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MusicalFeline

3D printing - Which printer, why, and should I even?

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So, first off, sorry if this is in the wrong category. Wasn’t sure which one to put it in, so.... Here it is.

 

As I’ve been painting for a while, the thought of “hey, maybe I should print my own minis” popped into my head. I pursued this thought a while, and then determined that yeah,  I should probably go ask the professionals. So, here I am, rapid-firing questions like a nitwit.

 

First of all, what are some of the pros and cons? It would seem that it’d be cheaper in the long haul, but don’t you have to buy the 3D model as well? (But MF, you could finally make those minis you’ve made in your spare time on Hero Forge.......)... What are some of y’all’s pros and cons?

 

Second off, what printer? From my research, it seems that resin provides the most detail, but is more expensive, so I’d like to avoid it if at all possible. I’ve heard that the Creality Ender 3 seems to be best for the rookie on a budget (which I am in the largest sense of the word), but is it really?

 

Lastly, is it actually worth it in the end? In both the regards of pleasure with the final product and economically?

 

All thoughts and advice is needed and appreciated! Thanks, all!

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Okay, In General Topics we have a strong thread about 3D printers. If you want to get the best detail for minis, resin is superior right now. For terrain, FDM is less expensive. I have been satisfied with my Ender 3, enough so that I went in for the new Ender6 with a smaller nozzle that theoretically will give better detail. Both types have learning curves, look for Jasper's and Glitterwolf's threads on 3D printers on the WIP section. Several folks on here have both types as well.

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18 minutes ago, Corsair said:

Okay, In General Topics we have a strong thread about 3D printers. If you want to get the best detail for minis, resin is superior right now. For terrain, FDM is less expensive. I have been satisfied with my Ender 3, enough so that I went in for the new Ender6 with a smaller nozzle that theoretically will give better detail. Both types have learning curves, look for Jasper's and Glitterwolf's threads on 3D printers on the WIP section. Several folks on here have both types as well.

Been looking at that one from time to time, but thanks for mentioning it again!

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I have been thinking about it long before I took the plunge.

 

Besides reading the Threads you might want to watch these vids on youtube, they might be able to help you decide.

 

Also it's personal.

What do you wish to achieve?

In my situation I wanted minis and small terrain and monsters but since I paint for display and fun and not for games I needed the best detail as possible.

This leads to a Resin Printer.

Then I watched videos and reviews which had it all narrowed down to the Elegooor the Anycubic, in the end the Elegoo got on sale..

 

Another reason, I'm not a technical person, the Elegoo takes minimal effort to set up and maintenance has been quite easy so far ( I dread the moment I will need to replace the LCD screen but there are vids on that as well). A FDM printer needs more tweaking/assembly and maintenance.

On the other hand, with resin you need to wear a mask when the VAT is exposed and gloves and preferably glasses when handling it all.

After curing it is safe to handle, but with sanding etc you still need a mask.

 

Here are some vids to help you out.

I also learned about chitubox etc through the videos of 3D printing Pro ( placing supports )

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5O87NZoiPTc

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QjuM6kFM5zA

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AqEWl51s9Rw

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7kHcsTG9QsM

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s7VrpiIfg4U

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FmbEHUz_2l0

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-uohU6yLq3w

 

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@Glitterwolf

 

Good thoughts there. I would have to say I'm somewhere inbetween what you are and what you aren't - I too paint for the sake of painting, but also for board gaming.

As for technical complexity, I honestly don't care either way. It'd be nice to have it ultra-simple, but at the same time, I'm fine it its relatively complicated.

As for resin requiring protective equipment, it doesn't really matter. Got a mask (as to be expected at this time), got latex gloves, heck, even that fancy scientific eyewear.

One thing that I haven't quite mentioned is that I'm on a rather tight budget. Resin seems to be quite a bit more expensive from my research, so uh... Yeah.

 

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2 hours ago, MusicalFeline said:

@Glitterwolf

 

Good thoughts there. I would have to say I'm somewhere inbetween what you are and what you aren't - I too paint for the sake of painting, but also for board gaming.

As for technical complexity, I honestly don't care either way. It'd be nice to have it ultra-simple, but at the same time, I'm fine it its relatively complicated.

As for resin requiring protective equipment, it doesn't really matter. Got a mask (as to be expected at this time), got latex gloves, heck, even that fancy scientific eyewear.

One thing that I haven't quite mentioned is that I'm on a rather tight budget. Resin seems to be quite a bit more expensive from my research, so uh... Yeah.

 

 

You can get a lot of minis from a bottle of resin and filament isn't free either, so there is that.

One thing about gloves. Latex doesn't cut it!

You need Nitril gloves to handle resin.

 

Several forumites own a 3D printes some even both types.

Ask, talk and watch vids.

No hurries, right?

You want to know what you're getting into and what to expect.

 

I already played with chitubox and files before I bought a printer.

You could do the same and maybe also with prusa, meshmixer 3Dbuilder?

That way you can get a feeling how to prepare a print and how you like it.

 

Prepare for a few fails, although I must say I took good care of using recommended settings and only had a few failed prints.

All were due to bad supports, one time it was my own fault ( using light supports where heavy were needed) the other times I trusted presupported files without checking and there were a few islands.

So I recommend always check for those should you go into supported stuff.

 

Whatever you choose, I'm certain you'll have fun.

I was reluctant and a tad afraid at first but I have no regrets, it's addictive and fun.

 

 

 

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@Glitterwolf

 

Okay, good to know about the gloves. I can practically get any kind I want from my job, really, so no factor there.

 

Watched a couple videos yesterday and today. Need to watch some more.

About the software, good idea. My old PC hates me when I get new software, but I can probably clear off some stuff to make room.

 

As Henry Ford said, 

Quote

Failure is simply the opportunity to try again, this time more intelligently.

 

One last question, which I don't think I emphasized enough originally (geez, the more I think about this, the more questions I have), is it actually better in the end? Is it worth buying the printer, the models, the material, etc. over just buying the mini from a company outright? Is it more rewarding? Does it give you more options? Is it cheaper?

 

Thanks for putting up with me and my overabundance of questions...

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Just now, MusicalFeline said:

@Glitterwolf

 

Okay, good to know about the gloves. I can practically get any kind I want from my job, really, so no factor there.

 

Watched a couple videos yesterday and today. Need to watch some more.

About the software, good idea. My old PC hates me when I get new software, but I can probably clear off some stuff to make room.

 

As Henry Ford said, 

 

One last question, which I don't think I emphasized enough originally (geez, the more I think about this, the more questions I have), is it actually better in the end? Is it worth buying the printer, the models, the material, etc. over just buying the mini from a company outright? Is it more rewarding? Does it give you more options? Is it cheaper?

 

Thanks for putting up with me and my overabundance of questions...

 

First of all, have you read the thread?::P:

I've been asking numerous questions myself, so no worries.

It's what we do here, we help each other.

 

If it's better?

Kinda personal depending on the way you look at it.

I absolutely think it's worth it.

 

If you have a succesful print and clean it up well  ( I damaged my first prints because I removed the supports without being careful enough) you will have a good mini that's comparable with stuff you would buy from a company.

Costs wise, when you use a program like chitubox it will tell you how much resin you will use and what the mini costs to print.

Normally you pay around 5 to 10 dollar/euro for a regular 28mm mini, one print will cost less than 1 dollar/euro depending on size of course, but you get the idea.

Rewarding? I find it addictive, setting a mini up in chitubox, hold a perfect mini in your hands after a few hours, I love it.

Options? There is a whole new world of minis out there. Yes you will see miniatures nobody else makes and versions of existing minis that look different.

 

To me it's not a substitue but an expansion of the hobby.

I paint regular minis and printed ones.

Sure lately more printed ones since I started with it, but I will also always paint bought minis.

 

Kickstarters are easier, STL files for less money than minis and it can be fulfilled very fast since you will only need to download files instead of having to wait for sculpts/casts/shipping.

 

I recommend looking and browsing through Thingieverse, 3Dcults, Yeggie and Myminifactory.

You will get an idea what's out there.

Also you could already download lots of free minis there and fiddle with those files.

 

I did print some minis (large ones in multiple pieces) that were cheaper to print in resin than to buy as physical minis.

 

Now I'm talking from my experience with resin printing.

Others own FDM printers, one of the benefits of those are that you will be able to print large terrain/monsters/buildings. Imagine having to pay for an actual model like that , including shipping.

Printing will be much cheaper then, and it's again fun to do, it feels like creating something yourself.

 

Hope this helps a bit.

 

 

 

 

 

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@Glitterwolf (Wow, third time in a row you've posted a comment too long to quote!)

 

Yes, I've read a little. A lot I... Just don't understand.

 

Good, good, GOOD points in paragraphs 2-8.

6 minutes ago, Glitterwolf said:

Now I'm talking from my experience with resin printing.

Others own FDM printers, one of the benefits of those are that you will be able to print large terrain/monsters/buildings. Imagine having to pay for an actual model like that , including shipping.

Printing will be much cheaper then, and it's again fun to do, it feels like creating something yourself.

 

Hooooooooooooooly crud.

Heck, I paid five bucks (reasonable price, but still) just for the graveyard golem. But... WOW! Good point!

 

Helps a bit? Helps a bit!?!?!

 

Glitter, you've been exceptionally helpful! How dare you beat down on yourself like that!!

But seriously, I really, really appreciate the help.

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1 minute ago, MusicalFeline said:

@Glitterwolf (Wow, third time in a row you've posted a comment too long to quote!)

 

Yes, I've read a little. A lot I... Just don't understand.

 

Good, good, GOOD points in paragraphs 2-8.

 

Hooooooooooooooly crud.

Heck, I paid five bucks (reasonable price, but still) just for the graveyard golem. But... WOW! Good point!

 

Helps a bit? Helps a bit!?!?!

 

Glitter, you've been exceptionally helpful! How dare you beat down on yourself like that!!

But seriously, I really, really appreciate the help.

 

The others helped me, so I'm just sharing what I learned.

 

I truly recommend watching 3DprintingPro videos if you want to learn how to use supports/hollow out minis etc.

Oh one more thing.

 

If you want both minis and terrain.

The new Elegoo Saturn has a larger build plate.

So you would have a resin printer capable of printing larger stuff as well.

 

Meshmixer/3D builder and such programs can be used to cut models ( files) in pieces so you will create a model kit in pieces.

 

Just saying...

Oh and you can resize.

If you look at my thread than you'll notice I printed a few snake statues and then printed them at 30% because I needed smaller ones.

I have also seen someone who took a 32mm mini file and upscaled it 200% to get a large scale model.

 

 

 

https://forum.reapermini.com/index.php?/topic/91183-glitterwolfs-3d-printing-adventures/

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42 minutes ago, Glitterwolf said:

The others helped me, so I'm just sharing what I learned.

 

I truly recommend watching 3DprintingPro videos if you want to learn how to use supports/hollow out minis etc.

Oh one more thing.

 

If you want both minis and terrain.

The new Elegoo Saturn has a larger build plate.

So you would have a resin printer capable of printing larger stuff as well.

 

Meshmixer/3D builder and such programs can be used to cut models ( files) in pieces so you will create a model kit in pieces.

 

Just saying...

Oh and you can resize.

If you look at my thread than you'll notice I printed a few snake statues and then printed them at 30% because I needed smaller ones.

I have also seen someone who took a 32mm mini file and upscaled it 200% to get a large scale model.

 

 

 

https://forum.reapermini.com/index.php?/topic/91183-glitterwolfs-3d-printing-adventures/

Gotcha, good stuff to keep in mind. Many thanks!

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Okay, I will speak on the FDM printer, specifically the Ender3. Using Cura and slow settings, I am quite satisfied with what it has produced for me so far. Terrain, very good, and minis, for what I would call tabletop quality has been satisfactory. I have made roughly 50 battlemechs on one spool of filament. When you figure that IWM minis are $10-15 each, the machine has paid for itself. Is the finest detail equal to IWM's best, no. Does it meet the 3' rule? Yup. The new Ender 6 I have ordered has a finer nozzle, so I hope the detail will be even better. Also, there is very little odor with the Ender, and some have complained about some resins having an irritating odor, but ABS on a FDM will also be nasty.

 

Will you save money? No, but you can produce many more minis for the same amount. Plus, it is a lot of fun. Also, if you don't like it, with a mainstream printer, you will be able to re-sell it and get part of your money back.

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15 minutes ago, Corsair said:

Okay, I will speak on the FDM printer, specifically the Ender3. Using Cura and slow settings, I am quite satisfied with what it has produced for me so far. Terrain, very good, and minis, for what I would call tabletop quality has been satisfactory. I have made roughly 50 battlemechs on one spool of filament. When you figure that IWM minis are $10-15 each, the machine has paid for itself. Is the finest detail equal to IWM's best, no. Does it meet the 3' rule? Yup. The new Ender 6 I have ordered has a finer nozzle, so I hope the detail will be even better. Also, there is very little odor with the Ender, and some have complained about some resins having an irritating odor, but ABS on a FDM will also be nasty.

 

Will you save money? No, but you can produce many more minis for the same amount. Plus, it is a lot of fun. Also, if you don't like it, with a mainstream printer, you will be able to re-sell it and get part of your money back.

Tabletop quality sounds good enough. So kinda along the same level of detail as something like Descent or Scythe?

Didn't even take smell into account. Wow. The nose does not know...s.

 

Thanks for the advice!

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Please note that most designs that you can buy are sold with a 'non commercial' license. You can print as many as you want for your own use, but you can't sell them on.    

 

The designs you can download for free on Thingiverse can have all kinds of different licenses, so study them first.

 

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4 hours ago, Gadgetman! said:

Please note that most designs that you can buy are sold with a 'non commercial' license. You can print as many as you want for your own use, but you can't sell them on.    

 

The designs you can download for free on Thingiverse can have all kinds of different licenses, so study them first.

 

Wasn't planning on selling stuff, but in case I change my mind, that's very good to know!

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