- How long have you been a member of Wargamer.lt club and how long do you find yourself in 3D printing?
Been a member since 2021. Had a 3D printer a couple of years before that but turns out you shouldn’t try printing with resin in your room so I gave that idea up and only got back to it once I joined the club. In fact printing some minis was one of the first things I did here.
- What 3D printers do we have in the club? How do they differ?
We have one FDM printer: Raise3D E2 and two resin printers: Anycubic MonoX 4K and Anycubic Ultra.
FDM printing is basically melting plastic and laying it one layer at a time. Resin printer uses photopolymer resin that solidifies under UV light. Fancy terms aside, it’s a toxic goop that hardens when UV light shines on it.
The Anycubic Ultra is a smaller printer with a lower resolution. But it uses DLP technology where instead of having an LCD screen it uses a projector. That means no pixel bleeding, which, even at lower resolution, might be a better choice for some specific detail requirements.
- Do 3D printers use different materials? What’s the difference and when to choose which?
Yes, so both FDM and resin printers have their own range of different filaments/resins to print with. In general, FDM uses plastic that melts at a certain temperature. It can’t produce very fine details this way so it’s best used when you need some big terrain pieces, non-standard size bases or props. It’s cheap, lightweight, durable and the printing process is not complicated.
Resin printers are able to cure layers of 0.01mm height. The resin is toxic until cured, a bit more complicated and more expensive but the quality of the print is miles above FDM. That’s your choice for the tiny miniatures you use on the gaming table. We also use an amazing resin (produced in Lithuania by the way) that remains flexible even after curing, so no more shattering minis.
- Any tips on where to find or how to do the designs for my models?
Thingiverse has a lot of free stuff, MyMiniFactory is where sculptors sell their models (you’ll find best models here) and Cults3D is a mix of both. You can find other sites online and a lot of sculptors also have their own Patreons or Kickstarters but these three are the ones I go to.
As for designing yourself – technically any 3D model can be attempted to print but it takes experience to know what you’re designing for. Any 3D modeling software will do but expect a long learning curve. When I need to design some very basic things (like a hose holder for my aquarium) I use Tinkercad, it’s online, free and very simple.
- How do I prevent miniatures from warping?
In FDM it usually comes down to bed leveling and temperature control. Warping usually happens when the filament cools down too quickly. And that just takes some calibrating and knowing your filament.
Resin printing – don’t print flat, and ensure proper support. Angle your prints (this is also important for FEP film release).
- What prep work needs to be done before painting a 3D model?
No prep usually. Apart from cleaning any wayward support remnants. FDM print is a chunk of plastic. Resin prints must be cured but that’s usually part of the whole printing process.
- What are the best ways to smooth the surfaces of my printed models?
It’s difficult to completely smooth an FDM print – the layers are just too big. If using ABS filament, you can smoot it with acetone as it melts the plastic but that also means losing some detail (and maybe even a bit of your skin).
We also have some kind of two-part epoxy resin in the club that’s supposed to fill in the gaps in between the layer lines but we haven’t tested it out, and I assume it’ll get rid of some detail as well, just like melting ABS just in reverse. Other than that, multiple different grit sandpaper sheets and a lot of elbow grease. We usually don’t even bother, it’s not that bad for big terrain pieces.
In the case of resin, it’s going to be pretty smooth as is. That being said, the fancy resin that we use in the club can be both cut and sanded after curing, so it is a very similar process to resin miniatures sold on the market.
- What is a step-by-step routine if I want to print a miniature in the club?
Step 1: Get the model in STL format;
Step 2: Contact me or Augustas and send us the model;
Step 3: Wait patiently;
Step 4: Collect your prints and pay in our online shop.
We decided to have a couple of people responsible for all the club’s printing as having a lot of people with varying degrees of knowledge and different workflows just leaves a mess both in the print room and the print schedule.
- What are the Dos and Don’ts for 3D printing in the club?
If possible, always get pre-supported models for resin prints. Supporting them manually takes effort and time which we are not reimbursed for.
Also, it will probably look better, as the creator will pick the best orientation and the best spots to put the supports so they would have minimum impact when printed.
Don’t print stolen models, don’t think it’s a good idea to proxy whole armies with 3D prints. Support the creators of both the games and models, be it big companies or independent sculptors.
- If I need help, what information do I need to provide, and who can I contact in the club?
Feel free to contact me or Augustas (Benzenas) on our Discord server. We’ll advise and help you out with anything regarding 3D printing.