Best 3D Printers for Beginners Windows Central 2019

Despite its small build plate size, the Monoprice Select Mini Pro is still my top pick for those beginners who don't know what they want to print. There are alternatives if you are looking to print something larger like cosplay items, but for a starter printer, you really can't wrong with the Monoprice.

Our pick

Monoprice Select Mini Pro

A whole lot of powerful features that can sit on your desk

While other 3D printers may have bigger print areas, there are few that pack so many top-of-the-line features into a printer you could take anywhere. The small form factor makes it perfect for those who aren't really sure what they want it for and don't have a dedicated space.

Who should buy this 3D printer?

If you are a complete novice and you've never touched a 3D printer before, then think about buying this. If you have no idea what you would use it for. but know you want to learn. then the Mini Pro could be the 3D printer for you. Starting small and working up to bigger and better things is a safe option.

Is it a good time to buy this 3Dprinter?

This is the third iteration of the Select Mini and as such, has a lot of extra features that the older models didn't. This means you are getting the very best Monoprice can offer at the same great value.

Reasons to buy

  • Excellent build quality
  • Auto Leveling
  • Removable build plate
  • Small footprint

Reasons not to buy

  • Teeny tiny build plate

Good things come in small packages

The biggest argument not to buy the Maker Select Mini Pro from Monoprice is the size of the build plate. Let's get that out of the way from the start: It's pretty small, only 120mm by 120mm, or a little under 5 square inches, but size isn't everything. The Mini Pro is a remarkable machine when you break it down. Unlike most machines in its pricepoint, it comes with advanced features that make it an excellent choice for beginners.

The Mini Pro comes equipped with a removable bed and automatic bed leveling as well as the ability to send files to print over Wi-Fi. Those three upgrades make using any printer so much easier and you normally pay a premium to get them. Auto bed leveling means you never have to fight with your build plate to get a good first layer — your first layer is very important so you need to get it right — and the removable build plate means you don't have to worry about taking chunks out of your hands as you pry the print off with a scraper or bend the plate trying to get models off.

Unlike most machines of its price and size, it comes with some advanced features that make it an excellent choice for a beginner.

When it comes to connectivity the Select Mini Pro is king. It can connect to your PC over a standard USB connection and is one of the few 3D printers that is currently recognized by Microsoft's native 3D print software. It also allows you to use a microSD card, which is my favorite way of printing. When you use your PC to print, anything that happens to your computer happens to your printer — If your computer crashes your print will crash too — but with the microSD card, you don't have to worry about your PC at all.

With Wi-Fi file sending, you get the best of both worlds. You can use your PC to set up the model, making sure it is ready for print, then send the file remotely to be stored in the printer's memory. This removes the risk of your PC shutting down and ruining the print and means you don't have to be tethered to your desk.

As a beginner, you need to rely on the printer you have. It really is the only way to learn how they work and how you can improve. By having a well made and reliable printer from the start, you can build up your knowledge base before you're trying to fix things you don't understand. The Mini Pro gives you plenty of opportunity to learn while ensuring you can still print successfully.

Alternatives to the Select Mini Pro

While the Select Mini Pro is a fantastic device, the word mini here is key. Sometimes, even when you are starting out you need something a bit bigger, something you can build full-size models on. If that is the case then we have to excellent choices for you. The Creality Ender 3 Pro, and the

Runner-up

Creality Ender 3 Pro

An excellent starter printer with a large build surface

For just $30 more than the Select Mini, you get an extra 100mm by 100mm build surface. This printer does have more of a learning curve though: You will need to build some of it yourself, and it will take a little while to dial the printer in to produce quality prints.

The general consensus on a lot of 3D printing groups on Facebook is if you want a cheap printer that'll give you amazing prints get the Ender 3 Pro. I had mixed feelings about older Ender models, but the company really seemed to iron out all the kinks. The larger build volume is a godsend if you're looking to build larger designs that you can't split, like cosplay armor, but the extra build space also comes with a larger machine. You will need a dedicated workspace for the Ender 3 Pro.

Enclosed goodness

Qidi Tecnology X-Pro

Start printing any way you want straight away

This is a printer that can do it all

You may not have heard of it, but Qidi Technology is a Chinese company that makes fantastic printers. I have one and it delivers amazing prints consistently while giving you room to grow as a maker. With dual extruders and a built-in enclosure, you can learn all about different materials that require hotter temperatures and even how to create multicolor prints. It's much more expensive than the other two, but if you're willing to jump in with both feet first then you would do well with the Qidi X-Pro.

Bottom line

It's a good idea to start small and cheap then work your way up when you're getting into any hobby. Sometimes that means you get really bad devices or machines that you have to spend hours fixing just so you can get it to start working, but that is not the case here.

The Monoprice Mini Pro has a lot of built-in features to get you printing from the moment you plug in. The auto leveling and simple LCD makes it possible for you to print great quality prints with zero prior knowledge. As your experience grows you can tweak and upgrade certain parts to make it even better. All of this comes from a 3D printer smaller than a normal ink printer.

Credits

James Bricknell James built his first PC when he was 13 and has never looked back. He can be found on Windows Central, usually in the corner where all the 3D printers are, or huddled around the Xbox playing the latest games.

Russell Holly Russell is a tech nerd who chases the best of everything, from phones to game consoles to laptops and everything around those categories. He likes to make cosplay items with his 3D printer, most recently the Flash!

This post may contain affiliate links. See our disclosure policy for more details.

Latest And Best Prime Day Deals

Unlock voice control with Echo device deals and $5 Amazon smart plugs
Amazon Echo devices bundled with $5 smart plugs

Amazon's Smart Plug lets you start voice controlling anything plugged into it by asking an Alexa-compatible device, and today's deal lets you snag one for only $5 with purchase of select Echo devices.

Be more productive with a year of Office 365 Home and a free $50 Amazon gift card
Office 365 Home 12-month subscription and $50 Amazon gift card
$99.99 $150.00 Save $50

The subscription works with up to six people, but that card can be all yours.

Amazon's Fire TV Cube is down to just $70 thanks to this Prime Day deal
Amazon Fire TV Cube
$69.99 $119.99 Save $50

Grab TCL's 32-inch 720p Roku TV for less than $100 in this Prime Day Lightning deal
TCL 32S325 32-inch 720p Roku TV
$99.99 $130.00 Save $30

Act fast while you can. These Lightning deals tend to sell out quick.

The Ring Alarm security system is reaching new low prices for Prime Day
Ring Alarm home security systems

Various configurations of the Ring Alarm are discounted to their best prices yet exclusively for Prime members at Amazon through Tuesday night to help keep your home secure.

The Sonos Beam Prime Day deal includes a $40 discount and 2 $50 Amazon gift cards
The Sonos Beam Prime Day deal includes a $40 discount and $100 in Amazon gift cards
$359.00 $499.00 Save $140

That's just so much savings in one deal. You'll have to wait for the physical gift cards, but that's basically $100 to spend however you want.

Prime Day dropped this PlayStation 4 console bundle to just $250
PlayStation 4 Slim 1TB console with Marvel's Spider-Man and Horizon Zero Dawn
$249.99 $359.98 Save $110

This deal on the PlayStation 4 Slim console saves you $50 off its regular price while also including Marvel's Spider-Man and Horizon Zero Dawn Complete Edition for free. You'll just need an Amazon Prime membership to snag it.

The newest device in the Echo family, the Show 5, is now down to just $50
Echo Show 5
$49.99 $89.99 Save $40

It's only been on the market since May, but it hasn't escaped the Prime Day price cuts.

More Prime Day Deals