The Ultimate Beginners Guide to 3D Printing Miniatures (2023)

I decided to write a blog filled with useful things I wish I knew before I started 3D printing. As someone starting out in 3D printing, you will have a lot of questions. I have set out to answer some of the questions I had and that I get asked a lot.
Welcome to the Ultimate Beginner's Guide to 3D Printing Miniatures.

If you are looking for the best 3D Printer for Miniatures...
You are looking for a Resin 3D Printer. Don't believe any site/person/source that tries to tell you otherwise.

Of course, you will find a lot of people who already own an FDM printer, and they don't want to upgrade to a resin printer.

They will happily claim their prints are of sufficient quality.

They blatantly lie claiming that you can print decent-looking miniatures on an FDM printer.

Either these people have never seen a good mini before or they're just defending their unwillingness to switch to an SLA, DLP/LCD, or MSLA resin printer. To be fair, It could also be that you've found an article that hasn't been updated since 2018.

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Don't get me wrong! I don't hate FDM printers.
I have a couple myself. They have their uses.
They are just complete trash at high-detail jobs.
They are perfect for use on projects that require strength.

I only use FDM printers when I want to make tools. And they're also great to make paint racks etc. They just suck terribly hard at making minis.

I also don't like them for terrain and scenery. It's just too slow. And the layer lines irk me wrong. I do use them to create cheap armatures for trees though. FDM prints are also less prone to warping. But I have 0 need for large flat surfaces. And as you learn to cure better and better, you will have less and less warping issues with resin prints.

Resin 3D Printer Prices are dropping like crazy. You can get started with a pretty decent DLP/ SLA printer for around $100. So if you are not sure, resin printing miniatures is for you? Just give one of these entry-level printers a whirl. Once you see what resin prints look like as compared to FDM prints,.. you will never look back.

A normal Resin 3D Printer can print at a layer height of 0.05mm without even breaking a sweat. Most of them can even print at 0,01mm. I really dislike looking at FDM printed miniatures. They are ruined by visible layer lines, and they are a complete nightmare to paint. If you are looking for smooth results on your 3D Printed Models the choice is simple. You need to consider 3D printing miniatures in UV Resin.

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Even though the absolute worst resin 3D printer outperforms the absolute best FDM printer by a factor of one-billion, when it comes to 3D printing models and high detailed miniatures, that doesn't mean all 3D Printers are created equally.

Amongst them, there is a world of difference in print quality, user-friendliness, longevity, affordability, and noise-levels.

There are hundreds of different types of Resin Printers out there.

But there are basically just 4 archetype 3D Printers to consider if you are a hobbyist, that wants crisp prints, who enjoys painting, and who loves playing with Minis in their Wargames and RPGs.

  • Affordable 2k Printers
  • Affordable 4k Printers
  • Affordable 8K Printers
  • Affordable Printers with a big build-plate

If you are a wargame or an RPG enthusiast, there is no need to get a $1500 + printer.

If you are anything like me, you started because you want to save some money.

Bit-sites are getting more expensive by the day. As are standard model kits and minis in general.

It would make no sense to put your money towards a printer that would cost as much as 3 complete armies.

So how much does a 3D Printer cost?

At the time of writing, the absolute cream of the crop, when it comes to 4k Printers under $1500 is the Phrozen Sonic Mini 4k. And it comes in under $330. YES, you've read it right. It's actually that cheap.

A lot of people have this misguided idea that 3D resin printers cost north of $9000.

But those printers are for professional commercial casters. They are for Architects and Dentists, for medical purposes. You don't need those for wargaming or playing Dungeons and Dragons.

You need something that can produce complex shapes, smooth surfaces without visible layers, with affordable resins.

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The Photon Zero is an EXTREMELY cheap entry level 3D Resin Printer

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"2K? I just thought you said entry-level printers start at under $100"

Yes. When 3D Printing enthusiasts talk about 2k/4k/6k/8k printers there are referring to the resolution of the UV screen. The higher the resolution, the more pixels per inch they fit. This directly corresponds to the capacity of a machine to produce crisp minis.

You actually have a lot of douchebag manufacturers who might advertise their printers in a way that takes advantage of people who are new to Resin 3D printing. You will see ads and listings out there proudly proclaiming that their printer has a "2K FULL-COLOR UV screen". WOW FULL-COLOR!!!!! that must be good!

No. As far as I can gather, full-color screens have a way shorter lifespan than so-called Monochrome screens. I might be wrong, but what I found was that full-color screens have a life-span of anywhere between 200 and 600 printing hours.

If you are a fanatical printer, that means you have to replace your UV screen every 4 to 6 months.

And if you are unlucky, the replacement screens are extremely expensive. Or imagine, you buy into an older model, and by the time your UV screen burns out. That company no longer produces replacement screens. That would really suck.

I cant look into your wallet. But if you are buying a printer for over $250, I can imagine you don't want to have to toss it after a year when your screen is through. So either buy a $100 printer you don't mind replacing in its entirety or always buy one or two back-up screens when you are purchasing a 3D Printer with a full-color UV screen.

So what makes a 2K 3D Resin Printer affordable?

When you are considering to purchase a specific 2K printer, there are a few things worth considering.

  • What size of build-plate do I need?
  • Does it have a monochrome or a full-color screen?
  • How much does a replacement screen cost?
  • What are the costs of 2K printers with similar specs to the one you have your eye on?
  • Is there a community of people on Facebook, Reddit, or Youtube I can ask questions about this brand?
  • What's the price of 4K printers in comparison to this 2k Printer?
(Video) Which 3D Printer Should You Get? A COMPLETE Beginner's Guide

If you exclusively want to print small minis then you can do with the most basic 2k Printer. If you want to print Tanks, Monsters, Angels, Scenery pieces, and whatnot, you might want to look into printers with a larger screen.

Also, make sure to check the user communities of certain brands. Because if you judge a printer solely by its reviews you will not get a good idea about its quality. Only people who had a negative experience tend to leave reviews.

Positive reviews are often bought.

Instead, look at what the people who actually have one of those machines say about it on Facebook for example.

The most important thing to keep in mind when trying to decide what 2K 3D printer you will be getting is whether the 4K printers aren't available in that price range yet. I can imagine you pulling the trigger on a $400 2k printer, only to find out that there are superior 4K Printers available at $330.

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The Photon Mono is a very Decent Resin 3D Printer

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Affordable 4K Resin 3D Printers

Almost all 4K printers come with a Monochrome Screen.

So that's already something that you don't have to worry about when shopping for a 4K printer.

Especially because the lifespan of those screens is longer. The chances are that by the time you would need a new one, the brand will no longer produce those screens. So get an extra one and save it for a rainy day.

Currently the first generation of Consumer-level Desktop 3D Printers with a 4K screen cost between $330 and $800.

Of course, there are more expensive printers out there. But from a roleplayer or wargamer's perspective, it makes zero sense to look at machines north of $800. We're trying to play some games and have fun painting. Not set up a Casting Master Mould-making imperium.

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The Sonic Mini 4K is an extremely good
and affordable 4K Resin 3D Printer

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Affordable 8K Resin 3D Printers

All 8K printers come with a Monochrome Screen.

It's advised to buy a replacement screen with your 8K Resin Printer.
Also take in mind that large prints will need a larger curing station.

8K printers like the Phrozen Mega 8K are for people who want extremely large prints and extremely crisp detail.

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The third thing to be mindful of is how big you need the build plate to be.

If you are a wargamer, chances are you will want to start printing tanks and demons before long. Having to print your models in multiple runs can be annoying.

If you are into adventure RPGs and dungeon crawling games, you will feel the desire to crank out medieval townhouses in no time. You want the next Big Dragon. You want that super rustic Victorian Tavern. Don't even try and deny it.

If you're a competition or semi-pro painter, you will graduate to wanting to bust out busts on your machine sooner or later.

Keep in mind whether you want to buy a Small 4K printer or a Big one.

It's good to note that small 4k printers have more crisp results than large 4k printers.

4k is a fixed resolution. so it's not hard to imagine that the number of pixels per inch is way higher on a small screen than they are on a bigger screen.

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The Phrozen Sonic Mighty 4K is one of
The Best Large Resin 3D Printers available right now.

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To be able to answer that question you need to know what you need from your printer.

Do you want rough and ready miniatures that don't take too long to print because you care more about gaming than painting?

Or do you want the best possible print quality?

Do you prefer large models?

All these questions are worth taking into mind when finding your ideal first 3D printer.

If I were you I would just find a printer that is A) affordable and B) is billed to match your expectations.

Also, see if you can use Chitubox with your printer of choice. As it is a very intuitive program and free to use.

If you want to find out if you even like 3D printing. Get the cheapest 3D printer you can possibly find. and give it a swing.

Don't expect magnificent usability or a steady learning curve. If you pay a little, you get very little.

If you want to field very decent looking minis, the odd barrel, stack of crates or basic dungeon tiles. Get yourself anaffordable 2k Printer with a monochrome screen. Have fun with it. Enjoy it. But do not expect to get the highest possible quality from it. Your minis will still look amazing. But there is a whole other level of detail and crispness to explore with 4k machines that 2k machines just can't approach.

(Video) The Ultimate Beginner's Guide to 3D Printing - Part 1

Do you want to be able to print minis that are almost indistinguishable from injection molded miniatures?

Do you want slick and crisp results in the highest possible resolution? You need a 4K printer.

4K printers are meant for people who can't stand ugly minis. For Competition painters. For semi-pro commission printers. For people that want the best possible results.

Do you want a machine that can print Dragons, Tanks, Figurines, Busts and Scenery Pieces?

You need a 4K printer with a large build plate.

Even bigger ambitions deserve an 8k 3D resin printer with a 15" buildplate.

I am going to give it to you straight. There is no such thing as "The Best Resin".

There are loads of awful resins out there. yes.

But what passes as the best is 100% subjective. What do you need from your Resin? Strength? Density? High Detail? Flex?

The awful truth is, that you are going to have to watch some videos. Visit some friends with printers, ask them about their experiences. Talk to people on Reddit and Facebook. Understand that every printer is different, and every resin is too.Experiment.

If you are getting started, there are only 2 Resins worth trying.

They both have a wonderful capacity for detail. But they are not that strong.

They are super ok for painters and Careful Gamers.

But if your cat jumps on your desk or your kid/cousin/drunk neighbour throws your minis on the floor.

They will shatter.

What makes them great is that they are affordable. So you can print a lot, and hone your skills with printing before you graduate to the specialist brands after you learn what it is that you need from your prints.

Basic Anycubic Resins come in multiple colors. The Liter bottles are always between $20 and $40 (depending on what geo you are in)

It's a high-detail resin. It's not brittle. But any semblance of strength is not present.

Perfect for painters and careful gamers. All the resins from their range can be mixed. And oddly enough, from experience, I have noticed that when I mix translucent green with grey 50/50 I have the highest success rate in my prints. I don't know if there's any science to it, I just seem to keep hitting the magic spot with it.

It must be noted that I paint my minis. I can't care less what the color of the resin is

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The Aqua Gray by Phrozen also comes in Liter bottles.

It price varies from $0 to $30, depending on deals and geo.

I say $0 because Phrozen is known to be very generous during discount campaigns. More often than not, will they add 2 or 3 liter bottles when you buy a new printer. Really depends what season you are buying in. They are also known to add in a free printer sometimes when you buy 20+ bottles at once.

Its worth checking their site from time to time. Especially during singles day, black Friday, and Christmas events. But a regular bottle of 4K resin from Phrozen comes in at around $30.

This is great value. It holds extremely high detail.

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Ok so, there is no other way to put this. There are some bullshit marketing agencies out there egging on resin producers to flat out lie. least be creative about the truth.

All 3D printing resins are toxic gunk.

Even the Bio-Degradable and Plantbased ones.

Yes they are Bio-Degradable. But it will take over 160 years for PLA-like and ABS-like resins to degrade. These brands often make it seem like these resins and the plastics you cure of them are compostable. And they are not.

They are just taking advantage of your desire to buy environmentally-friendly products. And all they're doing is creating a "unique buying reason" so they can beef up their margin.

They're flirting with the notion their resins wouldn't be bad for the environment. When In reality, their resins are LESS bad than other resins. But still bad.

I also don't like washable resins not taking the effort to tell you that you shouldn't throw your cleaning water back into the drain or toilet. Yes! the models can be cleaned with water. No, that water is not clean. And it should be disposed of in the same way you would dispose of your other cleaning solutions.

Do not clean washable resins under the running tap.

If you want to know more about the Chemistry involved in Resin check out this insane in-depth 30-minute video by GooberTown Hobbies. Brent is a PhD in Chemistry. And the man knows what he is talking about.

Also, check this video about PLA and ABS prints. It's an eye-opener.

If you are a beginner and you are on your way to starting 3D Printing with
Resin for the first time, there are a couple of things you need to realize.

In addition to Resin and a Printer, you will need the following things.

1. A well-ventilated room or enclosure for your permanent set-up

2. A place for you to cure and clean your models

3. Storage for your tools and cleaning equipment

4. Tools to cure and clean your models

5. Personal protection

6. Easy access to a pc or mobile device

7. A USB thumb drive

You can definitely put a desktop 3D printer on a Desk.
I did it for easy access. Works fine. You do how-ever need a place out of direct sunlight that is well ventilated. Having a window open when you print is a good idea.

The stories of resin stinking to high-heavens are greatly exaggerated. Yes. There are resins that smell unpleasant. And there are "odor-free" resins. But the truth is that some people are just "bitch-made" and they will whine just about any smell. If you find you are sensitive to smells, think about getting or building a 3D printer enclosure. I also built a 3D Printer enclosure, but that's because I print a lot. And the sound was getting bothersome to me after a few months. So if you are easily distracted by the sound of cooling fans (comparable to old laptops) then you should also look into creating an enclosure.

You can buy a so-called 3D Printing Hotbox. It's a desk-sized tent to keep your printer warm and can be connected to a ventilation hose to keep the smell down to a minimum. But if the sound is th issue, just stack two Ikea bottom kitchen cabinets on top of each other. Put drawers in the bottom bottom-cabinet, and add doors to the top bottom-cabinet. Put a sheet of multiplex on top and mount a 45 euro kitchen fume-suction hood ontop. Connect that to a ventilation tube that goes outside, and you are done. Well. You do need to add a couple of pieces of XPS foam to the inside and some rubber strips to make it sound and airtight. But I will show you how to do that in a future blog. If you are a creative person it shouldn't be too hard to figure out how to air and soundproof a kitchen cabinet.

(Video) The Ultimate Guide to Perfect 3D Prints

You need some space to put your
curing-station. Do you need a curing station? Probably not. You can DIY the f00k out of this if you are frugal. But whatever you build will also require some room in your workspace. Point is. All Resin Printed Models need to be washed and cured.

By washing, we mean thoroughly cleaned to get excess resin off your model. And with Curing, we mean exposing your model to extra UV light for a couple of minutes to make sure all the resin is properly cured inside and out.

Since it's not healthy for you to expose yourself to UV light for a long time, you will need to buy or create an isolated enclosure where your minis can cure in peace.

A set of drawers, Tupperware, Curver boxes, or a stylist trolley are all excellent ways to properly store your cleaning tools and necessities.

Unless you are a complete slob, you do not want a messy workplace.

Messy workplaces are the number one cause of hobby related accidents.

If you are buying a curing station. You will spend a fair amount of money on a quality of life-enhancing product. But if you are frugal and creative, there is no reason at all to get a curing station.

If you want a curing station..Go for it! Do you need one? probably not.

Will you regret buying one? Probably not.

  • A big bucket with a lid or an old Ikea cabinet.
  • Reflective foil or cheap mirror tiles.
  • A 405nm UV LED light of at least 20Watt
  • An alcohol proof Curver box with an airtight lid
  • An alcohol proof Tupperware box.

Line your bucket or cabinet with reflective material. Mount the light to the door or lid. and you have yourself a frugal UV curing oven.

Put your Tupperware box inside your Curver box, fill it with alcohol, acetone, Windex, simple green or bio-ethanol. and put the airtight lid on your Curver box when you are not using your cleaning solution.

  • A towel to put your printer on. If you spill resin you won't fuck up your desk
  • A flat Spackle/Filler knife to remove 3D prints from your build plate
  • A Cleaning cloth to wipe your build-plate down after use
  • Several micro-fiber cloths to clean your Resin vat's FEP screen
  • A dedicated micro-fiber cloth that you keep clean to place your resin vat on when cleaned
  • A dedicated micro-fiber cloth to clean your printer's UV screen
  • A funnel to put your Resin filters in for when you want to put resin back into its bottle
  • Resin or paint filters
  • Wet wipes to clean the body of your printer after each use.
  • Cleaning solution. Can be Iso Propanol Alcohol of 96% or higher, Bio Ethanol, Acetone, Windex, or Simple green
  • Cleaning materials to clean resin from your floor or desk when you spill any

You need to be packing serious heat to protect yourself from the threats of an uncleaned 3D Print. You need a piece with serious stopping power. Sometimes these 3D prints can be savagely predatorial.

All jokes aside. When you are using a Resin printer, you are exposing yourself t a bunch of chemicals. And it always pays to be safe.

Resin can cause skin irritation. And it can hurt really badly if you have it on your skin and it gets hit with sunlight. So wear Nitrile gloves.

Why not vinyl or latex? Loads of people are allergic to vinyl and latex. AND both Vynil and Latex cant stand being submerged in alcohol or ethanol for long. So just get some Nitrile gloves. and keep your skin safe.

If you are a fan of cleaning with acetone.. get butyl gloves. they are better equipped to keep your claws safe from harm than a nitrile glove would be.

If you are cleaning in Windex or simple green, you don't need need gloves, but I would advise wearing them anyway. People have this weird habit of developing allergies if they use a certain chemical for too long. Best be safe.

When cleaning with Alcohol and Bio Ethanol, you can opt to wear a mouth mask. The fumes can get you drunk. When you are cleaning with Aceton or Windex, wear a fucking mouth-mask. Don't even play. Just do it. You don't want to fry your lungs over some DND characters.

When you are cleaning with Alcohol, Bio Ethanol, Acetone, or Windex, please wear safety glasses.

It's only a matter of time before you drop something in the cleaning solution, and you don't want Windex scorching a hole in your eyeball when that ammonia hits your face.

Please consider that Alcohol, Ethanol, Acetone, and Ammonia are flammable. Don't allow anyone near you that smokes or is a dipshit that likes to whip out the blow torch when you are cleaning prints.

Take it seriously. You don't want to die in a blazing inferno because some stoner offers you a toke while cleaning.

Also Isopropanol, Windex, and Acetone really, really, REALLY stink. That's why a lot of people prefer Bio-Ethanol. at least that smells like Tequila. That doesn't make it any less-flammable though.

Do all your cleaning in a well-ventilated room.

If you are a recovering alcoholic, Muslim, Buddhist, or Rastafari, you might want to seriously consider not using Alcohol or Ethanol at all. Use Acetone, Simplegreen, or Windex instead.

NEVER EVER EVER drink the Alcohol or Ethanol. You will die. They put lethal toxins in there to punish poor alcoholics who can't afford vodka. Or to avoid taxes or some shit.

After you have cleaned your mini put it in your curing station or UV curing oven. Do not directly look into the UV light or the mirrors. A 20Watt lamp is strong enough to damage your sight.

When you take your gloves off, realize that there still might be resin on your gloves. do not touch your skin, your printer's UV screen, or your FEP. Carefully take them off and dispose of them in a responsible way.

Always wash your hands with an alcohol-based disinfectant hand gel to make sure there is no resin left on your hands. Afterward, it's smart to use some hand-lotion, baby-oil, or sunscreen on your hands. With all this covid disinfecting going on at every supermarket, you don't need the added stress to your skin from cleaning your hands after printing. If you print a lot you will wreck your hands in no time from "over-cleaning" your hands. Water and Alcohol dehydrate and destroy all the healthy fats on your hands. So make sure to moisturize after you wash your hands.

You will need a decent pc or laptop to run your slicer. A Slicer is a program that helps you tweak the settings on objects that you want to print. It creates "sliced files" with information that tells your 3D printer what to do during the printing process. Slicers don't take a lot to run, but you'll run into a gangload of trouble if your are using some old crusty laptop from 2007.

You will also need a USB thumb drive or a mobile device. You will need this to send your sliced file to your printer. Older printers only take USB 2.0 so dont get too fancy with your printer. It might just ignore your modern USB stick.

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It's pretentious pictures in every-day media like this that make it look

like you need to be some kind of a rocket scientist with a PhD in applied Bullshitonometry to be able to 3D print

No. Just like learning to use any other tool. There is some effort involved in getting started. But it doesn't take any rocket science to learn how to successfully print on a Resin Printer.

If you have zero computer skills, have a hard time reading, or if you are poor-sighted, 3D printing can be more difficult than it is rewarding.

You need a basic understanding of either English or Mandarin to be able to read the manuals or to understand articles about your machine.

You also need to know how to work a mouse, how to name and copy files, how to install and run software. Basic understanding of Reddit or Facebook is also a huge plus.

(Video) The Ultimate Beginner's Guide to 3D Printing - Part 2

But all the hip kids say it's a Hobby in its own!

A lot of people say that 3D Printing is a hobby in its own because it's fabled to require a huge amount of learning before you can do anything. But as far as I am concerned... that might be true for FDM printers, But resin printers are literally plug and play devices.

Yes, there is a learning curve. But no. it's not hard.

If you know yourself to be a weakling that cant amount to bring up the required concentration needed to watch a youtube video or google for the answer to a problem. Then yes. 3D printing will prove too difficult for you.

But if you are a creative curious person, you will get the hang of it in no time. It might take you a couple of months to be able to troubleshoot your machine when you have a misprint. But hey. Take a few good pics of your failed projects, take a screenshot of your settings, remember the room temperature, and find a Facebook group filled with friendly people to get you moving along. You can always crowdsource the answer to anything you cant figure out yourself.

Finding a 3D printing Model. (May I suggest our beautiful fierce Guardswomen?)

3D Printing Models are called STLs after the STL format they are saved in.

Before you can Print your STL you need to place supports. You place supports to make sure the entire model sticks to the build-plate. If you didn't place supports, any overhangs on the sculpt would stick to the bottom of the resin vat (the FEP screen) and they would just float or lay there, totally destroying the rest of your print. Supporting isn't hard. It just takes some effort to learn. It's not super fun. But you can learn to do it yourself, outsource it to someone, or buy pre-supported models (Like Ours :P ).

Once you are done supporting, you save your session and you run it through a free file validator. Those types of programs checks for overhangs you haven't supported. We call those "islands"

Once you have seen the feedback from your file validator, you correct any mistakes you've made, and then you are ready to slice your STL.

If you slice something for the first time on a printer, or when using a new resin, or working with a new set of support settings, you have to dial in your printing settings. That sounds harder than it is. You can watch a few youtube videos and read a few articles and BENG. Before you know it you are murdering at figuring out custom settings!

If you are coming from an FDM background this might give you a migraine. Don't worry, there are roughly 16 settings, this is not FDM printing. You won't have to go through thousands of minute factors to get your resin printer working. Making the switch to Resin Printing will be a piece of cake.

Once you are done slicing. Save your file and copy it to a USB stick.

Stick the USB stick into your printer. Turn the printer on. Check if you have enough Resin in there. if not, SHAKE yourself some additional resin. Pour it into the vat. Put the hood back on your printer.

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This is Greg Kourakos. "The 3D Printing Pro"
The Patron Saint of Resin Printers.

If you want to learn how to Support/Slice/Set/Print you can check out his

Extensive playlist of elite Mast0r lev0l Tutorials

Make sure the room is nice and toasty (Printers hate cold they start behaving very stupidly)

If you are in an extremely cold environment put your closed bottle of resin in a bucket of warm water before you use it.

Select the file on your USB stick on the touch screen of your printer.

WAIT.... once the printer is done (several hours later lol) you remove the hood.You suit up for bio-chemical hazmat warfare.

Take the build-plate off the Z-Axis, use your Spackle Knife to get your print loose from the build-plate.

Throw all your prints in your Bio-Ethanol or cleaning solution. Wash it with water.Throw it back in some clean Bio-Ethanol.

Remove all the supports.

Cure your print.

Clean your printer metuculously.

If you had a misprint, empty the vat through a filter into a funnel back into a resin bottle and clean the FEP

Paint your print.

Field your print!

Remember to dispose of your garbage like a responsible adult.

Do not flush your dirty cleaning liquids down the toilet or drain.

Dispose of them in a responsible fashion.

Remember that bio-resins, and water washable resins are bullshit.

ALL RESINS ARE TOXIC SLUDGE. Just because it's "less" bad for the environment than another resin, doesn't mean it's nature friendly. Also, Don't buy into the Bio-Degradable hype. I mean it is bio-degradable. But it takes a good 160 years. So yeah. Don't throw your supports in the garden to compost.

The garbage that comes off of that is still chemical waste. Don't be fooled by lawless madmen.

And I shouldn't even have to say it.


That's basically all there is to it!

Have fun!


Is 3D printing miniatures worth it? ›

As a whole, it is worth printing miniatures most of the time. Printing miniatures is very cheap, the material for one standard 32mm or 1.1-inch big miniature will only cost around 10 cents. But printed miniatures can not be used in most official war game tournaments, for example.

How many minis Can you print from a bottle of resin? ›

You can 3D print around 120 to 140 tabletop figurines or minis with 1 liter of resin, each model having a height of around 1 inch.

How long does it take to 3D print miniatures? ›

How long does it take to 3D print a miniature? It can take approximately 3-4 hrs for 28mm miniatures to 3D print. For large miniatures, it can go up to 12 hrs and sometimes, even more. It also depends on how accurate you want your 3D printer to print.

What do I need to print my own miniatures? ›

You need a 3D printer to print your own minis. Currently, there are two main options on the market. Filament (FDM) printers and resin (SLA/DLP). While both will allow you to print miniatures, resin printers will produce the crisp, detailed results that you usually want to see in a quality miniature.

Do you need to wash 3D printed miniatures? ›

Filament 3D printed miniatures don't need to be washed, but you should clean up any excess plastic. For resin 3D printed minis, you want to wash them as part of your normal post-processing, either with isopropyl alcohol or soap & water for water washable resin. Use a wash & cure station or an ultrasonic cleaner.

What are 3 disadvantages of 3D printing? ›

What are the Cons of 3D Printing?
  • Limited Materials. While 3D Printing can create items in a selection of plastics and metals the available selection of raw materials is not exhaustive. ...
  • Restricted Build Size. ...
  • Post Processing. ...
  • Large Volumes. ...
  • Part Structure. ...
  • Reduction in Manufacturing Jobs. ...
  • Design Inaccuracies. ...
  • Copyright Issues.

Can you make money selling 3D printed miniatures? ›

In summary. Yes, you can make money with a 3D printer. And there are a lot of ways that you can do it, whether that's selling 3D printed items, digital goods, or even offering a 3D printing service in your local area.

Can you reuse resin after a print? ›

After a print's done, the vat typically contains some leftover resin. This resin can be reused, so definitely put it back into its container.

Is resin printing cheaper than filament? ›

A spool of filament will cost you $25 or less, with infrequent nozzle replacement given regular cleaning and maintenance. With resin printers, you will need to replace both resin and resin tanks frequently. A tank costs $40 or so, and a liter of resin is around $80.

Is resin better than plastic miniatures? ›

Resin can be softer than plastic as well as more brittle. It's easier to break resin when filling, cutting or drilling it so you have to be careful. Also, most resin models need to be cleaned as they have release agent left on them. (Plastic models do too but generally don't cause a problem when painting.)

Is 3D printing a cheap hobby? ›

All in all, even if you are getting the absolute cheapest of everything, 3D printing is still an expensive hobby.

What is the fastest way to make money 3D printing? ›

Designing 3D models for 3D printing can be a great way to make money. You can sell your designs online through a marketplace like Shapeways or Cults 3D or work with a 3D printing service like Sculpteo. Of course, you can also set up your own business if you don't want to rely on a marketplace.

What is the 5 mm rule in 3D printing? ›

Not all bridges require support – the 5 mm rule

Here, the rule of thumb is: If a bridge is less than 5 mm in length, the printer may be able to print it without requiring 3D printing support structures.

What kind of 3D printer is best for figures? ›

Resin 3D printers are the best type of 3D printers for miniatures. The Anycubic Photon Mono is the best cheap 3D printer for miniatures. The Phrozen Mini 4K will give you the highest quality and detailed tabletop miniature at a budget price.

Can you sell printed miniatures? ›

To begin with, it's totally safe and legal to sell your 3D printed parts on e-commerce websites like eBay, Amazon, and Etsy. People are making a fair living offering their printing capabilities on different platforms.

How much do custom miniatures cost? ›

$2,500-$3,000 (per tool based on complexity). Miniatures Costs (per unit): If you are ordering the minimum of 1,000 units of your game that will include 8,000 miniatures. At the 1,000 order tier,and assuming full use of the tool, the miniatures are priced at $0.15 per unit after the above setup and tooling costs.

Is it OK to leave 3D printer on all the time? ›

You should not leave your 3D printer unattended while printing as it is not safe. Many examples show fires breaking out and spreading around the room. There are ways to make it more likely to be safer such as using a full metal enclosure and having upgraded safety firmware.

What happens if you don't prime miniatures before painting? ›

If no primer is applied before painting a miniature then the paint will scratch off easily. A primer will prepare the surface of the miniature for the paint. A primer will adhere very well to the miniature and any paint applied to the dried primer will adhere just as well and permanently to the miniature as the primer.

Should I prime my miniatures before painting? ›

Priming is one of the most important steps in miniature painting. A primer smooths out microscopic imperfections in the surface of your model and provides a solid foundation for overlying model paint color.

What makes 3D prints fail? ›

Typically this 3D printing problem is attributable to two parts of the printing process — either something is wrong with your filament supply, or there's a problem with the hot end/nozzle itself. It could be as simple a case as your filament has run out. Some printers obscure the spool, so you never know!

What is the hardest material you can 3D print? ›

One of the strongest 3D printing materials in terms of durability and heat resistance is PA (Polyamide). This semicrystalline plastic is used for prints that will undergo heavy-duty applications. PA has high strength, excellent impact resistance, and is fatigue-resistant, making it ideal for moving parts.

What shouldn't you 3D print? ›

Materials such as wood, cloth, paper and rocks cannot be 3D printed because they would burn before they can be melted and extruded through a nozzle.

Can you sell 3D prints that you didn't design? ›

First, to be clear, we're not offering legal advice here and laws differ depending on where you live. But, mostly, no. It's not usually legal to sell the 3D print generated from a digital file you either downloaded for free or purchased online unless you have the creator's express permission.

How much money do you need to start a 3D printing business? ›

However, the cost of setting up a 3D printing business ranges from $1,000 to $10,000. This cost will be affected by the type of 3D printer that you choose, utilities, rent (if you choose to not work from home), software, and marketing.

What happens if you touch printer resin? ›

Irritating to the skin and respiratory system: You should never expose your bare skin to the liquid chemicals of 3D printing resin. They can create contact dermatitis, which is a surface rash that could develop into an allergy if you expose yourself to resin for long periods of time.

How toxic is resin printing? ›

Dangerous fumes

Liquid 3D printing resins give off fumes or vapors containing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can be harmful to humans if inhaled into the throat or lungs. Short-term exposure to resin fumes can result in dizziness, headaches, and throat irritation.

How do you dispose of water for resin? ›

Dispose of liquid resin by adding it to your chemical waste stream or by fully curing and discarding it as household waste. Do not pour liquid or partially cured resin or solvent into drains or dispose of it as household waste.

What is the strongest 3D filament? ›

Polycarbonate. One of the strongest FDM 3D printing materials — in terms of both tensile[1] and impact strength — is polycarbonate (PC). In fact, polycarbonate filament would likely be one of the most popular printing materials were it not so difficult to print.

What is the cheapest 3D printing method? ›

The three processes, FDM, MJF and SLS, use almost the same thermoplastics which are comparatively cheap and widely used. Thermoplastics, like PA or ABS, can be a good fit for prototyping and modelling applications, yet the quality and the details they offer are low.

How much does 1kg of filament last? ›

Thus, a 1-kg spool of PLA should last you about 14 to 25 weeks, which equates to 4 to 6 months!

Should I wash resin miniatures? ›

Get a cup of warm water and put one or two drops of dish soap in it and then mix it up. Add the resin pieces to the water and let them soak for a minute or so. Then take an old paint brush and gently scrub the pieces. After this is done rinse off the pieces and gently dab dry with a paper towel.

What is the best material for miniatures? ›

PLA+ is the best choice and probably the most widely used filament for miniatures and other objects in the gaming world. It has an extra flexibility and durability that makes supports removable without actually snapping the main model which is very important.

Are resin miniatures toxic? ›

Poisonous Ingredient

Epoxy and resin can be poisonous if they are swallowed or their fumes are breathed in.

Does 3D printing cost a lot of electricity? ›

Ordinary 3D printers do not use much electricity, only about 50-150 Watts while printing. This is about the same as one or two incandescent light bulbs. There are many different 3D printers and print settings available, however, so for a more accurate number you need to make some calculations or measurements.

Is making a 3D printing business profitable? ›

Yes, 3D printing can be profitable because it is a quickly growing industry, with most businesses discovering opportunities for success. The technology is becoming popular, so there is a growing demand for 3D printing services.

Do 3D printers cost a lot to run? ›

The average 3D printer will use the same amount of electricity as a fridge, this should be taken into consideration when you're going to be using it a lot or will be using it for massive projects.

Is selling 3D models profitable? ›

If you have a knack for 3D modeling, there's a good chance you can make money from selling your designs. The key is to find a niche market and create designs that people are willing to pay for. Once you've built up a portfolio of designs, you can start promoting your work and making sales.

What is the most profitable thing to make with a 3D printer? ›

One of the best things to print and sell with your 3D printer is miniatures for tabletop games like D&D and Warhammer. These figurines are small and highly detailed. This means that if you want to make money by 3D printing miniatures, you are best off with a resin 3D printer.

Is there money to be made in 3D printing? ›

The capabilities are almost limitless, including the ability to make a profit with your printer. Starting a 3D printing side hustle can be an excellent way to make money as it requires a relatively low investment and a minor learning curve to get started.

What is the strongest 3D print pattern? ›

Hexagonal Infill: This fill type has the highest strength-to-weight ratio of any of the infill patterns as it is composed of tessellating hexagons. However, it takes the longest to print of any infill type because the printhead has to keep changing direction.

How thin is too thin for 3D printing? ›

A good minimum wall thickness for 3D printing PLA is 1.5 mm. At Fictiv, the absolute minimum wall thickness a 3D printer can print is 0.6 mm.

What is the smallest hole a 3D printer can print? ›

The smallest lateral feature size is 160 nm. This printer is suitable for print volumes < 0.1 mm³. The applications it suits include microfluidics, biomedical engineering, micro-electro-mechanical systems, micro-optics, and nanostructures among others.

What is the most popular 3D printed object? ›

Gyro the Cube is probably still one of the most popular 3D printed things on Earth. Cornelissen worked at Philips Design designing shavers and MRI machines before coming to 3D printing.

How long does it take to 3D print a miniature? ›

It can take approximately 3-4 hrs for 28mm miniatures to 3D print. For large miniatures, it can go up to 12 hrs and sometimes, even more. It also depends on how accurate you want your 3D printer to print. More accurate prints would mean a slower 3D printing time.

How much do you charge for 3D printing? ›

3D printing can cost anywhere from $3 up to thousands of dollars. It's hard to get the exact cost of a 3D print without a 3D model. Factors such as material, model complexity, and labor affect the price of 3D printing. 3D printing services can sometimes cost more than an entry level 3D printer.

Can I sell models from Thingiverse? ›

You can sell 3D prints from Thingiverse as long as you have the adequate copyright status or explicit permission from the original creator of the design. There are designated websites built to sell 3D printed items, and they ensure you have the correct rights to the sold products.

How much can small 3D printers sell for? ›

Most Entry Level and Hobbyist 3D printers are priced from $300 – $500, while some can be as expensive as $1500. The higher-end 3D printers, such as Enthusiast 3D printers and Professional 3D printers are priced anywhere from $1,500 – $20,000, depending on the printer's capabilities.

What size are most miniatures? ›

The most common size of miniatures, as it is used by Games Workshop. While original 25 mm figures matched 1:76 models (4 mm scale or 00 gauge), there developed wide upwards variation in figure height. True 28 mm figures are close to 1:64 models (S scale), but may appear larger due to bulky sculpting and thick bases.

Is 3D printing worth it for miniatures? ›

Yes, it is cheaper and more cost-effective to 3D print miniatures rather than purchasing them. The initial investment into getting a 3D printer and the materials is relatively high, but the cost per model is significantly lower if you are planning to create a good number of miniatures.

Is it OK to 3D print at night? ›

It's generally recommended that you avoid leaving a 3D printer on overnight. Some things can go wrong if you leave your 3D printer unattended. One of the biggest potential problems is seeing a printer on fire.

Is the Ender 3 a fire hazard? ›

The Ender-3 and Pro models are known to spontaneously combust on account of counterfeit XT60 connectors, which act as quick disconnects between the PSU and the heated bed. The fire hazard is attributed to poor electrical contact and questionable fire resistance of the plastic connector housing.

Are 3D printers wasteful? ›

Many 3D-printing materials are plastic

Plus, a lot of the plastic will still wind up in landfills someday. Think of it this way: If you can create cool products with just a click of a button, there is the potential for a lot of button clicking—and a lot of wasted products tossed in the trash.

Can it be too cold to Prime miniatures? ›

If you're planning on using a spray primer for your minis you need an ambient temp of at least 65 degrees to avoid failure.

Should you wash miniatures before painting? ›

It stands to reason, if the miniature is pre-primed there should be no need to bathe. Alternatively, if the miniature is sticky or has oily residue, it's probably leaking substances that need to be scrubbed away before priming.

Should you clean miniatures before painting? ›

For metal and resin miniatures, you need to wash them to help make paint stick to them. You don't generally need to wash plastic miniatures, but sometimes you do. Check the instructions to see if there is mention of washing the minis.

What happens if you forget to prime before painting? ›

However, because it absorbs so well, without a primer coat, you'll experience uneven coverage, especially along drywall seams. This means you'll need to apply more paint to finally get an even coat. Even then, you may still find yourself repainting again sooner than later.

What color primer is best for miniatures? ›

Best Primer Color for Miniatures? Gray primer is the best overall color. Gray primer is a mix between black and white, providing you with a middle ground color tone to work on when you paint models. You don't need to plan too much ahead about what models you'll be painting or how many.

Is it cheaper to 3D print toys? ›

By using the free designs and a standard home 3D printer, it found, consumers save more than 75 percent on average compared to the cost of comparable store-bought toys. If post-consumer recycled plastic is used as the filament, the savings go up to 90 percent. Home toymaking saves resources and energy all around.

How much does it cost to 3D print something small? ›

3D printing can cost anywhere from $3 up to thousands of dollars. It's hard to get the exact cost of a 3D print without a 3D model. Factors such as material, model complexity, and labor affect the price of 3D printing. 3D printing services can sometimes cost more than an entry level 3D printer.

Can you sell 3D printed figurines? ›

As we mentioned above, you can sell 3D prints from any unique digital 3D model that doesn't infringe on another party's IP if the original artist gives you express permission.

How much do you charge per hour of 3D printing? ›

Print Time

If the business paid $2,000 for a 3D printer with an expected life span of 2,000 print hours, they may charge around $1 per hour.

Can Lego be 3D printed? ›

3D printing Lego offers great opportunities to customize or supersize your builds. Check out the best 3D printed Lego pieces and minifigures! Lego is all about experimenting with different possibilities.

How much money do you need to buy a 3D printer? ›

Most Entry Level and Hobbyist 3D printers are priced from $300 – $500, while some can be as expensive as $1500. The higher-end 3D printers, such as Enthusiast 3D printers and Professional 3D printers are priced anywhere from $1,500 – $20,000, depending on the printer's capabilities.

Is it worth starting a 3D printing business? ›

If you want to start a 3D printing business, there's a lot to consider. Read on for ideas to turn your hobby into a lucrative activity! The global 3D printing market is huge, valued at $16.7 billion in 2022 and growing annually at over 20%. Even a tiny slice of that pie can be a lucrative business opportunity.

What 3D printed objects are in demand? ›

Figurines. Figurines are a crucial part of the 3D printing community. Whether they be for a fantasy game like Dungeons & Dragons or just for display, they're always in high demand. Character figurines require a great amount of detail and a smooth surface finish, making them rather tricky to print.

What is the smallest thing a 3D printer can print? ›

In fact, it's claimed that the printer is able to produce parts as small as 500 nanometers. There are many possibilities for applications of such technology. For example, nano 3D printing is a perfect solution for producing microscopic lenses for endoscopes.

What is the smallest you can 3D print? ›

So that means you can get accuracy in the 10 to 20 micron range. Nanofabrica, Israel, offers a micron-level resolution additive manufacturing technology that operates cost-effectively and repeatably. Its 3D printers can produce cylindrical micro lens that are 20 microns high and 100 microns wide.


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