For the last four years, my Anet A8 has been a faithful companion, and it is still one of the most popular starter printers. It came as a kit, and I recommend the kit to anyone starting in 3D printing, as it teaches you a lot about how the machine works. It's very manual, as well, so you almost have a relationship with it!
But now I have an office, and I wanted a small desktop printer.
After much deliberation I settled on the Monoprice Mini. It has mixed reviews on Amazon, but I think I know why: the people who buy this are often new to the 3D printing world. 3D printers are not quite to the point where 2D printers are, and they are tricky to run.
So, to the review!
Unboxing is very easy. Take it out and put it on your desk, slide in the filament holder and plug it in, and you are pretty much ready to go. Follow the instructions closely.
My first impression was how sturdy this thing is - it's heavy and made of sheet metal, which is very nice considering how inexpensive it is - check it out on Amazon here.
Disclosure: as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases if you use the above link. :)
The only issue I had with the first print was getting the plastic to stick to the bed. I raised the bed screws by a 1/4 of a turn and heated the bed to 60 degrees, and that seemed to do the trick. Also, keep in mind that any oil from your fingers will cause issues - I've had great success cleaning off the bed with a standard household surface cleaner.
The first print was the good old Jolly Benchy, which you can get here.
I experienced some minor over-extrusion issues and stringing, but those are easily corrected with Slicer settings. Keep in mind that this printer has a Bowden extruder system, so a larger retraction value will be needed.
You will need to buy a couple rolls of filament, as the sample that comes with the printer is not really enough to print anything substantial.
Other than that, it seems like a great little printer!
Some common problems and solutions:
- First layer doesn't stick to bed: first off, consider what material you are printing. If it is PLA, make sure the buildplate is clean - use a light household cleaner. If it is PETG, the buildplate will need to be prepped with hairspray or mousse to give it something to hold onto. Also, ensure that the buildplate is properly leveled.
- Printer makes juddering sound: ensure that the area around the printer is clear of obstructions. My issue was that the back of the bed was hitting the wall behind.