Looking into Miniature Prototyping

Howdy! I am looking into several brands of 3D printers that can produce high-quality prototypes for 28mm scale miniatures before I make any purchases. The Moai130 definitely caught my attention and I just wanted comments/results/opinions from the community if this printer can accomplish what I am looking for. I am an exceptional painter in the hobby, and I have been rather unimpressed by the surface finish of 3D printers. I am aware of some other higher-end 3D printers that can accomplish a smooth surface finish but they are quite expensive for my wallet.

At the end of the day, my concerns are:

  1. Can the Moai130 make smooth surface models with very limited layer lines?
  2. I am aware that all 3D printers take some maintenance and a little more TLC and patience, but is the Moai130 relatively easy to maintain? To level? To replace fractured or burned-out components?
  3. On average, how often have you faced print failures?
  4. Lastly, does climate affect resin print/curing? Does the resin do better in a humid location or a dry desert heat? How about freezing-cold winters?

I am absolutely impressed by the forums and online pages that support this 3D product line, I have never encountered such a community for any other 3D printer, so firm handshakes all around to people that support and love the community members and help each other. Any help would be greatly appreciated to my concerns listed above. Thanks!

I use the Moai for printing miniature parts for rc cars, doll house lighting and have printed so 28mm figures. You really cannot see the layer lines even at 100 microns. The surfaces are amazingly smooth compared to filament printers, and the detail is at least 10X better than the filament printer which i also own. I have a clear resin dragon sitting on a slowly color changing base. Maintenance is fairly easy if you make sure you clean up and spilled resin in the printer immediately with isopropyl alcohol and dry it. If you plan on useing different colors of resin it is probably best if you have a resin vat for each color resin, just make sure you make a cover for each vat to keep out dust etc., as for temperature warm is better. The printer does not seem to like cold. In fact Peopoly sells a heater to put in the printer to keep the temperature in the unit to around 90 degrees F. I live in the desert where humidity is usually single digits, to low double digits, most of the time. When it rains and humidity increases i have not seen much if any effect on the prints. I built a curing chamber using a very large can that popcorn came in at Xmas, and lined it with a uv strip of (405nm) leds and a turntable. It all runs off of a timer, and this is where i cure my prints. Outdoors is good in the sun, but we get strong winds here that blow the parts away, so inside curing. You will need lots of isopropyl alcohol to wash of the extra resin Nd a good container to put it in, with a cap. WARNING make sure you use nitrile gloves, not the plastic ones as they dissolve in the IPA and resin mix. I also have developed a very nasty allergy to the resin by not being careful, i have learned my lesson. Hope this helps. The good thing about the Moai is it is tweak-able, you are not locked in to the manufacturers resins. I bought a kit, it was fun to build and it was cheaper too.

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