader-supported. We may earn a commission through products purchased using links on this page. Learn more about our process here
Crafty Hangouts is reader-supported. We may earn a commission through products purchased using links on this page. Learn more about our process here
You don’t want to fall prey to makers of substandard 3D printers. Whereas the majority of the printers are reasonable, some can make your 3D printing experience bitter. This is why we spent weeks trying out many models in our quest to help you find the best 3D printer for miniatures. For the best miniature 3D printing experience, read on.
Whether you intend to use it at home or for commercial reasons, there is a list of factors that you must consider when buying a 3D printer. It would be best if you looked at nozzle diameter, which determines the number of details found on your end products. It is also essential to explore the different build volumes and printer dimensions that various 3D printers have to offer. Other factors to consider include the warranty given by the manufacturer and the types of filament that the printer uses. In this review, you are going to learn all about these features and much more.
The FlashForge Creator Pro is one of the best 3D printers for miniatures. This open-frame 3D printer is stable and durable since it has been built using a sturdy metal frame. It boasts of a build volume of 8.9 x 5.8 x 5.9 inches and the nozzle diameter is 0.4mm. It is a dual extruder 3D printer, and this makes it an ideal tool to have for a starter.
It is the best printer for miniatures because it offers the user new ways to print using the filament. With this printer, you get to print in dual colors, without the need to pause the current print job. The printer has further been made practical by the aviation level aluminum plate of 6.3mm which ensure that it stays flat. The plate is also resistant to warping during the heating process.
Moreover, the manufacturer has included an LCD controller that will allow you to print via an SD card and a pair of back-mounted spool holders. The printer’s metal platform support and the 10mm+ guide rod do help at ensuring that the Z-axis movement is precise. This also prevents the platform arm from deforming. The printer’s filament compatibility is PLA, ABS, Pearl, ABS Pro, Elastic, PLA Color change, HIPS, TPE, TPU and PVA.
The other fantastic feature of the FlashForge Creator Pro is the fact that it can use a diverse range of filaments. You will, however, need to create your own spools because the ones that come with the machine are specifically designed for it.
What we liked: You will discover that the Creator Pro is very reliable and will produce quality miniatures. You will also love the printer’s ability to use water-soluble support materials, thus better miniatures.
What could be better: As compared to the competition, this is a heavy 3D printer.
Once you get a feel of the Dremel DigiLab 3D20, there will be no doubt in your mind as to the reliability of the machine. The printer has been thoroughly tested to ensure that you get the best end-user experience. Measuring 15.7 x 19. 1 x 13.2 inches, this Dremel 3D printer is fully enclosed. This serves to ensure that the internal temperatures are standard hence superior quality always. Being enclosed helps prevent children from sticking their hands in the machine.
Printing of models using this printer is smooth and fun because the responsive full-colour LCD touchscreen and SD card are easy to use. You can use any CAD software to bring your designs to life. You will enjoy using a 0.4mm nozzle diameter and the fact that the extruder’s maximum temperature can reach as high as 397°F.
As for the filaments, the 3D20 comes with a non-toxic, recyclable plant-based filament. This makes it safe for use at home and around children. This filament produces sturdy and strong models which boast of superior quality. Setting up the machine is easy, and it will run for hours on end with little or no maintenance.
What we liked: The one thing that the DigiLab 3D20 can pride itself in is its reliability. The strong customer support and the 1-year warranty also help make the printer’s prestige go higher.
What could be better: The build plate leveling process can only be done manually. This can be a challenge to a novice. Though you can make your own spool stand replacements, the printer does not readily accept other brands filaments.
With the ANYCUBIC Photon S, you will get a plethora of features that every 3D enthusiast wishes for. This product gives a novice the power to start printing on the right note since setting the machine is extremely easy. It comes pre-assembled and also equipped with all the right tools that you might need. Indeed, it is the ideal introductory 3D printer for you.
The overall measurements of the device are 21.8 x 11.5 x 10.8 inches while the build volume is 4.53 x 2.56 x 6.1 inches. The Z-axis will not wobble and shake because the dual Z-axis rail makes the bed stable. This is particularly good when you are working on larger projects that require super fine details.
The Photon S comes with UV upgraded lighting, which makes resolution and accuracy in your printing work superior and tighter. The touchscreen control panel delivers the next generation user-friendliness to you. Your user experience is further enhanced by the sanded aluminum platform, which improves adhesion and making the machine more ideal for your printing jobs.
What we liked: WE liked the fact that Photon S is competitively priced. You will be mistaken to think that the Photon S is an upgrade of the original Photon. Well, while some features are just an upgrade, you will find that a majority of features such as the control board, the LCD screen and firmware are superior and totally different.
What could be better: Unlike the original Photon whose casing is metal, the Photon S case is plastic hence making it have a cheap feel.
The Creality Ender 3 Pro is arguably one of the most popular 3D printers. It seems Creality have gone an extra mile to make this 3D printer versatile and reliable. The printer comes with a removable build surface plate which provides all-round protection to your 3D printer build plate. This goes further to ensure that temperatures remain consistent through the entire build surface. The protected plate allows the easy removal of your printing models.
The Ender 3 Pro printer is UL certified, which makes it one of the best protected 3D printers from unexpected power surges. The printer also comes with a resume print function. This function enables the printer to remember the last recorded extruder position after a power outage.
The printer’s PLA, ABS, Wood, TPU, Carbon and gradient color filament is 1.75mm. The nozzle diameter is 0.4mm, but you can adjust it downwards. If you are looking to have more details on your models, the 0.2mm diameter nozzle will do. With a build volume of 8.6 x 8.6 x 9.8 mm and an overall measurement of 17.3 x 17.3 x 18.3 inches, it is the best gift you can give a true fan of 3D printing.
What we liked: It is indeed the best 3D printer 28mm miniatures. This also makes it an excellent tool for tinkerers. We also loved the upgraded extruder design, which helps reduce the risk of a clogged nozzle and bad extrusion.
What could be better: The only downside to owning or using this 3D printer is that the bed it comes with seem to be insufficient for ABS printing.
BIBO has come up with one of the best 3D printers for models if you are on a budget. The BIBO 2 will not disappoint with its myriad of features. It offers a full-color touchscreen which is very easy to operate. This printer which offers a build volume of 8.4 x 6.3 x 7.3 inches, measures 18.4 x 14 x 14.7 inches. This makes it a cool tool to have in the office or your home workshop.
The BIBO 2 3D printer gives you a 0.4 mm nozzle diameter which is the most common and which can give you minute details of your model while also saving you time. As a buyer of this printer, you will find that different filament types that the printer is compatible with will never run out unexpectedly. The printer has a filament level detection sensor which alerts you when the materials are running low.
This is the best 3D printer for minis not only because of its build volume but also because of its connectivity. You will enjoy Wi-Fi, USB and SD connectivity. The dual extruder lets you print a job in two different colors without the need of changing the filament.
What we liked: We won’t deny the printer the sturdiness plus. Its body 6mm thick aluminum composite panel makes it perform better than plastic-framed printers.
What could be better: The printer’s build volume is excellent for medium projects, but it can be a challenge to work with it on miniatures.
The SainSmart Kumitsu KL9 will hardly disappoint whenever you are working on a 3D print project. It is the best 3D printer for gaming miniatures. It offers you a build volume of 4.75 x 7.56 x 9.84 inches, which large enough to accommodate all of your miniature models. This large volume also allows you to print toys and jewelry. The printer’s overall measurements are 12.2 x 11 x 19.2 inches.
The nozzle diameter is 0.4mm which can be adjusted to 0.2mm. This will help you produce models with higher resolution and more details. The printer’s 2K resolution and higher detailed prints are further brought about by the large lead screw and the dual Z-axis linear rail design which removes wave patterns. The manufacturer has included an 8.9 inch 2K masking LCD that further enables the printer to produce great smooth print jobs.
You will love the KL9’s ability to adapt to change and also its versatility. It uses 405mm UV resin filament, and it also accepts materials of other brands. For the smoother operation of the printer, you will find that it comes with a 3.5 inch LCD touchscreen. It offers USB and Wi-Fi connectivity and is compatible with Linux, Mac OS X and Windows operating systems.
What we liked: What we loved most about this printer is the ease with which one can assemble it. We also loved the overall printer’s accuracy and smoothness of the models it produces.
What could be better: While we agree the printer is perfect for a beginner, the pricing may not be designed for a beginner.
The ELEGOO Mars is probably the best 3D printer for making miniatures. Its stylish design and its compactness go a long way at helping its case. The build size of the printer is 4.72 x 2.68 x 6.1 inches. You will also find that the diameter of the nozzle is 0.5mm, which makes the details on the end product a little bit course.
The manufacturer has used the latest version of CHITUBOX slicing software which makes the unit capable of giving you unrivalled 3D printing experience. With this software, it only takes you a second to slice through30MB. You will also love the printer’s ability to hollow out your model before slicing. This can save you a ton of resin during the photo-curing process.
Your 3D printing process is guaranteed to be fun and easy with this ELEGOO printer because there is a 3.5” color touchscreen, 40W UV lights, and a Z-axis accuracy of 0.00125mm. You can print offline as the USB port helps you print without necessarily connecting the machine to a computer.
Using PLA filament, the printer offers a high speed of printing of 22.5mm per hour. Because the printer uses 2K HD masking LCD, you can get accurate and smooth printing with XY axis resolution of 0.00185 inches/ 0.047mm.
What we liked: The design of this printer is quite appealing. We also liked the printer’s ability to produce exceptional products at a higher speed than the competition.
What could be better: You will find the printer a bit messy as resin ELEGOO resin sticks on everything.
The Monoprice Delta PRO 3D printer offers you a compact design and size that will fit in your home or office with ease. This printer which boasts of a 4.3 x 4.3 x 4.7-inch build area is arguably the best 3D printer for printing miniatures. The overall dimensions of the device are 17.5 x 11.8 x 11 inches.
The filament used on this printer is PLA and ABS. The extrusion nozzle, together with the hotbed heat to a wide range of temperatures hence making the printer capable of printing with different filaments. The layers are made using a 0.4mm diameter nozzle which helps at making the end product more detailed and smooth. You can achieve up to 50-micron layer resolution. The one feature that sets this printer apart from the rest is its ability to auto-calibrate. This means that you will never have to struggle leveling the bed.
This all-metal construction 3D printer comes preassembled. All you have to do is plug and play straight out of the box. The durability of the device is guaranteed by the steel frame and the black anodized aluminium frame. Your user experience is made easier by the Wi-Fi, USB and SD connectivity.
What we liked: It goes without saying that the Delta PRO has a great and sturdy design. The 1-year limited warranty further ensures that you enjoy the device to the fullest.
What could be better: The printer presents you with a plethora of features, but the one thing that makes the device not perfect is its weak and seemingly faulty bed plate. The printer also doesn’t come with a switch-off button.
Things to Consider
As more and more people embrace 3D printing technology, manufacturers are realizing the need to make 3D printer for minis like dungeons and dragons. This means you can print a 3D item at the comfort of your home or office. But such a printer should give you value for your money. The features found on such a gadget should help you enjoy your 3D printing journey. Here, we are going to explore the factors to consider as a 3D printer buyer.
Why should you pick 3D printer for figurines?
3D printing technology is becoming popular by the day, mainly because people are using technology to make their own gadgets and toys. If you are looking to be printing figurines and miniatures (typically 28+mm), you will need to have the right tool with you. A 3D printer for figurines can bring out the models details more clearly.
When it comes to picking a 3D printer, most 3D printing enthusiasts go for the resin printers. These printers are better at bringing out intricate details, unlike the Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM) printers. The FDM printers are much better when it comes to printing bulky and bigger projects.
It is worth stating however that, even though resin printers require less extra effort when printing your figurines, with the right skill and effort, you can get resin-like results from your FDM printer.
How to print minis on a 3D printer?
For a tabletop gamer or fan who prefers to print their own soldiers and weapons, some skill is needed when it comes to doing your own 3D printing. You will realize that scale may be more preferable than just having fun with your gaming tools. Here are some of the basic tips that you should follow to get the best minis from your 3D printer;
To get the scale right, the first thing to do is to pick a model that is correctly scaled. Using the sample model, you can scale up or down to make your project match the model’s scale or size. By using such a scale, all your soldiers will appear to be in the same army or team. There won’t be one that is an ogre while another is a midget.
Use a 1” base as a reference. Most minis should fit inside a 1” base. Such a base helps prevent you from creating larger or smaller than standard minis.
The minis are often on a race or in a parade marching. The 1” should be used as a standard measure to ensure that the distances between the minis are uniform.
To get an individual mini right when 3D printing for minis, you should scale the anatomy of the project to get a proportional mini. The head, hands and the torso and the legs of the project should be uniform. By doing this early enough, you avoid the costly mistake of printing disproportional subjects.
Finally, put a printed mini side by side an actual mini to compare them for scale. If the scale is right, you will use the printed mini as a reference and after that upload it to ensure the future minis are up to scale.
How to choose the best filament for your 3D printer for models
When it comes to picking the right filament for your 3D printer, you will need to bear in mind three crucial considerations. A filament is an essential component to your printer and picking the right one for the printer will determine the type and quality of the end products. Here are the considerations to bear in mind:
The size – For your 3D printer for d&d, the size of the filament, especially the diameter, will determine to a great extent your 3D printing experience. The filament’s diameter fits to the nozzle’s end diameter. These two ends fitting perfectly means that you won’t have jamming issues. The commonly found filaments come with a diameter of 1.75mm or 2.85mm. It may also be a good thing to check the filament’s tolerance and roundness specifications. By extension, these features help determine the filament’s overall quality.
The materials – The filament material you use determines how the printed work looks like and functions. The material you use in a filament must be compatible with your 3D printer. Among the materials you will find in the market include ABS, PLA, Nylon, Wood, PVA, and CPE. Each of the materials gives the end product a unique feature. Like in the case of ABS, which is cheap and thermoplastic, the products are lightweight and slightly flexible. PLA, which is made from biodegradable materials such as sugarcane doesn’t give strong odours like ABS.
The Brand – After determining the size and the material of your filament, the other bit of exploring are the available brands. Like it is the case with buying anything today, the maker of your purchase matters every bit as the price tag. There are 3D printers for printing miniatures that only use preapproved filaments while there are others that are compatible with a broader range of third-party filaments and materials.
The price tags that 3D printers command vary widely. The good thing about getting your best 3D printer for making miniatures is that you can print anything at your convenience and at a favorable cost. Unlike earlier years when a 3D printer used to cost a fortune, today, you can get your printer for as little as $200. Like in the case of Creality Ender 3 Pro, you will get a quality printer for less than $250. The moderately priced printers go for around $600, like is the case with the FlashForge Creator Pro.
Features to consider while buying the best 3D printer for miniatures
When buying your first or subsequent 3D printer for miniatures, you should first consider several factors such as the resolution, nozzle diameter and the connectivity of the printer. Even though more features do not necessarily mean better quality of the end product, you should insist on getting the best value for your money. By picking the right parts, you are ultimately setting yourself for a successful 3D printing voyage. Let us look into the specific features;
The resolution of your printer determines the details you find on the end product or print. The resolution of a 3D printer means the level of detail at which the end product is printed at. The movement on the Z-axis and the XY plane will determine the finesse of your end product. It also determines the resolution at which the printer works. The smaller the movements on these planes, the higher the resolution you will get. Depending on the technology your printer uses, the different components of the printer will determine the resolution of your project.
A majority of 3D printers for figurines have a nozzle diameter of 0.4mm. It is worth noting that the smaller the nozzle diameter your printer has, the finer the details the end product will have. However, with the details, comes the cost of spending more time doing the job. Larger nozzle diameters like that of ELEGOO Mars, which is 0.5mm aren’t able to bring out the fine details of a model. Some printers like the Creality Ender 3 Pro come with adjustable nozzle diameters which means that you can determine the amount of details to put on a print.
When it comes to layer height, you should not go beyond 80% of the nozzle diameter. With your standard 0.4mm diameter, the maximum height should be 0.32mm, and for the ELEGOO Mars, the height should be 0.4mm.
Your printer’s build volume will determine the size of your prints. Say in the case of Dremel DigiLab 3D20 printer; the build dimensions are 9 x 5.9 x 5.5 inches. The maximum length, width and height of a model that this printer can print are 9 x 5.9 x 5.5 inches respectively. You needn’t freak out though if you are not sure whether your models will fit in the build area. There is a small allowance of around a centimeter. If on the other hand, you are looking forward to printing projects that have very precise dimensions, you can ask the seller to print for you a sample just so that you can confirm.
The connections that your 3D printer for models comes with the help you enjoy your printing experience. The more the connections, the better it is for you as you have options to fall back to if one connectivity fails. In all of the printers reviewed here, the USB, Wi-Fi and SD connections are standard. If for instance, your printer has a USB connectivity, it means that you don’t have to connect it to a computer but rather, you can use a memory stick to print your project.
Several factors will influence the print quality of your 3D printer. Even though numerous factors will affect the quality of your end product, it is essential to note here that the nozzle diameter, the filament type, your 3D printing skills should all be reasonably good. The Z and XY planes do influence the quality of the print too. The material you use alongside the skills you possess can affect the end product’s quality. In the case of resin, for example, you might end up with a messy product and workstation if your skills are not right. But even as the level of your skills matters in making a 3D print, the brand that you are using ultimately dictate whether you are going to get quality prints or not. It is, therefore, a good idea to invest in a good brand besides working on your 3D printing expertise.
When printing large projects, there might be a need to increase the printing speed. However, when it comes to miniatures, the slower the speed, the better the end product. For miniatures, you are more likely to notice the presence of a detail or lack of it. It would therefore mean that the only reason you are printing fast is your own choice. When working with your best 3D printer for making miniatures, you should aim to achieve 30mm per second. In smaller areas like in printing a weapon held by your warrior, a speed of 20mm/sec would be ideal.
A 3D printer is something many people are learning to embrace in their lives. As such, the community is not as large as that of a microwave where if it malfunctions, you can ask your next-door neighbor for help. With a 3D printer, the manufacturer should afford its customers 24/7 support and solid guarantees if the 3D printers are to go mainstream. The Creality Ender 3 Pro and Dremel DigiLab come with a 0ne-year warranty while BIBO 2 offers its buyers a 30-day guarantee.
There are many types of filaments in the market. However, the most popular ones are PLA and ABS. While many printers only use a specific type of filament, some are compatible with a range of filaments. In our review, you find that Monoprice Delta PRO is compatible with PLA and ABS filaments while Elegoo and KL9 are specific to PLA and 450mm UV resin respectively.
Printer dimensions and weight
The weight and dimensions of your printer should influence your buying decision too. The larger the dimensions, the larger the area that device will occupy. If you are looking to owning a 3D printer for figurines and using it at home where space is limited, you might want to consider a smaller printer which is also not heavy. The 3D printers for miniatures tend to be smaller in size and not bulky.
Easy to use
When it comes to ease of use, it is important that you look for that printer that receives backing from the manufacturer. Such a printer should come with a warranty. The user-manual should include all the necessary instructions on how to operate the machine. Currently, though, you will find a lot of information on the proper operation, printing ideas, and so much more on YouTube and other social media platforms. Your ability to easily use or operating your best 3D printer for 28mm miniatures can also be affected by how strong the user community of the printer is.
For a successful printing of a 3D print job, you must get a printer that will get the job done. To get the best 3D printer for D&D, it is necessary that you get a printer that does the job fast while not compromising on quality. In this category, a printer that delivers at least 100 macrons is preferred. The best one is therefore that that has a small nozzle diameter or better still one whose diameter can be adjusted. The Dremel DigiLab 3D20 printer is the best printer for D&D given the numerous features it has to offer.
For all your 28mm miniature projects, you will need the perfect tool for the job. Even though many of the reviewed printers will give you decent results, the Creality Ender 3 Pro is the best 3D printer for 28mm miniatures. This printer is favorably priced and is donned with many features. The printer produces surprisingly stunning prints which will easily put the pricier printers to shame. The features that make it ideal for 28mm miniature printing are high-quality prints, tight filament path, which makes it easy to use different types of filaments and its ease of upgradability. The 40×40 aluminum extrusion for the Z-axis and the better bearing wheels which provide more stiffness help at reducing friction. This ensures that the printer achieves overall better dimensional stability.
For the best results from your 3D printer, you will need to maintain it continually. Many manufacturers put high-quality parts on printers, and this calls for the end-user to work extra hard at maintaining and cleaning the printers.
The essential maintenance of your 3D printer is to drop a drop or two of your sewing machine oil on the rails. These are the parts that move the most. The other vital component to clean and maintain is the nozzle. Every time you are done using the printer, remove the nozzle out of the printer. You will need high-quality acetone, a razor blade, a glass jar and some tape. After removing the housing at the front of the nozzle, soak it in the acetone. You can trim the AVS edge.
Our editor’s choice is the FlashForge Creator Pro. We consider it to be the prime printer amongst the featured because of its ability to give a resolution of 100-500 macron a layer. The 0.4mm nozzle diameter and the filament’s compatibility with ABS, PLA, Pearl and PVA among others make this one of the best 3D printers for making miniatures today.
The best 3D printer for D&D is the Dremel DigiLab 3D20. This printer takes the second slot because with its enclosed design, and a very responsive touchscreen, you can print all the small projects that you can think of. The printer’s connectivity is suave, and you will have an easy time exploring your 3D goals.
When shopping for the best 3D printer for miniatures, don’t skip the ANYCUBIC Photon S printer. Our budget pick. This is a printer that features a dual Z-axis, UV lighting and a sanded aluminum platform. It is a printer whose versatility and technology will give you real value for your money.