How Small Can You 3D Print?

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Updated January 16, 2023

If you are new to the world of physical printing, you may wonder how small you can 3D print. Some of the best printers, after all, are 3D printers, and these models excel at making highly detailed and miniature objects. So how do the best 3D printers work, and what are the smallest objects available to print? Keep reading to find out.


  • 3D printers work by extruding filament or resin via a dedicated nozzle onto a dedicated print bed.
  • 3D printing technology excels with small objects, though resin-based printers go smaller than filament-based printers due to laser beams and nozzle diameter.
  • When making an extremely small model, work slowly and choose the correct nozzle for the job.

How Do 3D Printers Work?

Before learning about small objects and how to 3D print faster, it is important to learn some basics about 3D printers. These printers make 3D models out of resin or filament and are used in a variety of industries if you are learning how 3D printers are made. They use extrusion nozzles, filament spools, and heated print beds to complete print jobs if you are learning how many watts a 3D printer uses.

Insider Tip

Stay close to the printer as it creates smaller-than-average objects to take care of issues as they pop up.

These printers can use a variety of filament or resin types, including metal, though you will have to learn how to clean a 3D printer bed.

How Small Can You Print?

There is no universal answer here as this depends on the design of the printer itself, the design schematic being used, the nozzle, the nozzle diameter, and the building materials. You can go as thin as the nozzle allows, but not all blueprints do well with smaller-than-average designs, as this could impact structural integrity.

Tips for Making Small Prints

If you are dead set on making some truly miniature 3D objects, some useful tips are worth considering.

Resin and Filament

Resin-based printers are more expensive and considered to be more “luxe” for a reason. DLP and SLA resin printers excel with extremely small prints. Layer heights decrease all the way to 25 microns with this type of printer, compared to many times that for a standard filament-based printer. In other words, if you really want a teeny tiny 3D object, go with a resin printer.

STAT: Small 3D-printed objects are considered to be even more difficult to print than big ones. To succeed, every aspect must be nicely balanced: the interplay between settings and materials, the 3D model, and the producer’s know-how to choose the right settings. (source)

Choose the Right Nozzle

The thickness of your walls is determined by the extrusion nozzle. Small 3D objects, obviously, require thinner walls than larger objects, so choose the correct nozzle for the job. Modern 3D printers ship with a wide range of nozzle sizes to suit the needs of different makers.

Go Slowly

A lot can go wrong with making small objects, so work slowly and pay attention to every aspect of the design.

Small 3D Prints FAQs

How small can you go?

When it comes to small 3D models, there is no actual minimum standard in place. Try different methods and printer types to reduce printing time while creating small models layer by layer via a heated nozzle.

Are smaller layer thicknesses always better?

Not necessary. Smaller layer thicknesses are great for viewing detail, but this aspect of the 3D printing process may not be the best choice for stability and overall durability.

What are the different types of 3D printers?

There are many common types of printers out there that excel with various 3D printing materials and feature unique minimum feature sizes, light source requirements, and more.
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