Which 3D Printer Should You Buy For Miniatures?
Apologies that this is another 3D printing article but this is a question I see at least once a day in several of the 3D printing Facebook groups. I am going to assume you want a printer for miniatures, therefore I am only going to talk about resin 3D printers. You may want an FDM printer if you want to print large terrain pieces only.
There is no one single printer that rules them all but you can find your perfect printer based on certain factors. I’m going to talk about these factors and recommend some printers for each category.
The biggest factor of course should be your budget. Please don’t think because you can only afford the lower end printers that you will end up with poor prints. There are some amazing printers for £200 and under right now, including the Elegoo Mars 2 which is £200 as I am writing this in June 2021. For a slightly cheaper option Creality make the LD-002H Resin 3D Printer which comes in at just £186. Both of these printers have 6 inch mono screens and I’ll go into why this is good later on.
So there are different resolutions for 3D resin printer screens and these determine the level of quality available. The most common resolutions at the moment are 2K, 4K and 8K. As I said before don’t think for a minute that you can’t get good quality with the cheaper printers. 2K printers will print some beautiful miniatures but if you want something with the ability to print at a higher resolution then you may want to consider a 4K printer or even an 8K if your budget allows. The most popular 4K resin printer is probably the Phrozen Sonic Mini 4K. I personally own one of these and I love it. The higher resolution does come at a cost of course with this printer costing double the previously mentioned printers at just under £400.
If speed is your thing then you need to make sure you pick up a printer with a mono LCD screen. These print roughly 4 times faster than printers with regular RGB screens. Luckily all of the printers above have one.
Maybe a 6 inches just isn’t enough to satisfy you…. You want a bigger build plate so you can print your own tanks and terrain pieces or just 50 Space Marine heads in one go! Fear not, there are larger printers available for you. At the time of writing they are a bit harder to acquire due to limited stock. The first printer I recommend is the Elegoo Saturn. Not much else to say apart from it’s like Mars, but bigger. Anycubic offer the Photon Mono X, however I have no experience with Anycubic so I recommend reading reviews if this one takes your fancy.
The build size on these printers is 8.9 inches but if you want to go even bigger then why not look at the Phrozen Mighty with an impressive 9.3 inches. Of course size really would have to matter if you’re willing to spend more than an extra £200 for this machine over it’s mini counterpart.
Of course there are many other makes and types of printers that I haven’t listed here. I can only recommend the ones I have used or know about but at the end of the day they will all print 3D miniatures. For most casual users printing items for D&D, table top wargaming etc. there really isn’t a bad option out there.
So once you have your resin 3D printer you may want to know what accessories you need to purchase in order to get going. Luckily I have made a little video just for that!