LulzBot Mini Desktop 3D Printer Review: Amazing Quality, Strong Printer
Are you looking for an industrial strength 3D printer that’s easy to use and requires minimum assembly and calibration? Do you want a desktop 3D printer that has a lot of flexibility in regards to the type of filament it can print with?
If so, then the LulzBot Mini Desktop printer has all of this and more.
This robust 3D printer is ideal for beginners, designers, architects, engineers and 3D printing enthusiasts. It comes fully assembled and tested to ensure that you can start printing within 15 minutes of taking it out of the box.
The LulzBot mini supports open source software and hardware so that the things you can print with are virtually limitless. You can use any type of filament that you want. This means it’s easy for you to create anything that your imagination can conceive.
Let’s look at some of the key features of this 3D printer.
|Print material||Auto Calibration||Maximum print size(inches)||Heating bed||layer thickness||Customer support||Assembly time||Warranty|
|PLA,ABS,HIPS,More||Yes||6.0"x6.0"x6.2"||Yes||50-500 microns||Excellent||10 Minutes||One Year||Buy on Amazon|
- Key Features
- What’s In The Box?
- How Easy Is The Lulzbot To Set Up?
- Are There Upgrades Available For This Printer?
- What Is The PEI Print Surface On The Bed?
- What Type Of Filament Can You Use With This Printer?
- Can You Change Filament During A Print Job?
- Does This Printer Require A Lot Of Maintenance?
- What Customers Are Saying
- Final Verdict
Self Leveling And Self Cleaning.
Before each print job starts, the LulzBot Mini will self clean the extruder nozzle and self level the print bed. This means no more manual adjustments or the need to constantly clean the extruder of previous filament.
The nozzle cleans itself by running over an attachment with a felt pad at the back of the printer. Then it will move around and touch on the four corner conductive washers on the bed to ensure that the bed is perfectly level.
This alone saves a huge amount of time which means you can print more in much less time.
Another great feature of this printer is once the print has finished the bed moves to the back to allow the printed object to cool down. Once it’s cool enough the bed automatically moves to the front to signal that it is now time for you to remove the printed object.
This just makes it so simple and takes all the guesswork out of deciding how long you should wait to remove the finished print.
Hexagon Hot End.
The LulzBot Mini features an all metal hexagon hot end. It will heat up quickly and keep a stable temperature during printing. The hot end also features a large cooling fan to ensure perfect results without clogging.
It can heat up 300 degrees Celsius (572 degrees Fahrenheit) which gives you the flexibility of using any type of filament that you want.
Heated Glass Print Bed.
The glass print bed on this printer is heated and can reach temperatures of up to 120 degrees Celsius (248 degrees Fahrenheit).
To help with print adhesion, the bed has a PEI surface. This eliminates the need to use glues, tapes or solvents.
The maximum build volume is 6 inches x 6 inches x 6.2 inches. This gives you an excellent build area considering it’s such a compact 3D printer.
Modular Tool Head Carriage.
The carriage that supports the print head makes it easy to change print heads to suit different types of filament.
In fact, LulzBot also have a Flexystruder tool head which is especially suitable for flexible filament.
Full 1 Year Warranty And Technical Support.
Unlike some other 3D printers, the LulzBot Mini comes with a full one year warranty. This also includes phone and email support.
For extra peace of mind for those people who want to use their printer for business, you can also purchase an extra 1, 2 or 3 year warranty at a very reasonable cost. This of course, includes all the technical support that you might need.
You should be aware though, that this extended warranty must be purchased within 30 days of purchasing your 3D printer.
For extra support, LulzBot also have their own forum which is monitored by their very experienced technicians so that you can always get any answers that you need.
What’s In The Box?
The LulzBot Mini 3D printer comes fully assembled and tested. Here’s what’s in the box:
- The LulzBot Mini 3D printer.
- The Manual and Quick Start Guide.
- A power cord.
- Some felt cleaning pads for the self cleaning nozzle.
- A USB drive.
- A knife for removing finished prints from the print bed.
- Some handy tools including an allen key and a pair of tweezers.
- A USB cable.
- An octopus printed on your LulzBot Mini.
How Easy Is The Lulzbot To Set Up?
Because this printer comes fully assembled, it’s extremely quick and easy to set up. Here are all the steps you need to take before starting your first print job:
- Unpack the printer and remove the protective foam.
- The LulzBot Mini does not have an LCD screen or a slot for an SD card, so next you’ll need to download the software onto your computer using the USB drive.
- The software which is on the USB is the LulzBot edition of Cura. Cura is widely used within the 3D printing community and is fairly user friendly and intuitive.
- Next you’ll want to load whichever filament you want to use. The printer only comes with a small piece of filament, so it’s a good idea to purchase a roll of PLA when you’re buying your printer.
- Loading the filament is really easy. Just put the spool onto the attached spool holder, flick up the lever on the extruder and push in the end of the filament until you feel a little resistance. Then flick the lever back down and you’re done.
- Then all you need to do is load a print file into Cura, set it to how you want it to print and push print.
Are There Upgrades Available For This Printer?
Apart from the Flexystruder tool head you can also purchase an enclosure for the LulzBot Mini. This is particularly useful when printing with ABS to control the temperature of the print area. Having the print area at a constant temperature prevents warping of the printed object.
Having the printer enclosed is also a good safety feature when using it at home because it protects curious fingers from touching the heated parts.
The acrylic enclosure comes in a kit and can be easily assembled.
What Is The PEI Print Surface On The Bed?
PEI is a film which is glued onto the glass print bed with a semi permanent adhesive. This allows your print to adhere to the bed without the need for glues or painter’s tape.
This surface is a consumable item and will eventually need replacing. Replacement beds and PEI sheets are available from LulzBot.
To prolong the life of the PEI surface, here are some useful tips:
- Only remove the printed object when it has cooled down sufficiently. As we said earlier, the print bed will automatically move to the front of the printer when it has reached the optimum removal temperature.
- If using NinjaFlex and SemiFlex it might be a good idea to treat the print surface with a PVA based glue stick. The reason is that these filaments stick really well to the bed and may be hard to remove causing damage to the surface. The glue stick will make them easier to remove.
- You can keep the print surface clean by wiping it with Isopropyl alcohol.
- Avoid using the same spot on the print bed for every single print. You can easily change the position of the print in the Cura software. This avoids wear and tear in any one area of the print bed.
What Type Of Filament Can You Use With This Printer?
Because the LulzBot Mini has a heated print bed and an all metal hot end, you can use pretty much use any type of 3mm filament that you want. This makes this printer one of the most versatile on the market place.
Here’s a list of filaments supported by the LulzBot Mini:
- LAYWOO-3D & LAYBRICK from CC Products.
- INOVA-1800 from ChromaStrand.
- XT, nGen, HT-5300, woodFill, bambooFill, corkFill, copperFill and bronzeFill from colorFabb.
- HIPS, PLA and PVA from eSun.
- PC-ABS Alloy, Magnetic Iron PLA, Stainless Steel PLA, Conductive PLA and High Temp PLA from Proto-pasta.
- 618, 645, Bridge Nylons and 910 Alloy, PCTPE, n-vent and t-glase from Taulman 3D.
- ABS, PLA and Polycarbonate from Village Plastics.
- A lot More
Can You Change Filament During A Print Job?
Using Cura allows you to change to a different filament during a print job. Once the print has started, Cura will show a ‘pause’ button.
Clicking this will pause the printer and the print head will move away from the object. You can then change the filament – to a different color, for instance.
Then click print again and the printer will continue where it left off.
The manual that comes with the printer has full instructions on how to use Cura complete with pictures to make it easy for you.
Does This Printer Require A Lot Of Maintenance?
The LulzBot Mini requires very little maintenance. Here’s a list of check that you should make every 2 to 4 weeks:
- Wipe over the smooth steel rods with a clean cloth to remove any build up of lubricant. If your printer starts to squeak during operation, then it’s time to give the rods a wipe over.
- Periodically wipe over your print bed with some Isopropyl Alcohol mixed with a little water.
- Inside the extruder there’s a hobbed bolt. This needs to be cleaned out with the provided dental pick from time to time to remove any residual plastic.
- Check the belts for tightness every so often but remember not to over tighten.
- Make sure the nozzle wiping pad is not filled with too much plastic residue. Each pad can be turned over once (so you can use both sides) and then you need to replace it.
- Periodically make sure you clean the washers on each corner of the bed by wiping with a clean, dry cloth.
- Clean out any dust from the cooling fans using compressed air every 2-4 weeks.You can do this with the control box vents as well if you notice any dust gathering.
What Customers Are Saying
The LulzBot Mini 3D printer has received a lot of very positive reviews both from home users and 3D printing professionals. Everyone agreed that this printer is both easy to set up and to use.
Customers agreed that this printer is reliable and uncomplicated compared to other 3D printers. Most were impressed with the auto leveling and said the Cura software was easy to use.
One customer even reported that his printer had printed around 600 items and was still going strong. There were positive reviews from 3D printing beginners, experienced 3D printers, designers and engineers.
If you’re looking for a solidly built 3D printer that doesn’t take up too much space and prints right out of the box, then the Lulzbot Mini is a great choice.
It is one of the most versatile 3D printers in this price range allowing you to basically print with almost any filament that you want.
The self cleaning nozzle and self leveling print bed make this printer extremely easy to use. The supported Cura software is both easy and intuitive to use and can handle almost any print file you load into it.
And once you’re familiar with your LulzBot Mini, there are even upgrades you can make to allow you to print even the most complex designs.