While I can’t say it is an affordable 3D printer, LulzBot Mini is a very good 3D printer. And to a good extent, it is a plug & Play 3D printer. One that requires less tinkering compared to many other 3d printers I reviewed. Thanks to the auto-leveling feature & the auto-nozzle cleaning, as well as the different settings profiles for different filament materials. Which will save you from having to experiment with different settings in Cura LulzBot Edition. Not to forget the PEI print surface, which save you from having to apply adhesive material on the surface.
With all the different filament types that works with it, LulzBot Mini is a good 3D printer to be used for long-term. Even if you only printed with PLA or ABS. It is a matter of time before you will want to try out some of the many different filament materials out there.
In short, LulzBot Mini is one of these 3D printers I totally recommend to anyone who is serious about 3D printing.
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- Has printing head auto-leveling feature. Which will save you a lot of time compared to the printers that requires you to do that manually.
- Easy to use compared to many other 3D printers.
- Can print as accurately as 50 micron.
- Has a PEI print surface that doesn’t require applying adhesive or anything else.
- Supports a wide variety of filaments.
- The printing bed is considered kinda small.
- Must be connected to the computer to be used.
- Has many ease-of-use features including auto-bed leveling, auto-nozzle cleaning, an easy carry handle, and a low maintenance PEI print surface.
- Print Volume: 6 inch x 6inch x 6.2inch (152mm x 152mm x 158mm).
- Can print with layer resolution as fine as 50 micron and as coarse as 500 micron, depending on part geometry and speed/finish requirements
- The LulzBot Hexagon all metal hot end can heat to 300ｰC (572ｰF) and the print bed can heat to 120ｰC (248ｰF),
- both software configurable for advanced users. Material versatility is built-in
Compatible with many 3D printing software programs, like:- Cura LulzBot Edition comes standard, OctoPrint, BotQueue, Slic3r, Printrun, MatterControl, and more.
- Supports a wide variety of filaments. Like ABS, Alloy 910, bambooFill, Bridge Nylon, bronzeFill, Cleaning, Coffee PLA, Conductive PLA, copperFill, HIPS, INOVA-1800, Laybrick, Laywoo-D3 (LayWood), Magnetic Iron PLA, n-vent, nGen, Nylon 618, Nylon 645, PC-ABS Alloy, PCTPE, PLA, Polycarbonate, Stainless Steel PLA, t-glase, woodFill.
LulzBot Mini comes in a metal frame, but it is not enclosed at all. That mean you place it where children can’t access it while it is printing. It has a carry handle on the top to make it easy to move around.
LulzBot Mini is very easy to set up. Since it is fully-assembled, there is no assembling process for you to do, and to a great degree, this is one of the 3D printers that is closest to plug & play so far (more on that later in this review). The printing bed auto-leveling can save you the trouble of having to level the bed yourself. Something many other 3D printers requires you to do manually. Just make sure the print head is cleaned periodically so that the auto-leveling won’t fail.
LulzBot Mini supports printing resolution down to 50 micron, and up to 500 micron. The smaller the number here, the more accurate your print will be, but the more you will have to wait for it to finish. 3D printers tend to print up 100 micron, so LulzBot Mini has a little advantage when it comes to this.
One of the reasons I said LulzBot Mini is very close to be a plug & play 3D printer is the auto-nozzle cleaning feature. Every time & before printing begins, LulzBot Mini will clean the nozzle using the nozzle wiping pad located at the back of the printing bed. You may still need to clean your nozzle yourself from time to time, as well as cleaning the nozzle wiping pad itself. But this feature is still very welcome
LulzBot Mini comes with a new kind of printing bed, or low maintenance PEI print surface as it is called. With normal printing beds, you will likely need to apply an adhesive like glue or hairspray to make sure the print stick to the bed during printing, something that is crucial to the success of your print. With PEI print surface, the printing bed becomes adhesive on its own once heated, which is quite a convenient, and it is one of the reasons why LulzBot Mini is kinda a plug & play 3D printer. PEI print surface is consumable and you will need to replace it every time it wears off.
Once printing is done, you will need to wait until the print cool down for you to remove it. LulzBot Mini’s printing bed will move forward once you reach that point.
Since LulzBot Mini is a mini printer, its print volume is 6 inch x 6 inch x 6.2 inch, so you can’t print larger objects on it on one go. But you still have the option to print the part in two installment then glue the two parts together. And when it comes to loudness. LulzBot Mini is a kinda loud 3D printer.
One of the things I didn’t like about LulzBot Mini is how it needs to be connected to your printer all the time. It doesn’t have a SD card or wifi, something I have seen in some of the cheaper 3D printers. My guess is that Lulzbot was focusing on quality with this 3D printer too much they forgot to add these features.
When it comes to the supported filament, LulzBot Mini supports a wide variety of it, thanks to the metal printing head, which can be heated to 300º Heated. As well as the heated bed, which can be heated up to 120ºC. The supported materials are ABS, Alloy 910, bambooFill, Bridge Nylon, bronzeFill, Cleaning, Coffee PLA, Conductive PLA, copperFill, HIPS, INOVA-1800, Laybrick, Laywoo-D3 (LayWood), Magnetic Iron PLA, n-vent, nGen, Nylon 618, Nylon 645, PC-ABS Alloy, PCTPE, PLA, Polycarbonate, Stainless Steel PLA, t-glase & woodFill.
Out of the box, LulzBot Mini ships with HIPS filament, which stands for High-impact polystyrene. HIPS filament creates objects that are light-weight & easy to paint with any color you want. Which makes it easy to get great looking & durable printed objects with this filament. Another advantage of HIPS is that it dissolve with Limonene, so it can be used to print support for objects made by another filament type (you can’t do that with LulzBot Mini though).
Since LulzBot Mini supports printing with the standard filament types, I think it is important to give you an introduction on the most two common filament types.
PLA is environmentally-friendly filament that is made of corn starch, which makes it smell nice when heated & melt. It melts in lower temperature than ABS, which makes it unsuitable to printing objects to place outdoor. ABS filament, on the other hand, is capable to withstand that, as it melts on higher temperature. But that also require 3D printers to be equipped with a heated printing bed to be able to print with it (LulzBot Mini has that by the way).
LulzBot Mini comes with Cura LulzBot Edition, the software you will use to control your LulzBot Mini. As well as prepare your files for printing. To avoid running into problems, you need to make sure to select the correct printer from within the software.
The first time you start Cura LulzBot Edition, you will find yourself in the Quick Print mode, which gives you fewer options, but is easier to use. I suggest you stay in this mode until you get used to 3D printing. The Quick Print mode allows you to select the filament material type, as well as the final quality of the objects (High, normal or low). Along with few other settings.
Once you get experienced with 3D printing, you can switch to the Full Settings mode. Note that once you revert to this mode, Cura will revert to generic settings that may not produce satisfactory prints. To make your life easier, I recommend that you download the optimized profiles for different types of materials made by Lulzbot here. The link contains instructions on how to load the profiles, as well as recommended temperatures for each filament type. At the time of writing this review, there were profiles for 28 types of filaments.
Besides Cura LulzBot Edition, LulzBot Mini is compatible with other 3D printing software like OctoPrint, BotQueue, Slic3r, Printrun, MatterControl, and more
To help you avoid problems with your LulzBot Mini, I included a video on how to solve auto-leveling problems that may arise in the future. I hope the video will help you avoid problems like that.
Despite its price, LulzBot Mini is a great 3D printer. It is a plug & Play 3D printer in many aspects. Thanks to the many features that decrease the amount of tinkering you have to do with it. While its printing area is not big, this is okay in case you don’t plan to print big objects often, or you are fine with printing them in two installments.
Along with the ability to use many filament type, LulzBot Mini is one of the best 3D printers I reviewed so far. And one I totally recommend you to get.
I hope you liked my LulzBot Mini review, and see you again in another review. ^^