D&D miniatures and figurines perfectly showcase how far 3D printing has come. The technology has gotten to a point where it is possible to design, create, and customize your very own minis!
Especially resin 3D printers are useful for miniatures, as they can produce the finest of details with an amazing surface finish. In this article, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best 3D printers for miniatures. You’ll quickly find out why the Elegoo Saturn came up as the overall best pick.
Aside from resin printers, you will also find a couple of FDM printers in our lineup. Towards the end, we will answer commonly asked questions surrounding resin 3D printing.
Let’s get started with our miniature journey!
|Product||Print volume||Type||Price||Best Offer|
|Elegoo Saturn||192*120*200 mm||MSLA/DLP||$500|
|Formlabs Form 3||145*145*185 mm||SLA||$3499|
|Elegoo Mars 2||129*80*150 mm||MSLA/DLP||$200|
|Creality Ender 3 V2||220*220*250 mm||FDM||$279|
|Phrozen Sonic Mini 4K||135*75*130 mm||MSLA/DLP||$350|
|Anycubic Photon Mono X||192*120*245 mm||MSLA/DLP||$560|
|Prusa i3 MK3S+||250*210*210 mm||FDM||$799+|
Best 3D Printers for Miniatures in 2021
The Elegoo Saturn made huge waves with its release in the resin 3D printing world. Its exceptional features at a budget price quickly made it a favorite of many 3D printing enthusiasts, both hobbyists and professionals alike.
The Saturn 3D printer comes with a large build volume of 192 x 120 x 200 mm. It also features a 4K resolution monochrome LCD screen to keep up with its increased build volume. A Double Z-axis linear railway, aluminum resin vat, ball-bearing leveling, are just some of its main standout features. The Saturn, in many ways, is a big brother to the Elegoo Mars 3D printers.
The large build volume allows you to 3D print many miniatures at once on the Saturn. The monochromatic 4K screen ensures that your D&D figurines come out fast, and come out looking the best with all their details. And you get all of this at almost half the price of any other similar specced 3D printer in the market.
- Large build volume
- 4K resolution monochrome LCD screen
- Ball-bearing leveling build platform
|Build volume||192*120*200 mm|
|Layer height||10 microns|
|Screen resolution||3840 x 2400 pixels|
|XY-axis resolution||0.05 mm (50 microns)|
- Ability to print large objects
- Offers great surface finish
- Reasonable cost
- No Wi-Fi connectivity
- Lacks option for air filters
Formlabs Form 3
Formlabs is one of the leading and best resin 3D printer manufacturers. It pioneers in the SLA 3D printer technology and the Form 3 is their latest offering in the market. Formlabs 3D printers are mainly used in industrial and prototyping applications, but their reliability and premium features make them equally suitable for miniatures.
The Form 3 uses SLA 3D printing technology to give you an XY resolution of just 25 microns. This makes it almost impossible to discern any layer lines. It also has a decent build volume of 145 × 145 × 185 mm.
For an optimal user experience, it comes with a big 5.5” 720p touch screen and connectivity features such as Wi-Fi, Ethernet and USB 2.0.
Another benefit of the Form 3 is also the wide variety of resins that are compatible with it.
The high price tag of the Form 3 might not be justifiable for average hobbyists or small-scale businesses. However, for those involved in the film and animation industry, or even professionals that sell D&D miniatures, the Form 3 is a great choice for the highest printing quality.
- High-quality industrial design
- Cartridge-based resin refilling system
- Well-designed user interface
|Build volume||145*145*185 mm|
|Layer height||25-300 microns|
|XY-axis resolution||0.025 mm (25 microns)|
- Excellent print surface finish
- Suited for many different 3D printing applications
- Premium 3D printing experience
- Proprietary slicer software and resins
Elegoo Mars 2
The Elegoo Mars 2 is another great resin 3D printer from the Mars lineup. It comes with similar features that are available in the Elegoo Saturn, but at almost half the price. This makes it a great choice to consider if you want to get started with resin 3D printing on a budget.
The Mars 2 features a 2K resolution monochrome LCD screen. This screen offers a XY resolution of 50 microns. Thanks to the monochromatic screen it has a reduced layer curing time, letting you print relatively quickly.
This makes the Mars 2 a great choice for anyone who’s on a budget and wants to get into miniature resin 3D printing. The green color theme of the entire 3D printer is a nice addition as well. Not only does the Mars 2 print quality D&D minis, but also looks great while doing so.
- Beginner-friendly setup
- 2K monochrome LCD screen
- CNC machined aluminum body
|Build volume||129*80*150 mm|
|Layer height||10 microns|
|Screen resolution||1620 x 2560 pixels|
|XY-axis resolution||0.05 mm (50 microns)|
- Reasonable curing times
- Good LCD lifespan
- Compatible with 3rd party resins and slicers
- Great value
- Lacks connectivity options
- No pouring aids on resin vat
- Limited community support
Creality Ender 3 V2
The Creality Ender 3 V2 is a worthy successor to everyone’s favorite, the Ender 3. The V2 keeps the same looks as its predecessor while improving upon a lot of the features that the Ender 3 lacked.
The Ender 3 V2 features a color LCD screen on the front with a great UI. It has a filament feeder knob, a toolbox at the bottom, and even belt tensioners for easy adjusting of the belts. The addition of a Meanwell power supply combined with new TMC stepper drivers makes the V2 more reliable while being quieter when in operation.
The things that make the V2 a great choice for 3D printing mini’s are its ease of use, low price, and decent printing quality. If you take the time to fine-tune the V2, it provides great results.
If you don’t want to deal with the mess of resin 3D printers and can compromise a little on the printing quality, the Ender 3 V2 can be a great 3D printer for you.
- Updated motherboard with silent TMC 2208 stepper motor drivers
- Full-color screen with updated UI
- Carborundum glass bed
|Build volume||220*220*250 mm|
|Min. layer height||120 microns|
- Easy to operate
- Filament offers cheap minis
- Extensive community support
- Inferior surface finish relative to SLA 3D printers
- Slow print speed with full print bed
Phrozen Sonic Mini 4K
4K Resin 3D printers are slowly becoming the norm in the resin 3D printing world. They offer an exceptional surface finish while being able to replicate the tiniest of details owing to the increased resolution. The Phrozen Sonic Mini 4K is a true testament to the quality of 4K screens.
The Sonic Mini 4K has a screen resolution of 3840 x 2160 in a 6.1” printing area, which gives it a pixel density of almost 772 PPI. This translates to an XY resolution of 35 microns, which is the highest amongst any other similar MSLA 3D printer. It also uses a monochrome LCD screen, giving you faster prints and a longer screen life.
For a resin printer, it is extremely beginner-friendly. It requires minimal fine-tuning and effort from your side. This is especially beneficial for D&D hobbyists who are looking for a consistent high-quality 3D printing experience without having to deal with the drawbacks of resin 3D printers.
- 4K monochrome screen with highest PPI in its market segment
- Compact and lightweight design
- Easy operation
|Build volume||135*75*130 mm|
|Layer height||10-300 microns|
|Screen resolution||3840 x 2160 pixels|
|XY-axis resolution||0.035 mm (35 microns)|
|Price (~)||$349.99 - $399.99|
- Excellent print quality and surface finish
- Great value for money
- Compatible with Chitubox Slicer
- Comptible with 3rd party resins
- Lacks connectivity options
- Bed leveling could be better
Anycubic Photon Mono X
The Anycubic Photon Mono X resin 3D printer provides great value for money. It has a large build volume of about 192x120x245 mm at a reasonable price. Its build volume makes the Mono X a great printer for printing large-scale miniatures in one piece or printing multiple smaller ones in one go.
The Photon Mono X comes with a 4K resolution screen, which offers a standard XY resolution of about 50 microns. Some of its notable features are its dual linear rails, Wi-Fi connectivity, and the ability to be remotely controlled via an app.
Anycubic has developed its own slicer software for the Photon Mono X, called Photon Workshop. It has some pretty good features for miniatures, such as 8x anti-aliasing and fast slicing. Still, it takes some effort to tune the Mono X for the best 3D prints. Once tuned, you can expect consistent quality output and print large-scale D&D figurines in one piece.
- Large build volume
- WiFi connectivity with mobile app compatibility
- Sturdy construction with good design
|Build volume||192*120*245 mm|
|Layer height||10-300 microns|
|Screen resolution||3840x2400 pixels|
|XY-axis resolution||0.05 mm (50 microns)|
- Prints many objects at once
- Remotely monitor prints
- Good community support
- Limited third party slicer compatibility
- Needs fine tuning for best results
- Wi-Fi not desktop-compatible
Prusa i3 MK3S+
D&D figurines and minis are just one part of the game. Terrains and other magical objects that you can create for your storylines make it truly come to life. This is where the extra build volume of FDM 3D printers can be very helpful.
To that extent, the Prusa i3 MK3S+ does a great job of creating and building terrains for your minis. It has a generous build volume of about 250 x 210 x 210 mm. Its heated flexible build plate lets you print without having to worry about bed adhesion.
The MK3S+ also comes with an all-metal hotend and a Bondtech extruder. This lets you 3D print with a lot of materials other than just the basic PLA and ABS.
You won’t have any problems printing all kinds of dice towers, terrains, and even figurines with the Prusa MK3S+. The wide choice of FDM materials and the quick and cheap processing of 3D printed objects is a significant benefit over resin printers for these sorts of things.
- Automatic bed leveling with SuperPINDA probe
- Solid construction
- Fully open-source
|Build volume||250*210*210 mm|
|Min layer height||120 microns|
- High reliability
- Minimal post-processing required
- Pricy for a FDM printer
- No enclosure
What to keep in mind when buying a 3D printer for miniatures?
Now that we’ve looked at some of the best 3D printers for miniatures, it is also important to go evaluate the features that are important. In this section, we will go over the major things that you need to consider when getting a 3D printer specifically for miniatures. This will help you set your priorities and select the printer that best suits your needs.
What kind of miniatures do you want to 3D print?
Non-minis (terrains, props, scenery)
Games like Warhammer and D&D can have an elaborate terrain setup. Since these terrain prints are usually of larger sizes, it makes sense to print them with an FDM 3D printer. The large build volume and cheaper material costs are great for printing terrains and other props. FDM printers also allow you to use the prints right away, as they barely need any post-processing.
Miniatures & figurines
You can commonly find D&D minis in two different sizes. A tabletop version of 54 mm or a mini version of 28 mm.
If you can fine tune your FDM 3D printer, you can very well print the 28mm minis with it. However, you might have to sacrifice finer details and surface finish. Because of this, a resin 3D printer is a better choice for these sizes of miniatures.
The 54 mm versions consist mostly of figurines and action figures. They can be printed on both FDM & resin 3D printers without sacrificing a lot of detail.
Keep in mind that figurines of this size can quickly get expensive with resin printers. So, if quality is not a pressing issue, a finely tuned FDM 3D printer can give you similar results at considerably lower costs.
A bigger build platform has its own set of merits and drawbacks. Looking at resin 3D printers, a bigger build platform gives a number of drawbacks. Most notably a bigger resin reservoir, a bigger machine size, and higher peeling forces.
On the other hand, a bigger build plate lets you print more objects at once. This is beneficial when you’re 3D printing a lot of minis in batches, for example.
If you really need to print a lot of mihttps://www.google.com/url?q=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v%3DwgOU_4TV5zo&sa=D&source=docs&ust=1636718828384000&usg=AOvVaw2F5xTaUjT2zhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wgOU_4TV5nis at once or want to print taller miniatures, the Elegoo Saturn and Anycubic Photon Mono X are a good choice.
If you’re going to be printing a lot of single, small-sized minis, and don’t wish to spend too much money on resin, then you’re better off with smaller 3D printers such as the Elegoo Mars 2 or Phrozen Sonic Mini 4K.
Layer thickness dictates the level of surface finish your 3D printed mini will have. The smaller the layer height, the better the surface finish. An SLA 3D printer like the Form 3 can give you a layer height of just 25 microns or 0.025mm. While with DLP 3D printers, you can still get a respectable layer height of just 50 microns or 0.50mm.
With FDM 3D printers, the layer height of the model depends on the size of the extrusion nozzle. Usually, you can go as low as 100 microns or 0.1 mm. To achieve this layer height on an FDM 3D printer, you do need to do quite a bit of fine-tuning.
You also need to keep in mind that the lower the layer height, the more time the 3D printing takes. A lower layer height for minis makes sense, but for terrains and other props it is best to use a higher layer thickness. This will save you time and decreases the chances of print failure because of lengthy 3D printing times.
Just as layer thickness refers to the Z-axis resolution and the vertical plane, XY resolution is measured on a horizontal plane. In the case of SLA 3D printers, it is the spot size of the laser. With DLP 3D printers, it is the individual pixel size of the screen.
Normally, the lower the XY resolution, the better the quality of the 3D printed object will be. A very low XY resolution allows the 3D printer to produce even the finest of details. The end result is a 3D print with better quality. Most resin 3D printers have an XY resolution of 50 microns. This is enough to reproduce fine details of the 3D models you are working with.
The choice of material plays a key element in any 3D printing application. In comparison with FDM 3D printing, the cost of resin 3D printing material is on the higher side. You are also limited to the resins that are compatible with your specific resin 3D printer.
Overall, there are still plenty of material options when working with resin. You can even special resins with which you can cast your own metal figurines.
In FDM 3D printing, the most commonly used materials are PLA, ABS and PETG. PLA is easy to 3D print, but difficult to post-process. While ABS is difficult to 3D print, you can smoothen it out using an Acetone bath, for example, and get a great surface finish. All of these materials are cheaply available and you can expect good prints once you have the 3D printing settings dialed down perfectly.
FDM vs SLA for miniatures
The choice between FDM and SLA 3D printers comes down to your specific needs. There are a few factors that are of particular importance.
FDM 3D printers are available in larger sizes than their resin counterparts. If you’re someone who wants to 3D print larger objects, an FDM 3D printer makes more sense than a resin 3D printer.
The quality of parts produced on a resin 3D printer will always be superior to any FDM 3D printer. You get a smooth surface finish, higher quality of details, and the part looks as good as an injection molded component.
However, this does not mean that FDM 3D printed minis are worse. If you take the time and effort to finely tune your FDM 3D prints, you can still get some very high-quality minis from your FDM 3D printer.
As discussed earlier, resin material is more expensive than FDM filaments. Aside from an increased cost in the 3D prints, any print failures also lead to higher losses. You’re also limited by the choice and colors of resin materials.
In the case of FDM, you have a variety of materials available and can easily get them anywhere in the world.
Resin 3D printers are messy machines. You need to carefully handle the resin and be sure to print in a well-ventilated area. After printing, you need to wash and cure the 3D printed part. This requires an extra set of machines and increases lead times.
FDM 3D printers are easy to operate and very beginner-friendly. There are relatively few risks involved in their operation. You can use them safely around children and in classrooms. FDM 3D printer parts are also widely available and replaceable without too many complications.
A big decision factor is the total cost. There is a lot more to consider than just the retail price of the printer.
If your goal is to sell D&D minis, you must add operation costs, labor costs, overheads, failure costs, and material costs all to your calculations. That said, if you’re going to be printing minis consistently and in high volumes, you will still quickly break even on the costs of a resin printer.
From that perspective, a resin 3D printer is definitely costlier than an FDM alternative. When comparing these two, it is important to compare their cost vs quality and evaluate for yourself which is more important to you.
What printer resolution do you need for miniatures?
For miniatures, the resolution translates to the layer thickness of the model. The lower the layer thickness, the better the print quality. In resin 3D printers, 50 microns gives a pretty good surface finish while capturing all the details of the model.
For FDM printers, 0.2 mm (200 microns) layer height provides a good balance between speed and quality. Needless to say, this does not offer the same amount of detail as a resin print.
How long does it take to 3D print a miniature?
The printing time of a miniature depends on various parameters. You can print a miniature in as little as 3-4 hours or as long as 1-2 days. The layer height and the exposure time play a critical role.
In resin 3D printing, the total time required to print multiple minis at the same time is dependent only on their height, and not their number.
With FDM, as the number of minis increases, the time required to them increases proportionately. Also, on an FDM 3D printer, you might need to slow down the printing speed to achieve maximum quality.
How much does it cost to 3D print a miniature?
There is no one fixed price that we can say it costs to 3D print a miniature. You have to take into account the cost of the materials, 3D printer, STL files, post-processing, etc. Though, an FDM 3D printed mini would cost you much less than a similar resin 3D printed component.
Here is a good Reddit thread that goes into detail about this topic.
Where to download miniatures to 3D print?
If you want a single answer, then we would have to suggest the Elegoo Saturn as the Best 3D printer for miniatures. It offers you a generous build volume, exceptional printing quality, and comes in at a good price. The Phrozen Sonic Mini 4K and the Prusa i3 MK3S+ are both respectable runner-ups.
We would like to hear your thoughts on this list. Comment down below if you have any questions or suggestions.