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3D MODELS | D&D CHARACTERS | GAME PARTS
The immediate challenge newcomers face with 3D printing technology is distinguishing between the different processes and materials available and what will suit your printing needs the best.
What’s the difference between types of 3D printing like FDM and SLS, for example? Or SLS and DLP? Or EBM and DMLS?
It can be pretty confusing.
The first thing to understand is that 3D printing is actually an umbrella term that encompasses a group of 3D printing processes.
The ISO/ASTM 52900 standard, which was created in 2015, aims to standardize all terminology and classify each of the different types of 3D printer.
In total, seven different categories of additive manufacturing processes have been identified and established. These seven 3D printing processes brought forth eleven different types of 3D printing technology that 3D printers use today.
To learn more about these technologies including design rules for 3D printing and how to find the best 3D printing materials, we recommend you pick up a copy of The 3D Printing Handbook from 3D Hubs, available now from all good bookshops.
Material extrusion is a 3D printing process where a filament of solid thermoplastic material is pushed through a heated nozzle, melting it in the process. The printer deposits the material on a build platform along a predetermined path, where the filament cools and solidifies to form a solid object.
Types of 3D Printing Technology: Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM), sometimes called Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF)
Materials: Thermoplastic filament (PLA, ABS, PET, PETG, TPU)
Dimensional Accuracy: ±0.5% (lower limit ±0.5 mm)
Common Applications: Electrical housings; Form and fit testings; Jigs and fixtures; Investment casting patterns
Strengths: Best surface finish; Full color and multi-material available
Weaknesses: Brittle, not sustainable for mechanical parts; Higher cost than SLA/DLP for visual purposes
Material Extrusion devices are the most commonly available and the cheapest types of 3D printing technology in the world. You might be familiar with them as Fused Deposition Modeling, or FDM. They are also sometimes referred to as Fused Filament Fabrication or FFF.
The way it works is that a spool of filament is loaded into the 3D printer and fed through to a printer nozzle in the extrusion head. The printer nozzle is heated to the desired temperature, whereupon a motor pushes the filament through the heated nozzle, causing it to melt.
The printer then moves the extrusion head along with specified coordinates, laying down the molten material onto the build plate where it cools down and solidifies.
Once a layer is complete, the printer proceeds to lay down another layer. This process of printing cross-sections is repeated, building layer-upon-layer until the object is fully formed.
Depending on the geometry of the object, it is sometimes necessary to add support structures, for example, if a model has steep overhanging parts.
Vat Polymerization is a 3D printing process where a light source selectively cures a photopolymer resin in a vat.
The two most common forms of Vat Polymerization are SLA (Stereolithography) and DLP (Digital Light Processing).
The fundamental difference between these types of 3D printing technology is the light source they use to cure the resin. SLA printers use a point laser, in contrast to the voxel approach used by a DLP printer.
Types of 3D Printing Technology:
Stereolithography (SLA), Masked Stereolithography (MSLA) Direct Light Processing (DLP)
Materials: Photopolymer resin (Standard, Castable, Transparent, High Temperature)
Dimensional Accuracy: ±0.5% (lower limit ±0.15 mm)
Common Applications: Injection mold-like polymer prototypes; Jewelry (investment casting); Dental applications; Hearing aids
Strengths: Smooth surface finish; Fine feature details
Weaknesses: Brittle, not suitable for mechanical parts
Give us a call and see what we can make for you.
We own (3) 3D printers of various sizes and types to make all our parts.
We do not make large items ourselves however we have a partner business who has muliple large resin printers who can do anything we cannot. They also specialise in all Dental 3D Printing.
We specialise in small to medium D&D and model items
Unlike your local shop or online store, there is 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 customise your own designs. What if none of the designs for a female halfling bard match your interpretation? Time to start designing!
For those who are new to D&D, there are many components that are important 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:
These could be your heroes, monsters, key NPCs, or animals.
Landscaping and props:
Little things like water wells, stalagmites, dungeon tiles, wood crates, barrels, campfires, and almost anything else you can think of. Is your dungeon set on a giant ship? Why not 3D print it (or part of it)?
What is more evil than monsters? How about a statue that fires a beam of energy at anything nearby until the heroes have solved the puzzle? It is called the Statue of Minds by the way, and it could take any shape or form, so use your imagination!
D&D uses a number of polyhedral dice to determine in-game events. Each die is abbreviated by a d, follow by the number of sides. A set of D&D dice consist of a d4, d6, d8, d10, d12, and d20. A pair of d10 (2d10) can be used together as percentile dice (called d100).
A dice tower is designed with various hidden platforms to prevent cheating and, well, make rolling more fun! When dice are dropped into the top, they bounce off and around the interior platforms before appearing at the bottom.
Items like DM screens, dice boxes, and dice trays are all fun items you could add to your game, just to show off your nerdiness.
D&D files are widely accessible through several online platforms thanks to the games incredibly large fan base. Here are some of the most popular platforms, along with a couple of suggestions to help work with your files.
One of the best-known platforms for 3D models, Thingiverse has thousands of designs just waiting to be added to your D&D collection.
Alongside Thingiverse, MyMiniFactory is another go-to source for just about anything you might want us to print for you.
Hero Forge: This platform specializes in customizing your own characters.
Different genres, including fantasy, western, sci-fi, modern, and east-Asian, are available on the platform, with new design elements constantly being added.
Just know that you will have to pay a small fee to obtain your file.
Desktop Hero: Like Hero Forge, Desktop Hero specialises in character modeling.
The procedure is the same, but the element selections are different.
Try out both websites to see which designs you like better.
We chose Hero Forge to customise our hero miniature.
Selecting the various elements is a simple point-and-click process.
Just make sure you create an account, log in, 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.
Once the supports are removed, the figurine is ready to be painted by you
(if you want).
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