Getting into 3D printing can be a daunting prospect. Aside from choosing a printer, there’s the rigmarole of assembling it, ensuring it’s level, finding a place where it’ll both fit and won’t be interfered with, the list goes on. The Weedo Tina2, is aimed at simplifying this whole affair, and as a quick glance at the company’s website confirms, is targeted at both beginners and children.
Also sold under a couple of other brand names, including the Monoprice Cadet, the Weedo Tina2 is available as two models; the Tina2 Basic model (the one we tested) comes with a MicroSD slot (for direct printing) and a PC connectivity via PC. The Upgrade model adds a finger-protecting nozzle guard and WIFI, though we’re not convinced the latter upgrade is worth it.
Set up is simplicity itself, not least because the whole compact unit is enclosed in a metal frame, roughly ten inches in height, suitable for relocating at a moment’s notice. The trade off is that the print bed is fine for figurines and small busts, not so much for bigger pieces.
But if you’re taking your first steps into the world of 3D printing, it’s unlikely you’ll be going all out until you’ve got to grips with the technology. The Weedo Tina2, while it may lack a few of the bells and whistles of the best 3D printers, definitely knows its audience. But how well does it deliver?
Weedo Tina2: Design and set up
The Weedo Tina2 is clean and compact and, unlike some bulkier 3D printers, which resemble a piece of industrial equipment, it can easily be concealed in the corner of a room or on a particularly wide shelf. Yes, the noise it makes mid-print is likely to give it away, but visually, it’s about as intrusive as a regular inkjet printer
Set-up is a breeze and, using models on the provided Micro SD card, you can be printing within five minutes. Once you’ve unpacked the Tina2 you plug it in, remove a chunk of cardboard from the nozzle area, connect the filament tube (one end is already attached), power up and you’re good to go.
Our one gripe, design-wise, is how tiny the PLA reel holder is, designed to hold smaller and thinner and less cost-effective 500/600g reels. You can just about perch a 1KG reel on the holder but fortunately there are several larger reel holders that you can print out and attach to the Tina2, or you can purchase a free-standing holder (opens in new tab).
Weedo Tina2: Specs and features
We initially balked at the Tina2’s monochrome display which, controlled by a dial, seemed as if it would be unwieldy. But we got to grips with it really quickly, to the point where navigating the interface has become second nature.
Operation: 2.5 inch LCD screen
Software: WiiBuilder 2, Cura 3
Connectivity: USB/Micro SD
Layer res.: 0.1-0.4mm
Printing speed: 40mm/s
Printer size: 215x200x270mm
Build volume: 105x105x105mm
Material: PLAFilament Diameter: 1.75mm
Max. Nozzle Temperature: 260℃
The Tina2 is supremely portable and comes with features you might not expect from a dinky device like this. Not only does it auto-level before each print, but it also allows you to save a print mid-run, then come back later. So if you have it on a table and suddenly need the space back, that’s not a problem.
The provided Micro SD card contains two different slicing programs, WiiBuilder 2 and a custom version of Cura 3. Both programs are easy to use, though we found Cura 3 to be that little bit more intuitive. WiiBuilder 2 will let you print from your PC (via USB cable) but given that the Micro SD slot is on the top of the printer, we found it more convenient to bring the card (you can use any Micro SD card) to the printer. Yes, the upgraded version of the Tina2 supports wireless communication but Weedo’s requires you to use their mobile app, which suggests it’s not proper WiFi, or at least as straightforward as WiFi connectivity should be.
The Tina2 has a 100mm x 120mm x 100mm print area (the maximum size a model can be) which is smaller than most but it encouraged us to get to grips with the basics of 3D modelling. Using Autodesk Meshmixer and Microsoft 3D builder, we experimented with splitting models in half, adding tabs so we could reconnect the pieces and creating a spider with the head of Clint Eastwood (don’t ask).
There is a snag with the print area, though, and it has nothing to do with its size. Most modern printers have a heated print bed, which helps the first print layer stick to the bed and while you can print a base, or “raft” for the model to sit on, it’s not always a requirement.
The Tina2’s print bed, however, isn’t heated; instead, it uses an adhesive square of masking-tape material to provide adhesion for the removeable build plate. The sticker will at some point, wear out, in which case you can buy extra stickers from Weedo ($15 for 10) or use masking tape instead.
You will have to print a raft, using “build plate adhesion” box in Cura, which is automatically enabled by default. You’ll then have to manually peel that layer off the bottom of your model – it’s easiest if you do straight after the print has finished – but that’s a relatively minor inconvenience.
Weedo Tina2: Print quality and speed
Like all FDM printers, using the Tina2 means living with layer lines though how visible those lines are depends on the quality you print at. Using Cura 3’s default “Fine” setting we got excellent results, with print-outs where the layers were only visible at a distance of 40cm or so. Dialing the quality up to Extra Fine made them all but invisible though given it tripled the printing time, it’s not really worth the trade-off.
At an average speed of 40mm/s, it takes between five and eight hours to print a 9-10cm model, though that’ll depend on how many removable supports it needs. Cura 3 helpfully highlights overhangs and, should you tick the box, will add supports to the model, though knowing whether you can get away without supports is down to practice.
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Due to the smaller print bed we did need to scale down a few models – easy to accomplish using Cura 3’s interface – but we had good results all round. Elden Ring’s Ranni the Witch (her hat was printed separately) looked fantastic, as did Luigi’s nemesis Waluigi, though we had a touch and go moment when it came to removing the supports from his moustache.
We printed out a detailed model of an Apollo 11 astronaut and, at 6cm in size, we were able to pick out the hose connectors on the suit. It’s only when we started going below 5cm that we lost a little detail; even at Extra Fine, Neil Armstrong’s crow’s feet didn’t make it onto the print, even though they were on the original file that we downloaded.
Weedo Tina2 Review: Price & warranty
The Weedo Tina2 Basic is available from Weedo (opens in new tab) or Amazon (opens in new tab) for $149.99 and Amazon UK (opens in new tab) for £135 or so making it one of the cheapest 3D printers around. It does seem a little unfair to make the heat-guard exclusive to the Tina2 Upgrade, but it’s up to you whether protecting little fingers (or the big fingers of careless adults) is worth the extra £40.
Other companies sell the Tina2 and they can, sometimes, be even cheaper. The Entina Tina 2, which looks to be all but identical, is selling on Amazon UK (opens in new tab) for £119.99 (including a £30 tick-box voucher discount). If you decide to buy, it’s worth keeping an eye out for similar promotions.
Should you buy the Weedo Tina2?
If you’re looking for a cheap and easy way into 3D printing, or if you want to teach someone else, absolutely you should. Yes, the build area is small but that should be fine for beginners. And, thanks to its compact size and auto-levelling ability, you can take it out and put it away at will, without the need to tie up a particular area.
The use of base plate stickers does seem might seem a little low-tech, but it’s a reasonable concession to keep the Tina2’s price down. At some point you might find yourself wanting a bigger and faster machine but by the time you move on you’ll have learned an awful lot.
If this 3D printer isn’t right for you
If you’ve already got plenty of experience with 3D printing or you want to print bigger pieces, a large-bed FDM printer like the AnyCubic Kobra ($269 from Amazon (opens in new tab) / £269 from Amazon UK (opens in new tab)) may be more suitable. It’s a pricier purchase but its print area and print speed is double that of the Tina2.
On the other hand, if you’d like to create small but detailed, durable pieces, tabletop gaming figurines for example, a resin printer like the Elegoo Mars 2 ($225 from Amazon (opens in new tab)) could be just the job. You can check out our Elegoo Mars 2 review to see our full thoughts.