If you love printing miniatures, there are two main things you need to look for in a 3D printer: quality and cost. Read our guide to find the best 3D printer for miniatures that is within your budget.
Using 3D printers to print game miniatures has become a popular hobby. Moreover, more people are likely to get into the hobby as 3D printer prices continue to drop.
With the right printer, you can get your own 3D printed miniatures at home. A good 3D printer will enhance the quality of your design and help you create better games.
The best 3D printers for miniatures are high-quality machines that are reliable, easy to use, and affordable.
List of Best 3D Printer for Miniatures
- Creality CR-10s
- Flashforge Creator Pro
- Ultimaker 2+
- SINDOH DP200 3DWOX
- Dremel DigiLab 3D20
Choosing the Best 3D Printer for Miniatures
There are various 3D printers that you can use to print miniatures at home. The best 3D printer for figurines and miniatures produces models with details.
With the right 3D printer, you can print your own figurines and create new games.
If you don’t want to design figurines from scratch, you can download models from sites like Thingiverse. After downloading a design, you can edit or print it right away.
Below are examples of 3D printed miniatures that you can create. You can download these models for free thanks to the skillful Dutchmogul.
To get a similar level of detail as in the miniatures above, there are some qualities you should look for in a 3D miniature printer.
The most important feature to consider is the level of detail that the printer will reproduce. This can be known through the following:
To create your 3D miniature, heated plastic is extruded through a hole. The hole is the nozzle diameter. Make sure the nozzle size of the printer is not above 0.4mm.
Consider the accuracy of the printer head movement in X and Y direction.
The layer thickness refers to the height of each layer of heated plastic used to create the 3D figurine or miniature. To get more details on the design, the layer thickness should be low.
To print an accurate miniature, you need a printer that is 100 microns (0.1mm) thick or less. However, setting the layer thickness low also means that the build will be slow.
The most common materials used in FFF printers are ABS or PLA. To achieve a good finish on the surface, you should post-process the printed part.
If you use ABS plastic, you can sand and vaporbath the miniature in Acetone to achieve a smooth finish.
Miniature Size or Scale
Before starting to 3D print gaming miniatures, consider the size of the minis you would want.
A 28mm (~1:58 scale) or 54mm (~1:32 scale) miniature can be made with an FFF printer that can melt plastic filament.
To make a smaller miniature, you’ll need an SLA resin printer that uses liquid resin and solidifies it.
In addition to figurines, you can print larger models such as houses, huts, castles, trees, and tanks. However, printing these models requires expensive 3D printers.
When printing miniatures, you want a printer that prioritizes quality over size. If you have large models, you can always split them during printing and join the parts later on. It’s exciting to determine the best way to divide your miniature and then put the parts together to end up with the full prints
To learn how to print 3D miniatures, check the guide here.
Best 3D Printer for Miniatures
Cheap 3D Printer for Miniatures (Creality CR-10S)
BUY ON AMAZON
The Creality CR-10S has a rugged metal frame and features a quality build. This printer has a reliable power supply system, motherboard, and motion systems.
The printer looks like a DIY 3D printing and only requires a little level of assembling. The assembling involves using four bolts to fasten the two main frames together and joining the wires. You should be ready to start printing within one or two hours.
The ‘S’ at the end of CR-10S signifies that it has two z-axis lead screws and stepper motors. The printer’s extruder moves more accurately thanks to the dual-axis system. This ensures that the print job more precise and continuous. This is why the CR-10S is one of the best 3D printers for gaming miniatures that are detailed.
The CR-10S has a device that detects filaments. You will get a warning if the filament is about to finish and the print job about to stop. The filament sensor feature prevents your prints from getting damaged should the filament be exhausted during a print. This feature comes in handy when you want to print a huge model but do not have time to watch it from start to finish.
The CR-10s can print both PLA and ABS filament. The ABS miniature prints have to be post-processed through vapor treatment to come out looking smooth.
The CR-10 is a popular 3D printer. Therefore, there is a lot of information on the internet if you happen to have any issues with your CR-10S.
You can further improve the functionality of the CR-10S by printing brand new bed level adjusters. You can also print a fresh extruder fan duct and a fully automated bed leveling.
The CR-10S is a great and affordable 3D printing machine. It provides quality prints that make it, without a doubt, the best 3D printer for miniatures.
Read the full Creality CR-10S review
Best 3D Printer for Miniature Terrain (FlashForge Creator Pro)
AVAILABLE ON AMAZON
The makers of FlashForge 3D Printer Creator Pro took inspiration from the Makerbot Replica. This printer is incorporated with all the user improvements recommended for the Makerbot. These improvements include:
- Metallic supporting arms of the build plate. Therefore, the build plate is stable during heating and stays still during a build.
- Plastic-coated adjusters that make it simple to level the build plate
- The Central Processing Unit (CPU) can install Sailfish firmware, which allows you to auto level. The CPU helps to regulate heat and produces higher print quality.
The above features make the Creator Pro the best 3D printer for miniature terrains.
Because the printer is enclosed, you’ll encounter fewer issues when printing using ABS filament. You can now enjoy printing 3D miniatures using ABS with this printer.
With the Creator Pro, you can print double colors of filament simultaneously to make complicated minis.
Since the Creator Pro is based on the Makerbot Replica, there is a lot of information about the printer online.
Check out the full Flashforge Creator Pro review.
Best 3D Printer for D&D Miniatures (Ultimaker 2+)
AVAILABLE ON AMAZON
The Ultimaker 2+ is a high-quality printer that can print D&D miniatures. The printer’s build plate has a Z positional precision of 5 microns while the Extruder position measures 12.5 microns on the XY plane.
The Ultimaker 2+ has a high level of accuracy thanks to the quality materials used to make it. Its high-quality, accurate and precise prints make it the best 3D printer for D&D minis.
However, getting a quality print from the Ultimaker2+ takes time. If you want to print faster, you can set up the Cura software to get a lower quality print. You can also use the standard setting to get a reasonable quality at a reasonable speed.
The Ultimaker 2+ 3D printer comes with the Olsson Block Kit, which you can use to change the nozzle size. The kit has four nozzles, ranging from 0.25 to 0.8mm. Therefore, you have choices between quality and speed.
Ultimaker 2+ has no problem handling components like PLA and ABS. It can also print ground wood, metal, nylon, and Ultimaker’s CPE, which is like ABS but without the harmful smoke.
The 3D printer for D&D minis measures 8.5″ x 8.5″ x 7.9″. For large prints, you’ll have to divide the model into various parts, print and then join them together with the appropriate adhesive.
The Ultimaker 2+ prints detailed miniatures that are beautiful and elaborate models.
Read the full Ultimaker 2 Plus review.
Best 3D Printer for 28MM (Sindoh DP200 3DWOX)
AVAILABLE ON AMAZON
If you are looking for a 3D printer that can be used for unconventional work, get the Sindoh DP200 3DWOX. This machine prints high quality 3D minis and figurines.
The Sindoh is a high-quality fused filament fabrication (FFF) 3D printer. The quality of the models that the printer produces makes it the best printer for figurines.
This printer is not difficult to operate, even for beginners.
Below are some of its features:
- The build bed is covered with Al Polytetrafluoroethylene.
- Prints at a 50 micron (0.05mm) resolution
- It has a high-efficiency particle air filter and a covered build chamber. This is important if want to print ABS filament.
- Automatic bed leveling
- It has an easy-to-use filament cartridge chamber.
The Sindoh performs extremely well when printing minis.
However, one of its downsides is that it can only use the manufacturer’s proprietary filament. Moreover, the proprietary filament is expensive compared to the common ones.
The limitation of having to stick to the manufacturer’s filament is however not a big issue because the printer has other great characteristics.
The DP200 and the DP201 have identical specs. However, the DP201 cannot print ABS filament and is, therefore, cheaper than the DP200.
Best 3D Printer for 28mm Miniatures ( Dremel Digilab 3D20 3D Printer)
AVAILABLE ON AMAZON
Stereolithography (SLA) printers produce very high-quality miniatures. These machines can print minis that are below 28mm. SLA printers used in industries are now available for consumers to use. One of the best SLA 3D printers is the Dremel Digilab 3D 20, which is priced as low as a typical laptop.
SLA printing is different from FFF printing as it uses liquefied resin rather than heated plastic. The resin is cured using a UV laser light.
The Dremel Digilab printer performs well and prints high-quality 28mm miniatures. However, unlike industrial printers, the consumer printer cannot print more than a length of one meter.
Here are some highlights of the Dremel Digilab 3D printer:
- The size of the wall is 25 microns (0.025mm)
- Its build time is faster than that of a comparable FFF printer
- Superior part finish with little, if any, post-processing required.
The Digilab printer is easy to use right out of the box. The printer comes with all the necessary settings in place ready to print. From reviews on Amazon, this is a dependable printer that always works.
With the printer, you can use resins to make molds for investment casting or make jewellery through casting metals.
Before you go ahead to buy the Dremel DigiLab 3D printer, it’s important to know some drawbacks of SLA printing. These include:
- It is expensive. You need to renew the resin because it gets old over time. $200 will give you two tanks of resin that can produce 200 to 400 minis.
- Resins require care. Make sure you build only after the air balls that emanate from adding resins in the tank are gone. You should clean the tank thoroughly when you are done with a build to remove cured resin which can affect a future build.
- After a build, put on latex gloves and clean the printer with Isopropyl Alcohol. This will help take away uncured resin.
To print very good minis that have the smallest of details, get the Dremel Digilab printer.
Read the full Dremel 3D40 review.
Best 3D Printer for Gaming Miniatures – Conclusion
The above are the best 3D printers for miniatures that you can buy. 3D printers and gaming minis are a very good combination. The machines are a good choice if you wish to create your own gaming miniatures
If you are still unsure of a machine to pick, we recommend the Ultimaker 2+. This heavy-duty printer is dependable, prints various types of filaments, and produces high-quality prints consistently.
However, the Ultimaker is quite expensive. If you need something cheaper, go for the Creality CR-10S. However, keep in mind that you will not get the most elaborate details with it.
Enjoy printing miniatures with 3D printers!