Rob has been putting in some insane amounts of hours learning the ins and outs of 3D printing. Through personal experience, and some trial and error, here’s everything you need to know to help you get started with 3D printing miniatures.
Learn 3D Printing For Miniatures
There may have never been a better time to learn 3D printing for miniatures than now! It’s pretty fun and about as difficult as building an army display board.
We’ve seen 3D printers grow in popularity as more and more people are beginning to print their own miniatures. But why now all of a sudden you ask? Well, it’s a complicated question that may have a lot to do with both supply vs. demand and perceived necessity by hobbyists.
Enter Anycubic, Egloo, and Prusa among other lines of 3D printers that seem to be taking the hobby by storm, and most are for sale right now over on Amazon and or direct from the manufacturer for cheaper.
The Best 3d Printers For Your Budget:
These days even easier for hobbyists to source and print bits, perhaps more so than any of us had thought. The undeniable allure is that it’s not too expensive for any person to get into 3D printing to supplement their hobby.
Here’s our list of the best printers and 3d printing supplies that are on the market today! From starter 3d printer to advanced these are all great printers for miniatures that we have seen first hand or used ourselves.
- 3X Fast Printing: 4K monochrome screen Photon Mono X 3D printer single-layer exposure only takes 1-2 seconds, and the printing speed is Max 60mm/h, which is 3X faster than ordinary resin printers. Do you want to finish printing faster? This printer help you to obtain higher quality models in a shorter time.
- Larger Print Size: 8.9“ ANYCUBIC Photon Mono X large 3D printer has an amazing print volume of 192 * 120 * 250mm/ 7.55″x4.72″x9.84″, about 1.48 gallons. The print volume can meet the creative needs and print more at one time Models and larger models, and get higher printing efficiency.
- Power Adjustment Function：Compared with other similar 3D printers, Photon Mono X can achieve 30%-100% exposure power adjustment function, compatible with other special resins such as dentistry and high temperature. And the LCD screen has a service life of up to 2000 hours, which is more durable than ordinary color screens.
- High Precision & 5% High Transmittance: ANYCUBIC Photon Mono X is a brand new UV light curing 3D printer, using quartz lamp beads, newly upgraded matrix parallel UV light source, the light source is more uniform, and has a higher transmittance than similar 3D printer. Super high resolution (3840*2400 pixels), highly detailed restoration.
- APP Remote Control & High Stability: Use this Mono X UV light-curing LCD 3D printer to realize the same space WIFI remote printing management, monitor the printing progress in real time, and adjust the printing parameters at any time. adopts the combination of double linear guide rail + screw motor + anti-backlash nut to improve the stability of the Z axis, eliminate printing layer lines, and prints more smoothly.
- FAST PRINTING:3D printer photon mono is compatible with the latest Anycubic slicing software, and has more powerful functions. It supports up to 8 times anti-aliasing. The printing speed is Max 50mm/h, which is ~2.5 times faster than ANYCUBIC photon.
- Z-AXIS DUAL LINEAR SLIDE: The LCD 3D printer photon mono’s dual Z-axis slide avoids the movement of the platform during the printing process, improves the stability of the Z axis, eliminates the stripes in the final printing, and produces a smooth surface and fine texture.
- ACCURACY AND 2K HIGH RESOLUTION: Photon mono is equipped with a 2K black and white screen, which can be quickly cured by matrix ultraviolet light to provide accurate printing results,the light transmittance is high, and the screen life is up to 2000 hours.
- ANTI-UV LIGHT TRANSPARENT COVER DESIGN: Photon mono adopts one-piece transparent cover, the structure is stable,the bidirectional UV light resistance,you can clearly see the printing process, while still blocking 99.95% of the UV light.
- MORE FUNCTIONS: 1. Quiet printing: does not affect work and sleep; 2. One-piece release film: Eliminate the cumbersome steps of replacing the release film, and replace it quickly; 3. Door opening detection switch: The machine can be set to stop working immediately after opening the cover, design carefully, and use the lock icon to lock it safely.
Basically the most cost-effective Anycubic version of 3d printer that is still great for miniatures, the Mono has quickly become the go-to starter 3d printer.
- 4X Fast Printing, Saving Time — ANYCUBIC Photon Mono SE achieves fast printing, each layer of exposure can cure the resin in only 1 second, and the printing speed is MAX 80mm/h, which is 4X that of ordinary color screens, which greatly improves the printing efficiency and saves time printing More models. The 6.08-inch 2K monochrome LCD has a longer service life and can print for more than 2000 hours.
- High Printing Accuracy, High Stability — Photon monose adopts 2k 6.08 inch black and white screen, 2560 * 1620 (2K) high resolution brings high precision printing, high light transmittance, and Z axis adopts double linear guide + screw motor +The combination of anti-backlash nut to improve the stability of the Z axis, so that the printing details can be vividly displayed, suitable for printing microcosms, with surprising fineness.
- WIFI Control, One-key Leveling — Download and use the Anycubic 3D application control to easily realize remote control of printing operations, real-time monitoring of printing progress, and adjustment of printing parameters at any time. The Anycubic Mono Se 3D printer is a pre-assembled printer, which can be assembled quickly and leveled easily. Just reset to zero → lock the platform, and leveling can be completed in two simple steps.
- Metal Frame, Sturdy and Durable — The all-metal one-piece housing and CNC machined aluminum body enable Photon Mono Se to reduce resonance, make printing more stable and improve printing accuracy. The printing platform is designed with a drawing process, which can enhance the adhesion, make it more stable during the printing process and eliminate the print layer pattern.
- Powerful Heat Dissipation System — Anycubic Photon monose has a unique ultraviolet heat dissipation channel, effective cooling, helping to improve printing quality and service life. The print size is 130 x 78 x 160mm, which fits the size of various print models.
This is the follow-up to the immensely popular Photon and Photon S printers at a price that is nice.
Get Yours On Amazon’s Elegoo Store
- 【Fast Printing and less maintenance】Mars 2 Pro comes with a 6.08 inch monochrome LCD of 2K HD resolution and only takes 2 seconds per layer exposure to cure resin, which could significantly enhance your printing efficiency. Mono LCD has a much longer lifespan and stable performance during long term printing, thus saves your cost.
- 【Outstanding prints and ultra accuracy】Brand new light source structure provides more even UV light emission and working together with 2K mono LCD, the printing details and precision are greatly improved and the 3D printed models are fascinating.
- 【Sturdy build quality】CNC machined aluminum body makes Mars 2 Pro a very formidable machine. Newly-designed sandblasted build plate has a much stronger adherence during printing and enables consistent printing success. Built-in active carbon could absorb the fume of resin and offer you a refreshing printing experience.
- 【Multi language interface】Mars 2 Pro now supports 12 kinds of languages so customers across the world could operate the 3D printer more conveniently without barriers. The newly added 10 languages are Japanese, Dutch, Korean, French, German, Russian, Italian, Spanish, Turkish and Portuguese.
- 【Warranty and Service】We provide a 1-year warranty on the whole printer and 6-month warranty for the 2K LCD (FEP film is excluded). Mars 2 Pro comes with 2 extra FEP films for you to replace the original one if needed.
Clocking in generally cheaper than the Anycubic series of printers (except the base mono) ELEGOO Mars 2 is a perfect “in-between” printer that is a great quality at a great price!
Get Yours On Amazon’s Elegoo Store
- 【Faster printing speed】Saturn 3D printer comes with an 8.9inch 4K Monochrome LCD with an HD resolution of 3840 x 2400, reducing the layer printing time to 2s-3s, which is 60% faster than Mars Pro yet still delivers outstanding printing results.
- 【Larger build volume】Saturn has a large printing volume of 192*120*200mm/7.55in*4.72in*7.87in, and you can print multiple full-sized models at the same time, which can dramatically improve your productivity.
- 【Higher precision and easier printing】Z-axis utilizes a double linear guide-way structure, which can achieve steadier motion and greatly enhanced moving accuracy. With the Ethernet port on the back, Saturn now supports file transfer through your local area network, which is very handy for fast printing.
- 【Quality Prints and Consistent Success】Matrix light source consists of 54 UV LED lights with uniform light emission, ensuring superior print results and a more accurate printing size. The set screws on the build plate assure long-lasting leveling, no need for frequent calibration, and the sandblasted surface provides a much stronger adherence, especially when printing large 3D models.
- 【Warranty and Service】We provide a 1-year warranty on the whole printer (4K LCD, FEP film, and tool kit excluded). Replacement parts will be shipped from the overseas warehouse to offer you quality and fast customer service.
Between the much larger print area and a resolution approaching actual 4k, the Elegoo Saturn has quickly become a favorite of hobbyists for 3d printing miniatures!
3d Printing Supplies & Post Processing for Miniatures:
When your first start 3D printing miniatures, you’ll want to make sure you have everything you need on hand. But don’t worry, the 3d printer won’t be spitting minaitures out left and right. Nowadays depending on what you have, it can take anywhere from 1-3 hours to print a full plate of 32 mm-sized minis.
Video of Rob’s First Printer and Air Filter in use:
This one is the most important because it has to do with your health. Make sure you set up your printer in a well-ventilated space with plenty of room for the resin-filled air to be filtered out. Rob made this filter out of a few parts (and it’s easier than it looks- check out this tutorial).
Carbon Scrubber Air Filter:
Kotto Fune Extractor: Pictured with Photon and resin printed exhaust adaptor.
This is a cool self-contained unit that may do the trick as well for half the price and work (print this adapter piece for the hose).
Once you finish 3d printing your miniatures you’ll need to let them soak in a mix of Isopropyl Alcohol (IPA). This eats/washes away any excess unreacted resin before you let it cure. You’ll want to get some containers that are big enough for your miniatures to fit into without bumping the sides.
3D Printing Supplies:
You won’t need the pickle jars or the UV cure unit if you get the Anycubic Wash & Cure Station. The new version is pictured above, the old one below.
- Waterproof Silicone Prep Mat (makes containing and cleaning up spills of both resin and IPA mixes easy)
- Microfiber Cleaning Cloths (for the print film)
- Pickle Jar for washing parts
- 90% or higher Isopropyl Alcohol (12 pack)
- Basic UV Curing Station (3-time settings)
- Anycubic Wash & Cure Station (previous design)
- New Anycubic Wash & Cure Station Large Capacity
- Resin filter & funnel: Strain out uncured bits of resin from your printer vat.
These are the end all be all both in size and quality of post-processing 3d prints. Upgrades in size, capacity and even the angled UV lights with under turntable reflector really make a noticeable difference for the price over their smaller (but cheaper) version.
- 2-In-1 Wash and Cure Station: Dual functions of cleaning and curing can not only remove most of the chemicals, settle scrubbing and mess issues, but also seriously streamline the whole post-processing; A professional solution to the messy clean up job of your fabulous prints
- Largest Wash Cure Station: It has a large washing volume of 192mm(L) x 120mm(W) x 290mm(H) and curing volume of 190mm(D) x 245mm(H), so you can wash cure models printed by large resin printers such as Photon Mono X, which can dramatically simplify messy post-processing
- Two Washing Modes: A. Basket washing, remove the model and put it into the basket for direct cleaning; B. Suspension washing, directly hang the print platform on the basket or cleaning stand to clean, reducing exposure to resin
- Real 360° Curing: The 360°auto-rotating curing platform, equipped with L-shape strip light and reflective mirror sticker, enables the wash and cure machine to realize a real thorough curing; Prominently, its L-shaped strip light make the top UV lamp adjustable, solving the problem of model top part curing
- Anti-UV Light Hood: The transparent cover of this wash cure machine can block up to 99.95% of ultraviolet rays with a wavelength of 405nm, thus able to be effective in high resin solidification rate; and adopts enclosed washing busket to prevent liquid splashing and volatilization
We started out with their Wash and Cure station 2.0 (below), but when these larger versions became available we upgraded and it really showed in the quality of the post-processing of the prints. The problem is, these larger versions cost double the original ones, but depending on your workflow you may not need as many.
- 2-In-1 Wash and Cure Station: Dual functions of cleaning and curing can not only remove most of the chemicals, settle scrubbing and mess issues, but also seriously streamline the whole post-processing. It’s a professional solution to the messy clean up job of your fabulous prints and also helps reduce the clutter on your desk. 1-60min time adjustable, customize knob cleaning and curing time. Each layer of the 3D printer model can be better cleaned and cured according to your DIY needs
- Widely Compatibility: The ANYCUBIC wash and cure machine is a great addition to most type of regular resin printer, Compatible with most LCD/DLP/SLA 3D printers such as QIDI Shadow, NOVA, Mars series and other regular resin printers with similar build volume size as it does for photon series, this Wash & Cure machine has opened up a whole new world of 3d printing for you and greatly enhance your workflow
- Effective and Diverse Washing Modes: There is a propeller in the bottom of wash cure station, when work, it spins the solution like a little tornado and changes spin direction halfway through the wash , which creates the perfect flow to clean every inch of the print. 2 modes of Cleaning: 1. Basket washing, Remove the model and put it into the basket for direct cleaning; 2. Suspension washing, Directly hang the print platform on the basket or cleaning stand to clean, reducing exposure to resin
- Anti-UV Light Hood: The transparent cover of this wash cure machine can block up to 99.95% of ultraviolet rays with a wavelength of 405nm, thus able to be effective in high resin solidification rate; and this wash and curing box adopts sealed cleaning, which effectively prevents the cleaning agent from splashing and volatilization, and provides more safety.
Here is the very first spin of the 2.0 wash stations that we purchased, which for the price and capacity is a real value!
Now we even have a video on how to remove those pesky supports from your models, after you cure them:
Once you’ve got your printer all set up and ready to start printing, here are some great places to get some 3D files to use. They offer all kinds of minis, and some even on Patreon, where you can pledge money to get access to even more print files if you want.
We’ve teamed up with a ton of creators out there to offer you sample digital STL files to download so you can see their amazing creations!
Our 3D miniatures STL sampler pack is a FREE benefit for supporting Spikey Bits, and gives you a taste of what these designers are doing on their individual Patreon pages!
These are the miniatures new supporters can choose from to receive in their first month’s promo shipment! If you like the models you get, be sure to check out the designers’ individual Patreon pages below to get even more 3D files!
Entropy Assassin: Operative 32mm Scale This model comes in two file versions, as shown, and pre-supported.
Makers Cult Field Commander IG 28mm Scale. This model comes in three file versions, as shown, head and body separate (for conversions), and also pre-supported.
Ghamak Leader: IG 28mm Scale. This model comes in two file versions, as shown, and pre-supported parts consisting of weapon hands, head, and body!
Plus the one and only Bob Naergling Version 2 from our friend on Thingiverse, OrionRS.
The biggest (and quite possibly the most handsome) poo demon you ever did see. Scale to taste comes with two heads, both arms and body files.
Other Sources For 3d Miniature Files:
Thingiverse is a great place to look as well. It’s a community of designers that have files for literally almost anything you can think of. Even incredible alternate concepts to popular models.
Titan-Forge Miniatures Patreon has different levels of pledging. Depending on what you pledge, you can get some seriously sweet printing files. Check out some of the ones on their wallpaper!
Cast N Play is another great Patreon source offering a more medieval/fantasy look for 3D printed minis.
Watch & Learn From Some of The Best!
This is a great video to watch on the overall setup of the Anycubic Photon (the one Rob has) by Black Magic Craft. However, there is no explanation of how to use the software.
Here are a few videos on how to build support guides. Rob’s workflow process is a little different than all these (and perhaps a bit easier). However, that being said these are great for just starting too!
This one is from Reptilians Facebook and is pretty in-depth (click the link).
Be on the lookout for even more videos from Rob in the next couple of months as we continue to dive in on all the details for 3D printing at home!
Ready to learn 3D printing miniatures yet? Or will you just be starting with the bits first?