LulzBot Mini 2 3D Printer Review

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Last Updated on January 1, 2022 by Daniel

The LulzBot Mini 2, released more than half a decade ago, offered an attractive price while remaining flexible enough to print in multiple materials. For a long time, our favorite midrange 3D printer has been the Mini, for those who are serious about 3D printing.

This year’s LulzBot Mini 2 ticks those same boxes, but with a lot of under-the-hood upgrades, such as the ability to print flexible materials and at a faster speed. This is one of the best 3D printers we’ve tested.

LulzBot Mini 2 review: Design

Lulzbot mini 2 review

Similar to LulzBot’s original Mini, the Mini 2 is a spare, industrial-looking printer that focuses more on printing than aesthetics. Although it isn’t an ugly printer, the anodized aluminum frame and 3D-printed parts give the Mini 2 a clean, functional appearance.

Additionally, the updates to the new printer are mostly on the inside, so it looks very much like the old model. Printheads have been made more flexible, faster motors have been added, modular print beds have been added, and the print bed itself has been updated slightly.

Due to the use of an E3D Titan Aero nozzle and a redesigned feeding mechanism, the Mini 2 can handle flexible materials such as Ninjaflex. In previous models, upgrading the printhead was necessary for printing these because the filament is heated and melted by the nozzle differently. Despite their squishiness, these filaments are easily fed into the printhead of the Mini 2.

With the Mini 2, you can also print with different materials thanks to the modular print bed. Material (such as PLA used in most 3D printers) sticks to heated print beds coated with tacky plastic better than plain glass. Mini 2 features a retractable glass print bed that can be turned over and removed. There is a PEI plastic-coated side and an uncoated glass side.

With a heated bed that can reach 248 degrees Fahrenheit (120 degrees Celsius) regardless of which side is facing up, ABS holds more tightly to a heated print bed. It does take a little time to undo the hex screws located at each corner of the print bed, but otherwise, it’s not too difficult.

To detect the height of the print bed, the printhead touches the four washers that hold the print bed in place every time you start a print. Furthermore, a piece of fabric placed under the print bed wipes off the printhead to remove any stray material that could clog the printhead.

This printer features a slightly bigger print bed than the original Mini, with a print area of 6.3 inches wide by 6.3 inches tall by 7 inches high. Even though it is large enough for most things, it can also be limited. As an example, I was unable to print a case for an iPhone 7 Plus because it wouldn’t fit on the print bed. The only option I had was to tilt the case up (wasting a lot of material for the supports) or cut the print into two.

LulzBot Mini 2 review: Features

Lulzbot mini 2

Using the LulzBot edition of Cura, the Mini 2 can be controlled either through the printer’s LCD screen or via the free LCD touch screen.

From the LCD screen and dial control on the front of the printer, you can access any of the printer’s controls and functions. You can access the setting menu by turning the knob and pressing in. This allows you to set filament temperature, load files from an SD card, or load filament. Therefore, you can use the Mini 2 standalone without connecting it to your PC over a USB cable if you wish.

Cura is an open-source program that can be run on Windows, macOS, and Linux, but the LulzBot version has more flexibility. You can import 3D models (.STL, OBJ, etc.) and prepare them for printing from this program.

By scaling, rotating, and joining models together, multiple models can be prepared for printing simultaneously. The models are presented in a 3D view, so you can turn them around and zoom in or out to identify potential printing problems.

A preview of the printing process is then shown for each layer of the model when the program loads the model (a process called slicing). During this process, you have the option to tweak to a very fine degree, determining whether additional supports are used to hold the prints in place.

There are also numerous options for the density of these supports. Cura is equipped with 34 profiles covering a range of materials from PLA standard to nylon, so you won’t have to do much work.

LulzBot Mini 2: Print performance

lulzbot mini

Your model can be printed over the USB connection, or you can save it to an SD card and print it from there. However, we found that printing was simple and generally without problems. There were only a couple of failures due to the print material not adhering to the print bed after dozens of models were printed in different materials.

During printing, the Mini 2 squeaks as the printhead moves around, but it is otherwise quiet. As a matter of fact, my wife mistook it for a mouse, wondering if something had been caught in my office when I left the printer running.

LulzBot Mini 2 review: Print materials

With the Mini 2, you can use any type of 3mm filament, and LulzBot provides excellent guidelines for using many types.

In addition to the upgraded extruder and modular print bed, this 3D printer is able to use flexible filaments such as Ninjaflex or PolyFlex that require different heads. (Models made with these materials are very soft and flexible, just like rubber.)

The Mini 2 can also handle materials like nylon or stone and wood filaments that require a range of temperatures and print beds.

LulzBot Mini 2 review: Print speed

With the Mini 2, we were able to print our 4.5-inch-high Thinker model in between 3 hours and 7 minutes at high speed and 6 hours and 37 minutes at high quality. The original Mini took about an hour to print at the maximum quality; the da Vinci Nano took more than 21 hours.

With the Mini 2, you can print at high speed while maintaining high quality, saving you a lot of time.

LulzBot Mini 2: Print quality

Across the board, we found that the Mini 2 produced high-quality prints across the board, yielding very few issues and allowing good detail in prints from our test models.

Despite the lack of layering in fast-print modes, our Thinker test model has been reproduced accurately in all print modes by the Mini. This was also true of the geometric sculpture model, which had numerous points and sharp edges. This complex and difficult print was no problem for the Mini 2, producing smooth edges and sharp points. As with our test print, our planetary gear set fit together easily after removal and cleaning.

There was some whiskering, though, because thin filament whiskers were left attached to the print as it moved. Even with this material’s default settings, these were quite easy to remove, and they may have come off if the temperature and print speed had been adjusted.

Pros Cons
There is no noise from the printer. cost-effective
It provides support for a wide range of materials.
The prints are fast and of good quality.

LulzBot Mini 2 review: Final Thoughts

There is no doubt that LulzBot Mini 2 will be an excellent successor to Mini. There are many advantages to this printer, including its fast print speeds and flexibility to work with more materials than most printers can handle.

However, that speed and flexibility come at a price. In its original form, the Mini 2 costs more than models like the da Vinci Nano and Dremel DigiLab, which are lower-end models. You’ll have to spend extra cash for the LulzBot Mini 2 if you want faster prints and the ability to print a wide variety of materials.