Favorite Mini 3-D Printer?

Hello PLIX People!
On the hunt for some mid-low budget 3D printers for my branch. Do you have a model you love, or one I should definitely avoid? Any comments appreciated!


Hi Allie,

I’ve had the Creality Ender 3.

Assembly- It was reasonably straightforward to assemble, though there was one piece that was a little off. And that did not affect the prints at all.

Material- It’s great for PLA. I heard it’s not as good with ABS.

Usage- I usually used printed files off a thumb drive since that seemed more reliable. While printing, you do need to check up on it. If you’re doing anything that takes a long time like 4-8 hours, it seems less reliable for those larger projects. It’s not impossible but you need to make sure everything is carefully set up: bed needs enough tackiness, infill and supports on the print file, filament roll can spool without getting stuck.

Print Quality- Overall print quality is okay. Not very fine grained. Awful output if you do 0% infill. Be careful if you have too many overhangs.

And if you like your space quiet, the noise can drive you nuts if you have a print that takes a long time.

We have Flashforge Finders, Ultimakers 3s, and in the past we had Replictaor 2s, and some of our branches have Dremels.

We’ve been pretty happy with the Flashforge Finders. We collaborate with our Museum of Science & Industry and they have a print farm of over 20 of these printers. They ran constantly during the initial PPE printing although we had to be creative because the print bed size is smaller than you would normally want for a face shield head band.

The bed size is fine for all manner of experimentation and fun. You can save files to the printer and have it do small swag/giveaways when you do outreach if you didn’t bring a laptop with you. Support is ok, and replacement parts are easy enough to find when you might need them.

There’s an interesting rabbit hole of 3D printer modifications and behaviors. I think if you can minimize changing filament, you may reduce how often you will experience clogs. It has a leveling assist that can, over time, get a little dusty and uneven. If you know how to manually level, this won’t be a difficulty.

I hope that helps some, and happy to answer any other questions you might have!