Why Monoprice Mini Delta?

Selection Criteria

The Mini Delta is my first 3D printer. As a first printer there are selection criteria that reflect that. Here's the list:

These criteria definitely narrowed the field. I was targeting $200 as the maximum I wanted to spend on the printer so there weren't that many to choose from:
  1. Monoprice Select Mini
  2. Creality Ender 3
  3. Anet A8
  4. Monoprice Mini Delta
  5. Tevo Tarantula
Going by the numbers:
  1. This being the first one I looked at I found out a lot of things to look for. It comes fully assembled which is a definite plus. I found all kinds of things about 3D printers while researching the Select Mini that might have scared off most people. I'm a natural tinkerer and I have good skills with things mechanical and excellent skills with things electronic so this didn't scare me off. I also researched filament choices at this time and had that all worked out at this point.

    There are a few issues with this printer but none that could not be overcome.

  2. At this point I knew much more about what to look for and it took much less time to research the Ender 3. What I found was a much longer list of issues. I'm sure some of them are not all that important but it is a consideration. This printer also has a much larger build volume so that's a plus. This is a partial kit so there is some assembly required.

  3. The Anet A8 is definitely much more of a 'kit' than the others. EVERYTHING has to be put together. Spending a full day on assembly did not appeal to me at this time so that alone pretty much ruled this one out. The frame is also not nearly as sturdy as the others - it's a rod design instead of the usual steel or aluminium extrusion construction. It also has a reputation for catching on fire (few instances but definitely not good) possibly because the thermal safety features in the firmware have been disabled. Why would anyone do that?

  4. The Mini Delta is the odd ball in the group. It's a delta style printer and has an even smaller build volumen than the Select Mini. For my purposes it would be enough thoug. There is good community support and few issues, none serious. This is the only printer with automatic bed leveling which is a definite plus.

  5. This is another printer with a larger build volume but some definite problems. It is also a full kit and would require a lot of time to assemble. I have not been able to find any printed instructions that I could download although there several videos on assembly available. The biggest drawback I found on the Tarantula was that allthough the frame is aluminium extrusions the parts are connected by lexan parts which are known to break.
For my situation at the time, the Mini Delta was the best choice.

ImportanceSelect MiniEnder 3 Anet A8Mini DeltaTevo Tarantula
Cost with shippingHigh$190$200$180$175$180
AvailbilityModerateUS - quickVarious, higher price from USAmazon - quick US - quickAmazon - quick
Build size (mm)Low120x120x120220x220x250220x220x240110dia x 120 200x200x200
Maximum nozzle temperatureModerate250C (or 230C)260C260C260C260C
Heated BedModerate60C100C96C60C110C
Frame typeHighFormed steelAluminium extrusionAcrylic / rodFormed steel Aluminium extrusion
SupportHighGood communityGreat community. Lots of video support. Lots of community and video.Good communityFair amount of community and video
Open sourceLowNoYes - fullYesNoYes
IssuesModerateVarious small issues that could be solved easily. Limited choice of material types. Numerous issues but most easily solved. Broad range of solutions available for zero or low cost. FW needs flashed for thermal issues. Frame needs stiffening, FW needs reflash for thermal issues, other minor issues. Old design (2016) Various small issues, easily solved. Underpowered power supply making warmup slow. Small issues, very long Bowden tube, unmounted and exposed display electronics

All of the printers do everything else pretty much the same. There is some variation in speed of printing (with the Mini Delta having the fastest) but other than the items in the table above they're all pretty equal.

Although it didn't enter into my original decision process the Mini Delta is very portable. Being very light (4.6 KG) and having a handle on top it's an obvious pick-it-up-and-go printer.