3D printers are the thing that have highly growing popularity nowadays. They had become cheaper, reliable and are able to print detailed things pretty fast. Without doubt, 3D printer is useful in a vast variety of situations that may occur — you can create a replacement for broken details of furniture or even print some beautiful things like custom chandelier with personally designed shades to decorate your place.
Thinking of availability of 3D printers, tabletop games players, of course, stated to use them instead of buying miniatures. It became easier to create models by your own and print them, thus paying off printer’s price, instead of buying an expensive branded figure. Also, there are a vast variety of materials to work with — some 3D printers can even work with wooden filaments.
Before choosing a 3D printer for yourself to print boardgame miniatures, you need to know more about some of its specifications that will be vital for you — you can read a lot about at https://innobytech.com/ to further prepare yourself. And that will not only affect price but also reliability of the device and quality of the final result. We’re not talking about some top-notch professional models —we’re talking about the best 3D printers for hobbyists. So, your future 3D printer must fit those criteria for sure:
- Overall size and printing chamber. You must state what and how you’ll print, also remembering about printer’s placement. There’s no need in oversized 3D printer because it’s almost always better to print miniatures split and then stick parts together.
- Printing resolution. The smaller resolution is — the better quality of printed things you’ll get. And, of course, its price will be higher. You’ll need a 3D printer that’ll have it below 200 microns.
- Axis precision. That is literally about printer’s head sideways movement accuracy and overall reliability of its active parts and frame. Precision highly affects overall quality, so choose wisely.
- Extruder size. To print high-quality miniatures for tabletop games, 3D printer must have an extruder somewhat about twice smaller than standard — 0.2 mm instead of 0.4 mm. It’ll work kind of slower but will create miniatures of a really high quality.
- Frame. You’ll need a 3D printer with an enclosed frame to create miniatures without any issues — during a long printing sequences it’ll be protected from external interference and will cause much less noise.
- Software. Really, if you’re thinking about creating custom miniatures on your own, forget about 3D printers that are using an enclosed proprietary software. You’ll have a lot of issues later, when you turn from beginner to pro.
Of course, some of those specifications may vary depending on required model quality. And remember not to buy very expensive device if you’re not a pro and not planning to mass-produce quality miniatures to sell.
There’s no absolute best between 3D printers suitable for beginner hobbyists in terms of specifications — everything depends on personal preferences and demands. For example, you really won’t need something like premium industrial model that’ll create huge detailed things. But you may buy even something like it if you need and if you can afford it.
Great 3D printer utilizing resin as a filament and thus kind of stinky while printing, so you’ll need a ventilated place for it. But it has some advantages — really low resolution starting from 35 micron, and kinda big working chamber with a 20 cm height. It’ll be enough to print a big highly detailed parts for almost every miniature that’ll suit for tabletop games. And it’ll cost you about $500.
Multi-purpose dual-extruder $1000 beast that’s able to print two parts at once, utilizing two different types of plastic. Even if you forget about its high reliability — it can work for about a week literally non-stop, if there’s enough material, Creator Pro has more advantages. Heat-sink system, heated printing bed, customizable spool holders, external storage support, built-in LCD control screen and a variety of materials to work with.
If you’re really sure that you need a 3D printer for yourself to create some marvelous tabletop miniatures to impress your friends, remember some vital things before choosing. First, and most important — don’t go for a price, because “expensive” is not the same as “better”, and same goes for brands. Second is about materials you’ll be dealing with — learn more about it before buying 3D printer because it may affect quality. Third and the last is about software — just read carefully about it for all pros and cons, because lack of some needed features may become hell of a pain below your back.