Best intermediate 3d printer

Monoprice Delta Mini V2 3D printer review: Great for beginners

Tom's Guide Verdict

The Monoprice Delta Mini V2 is an excellent 3D printer for the price, and a good way to get started in 3D printing if you don’t want to pay up for the Monoprice Voxel or Polaroid PlaySmart.


  • +

    Low cost, fully-featured 3D printer

  • +

    Prints PLA, ABS, PETG, and other materials

  • +

    Excellent print quality for the price

  • -

    The software has some rough edges

  • -

    Prints are limited to 4.3 inches in diameter

  • -

    Can’t work with flexible materials

Why you can trust Tom's Guide Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

Monoprice Delta Mini V2 3D printer: Specs

Price: $199.99
Type: Delta Fused Filament Deposition (FFD) 3D printer
Filament Size: 1. 75mm
Filament Type: PLA, ABS, PETG, Other
Interfaces: USB, WiFi
Storage: Micro SD
Size: 9.75 x 8.5 x 14.5 inches
Weight: 2.2 pounds

Even though it sports an unusual look for a 3D printer, there’s something familiar about the Monoprice Delta Mini V2. That’s because this is actually the second version of this device — we reviewed the original Monoprice Mini Delta a while back when it was a low-cost if flawed way to get started in 3D printing.

Does the new version address those flaws, which included unreliable USB connections and printing modes along with other bugs? Our Monoprice Delta Mini V2 3D printer review finds a much improved device, though software remains a weak spot.

Monoprice Delta Mini V2 3D printer review: Price

  • Monoprice Mini Delta V2 3D Printer (Black) at Amazon for $179.99

You can get the Monoprice Delta Mini V2 3D printer for $179, a very attractive price for entry-level printers. Consider that our top rated choice for best 3d printer — the Monoprice Voxel — costs $449, that’s quite a bargain.

The Monoprice Delta Mini V2 is available directly from Monoprice .

The Monoprice Delta Mini V2 is a cute little printer, measuring just 14.5 inches high.  While most 3D printers use left-right and forward-back rails that the print head slides along, the Delta 2 uses three spider-like arms, with the print head attached in the middle. Move one of these legs up, and the print head moves in that direction. By coordinating all three legs, the Monoprice Delta Mini V2 can move the print head anywhere in the print area. 

(Image credit: Monoprice)

It’s a rather compelling motion to watch, but it does have one limitation: the print area is circular and is smaller than a more standard printer of the same size. For the Mini Delta 2, the print area has a diameter of just over 4.3 inches and a height of just over 4.7 inches. That’s a total of about 81 cubic inches, which is somewhat smaller than the 107 cubic inches provided by the Polaroid Playsmart.

(Image credit: Monoprice)

The Delta Mini V2 features several ways to connect to the outside world, including a micro SD card slot, a Micro USB port and a Wi-Fi interface. The latter option is of limited use, though — you can’t control the printer over a web interface or connect to it directly with a slicing app to send files. Instead, Wi-fi only works through a rather poor mobile app.

Monoprice Delta Mini V2 3D printer review: Controls

You’ve got several options for controlling the Delta Mini V2 — an on-device display, the PoloPrint Pro app, or through a slicer app such as Cura.

The small touch screen on the printer itself can be used with a fingertip or with an included plastic stylus. The latter is preferable, especially for precise jobs like entering a Wi-Fi password via the on-screen keyboard. Fingertips are fine for simpler jobs like pressing the start button, though. 

(Image credit: Monoprice)

The pre-release version of the PoloPrint Pro app that I tried is available for both iOS and Android. It’s a bit rough around the edges: I found that it often crashed or failed to connect to the printer. When it did work, I was able to start a print from the micro SD card or from the online library and monitor the print progress, although there is no camera in this low-cost printer that lets you see the print in progress. Another omission here is the ability to load your own models and print them from the app; Monoprice told us that this might be added at a later date.

The best way to set up a print is with a slicing app such as Cura. A customized version of this open-source program for Windows and Mac is included on the micro SD card that comes with the Monoprice Delta Mini V2, and that is what we used to print in our tests. This doesn’t support connecting to the printer over WiFi, but it does support USB or saving a print file to the micro SD card. So, if you are using Cura to prepare prints, you have to use USB or micro SD to print.

Monoprice Delta Mini V2 3D printer review: Print process

The Delta Mini V2 is a pretty simple printer to use. Once you’ve created your print file in Cura or another program and copied it onto the micro SD card, you hit the print button in the on-screen menu and select the file to start printing.

The first thing the Delta Mini does is automatically level the print bed, touching the print head to the bed in three places to press a switch underneath it. That lets the printer know exactly where the print bed is— an important step for laying down an even first layer. Once ready, the Delta Mini lays down the first print layer on the heated print bed, then moves up to do subsequent layers.

I found that prints worked well, with few errors and no major failures. If anything, prints stuck to the print bed a little *too* well, as I usually had to pry the final print off the bed with a paint scraper. 

The Delta Mini V2 can handle multiple filament types including PLA, ABS, and PETG. You’re not restricted to filament from any one source, as the Monprice 3D printer can use 1.75mm filament from any manufacturer. We tested the Delta Mini with both PLA and ABS material and found it produced excellent results with both. 

Your biggest limitation will be the maximum temperature of the print head and the print bed (250℃ and 100℃ respectively). The Delta Mini V2 also can’t handle flexible materials, as these require a different style of print head. 

Monoprice Delta Mini V2 3D printer review: Print speed

The Delta Mini V2 is a pretty fast printer in draft mode: it cranked out a 3.5-inch high Thinker figure in a little more than 3.5 hours in this mode, which uses a 0.2 mm layer height. The 3D printer is a blit slower if you run it in normal quality, as my print took 7 hours and 10 minutes. This mode halves the height of each individual layer to 0.1mm.

Monoprice Delta Mini V2 3D printer review: Print quality

We use several test models to test 3D printers, including a scan of Rodin’s Thinker statue, a set of gears and a geometric sculpture. I was impressed with the quality of the prints that the Delta Mini 2 produced, thanks to the excellent detail.  

Image 1 of 3

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)(Image credit: Tom's Guide)(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Our Thinker test print came out looking very nice, with smooth, natural curves on his shoulders and good detail on the face. There was some noticeable layering, though in both the draft and normal modes.

Image 1 of 3

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)(Image credit: Tom's Guide)(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Our gears test model also came out well: All we had to do to fit the gears together was to remove them from the raft that they were printed on. We didn’t need to do any other trimming, cutting, or tweaking to produce a set of gears that turned smoothly and evenly.

Image 1 of 2

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The geometric sculpture is a difficult print, which is why we use it in our 3D printer testing. It involves printing a lot of sharp edges at angles, which taxes the ability of the printer to precisely control the flow of the molten filament. The Delta Mini V2 handled it without issues, producing a print that had sharp, well-defined edges and points. Once we had trimmed off the support material that held the print in place during the printing process, we were left with a very well printed, spiky sculpture.

Monoprice Delta Mini V2 3D printer review: Verdict

The Monoprice Delta Mini V2 is a simple printer that does an excellent job. It prints quickly in high quality and can handle a wide range of different materials. The only limitation is the size of the print bed: with a diameter of 4.3 inches, it can’t print anything wider than that or more than 4.7 inches high. That is plenty big for most users, though, and at the price, you can’t beat the value the Delta Mini V2 offers. 

The mobile software issues still prove to be frustrating, but it’s hard to find a better printer at this low of a price. The da Vinci Nano from XYZprinting hovers around $200, but it can be hard to find these days. For that reason, beginners would be wise to give 3D printing a try on a low-cost option like the Monoprice Delta Mini V2.

Monoprice Mini Delta V2 3D Printer: Price Comparison



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Richard Baguley has been working as a technology writer and journalist since 1993. As well as contributing to Tom's Guide, he writes for Cnet, T3, Wired and many other publications.

Monoprice Voxel 3D printer review: The best value for 3D printing beginners

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There's a lot to like with the Monoprice Voxel, a neat 3D printer that produces high-quality prints

Editor's Choice

Tom's Guide Verdict

Home and educational users will find a lot to like with the Monoprice Voxel, a neat 3D printer that produces high-quality prints at a low cost and that's one of the best budget 3D printers you can buy.

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    Excellent print quality

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    Fast print speed

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    Easy to use with cloud software

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    Heated print bed

Why you can trust Tom's Guide Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

Today's best monoprice voxel deals







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The Monoprice Voxel is a neat, low-priced 3D printer that offers a lot for the home user. For a relatively low price, you get a 3D printer that can handle PLA and ABS filament with equally high print quality while also offering a decent-size fully enclosed build space.

The MP Voxel has are some rough edges, however: Buggy firmware and so-so software make printing a bit more difficult than it should be. Even so, the MP Voxel is an attractively priced package for school or home use, and it produces high-quality prints, and we think it's among the best 3D printers you can buy, especially for budget models.

Monoprice Voxel review: Price and availability

  • Monoprice Voxel (Black) at Walmart for $537.14

These days, you'll find the Monoprice Voxel available at Monoprice's website for $449. But some online retailers, including Amazon , offer the 3D printer at a discount, with the price often falling below $400.

That's not the cheapest price we've seen on a printer — you can get the XYZprinting da Vinci Nano for about $250 less. But it's a pretty good value for a printer aimed at novices.

The MP Voxel has a simple, dark design, with an enclosed frame of black plastic. Clear panels that you can lift off cover the front and top of the enclosure, providing access to the print area and the mechanism. The print volume is 6.9 inches on each side, for a total of about 329 cubic inches. That’s big enough to handle most objects.

(Image credit: Monoprice)

The print base is heated, which makes printing materials such as ABS much easier and more reliable. It is also easy to remove prints from the MP Voxel, as the whole top of the print bed slides out; it’s also bendable, which helps with lifting the print off.

(Image credit: Monoprice)

A small LCD touch screen on the front of the printer provides on-device controls. They’re mostly easy to use, though I found it a little awkward to enter things like a WPA key on the small, on-screen keyboard. Once the MP Voxel is connected to the Polar Cloud service, though, you don't need to use it for much, so it's not a major problem.

Monoprice Voxel: Setup and controls

The MP Voxel is a mostly plug-and-play printer. All the setup required was to unbox it, plug it in and load filament; then, you’re ready to print. The process is not without issues, though. Despite a firmware update, I couldn't connect the printer to my Wi-Fi network. I wasn't able to figure out why and ended up using the wired ethernet connection instead, which worked without issues.

(Image credit: Monoprice)

Loading the filament for printing is also easy. The filament reel fits into a space on the side of the printer body, and the filament feeds up through a tube into the body and the printhead. Once you load the filament into this tube, it's fed into the printhead automatically.

The Voxel also works with the Polar Cloud, a free online service that allows you to control and monitor the printer from any web-connected device. Polar Cloud also supports the Voxel's built-in camera, so you can see the print in progress from a smartphone or tablet. We found this service to be simple to use, and it is definitely the easiest way to use this printer.

Test Print

Once registered with Polar Cloud, you can upload 3D files or create them in a basic editor. These models can then be prepared for printing and sent directly to the printer from the web — no PC required. Alternatively, you can download and use the MP Flashpoint software, available for Windows and Mac , to control the printer over USB or your local network. This software is fairly easy to use, offering the usual approach of loading a 3D model, basic editing and then outputting it to the printer or a file. This software was somewhat prone to seemingly random crashes in our tests, though.

Monoprice Voxel review: Print speed

We found that the MP Voxel was a fast printer, producing our Thinker test print in between 3.5 hours and 5 hours and 21 minutes for draft and normal quality. 

Normal Quality

That's a short time to produce a 4.5-inch tall print, and is comparable to more expensive printers such as the Lulzbot Taz Mini 2, which took about the same time. It's also much faster than XYZprinting's daVinci Nano, which took more than 7 hours to produce the same print. Another budget printer, the Polaroid PlaySmart 3D, is faster, though it usually costs more than the Monoprice Voxel.

Monoprice Voxel review: Print quality

We were impressed with the quality of prints from the MP Voxel. Our Thinker model came out with great detail and smooth, natural curves and surfaces. There were some glitches in the draft mode, which looked like random bumps on the surface of the print. These were much less evident when we printed again using the Standard mode of the Polar Cloud software, though, which produced a much cleaner, smoother print.

Our test model of a set of gears also came out well, with the gears fitting and screwing together neatly. We only needed to do a little trimming to get rid of the odd, stray whiskers of filament.

Monoprice Voxel review: Verdict

The Monoprice Voxel represents a sweet spot of 3D printing at the moment, delivering a lot of features, high print quality and fast printing for a decent price. For around $400, it is more expensive than some entry- level printers, costing twice as much as the XYZ da Vinci Nano, though it's still not as costly as the Polaroid PlaySmart. The MP Voxel gives you a lot more for your money than less expensive printers for novices, with support for cloud printing and the heated print bed that makes printing both easier and cheaper.

For that reason, the MP Voxel is a great pick for the casual user who is interested in 3D printing or a school or small office that wants to have a printer that several people can use.

Richard Baguley has been working as a technology writer and journalist since 1993. As well as contributing to Tom's Guide, he writes for Cnet, T3, Wired and many other publications.

Tom's Guide is part of Future US Inc, an international media group and leading digital publisher. Visit our corporate site .

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top 10 rating according to KP

A 3D printer opens up incredible opportunities for a person. The first prototype of such a device was born back in 1984. The idea of ​​​​the invention belongs to the American Charles Hull, he received a patent for it only two years after development. The printer was a rather massive industrial installation and, despite many inaccuracies and shortcomings in operation, the technology was used.

Hal co-founded 3dsystems, a leader in industrial 3D printers. However, this material is not dedicated to these large machines. 3D printing is becoming more and more part of everyday life. Thus, the technology is used to create unique toys, various models, figurines, packaging, clothes, shoes and jewelry. For these purposes, it is not at all necessary to purchase a large-sized printer. You can get by with a small device. It has a compact size, and its technology is completely identical to the industrial one. Heated plastic is fed through the nozzle (spout) of the device, which is laid out on the surface in accordance with the drawing specified in the program. And if earlier such a device was a luxury that only a few can afford, today a 3D printer is available to everyone. nine0003

Top 10 rating according to KP

1. Creality3D Ender 3

Creality3D Ender 3. Photo:

Our rating opens with a model from the world's largest manufacturer of 3D printers. The Ender 3 features an elegant and thoughtful design, excellent print quality and a wide build area. Manufacturers have provided a good arrangement of wires that do not get confused during operation. The small control unit of the device is located to the right of the work surface. The gadget prints perfectly with various types of plastic. In particular, we are talking about varieties of ABS, PLA, TPU and PETG. The scope of this printer is quite wide. It can be used to produce minifigures, do artistic modeling, and make small prototypes of parts and functional elements. nine0003

Main characteristics
Print technology fdm/fff/pjp
Field PLA, Wood
Workspace width 220 mm
Workspace height 250 mm
The depth of the workspace 220 mm
Features Heated table, displays, active cooling, nozzle change, USB, Micro SD
Press speed 180 mm/sec
Number of extruders 1
Pros and cons

Possibility of using various types of plastic, high quality of parts, reliable design

A small display that displays only basic information


FlashForge Adventurer 3 FlashForge Adventurer 3. Photo:

The model from the Chinese developer FlashForge took the second position in our rating. The device is equipped with a Wi-Fi receiver, a removable heated pad for printing. In addition, manufacturers have provided a built-in webcam, a closed case and a color touch-screen display. The latter, although it does not support the Russian language, is intuitively understandable. The ergonomics of the device is provided by the filament sensor: if the printer runs out of plastic, it automatically goes into standby mode and does not idle. nine0017 Features Heated table, display, active cooling, Change of nozzles Connection Wi-Fi, USB Extruders Compatibility with operations /Unix 3D model file format STL, OBJ

Pros and cons

Webcam and Wi-Fi receiver allows you to monitor the work, unusual design, simplicity from anywhere in the world in the setup, the presence of a filament sensor

Despite the rather wide functionality, this model is hardly suitable for an experienced printer or a small production due to the small area of ​​​​the working space, high price


FlyingBear Ghost 5 FlyingBear Ghost 5. Photo: from FlyingBear is ideal for semi-professional use. Uniform supply of filament (plastic) provides good opportunities for creating three-dimensional figures with a fairly high resolution. High productivity is achieved thanks to the transparent Dual Drive extruder with BMG double drive. The gadget has a body closed on three sides. Its walls are made of heat-resistant non-toxic ABS plastic. This protection prevents the accumulation of dust on the working parts of the device, which greatly facilitates the maintenance of the printer. The device is controlled using a 3.5-inch color TFT display. nine0003
Main characteristics
, SD , SD 9001
Print technology fdm/fff/pjp
Field for house/diy, initial level
Open Camera Open Camera Open Cam ABS, PLA, Wood, HIPS
Workspace width 255 mm
Workspace height 210 mm
Working space 210 mm
Features Heated table, display, active cooling, nozzle adjustment, temperature control
Connection Wi-Fi, SD
Print speed (extruder speed) 150mm/s
Number of extruders 1
Printing accuracy X, Y 0. 01 mm
Positioning accuracy Z 0.002 mm
Pros and cons

Short power cord, inaccuracies in the Russian-language menu, weak airflow system.

4. Anet N4

Anet N4. Photo:

The budget model from the Chinese manufacturer Anet N4 is equipped with all the necessary functions for a small domestic production. The base of the device is made of cast aluminum alloy. The weight of the gadget does not exceed 9kg. A transparent tinted hood protects the work surface from external sources of ultraviolet radiation. It can be removed to remove the finished product and clean the printer. Also, manufacturers have provided a removable resin bath and a working platform, which greatly facilitates the use of the device.

Key Features
Print Technology LCD
Application Home/DIY Professional 30 mm/h
Pros and cons

Ability to use photopolymer resins from any manufacturer, high polymer curing speed

Small work surface, slightly inferior to competitors in some parameters

Photon Scu0bic0 Anycu0bic08 5. S. Photo:

In the middle of our rating is the Anycubic Photon S model. It is equipped with an advanced optical system and a large working camera. The device has a matrix light source that provides a uniform luminous flux over the entire plane of the desktop. This allows a very high curing speed of the layers to be achieved. In addition, the printer has an original function that allows you to simultaneously print eight identical models. According to the developers, the target audience for this device are orthodontists and jewelers. Most parts of the device are made of plastic. This factor significantly reduces the weight of the device and makes it convenient to transport. nine0018 115 mm Connection USB Print speed (extruder speed) 20 mm/second

Plus and minuses

High printing quality

Small worktop

6. ELEGOO Mars Pro

ELEGOO Mars Pro. Photo:

This model is significantly different from its predecessor Elegoo Mars. Thanks to the advanced Z-axis mechanics and directional UV light from the diode array, it is suitable not only for hobbies, but also for fields of activity such as dentistry and jewelry. In addition, the developers moved the USB connector to the front of the device. Now there is no need to constantly rotate the gadget in the process. The weight of the device is only 7.5 kg, which makes it very convenient for transportation. A translucent plastic cover will reliably protect against extraneous radiation and will allow you to monitor the production process. nine0003

The main characteristics
Print technology LCD
Scope for home/diy, for medicine
Print speed: (layer build-up) 22. 5 mm/h
Print precision X, Y 0.047 mm
Positioning accuracy Z 0.125 mm
The wavelength of light source 405 Nm
PLASS AND MINCOUS COUREDENDENT, LIGHT price, good UF-Room Light 9,0008 7. Two Trees Bluer
Two Trees Bluer. Photo:

This is one of the most popular home models of 3D printers. It is ideal for getting acquainted with technology, various experiments, training and prototyping. Distinctive features of Two Trees Bluer are: "quiet" drivers, which are the engine of the device, a heated table, two-way airflow and a thread break sensor. The mechanics of the printer is quite simple, and at the same time very effective. The open type case will be very convenient when cleaning the work surface. The firmware of the device provides the functions of auto-calibration and automatic resumption of printing in case the power was accidentally turned off. nine0018

Pros and cons

Low price, easy and convenient to use

Lack of protection for the work surface, poor quality of spare parts

8. Wanhao Duplicator i3 Mini

Duplicator Mini i3. Photo:

Miniature 3D printer does not look like other devices. However, this feature does not affect its technical characteristics. The plastic spool is located on the right side of the bracket. Wanhao branded coating is pasted over the table. There is no platform heating, so it is recommended to use PLA plastic for printing. The manufacturer clearly states in the manual that the printer is designed to work only with PLA material and nothing else. The body of the gadget is made of sheet steel. The memory card slot and all printer control elements - a monochrome liquid crystal display, a universal knob-button and a Reset micro-button - are placed on the front panel of the printer. nine0003

The main characteristics

The main characteristics
Print technology FDM/FFF/PJP
Field Educational, for House/DIY, for medicine
Openly Camera Open PLA
Working space width 120 mm
Working space height 100 mm
The depth of the workspace 135 mm
Features displays, active cooling, speed control, temperature control
USB, SD card
) 70 mm/s
Number of extruders 1
Printing accuracy X, Y 0. 012 mm
for printing 9001
Print technology FDM/FFF/PJP
Scope Educational, for the house/DIY, Industrial, Professional Material
ABS, Flex, Nylon, PLA, PETG, SBS, CopperFILL, DuraForm TPU
Working width 220 mm
The height of the workspace 250 mm
Dent of the workspace 220 mm
Features Heated table, Active streaming, Control adjustment, Tempension
USB, micro-SD
Print speed (extruder speed) 150 mm/s,
Number of extruders 1
Pros and cons

Spacious work surface, robust housing

Little functionality for a rather high price, lack of work surface protection, few functions on the control screen.

10. Tianfour Sparkmaker

Tianfour Sparkmaker. Photo:

This model is ideal for beginners, as it does not require additional settings at all before starting work. Externally, the printer has the shape of a cylinder with a height of 27.5 cm and a diameter of 17 cm. The realistic contours and smooth curves of the figures are ensured by LCD technology. The printer works with any photopolymer resins for 3D printing with a flash length of 405nm. nine0003

How to choose a 3D printer

Choosing a 3D printer is not such a difficult task as it might seem at first glance. Despite the relentless interest in 3D printing and the incredible number of devices on the market, the basic requirements for models remain unchanged. Komsomolskaya Pravda turned to Svyatoslav Vulf, a blogger and host of a YouTube channel about modern technologies and experiments, for help in this matter. He regularly monitors new products on the 3D technology market and tests them at home. nine0003

Product size

Initially, you should decide what size of products you expect to receive in the end. The required area of ​​​​the working surface depends on this. Note that the price of the device also depends on the size of the latter. For work at home, there will be enough indicators: 200 × 250 × 200 (WxHxD).


Today, there are several technologies for printing on a 3D printer. They differ significantly from each other. Let's consider some of them. nine0003

SLA-technology — works on the basis of a liquid photopolymer, which under the influence of laser light changes its physical properties and hardens. It allows you to create figurines with the highest precision of microforms.

DLP technology is an alternative SLA method. However, instead of laser systems, LED projectors are used here, which significantly reduce the cost of 3D printers. When using this technology, the future prototype is formed layer by layer. nine0003

The FDM method is ideal when prototypes are required that will be actively used and not just sitting on a shelf. Here, high-strength industrial plastics will be used for production. Please note that there are other technologies, but they are very similar to the above.


Before buying a printer, you should also pay attention to what materials it works with, as they have significant differences from each other. For example, ABS can take many different polymeric forms. This is a very durable plastic. It is easily sanded and processed. PLA plastic is considered more environmentally friendly. It is made from agricultural products - corn, potatoes, beets and others. In its original form, it is transparent and can be colored. PLA is just as strong but tougher than ABS. The ductility and heat resistance of SBS make it the material of choice in engineering and mechanical applications. nine0003

Noise level and drivers

An important factor when choosing a 3D printer are drivers - device engines (not to be confused with software). They affect the overall noise level of the device. For example, if you buy a printer with cheap A4988, then even neighbors will hear its work. In this case, you should pay a little more and purchase a gadget with more expensive drivers.


Some manufacturers prepare the model completely before sale. The buyer can only get the printer out of the box and connect the power. However, there are some models that require self-assembly. Be sure to consider this factor before purchasing. If you are purchasing such a device for the first time, then it will not be easy for you to assemble it. nine0003

REC Wiki » Best 3D printing software in 2022

3D printing is a multi-step process, because you first need to design a 3D model, check it for errors, convert it to machine code, and only then does 3D work. a printer. In this article, we will share examples of programs that can help at every stage of preparatory work and directly during 3D printing.


1. 3D modeling software:

  • Tinkercad
  • ZBrushCoreMini
  • 3D Builder
  • SketchUp Free
  • Fusion 360
  • FreeCAD
  • Blender

2. Editing and repairing STL files:

  • Meshmixer
  • MeshLab

3. Slicers:

  • Cura
  • PrusaSlicer
  • ideaMaker
  • ChiTuBox Basic
  • Lychee Slicer
  • Kiri:Moto
  • IceSL

4. Control programs:

  • OctoPrint
  • MatterControl 2.0
  • AstroPrint

5. G-code visualizers

  • UVTools
  • WebPrinter
  • Gcode Analyzer
  • Design Software
1. 3D modeling software

If you are ready to create from scratch, you will have to learn special 3D modeling software. Many of them, especially professional computer-aided design systems, can be expensive investments, but on the other hand, there are plenty of quite capable and at the same time free offers on the market.


Tinkercad is a browser-based application from Autodesk that, due to its simplicity, is perfect for users with zero experience, even children. In this program, 3D models are built on the basis of basic blocks - simple geometric shapes that are joined together and then "filed" to the finished look. You can also convert 2D vector images into 3D models. Of course, you have to pay for simplicity - in the case of Tinkercad, rather primitive functionality that makes it difficult to create truly complex models. But such a task is not worth it: having gained basic skills on Tinkercad, you can always move on to more complex and more capable programs on our list. nine0003

Official website


ZBrushCoreMini is primarily a 3D sculpting tool, especially popular among those who create human and animal figures, computer game and comic book characters, and the like. This software is mainly aimed at beginners and users with moderate experience, but at the same time, it is full of impressive features that make the work easier. For example, dynamic tessellation algorithms constantly analyze the surface of the working model and automatically add polygons so that detail is not violated. nine0003

ZbrushCoreMini is offered free of charge and is positioned as an entry-level program for learning and gradually moving to more capable and complex options - ZBrush and ZbrushCore.

Official website

3D Builder

This program was developed by Microsoft and was included with Windows 10 for some time, although now it needs to be downloaded and installed separately. 3D Builder allows you to edit models in STL, OBJ, and 3MF formats, as well as create models from scratch. In this regard, the program is quite primitive, but it is simple and understandable even for novice modelers. nine0003

One of the interesting features of 3D Builder is the ability to simplify meshes by reducing the number of polygons, file weight and processing time in the slicer - useful in cases where the original designer obviously went too far with polygons. Additionally, you can import models from the library and even use Kinect sensors to 3D scan and import models of physical objects.

Official website


SketchUp is a web application with a great combination of simplicity and functionality. The user-friendly interface is intuitive and greatly facilitates learning, and the set of tools is quite diverse even for advanced users - hence the wide popularity of this program. nine0003

The free version was formerly called SketchUp Make, but is now simply called SketchUp Free. It includes everything you need for 3D modeling for 3D printing, just don't forget to download the module for exporting STL files - it's also free. The kit comes with 10 GB of storage for projects in the cloud and access to the 3D Warehouse, a repository with open source user-generated content.

Official site

Fusion 360

Professional CAD developed by Autodesk and famous for its ease of use and advanced functionality. This includes parametric modeling and mesh analysis and load distribution tools, including through generative design with topological optimization. The program is great for those who are engaged in 3D printing of functional products, for example, for industrial applications. nine0003

Some versions of Fusion 360, such as hobby and student versions, are even available free of charge. FreeCAD FreeCAD The program relies on a parametric approach: at any point in history, you can scroll back and make changes to the parameters. The program even includes finite element analysis and a robotic system simulator. nine0003

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One of the most popular 3D modeling programs, but quite difficult to master. Not the best choice for a novice designer, but a great tool for those who have already gotten their hands on simpler editors. Fortunately, the popularity of Blender has led to a huge number of guides, tutorials, and visual examples published by experienced users for beginner colleagues.

Developers are trying to make the program more convenient without sacrificing functionality: the interface has recently been updated, rendering has been improved, and 3D design and animation capabilities have been expanded. And yes, it's open source and freeware, so you don't risk anything. nine0003

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2. Editing and repairing STL files

If you find an interesting 3D model on the Internet, this does not mean that it can be immediately sent to a 3D printer. Many models are created for completely different needs, such as animations or video games, and in principle are not intended for 3D printing. But there is a solution: before processing such models into G-code, they must first be repaired so that the slicer can do its job well. The following programs on our list will help you cope with the repair. nine0003


Meshmixer is an advanced and free program from Autodesk that allows you to view and check 3D models for errors in polygonal meshes that can ruin 3D printing. If such problems are detected, the program can automatically repair meshes. One example of an application is finishing 3D scans to a state suitable for 3D printing.

Additional functionality includes mesh blending, 3D sculpting, surface writing, cavity creation, support branching, mesh smoothing, and more. nine0003

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MeshLab is another open source program for editing polygonal meshes. MeshLab has the necessary tools for editing, checking, cleaning and converting meshes with the ability to combine meshes into one model and patch holes that can lead to incorrect processing of models into G-code.

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3. Slicers

After receiving a 3D model, it must be converted into machine code - a series of commands understandable to CNC machines, including 3D printers. Slicers are responsible for this task - programs that accept digital models (usually in the form of files with STL, OBJ or 3MF extensions), analyze their structure, and then compile lists of actions for 3D printers, called G-code (Gcode). Such lists contain all the information necessary for the equipment: to what temperature to warm up the extruders and tables, whether to use airflow, along what trajectory and at what pace to lay the plastic. nine0003


Cura is a slicer from the Dutch company Ultimaker, designed primarily for proprietary 3D printers, but open source and compatible with most other FDM/FFF systems. The program is easily customizable with various plugins. Since this is a very popular program, the chances are that it already has a profile with optimal settings for your 3D printer. If not, then nothing prevents you from creating a profile manually or using profiles prepared by other users. nine0003

The program has several levels of difficulty depending on the level of training - basic, advanced, expert and complete. The higher the level, the more access to customizable options. At a basic level, the program takes the bulk of the work on itself, helping inexperienced users.

Cura is constantly being developed and improved through regular updates and is also offered free of charge, although a paid version of Cura Enterprise is available to professional users with licensed plug-ins from the Ultimaker Marketplace, technical support and additional security measures. nine0003

In addition to converting 3D models to G-code, Cura can also take on the role of a control program, but this will require a constant connection between the 3D printer and the computer throughout the 3D printing. Professionals appreciate another feature of Cura - seamless integration with professional computer-aided design systems such as SolidWorks and Siemens NX.

In general, Сura is suitable even for novice users, especially since a huge number of training videos and step-by-step guides are available for this program, both from developers and enthusiasts. nine0003

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3D printer manufacturer Prusa Research, under the leadership of the legendary Czech engineer Josef Prusa, whose designs are copied and refined around the world, has developed its own open source software based on the Slic3r slicer. PrusaSlicer quickly gained popularity as it not only retains the original program's extensive customizations, but also adds a number of useful features not found in Slic3r. nine0003

A redesigned interface, support for Original Prusa branded 3D printers, and profiles with settings to work with many common polymers are just some of the improvements. Additionally, algorithms for generating support structures have been improved, support for multimaterial 3D printing and the ability to dynamically adjust the layer thickness have been added.

PrusaSlicer can process models not only for FDM 3D printers, but also for stereolithographic systems printing with photopolymers. As with Cura, the user can select a difficulty level with appropriate access to fine-tuning. nine0003

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Raise3D's slicer is optimized for branded additive hardware in the same way that PrusaSlicer is optimized for Original Prusa 3D printers, and Cura is optimized for Ultimaker 3D printers, but this does not mean that it cannot be use with third party systems. The organization of workflows and the interface is somewhat more complicated than in Cura and PrusaSlicer, but on the other hand, ideaMaker allows you to set up individual layers and apply textures for product customization. nine0003

ideaMaker users can connect to the cloud platform and access hundreds of 3D printer profiles and materials created by other operators, or create their own library of settings.

Add the ability to customize support structures, split models for more efficient 3D printing of large parts, integrated mesh repair tools, and OctoPrint compatibility, and you have a flexible, versatile program to suit the needs of most 3D printers. nine0003

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ChiTuBox Basic

This is a specialized slicer for those who use stereolithographic 3D printers that print with photopolymer resins. Most budget LCD masked stereolithography (MSLA) 3D printers rely on motherboards and firmware from ChiTu Systems, which also developed this software.

Users gain control over technology-specific parameters such as layer exposure time, as well as access to predefined profiles with settings for many popular 3D printers. The slicer takes into account such moments as the orientation of the model and the automatic construction of support structures with the possibility of manual optimization. nine0003

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Lychee Slicer

A program from the independent Franco-Belgian team Mango 3D, not associated with 3D printer manufacturers, but with support for many popular stereolithographic 3D printers, including those from Elegoo, Anycubic, Phrozen and Creality.

One of the features of this program is the high level of automation. If you wish, you can simply click on the "magic" button (it's called Magic), and the slicer will do everything by itself: it will orient the model on the platform, generate supports, and so on. Although, here you are lucky: the results are not always optimal, but usually adequate for relatively simple models. Otherwise, everything can be configured manually. nine0003

The program is offered in free and paid versions. The functionality of the free version is slightly reduced, but it has everything you need.

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Browser solution for those who lack computing power. Kiri:Moto can prepare 3D models for both 3D printing and laser engraving or milling. The settings are somewhat more primitive than in locally installed slicers, but are sufficient for most users. nine0003

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IceSL is a combination software that combines slicing with 3D modeling. In the left window, you can edit 3D models using scripts in the Lua language, which makes it possible to perform parametric modeling. On the right side, the 3D printing settings are displayed. For beginners, pre-configured settings are available, while experienced users can take advantage of features such as specific adjustment of parameters for individual layers with automatic gradation of intermediate areas. For example, this allows you to gradually reduce or, conversely, increase the filling density of the product as it is built, or gradually change the thickness of the layers. nine0003

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4. Control programs

Control programs are designed for exactly this - managing workflows during 3D printing. Although you can insert a G-code drive into almost any 3D printer and press the start button, this is not always convenient, especially when you have to work with several 3D printers at the same time, and even more so when you do it remotely. This is where control programs come to the rescue. In addition, some of them offer additional functionality, including slicing and even editing 3D models. nine0003


A web-based appliance that requires connection to a 3D printer via a microcomputer such as a Raspberry Pi equipped with a Wi-Fi module. This system allows you to control 3D printers remotely. OctoPrint accepts G-code from almost any slicer and provides the ability to visualize - view files before and during 3D printing. Alternatively, STL files can be loaded and processed directly in OctoPrint.

OctoPrint not only provides all the necessary tools for remote management, but also allows you to track the work in progress using notifications via various instant messengers. nine0003

This is a completely free, open source program with many plug-ins created by enthusiasts and available on the official website.

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MatterHackers offers its own control program, slicer and 3D editor in one package. MatterControl allows you to directly control and observe 3D printing, slice, export G-code to SD cards for offline printing, and even create 3D models from scratch. The 3D printer will need a Wi-Fi or USB connection to run MatterControl. nine0003

The interface is well structured: on the left side there is a file browser and a library of simple geometric shapes. Interestingly, these shapes can be dragged into the 3D model and used as support structures.

Basic functionality is available in the free basic version, advanced users can pay to upgrade to MatterControl Pro.

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AstroPrint is a cloud-based management platform that allows you to remotely monitor and control multiple 3D printers simultaneously, store files, convert 3D models to G-code, and track workflow statistics. The functionality ranges from basic in the free version to advanced with different levels of paid subscriptions. nine0003

The 3D printer will require a Wi-Fi module to fully work with AstroPrint. In conjunction with the Raspberry Pi, the system is similar in functionality to OctoPrint: you can process models and send the finished code to a 3D printer via a web interface without the need for additional software. Another plus is integration with popular repositories of 3D models Thingiverse and MyMiniFactory, as well as 3D editors 3D Slash and Leopoly.

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Programs for visualizing G-code

What if you find an old file with a G-code, but you have no idea what it is and why - maybe garbage, or maybe an excellent, but long-forgotten model without a clear marking in the file name? The programs in this section will help you visualize the contents of such files.


This program combines file browsing with layer editing and even model repair for stereolithographic 3D printing. The program can also be used as a plug-in for PrusaSlicer, adding support for third-party photopolymer 3D printers - although PrusaSlicer is open source, support for stereolithographic systems is still limited to branded equipment. At the same time, UVTools allows you to print calibration samples to check the exposure time and other parameters, which can be useful, for example, when working with new photopolymers that have not yet been tested. nine0003

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A simple browser tool for quick G-code preview, developed by the same team that created the IceSL slicer and 3D editor.

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