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Lulzbot Mini Review

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PROS / The LulzBot Mini prints using a wide variety of filament types, including PLA, ABS, HIPS, nylon and more.

CONS / You have to keep your computer connected to the printer for the duration of the print.

 VERDICT / If you have a dedicated computer, the LulzBot Mini can quickly produce high-quality prints in a variety of colors and filaments.

3D printers like the LulzBot Mini are smaller versions of successful printer siblings. Similar to the LulzBot TAZ, the Mini has stellar print quality, a variety of filament options and a sturdy frame. If you need a printer for small projects only, the Mini is a quick and easy printing companion.

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The LulzBot Mini really excels when it comes to print quality. It has a 0.05 to 0.5 mm print layer height and can successfully prints high-resolution, seamless prints. Our test prints had crisp corners, printed accurately each time and were extremely tidy, leaving no wisps or bridging fails to clean up. Our expert test group ranked the models printed on the Mini among the very best in our 3D printer comparison – they had better structural integrity and were more accurate than models made with many of the other printers we tested.

  1. The build volume indicates the size of models you can print.
    More is Better.
  2. 8 Lulzbot Mini
    18.5 in.
  3. 24.9 in.
  4. 30.5 in.
  5. 31.8 in.
  6. Category Average
    26.50 in.

The print plate is very small; at 6 x 6 x 6.2 inches, it's one of the smallest on our lineup. The printer itself is a great size, but a larger print plate would allow it to print more substantial models.

One challenge of 3D printing is calibrating your printer. The LulzBot Mini does all the calibrations automatically. This printer tests the print height, levels the print bed and cleans the nozzle before each job, so your prints are successful every time.

The LulzBot Mini can create models from PLA, ABS, HIPS, PVA and many other types of filament. These printing materials are all available from LulzBot directly, and they cost less than those you can buy from other manufacturers. You can also use universal cartridges as long as the filament is 3 mm, but LulzBot recommends only using proprietary filament.

This 19-pound printer is sturdy and has an aluminum and steel chassis. Its size, weight and materials provide a solid platform for your precise prints. The glass print plate is covered with PEI, which heats better than glass alone to prevent warping, and it also makes it easy to remove your finished models. The LulzBot Mini doesn’t have an onboard control screen, but the software is a proficient substitute. Like all 3D printers, the Mini has its idiosyncrasies. We found that wasn’t the easiest printer to use, but if you have a general understanding of how 3D printers work, you shouldn’t have any difficulties maintaining, fixing and using this printer.

3D printing technology has come a long way in recent years, and some printers have Wi-Fi or can print untethered from your computer using an SD card or flash drive. However, the LulzBot Mini can only print when tethered to your computer, which means you have to use a USB cable to connect your machine to your computer for the duration of your 3D print.

The Mini uses Cura for LulzBot software, and it is extremely easy to work with and has plenty of customizable options for advanced users. Printrun works in conjunction with Cura to help you control all aspects of your printer, including temperature, head placement and extrusion. If you prefer, you can use another software like MatterControl or Slic3r.

The printer comes with maintenance tools and a USB cable to keep your printer in working order and to help scrape prints off the print bed. A filament cartridge is not included, so you need to purchase one before you can print anything.

The LulzBot Mini is an affordable 3D printer that boasts a one-year warranty, which is longer than other comparable printers. On the LulzBot website, you'll find email and phone technical support options, a user forum, FAQs, tutorials, and an extensive manual to answer all of your questions. We found during testing that support representatives were quick to respond, had helpful suggestions that actually worked, and were kind and friendly.

Summary

In our 3D printer comparison, the LulzBot Mini stands out as producer of first-rate 3D printed models. This 3D printer, albeit it small, creates prints that are accurate and well-built. Although its connectivity options are not as advanced as those of other printers, the LulzBot Mini is a terrific option for small, high-quality 3D designs.

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