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  • Monoprice Mini Delta

    Dr. Vax did a video about this printer being your first 3d printer last year, but I wanted to add a little more detail based on my personal experience. I bought this printer as an impulse purchase in 2019 because it was only $70 for a reconditioned one at the time. If it wasn't any good then it would at least be fun trying to get good prints out of it. It wasn't long before I came to the same conclusion as Dr. Vax: this probably shouldn't be your first 3d printer unless you are a tinkerer who refuses to give up like me. The Delta Mini has great potential to get some very clean prints if you do a few inexpensive upgrades, but it sadly has some flaws out of the box:
    1. The power supply is a 12 Volt 5 Amp external DC power supply that doesn't supply enough current to heat the bed to 60 degrees as advertised. Generally speaking low to mid 50's is the best you can expect to reach. That's usually fine for PLA, but it still isn't the 60 degrees that is advertised.
    2. The printer doesn't have a power switch. That means you have to unplug the machine to turn it off. It's not a huge deal, but it is a strange omission since a switch wouldn't add much cost.
    3. The build plate uses a cheap buildtak-like sticker that wears out quickly and prints stick too well to it. Prints would often get destroyed trying to remove them from the build plate.
    4. The calibration from the factory usually isn't very good and prints come out roughly 1-2% smaller than they should.
    5. The automatic bed leveling system is interesting in that it works by hitting the nozzle of the print head into the build plate which then activates switches under the bed. This would be fine except that the clips that hold the bed down are cheap plastic and move while the switches are activating, making the leveling way off.
    6. The coupling that connects the bowden tube to the extruder almost always breaks eventually.

    That's a lot of cons, but I still recommend this printer for some people. Why is that? Well:
    1. Delta style printers are well known for providing high quality prints, but are often quite expensive. The Monoprice Mini Delta retails for $159. That's inexpensive for any 3d printer, let alone a delta style printer.
    2. The community support for this printer is among the best I've seen. There is a wiki (https://www.mpminidelta.com/) and a Facebook group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/mpminideltaowners/) that are happy to provide support and have put a lot of engineering hours into making this the printer it should have been.
    3. The upgrades and calibration needed to get the printer up to snuff are outlined in easy to follow guides on the wiki and the essential upgrades are basically free.

    Ok, so you like to tinker and want to get a delta printer on the cheap. What do you need to do to get this thing printing like a champ?
    1. Replace the bowden coupler on the extruder with a 3d printed one that is available on the wiki or purchase a new extruder like I did.
    2. Replace the bed hold down clips with 3d printed ones available on the wiki.
    3. Remove the bed sticker and replace it with a glass build plate on top of a thermal pad.
    4. Upgrade to a 10 A power supply available on Amazon.
    5. Install community provided firmware called Marlin4MPMD that fixes issues like part size, calibration and bed temperature limits. Note: You must install this for the 10 A power supply to work.
    There are other creature comforts you can add like install a power switch and add feet to raise the printer to make it quieter. It sounds like a lot of work, but these upgrades can be done in a few hours for only $20. What you'll end up with in the end is a workhorse of a printer that makes some of the best quality prints I've seen.

  • #2
    Excellent information. One challenge is that many people buying a fully assembled low-cost 3d printer are not comfortable with modifying that printer. They want it to work out of the box. This is why I find the new Monoprice Cadet so interesting. In terms of technical specs, it is a very limited printer. PLA only, no heated bed, etc. But it just works right out of the box.

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    • #3
      I definitely don't disagree. I think for newcomers that it's important to get a printer that is easy to use out of the box, has good community support available because things can and will go wrong, and makes at least acceptable quality prints.

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