The Mingda Magician X is a 3D printer specifically targeted at new users. There’s very little assembly and it has automatic bed levelling, a direct drive extruder and a colour touch screen.
I’ll put it through its paces printing a range of models in a variety of filaments – not just PLA – to try and help you decide if this printer is right for you.
If you’re new to 3D printing I’d highly recommend watching at least some of my earlier article and video that introduces 3D printing with the budget Creality Ender 3.
So let’s take a closer look.
The printer is packaged in styrofoam rather than the usual dense packaging foam. It’s a little messier but the printer arrived without any damage.
It couldn’t really be much easier to put together, requiring just six bolts to attach the upper assembly to the lower assembly. I lightly attached one of the shorter bolts on either side to hold the gantry in place and then tilted the printer on its side to attach the longer bolts through the base. I then secured everything in place with the 4 shorter bolts.
The filament holder can snap into position on the top of the printer on either side and then you can connect the cabling for the heated bed, the two Z motors and the 3 X axis cables. It’s very easy and the whole thing should take around 10 minutes.
The gantry sits in moulded plastic parts on the base and I did find it a very tight fit – I had to gently push one of these parts outwards to be able to slide the gantry completely in.
As well as the printer you get a few additional accessories but fewer than I’ve come to expect. Just some allen keys, a spanner, a spare nozzle, a short spare PTFE tube and a couple of spare bolts. There is some sample filament but it’s labelled 3D pen filament and personally I wouldn’t use this. There are no flush cutters and there’s no spatula to get prints off the bed. This is an oversight for a printer for beginners – you will need both.
There is also a full sized SD card and the user manual.
After initial assembly you need to check the bed and print head don’t have any play. And you need to check the tightness of the belts. This isn’t mentioned in the manual and could easily catch out a new user.
Both my bed and print head had a fair bit of play. The bed has two eccentric nuts and the print head has one eccentric nut that you need to tighten with the supplied spanner to take out any play. None of the guide wheels should be able to move freely independently. You’ll probably only need a fraction of a turn to get everything snug.
You should also check the Z axes guide wheels on both sides.
There are belt tensioning knobs on both the X and Y axis that you can adjust – mine only needed a minor adjustment.
When you’re done with the tools and accessories they conveniently fit in the tray on the top of the base, although I wouldn’t suggest using this tray when the printer is in operation.
The build quality of the printer is generally good. There’s a little more plastic that I would have liked but these parts look injection moulded and the overall appearance of the printer looks more polished than most printers I’ve tested.
And the cabling is particularly neat, mostly hidden away and there’s a thick cable to the heated bed with a sturdy connection. Even this connector is injection moulded and embossed with the Mingda logo. Although it would have made more sense to make this a right angled plug to use up less space at the back. Only the Z axis cable is loose so you just need to make sure that it doesn’t get caught on anything. A drag chain might be nice to print off as a finishing touch. The ribbon cable that attaches to the print head is stuck with double sided tape to the gantry.
This had come away at one end, and was also raised slightly in one area which rubs against the print head as it moves across.
Considering the overall size of the printer: 430 x 550 x 550mm, the build volume is surprisingly small – just 230mm square with 260mm build height. The large base does cover most of the space required when the printer is in use when you take account of the movement of the bed. So the actual footprint required for this printer is similar to other printers with comparable print volumes.
The plastic parts do make the printer quite light at just under 7.5kg and it’s easy to move around with its integrated carry handle.
The printer should be already set to the correct voltage for your region but if you want to check or you move location, you need to peel this piece of foam away to change it.
After turning it on you need to run the auto bed levelling by tapping on the Levelling icon on the 3.5” touch screen.
The printer uses the nozzle itself and a strain gauge to measure the bed at 16 points to then compensate for any unevenness of the bed.
The whole procedure takes 3 or 4 minutes but it’s not done before every print and with the glass bed you don’t need to do it very often.
The printer automatically heats up the nozzle and bed before taking the measurements. You can see the red LED illuminate each time the nozzle touches the bed.
You can then tap on Preheat and then PLA to heat up the bed and nozzle to predefined printing temperatures, ready to insert filament. This printer is direct drive which means you load filament straight into the dual drive extruder at the print head. It doesn’t have to travel through a long length of PTFE tubing from the extruder to the hotend. This should make loading and unloading filament quicker and easier. It has other potential advantages too which I’ll come back to.
Snip the filament at 45° and try to straighten the end as much as possible. Then push it through the filament sensor and into the extruder gears, whilst releasing tension on the extruder’s tension lever. You do this with your thumb depressing the tension knob while your index finger pulls back on the lever. It’s quite a stiff spring so you might need a little more force than you think.
Then tap on Menu | Extrude and tap on Load a few times to feed filament out of the nozzle.
This procedure is more difficult than it should be and took me a few attempts initially.
It can help to remove the extruder thumb screw which lets you see what’s going on. You can then more easily guide the filament through the gears and down into the hotend. You can then manually push hot filament through the nozzle before replacing the tension screw. This screw is a little short so make sure it’s engaged in the nut before trying to tighten it around one turn.
An alternative way to load filament is to start extruding and at the same time firmly push the filament into the rotating extruder gears. With a little practice the gears should catch the filament and load it into the hotend and out the nozzle.
The front of the printer has a thumb drive port, the full sized SD card port and a USB-C port for connecting to a computer or Octoprint via a Raspberry Pi for wireless printing. It’s a great selection of ports, all easily accessible right at the front of the printer. And it’s the first printer I’ve seen with a USB-C port. There are also two SD card storage slots.
The printer has a V6 style hotend that can print at up to 260°C. I wouldn’t go much above 250°C since it’s not an all metal design and the PTFE lining will degrade at higher temperatures. Mingda supplies a spare piece of PTFE tubing if you manage to burn the installed one.
Mingda only lists PLA, ABS and TPU or Flex as supported materials but not PETG. I tried printing with all these supported filaments and also PETG.
The printer uses a belt driven dual Z-axis that should provide more accurate larger prints. The Z axes had a generous amount of grease applied to them, so be careful to not contaminate the build plate with greasy fingers.
Before starting on my test prints I updated the firmware. Copy the latest firmware for the mainboard and screen from Mingda’s website to the SD card and turn the printer on. The printer will then update itself.
You can print from either a USB stick or the supplied SD card. The SD card has a few test prints so for my first print I tried the Vase. Tap on print and then Vase. I used some Anycubic white PLA and it printed successfully in just under one hour 15 minutes.
It’s not actually printed in vase mode where the printer prints in one continuous spiral, so you can see the seam, but the print looks fine.
The Z-offset was a little high so I tapped on Baby Steps during the print to lower it slightly.
You can also adjust the Z-Offset from the home screen before a print. Any adjustments you make in Baby Steps are also saved here.
When you go to Z-offset you can’t actually move the nozzle to its zero position. This means you can’t use the usual method of sliding a piece of paper underneath the nozzle to check the offset. I think this would be easier for new users – it’s harder to adjust this on the fly while printing and requires some experience. Mingda has told me they’ll add this feature to an upcoming firmware release.
The printer uses a coated glass bed and PLA stuck to the bed well, but prints were tricky to remove. You should let the bed cool down but I still found the prints quite difficult to remove with the coating Mingda uses. I pretty much always had to use a spatula, sometimes with a lot of force.
You can try raising the Z-offset slightly or use some bed adhesive like 3DLac, Magigoo or glue stick which should help the prints release – but I still needed the spatula in most cases.
If you’re using something like Magigoo or glue stick you can squirt a little water or IPA which should help release your print more easily.
A removable PEI sheet makes life so much easier especially for beginners. You can simply pull the sheet off, flex it once or twice and the print pops off. You don’t even need to wait for it to cool down. Still the glass bed works ok for PLA and you won’t need to run the bed levelling very often.
I sliced my own models in Cura which is the recommended slicer – the program that converts your 3D models into so-called g-code that the printer can process. You’ll need to add the printer manually in the current version of Cura. The manual guides through the setup and includes a profile for PLA on the SD card which you can import. And you can download profiles for ABS and TPU from their website. Alternatively if you download Cura version 5 which is just coming out of beta, the printer has already been added for you.
To test the automatic bed levelling I printed the Fab365 A-Team van. This uses most of the bed and also tests the tolerances of the printer. This is a long print and took 11 hours to complete. The glass bed is removable with a single clip at the front, and I placed it in the freezer for 5 minutes to release the print.
This print is foldable and came out ok, but some of the joints did fail trying to assemble it.
I also printed a calibration cube to test the accuracy. It should measure 20mm in all directions and was a little off but looked ok quality-wise.
Next I printed the 3DBenchy in just over 1 hour 17 minutes which looked good apart from a small amount of ghosting or ringing around the holes at the front of the boat. This is one disadvantage of direct drive over a typical bowden style printer – resulting from the heavier print head which has to include the extruder.
I printed this twisted vase in vase mode which prints in one continuous spiral. You just need to tick Spiralise Outer Contour in Cura. It’s a great way to print quickly and it checks for any inaccuracies in the Z axis. The vase came out very well with no artefacts.
I also printed these stackable storage containers again in vase mode which you can print in several sizes. They also printed very well in 3DQF titanium white.
All these prints were at the standard 0.2mm layer height and the default 50mm/s print speed. Mingda claims a maximum print speed of 80mm/s so I tried printing the 3DBenchy again at this faster speed. The included profile has Lift Head enabled under Cooling in Cura which made a mess of the chimney and slowed down the print. But even printing the model again with this disabled the print wasn’t any faster. I’d have to experiment further to speed up PLA prints.
Like loading filament, removing filament is also harder than it should be. There’s no automatic way to unload filament – you can’t even run the extruder backwards.
I found the most reliable method was to get the nozzle up to temperature, release tension on the extruder tension lever and push some filament out of the nozzle and then pull upwards to remove the filament. But occasionally I did get a small piece of filament left behind, stuck in between the extruder gears that I had to remove with some needle nose pliers.
Next I tried printing some flexible filament to print a new bumper for my son’s RC car. This printed very well with barely any stringing – another advantage of this direct drive setup. This was printed with FilaTech FilaFlex 40 which is good for the bumper but you can get far more flexible filaments like this NinjaFlex that would be a challenge for Bowden style printers.
But even with Mingda’s direct drive setup I found it very difficult to load the NinjaFlex into the extruder and even once loaded I didn’t manage to get a successful print. The filament runout sensor also didn’t recognise the deep blue filament so I had to turn off the sensor in the settings. I’ll persevere and update the accompanying written article at thetechnologyman.com if I have any success.
Next up I tried ABS in the form of eSun’s ABS+. Even small prints like this calibration cube lifted around the corners on the glass bed but I did manage to print it successfully decreasing the Z-offset and printing with a brim. I’m not a big fan of using painter’s tape and bed adhesives like 3DLac and Magigoo but they do help with ABS on a glass bed.
I tried a more challenging print – a fan duct for the Flsun Superracer I reviewed recently for an upcoming video.
The model printed successfully and looks good with the matte finish of the black ABS+. If you don’t have too many drafts, you can get away with small prints like this without an enclosure.
I checked with Mingda why PETG isn’t listed as a supported material. They did provide a PETG profile but suggested using painter’s tape to protect the bed.
I tried printing with both painter’s tape, various bed adhesives and PETG printed ok, releasing easily when the bed had cooled down.
I checked the heated bed with a Flir thermal imaging camera.
The temperature was quite even across the bed and I did confirm it could achieve 110°C maximum should you need it.
The printer has a 32-bit mainboard and silent stepper drivers and overall it’s a fairly quiet printer but it’s certainly not silent. You can hear how it sounds in the accompanying video.
The printer has a 24V 15A 360W power supply and even when it’s not printing this fan doesn’t turn itself off. After only 20 or 30 hours of use this fan failed and made a lot of noise when the printer was turned on. It’s a 24V 6015 fan which I replaced with a better quality one, but it wasn’t particularly easy. The base is held on with 12 screws with three of them underneath the foam feet. And the power supply cover is held in place with 6 screws.
I could then very carefully install the new fan. Looking on the Facebook forum this seems to be a fairly common issue.
The touch screen is responsive and the layout and icons are mainly intuitive. You can turn off the beeps under settings, although the printer still beeps when it completes a print. Here is also where you turn on the filament runout sensor which for some reason is turned off by default.
You can adjust the print and fans speeds, flow rate and adjust Baby Steps, but there aren’t any more advanced settings should you want to tweak anything.
But I did successfully connect to the printer via Octoprint to confirm the extruder e-steps and check the temperature stability. And you can send and monitor prints wirelessly using Octoprint as well.
Finally I tested the filament runout sensor and power outage resume feature.
When the filament runs out the nozzle moves to the home position so you can load more filament and resume the print.
After a simulated power outage you’ll get a prompt to resume the print. Both features worked as expected. You will most likely get a small blob where the print continues after a power failure.
Just idling, the printer consumes 13W and I’m now measuring the total power consumption to print a 20mm calibration cube in PLA with default settings for all my printer reviews. The Mingda Magician X consumed 72Wh. In comparison the Prusa MK3s+ used 8w idling and 75Wh to print the same calibration cube with comparable settings.
I didn’t get any clogs or jams in my testing, but Mingda do provide several video tutorials. One thing to note is the hotend cover uses Japanese JIS screws even though they look like standard Phillips screws, so either use a JIS screwdriver like this Vessel one or take care removing them with a Phillips screwdriver.
The Mingda Magician X is marketed as an easy to use printer for beginners to 3D printing. It is very quick and easy to assemble, and the auto bed levelling is as simple as tapping the levelling icon. I am surprised Mingda chose a glass plate over a far more user friendly flexible PEI sheet, and I did find loading and unloading filament much harder than it should be.
Despite its direct drive system it couldn’t handle very flexible filaments like NinjaFlex but I got good prints from some other slightly less flexible filaments I tried. The only other supported filament was ABS and I did have trouble with warping and had to revert to some old school methods to get successful prints.
It’s disappointing they don’t list PETG as a supported filament but I did manage to get average results printing PETG, so long as I used some tape or bed adhesive to help the print release from the glass bed. PETG is such a popular filament, I find it surprising that a printer at this price point isn’t ready to print at least PLA and PETG out of the box.
Upgrading to a flexible textured PEI sheet is an easy upgrade and would solve many of the minor issues I had. PLA will be easy to remove without waiting for the bed to cool down and it’ll handle PETG with ease. Since the bed is the exact same size as the popular Ender 3, you can pick one up relatively cheaply off Amazon. I plan this upgrade myself and will provide a link down below to the sheet I go for.
The build quality of the printer is generally good and with its injection moulded parts it looks more polished than most 3D printers I’ve tested even if there’s a little more plastic than I’d like. It’s fairly quiet in operation but the power supply fan is always on and it was disappointing to have this fail on me after less than a month of use. I do always try to test tech support with printers I review, and Mingda support was very good and responsive, especially considering the time zone differences. They helped with the fan issue, but also with many other questions I had. There’s also an active Facebook group.
I’ll be reviewing the Creality Ender 3 S1 Pro in the next couple of weeks which is very similar to this printer, but with an all metal hotend to handle higher temperature filaments and a magnetic PEI build plate. I’ll be comparing it to the Mingda and my Prusa Mini+ so please take a look at that review if you’re interested. If it’s already out there’ll be a link down below.
Don’t forget to take a look at my YouTube video at the top of the page, and subscribe to my YouTube channel where I’m releasing videos every week on the latest technology and how to get the most out of it. If you tap the bell icon when you subscribe you’ll get a notification as soon as I release a video, and there’ll be a link to my site here for the written article. YouTube is also the best place to leave a comment. I read all of them and respond to as many as I can!
You can purchase the printer directly from Mingda: https://3dmingdaofficial.com/?ref=u4yJ3T1U
Use this code for $20 off: GRMXUSD20
or from Amazon:
Mingda Magician X: https://amzn.to/3x3z9Kg
Other Amazon links: eSun PLA+: https://amzn.to/3x5bB7C
eSun ABS+: https://amzn.to/3zeWIkH
Eryone TPU: https://amzn.to/3N7j7o5
Magigoo bed adhesive (and release): https://amzn.to/3m2TpoV
3DLac spray bed adhesive (and release): https://amzn.to/3M4WgZ5
Textured PEI removeable sheet: https://amzn.to/3x0SURp
(I’ve not upgraded this yet but use an Energetic one on my Ender 3 which I’ve been happy with)