Monoprice Maker Select Plus Review

A great entry level printer that has a trade off between more features and a sturdy frame, against cheap components and average abilities.

I’ve just gone through 2 of these and thought I would write about my experiences.

After a lot of research and reading reviews, this was the printer I opted to go for as my entry into 3D printing, everything sounded good and it was a great price from Amazon UK (at time of purchase it was £280). The reviews were very positive and its rated as Digital Trends best printer for under $500.

The Monoprice Select Plus as a lot of great features that are hard to find on other printers of the same price. A heated bed and touchscreen deserve particular mention. The touchscreen makes controlling the prints incredibly simple and provides a hassle free interface compared to the non-touchscreen variant. The heated bed is okay (limitation described below), and in connection with the Buildtak style plate it provides consistent adhesion and easy-ish removal with the provided spatula.

The first issue is clear right away in the instruction manual: it misses out a step. Whilst going through the connections it does not mention the large black connector on the right side of the printer. As my cable was tucked into the frame I wasn’t looking for it and easily missed it. This drives the extruder block so I quickly noticed that something missed when the extruder wasn’t heating under the ‘preheat’ menu.

The large black cable is easy to miss during set up as the manual skips it and it can be tucked out of sight from packaging.

Whilst the printer construction is solid with a reasonably thick aluminium chassis, it suffers from cheap parts (A bit of stating the obvious there). The heated bed, whilst an excellent addition, was rarely heated across the entire bed; even when left on all day at a constant temperature. If you’re printing within the centre 40-50 percent it was great, outside of that was iffy for warping and lifting.

The fans are cheap, and naff, they were the culprit of my first printer going back. A month after purchase the bearings in both fans went which caused unbearable rattling, and the only one I had that would fit didn’t have the right connector.

The quality control was highlighted as an issue for the second printer. The first issue was the Z-axis stop switch; the wire connecting to it had snapped, but I had another to hand so was easily replaced. This is a serious issue though as without this switch, the 200 degree extruder will melt through the build plate when you go to print something which is inconvenient at the least. The weakness of the feeder was highlighted in this one as well. The feeder grips the filament to pass it through the hot end. Mine rounded off after 8 days use so the filament stopped feeding through, which is concerning after a week of use on a new machine.

Aside from these, the Monoprice Maker Select Plus is a great entry-level printer, with a large heated bed and easily accessible parts. It’s sturdy and stable whilst printing but the overall build quality leaves a lot to be desired. The upside is that everything is fairly simple and cheap to replace should it stop working outside the warranty period. All in all, if you’re looking for a machine to introduce you to 3D printing, this is an awesome piece of kit for the price, especially if you have a little technical knowledge behind you.


Review: Monoprice Select Mini Pro

Light and compact; this printer is ready to go straight out of the box, nothing to bolt together and no connectors to connect. It comes with a single Allen key although this can only remove the touch screen, the rest of the screws are all Philips head of varying sizes. The chassis is excellent with very little movement whilst printing, and the move from SD to Micro SD keeps the small form factor throughout.

The touchscreen is a massive improvement over the Maker Select Plus, and has simpler interfaces with less that can be accidentally touched or reset. The only annoying thing is the close button on the print screen, being small and in the top right corner will make it awkward to touch if you have larger fingers.

The filament loading is great. The feeder is on the top and securely fastened to the chassis of the printer and takes it through a tube to the hot end. The only issue of this is that if you run low and the filament goes past the feeder, it can be a pain to extrude or retrieve. The tube does unclip from each end which makes it easier to get at the filament. Just be careful if running new filament in if you haven’t removed the old one as it can easily jam. I ran out during a print and had another roll of the same filament ready to go and put it on to chase the end through the pipe; they caught each other and it jammed.

The addition of Wifi is greatly appreciated, although the companion app leaves a lot to be desired and a camera only really features on much higher end printers. It makes checking the status of the print a lot easier when the printer is in another room or building and you don’t want to keep making the trip to check on it. It took a few attempts to connect but didn’t lose connection once it had.

One downside I have found is that the auto leveling is not the most accurate, and from what I know at the moment; this can’t be over-ridden. The overall height of the build plate can be, but not the individual corners. I’m not sure why this is, perhaps the magnets are the cause. The build plate seems to be a serious issue with these; mine came both warped, and upon further investigation, also cracked. This appears to be an alarmingly common issue with these printers, as well as the Wanhao printer it’s a rebrand of.  Which highlights two flaws of Monoprice; firstly (again) their quality control, these are genuinely nice printers and print beautifully – if only they worked properly. Second; their customer support is atrocious. Buy directly from them at your own risk, they highlight that you should email them if you have any issues rather than the reseller (I bought through their Amazon page – yay Prime!) it took them a week to respond to my emails and eventually said it wasn’t their problem and they couldn’t help. Amazon took 30 seconds. But it keeps the cost down of having minimal employees so it’s a trade-off, and make of it what you will.

Issues like this may be seen if the build plate is warped. Where the filament hasn’t adhered in one place but has in another: evidence of a difference in height between areas of the build plate even after levelling
The standard scraper (left) is pretty weak, invest in a metal one (right)

I really like my Select Mini V2 and would recommend it over the Maker Select Plus. I would say it prints more consistently and the build plate heats up better and more uniformly than the larger plate of the Plus. If you can live with the smaller build area, and get lucky enough to be shipped one with a straight plate, this is one of the best printers around for £200. Its size makes it ideal for a desktop printer. If you really need the bigger build volume, the Maker Select Plus is a great start for not much more moolah.


The Journey Begins

Thanks for joining me!

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton