Best 3D Prints So Far

Sunday, February 6, 2022


A couple more weeks with a 3D printer... I've learned a lot, dialed in the settings for higher quality or quicker/efficient prints, and just wanted to share some of the best files & use-cases I've come across so far for 3D printing.

This being a 'miniatures focused hobby blog' let's start with this one. The Ender printer, as well as other Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) technology printers, are not the types of machines typically being used for the purpose of getting the highest quality miniature you can print at home. That space is well served by Resin 3D printers, such as the popular ELEGOO. Very different technologies, materials, and considerations between the 2 types of 3D printers; if you are only interested in printing mini's then there are more resources out there for resin. However, that's the trade off -- you can do that one use-case a little better, but you are limited to that use-case.

FDM printers have a lot of use-cases beyond miniature hobbies, and you'll see by the end my favorite use for it so far has been all the times it saved me from running to the local home improvement store for whatever odd or end that was needed around the house. Seriously. But I wanted to see how good of a mini print I could get with the Ender3 v2. Here's Goobertown Brent at 75mm scale (my first prints were at 32mm) so already taking some detail pressure off my .4mm print nozzle:

print supports: you never want to, but you know you should

Yes, print supports will yield better quality, and depending on the shape it may be unavoidable. But having tried several files both with and without supports, it's not always a simple choice, especially if quantity & print time matter more to you. If you are coming from the hobby world, cleaning up those supports, flashing, mold lines, etc. comes with the territory. I think the clean-up step might be more intimidating for those without the hobby background. It's not as bad as it looks! You get some nice blue handled clippers with the Ender printer that make this easy and somewhat satisfying. Spray the supports metal and you've got a nice supply of metal scaffolding bits / support beams for other projects. Kit-bashing: turning trash into treasure.

How about minis from a smaller scale; let's zoom down to 10mm and get in on that Warmaster Revolution!

OK, not bad! I can tell what they are straight from the print bed & zero cleanup. This is exciting as this game system was abandoned long ago, but with enthusiasm (and 3D printers) it lives on and now with a second edition to boot. My Tomb Kings army might see some play again! 💀

Onto some other fun but useful things:

connects with actual Legos better than Megabloks 😂

And now for my favorite useful thing so far... it may sound boring, but I've printed it the most and have been excited to collect it from the printer every time:

This corner bracket is just so stinkin' useful! I was building a quick DIY storage shelf with salvaged wood from past home improvement projects last week; I got to about this stage when I ran out of the materials (nails & big screws) for getting thru those 2x4 shelf supports:

Normally, at this stage I'd have to make a trip to the local Home Depot / Lowes and waste a bunch of time hunting for the exact tiny thing I need (and probably still grab the wrong one, or not enough of it). 3D printer for the win!

What are the best 3D prints you have come across so far? Let me know if you have any recommendations in the comments. Cheers!

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