Monoprice Select Mini 3D Printers – A Year in the STEM Lab
This past school year, we received a grant to purchase four Monoprice Select Mini V2 3D printers for our makerspace STEM lab. This review covers the first year of printing student projects and repairing the machines. Before this year, we used a MakerBot Replicator Mini and had frustrating results. We decided to go with the MP Select Mini because we could buy four for less than half the price of another MakerBot.
Students were learning how to use TinkerCAD in earnest this year. Because of this, I had a ton of projects to print!
The setup was very easy and we were printing the test kitty in about ten minutes. I recommend using PLA filament in a classroom setting. It is biodegradable and does not give off toxic fumes like ABS.
Monoprice Select Mini: The Good
The price is the real hero. We could buy four 3D printers and 8 kilograms of filament for just over $800. Thus, we have four color options for students to use. When one needs repair, we still have 75% of our print capacity.
The Print Quality
The print quality of each print is good enough for student projects. We are not very picky in middle school.
Easy to use
These printers are so much easier to use than our old MakerBot. I have the printers print directly from a .gcode file so very little to get wrong To do this, I had to learn how to use Cura. After we have Cura set up, we can print projects with very little work.
The Monorprice Select Mini 3D printer has an LCD touchscreen to print files, preheat the machine, or move the parts. The bed has a built-in heater that helps the prints adhere and keep from warping. Over the course of a year, these printers have put out hundreds of small student projects!
Monoprice Select Mini: The Bad
The largest size that the Monoprice Select Mini will print is a 4.7″ cube. Occasionally I can print three or four student projects at the same time. Given the price, this point is a wash.
All four of the printers needed the same repairs.
The first repair was to replace the bowden connector at the top of the machine.
It was simple to fix this. First, Monoprice sent the replacement parts. Then I removed the filament, took out two screws, and replaced the part. In the future, I will be upgrading the parts.
The second problem was more difficult to fix. The wires to the heated bed are zip tied to the bottom of the moving bed. Over time, the wires bend and break at this point.
Here is a post about soldering new wires in place. If soldiering new wires in your machine is a dealbreaker, save yourself the frustration and expect to pay more.
Should you buy Monoprice Select Mini V2 for your space?
Yes! They are simple to use, easy enough to fix, and put out a lot of projects for cheap. As long as you are willing to fix the bed wiring, it is a great deal. I plan on buying a few more this coming school year and offering more color options to kids.
If you have specific questions, please use social media to connect!