So you want to buy the best 3D printer for miniatures and build your own miniature action figures?
You’re a die-hard fan of comics, action figures, sci-fi, and board games like Dungeons & Dragons and want to make your own 3D action figure. But you don’t know what are the best 3D printers for d&d miniatures. You feel yourself banging your head against the wall reading reviews about every one of them without knowing which one is the best 3D printer for miniatures 2023.
Don’t worry, we heard from you!
“Even the best artists are struggling to show us what fiction would look like in the real-world objects, in all their 3D glory.”
Board games like dungeons and dragons have made hundreds of miniature action figures according to the tastes of a variety of different players who are loved by everyone. But what about your own masterpiece action figure based on your taste and personality?
The evolution of 3D printers from 2D printers has made it possible for you to do that. The 3D printers offer an almost endless array of options. You need to pick the right device for your needs and budget, whether you’re printing a figurine, a smartphone case, a wrench, or a door-stop.
Here I have made the most comprehensive list of the best 3D printers for action figures so you can make your own 3D action figures.
So without any further delay, let’s get started.
Best 3D Printer for Miniatures
|Printer Name||Build Volume||Technology||Price|
|Comgrow Creality Ender 3 Pro||220x220x250 mm||FDM|
|AnyCubic Photon||115x65x155 mm||DLP|
|FlashForge Creator Pro||227x148x150 mm||FDM|
|ELEGOO Mars UV Photocuring||120x68x155 mm||LCD|
|Sindoh 3DWOX DP200||200x200x185 mm||FDM|
|BIBO Dual Extruder Laser||214x186x160 mm||FDM|
|QIDI Technology X-one2||145x145x145 mm||FDM|
|Dremel Digilab 3D20||230x150x140 mm||FDM|
What are 3D Printers for Miniatures and how do they Work?
Before we move further ahead, let me stop you right here and explain what 3D printing is and how do 3D printers work?
3D printing is a technological innovation that allows you to create a digital model physical object. All you need to do is create a design, transfer the file to a 3D printer, and then you can actually feel a real-life object right in your hands.
Sound’s crazy, right?
I remember before the evolution of personalized digital 3D printers, all miniature action figures were developed manually from wood, plastic, metal, or any rock. Many people paid hundreds of dollars to hire professional miniature artists to create their own action figures.
The game is overturned now. All you have to do is to click a few keys on your keyboard and develop a 3D design and voila, the best 3D printers for miniatures will print out your model right away.
How do 3D printers work?
Okay, you must be wondering, how does the magic happen? How do 3D printers convert your imaginations into physical reality?
Each 3D printer constructs parts based on the same basic idea: a digital model of your action figure is converted into a three-dimensional physical entity by adding a layer of material at a time.
No special tools are required in 3D printing such as a cutting tool with some geometry or a mold. Instead, the part is produced directly onto the built layer-by-layer platform which leads to a unique set of advantages and limitations-more on this below.
And voila! Your action is figure is ready!
But wait, let’s cut the entire process into steps:
It’s fairly obvious. You have to put your entire imagination on a piece of paper. Or in this case, a 3D modeling program that conceptualizes your idea of an action figure.
The first step of your 3D printing of action figures involves creating a digital model in a 3D modeling program or using a 3D scanner. Another option is to find a pre-existing 3D model design, e.g. from a company database or the website for design-sharing.
2) Conversion into G-Code
After that, the model is sliced into thin, 2-dimensional layers by the printer’s software and then turned into a set of machine language instructions (G-code) for the printer to execute.
3) Printing the Action Figure
Pressing Print is the final step. The printers are producing layers of material, one over the other. That shapes the finished object. Usually, desktop printers use plastic filaments, which are fed in and then melted into the head of print. This liquid substance is extruded onto the composition plate.
And just like that, your action figure is ready to be played with!
Why Do I Need to Buy the Best 3D Printer for Action Figure?
Let me guess, you must be wondering, why I should buy the Best 3D printers for terrain or miniature 2023, and is it worth buying one?
Let me put your mind at ease. Yes, it is!
There are many companies and businesses that can print and ship a miniature action figure version of you through the next shipment but let’s be honest here. You can buy the entire setup for the same amount of cost.
And most importantly, you can build as many action figures as you want.
I mean, imagine inviting your friends over for a D&D game and gifting them all a personalized D&D action figure that you made all on your own. Think about how popular you will be.
And of course, there are cheaper options available and you may be inclined towards buying one but this is worse than having no 3D printers. A bad action figure will only allow your friends to make fun of you and we certainly don’t want that!
Types of 3D Printers
Okay, you know what? The quality of our miniature figurines is an important thing for us nerds. We can’t compromise on that, can we?
If you want to know what kind of 3D printer you should get for miniatures, you should know what you are going to print. The quality of your print entirely depends on the quality of the printer.
WARNING: The upcoming portion is a bit technical, so feel free to skip over to the next portion.
It is worth noting that 2 main types of 3D printers are used for creating action figures. One of them uses a plastic filament that is fed by a nozzle (or multiple nozzles)-these are Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) printers. The other uses a liquid resin bath that is hardened when light is focused inside it, commonly known as resin printers.
FDM printers are commonly used for larger plastic action figures. The main highlight of the technology is that it uses a heated PLA or ABS plastic reel that can produce a large-scale model of your digital 3D diagram. The overall print quality is low compared to other technologies but you can produce big plastic figurines.
On the other hand, Resin Printers use a liquid resin that is cooled down with UV lights during the construction so your mold is instantaneously cooled down. You can produce smaller D&D types of action figures with accurate results.
What to Consider when buying the best 3D printer for making miniature?
Okay, so what should I be looking at when I buy the best 3D printer for miniatures 2023?
This is a question a lot of people ask and a lot of people fail to answer. Nevertheless, I am here to answer all your queries before we move on to the list of best 3D printers for D&D miniatures.
The most essential part for a miniature printer, in particular for characters where an easily recognizable face can make or break the piece. For excellent quality on an FDM 3D printer, print the smallest layer height you can — which ideally is below 100 microns.
A large cooling fan can dramatically reduce the deformation on small prints from any angle. This is because your 3D printer will finish each layer faster on smaller prints, so each layer would not have enough time to cool before printing out the next layer.
3) Build Area
It is less important for miniatures, but it can be advantageous for those who want to print a lot of small models at once to have a large build area.
4) Stable Frame
The heavy frame is less influenced, even slightly, by other variables such as vibrations which may affect model quality. After all, we need to be precise in our small action figures and an unstable printer can mess things up quite easily.
5) Dual 3D Extruder Printers
A dual 3D extruder printer can print supports in water-soluble materials such as PVA, resulting in a better surface finish after removal of the supports. In addition, dual extruders are the way to go for mini models with two colors.
What are the Best 3D printers for Miniatures 2023?
Okay, here we are at last. The list of best 3D printers for terrain and action figures.
The following list focuses on Print Quality Order, but please note that this is based on the best quality that has been learned through trial and error using specific device settings. Chances are you won’t get the best print quality out of the box. Unless you feel like paying for it.
With that in mind, expect FDM printers to be the top half of this list, and Resin to be the bottom half of the list. Currently, resin printers are unrivaled in terms of print quality.
Please bear in mind that every day people find new things out about these printers, so tomorrow you can easily trump the best quality on one printer today.
1) Comgrow Creality Ender 3 Pro – The Best 3D printer for Action Figures under $300
One name that fails to come in the limelight when you discuss 3D Printers is Comgrow Creality. The organization is known for its state-of-the-art 3D printer design and they did one heck of a job with Ender 3 series.
The Ender 3 Pro is a reasonably priced 3D printer. It’s an excellent and affordable tool for manufacturers, hobbyists, tinkerers, and even educated beginners to some degree. And if you’re willing to spend some time and give some tender loving care to the printer, the Ender 3 Pro can deliver amazing quality prints that shame pricier printers.
There is plenty of good reason to drop $250 on that machine. The first reason is obvious: its price is extremely low! Second, the Ender 3 Pro offers features you can’t find in more expensive 3D printers: a decent build area of 220 x 220 x 250 mm, a magnetic bed, a power recovery mode, and a tight filament path that makes flexible materials easier to work with.
Third, it irons out some of the Ender 3’s flaws, which is a piece of equipment that miniature makers love because it’s customizable like hell. It has all of those features needed in the best 3D printer for miniatures 2023.
But on the other hand, it has a few drawbacks too.
We have developed a love-hate relationship with the Ender 3 Pro’s most advertised feature: the magnetic bed. On paper, it is a welcome addition to an already great machine, but you don’t want to go back to grabbing a spatula after living with more premium analogs of this feature to hack the print off the build plate.
Yes, it can be tedious and you know it.
The Ender 3 Pro’s magnetic bed is positively flimsy compared to a firm but flexible metal build plate. It doesn’t snap into a predetermined position besides its lackluster flop, adhering instead to where it lands.
Aside from these flaws, many different reviewers and miniature enthusiasts found the Creality Ender 3 Pro to be a highly enjoyable 3D printer for the most part which I am sure the majority will love to spend time with. The quality this affordable 3D printer can deliver is astonishing once you get the settings and the bed calibration right.
Merely because of the fact that it is such a great product and fairly priced, I am going to add it to the category of Best 3D printer for miniatures under $300
2) AnyCubic Photon – Budget Resin 3D Printer
The Anycubic Photon DLP 3D Printer has emerged as one of the most appealing options on the market as far as low-cost desktop 3D printers go. Anycubic has a reputation for making printers that are reliable and affordable. The Anycubic Photon is no exception when it comes to the price – it is one of the cheapest DLP 3D printers out there.
The Anycubic Photon LCD UV 3D Printer is, and for good reason, generating some serious buzz across the community. This machine, priced at around $500, is a potential game-changer for the 3D miniature printing enthusiasts.
The fact that resin 3D printing provides better print quality and resolution than FDM is no shocking revelation, but the Anycubic Photon proves it can be done on a printer in the same low price range. Imagine making your own D&D miniature with such accuracy that your friend’s jaw drops in awe and shock and he feels envious of your miniature creating machine.
Although for those who have never used an SLA / DLP 3D printer there is a slight learning curve, this obstacle is overcome quickly thanks to clear documentation, an active online community, and other online resources.
And let’s be honest here, you’ll have tons of fun learning it.
Most of the downsides of the Anycubic Photon are universal in the resin printing world, factors like post-processing, material handling, safety, etc. The printer has a particularly small volume of construction but it gives you enough space to accomplish most of the projects.
Aside from that, it’s hard to find reasons to discount the Anycubic Photon quality at less than $500. This 3D printer is not only incredibly affordable but also produces surprisingly high-resolution prints.
3) FlashForge Creator Pro
The FlashForge Creator Pro is a 3D printer designed by FlashForge, one of China’s largest manufacturers of 3D printers and filaments. Today the Creator Pro is one of the most affordable and capable 3D double extrusion printers around.
Sturdy construction, a heated construction plate, and a fully enclosed construction chamber allow the multi-material printing of temperature-sensitive materials that would otherwise warp.
It has an active and supportive user base and is also available at a price point that is accessible to many miniature creators, hobbyists, and enthusiasts who are looking to make 3D printing of miniatures a small business.
The FlashForge Creator Pro comes with a versatile double extruder. Unlike IDEX-based systems, where the nozzles on the x-axis move independently, this setup uses two aligned print heads. While this may allow for faster dual extrusion prints, due to the reduced travel time of the print heads, a bit of tinkering may be necessary to adjust the retraction times to prevent any inactive nozzle oozing.
Crazy, isn’t it?
Unlike previous models from FlashForge, the Creator Pro is based on a robust metal frame. The unibody enables a more stable vertical motion and generally increases the stability of the moving parts during operation. The device provides up to a 60% increase in print speed compared to the older FlashForge model, according to the manufacturer, with the new frame.
Due to fewer vibrations, it should also increase the print quality, as overall structural stability guarantees consistently high speed and high precision printing. It is the perfect package for your miniature designs and action figures.
4) ELEGOO Mars UV Photocuring
Previously, the bold new frontier for the desktop 3D printing market is the confining of miniature artists and hobbyists with a deep pocket, resin-based 3D printing. Anycubic found mass appeal with its Photon 3D printer some years ago and today we are reaping the reward of competitors trying to pry away the demand with their own offerings.
Generally priced well below $500, such budget machines can benefit both beginners and experts in creating action figures alike, with high-resolution 3D printing now both affordable and prolific.
The Elegoo Mars UV Photocuring is a striking 3D printer. By making less, it achieves more than many of its contemporaries by offering a simple, forgiving, and rewarding 3D miniature printing experience at a combative price point. Expect prints of high quality, and little effort to obtain them.
The peace of stereolithography in the Elegoo Mars (in its broad sense) exudes at every corner of the experience. You could envisage the Elegoo Mars with a small dose of imagination as analogous to a Canon professional camera.
Yes, you heard it right! It’s cheap, provides the user with a clean experience free from unnecessary intrusion and bloat.
When you first start, the removable UV-blocking lid is a trifle inconvenient, requiring its full removal from the machine before you can access the resin and print vat. There is sufficient clearance around the Z-axis assembly to allow it to quickly feel second nature slinging the lid on and off without catching it on the appendices of the printer.
Better yet, it prints fantastically. The price to performance ratio is bonkers, and it goes a long way to explain the small hype bubble it currently enjoys.
And the best thing about it is that you have to play with a print volume of 120 x 68 x 155 mm in the Elegoo Mars UV Photocuring. The Elegoo Mars is an attractive proposition for your 3D action figure designs and can be a perfect machine for your love of miniatures and action figures.
5) Sindoh 3DWOX DP200
Sindoh just made regular, old 2D printers before desktop 3D printing became popular. Big guys. In fact, the South Korean company is one of the biggest fish in the paper toning biz, although you may not have heard of it.
In recent years, however, Sindoh has also been dipping its toes through desktop machines in the waters of 3D printing.
The Sindoh 3DWOX is a 3D Printer stalwart. In our time with it, print after print has been reliably churned out without any fuss or drama. And you can throw dozens of different prints and you will be awfully surprised that none of them will fail.
A Sindoh 3DWOX 3D printer will bag you a sleek, blue-tinting box with a 200 x 200 x 185 mm print volume. Underscoring this is an extraordinarily effective print bed, performing similarly to PEI. This can be swapped quickly on and off the printer at will.
The heated bed can ratchet up to 110 degrees Celsius, with a temperature range of 180 – 220 degrees for the 0.4 mm nozzle attached to Sindoh’s proprietary print head.
WiFi connectivity with a “set-it-and-forget-it” mindset gives the Sindoh great utility. But if you so wish, designs can be shuffled via standard USB thumbstick, USB cable, or Ethernet cable to the machine. Not with an SD card.
Paired with a maximum layer resolution of 50 microns, the Sindoh 3DWOX DP200’s 0.4 mm nozzle means you can crank out some pretty detailed prints. The hot end and heated bed warm up remarkably quickly on top of that.
And while it succeeds in some respects, with the simple setup and speedy print settings making for simple and effective 3D printing, its over-engineered nature and price stand in the way of true grandeur for what you get.
6) BIBO 3D Printer Dual Extruder Laser
The BIBO 3D printer Dual Extruder Laser sets out using a tank-like solidity, featuring a robust all-metal frame made of 6 mm composite aluminum panels. The BIBO comes with an acrylic sealable door and removable cover to provide a fully enclosed printing chamber, allowing for stable printing conditions – the key to printing temperature-sensitive materials such as ABS. After all, you don’t want your action figures to get disfigured.
The BIBO printer Dual Extruder Laser bed measures 214 x 186 mm. The detachable glass plate reaches temperatures up to 100°C, designed to allow the printer to process a wide range of materials for consumer printing. Glass surfaces provide smooth finishes on the first layer, but typically struggle to adhere properly to some materials so you may need additional adhesives.
The laser module can be added separately or bundled with the printer. The 0.5W laser engraving tool head expands the capabilities of the printer so you can engrave wood and cut paper, carton, felt, and the like.
So, if you want to have an accurately designed miniature, BIBO 3D Printers are one of the best options in the market.
7) QIDI Technology X-one2
Built on the previous generation of open source hardware design from MakerBot, QIDI Tech X-one 3D printer technology is adapted by Ruian QIDI Technology Co. Ltd. The simple and colorful design of the X-one demonstrates the aim of QIDI to produce an easy-to-use 3D mainstream printer.
The X-One2 does have a 3.5-inch touchscreen that has icons that can be easily recognized and are very responsive and easy to use. The interface shows a number of parameters, for example, the progress of printing and the temperature of the print bed. The machine comes pre-assembled; you only have to feed the filament and level the print bed.
The Qidi Tech X-One2 3D printer includes an aluminum alloy heated print bed with a PEI-coated surface. Featuring a heated bed, the X-One2 opens up the possibilities for printing temperature-sensitive materials like ABS or PETG.
Keeping it all in mind, if you want to make your own 3D D&D action figures, QIDI Technology X-one 2 is the best 3D printer for D&D miniatures for beginners.
8) Dremel Digilab 3D20
Since the last few years, many different companies have engineered new innovative technologies that are capable of producing high-quality 3D models for action figures but none of them come close to Dremel.
Dremel Digilab 3D20 is an exclusively engineered 3D printer that provides tools for beginners and hobbyists. Dremels advertises the printer as the best possible learning opportunity with an easy-to-use interface.
Do you want to buy a 3D printer that your child can easily operate and create his own miniature? Dremel Digilab 3D20 3D is very simple to use and easy to setup even for a child with a flat learning curve. Most importantly, it is extremely affordable with a price ranging up to $450.
Wrapping it All Up
So, what’s the plan here? Which best 3D printer for miniatures should you buy?
It is a tough question. But let’s make it simple here.
If you are looking for the cheapest option among the best 3D printers for miniatures 2023 available, you just can’t beat the quality of Comgrow Creality Ender 3 Pro. It has probably the best value for your money and will cost you less than $300 in the market. Other than that, FlashForge Creator Pro is a pretty great option if you want a budget resin 3D printer for your action figure designs.
But the best 3D printer for action figures is the Sindoh 3DWOX DP200 and you just cannot match the likes of it. It’s easy to setup and use. And you can build all kinds of high-quality action figures and D&D miniatures with it.
So, what are you waiting for? But it is right now!
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