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Ease into 3D printing with the da Vinci Mini, a device that won’t break the bank

Looking for a 3D printer that won’t break the bank? You ought to be looking at the da Vinci Mini., a 21st century device that costs less than $300.

This slimmed-down version of a 3D printer makes use of fused filament fabrication technology to create small, 3D-printed objects off of 1.75mm filament at up to a 0.1 mm resolution. So if you’re looking to create chess pieces or other items that are around the same size, this may just do the trick.

With a print bed measuring just 5.9-by-5.9-by-5.9 inches, your imagination will be a bit confined, but the printer may be perfect for the home enthusiast who’s just getting into 3D printing. The da Vinci Mini connects wirelessly to your home or office Wi-Fi network for easy 3D printing just about anywhere. And if you use XYZware software from da Vinci maker XYZprinting, you can “experience its updated slicing precision and computing efficiency, shortening the preparation time required before printing.”

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XYZprinting has a digital gallery that includes more than 4,500 free 3D models. Nine categories ranging from toys to art pieces to educational items will help hone a first-time printer’s skills, and perhaps catalyze some larger projects in the future.

And if you’re buying a da Vinci Mini for your classroom, XYZprinting is here to help. “Students and teachers get free access to our online curriculum education program, XYZprinting STEAM, which helps K-12 Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics educators to incorporate 3D printing into their classroom,” the company says. The da Vinci Mini can also be used to teach young 3D-printing enthusiasts about sustainability. After all, all the filaments used by this printer are made with polylactic acid plastics derived from corn starch, which means they’re biodegradable and nontoxic.