Most people nowadays know that 3D printing is coming, and its coming on stronger with more details and capability every year. Shapeways is where a lot of this can be seen, not only for tabletop gaming, but where a large collection of artists have free reign to take their creativity and skill and reach their target audiences.
Ive recently been delving into this arena, and finding out there is a lot to be gained, but also a few pitfalls.
Lets take a look at some samples I were sent to me for review.
Lets look first of all the dice..... by far my favorite.
Thorn Dice Set with Decader
These dice are heavy, with good detail and are extremely fun to roll. These are Stainless Steel and the only thing I can say that would be negative about these, is that the numbers are sometimes hard to read at a distance. But, these are the coolest dice Ive thrown in years.
The D4 is the most dynamic of the set. Also works well as a caltrop!
With the right artist, and a creative mindset.... Custom Dice through shapeways rocks.
Next up.... Miniatures.
Ive had my reservations with 3D printing for miniatures beyond bits. This however is a good representation of a cool miniature printed in the Frosted Ultra Detail. BTW I have found that this is most likely one of the better materials I have in the batch for miniatures, just not the the least expensive.
by duncans toys Frosted Ultra Detail
Decent detail and a nice miniature. Ive only applied a primer to this model, so this will be a fun one to paint up!
Base Scimitar V3-LD
by POP Goes the MONKEY - Custom Bits and Pieces Frosted Ultra Detail
Again with the Frosted Ultra Detail here is a fun Heavy Weapon that I wanted to check out the details on. Many of these artists offer the models in different materials, and Pop Goes the Monkey has lots of bits that could be used for many different game systems.
Paint's a little wet still, but this gives you a good look at the miniatures details.
28mm APC turret with autocannon
by Forpost D6 White Strong and Flexible
Last but least, I wanted to find a tank bit for my Chimeras, and to see if a lesser material would work. This is done in "White Strong and Flexible". Out of the models I received to take a look at, this material was a little disappointing in that the surfaces had a scoring to them that left me wanting to sand the material down. I didnt though, as I wanted to show the differences between the Frosted Ultra Detail and the White Strong and Flexible material offered.
by far the least expensive of the materials, I personally would stick to the Frosted Ultra Detail options, even if the cost is more. I love the sculpt on this, but I think it is the material that makes it hard to use.
Over all I am loving the concepts of moving into the 3D Printing arena, and I see a lot of current applications for it in our current gaming communities. Shapeways also seems to be sitting in a very good spot to jumpstart us in this direction with a lot of creative artists out there willing to produce the bits and miniatures that we are looking into.
3D Printing and the Genesys Project
Why all my sudden interest in 3D printing? Well the Genesys Project is moving forward, and there are a lot of gaming aids that can be made and made well with 3D printing. Even the top end materials can allow for a level of customization that the Genesys Project demands in miniatures. So bits and options, including some level of miniatures may go this direction.
I will be doing an order with Hero Forge next... so we will continue to talk about how all of this will impact the future of Miniature gaming.
Added pictures on request