Resin printed miniatures

Resin printed miniatures DEFAULT

As resin 3D printers become more affordable, with some printers in the $300 to $400 US dollar range, more and more hobbyists like myself are buying them to print miniatures for our tabletop games. Resin printers are ideal for printing tabletop minis because they can print every fine detail of the pieces. However, if you orient a miniature on the print bed in the wrong way, then a lot of detail can be lost, or the print can fail completely.

What is the best way to orient a miniature for printing in a resin 3D printer? Generally it’s best to orient the miniature in as upright a position as possible, so that there is minimum overhang. If there is a highly detailed portion that you don’t want supports to touch, then print that part so that it’s upright or facing away from the print bed.

In this article I’ll explain how I printed a few miniatures for my tabletop game in different orientations and how it affected them. Like I said, this is just my hobby and I’m by no means an expert, but I hope that you’ll find something useful. Also, I’ll leave links to all the Thingiverse pages at the end of this article for the models that are pictured.

Determining the Angle

The main thing to worry about when deciding how to angle your miniature is how the support material will affect the finished piece. Every spot that the supports touch will have a little bump when the support is removed. This means that whatever detail was underneath that spot where the support touched will be lost after you remove it and sand away the residue. For that reason it’s good to minimize the amount of support needed when you choose how to orient your miniature.

For a lot of miniatures, if they are in a standing position, it’s fine to print them in the default position with their base flat on the print bed. Because they’re standing up straight, their body won’t need support. Sometimes their arms, clothing, or weapons will need support if it overhangs steeply enough, but a bit of support material usually won’t mess up the detail too much if it’s in those areas.

I’ve seen some sources say that you should tilt the mini so that it’s front is facing away from the print bed, which will keep it from needing support and therefore preserve the detail. But doing that would cause support to needed on the back of the mini, which sometimes has some details that you also don’t want to mess up. I’ve found that it’s better to just print it standing straight up, so that the body supports itself, and that way the least amount of support is needed.

For other cases where the mini is in a crouched or leaning position, sometimes it can help to tilt it so that it’s body is in a more upright position. You only really need to adjust it if it would need support if you printed it in it’s normal position. The body of minis tend to have a lot of detail, like clothing, belts, and straps. I prefer to rotate the mini so that those details won’t have any supports touching them.

The Base

Most miniatures that I’ve found online on sites like Thingiverse have a base attached to the figure. The base is usually just a flat circle or square that the actual figure stands on. When you print the mini without any rotation, the base sits flat on the print bed. If you need to tilt the miniature at all, then the base tilts with it.

The problem with the base tilting is that it will likely need support. I’ve found that printing a flat piece at an angle, only held up by supports, can cause deformation unless you use a lot of support. When I stuck to the default number of supports that the slicer placed for me automatically, the bases came out warped and bumpy.

Clearly the best way to print the base is to have it flat on the print bed. Every time I printed it like that, it came out smooth and perfect, and there was no issue with separating from the print bed either because it’s not very wide. If you can print your mini with the base flat then that’s ideal, but if you need to rotate the mini there’s still a way you print the base flat.

All you have to do is use a program like MeshMixer, which is free, and cut the base off of the model. Once you have them separate, you can print the mini in whatever orientation you need to, and still print the base flat by itself. Some models come with an optional separate base, which I guess is specifically for this reason, but if the not then it’s easy to do yourself. I’ll link to a good video that explains how to use Meshmixer to split models into separate pieces.


Because tabletop minis are so small and can have such fine details, it makes sense to use the smallest supports you can so that you don’t mess up those details. For the most part this is true, because a smaller support will leave a smaller mark, but they can also be super flimsy.

Some of my minis that I printed came out a little wonky in some spots because the supports weren’t strong enough, and things shifted around. In the slicer software they might look substantial enough, but when you go to print they might not be enough. If they’re too thin then they can break, warp, or separate from the piece while printing.

It might be worth it to use the smallest supports you can if your mini is highly detailed and doesn’t really need much support. The only way to really know is to test it out on your specific printer, because printers and slicers are different. Yours might turn out better than mine.

Medium sized supports can work fine if they are strategically placed, which is usually over an area of the mini that is going to be flat or smooth. Heavy duty supports usually aren’t necessary on such small prints, so you probably won’t need to use them.


I usually print my minis at 0.05 millimeters resolution, and it doesn’t take too long to print them, usually about an hour and a half. You could go down to 0.01 millimeters per layer, but that might increase the print time significantly. Then again, since minis are so small, the total print time might not be too long for you.

Printing Large Minis

If you need to print a bigger miniature, like a dragon or other large creature, then the same advice generally applies. It’s best to orient the creature so that it’s as upright as possible, or so that it’s longest section is perpendicular to the print bed. This will save it from needing a lot of support along it’s body and possibly obscuring details like fur or scales.

If the creature is too big for your print bed no matter how your rotate it, then you can split it into multiple parts. There are a few different programs that can do this, but I like to use Meshmixer like I said above. Just watch that video and it’ll explain all you need to know to properly split your model into smaller parts.

Final Thoughts and Some Links

It’s really amazing that there are so many free models for miniatures available online for us to print. I hope that this article helped you so that your pieces come out in the best possible quality.

Thingiverse collection containing the bard that I used:

Thingiverse collection containing the elf ranger I used:

Thingiverse page with the ranger:

Thingiverse pages for the kobolds:

Thingiverse model for a knight that I scaled down to miniature size:


How do you paint a resin 3D printed miniature or model? 3D printed tabletop miniatures are easy make and paint with a resin 3D printer.Because of the high quality sculpts, painting a 3D printed miniature made with a resin printer is also the same process as painting any other regular miniature or scale model kit.For a while, making finely detailed miniatures with a 3D printer was difficult with almost any consumer-grade 3D printer. If you were looking to 3D print D&D (Dungeon and Dragons),Warhammer40k, or other tabletop fantasy miniature figurines, you had to either outsource the job to a 3D printing company or purchase a very expensive 3D printer. Fortunately, the speed of technology has outpaced our expectations, and resin 3D printers that can print small-scaled miniaturesare commonplace and affordable.

In this article, Cory Dolbashian, a recent PhD graduate in physics at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, United States, shares his experience working with his first resin 3D printer. He also shares how he painted his resin 3D printed model.

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Read on for a unique perspective into resin 3D miniatureprinting, and how Dr. Dolbashian painted this 3D printed model.

How did you start your 3D printing and miniature painting hobby?

Although I’ve only begun to seek new techniques, feedback, and improvements in the last 5 years, I’ve been a miniature hobbyist for more than 16 years. I am a recent recipient of a PhD in physics and fascinated by the intersection of my hobbies and my career.

In general, I tend to seek a systematic approach for working with miniatures, including painting them. But, like many, I am much more satisfied with a carefree approach when embarking on miniature painting projects.


Most of my miniature hobby history has been army painting for various games (Warhammer Fantasy, 40k, Warmachine/Hordes), but this changed recently when I bought my first resin 3D printer, the Epax X1 (other affordable resin 3D printers include the Anycubic Photon). This fine instrument ran me about 400$.

Is 3D printing tabletop miniatures for painting worth it?

As a miniature painter, I have no regret with going this route with 3D printers. Resin 3D printers are amazing machines. Whether you’re 3D printing display pieces, models for your next RPG DnD adventure, or Warhammer 40k wargaming table, 3D printers are are a great tool in any hobbyist’s arsenal.

Here are 3 examples of the best resin 3D printers for printing miniatures and gaming models:

How economical is resin 3D printing miniatures, really?

Excluding the cost of a 3D printer, a high quality 75mm 3D print costs about $12 (e.g., $10 for the 3D printable file, and 2$ for the resin).

So, in general, I can make as many mistakes painting a large of small scaled miniatures, because the cost to trash it is worth it for “the learning experience”.

Of course, it’s not as simple as that, because I use electrical power to run the printer. Add to that the disposable materials to clean prints, etc., paper towels, alcohol to wash off the uncured resin, and other perishables.

But, if you think about it, the value in 3D printing miniatures isn’t in pure monetary terms. The value comes from “learning” and “growing”. For me, that means not being afraid to try new things with my painting approach on the mini. I’m not destroying a hugely expensive model I purchased.

So, what is the real reason I think 3D printing is worth it?

This brings me to my next point.

Why 3D print miniatures?

Often when painting, I am stuck in the mindset of “not ruining” a model.

This is largely because I feel my mini painting has to fit a certain army color scheme or maybe because I know that I spent 45-70$ on the sculpt. Wanting the model to look the best with the least chance of failure, I often end up painting safely, with maybe a little experimentation happening on a smaller element of the model.

The great thing about 3D printing is that it has alleviated this fear of failure while painting a miniature.

The physical cost to print a model is less than $2 of resin. The largest cost is only the initial purchase of the 3D printer and the cost of the 3D printable file (unless you find what you want for free in an open-source database like Thingiverse).

The point here is that I have more than a single chance to paint a 60$ display model. Now, I can do have multiple chances for the same or less cost to get my painted miniatures just the way I want it.

This mentality has helped me shift my focus from high quality tabletop to finally experimenting with all the techniques that a generic “color scheme” has prevented:

  • Finding interesting color compositions
  • Experimenting with different skin tones
  • Painting busts
  • Playing with texturing
  • Finding my favorite hue of each color
  • Understanding value and saturation
  • Experimenting with OSL
  • Trying some freehand

With no fear of “ruining” a model, and excluding the middle-man of production through 3D printing, I am free to find exactly the model that I want to paint.

And, importantly, I can use that 3D model to practice exactly what I want!

Essentially, my canvas has become infinite and now I am free to practice miniature painting techniques.

And, this is what I did with the following model: the “Aliencrab”.

3D printing the “Aliencrab” model

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This particular model comes from the “Lord of the Print” Patreon.

For those that don’t know, Patreon is a subscription to particular artists who you want to support. In return for your financial support (through the subscription), you may receive rewards as a thank you. In this case, the “Lord of the Print” Patreon is a group of 3 digital artists for 2D and 3D artwork.

The cost for entry and support of the Patreon artists is between $5-10 per month. In this case, you may be rewarded with 5 or more 3D models for printing.

In my opinion, the Lord of the Print Patreon artists create beautiful 3D sculpts with proportions and textures that do not pander to the Dungeon & Dragons (DnD) or Warhammer motif. Their work is unique.

Of course, admittedly, I am not married to any Patreon group. I tend to switch between 15 different Patreons, month to month (only paying for 2-3 at a time). I only buy-in if I see something that catches my eye for painting.

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In this article, I present something that I really wanted to paint: the Aliencrab, a humanoid sculpt with it’s elongated, striated musculature and slim proportions.

What makes a sculpt great for 3D printing and painting?

Other than pure aesthetics, here is what makes a model great for 3D printing and painting: detail, proportions, and a sense for the 3D printing technology.

Will it look good coming off my 3D printer?

Looking at the Aliencrab, I was certain it would be wonderful 3D printed model.

And, if I’m being perfectly clear, I was compelled by the model set because each one seemed to tell a unique story in a unique setting.

Thedynamism and musculatureof each model was so well placed, so real, that even without clothing or armor, I would have the opportunity to paint with different techniques. For example, I could paint NMM on smooth, carapace like surfaces, or even object source lighting (OSL).


Finally, all the models in this set exuded so much character that I just had to paint them.

3D printing the Aliencrab

Throughout the years, my mother always asked me: “why do you paint such ugly monsters?”

(Of course, she means anything that isn’t your generic “human”)

In this case, my response is that the model already feels alive to me. Thanks to the sculptor, the Aliencrab is just begging for paint.

With a 3″ (or 7.6cm) base diameter, the 3D model was about 10 inches tall. This was too big to fit in my 3D printer.

So, to make it fit in my 3D printer, I scaled the file to 66% of the original size so I could print it in one piece.

Everything printed out perfectly, except the toes, because I forgot to put scaffolding supports under them. To compensate, I sculpted the front toes myself, but you’ll notice a few missing in the back. Oh well, this is why 3D printing is great for me. I can mess up without worrying too much!

The final resin 3D print was hollow with a base diameter of close to 50mm (as a result of scaling). The total cost for the most was about $2.50 worth of resin.

I cleaned the model and used ultra-violet (UV) light to cure the resin.

You can see more details about how to work with resin 3D prints here.

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Preparing the 3D printed model for paint

I started with a priming job with Badger Stynylrez surface primer.

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I started with a zenithal priming application using Stynylrez primer. I started with a black colored primer. This was followed by an airbrush application of Daler Rowney white ink.

Aside from showing me the general details of the model, priming like this helps with 3D prints because resin is often semi-transparent. Without primer, finer details are hard to visualize with the naked eye.

Here are 4 painting goals for this 3D printed resin miniature

There were four things I wanted to achieve with the paintjob of this 3D printed model:

  1. Pale yellow-tinted skin
  2. High contrast elements somewhere on the skin using a blue-turquoise color
  3. Harmonious or balanced color composition
  4. Eye catching, but not overpowering OSL in the slits on his head

These were the general ideas that kept bouncing around in my head while I started.

Here’s how I painted the resin 3D printed “Aliencrab” (10 key steps)

1. Basecoating the first color

I am generally impatient in early basecoating steps, but also refuse to use my airbrush for anything other than priming. Thus, I used a regular brush to apply the first basecoat.

I wanted yellow for the base skin tone, but not a vibrant saturated yellow, so I started with a base of Iraqi Sand (VMC)+ Ivory (VMC),+and Sepia ink (VGC).

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There is no real recipe other than “I liked how it looked, and it fit what I had in my mind.”

I often like to add inks to my regular paint colors if they are a similar hue, as inks reduce the viscosity of the mix, without diluting the coverage. Adding water or other transparent thinning mediums make it hard to maintain good paint coverage.

2. Apply a wash over the entire model


Following the yellowish basecoat, I washed over the whole model with a dark purple made with Black (VMC) + Hexed Lichen (VMC) + Piggy Back Purple ink (P3) + water.

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The idea was that I could establish some dark contrasting shadows if I did it carefully to keep things from drying on flat surfaces. But, I was impatient and ended up with lots of tide marks over the organic raised surfaces.

Oh, well.

Lesson for next time: let your washes dry properly. Don’t overwork a still-wet surface.

3. Compose color surfaces (decide where main colors will go)

Here’s where improvising often helps you.

As Bob Ross would say, “there are no mistakes, only happy accidents”.

In an attempt to clean up the previous step, I carefully applied a desaturated purple shade: Hexed lichen (VGC) + Sombre Grey (VGC)+ a hint of black.

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This was painted into areas in which the volumes of the model itself would cast a shadow: the undersides of muscles, under the head, in the crotch, behind legs etc.).

As an intermediate step here, the purple tide marks and any mistakes were cleaned up with the same “yellow” base coat color (see basecoating step #1).

Here, I also took the bold choice of deciding where my blue-turquoise skin variation would go: on the extremities and head. 

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This served a few different compositional purposes: The limbs would be darker which adds value contrast with the lighter skin, the limbs and head frame the model itself, adding a focal point, and the dark blue hue contrasts fairly well temperature-wise with the yellow of the skin, although it is still a cooler yellow.

4. Continue adding color depth

With my composition concept in-mind, I blocked in more blue tones to contrast with the warm yellow tone of the skin.

I used Games Workshop (GW) Incubi Darkness (wonderful color) + P3 Cygnar blue base + a bit of black.

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Finally, I went to some of those recessed areas like the neck webbing, the groin webbing, and really anywhere where I think skin would be thin or irritated.

I painted a nice thin glaze of a warm color: Murderous magenta (P3) + Glaze medium (VGC).

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This served to give the skin visual interest and break up the monochromatic nature of this dude’s skin, and it helped to cover up some more of my impatient initial sins with the purple wash.

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At this point, the model seems to be in the “ass” stage of painting.

No element is done, and it still looks like a very rough sketch. Additionally, with a fairly continuous design, in general, the model had no hard edges to slap distinct black lines or edge highlights on.

Although the skin had some nice value variation (dark to lights) and hue variation (reds purples and yellows), it still seemed a bit boring because the reds and purples were mainly shading the skin, rather than adding to the visual interest of the skin itself.

5. Refine structural elements on the model

So the next goal is to begin to refine various elements: The limbs and how the transition happens to the dark color, adding variation to surface, and general cleanliness.

I proceeded to do exactly that. I tightened up lines with some tones similar to my base yellow colors, and put some more careful magenta glazes here and there.

Looking at the model, it seemed like another color was necessary on the skin. Since it was beginning to look sickly, I picked a nice desaturated green (P3 Gnarls Green).

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I mixed some glaze medium with this green and glazed it over mid tone between highlight and base tone transitions.

Additionally I mixed a few drops of this green into my basetone mixture, added some ivory to highlight, and generally matched values of my basetone and highlights (same brightness of color), and applied it in appropriate places to highlight and cover.

This added some visual interest and helped tie some of the skin elements together.

The idea here is that the skin had subtly shifting hues across the surface, and although one is greener and the other more yellow, if you were to look at it in black and white, ideally the transition would be identical for both colors.

The cycle of green glaze-> magenta glaze-> yellow base+ highlights-> yellow green base + highlights continued until I was mostly satisfied and, frankly, sick of looking at the model for the day (sometimes it’s like that haha).

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6. Refine interesting elements, e.g., texturing

I have heavily worked on the yellowish skin, but haven’t really considered the darker limbs.

Because the model is generally one texture, I wanted to pivot to make the dark part of the skin look like it wasn’t just a different color of skin. I went bold, made a “hard” line between the dark and light areas and painted some little bubbles coming from his limbs into his main body area, as if whatever was causing his limbs to be dark could move on its own.

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I even painted a test bubble to see if it “could” look like a bubble if I did good enough specifying it’s lighting (circled area in the photo above).

Additionally, in the photo, you can see all of the color variations in surface hue. While you could zoom in and see many different colors, the overall hue is pale yellow, and hopefully these other colors only served to enhance the visual interest of the otherwise uniform skin color.

Note that nothing is particularly “smooth”. Most of the paint feels more painterly or more sketchy.

There are a few reasons for that. The first is that I am painting for fun. This is not a competition piece and I don’t feel the need to spend 400 hours creating painstakingly smooth blends. The more pragmatic reason is that I keep a poor list of colors that I use because most are mixed in situ (or directly on the surface I’m painting).

Although I do use a wet pallet, things still dry. Attempting to recreate a specifically hued midtone will be a slightly, but noticeably different color. To that extent, when something looks “good enough”, I am reluctant to go back and mess with it, especially if the hue is just right.

7. Focus on the extremities (head, hands and feet)

At this point I am fairly satisfied with the skin color and now turn to focus on the extremities and the head.

The idea of the head is a purplish glow emanating from those 3 cracks in his head.

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I know from experience that pure purple looks really bad if you just add white to lighten it.

So, I mixed Hexed lichen (VGC) + Murderous Magenta (P3) as my “purple” since it was a bit warmer. To brighten this warm-purplish mixture, I added a little white paint. I used this as a highlight for the purple elements on the model, focusing on the hands, feet, and head.

8. Paint object source lighting (OSL)

To create the object source lighting (OSL) glowy effect, I have to paint a little more carefully.

Often with OSL, I am tempted to just glaze in the effect over white for the cast light, but sometimes that looks silly.

Here’s what I did to paint the OSL on the model:

  • Start with a base of dark turquoise around the slit on the model’s head
  • Transition toward the inside of the slit from the dark turquoise to…
    • dark purple
    • purple
    • magenta + purple
    • magenta + purple + white

The “dark turquoise” starts on the areas farthest from the slits on the head, and the “magenta + purple + white” located toward the areas closest to the glowing slits.

With this gradient, I hoped to achieve a glow from inside the model, rather than just cast across the surface.

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 I ended up loving how this looked, so I decided that the limbs would look cool if they also had the same type of transition from dark turquoise to purple+magenta.

Because I didn’t want it to look like everything was glowing, distracting from the bust area, I did not push the value of the purple on the extremities quite as high as the head. Once again, I feel like the symmetric placement of similar tones on the head and 4 limbs helps to frame the model’s focal point.

9. Painting freehand bubbles

The last few things to attend: tidying up the head, painting the base, and those dang bubbles.

For these dang bubbles, I pulled out my rarely-used W&N Series 7 size #000 brush. In general, it’s a pain to use because it has such a small belly, paint dries so fast. But, dang if it can’t make tiny lines!

My normal workhorse brush is the Winsor & Newton Series 7 size 1, but it’s a bit old. Although it still holds a tip, it isn’t quite as sharp as it used to be.

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I approached the painting the bubbles similarly to I would gems: start with the darkest color on the top of the shape, highlight downward with crescent shapes, then finish with a final highlight of a small circle on the top, and a thin crescent on the bottom. Here’s a good site for how to paint gems.

In general it looked good, and so with my regular brush I applied the same colors to the dark turquoise areas on the arms with pretty boring highlights: I was stretched pretty thin as far as this project went, and was getting more and more worried about ruining it.

The bubbles looked okay, but I think my fear of using a pure white highlight left something to be desired in the “visual interest” department.

Time for a confession too…. I really wanted the bubbles to look like they were floating up from the limbs….like a lava lamp.

The effect, if executed properly, would result in his arms looking like they were filled with turbulent liquid and have the appropriate highlights. This effect is only partially executed because I didn’t know exactly what I was going to do, and originally had a transition from the yellow of the skin to the dark of the limbs via a gradient, which made it hard to establish a stark transition from the color on the hands to the color on the arms.

So, on that note, if you see some weird stuff where the turquoise meets the yellow anywhere, it’s because I didn’t commit hard enough.

Sorry y’all. 

10. Final touches

The final steps to complete include reinforcing those turquoise highlights (with a white + base color, aka, mostly white), general cleanup, and painting the base.

The first two don’t really need explanation.

Instead, I will describe my relationship with basing miniatures: it sucks.

I rarely think far enough ahead to think of an appropriate base. For this one I considered making it look like the base was some smoky nonsense with a purple glow (similar to the head) within the center/point where it touches the ground, but I didn’t want to distract from the model.

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My Painting Brain Trust™, suggested that I do a neutral gray for the smoky bits with some green glazes to contrast with the purple. I liked the idea, and, using my favorite paintbrush, the sponge brush, went about that.

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Finally, I smacked everywhere else on the base with “rust” colored pigment (probably a compositional mistake), and ta-da, I call it done.

Luckily for me, my wife has an excellent Nikon and it happened to be a perfectly overcast day for photos. Snapped some excellent (if I say so myself) photos and I called it a wrap.

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3D printing for miniatures is considered by many to be death for Games Workshop. But is it really so? What difference will this “new” technology make in our hobby? Probably still little, perhaps none and it will be the same in the future if technology evolves at much higher levels than at present. It is also true that prices have dropped significantly in the face of increased quality. Today with about € 300 we can take home a resin printer capable of producing good quality miniatures, but the problem is not in costs, but in convenience.

Why doesn’t 3D printing for miniatures bother Games Workshop?

Games Workshop actually tends to want to sell you two types of units: big models and lots of infantry. He imagines that he is an avid collector and player of Warhammer 40,000. You just did a good search on the internet, found the best 3D printer for miniautures, bought it, and now you’re super happy because you’ll never buy miniatures again! Yeeee! But is it really so? NO! And I’ll explain why it isn’t: to play Warhammer 40,000 you need a lot of infantry units that with the various starter sets (coincidentally among the best-selling boxes), bargains, used, it will never be worth printing at home. in terms of time and cost. What a Warhammer player wants is to have many units available and possibly different. With a resin 3D printer it would still take a week before you have 50 miniatures ready to use.

“But I print the bigger units”! Sure, you could, but the more time passes, the more complex and sophisticated GW produces. The time it would take to 3D model any Mortarion (excluding piracy, of course) and the cost and printing time I don’t think would be worth it for just one unit.

So these are the reasons why, at least for the moment, it is not worth using 3D printing for miniatures from Games Workshop.

So what miniatures can I make with 3D printing?

A 3D printer is still a truly innovative tool that opens up an infinite world of possibilities, even for the most avid Warhammer players. The fairest use you can make of it is for customization. In fact, the 3D printer should not be thought of as a tool that can replace the purchase of miniatures, but as an object capable of improving their visual and game rendering. New weapons, new bases, new shoulder straps and even props! This is the use you can make of it and why it is worth buying a 3D printer and learning how to use it.

It is quite another matter if you are not an avid wargame player but simply a fan of painting and models. Here then your desire to create level rises! In fact, with a 3D printer you can print any model you can think of to paint, busts, sculptures and models of various sizes. We recently saw it with the video on the ogre chef of Terre Ostili what it means to paint a miniature printed in 3D. And the beauty is that that model is the work of an Italian, Andrea Tarabella, aka Artisan Guild. Once you have purchased the printer, simply subscribe to his Patreon, or that of any other artist, and download the 3D models to create the miniatures you prefer. 3D printing is therefore also ideal for RPG and Dungeons’ n Dragons players!

Which 3D printers for miniatures to buy?

Let’s start with another question first: what types of 3D printers are there? Essentially they can be divided into two categories but, as we will see later, there are also sub-categories. It is important to understand the differences in order to understand their strengths and weaknesses. Depending on what you intend to do, you may have to choose the printer that best suits the type of result you want to achieve.

Stampanti FDM

FDM printers are filament printers. The acronym FDM stands for Fused Deposition Modeling. These are printers that work in layers, melting a filament of thermoplastic material (i.e. plastic which, if heated, can act as a liquid and return to its previous state when cooled) which is deposited on a surface. The realization of the object therefore takes place from bottom to top. The quality of these prints is based on several factors: the type of plastic used, the size of the nozzle or needle, the minimum layer height you can get. Generally the print quality is much lower compared to the resin ones, which we will see shortly, but you can make much larger and “hard” models.

Resin printers

Resin printers use a completely different technology. Instead of a spool of plastic wire, a liquid resin bath is created. Under the tray with the resin there is a light plane with an ultraviolet light laser which, layer by layer, hardens the resin. Compared to FDM, however, there are some considerations to be made: the resin processing gives off unpleasant odors and as if that were not enough, it is an irritating product. It must therefore be handled with care, using gloves and not wasting it. It absolutely cannot be thrown into the sinks! All this also translates into the fact that to use these printers, a laboratory, or in any case a dedicated room, is recommended. They can’t be in the living room.

Resin printers can be divided into two types:

StereoLithography Apparatus (SLA)

The StereoLithography Apparatus (SLA) technology uses UV lasers focused on particular points that cause the resin to harden. All this is clearly visible during processing because, unlike FDM printers where the print head moves, with resin printers the printing base itself is raised every time the light hardens one layer and passes to the next. What you will see with resin printers is that your model will come out upside down from the tray full of liquid resin!

Digital Light Processing (DLP)

Digital Light Processing (DLP) is identical in operation, except that instead of UV lasers, it uses a UV projection screen or plate. Printing is always done in layers, however with SLA printers where the laser traces the surface of each layer, the DLP printer will actually print an entire layer at the same time. This makes them faster than SLA printers. But the quality of your print is limited by the resolution of the panel, unlike the ultrafine beam of a laser.

The most obvious impact on quality is with the individual layers of the model. If these are too thick, you will see ridges on the individual layers that are printed. These are quite noticeable on FDM printers and will be visible even after a template has been prepared. There are ways to smooth them such as manual sanding, which takes forever and the risk of ruining the print, or using acetone steam which smooths the entire model, including any intentionally sharpened edges. For this reason, with FDMs and acetone vapor, modeling is essential in order to obtain the desired result.

With resin printers, these ridges that form at each layer are almost non-existent, but still there are. At least until a printer with a very high resolution screen arrives.

Which miniature 3D printer to buy?

Let’s make a small premise first: I’ve never printed a miniature in 3D, I’ve never put my hand on a 3D printer. The topic, however, interests me a lot and I do not rule out that sooner or later I can buy one, indeed! For this, I have read many articles about it and what I report here and what you have read so far, is a bit of a summary of what I have read and learned from the web, from various forums and threads.

That said, what I’ve learned is that for miniature printing, the most logical choice falls on DLP resin 3D printers, which are also often referred to as LCD SLA printers. This is because for miniatures as small as we like them, other technologies would not guarantee the right level of detail. Therefore, in the face of the problems we have talked about, this seems to be the best solution for those who want to print miniatures in 3D.

Getting CRISPY Resin Prints for Miniatures

If you enjoy printing 3D miniatures, then you’ll already know that there are a few things you need to consider when looking for the best printer: cost and quality.

There’s more to printing off a miniature than just popping the material in and waiting for your perfect little figure to come out.

But even if you’re just getting started printing your very own 3D miniatures, the good news is that there are plenty of printer choices.

Whether you are looking for prototypes for a design model, role-playing games, tabletop games, or video gaming miniatures for concept art, there are some better printers for miniatures. 

List of the Top 5 Best 3D Printers for Miniature Printing

However, before we get too far along in our assessment of the best 3D printer for miniatures, let’s begin with some basics of printing technology.

For starters, there are two types of 3D printers available to print off your miniatures:

  • Filament-based printers, also known as FFF or FDM 3D printers
  • Resin-based, or SLA 3D printers

Both options come with their own benefits and drawbacks, which you’ll want to take into account before you get started printing.

These are the best 3D printers for miniatures:

AnyCubic Photon S – Best 3D Printer for Miniatures (Overall)

Our favourite 3D printer for miniatures is the AnyCubic Photon printer. This resin-based unit can print your favorite miniatures with incredible quality. The unit is more detailed than almost any other 3D printer on the market and stays within a reasonable price range.

The Photon offers a maximum layer resolution that checks in at 25 microns, which is the highest of any of the products on our list.

The Photon is a top of the line SLA 3D printer that comes with a UV LED light source. Your miniatures will print from top to bottom. You’ll notice this is the opposite direction of the bottom to a top method that FDM printers use.

If you’re in the market for a 3D printer, you can’t go wrong with the Photon, which will create very detailed and smooth products no matter how complex they are.

Not much assembly is required with this printer. Right out of the box, it’s easy to set up and get going. The unit comes with a solid frame, along with a touchscreen interface that lets you see a preview of your miniature before it prints.

The unit provides an easy process for levelling the bed and ships with a slicer that users find simple and user-friendly. When it comes to creating complicated and detailed miniatures, the Photon is one of the best printers on the market for getting the job done.

Pros of the AnyCubic Photon S

  • Simple and easy to set up
  • Print offline
  • Comes completely assembled
  • Intuitive touchscreen user interface
  • Easy to maintain
  • Print quality provides amazing detail

Cons of the AnyCubic Photon S

  • The material can be on the expensive size
  • Smaller print size than other 3D printers

Special Discount Deal Alert: The Anycubic Photon is on sale for a RECORD around $174 here (normally $379). That’s $200 off the list price and the steepest discount we have seen ALL YEAR!

Further Reading:

Wanhao Duplicator 7 – Best for Larger Print Jobs

Wanhao 3D printers are one of the more popular filament-based brands in the market. They offer a wide variety of devices, so you’re sure to find something that works for you. For the purpose of our list, we’re going with the Duplicator 7 as the best 3D printer for miniatures.

This 3D printer is a desktop offering specifically designed for users who want only the best when it comes to layer resolution. Similar to the AnyCubic Photon, the Duplicator 7 is an LCD SLA 3D printer that comes with a UV LED light source.

While these two printers have much in common, they also have a few differences. For starters, the Duplicator 7 provides users with larger printing size. However, Duplicator 7 does not have the resolution capabilities that the Photon offers.

The Duplicator 7 offers plenty of features, including an excellent cooling system, vents that allow for increased airflow, and a solid frame. Wanhao also put the power button on the back of the machine, so you won’t accidentally bump into it in the middle of a 3D print job.

So if you really like the Photon, but need something that offers more build volume, take a look at the Duplicator 7. It’s straightforward and easy to use and can 3D print very detailed 3D miniatures.

It’s not quite as easy as the Photon, but definitely worth the money if you don’t need something as advanced.

Wanhao WD7V15 Duplicator 7 V.1.5 | Amazon
Wanhao WD7V15 Duplicator 7 V.1.5 | Amazon

Primary attributes of the technology UV resin, DLP 3D printer Max Printing speed 30mm/hour Max Printable area 120*68*200mm.

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Pros of the Wanhao Duplicator 7

  • Large base
  • Open material platform
  • High detail printing
  • Larger printing size than AnyCubic Photon
  • Sturdy and stable frame

Cons of the Wanhao Duplicator 7

  • Materials can be costly
  • Customer support isn’t very reliable
  • Build volume is limited

Further Reading:

Original Prusa MK3 – Best 3D Printer for Beginners

When it comes to value and convenience, it’s tough to beat the Original Prusa MK3 3D printer. This FDM printer comes loaded with plenty of features, including automated print bed levelling, which is something a lot of beginners need.

The MK3 is easy to assemble. However, you might be waiting a while for it to arrive as it ships out of the Czech Republic. Many who use the MK3 would argue that it’s worth the wait given the quality and value the product provides.

This medium-sized, open-sourced 3D printer offers an open structure, which makes it great for both hobbyists and professionals.

The MK3 has a solid frame that includes a spool holder mounted on top, along with an LCD controller, which comes with a magnetic heated print bed that you can remove if necessary.

Additionally, the MK3 boasts a high-quality mainboard that detects shifted layers and runs quietly while printing. The unit also has a filament sensor that can determine if a jam occurs and automatically pauses the current printing job.

With the right nozzle and the appropriate settings, anyone using the MK3 3D printer will get high-quality, clean, and detailed miniatures. The unit has the ability to print large models as well, so you don’t have to choose between one or the other.

Even though this 3D printer doesn’t compare with the AnyCubic Photon, it’s still an excellent option. It’s versatile and capable of printing with various materials right out of the box. Plus, you’ll get excellent value since you can use it for more than printing miniatures.

If you’re just getting started in the world of 3D printing and want a stable, high-quality 3D printer that prints miniatures in high-resolution, the MK3 will get the job done. It comes loaded with plenty of features perfect for beginners, so you won’t feel overwhelmed.

The Original PRUSA I3 MK3S+ | Prusa3D
The Original PRUSA I3 MK3S+ | Prusa3D

Basic features magnetic PEI Spring steel sheet EINSY RAMBo Base plate Silent Trinamic drivers with 256 microstepping Maximum travel speed: 7.874 in per second. The Original Prusa i3 MK3S+ is the latest version of their award-winning 3D printers.

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Pros of the Original Prusa MK3

  • Great for beginners
  • Automated bed leveling platform
  • Excellent 3D print quality
  • Built-in filament types sensors
  • Quiet printing process
  • Panic feature pauses print job if necessary
  • Magnetic build platform can be removed

Cons of the Original Prusa MK3

  • No enclosure provided
  • Translucent materials create issues with filament types sensor

Further Reading:

Creality Ender 3 – Best open-source 3D printer

The Creality Ender 3, in our opinion, is the top open-source 3D printer for creating miniatures. 

This 3D printer is available at a really attractive price; however, that doesn’t mean it isn’t incredibly powerful. 

The Ender 3 has a good build volume of 220 x 220 x 250mm, while the BuildTak-like heated build plate removes some of the frustrations you get with other budget 3D printers. This includes a higher quality finish to your models, less chance of air bubbles, and you can remove your miniatures from the 3D printer much easier too.

Creality has made this 3D printer completely open-source which leads to a lot of customizable possibilities. Upgrading and adding on different parts to enhance the functionality of the Ender 3 is a really nice feature.

The assembly is straightforward with the Ender 3, and you won’t need to spend hours and hours getting this printer ready to go.

A potential downside is that the build plate tends to wobble, although we found placing something under the corner to stabilize it solved the issue.

Overall, the Ender 3 is our top pick for an open-source printer to create miniatures, and the fact it is available at a bargain price with high-quality results is even better.

Reliable Entry Level

We Prefer the Ender 3 Pro


  • Open-source 3D printer, so ideal for upgrading and customizing
  • It has a decent build volume for printing miniatures
  • BuildTak-like heated build plate creates great prints
  • Assembly is easy and straightforward, especially for beginners


  • Build plate can wobble, which can lead to stability issues
  • You need to calibrate this 3D printer manually

Further Reading

Monoprice MP 10 – Best 3D Printer on a Budget

Reliable Budget Pick

Monoprice MP10
Monoprice MP10

The Monoprice MP10, has an auto-levelling heated print bed and is a GREAT option if you want to work with multiple miniatute filaments on a budget.

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3D printers aren’t cheap, which is why it’s important to have an option you can afford on a budget. If that’s the case for you, check out the Monoprice MP10.

This company is known for its budget printers, all of which you can find for a lot less than other printers on this list.

With its open-frame 3D printer, the Maker Select is an excellent choice if you prefer the FDM route (fused deposition modeling). The unit comes with a stable and strong aluminium frame and includes a separate controller box for the device.

The Maker Select comes equipped with an open-material system, heated printer bed, and a build-volume that’s perfect for creating your favourite miniatures. You can connect the unit through USB or print via an SD card if you prefer.

Right out of the box, the printer is easy to set up. It comes partially assembled, so you don’t have to assemble the whole thing yourself. All you need to do is make sure the frames are securely in place, and you’re ready to start printing.

Included with the printer are a few 3D model samples, along with some free filament. This gives you the opportunity to start printing once you have everything set up.

As far as print quality is concerned, the Maker MP10 runs about the middle of the road. It’s not going to blow you away, but it’s not horrible either. While the unit can print large miniatures very well, it does have trouble with smaller miniatures, like those in the 28-millimetre range.

Overall, the 3D printer is reliable and offers decent quality, especially considering that it’s one of the best you can get on a budget. If you fall into that category, the MP10 is a solid option.

Pros of the Monoprice Maker Select

  • Decent print size (large build plate)
  • Good print quality
  • Simple to set up
  • Heated bed (print bed)
  • Sturdy frame

Cons of the Monoprice Maker Select

  • May need upgrades out of the box
  • Bed levelling is a manual process
  • Not as good printing smaller miniatures

Further Reading:

FlashForge Creator Pro– Most Versatile 3D Printer

The FlashForge Creator Pro is a dual extruder 3D printer, which makes it one of the more versatile options on our list. For starters, the unit provides new ways for users to print with the filament. This includes printing in dual colours without pausing the current print job.

It’s more stable and durable than many other open-frame 3D printers since it is built with a robust and sturdy metal frame. It also offers an LCD controller, which allows you to print via an SD card, a heated print bed, and a pair of back-mounted spool holders.

You’ll also notice that you can remove the acrylic covers, which is handy when you need to perform any type of maintenance on the FlashForge printer.

Since this unit comes assembled in the box, setting up the Creator Pro is a very straightforward process. You’ll be up and printing in a matter of hours, however, it might make sense to change the stock settings for better results.

Once you have everything set up the way you want it, the Creator Pro is an absolute beast. It can print for days with little to no maintenance required on your part. Plus, the unit can print with either ABS or PLA without experiencing any additional problems.

The biggest feature the Creator Pro has to offer is its ability to use water-soluble support materials. As a result, the unit can create more challenging miniatures that don’t skimp on the details.

Additionally, the Creator Pro can print with a wide variety of materials, so you’re not limited to just one type. A full enclosure allows the printer to maintain a stable temperature within the printing area, which is a must-have when using certain types of materials.

Plus, the printer can use filaments that aren’t specific to FlashForge. However, bear in mind that you may need to create your own spool holders as the ones that come with the Creator Pro are designed specifically for the printer.

Overall, the Creator Pro is reliable and creates quality miniatures. It’s versatile and offers many features that align with some of the best printers on the market. If you need something that does a little bit of everything, consider the Creator Pro 3D printer.

Pros of the Creator Pro

  • Includes dual extruder option
  • The metal frame is enclosed
  • Excellent support
  • Dual colour printing option
  • Supports third-party filaments
  • Solid print quality
  • Larger build plate

Cons of the Creator Pro

  • Built-in software is limited
  • Bed levelling requires manual adjustments
  • Very heavy

Further Reading:


Photon S

Duplicator 7


Maker MP10

Creator Pro

Ender 3


Resin 3D Printer

Resin 3D Printer






25 microns

35 microns

50 microns

100 microns

100 microns

100-400 microns




1.75 mm

1,75 mm

1.75 mm

1.75 mm


4.5×2.6×6.1 inches

4.7×2.7×7.9 inches

9.8×8.3×8.x inches

7.9×7.9×7.1 inches

8.9× inches

8.7″ x 8.7″ x 9.8″





USB/ SD Card

SD Card/ USB

SD Card/ USB


14.6 pounds

26.5 pounds

14 pounds

20 pounds

32.7 pounds

16.5 pounds

FDM or SLA 3D Printer?

FDM 3D printers make use of an extruder with a hot-end, which allows for melting the filament. Once the filament is melted, it’s then deposited onto the build platform (build plate). This is what creates the 3D model. However, FDM printers do so a single layer at a time.

On the plus side, FDMs are easier to use and come with lower operating costs and a larger build volume than their counterpart SLA printers.

With an SLA 3D printer, you’ll notice that the post-print process is a little messier than it is with an FDM option. Keep in mind, though, that FDM printers don’t offer the overall quality that an SLA printer offers.

With that in mind, which 3D printer should you choose when it comes to printing 3D miniatures? We’re glad you asked.

We did the leg work and came up with a list of the best 3d printers for miniatures..

Where to Buy a 3D Printer

There are plenty of places you can use when you’re ready to buy your 3D printer. However, keep in mind that the type of 3D printer you want may dictate where it’s available.

Like nearly anything else, you can usually find the 3D printer you want on Amazon. If it’s not available there, you may also try other retailers like

NOTE: You can order the Anycubic Photon S – our top pick for miniatures – directly via the Anycubic site here.

If you can’t find the printer you want in any of those places, you can always try to contact the manufacturer directly.

Discount Alert: The Anycubic Photon is on sale for a RECORD around $174 here (normally $379). That’s $200 off the list price and the steepest discount we have seen ALL YEAR!


Question: How Much Does It Cost to Print a 3D Miniature?

Answer: There are several reasons to print your own 3D miniatures, one of which is cost. The average cost of printing an unpainted miniature typically falls in the $5-$ ten range.

Question: How Long Does it Take Print a 3D Miniature?

Answer: If you aren’t concerned with quality, you can print off a miniature object in roughly 10 minutes. However, a more complex, high-quality, and detailed object can take as little as a few hours or as much as a day to finish.

Take a look at the software on your 3D printer to get an idea of how long it will take for your miniature to complete.

Question: Which is Stronger? ABS or PLA?

Answer: While ABA has better properties when it comes to mechanics, it’s more difficult to use when 3D printing than PLA. For 3D printers, PLA is ideal if you’re focusing on aesthetics. On the other hand, ABD is ideal for strength, stability, and durability.

Something else to keep in mind is that ABS has been known to warp during printing.

Question: What Materials Are Used in 3D Printing?

Answer: There are many different types of materials that are used when 3D printing. We’ve mentioned PLA and ABS, however, some objects can be printed with titanium, wax, polycarbonate, epoxy resins, and even nylon.

Question: What to Look for in a 3D Printer?

Answer: If you’re new to 3D printing, take a moment and read the following tips to give you a good starting point when looking for a printer.

Question: What Do You Want to Print?

Answer: Before you purchase your 3D printer, know what you plan on printing. There is a significant difference between printing devices for your desk and printing large-scale production pieces.

Also, ask yourself how often you will print, how much time you want to invest in 3D printing, and where the 3D printed objects will be used.

Question: What Safety Features are Available?

Answer: Typically, a 3D printer that offers plenty of safety features is well-designed. For instance, a quality printer will probably cool the heated bed and nozzle when a printing job finishes. Additionally, some 3D printers will point the nozzle away from the object if you pause the job.

Question: Is Resolution Important to You?

Answer: You’ll notice in the table above that the resolution of 3D printers is measured in a unit called microns. Usually, FDM printers are on the lower end of the spectrum, offering around 25 microns.

By comparison, resin-based printers usually reside on the higher end, around 100 microns. With an FDM printer, you can quickly and easily adjust the resolution. For smoother printing, being able to adjust the belt tension and layer height is paramount.

Finally, remember that a resin 3D printer requires precision from their lasers. Keep an eye out for a resin printer that you can adjust based on the micron count detailed in the printer’s specifications.

Question: What High-End Features Does the Printer Offer?

Answer: It can be easy to forget about high-end features as you look for a 3D printer that suits your needs. However, if you want things like heated glass beds, touchscreen interfaces, and dual filament options, be sure to add them to your list of must-haves.

Question: What About End-User Support?

Answer: You’ve found the 3D printer you want to buy, and you’re ready to pull the trigger. Before you do, take a moment and look for the customer support offered by the manufacturer. It is just a social media logo, or are there actual ways to reach a real-live person?

3D printing is more complicated than traditional printing, so if something goes wrong or you aren’t sure how to proceed in a certain situation, having someone to speak with could make your 3D printing experience.

No Lack of Options for Printing 3D Miniatures

Whether you have plenty of experience with printing 3D miniatures or you’re just getting started, there are plenty of options on the market that can get you headed down the right path.

No matter your budget or comfort level, you’re sure to find a 3D printer that works for you. It’s up to you to determine which one makes the most sense for what you hope to accomplish, but when it comes to printing miniatures, it’s safe to say you have a wide variety of choices.

So make a list, check it twice, then head out and find the best 3D printer for creating your favorite miniatures.

Further Reading: How to Find the Best Silicone 3D Printers and How to Find the Best Multicolor 3D Printers.


Printed miniatures resin

You want to 3D print some miniatures and figurines but are stuck on the many choices of 3D printer resins out there. If you are in a similar position, this article is for you. I went out to do some research after printing some miniatures, and wanted that top quality.

It can be pretty difficult, especially for beginners to identify what to look out for when it comes to getting that best resin to stick with.

This article will have 7 resins that I think are top level resins for miniatures, backed by many users, reviews, and a long-standing reputation of great quality.

At the end of the article, I’ll give some extra advice about curing to improve your resin printing game.

Alright, let’s get straight into the list.

1. Anycubic Plant-Based Resin

Anycubic is probably one of the most known brands of resin in the 3D printing community, and one that I use all the time successfully. This one specifically though, is their Plant-Based Resin which comes with an ultra-low odor and high precision.

It is well-loved by thousands of users and is very easy to get the hang of.

It hasn’t become “Amazon’s Choice” for no reason.  Many reviews have been left to back up this resin’s reputation as one of the best for printing minis in terms of durability and flexibility.

One of the things that customers have loved about this resin is its low-odor. One person said that even though they were sensitive to resin smells, this Anycubic’s plant-based product didn’t even pose half an issue.

Moreover, it has been made using soybean oil which already means that it is an eco-friendly resin. The best part about this is your models will be pretty easy to clean, even with soap and water.

In addition, there are no Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), BPA, or harmful chemicals involved so you have that added confidence. It complies with EN 71-3:2013 safety standards.

To talk about print quality, this resin does nothing but impress. Users that have tried and tested the Anycubic Plant-Based Resin say that their prints come out great, and doesn’t require use of a respirator to deal with the fumes.

Another good property is having a slight flex in the models.

Crisp details, smooth textures, and prints of reasonable overall quality are the standard of this resin. Also, it’s rare that you experience problems with adhesion to the build plate.

There are a wide array of colors available for you to choose from. The flexibility here has made several happy as they like to experiment with multiple variations.

Lastly, the color pigmentation on this resin is truly dazzling. Grey is definitely the most popular color so check out the link below to get it yourself.

Check out the Anycubic Plant-Based Resin on Amazon today.

2. Elegoo Rapid 3D Printer Resin

Second in this list for 3D printing miniatures is the Rapid 3D printer resin which has been developed and manufactured by Elegoo – a giant in the 3D printing industry.

This resin has received plenty of love on Amazon and all for the right reasons. For starters, it’s very cheap (costs about $30 for a bottle of 1 kg) and packs great quality for its price point.

When looking through many of the reviews of this resin, many mention just how low-odor this resin is. Loads of other resins out there have a pretty harsh smell, so you can avoid that by picking the right resin.

I’ve heard stories of pungent smells filling up whole houses, so I’d definitely make sure you get a resin with low odor like the Elegoo Rapid Resin from Amazon.

Another upside is the variation in color of the resins which is appreciated by most customers. The details look stunning when things are done right.

One user says that he likes to print using the gray color because it helps print imperfections stand out more clearly, thus making it easier to fix them with post-processing. Pretty neat to be honest.

The packaging is done properly with Elegoo resins so you don’t have to worry about your bottle of resin arriving broken or leaking. This is one of the reasons why you’ll be quite satisfied with your purchase.

This Elegoo resin has many good points:

  • Low shrinkage for accurate dimensions
  • High precision and details in miniatures
  • Fast curing times for speed
  • Good stability and durability of models
  • Bright and stunning colors that users love
  • Low odor so it doesn’t disturb your environment
  • Compatible with most SLA/DLP 3D printers
  • Shelf life of 1 year so no rush to use it all quickly

Get yourself some bottles of high quality Elegoo Rapid Resin at a great price from Amazon today.

3. Longer 3D Printer Resin

Longer is an SLA 3D printer manufacturer that isn’t as popular as Anycubic or Elegoo, although they take pride in producing some top-level resin that several users enjoy on a daily basis.

Longer 3D printer resin is excellent for printing miniatures, especially gaming figures, as many customers say in reviews on Amazon.

Even though they make 3D printers and resin, you can definitely use their resin with any 405nm compatible resin 3D printer, which is most resin printersout there.

With this resin, you get accurate, precise prints with commendable stiffness and great impact resistance – something that’s sought after for miniatures and figures. You don’t want to 3D print miniatures with a resin that produces brittle, weak parts.

  • Low shrinkage
  • High precision
  • Fast curing
  • Easy to detach after finishing your prints
  • Leak-proof bottle
  • Great customer service

It’s easy to store, effortless to clean, produces prints with a fair amount of detail, and people have also commented on how easy it is to remove their models off the build plate when they’re finished.

Get the Longer Rapid Photopolymer Resin from Amazon for your resin 3D printer.

4. Siraya Tech Blu Resin

Moving up on the list we have the fantastic Siraya Tech Blu. This resin has received its fair share of praise and has become the number one choice for many for printing mins.

It is a popular 3D printing resin that blends flexibility, strength, and detail in equal measure. For that higher quality, you’ll have to also pay a higher price tag, being the priciest resin on this last at $50 for a 1kg bottle.

When it comes to printing your miniatures, you’ll see great results, though it has many more applications that you can use it for.

It’s a great option for printing functional parts because the resin has excellent mechanical properties and can withstand forces without breaking so easily like other resins.

If you’re looking for tough parts that are also flexible to some degree, then you don’t have to look any further.

Many resins have everyone thinking that they are too brittle, and those needing strong, durable parts should probably rely on FDM printing and filaments.

Siraya Tech’s Blu Resin has deliberately changed that thinking thanks to its terrific mechanical properties and great impact resistance, making it the perfect fit if someone wants to print miniatures and gaming figures.

Many users have figured out that you can actually mix this with a cheaper resin and still benefit from the added strength properties.

Printing this resin by itself can be quite difficult as some users experienced, so I would recommend getting yourself some Siraya Tech Blu Clear V2 and mixing it with the Anycubic Plant Based Resin for a great combination of resins.

Not only that but this resin’s sheer toughness is also for those wanting to print more than just decorative models. Instead, you can 3D print cases and other useful objects too.

You may think this comes at the cost of really long curing times, but one users mentioned how curing times aren’t bad at all.

With this purchase, you’re getting nothing but a great quality resin that you can fall in love with.

Siraya Tech Blu compares pretty closely to the Elegoo ABS-like resin, but Blu incorporates just a little more detail in your 3D printed miniatures. The battle is still very well fought.

Get yourself the high strength Siraya Tech Blu Resin from Amazon today.

5. eSun General Purpose 3D Printer Resin

If you’re looking for a high performing all-rounder resin that prints your miniatures effectively and at a high quality, the eSun General Purpose resin has you thoroughly covered.

Statistically, it has a Shore Hardness of 88D which means that there’s definitely low shrinkage. Moreover, the manufacturer claims that this is a non-toxic resin.

Customers have found it really fascinating that this resin is low odor as compared to its counterparts. Resin printing can get very smelly, but that can easily change if your printer is using this material to 3D print.

In terms of curing, the resin does an excellent job of making sure prints do not turn out low quality. People have said that this resin can cure under difficult circumstances as well.

Moreover, word has it that people who have tried printing Dungeons and Dragons miniatures – a world-wide famous collectible game, have been left in utter delight as the resin did a fantastic job.

Price wise, it is fairly expensive compared to other resins in this list, with a 500g bottle coming in over that $20 mark.

One user who is an avid user of this resin said the curing is very fast, consistent, and they haven’t had one single print fail so far.

Get yourself the eSun General Purpose Resin from Amazon for your Miniatures today.

6. Elegoo ABS-Like Resin

The 6th spot on this list belongs to another Elegoo product and this time, it’s the ABS-like resin that draws similar strength, flexibility, and resistance from the common FDM filament – ABS.

The ABS-like resin is a little on the pricier and would set you back for somewhere under $40 for a 1kg bottle. In addition to that, it’s got properties of a very luxurious resin such as ultra-fast curing and top-of-the-line stability.

This resin has a wide range of applications so printing your favourite miniatures and figures should be a breeze.

Most reviews listed on Amazon say that if someone is looking for only printing minis with the ABS-like resin, then they should look no further. Words like these from current customers say a lot about the resin quality.

As previously mentioned, it’s commonplace to find resins with a pungent and irritating smell. However, with the ABS-like resin, customers have approved of its odorless characteristic.

If you want to expand your printing capabilities to tougher parts, that is also possible with this resin.

The manufacturer was aware of how some parts require durability so they made sure that ABS-like resin was less brittle and possessed higher levels of durability.

One user said that he had tried many other resins as well, but none performed as well as the ABS-like resin right out of the box. A commendable quality, to say the least.

It’s pretty easy to clean up afterward too.

You can sometimes get a discount on Amazon if you buy multiple bottles, so check out whether that deal is still on by clicking below.

Pick up some Elegoo ABS-Like Rapid Resin from Amazon today.

7. Siraya Tech Fast Curing Resin

One of the highest-rated resins on Amazon with a solid 5-star rating as well, Siraya Tech Fast is a must-have for miniature enthusiasts out there.

A critically acclaimed thing about this resin that people have reviewed is the combination of affordability and immense quality. For 1kg of Siraya Tech Resin, you’re looking at a price around $30, which is very competitive.

A summary of what makes this a great resin:

  • Fast Printing
  • Not Brittle
  • Easy to Clean and Cure
  • Not Smelly
  • Great Surface Finish

A user said that he wanted to make miniatures that wouldn’t break easily if they happened to drop, especially if the model consisted of even weaker parts like swords, shields, arrows, or anything else.

This particular person tried Elegoo and Anycubic as well but to no avail sadly. Then, he stumbled on the resin in question and it was a blessing in disguise.

This goes on to show that the Siraya Tech Fast isn’t brittle, as the stereotype with resins goes by. Instead, it’s a strong material that can genuinely hold its ground.

Even more so, it produces great details and has become its users’ go-to material for printing miniatures. Comparatively, it’s quite thinner than the Siraya Tech Blu, which attributes to easier cleanup.

If you are wondering why this resin is called fast, it’s because this resin has very quick curing times. While most resins take around 60-70 seconds for first layer exposure, the Siraya Tech takes just about 40 seconds in comparison.

This may not seem much, but it does add up over time.

Try not to overcure this resin though, because it can lose it’s initial flexibility. 2 minutes under a good UV light can be enough, but do some testing just to make sure.

Get yourself some Siraya Tech Fast Curing Non-Brittle Resin from Amazon for your miniatures today.

How Long Do You Cure Resin Miniatures?

Miniatures require around 1-3 minutes of curing with a 40W UV curing station. It’s a good idea to move your resin 3D printed miniature on different sides so it can be cured all over. If you use a strong 60W UV light you can cure miniatures in just 1 minute, especially really small ones.

Typical curing times inside UV curing stations range from 5-6 minutes. If you feel upon touch that it’s not enough, hold it in for a few more minutes.

However, when it ultimately boils down to the curing part of post-processing resin miniatures, there are a few things you should know beforehand.

For starters, there is more than one way of curing your resin prints. To help explain what I mean, take a look at the following.

How Do You Cure Resin 3D Prints?

People use a UV curing station, a UV lamp with a turntable, an all-in-one machine or the natural sunlight to cure resin 3D prints. The most popular options are the UV lamp with the turntable and the all-in-one machines such as the Anycubic Wash & Cure.

Once your resin 3D prints have finished printing, you first have to wash the uncured resin around the print. Next you dry the print with either some paper towels or a fan then it’s ready for curing.

Simple direct a strong UV light at the print, preferably on a surface which rotates 360° for an even curing around your 3D prints. A UV lamp with a solar turntable is great for this, and doesn’t require a separate battery, using the UV light to power it.

The more professional solution is an all-in-one machine that washes and cures your 3D prints. These curing options will be explained with more detail below.

Curing Prints Using a UV Lamp

The method that I’m currently using for my resin prints is the UV lamp and solar turntable combination. It’s a cheap, effective and simple solution to curing your prints.

They both came as a package from Amazon for a great price compared to other solutions.

I can get 3D prints cured pretty quickly with the UV lamp, miniatures being only a few minutes under the 6W UV curing light.

You can find the UV Resin Curing Light with 360° Rotating Solar Turntable from Amazon for a great price.

Curing Prints Using a UV Station

If you want a curing solution that looks a little more professional and is easier to handle, you can get yourself an Elegoo Mercury Curing Machine.

Instead of needing two separate pieces, you can rest your miniature inside the UV station and it gets the curing job done nicely.

It consists of 14 UV LED lights through two LED strips, giving resin prints fast curing times.

The ideal things about a curing station are:

  • Provides a professional looking design
  • Contains an interior reflective sheet inside the cabinet
  • Has a light-driven turntable that absorbs the UV light
  • Intelligent time controls for your miniatures
  • The see-through window that lets you observe the process

You can adjust the time using the +/- buttons on the Elegoo Mercury, with a maximum time of 9 minutes and 30 seconds, but you won’t need anywhere near that for miniatures.

Curing Prints Using Sunlight

The prime source of UV rays that we all enjoy from time to time is sunlight. It turns out that you can even use direct sunlight to post-cure your resin miniatures easily and with equal effect.

It may, however, take considerably more time to do that. You can expect to require curing of around 5-15 minutes to achieve desirable results with your miniatures in direct sunlight.

If you notice your miniature is still pretty tacky and uncured, I’d let your miniature rest in the sun for a little longer. The UV rays from the sun aren’t necessarily strong just because it’s hot, since there are varying levels of UV emitted by the sun.

Using an All-in-One Machine

Last but not least, we have to look towards the real all-in-one solution that not only cures your miniature 3D prints, but assists you with the washing process also.

I think we can all appreciate something that doubles up in one machine to help finish the whole process for resin prints.

One of the best all-in-one devices is the Anycubic Wash & Cure Machine,  specifically built for cleaning and curing resin prints so you don’t have to do it manually. It’s a professional solution that does come with a fairly hefty price tag.

The way I see it though, you can expect to be resin 3D printing for many years to come, so the earlier you invest in an efficient and productive solution, the more value you can really get out of this machine.

Several thousand users have grown to love this machine for obvious reasons, but the most popular reason is just how easy it makes the resin printing process.

  • 2, 4, 6 minute timer for washing and curing.
  • It has a versatile washing mode for thorough cleaning
  • A mount where you can put the whole buildplate down for washing
  • A smart touchscreen with a sensitive touch  for easy operation
  • Effective curing with uniform UV light with 360° rotation –
  • Auto-pause function if cover is removed for safety
  • Polycarbonate top cover which blocks 99.95% UV light emissions

It has a very healthy Amazon rating of 4.7/5.0 at time of writing, with 95% being 4 stars or above.

You can easily wash & cure your miniatures (multiple at once!), making your life that much easier in the long run.

Get yourself the professional Anycubic Wash & Cure Machine from Amazon to assist in your resin printing adventures.

To read more about curing your resin prints in general, take a look at another one of our articles here for an in-depth guide.

What is the Best SLA Resin 3D Printer for Miniatures?

The best resin 3D printer for printing miniatures is the Anycubic Photon Mono SE. It has an incredible minimum layer height of 0.01mm or 10 microns, as well as a quick printing speed of 80mm/h. It uses MSLA technology so you can print multiple models in the same time as just one miniature.

There are many SLA/MSLA 3D printers out there, which makes it hard to gauge which one is the best for printing miniatures. After having a good look around at many 3D printers, I decided to go with the magnificent Anycubic Photon Mono SE.

AnycubicPhoton Mono SE

The Anycubic Photon Mono SE is one of many resin 3D printers in the popular Photon series, though it stands out in a few ways.

It’s a promising MSLA 3D printer that packs a serious punch in terms of quality and speed, especially if you’re looking to print minis with it.

Before we get into further details, let’s take a look at some of its technical specifications.


  • Technology: LCD-based SLA
  • Build Volume: 130 x 78 x 160mm
  • Printer Size: 220 x 200 x 400mm
  • Layer Height: 0.01mm or 10 microns
  • XY resolution: 0.051 mm (2560 x 1620 pixels)
  • Z-Axis Positioning Accuracy: 0.01 mm
  • Printing Speed: 80mm/h
  • Assembly: Fully-assembled
  • Bed Leveling: Semi-manual
  • Display: 3.5-inch Touchscreen
  • Connectivity: USB, WiFi
  • Third-party Materials: Compatible
  • Materials: 405 nm UV resin

Now, let’s see what features make it the 3D printer that it is today.

Amazing Speed

The Anycubic Photon Mono SE can reach speed up to 80mm/h which is a huge jump from the Photon Mono, clocking in at 50mm/h.

How it manages to do this is thanks to its 6″ monochrome LCD display that paves the way for more light to pass through, thus upscaling the exposure time critically.

This allows the Mono SE to print almost 2-3 times faster than the original Photon. This is possible due to the monochrome display, where apart from speed, it also manages to increase the average lifespan of this printer.

High-Quality Resolution

The Photon Mono SE featuring a high-res monochrome LCD as its main source of light, details are stunning with the printer, especially if you’re printing miniatures.

The 2560 x 1620 display translates to a 51-micron XY-resolution while you get a Z-axis accuracy of 10 microns.

To talk about the Z-axis, it has been given a dual liner rail support, alongside a unique combination of the stepper motor and clearance nut to increase stability and decrease the chances of layer shifting happening.

Being an MSLA-style resin printer, print resolution is something that’s highly focused on. Therefore, Mono SE introduces a matrix parallel light source for uniform exposure, enhanced heat dissipation, and better efficiency.

Apart from all that, the printer involves an easy method to level the bed to ensure more stability and calibrated precision, thereby catering to the overall resolution of your prints.

Simply loosen the single build plate leveling screw, put your leveling paper on the surface, press home, then push the build plate down gently so it’s flat on the 3D printer, hit Z=0, and tighten the screws.

Now your build plate is levelled correctly.

All in all, it’s a given that miniatures and figures alike will look great using this MSLA 3D printer.

Sizable Build Platform

The Photo Mono SE boasts a build platform of 130 x 78 x 160 mm which is above the average resin 3D printer out on the market. Although you are thinking of printing miniatures, it helps with printing multiple in one print.

Extra Touches

Some extra additions to the resin printer involve a new UV cooling system for prolonged service life, a high-quality power supply, and new features to the Anycubic slicer software.

Moreover, the UI of the printer has been revamped in order for it to appear fresher and sleek. Then, there’s the overhauled aluminum platform that increases adhesion between the bed and the prints.

Lastly, Anycubic released their own app to access and control your printer remotely. This can be a big plus for 3D printer users since the Mono SE only uses USB for connectivity.

With the app, you can check out the overall progress, and tweak print settings as per your liking. To say the least, this has been very convenient thinking from the Chinese manufacturer.

The Magic of Printing Resin Miniatures: A Beginner's Guide to Resin 3D Printing

The best 3D printer for miniatures in 2021

Looking for the best 3D printer to spice up your tabletop games? You've come to the right place. We've narrowed down a list of the best 3d printers for miniatures.

If you want the TLDR. Here's our findings:

Top miniature 3D printersOur verdict
Anycubic Photon Mono SBudget-friendly 3D printer for miniatures
Creality Ender 3Best for terrains
Phrozen Sonic Mini 4kBest in details, quality accuracy and speed

How did we come up with this list?

We've collected a bunch of pain points and things that people like about their miniature 3D printer from these following sources.

  1. /r/PrintedMinis subreddit

  2. 3D printing miniature facebook group

  3. Online reviews

  4. And our own experience as a 3D printing company

Without further ado, let's get started.

Top 3D printers for miniatures

1. Anycubic Photo Mono

The Anycubic Photon Mono is the best budget-friendly 3D printer for D&D miniatures because it offers the best print quality at a budget price.

So what's so special about this 3D printer better that it blew away the competition?


  • Ease of use
  • Beginner-friendly
  • High quality
  • High resolution 3D prints
  • Almost invisible print lines
  • Very fast printing time
  • One of the cheapest resin 3D printers in the market

Background info

The Anycubic Photon Mono is an LCD 3D printer. LCD 3D printers are a subset of SLA 3D printing and uses resin as it's main material. For those who don't know what SLA 3D printing is, SLA 3D printers use UV laser to selectively harden parts of resin. [1] This makes SLA 3D printers highly accurate with almost no visible layer lines.

What makes LCD 3D printer a little different is that it uses an LCD screen to mask the UV light onto to the resin to the form the shape, layer by layer. This makes LCD 3D printers a lot faster than SLA but a bit less accurate and a bit limited in size. LCD 3D printers also way cheaper compared to SLA 3D printers.

Technical Specs

Build volume130mm(L)*80mm(W)*165mm(H)
XY resolution51 microns
3D printing technologyLCD-based SLA

Sample 3D prints

We 3d printed these miniatures using our own Anycubic Photon Mono.

How much does it cost to 3D print a miniature with the Anycubic Photon Mono?

It depends on the volume of your 3D model. Their resin costs about $40/kg. Assuming, a model volume of 1000 mm³ = 1 gram of resin. We're looking. at $0.04 per 1000 mm³ or simply $0.04/gram.

Our formula looks something like this:

Model volume (in grams) X $0.040 = Total material cost

Note however that this doesn't include any overhead cost. So if you're planning to start your own 3D printing business selling miniatures, you need to account for those as well.

Here's what each model's material cost would look like.

Hero Forge Miniature Ogre miniature - Thingiverse
Material cost$2$5.7

Is it worth it?

Hell yeah! If you want great looking miniatures for your tabletop games then you should get a 3D printer that can produce high resolution prints. The level of detail that you get from this price point is insane.

Our verdict

We own industrial SLA printers, Formlabs 3 and many more, but when it comes to 3D printing miniatures, the Anycubic Photon Mono has been our go to machine. Not only is it the right tool for the job, but it blows away all the other LCD and DLP printers on the market.

We've tested a bunch of LCD and DLP printers but we were never satisfied with them because of the amount of failed 3D prints that we get from them. As seasoned 3D printing professionals, we and we think this is the best 3d printer for miniatures especially if you're a beginner.

2. Creality Ender 3 v2

The Creality Ender 3 is one of the many FDM printers on the market.

What caught our attention is its immense popularity among the tabletop and gaming miniatures community. Every Facebook or Reddit post that we see, everyone seems to mention the Creality Ender 3.

So what makes this 3D printer so popular among the miniatures printing community?

First off, it's cheap. The Ender 3 v2 costs around $200. The material cost is also cheap compared to its resin counterpart.

The Creality Ender 3 has become the entry level 3D printer for many beginners.

We personally don't own one because we've sworn off FDM 3D printers for life. We hate cleaning FDM supports an the print quality doesn't reach our standards. It would take hours of polishing to get a smooth surface with an FDM 3D printer. And when printing larger models, FDM 3D printing has a tendency to warp. We'd rather use our industrial SLA 3D printer for that. (Slight flex).

Technical Specs

Build volume192mm(L)*120mm(W)*245mm(H)
XY Resolution100 microns


  • Easy to use
  • Cheap
  • Large build volume
  • Great for 3D printing miniature terrains

Unlike the other 3d printers listed here, theCreality Ender 3 does not use a touch screen interface. It uses a knob to navigate your 3D printer settings. Some people actually prefer this method over touch screen because its more responsive and less susceptible to glitches.

Best 3d printer for terrains

Where the Creality Ender 3 shines is on 3d printing terrains. Most of the miniature community actually owns both a resin 3D printer and FDM 3D printer. They use their FDM 3D printers to print their terrain models because it's cheaper and it has a larger build volume compared to their resin counterpart. Terrains are less complex in design and don't necessarily need a smooth surface finish so you can get away with 3D printing them in FDM.

Here's an image of a 3D printed terrain using the Creality Ender 3 courtesy of /u/Singuy888

Our verdict

If you're on a tight budget, the Creality Ender 3 might be a good option for you. The Creality Ender 3 v2 is actually more expensive than the Photon Mono S but the materials used on these machines are cheaper compared to resin printing.

For miniature printing, you might be able to get away with it but the quality is relatively bad compared to resin 3D printers that we mentioned here. If you're making a large miniature, then this would be a lot cheaper compared to its resin counter part.

3. Phrozen Sonic Mini 4k

The Phrozen Sonic Mini 4k is what you should buy if you want fast printing, highly detailed prints all at a friendly price. The Sonic Mini has an XY resolution of a whopping 35 microns.

It's getting a lot of love from the tabletop miniature community because of it's price and the high resolution that you can get from it.

Here's a video of how it compares to super expensive industrial 3D printers out there.

Sample 3D prints

Our thoughts on professional SLA and DLP 3D printers for miniatures

Formlabs Form 3

Before we fell in love with the Anycubic Photon, Formlabs 3 was our bread and butter when it comes to 3D printing miniatures. Unlike the Anycubic, Formlabs is a full on SLA 3D printer. This makes it more accurate, but at the same time, slower to 3D print compared to LCD 3D printers.

Technical Specs

Build volume14.5 × 14.5 × 18.5 cm (5.7 × 5.7 × 7.3 in)
XY resolution25 microns
3D printing technologySLA

Sample 3D prints


  • High accuracy
  • Versatile, not limited to miniatures

Is the Form 3 worth it for printing miniatures?

Unless you have the money to spend, we don't think it's worth it. Both the Form 3 and Anycbuic 3D printers have almost the same build volume and the quality doesn't seem to be that far off, at least, when it comes to miniatures. And you can probably purchase 10 Anycubic Photon Mono with the price of one Formlabs 3.

If you're planning to do more than miniature 3D printing, then maybe it is. We use our Formlabs 3 for our 3D printing service and it has been reliable for quite some time now. (We started with the Formlabs 2). But over time, we've seen less value in it. It can't 3D print large objects and it's too slow to 3D print miniatures or other regular sized 3D prints. We've come to a point where we use the Photon Mono to do most of the jobs that the Form 3 used to do.

Asiga Pro 4k

The Asiga Pro 4k cost at least $25,000. It wasn't intended for miniatures but we still gave it a try.

Here's a really complex tabletop miniature that we 3D printed on the Asiga Pro 4k.

We don't think the images do justice on how insane the quality is. It also only took 4 hours to print this masterpiece.

Should you buy an Asiga Pro 4k for miniatures?

To be honest, it's an overkill. You're probably better off with the Phrozen Sonic Mini 4k.

We bought the Asiga Pro 4k because we need it for our industrial 3D printing services. It's fast and reliable, as we don't have the time for failed prints so for us this is worth it.

If you run a 3d printing business or if you have the money to spend, it might be a good choice for you. But you should probably get the Asiga Max X as that offers an even higher resolution at 27 microns, cheaper at $10k, but with a smaller bed size.

Our final thoughts

So what is the best 3d printer for miniatures?

The Anycubic Photon Mono is hands down the best affordable 3D printer for tabletop miniatures. It's cheap, reliable, easy to use, and it produces high quality 3D prints. For 3D printing terrain, our top choice is the Creality Ender 3. And if you want high resolution 3D prints that blows even the Anycubic out of the water, then you should go with the Phrozen Sonic Mini 4k.

If you're a beginner and thinking of buying a 3D printer that fits your budget, you can't go wrong with this 3D printer. Heck, it's even cheaper than an FDM printer but with 10x the print quality.


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