3D Printing 3D printer recommendations

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Lorenzo von Matterhorn
Jan 31, 2009
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After a great amount of research and significant experience, here are my recommendations for the best price/performance/reliability 3D printers right now. Many reviewers agree.

If you want the self satisfaction of building a kit, you can save about $100 on a Prusa i3 clone similar to the Monoprice Maker Select 3D printer found below. However, you will find many videos about the many potential headaches related to doing that which I have confirmed through my face to face conversations at a local 3D printer group, so I long ago decided not to go down that DIY path. Also realize that from my observations and personal experience that many Kickstarter 3D printer projects bite off more than they can chew.

Monoprice Select Mini ($199 shipped)

It has a huge user base and lots of support and info on-line. It is rumored that v2 will be out very soon, so I'd wait.

One of the potential issues is the lack of availability of spare parts from Monoprice since this isn't a clone of anything (it's just a rebadge of a not previously not well known MALYAN M200), but there are many suitable subs and workarounds. Just a few examples:


Recommended configuration settings:


To buy:



Monoprice Maker Select 3D Printer v2 (rebadged Wanhao Duplicator i3 which is itself a Prusa i3 clone) ($318 shipped)

This also has a huge user base, even larger that the Select Mini's since it's been around much longer and since it's a clone of the extremely popular Prusa i3 which has been around longer still. Replacement parts and upgrade how-to's aren't hard to find. This printer is the one I own.

The stock settings for these characteristics are way off and while they work, you're better off following this:

Acceleration And Jerk Settings


To buy:



Buildtak is used on the Maker Select 3D Printer v2's bed and I love it. It was also used on my first 3D printer, the piece of junk Kickstarter M3D. People who gripe about Buildtak must not be using it correctly, have non-level beds, are damaging it during part removal, aren't keeping it clean or something else.

Revealed at 1:10 in the video below is the reason all 3D printer part removal spatulas are crap - they aren't sharp enough for legal reasons. Same for any putty knives I've looked at at Home Depot and Lowes. The spatula that came with my Maker Select 3D Printer v2 is obviously a stock putty knife that has been ground to a very sharp edge and it works great. I guess the Wanhao/Monoprice legal department or Chinese manufacturing pals must not be so paranoid. So, the fix to make a part removal spatula that actually works well if you don't already have one that does is to create your own beveled on one side sharp edge on one. Just be careful and don't slice yourself like some people I've seen on YouTube.

3D Printing: BuildTak at Maker Faire 2016


Short reviews in the video below of the above two printers and some other newer and lesser known ones which, therefore, have much less user support, user support being an extremely important factor as far as I'm concerned:

From trade fair reports:

"... the new MP Select Mini v2 is an upgraded version of its best-selling 3D printer, the MP Select Mini. In addition to the new paint job, Monoprice is promising a series of upgrades like a sturdier frame, improved cooling, and an all-metal hotend. We’re big fans of the original MP Select Mini, so we’re curious to see the strides they make with these new improvements."

As is often done by smart manufacturers, it looks like the v2 is implementing suggestions from and mods made by v1 users. I wish they'd left the v2 white instead of changing it to black. I liked the white finish.

Unlike the two printers I recommended, this one has no track record:

"The $149.00 MP Mini Delta is a fully assembled printer with a full-color LCD screen, a heated print bed, and is wifi enabled to boot."

A portion the MP Select Mini v2 is seen to the left of their new delta printer:


User forum comments about the pending Monoprice Mini Delta printer and one about the Select Mini v1:

Just from the Pics on Hackaday, it looks like the basic frame is a Rostock Mini with a E3D clone hot-end, doesn't look like it has an auto-level, looks like the print bed has a Buildtak topper. Assuming it comes pre-calibrated, that's an utter steal for a delta. I'd definitely buy one if the were available in Canada.


The little delta uses NEMA 17 motors that seem to be strong enough. The electronics are a slightly improved version of the board that shipped with the original MP Select Mini (32-bit ARM with WiFi), and the printer has auto bed leveling over at least a dozen points. How good can a $150 printer be? We’re going to find out in April.


If it's anything at all like the MP Select Mini it'll be worth every bit of what they're asking and then some... My new FFCP blew me away with how well it performed out of the box but the mini, truth be told, is my favorite printer. it just flat-out performs.

I literally shoot the file to it over wifi, set print and bed temps, click Print, then watch it via camera in a window on the Intel NUC in my computer room while I'm watching TV/Anime/gaming on my main gaming box. No hairspray/glue/slurry/glass or anything. When it's done I walk into the kitchen where it's at and pull the part off the bed with nothing more than a gentle tug and it pops right off and is ready for the next item.

Only changes I made to my mini are the internal power supply, larger cooling fan, and the 10mm gantry stabilizer which does double-duty as the mount for my counterweighted camera boom for recording my printing.

I'll be buying one of the deltas as soon as they're available...now I just gotta find room for it since the mini already is on the counter next to my kitchen sink.



At CES last year, Monoprice introduced a $200 3D printer. Initial expectations of this printer were middling. My curiosity got the best of me, and last summer I picked up one of these printers for a review. The Monoprice MP Select Mini is actually phenomenal, and not just ‘phenomenal for the price’. This machine showed the world how good one of the cheapest printers can be. The future is looking awesome.

You might think Monoprice wouldn’t be able to top the success of this great little machine. You would be wrong. This week, Monoprice announced a bevy of new and upgraded printers. Some are resin. Some are huge. One will sell for $150 USD.

The Little SLA

Last year, Monoprice announced a small, exceptionally cheap resin-based printer. It was never released, and for a good reason: it didn’t work very well. Monoprice went back to the drawing board and came up with a brand new design using a tiny 2k monitor and UV LEDs. The sample print quality was incredible, and this machine will work with Open resins, although Monoprice will be releasing their own line of inexpensive resins. The tiny SLA will be coming out in April, and it will be relatively inexpensive.