Want to purchase a 3D Resin Printer

Hello to all the beautiful Glowforge peeps. Since 2019, I have known the best of artists are in the GF community. I trust your advice and respect your knowledge of tech toys.

After watching at least 30 beginner videos regarding 3D printing —I am now even more confused.

(1) I have $1000 to spend — I want to 3D print miniatures. Maximum height of 3D printed art will be 2 or 3 inches
(2) I do not know how to design STL files
(3) I want to have a 3-D printer that is easy to use.
(4) after 3-D printing items I will want to paint them with my airbrush,

What printer would you recommend? What resin would you recommend?


I have an Elegoo Mars Pro. Cost me about $250 and I’m very pleased with it. So far, I’ve been using the water washable photopolymer resin exclusively and have no complaints. I have a new bottle of the standard resin, but have yet to use it.


I have three… a moai… but that’s a laser with galvo… stay away from those. Slow and a pain in the butt if the galvos get out of whack. A creality LD002-h… very nice and small form factor… and an anycubic Mono X mid size. Personally I would do a mid size. You may say you only want to do 2-3 inch tall minis and don’t need anything bigger. But as soon as you get it and realize how nice the prints are… and realize there are some really awesome bigger prints you’ll wish you had a larger print bed. There are some good mid size, but I personally really like the anycubics.


oh… you may want to get a wash and cure station while you are at it. Not necessary but they are very very nice to have.


Thank you my sweet,

Should I get the wash and cure station from the same company I purchase the printer from?

Hello sugar!! What is the difference in the 2 resins?

It doesn’t matter who you get the wash and cure from. Just make sure if you get a wash and cure the same size as your printer or bigger. :slight_smile:


A lot of people have issues with the water washable resin. It’s easier to work with, but there’s been many complaints about the print quality compared to normal resins. Personally I’ve not tried the water washables. I just stick to the normal stuff.

I have had good luck with the anycubic resins and the iform resins.



With the regular, you have to wash the items after the print in 90 % alcohol. The other is just a water wash. The water washable is the only one I’ve used, and I’ve been pretty happy with it, but, like some of the other comments suggest, I’ve been told the regular is more durable.


I’ve been considering getting a resin printer as well, I think one is in my future!


Why jump straight to resin for your first 3D printer?

I admit I have a bias here since I don’t have any resin printers and I’m fairly ignorant about that process, but I do own a couple of FDM machines. I’ve never been tempted to trade them in for dealing with buckets of smelly goo and solvents.

Then again, I don’t ever make super detailed figures. Most of my 3D printing seems to be various brackets to hold other things together.

Nevertheless I wonder whether a $450 Prusa Mini would fit the bill. It’s definitely within criteria 1 for budget and size, and I’d say it’s easy to use as well.


For figs and other types of high detail minis… FDM just doesn’t cut it. You can’t get that kind of detail. Especially if you are talking about newer ones with 4k, 5k, 8k screens. You really have to get the magnifying glasses out to even begin to see the layer lines in 90% of the cases. Things like top layers on rounded surfaces still stand out a bit but they are so easy to prime with a filler primer and not lose any significant detail, but still get rid of those miniscule lines that there’s really no comparison.

Then there’s the print time issue with FDM.

If you want to print one widget on an FDM printer it takes X amount of time. If you want to print TEN widgets on an FDM printer it takes X * 10 amount of time. So… 1 hour for 1 widget… or 10 hours for 10 widgets. Do that on a resin printer and 1 widget may take 1 hour (though you’ll find that print time is usually cut SIGNIFICANTLY over an FDM printer) but if you want to print 10 widgets… It still only takes 1 hour. Time to print is based entirely on layer height. Not how many miles the print head has to travel. :slight_smile:

But it’s also apples and oranges. Even with the ABS-like resins, FDM strength is superior for when you do need those brackets and such. That’s why I also have 4 FDM printers. :rofl:


Oh, one more thing. Make sure whatever you get has a monochrome screen. They last longer and cut the print time significantly. I think most printers you can buy now have switched to mono screens, but you definitely want to stay away from the old style screens. (keep in mind that screens have a lifespan just like our laser tubes… they are a consumable and will need to be replaced eventually… They do last quite some time though and with mono screens it’s significantly longer.)


I have an older Elegoo Mars printer that I’m very happy with. I’ve used water washable as well as standard resins, and have been happy with both. The water washable is easier to deal with and I haven’t had any trouble with it. For miniatures, durability isn’t really an issue anyway.

Your biggest challenge is going to be learning the software. There are free programs you can download to make models from (Blender, etc) and lots of YouTube videos on their use, but the learning curve is still pretty steep (at least for me). You can start from a commercially produced stl or obj design, but often they will consist of an outer skin that is not printable. You need to learn how to fill the skin in to make it printable. I use Meshmixer for this (MakersMuse on YouTube has videos). Then you need to use a slicer software to add supports for your particular printer. I use Prusaslicer for this; you can save the dimensions/characteristics of your resin and your printer in this program. After that I take the sliced .sl1 file into UVTools to fix islands and resin traps, and output the file in the format required by my printer (.cbddlp). That file goes on a usb drive that delivers the file to the printer.


Wow your post has a really inspired me to now learn a foreign language.

After thoroughly reading every single reply I truly believe I have a better chance of learning to read, write and speak Mandarin Chinese. Understanding 3-D printing I think at this stage in my life is going to be very challenging.

I got a little secret to tell you. I think of you every single day when I view my beautiful miniatures.


I have the very first anycubic resin printer that was released. It drives me nuts. I don’t use it anymore because it felt like after the first week, everything was a dropped print. I figure it was because it was new at the time, and they didn’t get the bugs worked out, so I’ve been wanting to get rid of this one and upgrade to a larger one. I’m just annoyed that my husband paid as much as he did for something that’s now around a hundred dollars. :rofl: :rofl:

I don’t even want to clean it though…that resin has been sitting in the vat for I don’t know how many years now…I’d donate the machine, but I think it would just give the next person a headache.


Awww, that’s sweet.

Really, it’s not as bad as it sounds. You just have to start with easy stuff. it’s possible to create some very nice 3D printed minis from free available stl files that have been printed before and been shown to work.

Go to Thingiverse.com and search for miniatures. There are literally thousands of free files. Most of them are geared toward gamers (monsters, fighters,etc) but there are still lots of non-gamer minis, and you can also shrink down larger items.

Check out Thingiverse - Digital Designs for Physical Objects. She has a bunch of cute things (little chairs and such), and you can download and play with those files to get a feel for things.

Oh, forgot to mention TinkerCAD. It’s free (web-based) and is one of the easiest programs to start with. @theroar84 has a ton of videos on it, and this article: Cardboard Cube Challenge - A TinkerCAD Skill Builder


I really want to learn to design miniatures for resin printing. These miniatures will be the accessories for the 1/64 scale dioramas I make for the eBay store.

After reading all the replies I think I know which 3-D printer I would like to have. So now I have to go back to YouTube with that specific printer.

I want you to know I really really really really miss everyone so very much!!! I’m still here but not as often.


For what you want to do I think Blender is a good way to go in the software. I believe it has an .stl output option though I have no idea how the result would work in the printers mentioned.
I bought a large area FDM printer, planning to use it where the Glowforge cannot go and to use the Glowforge for any flat area. But I have found setting up far harder than the Glowforge.

1 Like

Do you have an iPad with Pencil?

Nomad Sculpt is very similar to desktop ZBrush with a more intuitive iPad interface and costs around $12.


It’s not really necessary to generate .STL natively out of your modeling software (tho most will) - most slicers can import common 3D files such as .OBJ, .FBX, .DAE, etc.
There are a lot of simple tools for making models watertight if they aren’t already. Windows has built in 3D Builder, Meshmixer is free and avail for Mac.