3D Printing as the Future of TableTop

That’s great! I’ve heard that some FDM printers are geared towards people that like tinkering/upgrading and others are for people that want that plug and play experience. Sounds like you got the latter!

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I’m coming from a stand point of someone who isn’t going to (personally) get anywhere near doing 3d printing. I know some people who are, but also others (with very justified reasons) who will provide counter views.

Do some of the available models/renders look great - yes
Have many people seen these in the flesh afterwards?
If they do end up nice, is it cheaper for me to pay a 3d company to do it, or drop lots of cash on a set up that may not work?
There appears to be a lot of time, effort & tweaking to get stuff (after the initial outlay). Buy models & clean/build?

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I don’t know about resin, but with PLA, I worked out my costs as around £2 for a ~100g print and £10 for the same print from the cheapest printing service available.

So, my printer will break even with a print service in cost after I’ve printed my way through 4 kg of PLA, will probably take a couple of months of casual use to get there.

With home printing you can get better quality by setting it up for a slower, higher quality print. I’ve used cheap printing services before and they generally use draft mode or other fast print settings to get the print done as quickly as possible.

So, I’d say it depends on what you want, if it’s a few bits printed, go with the printing service. If it’s whole boards worth of terrain, go for the printer. That’s just for PLA, though!

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Are you talking about ordering prints for seeing them in the flesh? I know some people who have received good quality and others who have not. Just like anything “hand made”, the skill of the artisan really determines the end product.

There is indeed work, it isn’t a silver bullet by any stretch. Though I’ll say that after cleaning the mold lines off 20 troopers for Bolt Action this week, I was really missing 3D printed minis. LoL

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Yeah, if it’s a money equation, I have far surpassed the cost of machine and materials compared to cost of models. I resin printed a Forge World knockoff tank army for 40k which would have cost about $2000 for about $150. So that project alone put me in the green. :sunglasses:

Prusas are designed to be really easy to set up and use scarletsquig but they also have a massive price tag on them for that ease of use. And sooner or later something will happen which requires fiddling with them. In my experience I had a great printer that never caused a problem, then suddenly the entire hot end was a cube of molten plastic and later my heater cartridge slipped from the hot end at one point. They’re similar to a car in that when it works it just works and when it doesn’t you need to know what you’re doing to sort it.

Sceleris : You have to split resin from FDM in this case. What you get with resin is almost identical to what you see on the screen minus any defects in the print (everyone gets a bad print once in a while, that’s just how prints go). For 99% of your models what you see is what you will get. The cost of it really depends on what you’re printing and what you’re using to print it. On a FDM printer for £20 I can print an entire table of terrain for a game like frost grave or necromunda, so the cost there is a no brainer if you’re into making terrain or part of a large event team.

Clean up is where the discussion gets tricky because it’s where resin wins out but also loses depending on how much you like handling toxic liquids. FDM will always show some layer lines from the print procress, but with some filler primer and a decent paint job no one will notice them. Resin shows no print lines but you have to wash and cure models post print. Bed sizes in resin are also 1/4th of the bed sizes of FDM printers and may require you mess with them mid-print to refill the resin tank causing further potential mess.

i would say 3D printing isn’t an add on to our hobby. It’s an additional hobby which complements it. Lets say it’s like wood working where you can make a nice gaming table and set of chairs to go with your army as opposed to say air brushing which is clearly a tool within the painting side of the hobby. I got into it saying “I won’t make this a hobby, I’ll just make it work and that’ll be it!” and now I’m learning to model in 3D and putting custom parts on machines. If you just want a handful of models then use a service, if you want the freedom to make your backlog infinite while fiddling with your machines to get the absolutely perfect model then 3D printing is probably for you.

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