Parents and educators faced with the challenge of choosing a 3D printer for children often find themselves spoiled for choice. Cheap, safe, and easy-to-use 3D printers like those in today’s comparison are a dime a dozen, but not all of them are worth your time. This article pits two of the most popular child-friendly 3D printers against one another in our Monoprice Select Mini 3D Printer vs XYZPrinting Da Vinci miniMaker showdown.
Monoprice Select Mini 3D Printer vs XYZPrinting Da Vinci miniMaker In-Depth Comparison
Monoprice Select Mini 3D Printer Basics
This compact machine simplifies 3D printing down to the basics, perfect for beginners, kids, and teens. While you won’t be printing any masterpieces off this machine, the Monoprice Select Mini specs are appropriate for those looking to experiment and learn.
Use the modest 4.7”x4.7”x4.7” build space to print models in a variety of filaments, including PLA and ABS. The heated aluminum print bed helps models stick to the surface with better reliability. Models print at passable speeds around 55mm/s, at a factory-set 100 micron resolution. Resolution restriction is hardly an issue, especially since it further simplifies the printing process for novices.
Conveniently, the MP Select Mini also accepts both MicroSD and Micro USB connection options. You’re also free to choose software options with Cura being the recommended slicer. Check our full Monoprice Select Mini review here.
XYZPrinting Da Vinci miniMaker Basics
While it may not have much to offer serious adult enthusiasts, the da Vinci miniMaker still has lots of value for children. Featuring bright colors and easily identifiable parts, this printer is a great learning tool for younger kids.
The da Vinci Min has several advantages over the Select Mini right off the bat. First, it has a larger build volume, measuring 6”x6”x6”. Next, the da Vinci miniMaker prints quite a bit quicker than the Select mini, up to 100mm/s. For your convenience, this model also includes auto-calibration for the unheated print bed. Finally, resolution options range from 100 to 400 microns in increments of one-hundred.
The MP Select Mini wins in other categories, though. For instance, the da Vinci miniMaker can only print in XYZprinting PLA filament. There aren’t any wireless printing options either, requiring a tethered USB connection to a computer for the duration of a print. Click here to read our full da Vinci miniMaker review!
Monoprice Select Mini 3D Printer vs XYZPrinting Da Vinci miniMaker Similarities: Ease of Use and Value
No one wants to spend a fortune on 3D printers for kids. Parents know their children may lose interest, and educators are always on tight budgets. Thankfully, both the da Vinci miniMaker and the MP Select Mini fall in the $200 range. Although inexpensive, both printers offer extensive value to their target audiences.
Both of these 3D printers are also incredibly easy to use. The MP Select Mini comes fully assembled and factory-calibrated so you can use it right out of the box. Similarly, the da Vinci miniMaker takes a few minutes to assemble before it’s ready to print. As an added bonus, the da Vinci miniMaker’s suite of child-friendly XYZprinting software is an invaluable resource for educators, parents, and kids to learn about 3D printing.
Monoprice Select Mini 3D Printer vs XYZPrinting Da Vinci miniMaker Differences: Target Ages
The main difference between these two 3D printers is the target demographic. The da Vinci miniMaker is designed for young children to use with adult supervision. XYZprinting caters to this audience with its educational STEAM Curriculum and bare-bones construction. Children never need to interact with the machine itself until the model is done, keeping everyone safe.
These features come at a price, however. The da Vinci miniMaker is limited not just to PLA filament, but to proprietary XYZprinting PLA. Additionally, there’s no alternative if you don’t like the included software. The MP Select Mini doesn’t suffer any of these problems, offering a broad range of filament options and working with a variety of open-source software. These key differences make the MP Select Mini a superior option for older kids, teens, and even adults.
Monoprice Select Mini 3D Printer vs XYZPrinting Da Vinci miniMaker Verdict
3D printers like those in today’s comparison are awesome ways to introduce your child to this new technology and, more importantly, foster their creativity and curiosity. While either machine would be a safe choice, we recommend the Monoprice Select Mini for all but school-aged children in a classroom environment.
The MP Select Mini beats the da Vinci miniMaker out in overall potential. It’s just as easy to use for school-aged children as the da Vinci miniMaker, yet allows your child to experiment with different kinds of filaments and software as their interest grows. Another important factor is that the MP Select Mini accepts any brand of filament you choose, unlike its competitor. For those reasons, the Monoprice Select Mini is the best choice for most customers.