Ever notice how a lot of 3D printers are big, bulky, loud, machines with really no visually pleasing features? I was showing a friend a certain printer the other day and they told me it looked like a microwave. Pretty spot on if you ask me. Luckily, not all 3D printers can be mistaken for a kitchen appliance.
Designers are changing it up a bit, and one way they are changing the classic design of 3D printers is by changing the size. I mean not everyone wants a massive machine sitting in their room or office. One 3D printer we really like for the change of size is the Up Mini 2.
Brought to us by Tiertime and manufactured in China is a small but efficient 3D printer. It is the newest generation of their previously adored Up Plus model. The Up Mini 2 embodies the saying, it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog.
While it is a small 3D printer, it holds its own when it comes to print quality, durability, and features.
Also, it carries a price tag that fits its small size. Another great option for the budget-friendly printing fanatic.
The days of paying large amounts of money for high quality results seems to be coming to an end. Below, we will detail all the best features and some of the not so good stuff the Up Mini 2 offers. If you need an inexpensive, small, but powerful 3D printer this might be just what you’re looking for. Check out the rest of the review and let us know what you think of this mini 3D printer in the comments.
Core Features of the Up Mini 2
Touchscreen controls are becoming quite the norm on 3D printers these days. The one on the Up Mini 2 is a great, easy to use and very functional control panel. The touchscreen allows you to control many different parts of the printer including: Wi-Fi, nozzle height, initializing the machine, calibration, load and print 3D models, set material type, and a few other settings.
You can also see print status, temperature, and connectivity status on the screen. The screen also helps pause/play and save the print progress if the door is ever opened during a print or if you lose power.
From packaging to fully the assembled printer, we are big fans of how it looks. Foam sections protected and secured the most important pieces from moving around during shipping. It’s not much, but it does show the company cares about their product and has high standards. In the box, among other things, you get a printer and Tiertime’s fila station, or filament spool holder, which adds to the overall sleekness of the design.
The all plastic black and white shell of both the printer and the fila station make the whole machine feel a little cheap, but the all metal frame on the inside of the casing add to the sturdiness of the printer. A clear door and LED lighting inside the case allow you to observe the entire printing process. The aluminum handle adds a nice touch to the overall visual look of the printer.
Auto Bed Leveling
The Up Mini 2 cuts back on a lot of the little tedious bits of 3D printing that we hate. One of those things being leveling the bed in-between prints. Luckily, this printer comes with the technology to level the bed for you automatically.
While it doesn’t do this on its own before each print as some others do, it is easy to tell the machine to level the bed using the touch screen. Reports are that the auto bed leveling seems to work well and users are very happy to have this feature.
Small Footprint and Portable:
The name doesn’t lie. This really is a “mini” printer measuring at 10” x 14.4” x 15” (WxHxD) overall dimensions. You will barely notice this machine in your room. Due to the small size of the printer it only takes 2 and half minutes to heat up and begin printing.
Moving your printer to another room, house, or office is as easy as extending the solid aluminum handle and carrying it to where ever you need it. It only weighs 20 pounds so you should have no probably getting this printer to where it needs to be.
Less time messing around with small parts means more time printing, which is what we all want, isn’t it? The creators of the Up Mini 2 kept this in mind as they give us a printer fully assembled in its packaging. The set-up of the machine is quick easy if you follow along with the Quick Start Guide.
The only part that requires “assembly” is attaching the print head, which is nice to see how it’s done so you can easily remove and clean this piece as necessary. Besides that, just remove any foam packaging, download and install the software and you are ready to start printing.
Here are the key specs of the Up Mini 2 3D printer:
|Build Area||4.7” x 4.7” x 4.7”|
|Filament Types||ABS, PLA|
|Layer Resolution||150 – 350 microns|
|Number of Extruders||Single|
|Nozzle Diameter||0.4 mm|
|Open / Closed System||Closed|
|Warranty||1 year manufacturers|
|Price||Starting at $577.00 (check current price)|
Pros of the Up Mini 2
Now let’s talk about some of the best features the Up Mini 2 offers.
Enclosed Environment: An enclosed print area is a safe print area. By trapping the heat in the printing area, you can maintain the temperature throughout the process. This is essential when using filament that requires high heat such as ABS.
An enclosed area prevents cool drafts and damp air from taking a toll on your creation and warping the object. As well, it adds an extra layer of safety by preventing any unwanted objects, hands, fingers, animals, from getting too close to the machine while it is working.
Small Desk Space: We mentioned above how this printer has a very small footprint. Less than a foot wide and just over a foot deep, you will barely notice a difference in desk space when this machine is setup. Compared to some other printers on the market which require a separate table or desk for them to sit on we are very excited about the functional size of this printer.
HEPA Air Filter: Ever get sick of the melting plastic smell your 3D printer puts off while it is printing? We sure do. And obviously so did the team who designed the Up Mini 2 as it comes with a HEPA air filtration system. This small filter hidden at the bottom of the machine is not a common find in 3D printers at this price range.
Connectivity Options: We are big fans of having multiple connectivity options that work well. The Up Mini 2 is a prime example of this. You can connect via USB cable or via Wi-Fi. The Wi-Fi option works flawlessly. You can access the printers remotely if you are on the same connection as the printer. Easily send files to the printer from your computer even if the two are not near each other. You can also access multiple Up Mini 2s from one computer.
If Wi-Fi connectivity isn’t for you then you can still connect with a USB cable and print directly from the software on your computer and utilize partial tethering. If you need to move your computer once the print process has begun simply unplug the cable and the print will continue running without interruption. These options give you a little more freedom when controlling, accessing, and using your printer, which is a small but convenient feature.
Cons of the Up Mini 2
The Up Mini 2 has few flaws, but we still need to talk about those a little bit too.
Small Build Area: The most obvious flaw is the overall print area. But what do you expect when you are buying a “mini” printer? Small area or not the print still creates great objects. To adjust to the size of the print area all you must do is scale down your 3D models or print them in pieces and glue the pieces together to create larger objects.
This printer is impractical if you are looking for something to complete a wide variety of projects in terms of what you are printing. But if you just want to create smaller objects or are a hobbyist printer then you shouldn’t really have an issue with the size of the build area.
Slow Print Speed: Users noted the printer is a little slow when you are going for a high-quality print. There are ways around this slow speed by printing larger layers and changing the print quality setting of the printer. However, if you aren’t in a rush when it comes to creating beautiful objects then this isn’t a major concern for you.
Alternative to Consider for the Up Mini 2
If you like the size of this printer and are interested in a “mini” 3D printer, but aren’t sold on this one, you can still find the perfect printer for you. Another printer you may be interested in is the LulzBot Mini.
The LulzBot Mini is an extremely impressive 3D printer. It has a slightly larger build area, footprint, and much larger price tag than the Up Mini 2. But this machine prints fast at 275 mm/s and has an impressive quality as it can reach layer heights of only 50 microns. It is also a little more versatile machine as it is open sourced and prints with many different filament types.
Final Take – A small machine that prints like a big machine.
What it lacks in print speed it makes up for with quality. While you can find faster printers, the Up Mini 2 can hold its own when it comes to the overall quality of the finished object. Although the layer resolution specs are just slightly less than other printers (150 microns compared to 100 microns for other models), we can’t notice a visible difference and are impressed with the results of the Up Mini 2.
This is an excellent printer for the home use hobbyist who wants to experiment with 3D printing. It’s easy to use, reliable, and consistent with its print quality and has an extremely small footprint. If you want an inexpensive printer to create smaller but beautiful objects than the Up Mini 2 might just be the printer of your dreams.