Looking for the best 3D printer to spice up your tabletop games? You've come to the right place. We've narrowed down a list of the best 3d printers for miniatures.
If you want the TLDR. Here's our findings:
|Top miniature 3D printers||Our verdict|
|Anycubic Photon Mono S||Budget-friendly 3D printer for miniatures|
|Creality Ender 3||Best for terrains|
|Phrozen Sonic Mini 4k||Best in details, quality accuracy and speed|
We've collected a bunch of pain points and things that people like about their miniature 3D printer from these following sources.
3D printing miniature facebook group
And our own experience as a 3D printing company
Without further ado, let's get started.
The Anycubic Photon Mono is the best budget-friendly 3D printer for D&D miniatures because it offers the best print quality at a budget price.
So what's so special about this 3D printer better that it blew away the competition?
- Ease of use
- High quality
- High resolution 3D prints
- Almost invisible print lines
- Very fast printing time
- One of the cheapest resin 3D printers in the market
- Complaints about the software being buggy
- Material cost can be on the pricier side for solid models
- Can only print miniatures up to 6.4"
- Can get addicting
The Anycubic Photon Mono is an LCD 3D printer. LCD 3D printers are a subset of SLA 3D printing and uses resin as it's main material. For those who don't know what SLA 3D printing is, SLA 3D printers use UV laser to selectively harden parts of resin.  This makes SLA 3D printers highly accurate with almost no visible layer lines.
What makes LCD 3D printer a little different is that it uses an LCD screen to mask the UV light onto to the resin to the form the shape, layer by layer. This makes LCD 3D printers a lot faster than SLA but a bit less accurate and a bit limited in size. LCD 3D printers also way cheaper compared to SLA 3D printers.
|XY resolution||51 microns|
|3D printing technology||LCD-based SLA|
We 3d printed these miniatures using our own Anycubic Photon Mono.
3d printed wallstreet bets On the left, printed on the Anycubic Photon Mono
It depends on the volume of your 3D model. Their resin costs about $40/kg. Assuming, a model volume of 1000 mm³ = 1 gram of resin. We're looking. at $0.04 per 1000 mm³ or simply $0.04/gram.
Our formula looks something like this:
Model volume (in grams) X $0.040 = Total material cost
Note however that this doesn't include any overhead cost. So if you're planning to start your own 3D printing business selling miniatures, you need to account for those as well.
Here's what each model's material cost would look like.
|Hero Forge Miniature||Ogre miniature - Thingiverse|
Hell yeah! If you want great looking miniatures for your tabletop games then you should get a 3D printer that can produce high resolution prints. The level of detail that you get from this price point is insane.
We own industrial SLA printers, Formlabs 3 and many more, but when it comes to 3D printing miniatures, the Anycubic Photon Mono has been our go to machine. Not only is it the right tool for the job, but it blows away all the other LCD and DLP printers on the market.
We've tested a bunch of LCD and DLP printers but we were never satisfied with them because of the amount of failed 3D prints that we get from them. As seasoned 3D printing professionals, we and we think this is the best 3d printer for miniatures especially if you're a beginner.
The Creality Ender 3 is one of the many FDM printers on the market.
What caught our attention is its immense popularity among the tabletop and gaming miniatures community. Every Facebook or Reddit post that we see, everyone seems to mention the Creality Ender 3.
So what makes this 3D printer so popular among the miniatures printing community?
First off, it's cheap. The Ender 3 v2 costs around $200. The material cost is also cheap compared to its resin counterpart.
The Creality Ender 3 has become the entry level 3D printer for many beginners.
We personally don't own one because we've sworn off FDM 3D printers for life. We hate cleaning FDM supports an the print quality doesn't reach our standards. It would take hours of polishing to get a smooth surface with an FDM 3D printer. And when printing larger models, FDM 3D printing has a tendency to warp. We'd rather use our industrial SLA 3D printer for that. (Slight flex).
|XY Resolution||100 microns|
- Easy to use
- Large build volume
- Great for 3D printing miniature terrains
- Takes a long time to 3D print miniatures, about 5-8 hours.
- Print quality isn't as good as resin printers
- Low layer resolution
- Print supports are annoying to clean
Unlike the other 3d printers listed here, the Creality Ender 3 does not use a touch screen interface. It uses a knob to navigate your 3D printer settings. Some people actually prefer this method over touch screen because its more responsive and less susceptible to glitches.
Where the Creality Ender 3 shines is on 3d printing terrains. Most of the miniature community actually owns both a resin 3D printer and FDM 3D printer. They use their FDM 3D printers to print their terrain models because it's cheaper and it has a larger build volume compared to their resin counterpart. Terrains are less complex in design and don't necessarily need a smooth surface finish so you can get away with 3D printing them in FDM.
Here's an image of a 3D printed terrain using the Creality Ender 3 courtesy of /u/Singuy888
If you're on a tight budget, the Creality Ender 3 might be a good option for you. The Creality Ender 3 v2 is actually more expensive than the Photon Mono S but the materials used on these machines are cheaper compared to resin printing.
For miniature printing, you might be able to get away with it but the quality is relatively bad compared to resin 3D printers that we mentioned here. If you're making a large miniature, then this would be a lot cheaper compared to its resin counter part.
The Phrozen Sonic Mini 4k is what you should buy if you want fast printing, highly detailed prints all at a friendly price. The Sonic Mini has an XY resolution of a whopping 35 microns.
It's getting a lot of love from the tabletop miniature community because of it's price and the high resolution that you can get from it.
Here's a video of how it compares to super expensive industrial 3D printers out there.
courtesy of Phrozen courtesy of Phrozen3D
Before we fell in love with the Anycubic Photon, Formlabs 3 was our bread and butter when it comes to 3D printing miniatures. Unlike the Anycubic, Formlabs is a full on SLA 3D printer. This makes it more accurate, but at the same time, slower to 3D print compared to LCD 3D printers.
|Build volume||14.5 × 14.5 × 18.5 cm (5.7 × 5.7 × 7.3 in)|
|XY resolution||25 microns|
|3D printing technology||SLA|
- High accuracy
- Versatile, not limited to miniatures
- Takes longer to 3D print miniatures compared to LCD printers
- Expensive as hell
Unless you have the money to spend, we don't think it's worth it. Both the Form 3 and Anycbuic 3D printers have almost the same build volume and the quality doesn't seem to be that far off, at least, when it comes to miniatures. And you can probably purchase 10 Anycubic Photon Mono with the price of one Formlabs 3.
If you're planning to do more than miniature 3D printing, then maybe it is. We use our Formlabs 3 for our 3D printing service and it has been reliable for quite some time now. (We started with the Formlabs 2). But over time, we've seen less value in it. It can't 3D print large objects and it's too slow to 3D print miniatures or other regular sized 3D prints. We've come to a point where we use the Photon Mono to do most of the jobs that the Form 3 used to do.
The Asiga Pro 4k cost at least $25,000. It wasn't intended for miniatures but we still gave it a try.
Here's a really complex tabletop miniature that we 3D printed on the Asiga Pro 4k.
We don't think the images do justice on how insane the quality is. It also only took 4 hours to print this masterpiece.
To be honest, it's an overkill. You're probably better off with the Phrozen Sonic Mini 4k.
We bought the Asiga Pro 4k because we need it for our industrial 3D printing services. It's fast and reliable, as we don't have the time for failed prints so for us this is worth it.
If you run a 3d printing business or if you have the money to spend, it might be a good choice for you. But you should probably get the Asiga Max X as that offers an even higher resolution at 27 microns, cheaper at $10k, but with a smaller bed size.
The Anycubic Photon Mono is hands down the best affordable 3D printer for tabletop miniatures. It's cheap, reliable, easy to use, and it produces high quality 3D prints. For 3D printing terrain, our top choice is the Creality Ender 3. And if you want high resolution 3D prints that blows even the Anycubic out of the water, then you should go with the Phrozen Sonic Mini 4k.
If you're a beginner and thinking of buying a 3D printer that fits your budget, you can't go wrong with this 3D printer. Heck, it's even cheaper than an FDM printer but with 10x the print quality.