Monoprice Select Mini 3D Printer Review: Best Bang For Your Buck
If you’re looking for a compact desktop 3D printer that’s ready to print straight out of the box, then the Monoprice Select Mini 3D printer may just be your perfect choice. It comes fully assembled and factory calibrated. This means even 3D printing novices can set this up and start their first print job within just an hour or so.
For the price, this printer is excellent value considering that you can use many types of filament in it and it does actually produce good quality prints. It’s great for a first time 3D printer as it’s just designed to work. In fact, it’s so simple to use that even children can use it, under adult supervision, of course.
- Key Features
- So What’s In The Box?
- How Easy Is It To Get Started With This Printer?
- Can This 3D Printer Connect To WiFi?
- How Can I Tell This Printer What To Print?
- Which Filament Is Better: PLA Or ABS?
- Are There Any Online Communities For This Printer?
- Should You Periodically Clean The Extruder Nozzle?
- What Customers Are Saying
- Final Verdict
|Print material||Auto Calibration||Maximum print size(inches)||Heating bed||layer thickness||Customer support||Assembly time||Warranty|
|PLA,ABS,PVA,More||No||4.7"x4.7"x4.7"||Yes||100-200 microns||Excellent||20 minutes||1 year warranty|
1. Heated Build Plate.
The Monoprice mini comes complete with a heated aluminum build plate allowing you to use a wide variety of filaments. This includes basic filaments like PLA and ABS as well as more advanced materials like wood and metal composites and dissolvable PVA.
You’ll also be happy to know that the build plate comes with painter’s tape already applied to it. The build volume of this plate is 4.7 inches x 4.7 inches x 4.7 inches which is large enough for most print jobs.
2. Compact Design.
This 3D printer has an open frame design so that it’s compact and won’t take up too much room on your office desk or workshop counter.
3. Extruder With Cooling Fan.
The 0.4 mm extruder on this 3D printer can accommodate a wide range of temperatures. It can heat up to 230 degrees Celsius, which allows you to print with different types of filament. It has a nozzle cooling fan which is ideal for filament that requires cooling quickly after it has been extruded.
The extruder also has a quick-release steel gear filament feeder making it easy to change filament when you need to.
4. Easy To Read LCD Panel.
The LCD panel is easy to read and fairly intuitive although it’s not a touch screen. You control the screen by the use of a knob which you can turn to select the correct function that you want and then push to enter that function.
5. Easy Connectivity.
The Monoprice mini can be easily connected to your computer via an included USB cable. In addition, the printer also comes with a micro SD card so you can print without being connected to your computer if you wish. The SD card also has sample prints already on it so you can test out your new printer as soon as you receive it.
Also included on the SD card is the recommended slicing software, Cura and Repetier-Host.
6. Excellent Support.
The Monoprice support team, consisting of friendly and knowledgeable technicians, are always on hand to answer any questions you may have. In fact, they’re available on Live chat between the hours of 6am and 6pm PST, Monday to Friday. Phone support is also available between 6am and 5pm PST, Monday to Friday.
7. Great Warranty.
This 3D printer comes with a 1 year replacement warranty. There’s also a 30 day money back guarantee if for any reason you’re not satisfied with the purchase of your printer. You can be assured that this printer is designed to last and has full backup support from Monoprice.
8. Easy To Follow Instructions To Get You Started.
The User Manual is easy to follow and will guide you through the set up process. This should not take very long at all. The manual also has instructions for installing the Cura slicing software onto your computer. There’s also some guidance for using Repetier-Host.
So What’s In The Box?
- The fully assembled Monoprice Mini 3D printer.
- A filament rack.
- A power adapter and power cord.
- A micro USB cable.
- A micro SD card.
- A plastic bed scraper for removing prints from the build plate.
- A bed leveling hex wrench.
How Easy Is It To Get Started With This Printer?
You can start your first print job very quickly after you receive your printer because it comes already assembled. All you need to do is un-box your printer and the parts that come with it. Here’s a simple step-by-step overview of setting up this printer:
1. Take your printer out of the box and remove any necessary tape. Remember not to remove the painter’s tape on the build plate.
2. Slide the filament spool holder into its slot on the left hand side of the printer.
3. Plug in the power cord and turn your printer on.
4. Following the instructions in the manual, it’s now time to make sure the print bed is level. The bed has a 4 point leveling system using 4 hex screws. You turn these screws using the included hex wrench. Turning the screws clockwise will lower the bed and counter-clockwise will raise it.
5. Once your build plate is level, you need to insert the filament. Just feed it into the extruder until you feel a little resistance.
6. Now you’re ready to do your first test print. Insert the micro SD card into the slot and select your test print job. Then sit back and wait for the printer to do its thing.
Can This 3D Printer Connect To WiFi?
This printer can certainly connect to your WiFi using instructions found on the Monoprice Mini Wiki page. You may need to update the firmware first though but all you need is to connect the printer’s IP address to your router. The IP address can be found on the LCD panel.
How Can I Tell This Printer What To Print?
Giving print instructions to the Monoprice Mini is really quite simple. First you need to create or find a print file in the STL format. If you’re a designer you’ll already know how to create your own print files using one of the many design programs available like Tinkercad.
On the other hand, you can easily go to websites like Thingiverse, where you’ll find amazing things that you can print on your Monoprice Mini. Just download the STL file onto your computer and open it in Cura. Cura is the slicing software which you would have installed on your computer from the micro SD card.
Once your file is open in Cura, you can make any adjustments that you want after choosing the Monoprice Mini as your preferred printer. Cura will then go ahead and slice your print job and create the GCode file that instructs your printer what to print.
Copy this file onto the micro SD card and insert the card into the slot on your printer. On the LCD panel, select print and then the file that you’ve just created. Hit start and watch your printer start creating your 3D object.
Which Filament Is Better: PLA Or ABS?
This will primarily depend on what you want to use the final printed object for. Both filaments are thermoplastics, which means they become soft and mold-able when heated to very high temperatures. PLA is made from organic material such as cornstarch and sugarcane whereas ABS is an oil based plastic.
PLA will produce a nice quality print which is aesthetically pleasing. It is however, more brittle and can be prone to warping or breaking if submitted to extreme temperatures or even water.
ABS on the other hand, is a much more durable plastic but can be prone to warping if let cool too quickly. Hence the need for a heated print bed when using ABS in a 3D printer. ABS is widely used by businesses to make plastic car parts and musical instruments. Lego building blocks are even made from ABS.
So as you can see, it really depends on what you want to use the printed object for. If it will have any kind of mechanical type application, then ABS would definitely be better.
When starting out in 3D printing however, it is always better to start with PLA because you’ll get much better results for minimum effort.
Are There Any Online Communities For This Printer?
The Monoprice Mini 3D printer has a large online community following. There is a very active Reddit group with lots of helpful questions and answers. There’s also a Facebook user group with nearly 7000 members plus an official Monoprice Facebook page.
In addition to this there are also some groups on Thingiverse aimed directly at Monoprice Mini users so there is certainly a lot of support available online.
Should You Periodically Clean The Extruder Nozzle?
It is advisable to clean the extruder nozzle periodically to remove any left over residue from previous print jobs. An extruder cleaning filament is available which you can use to purge the extruder completely.
You simply feed this through the extruder in a stop and go fashion until it finally comes out clear and smooth.
Keeping the extruder nice and clean will ensure good quality prints every time.
What Customers Are Saying
The Monoprice Mini 3D printer has received a lot of excellent reviews from happy customer with most saying that they were surprised by the quality of prints they could make with such a low cost printer. In fact, one customer compared two printed objects, one of which was made on a $2700 printer and one made on the Monoprice mini, and they were virtually identical.
Other customers said that this is a must have printer for beginners and for students learning the art of 3D printing. Customers also commented on the sleek design of the printer and loved that it was so compact. Almost everyone was impressed with how easy this printer is to use and how durable it is.
The overall consensus from most customers was that this is an excellent 3D printer for the price and some went as far as to say that you get way more than you pay for.
If you want to start out in 3D printing but don’t want to invest too much money in your first 3D printer, then the Monoprice Mini 3D printer is definitely the right choice for you. It’s exceptionally affordable and produces amazingly good quality prints.
This printer is very easy to set up and once you have the build plate level, printing is simply a breeze.