3D printing has changed the world in many ways (as I explained in my previous blog post), whether it is making body parts for humans or designing the most complicated parts of a vehicle or a plane. But one particular way in which 3D printing has impacted our world is that it has changed the way we look at art, hence the reason why I am talking about DIY 3D printing today.
Art is no longer confined to a flat canvas; instead, with the use of 3D printing, you can truly be creative and create whatever it is that your mind can dream of.
DIY 3D printing miniatures.
Creating miniatures have especially been challenging given the scale that miniaturists have to work with. This has made the creation of miniatures a very specific niche and thus most items created by miniaturists cost a fortune.
Luckily, 3D printing presents a cheaper, easier, and much quicker alternative to crafting miniatures by hand. DIY 3D printing techniques are now very popular among miniaturists, art collectors, and video game enthusiasts who love creating figurines from their favorite games.
In this article, we are going to give you an overview of everything you need to know to start your DIY 3D printing journey.
Cost of a 3D Printer
The cost of a 3D printer greatly varies based on the type of printer, the 3D printing technique used, the material used as well as the size of the printer. 3D printers usually retail anywhere from $1200-1600 USD for a really good quality 3D printer, which also keeps the minute details of your miniature.
However, there are some budget-friendly 3D Printers as well that retail for less than $200 USD. Of course, with these budget-friendly 3D printers, you might have to make some compromises with respect to the size of the miniature it can print, ease of use, the attention to detail, and the overall quality of your printed product.
We are going to compile a list of some really good 3D printers for printing miniatures in upcoming articles, in order to give you more insight into the buying process. We will also look into what are some of the things you need to consider when purchasing a 3D printer for DIY 3D printing of miniatures.
Materials Used for 3D Printing M2iniatures.
There is a huge variety of materials that can be used for 3D printing objects and this is true in the case of miniatures as well i.e. miniaturists always have a ton of options when choosing a filament to 3D print their miniatures. Some of the most common options are PLA and ABS. However, there are some objects that can be printed with materials such as wax, titanium, polycarbonate, nylon, epoxy resins.
As mentioned earlier, PLA and ABS filaments are the most commonly used filaments for printing 3D miniatures. The major reason behind that is the ease of post-processing that you can subject your 3D printed part to. Not only does PLA filament handles slow pretty well, but also allows you to sand, paint, prime, and make your printed models look amazing.
Overhangs can be a problem and PLA handles them pretty well. A good quality PLA makes a huge difference when making small figures because the low-quality filament is a lot more likely to warp and gives inconsistent results at this scale.
Following are some of the best PLA based commercially available filaments that you should look for when choosing a filament to 3D print your miniatures;
– eSun PLA+
– AIO Robotics PLA, and
– MIKA 3D Silk Metal Colors
Best Filament Color for Unpainted Miniatures
When printing miniatures, many people usually just paint their printed figurines to make them look exactly like the real object.
However, if there is a chance that you’re not going to paint your miniature or if you’re unsure about what filament works best with your chosen paints, it is always a good idea to go with lighter colored filaments. Light grey or white is the best choice. This enables you to paint your miniature into any color you want be it light or dark.
It is also recommended, however, to apply primer to your model before you paint it in the color you desire, in that case, it does not really matter which color filament you use. But the primer used should also be of a light color.
Design of your 3D Printing Miniature.
Once you are done with the purchase of your 3D printer as well as the material required to print the objects, the next part is building the design of your miniature. Now, this is where you have a multitude of options.
You can both design your own custom miniature or you could find a design that suits your requirements from a number of different resources present on the web.
So if you are one of those people who are good with Tech and a quick learner of software programs, you can use software like TinkerCAD and Sculptris. Both these software programs are free of cost and can help you design your part in a matter of minutes, once you are comfortable with the interface.
Have a look at the video below of Sculptris.
If you do not want to go through the hassle of designing a part on your own, you can always choose one from the list of websites we have compiled for you that serves as a great source for 3D printing design files.
- 3D Warehouse
- 3D Shook.
These websites host a large database of 3D printing design files, from small parts of all kinds to miniatures, dollhouses, and much more. You can also find the designs for figurines from your favorite games and print them in a matter of minutes.
While this article should give you a general overview of how to get started with DIY 3D printing, there is a lot more to learn related to miniature 3D printing. In our future blogs, we will discuss more in detail, the entire printing process as well as other considerations you need to take when starting with this hobby. Plus, of course, a lot of honest reviews of 3D printers.
I hope you enjoyed this second blog post on 3D printers, and I wish you as always,
5 thoughts on “DIY 3D Printing Miniatures – An Oversight”
Hey Lizzy. Very interesting article. Im just starting my adventure with online business, and my main focus is on handmade items. To be fair I have never thought before about 3D printing, but its seems as a interesting niche. With relatively low starting costs it may be very interesting opportunity for beginners. Looking forward for more articles in this area.
Wow, there is so much potential with 3D printing! All of those little pieces look amazing, and it’s crazy to think that they were done with a printer. Technology sure has come a long way. 3D printing can be a great way to get a booming business started on Etsy or a similar website. Definitely worth looking into further.
You know what’s really awesome about this article is the fact that before one would see these 3d printers in the movies and think that only elite institutions could actually afford to have them I am quite surprised to see how far we have come, budget-friendly printers are actually very affordable and can be an amazing new learning tool for kids, I love that!
White Wax and Red Wax are usually adopted for making simple and complex 3D miniature samples.
Thank you for this update 😉