50 December 2015
PRACTICAL 3D PRINTING n BY CHUCK HELLEBUYCK
he Fabrikator Mini is an open source miniature 3D
printer that does a fantastic job of creating 3D printed
objects. It’s small enough to fit on just about any
bench, but large enough to print many useful gadgets.
The Fabrikator Mini is small enough to fit in a carrying
case and travel with you if you need 3D printing on the
road. Parker Leung originally designed it as the Tiny Boy
3D printer, intended as an easy to assemble kit for students
to get introduced to 3D printing. Because the design is
open source even for commercial sales, the Fabrikator Mini
became an easy to get, fully assembled version of the Tiny
Boy we can all get our hands on.
The Tiny Boy has a rather small
build area when compared to
current 3D printers, but is on par
with the original Makerbot Cupcake
and Thing-o-matic 3D printers that
helped launch the home 3D printer
revolution. At 80 mm x 80 mm x 80
mm for the build area, you might
wonder how useful it could be.
Many prints will fit in that area, and
lots of designs can be easily broken
into sections that can be printed on
the Fabrikator Mini and then glued/
The price is very attractive at
under $220. That’s a bargain for a
fully assembled 3D printer ready to
use out of the box. As mentioned, it
relies on open source software such
as Repetier and can print at a 0.1
mm to 0.4 mm layer height, though
0.2 mm is the most reliable fine print resolution.
To get the best prints out of it, it’s recommended in
the setup manual to run the print head at 11 mm/second.
This is rather slow, but produces outstanding print quality.
It’s also designed to print with PLA plastic, so a heated bed
is not included. That didn’t stop me, however.
I added some Buildtak material to the build area —
which helps with making prints stick — and printed with
ABS. I had great results using a raft as the first layer. A raft
is just a layer of plastic put down first to make everything
stick better to the unheated bed. This is the way the
I’ve shown you many tools that you can 3D print for your
workshop if you have a 3D printer, but what if you don’t have
one? Well, I’m going to show you the tool you should get that will
fit right next to your soldering iron: the Fabrikator Mini.
Using 3D printers for practical
projects on your workbench.
Fabrikator Mini –
The 3D printer
for Your Bench Top
n FIGURE 2. Reprap Discount Full
Graphic Smart Controller.
n FIGURE 1.