When the LulzBot Mini was released more than half a decade ago, it offered a low price and the ability to print in multiple materials. For the longest time, our top recommendation has been the Mini 3D printer from 3D Systems
Furthermore, this year’s LulzBot Mini 2 includes several under-the-hood upgrades, including the ability to print flexible materials and at a faster speed. Overall, the LulzBot Mini 2 is a solid 3D printer.
LulzBot Mini 2 review: Looks
With its industrial look and the Mini 2’s focus on printing rather than aesthetics, the original Mini is quite a bit more functional than aesthetic. The Anodized aluminum frame and 3D printed parts give the Mini 2 a clean and functional appearance, despite its utilitarian appearance.
The new printer is mostly identical to the old one on the outside, so most of the changes are on the inside. A new print bed, flexible printheads, and faster motors have been included as well as a modular print bed.
A redesigned feeding mechanism, along with E3D Titan Aero nozzles, allows the Mini 2 to work with Ninjaflex and other flexible materials. To print these, upgrading the printing head was necessary due to the nozzle’s unique mechanism of melting and heating filament. Despite their squishiness, these filaments feed easily into the Mini 2’s printhead.
The modular print bed of the Mini 2 enables you to print with several materials. Heating print beds coated with tacky plastic bond better to materials (like PLA used by 3D printers) than plain glass. Mini 2 lets you remove the cover from the glass print bed with one hand. It has an uncoated glass side and a PEI-coated plastic side. When the temperature reaches 248 degrees Fahrenheit (120 degrees Celsius), ABS holds firmly to a heated print bed regardless of which side is up. In spite of taking some time to remove the hex screws from the corners of the print bed, the process is not difficult.
In order to detect the height of the print bed, the printhead touches washers that hold the print bed in place every time a print is started. Likewise, a piece of fabric placed beneath the print bed removes any stray particles that could clog the printhead.
Despite being large enough for most things, the print area of the Mini 2 is limited. It measures 6.3″ wide by 6.3″ tall by 7″ high, just a little larger than the original Mini. Due to the small print bed of my iPhone 7 Plus, I was unable to print a case. To overcome this problem, I could either tilt the case up (wasting a lot of material for the support) or cut the print in half.
LulzBot Mini 2 review: Features
In the LulzBot edition of Cura, you can control the printer either through the LCD display or through the LCD touchscreen.
The LCD screen and dial on the front of the printer provide access to nearly all of the printer’s controls and functions. As soon as you turn the knob and press in, you will be able to access the setting menu. The filament can be loaded from an SD card, the filament temperature can be set, and files can be loaded from an SD card. Thus, the Mini 2 can be used without the need for a USB cable.
There is a LulzBot version of Cura that is more flexible than Cura, which runs on Windows, macOS, and Linux. The 3D model (.STL, OBJ, etc.) can be imported for printing.
As well as scaling, rotating, and joining the model together, it can be prepared for printing. Using the 3D view, you can rotate, zoom in, or out models in order to identify potential print problems. Each layer of the model is shown in a slice (a process called slicing) after it is loaded into the program. With this process, you can adjust the support to a very fine degree if additional supports are needed to hold the prints in place. Moreover, the support can be dense in many different ways. There are 34 profiles available with Cura covering materials such as PLA and nylon.
LulzBot Mini 2: Print performance
The model can be printed over a USB connection or an SD card can be used for storage and printing. Our printing experience was relatively straightforward. We printed several models with different materials but only a few failures due to poor adhesion.
During printing, the Mini 2 makes a squeak as the printhead moves, but other than that, it is quiet. She wondered if something had got caught in the print head when I left the printer running.
LulzBot Mini 2 review: Print options
With LuzBot’s instructions, many types of 3mm filament can be used with your Mini 2.
The 3D printer uses different heads for Ninjaflex and PolyFlex filaments in addition to its upgraded extruder and modular print bed. (These filaments have a flexible, rubbery feel).
It can also print materials like nylon filaments and stone filaments, which require different bed and printing temperatures.
LulzBot Mini 2 review: Print speed
We printed the Thinker model that measured 4.5 inches high in between 3 hours and 7 minutes and 6 hours and 37 minutes. For example, the original Mini took about one hour to print at its highest resolution; the da Vinci Nano took over 21 hours to print.
With Mini 2, you can print fast and maintain high quality, saving your valuable time.
LulzBot Mini 2: Print quality
Tests showed that printing the Mini 2 produced high-quality prints, yielded relatively few problems, and allowed for good detail.
In testing, we managed to produce high-quality prints even without layering in fast-print modes on our Thinker test model. In addition, the geometric sculpture model showed sharp edges and points. Despite the complex and difficult print, the edges were sharp and a smooth finish was achieved. We found that the gear set was easy to assemble after cleaning and removal, as demonstrated by our test print.
A few filament whiskers remained attached during printing, causing some whiskering. Although they were set to default settings, they were relatively easy to remove, and their abrasion may have been reduced by rates and temperatures.
|Supports a wide range of materials||Expensive|
|The prints are fast and of good quality|
|The printer doesn’t make any noise|
LuzBot Mini 2 will make a great successor to Mini. Among the printer’s benefits are fast print speeds and the ability to work with a variety of different materials.
However, speed and flexibility come at a price. In comparison to models like the da Vinci Nano and Dremel DigiLab, which are more affordable, the Mini 2 costs more. It will cost you more to purchase the LulzBot Mini 2 if you want to print in a variety of materials and at a faster speed.