3D Printing Miniatures for Absolute Beginners

by Albert T.

3D printing miniatures can be very satisfying and rewarding if you are a hobbyist interested in creating miniatures. Thanks to 3D printing anyone can create all sorts of miniatures with intricate details and patterns.

However, the single most important aspect of 3D printing miniatures is choosing the right 3D printer. The simple truth is that not all 3D printers are ideal for printing excellent miniatures. 

So, it all comes to choosing the right 3D printer. Here is an overview of some of the most important features of 3D printers for miniatures. 

  • The diameter of the nozzle

The size of the nozzle needs to be as small as possible. Nowadays, most 3D printers come with a 0.4 mm nozzle. For 3D printing miniatures, the nozzle needs to be 0.2 mm. But even if you buy a 3D printer with a 0.4 mm nozzle, you can later buy one with a smaller diameter and replace the standard one.

The thing with smaller nozzles is it can slow down the 3D printing process which can improve the level of details. That way, you end up with high quality, very detailed miniature. 

  • XY precision

In addition to the nozzle diameter, it is the XY plane or the Z-axis that have a great influence over the quality of the printed object. All printers print along those axes and their accuracy determines the resolution/precision. 

When it comes to 3D printing miniatures, a high precision rate is necessary – the higher the better the prints will be. One way to test the 3D printer’s precision is to print a benchmark model.

  • Layer thickness

When we speak of layer thickness in 3D printers we mean the height between the extruded layers. Again, less is better. When it comes to 3D printing miniatures, search for 3D printers that can print layers of 0.1 mm or less. The lower the layer thickness is, the better the quality of the details will be.

  • 3D printer’s stability

A 3D printer that constantly vibrates can’t make detailed prints. Instead, it needs to have stable and strong parts – motor, belts, and bearings. They need to remain stable during the printing process so that all layers can be properly applied. 

To this end, it is always advisable to choose a 3D printer with a metal structure on account of those made mainly from plastics. The metal structure will stabilize the 3D printer so that you can create the best possible miniatures.

  • Resin 3D printing (for perfectionists)

If you are one of those folks classified as perfectionists, then you might want to check out resin 3D printing. Unlike the FDM printers and their specs described above, DLP (digital light processing) 3D printing uses UV light to create a 3D print from liquid resin. This technology offers a superior resolution that can be as low as 0.5mm. The only real two downsides are the cost of the printer itself and the resin that is somewhat more expensive than plastic filaments. So, more expensive prints, but the details on the miniatures will be exceptional.

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