3D printing D&D miniatures might sound intuitive, but there's so much more that you can create! Learn all there is to know about 3D printing D&D pieces.
Dungeons & Dragons, also known as D&D (or DND), is a fantasy tabletop role-playing game (RPG) derived from miniature tabletop wargames. The original D&D, published in 1974, was designed by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson. It serves as the foundation for later versions as well as many other role-playing games.
The setup of a D&D game is simple. A group of players, who create their own characters, start their imaginary journeys in a fantasy world set out by the dungeon master (DM). This role is fulfilled by just one of the players, who serves as the adventures’ storyteller and plays the roles of any non-player characters. A typical group of adventurers will have to face many quests and battles, which are presented to them by the DM.
Similar to an open world RPG video game, a D&D game will not be completed in just one sitting; it will continue weeks after weeks, as the players’ characters gain new experience, skills, and loot!
In this article, we provide some insights into D&D pieces that you can make on your own. We also showcase a few items that have been made with 3D printing as well as briefly compare some finished pieces created in different materials.
So, without further ado, let the adventure begin!
There are many reasons for making your own 3D printed D&D pieces.
First and foremost, it’s cost effective! The average cost of an unpainted miniature is around $5. (The one in the above image costs $12.95!) In comparison, a one-kilogram spool of PLA filament costs about $30. Therefore, if you need a horde of monsters, the cost of printing them on your own is only a fraction of what you would pay for similar items on the market.
Reason number two is that, unlike your local shop or online store, there’s an endless variety of designs and items on various 3D printing platforms for you to choose from.
But perhaps the most important factor is the ability to customize your own designs. What if none of the designs for a female halfling bard don’t match your interpretation? Time to start designing!
For those who are new to D&D, there are many components that are essential to the game. For instance, as you explore new areas and fight different battles, elements like landscaping, props, traps and monsters will become very important.
On that note, here are some of the items you can create with 3D printing:
D&D files are widely accessible through several online platforms thanks to the game’s incredibly large fan base. Here are some of the most popular platforms with D&D digital files:
We chose heroforge.com to customize our hero miniature. Selecting the various elements is a simple point-and-click process. Just make sure you create an account, login, and save your design prior to checkout, otherwise the updated elements will not be added to your character. The digital model will be available for download once the checkout procedure is completed.
With an FDM printer, the model is then set at a 45 degree angel with quite a lot of support structures.
Once the supports are removed, the figurine is ready to be painted (if you want).
For the dice, we used a 3D model that we found online, which we then printed using an SLA printer.
Before we get into the detailed comparison, here are some key points to be considered regarding the two types of 3D printer.
Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM)
Overall, the miniature created through SLA has sharper details. Even the numbers on the minuscule d20 are visible. In comparison, the FDM-produced miniature has coarser edges. This could caused by a number of things: file setup, the amount of supports required, the size of the nozzle, and the performance of the printer, just to name a few.
Without getting into too many technical details, FDM printers struggle with fine details, hence SLA printers could be a better choice for creating miniatures. That said, FDM printing has become more precise over the years. They are also more affordable, more accessible, and easier to learn, making them the popular choice among hobbyists.
In the end, making D&D pieces is all about having fun, so we can’t say one type of printer is better than the other. It all comes down to what suits your needs best. Also keep in mind that a lot of imperfections can be saved by a good paint job, even if the miniatures came out a bit rough.
If you’re interested in the technical details of FDM and SLA printers, refer to our article comparing the two technologies.
D&D isn’t only about completing quests and gaining experience, it’s also an excuse for gamers to socialize with friends and have fun. Every game is unique; there’s no winning or losing, only a great experience.
The fact that 3D printing allows gamers to materialize their own fantasy worlds makes the game that much more enjoyable. Online 3D platforms provide D&D players a great community to share their enthusiasm, including their 3D creations.
All things considered, creating your own D&D pieces allows you to unleash your creativity, which can be very addictive! Nonetheless, it’s not a simple procedure, taking time and patience to create the articles that best fit your game. If you can master your design and modeling skills, you might even be able to turn it into a profitable business. Otherwise, simply enjoying is enough!
If you don’t have access to a printer, or if you really want to ensure that your pieces are high quality, consider hiring a 3D printing service. To find the best one for your needs, check out. We provide real-time prices from a variety of services, including Shapeways, i.Materialise, and Sculpteo!
License: The text of "D&D: 3D Print Your Own Dungeons & Dragons Pieces" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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