We’ve reviewed a lot of cheap toys masquerading as “kid-friendly 3D printers”, even from Monoprice themselves. The MP Cadet aims to break that mold with robust construction, unparalleled safety, and several unexpected quality-of-life features. Have we finally found a kid-friendly 3D printer that’s more than just hunk of rattling plastic? Is it worth the money for adult beginners? Find out in today’s Monoprice Cadet review.
Monoprice Cadet Review Basics
Like most 3D printers designed for children, the MP Cadet features a tiny build area measuring 3.9” x 4.1” x 3.9”. As you would expect, the exterior dimensions are similarly small. In fact, the whole machine fits behind a piece of paper and is perfect for small work areas. As far as its physical presence goes, the MP Cadet operates at a low hum and prints only in PLA, meaning no noxious fumes. Overall, this low-key printer has a tiny, unobtrusive footprint that’s perfect for in-home or classroom use.
Safety is a major concern for the MP Cadet. There’s gno heated print bed and you can only print in super-safe PLA. Additionally, the hot end is covered by a metal grate during the printing process. That means that curious kiddos can’t easily get to the most dangerous part of the 3D printer. Beginners also don’t need to worry about any accidents when learning how to use their printer. This metal grate is a wonderful alternative to having the whole build space enclosed, which isn’t the best option for PLA printing.
Beyond its dedication to safety, the MP Cadet’s print quality impressed us the most. Print layers as small as 50 microns at reasonable speeds around 40mm/s. That means most models will be finished in a few hours or less. Compared to its competitors, the results are great. Get smooth, glossy finishes and highly detailed models with this printer, like you would expect from a bigger, more expensive and complicated machine.
Finally, the Monoprice Cadet features both USB and WiFi connectivity. That’s pretty good considering similar printers usually only offer one option for connectivity and don’t even include a user interface. The MP Cadet’s simple but effective UI allows you to choose between multiple files on USB or easily connect to your computer or phone wirelessly.
Monoprice Cadet Review Pros
Kid and Beginner Friendly
The number one concern when buying a 3D printer for children is safety. The biggest concern for beginners is ease-of-use. The MP Cadet excels in both these fields. By cutting out the heated print bed, limiting users to PLA, and covering the hot end, Monoprice have made this printer extremely safe for children. For beginners, there’s almost no setup, easy-to-use software and Poloprint app, and even fully automatic bed leveling at the start of every print. With so little room for error, almost anyone can get started using this printer right out of the box.
Smart, Rugged Design
Most printers marketed to the same demographic tend to be flimsy, bare-bones machines. Worse, it’s obvious that zero research was done to improve the human experience of actually using the printer. Thankfully, the MP Cadet isn’t one of those 3D printers.
Instead, the Cadet seems pretty sturdy, weighing a couple more pounds than comparable machines while remaining light enough to carry around in one hand. We also like that the filament feeding tube is obvious, well-placed, and easy to use. The screen and turn-knob user interface is smartly placed on top of the machine as well. That means you don’t even have to go near the print bed to start a project. It may be a simple design, but the little details make the MP Cadet super easy to use for adults and children alike.
Monoprice Cadet Review Cons
Poor Starter Kit
Not much comes with this machine besides the 3D printer, power cord, and tiny spool of test filament. Considering the MP Cadet costs about $100 more than similar mini 3D printers, we expect a little more. Still, it’s obvious that the extra money went into superior components for better print quality. Just be sure to buy your own filament and brush up on the basics of 3D printing before buying the Cadet.
Monoprice Cadet Review Verdict
Monoprice have solved many of the common problems we see in so-called kid-friendly 3D printers. In these lesser machines, the print results are poor, safety is somehow secondary to a colorful design, and they’re too cheap to include features that actually matter to beginners.
Thankfully, the MP Cadet has none of these problems! It costs a bit more but the money is well worth it if you want a trouble-free experience with “real” results. Sure, you could get a bigger printer for the same price, but not everyone wants a big, complicated machine. If you’re a beginner looking to dip your toe into 3D printing, or a parent looking for the safest machine for your child, the MP Cadet delivers.