3D printing resin miniatures can be incredibly fun. But, it can also be quite a challenge.
One of the issues you will quickly discover is getting a resin that is perfect for printing miniatures. Either they are too expensive, too brittle or, the detail is poor. Getting that perfect mix can be incredibly hard.
Over the years, I have tested a ton of different resins and found some brands I like a lot and mixes of brands I like even more.
In this article, I will take you on a tour of the best resin for miniatures I have found while 3D printing. If you find this article helpful, check out our other 3D printing articles.
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What you should look for in resin for 3D printing miniatures
Detail, Quality & Tensile Strenght
One of the most important aspects of 3D printing miniatures is the detail. While most resins will not hold your 3D printer back, the very high-end printers can make use of more expensive high-quality resin. Another important aspect is the strength of the resin.
Some resin is incredibly brittle and weapons can snap from touching and lord have mercy if you drop a miniature on the floor. Getting a resin that has some durability will help you out a lot.
Let us face it: if you have bought a printer you are going to be printing a lot. That resin price can quickly add up, so finding an option that is cheap while not sacrificing too much quality or durability is the way.
Viscosity, Flexibility & Colour
In general, the thicker and more viscous a resin is, the more each layer needs time to cure. That adds up in print time. But it can also make the resin more durable if it is thick. You can also get a flexible resin if that would suit your miniatures better. And what color do you need?
Overall, I use 2 different types of resin for 3D printing my miniatures:
- A cheap standard grey resin straight from the bottle. This I sometimes mix with a tough resin to make it more durable.
- A more expensive grey resin for detailed miniatures, but that is also more durable and has better tensile strength. This I sometimes mix with a tough resin to make it even more durable.
- The very tough resin that I mix small amounts in other resins, to make them stronger.
I print as much as I can in grey. I find it is easier to prime with white or black. I hate when I can see the color of the resin through the primer, and this is minimized by using grey.
You will notice in my list below of the best resins for miniatures, that I do not use any water washable resin. While it might sound cool to be able to clean your 3D prints in water, it is not really that great. The water washable resins are still toxic, so you have to treat it with the same care as a normal resin.
So you are only really saving by using water instead of alcohol for cleaning. But the water you use to clean with still needs to be disposed of safely, which I find to be a real drag. So instead I clean with alcohol and reuse that a lot. Once it is too gunky to use the alcohol, I know I need to dispose of it safely.
Sunlu Standard Grey: The Cheap Resin Workhorse
If you have a 3D printer for miniatures, chances are that you will be printing a lot of miniatures. Like, a ton. Having a cheap, fast workhorse resin is a must-have. In this category, you mainly need to look at cost pr. kg., as all the cheap standard resins are quite brittle and on par in terms of quality.
One of the standard resins that hit a perfect mix of being cheap and not too brittle is the Sunlu standard grey. I use quite a lot of this stuff just from the bottle when printing miniatures. It prints fast, the quality is good and while not sturdy, it is not the most brittle of the cheap resins.
It is very thin, which means that it can be printed a bit faster than other resins, but it also means that it can be easier to clean your vat. It simply flows more quickly than thicker resins do. This is my absolute go-to when tuning in a new 3D printer, where I might expect to see some failed prints (it will cost less and is easier to clean).
One of the aspects that are less great about this resin is the tensile strength, but it is a bit better than the other cheap resin alternatives.
Their standard resin is formulated to offer a good balance between detail and cost-effectiveness, making it an attractive option for 3D printing miniatures.
- High Precision: Sunlu standard resin is designed to capture the intricate details necessary for miniature models, which makes it suitable for good detail.
- Easy to Use: It is designed to be user-friendly, with straightforward printing parameters that allow for a smoother printing experience for both beginners and experienced users.
- Fast Curing: The resin usually has a relatively fast curing time under UV light, which can contribute to quicker print cycles.
- Affordability: Sunlu aims to provide materials that are cost-effective, making their standard resin a budget-friendly choice for hobbyists.
- Color Options: They offer a range of colors, providing users with options for direct printing in the desired hue, which can also be a base for further painting and detailing. If you are not looking to paint your minis, they are a great option.
- Brittle: While not the most brittle on the market, this is a cheap and not tough resin.
It’s worth noting that while standard resins, including those by Sunlku, are versatile, they may not have the specialized properties of more niche resins, such as increased toughness or flexibility. But if you pair it with one of the best resin 3D printers for miniatures, a stock standard resin is most of the time the way to go. But what about that durability issue?
One of the more esoteric practices is to mix cheap resin with some more durable resin. The durable resin is quite expensive and makes the printing time of each layer go up quite a lot. So I only use like 5-10% of the durable resin in my mix. My current favorite tough resin to put in a mix is the Siraya Tech Tenacious Black (not the clear, that is not as great as great as the black). But more on that resin later on.
Remember to look at your local price when shopping for a cheap standard resin and take note of bulk options or deals. As an example, Sunlu Standard can be found for around 20$ (and sometimes cheaper) but if I buy it locally it will cost me more like 30$. I need to go buy it across borders for Sunlu to make sense for me price wise.
So the cheapest resin can be dependent on your location. While I really like Sunlu, if I am paying 30$ for 1 kg it is not the best option. Then I would compare and see what the prices are on similar resins like the Elegoo Standard Grey and Anycubic Standard Grey. I like the standard grey Sunlu the most of these, but the best price is very much what I am after here.
Sometimes I want to print miniatures where I know I am going to paint them up nicely and where I really want all the details to stand out. In those cases, I use the very popular Siraya Tech Fast resin. While the grey is okay, if you can get your hands on the darker Navy Grey that is even better. It is also sometimes called Siraya Tech ABS-like Fast Navy Grey, but it is the same stuff. This resin will be more durable and have a bit better detail than standard resin.
- Precision and Detail: The resin is formulated to capture intricate details which are crucial for miniature models.
- Fast Curing: As the name suggests, this resin cures quickly, enabling faster print times compared to some other resins. This is beneficial when trying to optimize the printing process for efficiency.
- Color and Finish: The Navy Grey color provides a neutral tone that is great for viewing details and can serve as a good base for painting, which is important when painting miniatures. You can really see the detail of the model straight from the printer.
- Strength: While many standard resins are brittle, Siraya Tech has developed this resin to offer a better balance between hardness and toughness (hence the ABS-like), which means less brittleness in the finished prints. This balance between quality, toughness, and price is just great.
- Price Point: It’s positioned as a mid-range resin, providing a good compromise between quality and cost. It’s more affordable than some of the high-end specialty resins while offering better performance than basic budget options.
For 3D printing miniatures, it provides fine details without being overly expensive. It is also a resin I feel better about printing without mixing it with a more durable resin.
Once you fall in love with this resin (as I know I have) you can get it in 5kg and 10kg bundles where the price can come down as little as 25$ pr. kg!
Siraya Tech Fast Navy Grey is a strong contender, but the market is quite crowded in this category.
A notable mention is the Phrozen 4k resin which compares very well to the Siraya Tech Fast. I have had quite a few problems getting my hands on the Phrozen 4k resins. When I had the chance to buy it, it was more expensive than Siraya. So in my EU region, I prefer Siraya Tech. But look at what you can get for the cheapest price and try both.
Siraya Tech Tenacious: The Mixer You Need for Durable Resin Miniatures
Not only does this resin have the coolest name, it is also pretty damn amazing. While I would never print miniatures with resin straight from this bottle, it has become the most valued resin in my arsenal. I mix this in at about 5-10% compared to the other resin and it simply makes everything I print much more durable.
Siraya Tech Tenacious is a line of resin that’s been formulated for durability and toughness. I use the Obsidian Black mainly because I like the darker greys it can give me (better to see the detail straight after the print and a good middle ground for priming and painting). But the clear stuff also throws off my printer tuning quite a lot, so Obsidian is the way to go.
- Toughness: Siraya Tech’s Tenacious resins are known for their high impact resistance and flexibility compared to standard resins, which tend to be brittle.
- High Detail: Despite its toughness, Tenacious resin is capable of capturing high detail.
- Obsidian Black Color: The deep black color can give a sleek and professional look to the prints and can also help in showing details for inspection before painting. It mixes well with more light greys.
- Curing Time: This thick resin will add some time to your print layers, but not a ton of extra time. The sacrifice is well worth it for the durability.
- Applications: This resin is not just for miniatures; it’s also used in functional parts that require a bit of give under stress, such as snap-fit components or prototypes that undergo testing. If that is also your jam, this resin will serve multiple purposes for you.
Note that the Tenacious is an expensive resin and it can at times be hard to get a hold of. But it has quickly become my favorite resin, because it can turn any crappy standard resin I get into something usable.
Alternative Best Resin for Miniatures
Let me tell you a secret: in the budget and mid-category of resins, the difference is very minor. So depending on what is available in your country, what is cheap, and what is on bulk sale, the best resin for miniatures can change quite a lot.
Below I have made some categories of resins. In each category, I list some resins that I have found to be very comparable to each other.
Great Standard resins for miniatures
Standard resins are great for general printing. They flow fast and print fast. However, they are brittle and a dropped miniature on a hard surface will break. A weak point (sword tip, hair etc) on a miniature can even break from light handling at the table.
ABS-like resins for miniatures
As the name suggests, ABS-like resin tries to mimic the properties of ABS plastic, which is known for its toughness and durability. It is a good choice for miniatures that need to be more durable and withstand handling or minor impacts. These resins can also have a slightly better detail level than standard resins, but a lot of factors are at play.
While I certainly like the Siraya Tech the best, the options from Elegoo, Anycubic, and Phrozen are not bad at all.
High-detail resin for miniatures
I sometimes use resin that has very high detail, but for me, they just seem too expensive compared to the marginal improvement in quality and detail I see on the miniature. But not everyone is the same and you might think that a marginal step in quality is enough to justify the price. These are some of the best high-detail resins for miniatures:
Good shops for buying your resin for 3D printing miniatures
The cheapest store for getting your resin will be very dependent on your location in the world. Not only does the price differ depending on region, but shipping and what sales you have access to can also change. I mostly get my resin 3D printing stuff directly from the manufacturer when they have a sale because that has been the cheapest for my region.
Elegoo, Anycubic and finally Phrozen are all great because they have warehouser around the globe, so there will likely be a good option in terms of shipping and taxation. Also, they love doing sales and bundles.
As always, Amazon is a good place to go. If you use Amazon, remember that CamelCamelCamel is a very good way at tracking the prices.
Other stores I have used with great success within the EU are:
Stores from in the UK (have not tried them since I am not UK-based)