The cheapest 3D printer of all time looks like Playmobil, is ready to use in a few minutes – and prints. We show what else there is to say about it.
There was that in the run-up to Christmas Labists Mini X1 bei Amazon for less than 80 euros; with the Chinese Online-Shop Banggood it is even available for a good 60 euros with the code B6cc10 to have. 3D printing has never been cheaper, until now the threshold was around 100 euros – for crude handicraft shops in which you have to invest a lot of time before anything happens. The X1, on the other hand, should be ready for use with a few screws and after a few minutes.
Scope of delivery & construction
The compact packaging primarily contains three modules that need to be connected to one another: the base with the non-heated print bed, the tower with the extruder and the control unit in which the electronics are located. There are printed, illustrated instructions for this.
Indeed: A few minutes after unpacking the Labists X1 is assembled. Two screws and a few hand movements are necessary and the device is in front of us. Questions do not remain open here. Compared to virtually every other 3D printer we tested, this printer looks like a toy. Although the device looks more like a finished product and less like a kit made of aluminum profiles with visible technology – on the other hand, no wonder, the choice of materials is a bit windy at this price.
The Mini X1 is the first printer in the test whose control module has no display. There are three buttons for operation – this only works with instructions and only for the most rudimentary functions: load and unload filament, start printing, done. Change the temperature of the extruder? Only works in the slicer, not when printing. Approach a certain position? Not possible, luckily the print bed is so small that leveling just works. Which file will be printed? Always the last one that was pushed onto the memory card. It’s that simple – but it also means that when in doubt, you always have to use your computer to copy files back and forth.
The package includes a USB stick with a microSD card reader and a suitable card. It has its own slicing software. If you want to print a 3D model, which you have downloaded from Thingiverse, for example, you first have to convert it into machine code so that the printer can do something with it – the slicer does that. Here, for example, the layer height and thus the print resolution are set, the temperature suitable for the filament and so on. The included software does its job; However, we have achieved better print results with Cura, for example, which enables significantly more detailed settings. More on this in the 3D printer guide: All the important information to get you started.
Unfortunately, there is no definition file for Cura (or other slicing programs such as Simplify 3D) on the memory card or on the manufacturer’s website, which is why you have to set up the printer by hand. The following screenshot shows the settings in Cura with which we were able to print successfully on the Labists Mini X1.
It goes without saying that at such a low price point the red pen was applied everywhere – it starts with the missing display, but doesn’t stop there. For example, the Mini X1 does not have a heated print bed, which limits the filament selection to PLA. More stable plastics such as PETG or ABS cannot be printed with the Mini X1 – and PLA also prefers a warm bed, which is why larger prints sometimes peel off a little at the bottom. This did not lead to a misprint for us, but this so-called warping can be seen in the result afterwards. And those who print very filigree parts may have to instruct the slicer to prepare a raft. This first prints a thick layer of plastic flush under the model on the print bed. The actual models are printed on it, which prevents adhesion problems, but uses additional filament and extends the printing time.
Anyone who has looked at the screenshot above may have noticed the small installation space. With the Mini X1, the printout can be a maximum of 10 × 10 × 10 cm.
The most exciting question is: is there a useful result coming from the bargain printer? The answer: yes, but. The Mini X1 prints, and as already mentioned, we didn’t have a real misprint. But perfect looks different.
If you expect perfect, precise functional parts in which you only have to insert nuts and bolts, you definitely have to spend more money. A rough molded part comes from the bargain printer. Sufficient, for example, for mobile phone holders at the socket, for feet or clamps that hold tomato plants on the bamboo stick. If you want to print something nice for your desk, tabletop figures or a matching cell phone case, you at least have to rework.
The Labists Mini X1 is available as standard for 99 euros at Amazon. Every now and then he appears in promotions with a 20 percent discount; we ordered it for just under 80 euros. And the Chinese technology shipping Banggood offers the Mini X1 for 65 euros with a voucher code B6cc10 to – with nice shipping from the Czech Republic.
For 65 euros, the Mini X1 is a great bargain. We wouldn’t buy it for 100 euros – significantly better 3D printers as a kit, such as the Ender 3 (guide), are available at the normal price of 150 euros and in offers for 120 euros. That is definitely the better buy.
To buy or not? If you are not sure whether a 3D printer is a suitable hobby, you can get started here and gain initial experience of how the technology works. Then the labists will probably gather dust on the shelf – because you have either invested in a better 3D printer or you are giving up your hobby.
At an absolute bargain price of 65 euros, you don’t go wrong here. In general, 3D printing is not as easy as 2D printing on paper; you have to learn and experiment – the Mini X1 is also wonderfully suited for this.