SLA 3D printers for miniatures
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The 5 Best 3D Printers for Miniature Models

Derek Rungsea
Updated:
July 2, 2022
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Do you want to create your own miniatures for your tabletop games or collection? If so, you'll need a quality, hiqh resolution 3D printer for miniatures. There are a plethora of 3D printers on the market, and it can be tough to decide which one is right for you. In this post, I'll go over the five best 3D printers for miniatures, based on price and features. I'll also discuss what to look for when purchasing a 3D printer.

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What are the best 3D printers for miniatures?

Not all 3D printers and their technologies are created equal. While some are better suited for particular features, resin printers (stereolithography) are excellent for miniature 3D printing, and what I recommend.


What is Stereolithography (SLA)?

Before getting into the printers, let's first define stereolithography technology. An SLA printer is a type of additive manufacturing that uses photopolymerization technology. In simple terms, it uses a laser to cure photo-sensitive liquid resin into the hard plastic. SLA printers are superior for high-resolution prints and very smooth surfaces, making them ideal for small scale miniatures.


But wait there's more...


SLA technology has since evolved and the trending printers these days use what is known as masked SLA (MSLA). MSLA printers utilize an LCD screen underneath the resin reservoir, which exposes all areas of the printing layer that should be hardened by the laser, simultaneously. While the quality of the print may not be as detailed as a true SLA printer, but it is negligible to the naked eye and what you gain is a significant reduction in print times.


Ok, now that I've gone over printer technology, let's take a look at my top picks.


1. Elegoo Mars 3

Elegoo Mars 3 MSLA Printer
Image courtesy of Elegoo

The Elegoo Mars 3 is a great budget-friendly MSLA printer that offers excellent print quality for the price. It has a printing resolution of 0.025mm. It's also one of the few printers that come fully assembled out of the box. Compared to the version 2, it's printing accuracy has been improved by 30%. This liquid resin printer is quite fast—a 1.25" (32mm) model can print in 3–4 hours.


Features:

  • 4K resolution LCD
  • Z Axis Accuracy: 0.00125mm
  • XY Resolution: 0.035mm
  • Build Volume: 5.6" L x 3.5" W x 6.8" H (143mm L x 89.6mm W x 175mm H)
  • Printing Material: 405nm UV resin
  • Slicer Software: ChituBox
  • Technology: masked stereolithography
  • 3.5" touch screen
  • Connectivity: USB
  • Printer Dimensions: 8.9" L x 8.9" W x 17.2" H (22.7cm L x 22.7cm W x 43.8cm H)

Pricing: $260


Best for:

Designers looking to purchase their first resin printer that is great out of the box and capable of producing high quality prints. There's a big community behind Elegoo as well so you'll never be short of help and support.


Purchase an Elegoo Mars 3 3D Printer


2. Anycubic Photon Mono 4K

Anycubic Photon Mono 4K 3D Printer
Image courtesy of Anycubic

The Anycubic Photon Mono 4K printer is a great all-around MSLA printer. It offers high print quality with very fine details, thanks to its 0.035mm XY resolution and 0.01-0.02mm Z accuracy. It's a very fast MSLA printer, with a speed of up to 1.97"/hr. Another nice feature is that it has light power regulation from 30%–100%, which enables you to use different resins, aside from the standard 405nm UV resin.


Features:

  • 4K resolution LCD
  • Z Axis Accuracy: 0.01 mm
  • XY Resolution: 0.035 mm
  • Build Volume: 5.2" L x 3.1" W x 6.5" H (132mm L x 80mm W x 165mm H)
  • Printing Material: 405nm UV resin
  • Slicer Software: Photon Workshop
  • Technology: masked stereolithography
  • 2.8" touch screen
  • Connectivity: USB
  • Printer dimensions: 8.9" L x 8.7" W x 15." H (22.7cm L x 22.2cm W x 38.3cm H)

Pricing: $289


Best for:

People looking for a versatile printer that can handle different types of resins, and is still very affordable. The extra power regulation is great for people who want to experiment with different materials.


Purchase an Anycubic Photon Mono 4K 3D Printer


3. Flashforge Foto 8.9 4K

Flashforge Foto 8.9 4K Printer
Image courtesy of Flashforge

The Flashforge Foto 8.94K is a 4K printer that is great for for miniatures. Its large build volume allows you to print more models at once. What's great is that there's heat dissipation built into the design of the chassis. This increases the print quality and prevents the LCD screen from overheating, which will reduce maintenance costs. One notable feature that this printer design has over the others in this list is a dual linear rail for the Z axis. This results in smoother, steadier, vertical movement, which equates to smoother print surfaces on your parts.


Features:

  • 4K resolution LCD
  • Z Axis Accuracy: 0.02 mm
  • XY Resolution: 0.05 mm
  • Build Volume: 7.56" L x 4.72" W x 7.87" H (192mm L x 120mm W x 200mm H)
  • Printing Material: 405nm UV resin
  • Automatic bed leveling
  • Slicer Software: Chitubox or Flashforge FlashDLPrint
  • Technology: masked stereolithography
  • 2.8" touch screen
  • Connectivity: USB
  • Printer dimensions: 11" L x 9.4" W x 18.3" H (28cm L x 24cm W x 46.5cm H)

Pricing: $299


Best for:

Beginners and professionals who want a versatile, easy to use machine with a large build volume for printing multiple parts.


Purchase a Flashforge Foto 8.9 4K 3D Printer


4. Prusa SL1S SPEED

Prusa SL1S Printer
Image courtesy of Prusa

The Prusa SL1S is a 2K MSLA printer that offers professional print quality. It has an incredible minimum print layer of 0.01 mm and comes out of the box fully assembled so you can get straight to printing! It's very fast— 6" (150mm) model can print in about 3 hours! Like the Photon Mono, you can use a variety of resins for different applications. This printer has won several awards, and has a strong community behind it.


Features:

  • 2K resolution LCD
  • Z Axis Accuracy: 0.01 mm
  • XY Resolution: 0.035 mm
  • Build Volume: 5.2" L x 3.15" W x 6.5" H (132mm L x 80mm W x 165mm H)
  • Printing Material: 405nm UV resin
  • Slicer Software: Prusa Slicer
  • Technology: masked stereolithography
  • High resolution, color touch screen
  • Connectivity: USB, Wifi, LAN
  • Printer dimensions: 8.9" L x 9.3" W x 15.7" H (22.6cm L x 23.62cm W x 39.9cm H)

Pricing: $1999


Best for:

Beginners and professionals who are looking for a reputable 3D printer from one of the industry's leading companies. If you're looking for a no-fuss printer with extra bells and whistles, you can't go wrong with Prusa.


Purchase a Prusa SL1S Speed 3D Printer


5. Phrozen Sonic Mini 3D Printer

Phrozen Sonic Mini 3D Printer
Image courtesy of Phrozen

The Phrozen Sonic Mini 3D Printer is a beginner-friendly machine that has the fastest print speed (up to 3.15"/hr or 80mm/hr) on this list. This isn't a 2K or 4K printer, but don't let that fool you. It's perfectly capable of producing high quality prints that can rival a 4K printer. Its user experience is nice and simple; just plug in a flash drive and with a few taps on the touch screen, you'll be good to go.


Features:

  • 1080p resolution LCD
  • Z Axis Accuracy: 0.01 mm
  • XY Resolution: 0.0625 mm
  • Build Volume: 4.7" L x 2.6" W x 5.1" H (120mm L x 68mm W x 130mm H)
  • Printing Material: 405nm UV resin
  • Slicer Software: Chitubox or Phrozen Formware
  • Technology: masked stereolithography
  • Connectivity: USB
  • Printer dimensions: 9.8" L x 9.8" W x 13" H (25cm L x 25cm W x 33cm H)

Pricing: $239


Best for:

Beginners looking for great value in their first high quality resin 3D printer. If large build volumes are not a priority for you, the Sonic Mini will be perfect.


Purchase a Phrozen Sonic Mini 3D Printer


Honorable Mention: Formlabs Form 3+

Formlabs Form 3+ Printer

Formlabs was one of the first companies to create a consumer SLA printer. Their first printer emerged in 2014 by raising $2.9M on Kickstarter. Their printers are significantly more expensive than everything else in this post, which is why I don't feel the initial cost is worth it for most hobbyists. For businesses, however, the Form 3+ is a highly accurate option, and not limited to miniatures.


Features:

  • Technology: stereolithography
  • Z Axis Accuracy: 0.025 mm
  • XY Resolution: 0.025 mm
  • Build Volume: 5.7" L x 5.7" W x 7.3" H (145mm L x 145mm W x 185mm H)
  • Printing Material: 405nm UV resin
  • Slicer Software: Formlabs PreForm
  • Connectivity: USB, Wifi, LAN
  • Printer dimensions: 15.9" L x 14.8" W x 20.9" H (22.6cm L x 23.62cm W x 39.9cm H)

Pricing: $3750


Best for:

Businesses that offer 3D printing as a service, healthcare and medical device manufacturers, prosumers who are looking for the "Ferrari" of SLA printers.


Purchase a Formlabs Form 3+


What are 3D printers?

A 3D (or “additive”) printer creates objects by successively adding material in very thin layers, until the object is complete. There are several different 3D printing technologies available, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. The technology you choose will depend on the type of object you want to print, the accuracy required, the surface finish desired, and other factors. What used to be reserved for commercial applications, resin 3D printers have finally made their way into consumers' hands at affordable prices.


Summary

If you're looking for a reliable and affordable resin printer to create high-quality miniatures, any of the printers on this list will serve you well. For beginners, I recommend the Anycubic Photon or the Elegoo Mars. As you become more experienced, and are looking to customize settings and print higher volumes of models, the Prusa or the Flashforge are great options. And for businesses or prosumers who need the best of the best, the Formlabs Form is worth considering. No matter which printer you choose, you'll be able to create amazing miniatures that you'll be impressed with.

This website is supported by an awesome group of readers. If you buy products through affiliate links in this post, I may earn a small commission, at no cost to you.

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