Looking for a 3D Printer? Here’s a “Cheap” But Good One from Monoprice

Screenshot from the official Monoprice website (

Screenshot from the official Monoprice website (

3D printing has been around for some time now. However, not many get to have access to this useful technology. 3D printers are not yet cheap enough to be affordable for regular buyers.

Fortunately, California-based generic consumer electronics seller Monoprice now offers a “cheap” 3D printer. Priced at $1,199, it is one of the more affordable options if you need a real working 3D printer for some project you have in mind. Of course, this price is still not as cheap as desired but compared to the typical prices, it is already affordable enough.

Product 11614

The specific 3D printer being offered by Monoprice is referred to as Product Number: 11614 with the descriptive name “Dual Extrusion ABS/PLA/PVA 3D Printer – Black Metal.” It is manufactured by a third party company for Monoprice based on Monoprice’s specs. It is a filament deposition manufacturing (FDM) type of 3D printer equipped with two spools of 1 kg PLA filaments and comes with a dual extrusion head to enable two-color 3D printing jobs. It appears to be based on the specs of the MakerBot Replicator. Dimensions are 225 mm x 145 mm x 150 mm. It can handle layer thicknesses from 0.1 mm to around 0.5 mm. Layer resolution is at ±0.10mm while the XY resolution or positioning precision is rated at 0.0004 inch or 11 microns. In terms of temperature capacities, the printer’s extruder can be subjected to up to 250°C while the metal heating plate can handle up to 120°C of heat. Printing speed is rated at 24 cc per hour with its 0.40 mm nozzle diameter.

Screenshot from the official Monoprice website (

Screenshot from the official Monoprice website (

Is It Good Enough?

The printer is expectedly a low to mid end model with no bells and whistles in tow. It is a basic model with a heated build plate that enables it to handle ABS and PLA printing jobs. The exterior is made of powder-coated metal. Nevertheless, for its price, it can be said that it has above average specs. 3D printers with similar specs usually have prices in the vicinity of $1,000 to $3,000. The MakerBot Replicator (which is apparently the basis for this printer’s specs) costs nearly $1,600.

It has USB and SD card ports and can work with Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X systems. The base software is ReplicatorG and can work with the following file types: STL and OBJ for the input and X3G for the output. Overall, it looks decent enough in both the interior and exterior aspects, although the performance is yet to be tested after a thorough review. It should be able to deal with most 3D printing jobs for hobbies, small projects, and technology-aided art.

What to Look for in a Cheap 3D Printer

Before thinking of getting your own inexpensive 3D printer, there are things that need to be taken into account. Choosing one is not as easy as choosing office printers that usually have very similar capabilities and uses. The following need to be considered:

  • Size of the Project – Obviously, you can’t get a printer that can’t handle the size of the object you would like to create. Most entry level cheap 3D printers can output very limited sizes. While you can just print the parts and reassemble them later on, there will be projects that may require a printer that can produce bigger objects.
  • Colors – If you need multiple colors for your project (and post-prod painting is not an option), you have to get a printer with more than one extruder.
  • Level of Detail – Just like text or photo printers, you need to look at the rated resolution of the printer you are getting if you are concerned with the level of detail to be produced. For 3D printers, the lower stated XY resolution means finer details. This is unlike the case of paper printers with which higher resolution numbers mean finer details or higher image quality. Monoprice’s 3D printer is good enough as it can output fine details with its 0.1 layer resolution or thickness.
By Slowking4 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

By Slowking4 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Just like other tech products, 3D printers will eventually become cheaper and more accessible to regular buyers. With further technological advancements, they should also become more efficient and more capable in handling complicated tasks. If you intend to buy your own unit, always consult 3D printer buying guides or reviews first to be able to find the right 3D printer that suits your needs and preferences. The one from Monoprice is relatively affordable and actually a great choice considering its specs and competitors.