3D printers are becoming cheaper and therefore easier to get for an average mortal human. The quality of the prints is also getting better and better as the technology keeps evolving. It is not surprising that 3D printing is now widely used in the miniature industry and by many hobbyists around the world. However, is 3d printing miniatures and accessories at home doing more harm than good? How 3D printing is changing our hobby? Want to know answers to those questions, please read on.
What is the biggest change that came with 3D printing?
It is not surprising, that a lot of miniature manufacturers switch from traditional sculpting to digital sculpting. Therefore, it is safe to say that the industry is relying quite heavily on 3D printing technology right now. However, the biggest change came when 3d printers appeared in our homes. The opportunity to print miniatures, vehicles, accessories and terrains in your own home! Not to mention printing your very own creations and sculpts.
Imagine that instead of going to a local hobby store to buy new miniatures, you can just print them on your 3D printer sitting comfortably at home. Now, this very idea is becoming real, even the new standard I would say. That, in my opinion, is the bigger change to our hobby connected with 3D printing technology – 3D printing miniatures at home.
Not just blisters or boxes anymore
As 3D printing at home is getting more and more popular by the day, the industry is evolving and trying to adapt to the new situation. New companies emerge on the horizon offering digital files for 3D printing as an alternative to the traditional plastic, metal or resin models. You can know buy STL files and print models at home on your 3D printer. It can be everything, starting from a simple miniature base and ending on a whole terrain set! The best thing is that you can print models as many times as you want and in any scale you want. Want to use a WWII style building in Bolt of Action and Flames of War? Just change the scale and print it! The files can be modified, shapes changed, rescaled, resized and printed as many times as you want.
No more limits, just use your imagination
Digital sculpting has its benefits and one of them it’s the ease of changing any part of the project at any given time. Any shape, style, size is possible which means that your imagination is the only limit. You can create whatever you want and then print it on any given scale and amount. You need a Sci-Fi terrain set, just print it. Just changed the system you are playing? Need some tokens, zombies or some scatter terrain? No problem, create it or get free or paid design and just print it! It is as easy as that.
More functionality and compatibility
Different manufacturers are using slightly different scales. Simply speaking models from different companies labeled as the same scale might not be compatible with each other. While digital models can be rescaled and ‘become’ compatible with any given scale and manufacturer. The same goes for wargaming terrains. There are a lot of scenery locking systems that were developed to be compatible with each other. It means that you can buy or print terrain pieces from different sculptors and if they follow the same locking system they will be compatible with each other. You can even find free files following given locking system on sites like Thingiverse. Such functionality and compatibility gives almost unlimited design options!
Free models and instant availability
As it was mentioned before, the industry is switching from traditional to digital sculpting and printing their products before offering their copies in plastic, metal or resin. However, there are a lot of sites where you can find digital files for 3D printing for free. One of such sites is widely known is Thingiverse. It doesn’t matter what you are looking for, you will probably find something that suits your needs. The best part is that a lot of them will be absolutely free! This makes 3D printing models and miniatures an affordable option compared with buying pre-made plastic models currently available on the market.
What comes next?
Those are just a few examples of changes and benefits that came with 3D printing technology. The miniature industry has changed and is still trying to adapt to that new reality of 3D printing miniatures at home. Is 3D printing going to force the industry to change its approach toward the client completely? It is hard to tell. What we can see now is that buying STL files is getting more and more popular. Tell us what you think about 3D printing mini and home? Do you like the idea or not so much?