3D printing technology has revolutionized the world of tabletop gaming by enabling the creation of highly detailed and customizable miniatures.
However, not all resins are created equal, and many commercially available resins have downsides such as brittleness, odors, or a sticky finish making them difficult to paint.
In this article, we will take a look at the best resins for printing miniatures, not only from a detail perspective, but from the perspective of other factors as well.
What you need to know about resin for miniatures
- Strength – Miniatures get moved around a bit, and need to be durable. Sure, you don’t need the strongest SLA resin in the world, but you would prefer them to be able to withstand being slammed on the table out of frustration, or dropped on the floor. When shopping around, a resin of reasonable strength should be high on your list of things to consider.
- Stiffness – Stiff materials are brittle materials. Conversely, ductile materials are not. Ductile materials have a lot more give before they break, and this is what you want. Finding the right balance of stiffness and ductility is what you need for your miniatures, and thankfully there are many resins that offer the right balance for rugged SLA resins.
- Odor – You don’t want smelly miniatures, do you? Try to opt for a low odor resin if possible.
- Surface Finish – Most resin printers, even low cost ones, are capable of providing detailed prints with a reasonable surface finish (check out our article on best resin printers for miniatures for more info on that topic). But what you really don’t want is a resin that is too sticky when cured, or something that is hard to paint. Be sure to read online reviews of resins to find a resin that offers the best combination of surface finish and paintability. Or just read our recommendations below!
- Price – Of course, price is going to be an important factor. It is excessive to spend $600 on a rugged, engineering-grade SLA resin for printing miniatures!
- Printer Compatibility – It’s unlikely that you will be purchasing 385 nm engineering resins for your miniatures, and you probably won’t be using a $20,000 385 nm DLP machine for the task either. But just in case you are, check that the resin is compatible with the type of machine you are using (SLA, LCD or DLP) and that the resin is suitable for the wavelength of the machine. In the case of most budget LCD printers, this will be the 405 nm wavelength.
- Resolution – Print resolution is determined by your printer hardware, but some resins print better at higher resolutions than others. Check out resin reviews or read our suggestions below before making a purchase. You want your miniatures to be detailed as possible.
- Water washable – After printing and curing, you will be wanting to get rid of the excess uncured resin on the surface, because these resins are generally not very friendly chemicals to handle (or dispose of). If you wish to wash the excess resin off with water only, then make sure that the resin that you purchase is water washable. If it isn’t, you may need to wash them in acetone or other chemical in order to clean them before painting. This is particularly true for the higher strength resins and for highly detailed resins.
Best Resin Material for Miniatures
Now we have listed the main aspects you have to be aware before you purchase the right resin material for your next miniature series.
Let’s have a look at the best options available on the market.
Elegoo ABS-Like Resin
3D printing miniatures has been made easier and more affordable with the introduction of resins.
One such resin is the Elegoo ABS-Like resin.
It has become one of the most popular resins available in the 3D printing market due to its wide availability and affordable price point.
It is called ABS-like, because it offers similar mechanical properties to ABS.
It’s not actually ABS, because true ABS is a thermoplastic, and resins are not thermoplastics. They have a different chemistry.
If you’re just starting out with 3D printing miniatures, the ABS-Like resin might be a good option for you.
With a moderate level of flexibility and durability, it offers some level of versatility that may be ideal for beginners. It also has a low odor, making it easier to use than some other resins.
However, it may not be the best choice if you’re looking for high definition in smaller details.
Additionally, it may have some shrinkage, which can affect the final quality of your prints.
Despite this, the ABS-Like resin is compatible with many 3D printers, which makes it an accessible choice for those just getting into the hobby.
With its affordability and decent quality, it offers a good balance between affordability and performance.
Whether you are a beginner or an experienced 3D printer, the Elegoo ABS-Like resin is a good choice for creating realistic and detailed miniatures.
- Clear Blue
- Mint Green
- Smoky Black
Start at $34.99/kg.
AnyCubic UV Resin
AnyCubic UV Resin is a popular budget option that provides similar performance to the Elegoo ABS-Like resin at a slightly lower price point.
This resin is available in a wide range of colors, including white, peach puff, aqua blue, black, and grey.
However, it is recommended to avoid using the white and peach puff colors as they do not produce the best results.
Despite being a budget resin, the AnyCubic UV Resin still provides adequate results and is a good choice for entry-level miniature printing.
Of course, the AnyCubic UV Resin is suitable also for more experienced users and not only to print small objects.
This resin has good compatibility across 3D printers, with decent exposure times and low odor.
Generally, it’s a great option for those looking to get into 3D printing miniatures without breaking the bank.
- Aqua Blue
- Light Beige
Start at $29.00/kg.
AmeraLabs TGM-7 3D
Moving away from the budget resins for a moment, this next offering has been formulated specifically for tabletop miniature printing.
Ameralabs TGM-7 LED resin is a cutting-edge solution that is specifically designed for 3D printing miniatures.
The resin offers a fast print time with no odor and provides excellent durability and flexibility, making it the perfect choice for 3D printing tabletop miniatures.
The TGM-7 resin features a perfect balance between stiffness, impact resistance, and flexibility. This ensures that miniatures will not break during heated gaming sessions or when dropped.
This 3D printing resin provides a hard, non-sticky and paintable surface, which allows for capturing the most detailed features.
The great print resolution, surface quality, pigment stability, and low smell of TGM-7 resin results in a top-quality product for printed miniatures.
It’s available in 3 different versions! And it works just fine on both LCD and DLP type printers.
It costs aprox 78 ($80) euros per liter, and other quantities are available (0.5, 3 and 10L).
Monocure3D Rapid Tuff
For those looking to create high-quality 3D printed miniatures, Monocure3D Rapid Tuff resin is a great option.
As you can tell by the name, it’s a rugged SLA resin, ideal for gamers. This advanced urethane blend is specifically formulated to produce parts with a high tensile strength, providing a good balance of ruggedness, flexibility, and a hard surface finish.
This resin is designed for compatibility with low-powered MSLA printers in the 405 nm range, allowing for quick exposure times.
This results in a smooth finish for your printed miniatures, making them look more realistic and professional.
Additionally, the high tensile strength of the resin ensures that the miniatures can withstand intense gaming sessions and not break or become damaged easily.
Monocure3D Rapid Tuff resin is a great option to bring your miniatures to life.
It’s available in a few basic colors, and at $121 per liter, it’s one of the pricier resins on the list.
But it’s also the strongest SLA resin on the list, so you don’t need to worry when you throw them at the wall when you aim to roll a 1 and fail.
So in terms of ruggedness, you get what you pay for when you spend those extra bucks.
- Army Green
1 liter of Monocure3D Rapid Tuff Grey resin comes at $121.00 in their official store.
Anycubic Plant-Based Resin
Here’s a plant-based resin, for those who prefer something a little more eco-friendly, without compromising on detail or durability.
The Anycubic Plant-Based Resin is a popular 3D printing material that offers both versatility and safety.
This resin, made from soybean oil, is free from harmful chemicals such as Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) and BPA, making it a responsible choice for users.
The ultra-low odor formula has proven to be well-received, even among those with sensitive respiratory systems.
This resin is also known for its high precision, with users praising the quality of their prints.
The slight flexibility in the models and strong adhesion to build plates make the printing process easy and effortless.
In addition, a wide range of colors are available, allowing users to experiment and create their own unique designs.
In summary, the Anycubic Plant-Based Resin offers eco-friendliness, low odor, and high precision, making it an ideal choice for those looking for an enjoyable, hassle-free experience.
Whether you are looking to print high-quality miniatures or experiment with different colors, the Anycubic Plant-Based Resin has got you covered.
It is a pocket-friendly resin and the price starts at $42/kg (only one size available).
Phrozen Aqua 8K Resin
For those seeking to produce the most intricate and superior 3D printed miniatures, Phrozen Aqua 8K resin should be at the top of their list.
Produced by Phrozen, a company also known for its 8K printers, this resin is formulated to enhance the quality and clarity of your prints.
The end results are truly remarkable, offering exceptional detail that will impress.
Although the resin does not have a water-washable feature, you can still properly clean your prints by using solvents like acetone or isopropyl alcohol.
Despite this, Phrozen Aqua 8K remains one of the finest resins in the market and is highly recommended for anyone seeking to enhance the quality of their 3D printed miniatures.
The Phrozen Aqua 8K is the ideal choice for every level, and you can expect high quality detail of your results.
It is available only 1 kg size and costs a reasonable $49.99.
Elegoo Water Washable 8K Resin
Our next 8K resin is another entry from Elegoo.
Unlike the aforementioned 8K resin from Phrozen, the Elegoo Water Washable 8K resin is washable in water (duh!) meaning you do not need to use toxic chemicals like acetone or IPA for cleaning.
This new resin can be easily cleaned with water, making it a safer and more convenient option for 3D printing enthusiasts.
Currently, the resin is available in a single color, but as the popularity of 8K resin printing continues to grow, it’s likely that additional colors will be added in the future.
To sum it up, Elegoo Water Washable 8K resin is an excellent option for anyone seeking to print miniatures of the highest quality with ease.
It is user-friendly, safe, and produces prints with exceptional detail, making it a top pick among miniatures fans.
Regardless of whether you have a 4K or 8K resolution printer, this resin will perform exceptionally well and produce excellent results every time.
- Space Grey
It’s also a great price, costing just $39.99 per kg (one size only).
As you can see from our long (but by no means exhaustive) list of rugged resin options, there are a variety of choices offering different features.
Be it an odor-free resin, a strong SLA resin, or a resin with incredible detail, if you shop around and read the reviews from the miniature printing community, you’ll be sure to find a resin that is suited for your needs.
Personally, I have not played with miniatures since a long time! But I understand the importance of detail, as I had many happy hours in Games Workshop, buying paints for my Warhammer 40k models back in the day.
My own recommendation would be to invest in an 8K printer, and an 8K compatible resin for best results.
Whether you choose one that is washable in water, or not, is down to your preference. Just bear in mind that water washable ones may not be as strong as the other kind.
Overall, the great news is, that you can print high quality, highly detailed miniatures for very little money these days, so even a budget resin can produce great results.