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Made in us
[MOD]
Keeper of the Adeptus Arbites Flame






Arlington, va

So once upon a time there was such a thing as music stores, and such a thing as video stores...

And then it was found you could distribute the products electronically and people could get anything ever made cheaper and easier. So that was that.

Now with 3D printers reaching the point they're cheap-ish and easy-ish are miniatures in for the same disruption?

I see resin printers for $300-400 which is easily doable for many of us.

If so how can manufacturers react?

I know for a fact just about any Battlefleet Gothic ship can be had found for free on Thingverse or printed at Shapeways. I see a lot of bits too.

I think big stuff, terrain and tanks won't be easy to 3d print for a while so companies like GW and Reaper will have an advantage but will still see a bite taken from their normal revenue. And obscure stuff that hasn't been copied by hobbist modelers.


But there could be a big disruption coming soon...

 
   
Made in us
Painting Within the Lines




Seattle, WA USA

I don't think 3d printers are going to be the death-knell for this hobby. While yeah you can get a decent resin printer for sub 500 bucks now, that does not mean everyone will want to deal with:

* Constantly buying resin (usually around 100 bucks or so per liter).
* Having the printer set up in space where it can operate for 5-8 hours uninterrupted (required!)
* Dealing with cleaning the parts (which is not just a simple rinse under the tap)
* Dealing with print calibration
* Dealing with consumable parts (FEP films, bulbs, etc.)
* Having a UV curing station (semi-necessary if you want the parts to not be too soft and easy to break).

(Disclaimer: yes, I have a resin DLP printer, so have faced all of the above).

Now, things like Shapeways may be a bigger impact on the hobby, where you can do a Print On Demand type thing, but you're still going to have to wait for production and shipping. While that can still be pretty quick, you won't get the "instant gratification" that walking into a hobby shop and grabbing a box and going home and starting work on it will give you.




Automatically Appended Next Post:
I do, however, think that 3d printing technology is going to make a big impact in the small company side of things. It's quickly approaching the point where the cost per part for direct 3d printing models is on par with resin casting, but has some added benefits of less space required for back stock, less "dead" inventory, etc. "Smaller" production runs (<1000) are relatively efficient, and if you're doing 3d printing that means you'll have a digital version of the model that can be used to create CNC molds for plastic injection if you want to go that route eventually (if, say, you find you actually need 10,000 of them).

Also, there are companies that have built interfaces for some customization (based on some swappable parts, essentially) of models, and that definitely has an appeal. Most of those do direct 3d prints in their shop and send them out (e.g. HeroForge), and for one-offs 3d printing is definitely the most cost effective method.

Edit:
This thread https://www.dakkadakka.com/dakkaforum/posts/list/770301.page has some good experience and discussion from Dark Severance as well.

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2019/05/13 17:04:18


 
   
Made in us
Oberleutnant





I never really looked at Shapeways as something that would have a large impact. The price point just isn't there unless the item is completely unavailable from alternative sources.

I have an Ender-3 and at the quality and that price point, I have zero problems printing terrain, bits, and gaming pieces for personal use. Admittedly, I do most of my gaming in 15mm and not 28, so the print times are sufficiently short enough to be productive, but the machine is stable enough that it runs when I am asleep and at work and don't need to be there to babysit it.

It isn't for everyone. They are not perfect out of the box and you have to be willing and able to put the time into figuring out the quirks, but it has stretched my gaming budget and allowed me to diversify my terrain options.

I think a big hurdle will be when the gaming companies recognize this and put out their own files for sale. The amount of 40K inspired stuff or direct copies out there is staggering. GW and others might as well recognize some profit off of that and sell the files themselves.







 
   
Made in gb
Stealthy Warhound Titan Princeps





Earlobe deep in doo doo

I'm expecting the FLGS to buy the high quality printers myself.

"But me no buts! Our comrades get hurt. Our friends die. Falkenburg is a knight who swore an oath to serve the church and to defend the weak. He'd be the first to tell you to stop puling and start planning. Because what we are doing-at risk to ourselves-is what we have sworn to do. The West relies on us. It is a risk we take with pride. It is an oath we honour. Even when some soft southern burgher mutters about us, we know the reason he sleeps soft and comfortable, why his wife is able to complain about the price of cabbages as her most serious problem and why his children dare to throw dung and yell "Knot" when we pass. It's because we are what we are. For all our faults we stand for law and light.
Von Gherens This Rough Magic Lackey, Flint & Freer
Mekagorkalicious -Monkeytroll
2017 Model Count-71
 
   
Made in us
Painting Within the Lines




Seattle, WA USA

 Llamahead wrote:
I'm expecting the FLGS to buy the high quality printers myself.
I think this would be a huge mistake for most FLGS to do, because it isn't just as simple as printing out some stat cards. Unless the FLGS owner was a technophile really into it, trying to train someone to handle set up and maintenance and all the rest that goes along with a 3d printer is just asking for trouble. Also, despite what some folks seem to think, "just print one off" is not a quick process. A "standard" 28mm figure is looking at 4-8 hours of printing time, then plus another hour or two for post-processing (cleaning, curing, removing supports, etc.). Granted, the printing time can usually be unattended, but there's still manpower involved in setting it up, too.
   
Made in ca
Trustworthy Shas'vre






Printing, curing and cleaning 3D prints is more labor intensive than assembling plastic injection molded figures. Unless that changes, it won't be a serious threat to manufacturers. The cost of buying stuff is less relevant than the time required to most collectors.

   
Made in gb
Fixture of Dakka




UK

 Llamahead wrote:
I'm expecting the FLGS to buy the high quality printers myself.


Except that 3D printing isn't blazingly fast. For mass production it basically fails in comparison to the production capacity of plastic injection moulding systems by a long margin. So your FLGs could get a machine but they'd have to have their own factory setup to actually serve a customerbase so its not economical for them - same when you upscale it to try and provide for the scale that GW produces on.

3D printing only works if all your customer base has a 3D printer at home and is able and willing to use it to produce the product.That is a huge barrier to entry that I honestly don't think even GW would breach. The 3D printer purchase alone would likely put the startup costs way above getting a getting started boxed set, paints, glue and all the gear. Plus the 3D printer is likely (due to the materials involved) not as child friendly so that might be an age related barrier ontop. Heck just look at how many even online, have 3D printers of high grade at home and the skill to work them; also don't just look at the number but the demographic. I can bet that most are experienced gamers/model makers, people who have a massive interest in the hobby for many years and who have a significant enough disposable income to invest into the 3D printer.

Even if GW went 3D printing I can't see that they'd be able to push that onto the market, esp considering the price point it would come at. Sure in long term you'd be saving, but short term its a big cost and it would drive out many if not most of the new market interest. Heck just look how GW has worked hard over the last few years to bring down the cost of entry into their games and franchise.




It might happen one day but I don't think GW is the company that will make 3D printing a household name. Though they, and the rest of the model market, could ride its coattails if the 3D printer became a common household object. But I think that's a bridge best crossed once people reach it. Not to mention the fact that it would be a huge change for GW in terms of how its setup and how they attract people in. Would a store front full of cardboard cutouts of "print this at home" really sell as well and drive interest in the same way as big heavy boxes of plastic that rattle when you shake them.
Heck would GW even want to change considering the vast number of staff layoffs that would result. I mean sure cutting out all the staff after the parting designer would be a huge saving; selling off their factories and the like; but it might just be a choice they choose never to make unless the market forced them too.

A Blog in Miniature - now featuring reviews of many new Black Library books (latest Novellas) 
   
Made in gb
Wise Ethereal with Bodyguard







But with DLP and LCD mask type resin printers you are able to print whole squads at the same time. Fair enough the cleanup and ciring steps.will.add time, but if you can grow 20 models overnight, then that will take a fair chunk of the time requirement out of it.

Please excuse any spelling errors. I use a tablet frequently and software keyboards are a pain!

Terranwing - w3;d1;l1
51st Dunedinw2;d0;l0
Cadre Coronal Afterglow w1;d0;l0 
   
Made in us
Painting Within the Lines




Seattle, WA USA

 Flinty wrote:
But with DLP and LCD mask type resin printers you are able to print whole squads at the same time. Fair enough the cleanup and ciring steps.will.add time, but if you can grow 20 models overnight, then that will take a fair chunk of the time requirement out of it.
This is true, but again, the most labor intensive part of dealing with 3d prints isn't the time you're sitting there watching it print, but the clean up. Also (speaking from experience here), if you are printing a squad at a time and you have a print error (ran out of resin, weird issue with the model detaching from the film, whatever), then the whole squad is more often than not shot and you have just that much more trash. Also, the number of models you can print at a time will definitely depend on their orientation (including support structures) and the build area you have. Many DLP printers are much smaller in print areas, so you may more realistically be getting 6-10 models at a time (which, granted, is still better than one at a time).
   
Made in gb
Wise Ethereal with Bodyguard







All very fair points and as it stands I would agree. But given that you now get DLP resin printers for about £300 i would imagine that in the next 5 years or so the model making ecosystem will.grow all.sorts of kickstarter widgets and nick backs to start bringing all this time and effort down. I mean you can already get post processing stations for things like the Form 2, and given the minimal.effort that appears to be required to wrap.a bucket in UV string lights, nice looking but cheap curing stations must also be on the.way.


Automatically Appended Next Post:
Thinking about it, the big benefit that assembling plastics has is the ability to make stuff in preferred sub assemblies to make painting easy. I foresee a.future skill.in being able to cut an STL efficiently.into bits you can get a paint brush around easily

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2019/05/13 22:16:46


Please excuse any spelling errors. I use a tablet frequently and software keyboards are a pain!

Terranwing - w3;d1;l1
51st Dunedinw2;d0;l0
Cadre Coronal Afterglow w1;d0;l0 
   
Made in us
Painting Within the Lines




Seattle, WA USA

@Flinty, agreed, both the price and overall use-of-use is coming down rapidly on the DLP/MSLA stuff. I still think, though, that even if they're much more common than now (very likely within that 5 year frame), there still won't be the saturation or ease of use of them to have started the "Apocalypse". There will always be a market for model kits.

You could make the same argument of "why would people ever buy a book? You can print one at home for cheaper and on demand" (which is actually true unless you have a Lexmark printer, ). But yet, dead trees are still a big thing. Not everyone is going to want to "have" to print their toys. Many will just want to go buy them and start playing with them immediately.
   
Made in gb
Mutilatin' Mad Dok





Dorset, England

Well at the moment injection molding is more economical for large quantities, so I'm not see GW filling up factories with 3D printers just yet.

As for personnel use, you're right in that it is becoming easier and more econimical. Personally the level of faffing around is off putting and I live in a flat so I haven't really got the space to set up a 3D printing station!

As has been mentioned I think the greatest potential is in low volume, highly customiseable stuff, There is a website somewhere where you can create a custom character from a library of predesigned bits (clothes, shoes head, hair etc.) for RPG characters or even a character model. Easy with a 3D printer, but very difficult in metal, plastic or resin!

   
Made in us
Decrepit Dakkanaut






SoCal, USA!

Pirate Music and Video cost was maybe 1/10 the inflated MSRP, often much less, and it went on a phone that you already owned or relatively inexpensive player.

3-D printed minis aren't cheap enough, when the time and effort to buy secondhand on eBay is cheaper. If/when 3-D printed minis get cheap and good enough, I could see them taking a bite out of gaming companies. Otherwise, they're still pretty niche due to the long print time and lower resolution compared to production minis.

   
Made in us
Awesome Autarch






There will continue to be a huge market for normal miniatures.

-Old people who simply aren't interested in the processes it takes to use a 3D printer.
-Young people who don't have the money to afford even a "reasonably" priced printer.
-A load of people don't have PCs or laptops which I would imagine makes it a bit more difficult (I'd assume a lot of the stuff could be done through a phone, though more difficult?)
-A large percentage of people simply can't be assed to go through that amount of time/work (note: the people who insist it's super easy are often tech-savvy 20-30 year olds who do this as a hobby - that's of zero interest for a LOT of people)

Now this will change slowly but surely, when we eventually have a "buy it...click print" option in the future. You would imagine you won't eventually need slicing programs, etc. I can imagine that major retailers and companies like Amazon will eventually sell one-button printers and will have an entire industry/application built around it, etc. So if it becomes even more easy, a few of the above will drift over to it.

In short this'll likely never be an actual apocalypse, but rather a shot across the bow of major gaming corporations (of which there are only a few). There are still gamers buying metal miniatures produced in someone's shed...why? Because the consumer likes the miniatures and the prices are reasonable. For large companies however (Forgeworld, etc.) who have extremely expensive products, I hope the 3D market will force them to realize they're no longer the only shop in town and adjust prices accordingly. That's my hope anyway.

People will gladly still buy a box of Space Marines, but it would have to be priced to be worthwhile.

 
   
Made in gb
Fixture of Dakka




UK

Another thought is variable quality of product.

GW produces a product in-house and it has a known quality, a quality that they can replicate for mass production. Sure a few things slip through the cracks, but they are resolved by customer service.

Now 3D printing at home could have variable quality of a product based on:
1) The machine used
2) The users skill with operating the machine
3) Quality of materials used
4) Cleaning and maintenance of the machine.

Now suddenly all those production aspects that are in-house for GW and which they can control are now in the customers hands. Customers might report widely varying qualities of product through no fault of GW. In addition most who are not technically competent will blame GW for the problems.

Small time companies at present are providing 3D printing files to people who are very dedicated to 3D printing; they are more keen, more technically minded and more willing to accept their own faults and to problemsolve issues which arise. Open it to the mass market and you've got to deal with joe-average who just wants to press print and forget about it.

Heck just hop over to steam and have a read of reviews and forum discussions and you can quickly see many people cannot even perform a basic system check or DxDiag or even list their computers basic components. Many can't report errors correctly, nor perform basic self checks on things (check the drivers, check background process, check minimum system requirements). Even the most basic of things such as running the program a second time incase the crash was just a pure fluke.

Computers are not new and many people have now grown up with them yet there are legions who just have no idea about basic computing. And this isn't just "old people" its young people too.

3D printing would suffer the same issues and whilst it might be fine for printing a pot or jar or such - simple shapes with simple patterns - it might well have issues with higher grade products.

A Blog in Miniature - now featuring reviews of many new Black Library books (latest Novellas) 
   
Made in us
Courageous Questing Knight






I work with a few guys on the side... they will use their resin 3d printer to toss me a set of masters for me and I'll create 2 part master mold and then cast the item X times. These tend to be pieces of terrain, vehicle turrets, and 28mm legs or common bits and so on.

In their opinion it's dramatically cheaper than buying filament. They're also fairly new to 3d printing. The quality of the item is about the same if they need 10-50~ copies of the same piece. Since I already have the vac chamber/vibrating/casted thousands of items I crank out what they need in a day or two instead of running their printer all week. I've also casted items weekly for years at this point.

However if the filament became cheaper and they printed faster? I'd get dropped here in this process

disclaimer - personal use. I have no idea what youre talking about

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2019/05/14 13:43:07


   
Made in us
Dakka Veteran





I think that more and more hobbyists will have 3d printers as time goes on. If manufactuers cannot compete on price, then I expect that people will produce their own stuff, by printing and or printing and casting. I expect that hobbyists would be willing to put time into cleanup, etc, as it is a hobby.

If the companies are working in plastic injection molding then they could compete on price. However, if they charge $5+ per mini then they will not be able to compete.

One last point, is the number of minis that are needed. If you just need a handful, and the price is not outrageous, then people may buy them from companies, as it is easier.
   
Made in us
Decrepit Dakkanaut






SoCal, USA!

Kingdom Death has been selling 3-D printed minis for a while. They have a bunch of 3-D printers running off 100s of these things for ongoing sale, and it's considerably more than $5/model - $50/paired set, and people are buying them. For the volume that Adam appears to have produced, I think this should have been injection plastic like Echoes of Death [$60 set of 4]. Anyhow, I'm still a fan of injection plastic over resin / 3-D print.

In any case, there will always be DIY, and it's a question of when it gets cheap enough. Will 3-D print ever get as cheap as spitting a page from a basic laser printer? Probably not.

   
Made in ca
Basecoated Black






Game companies still make physical rulebooks.
Physical board games are more popular than ever.
More video games are being converted to board games every day.

I still don't see ebooks or PDFS killing the physical sales of books, and the past few years have seen a reversal in book sales - higher physical sales and reduced digital format sales.

Most households have a home printer these days. But you don't see many people printing off books and such. At least enough that it starts to affect sales. Even as cheap and easy they are to use, most people will prefer to buy a book instead of printing it themselves. Most gamers I know prefer to have physical books and use digital formats for when they don't have the book, or for travel.

I don't see 3D printing being any different for at least another 20 years. And even then, it'll still be easier to just buy a model, the same as books are today.

Some things work well with home based systems and technology. Most don't.
   
Made in us
[MOD]
Keeper of the Adeptus Arbites Flame






Arlington, va

Great discussion and thanks, I'd like to hear more about the challenges people have with 3D printers, I see posts all the time and the people printing off whole BFG fleets seem to find it easy.

 
   
Made in us
Decrepit Dakkanaut






Baltimore, MD

 Kid_Kyoto wrote:
Great discussion and thanks, I'd like to hear more about the challenges people have with 3D printers, I see posts all the time and the people printing off whole BFG fleets seem to find it easy.


I think the key is to think to your initial analogy of music and videos. They survived a lot of stuff until streaming became both cheaper AND easier than going to Tower Records or Blockbuster.

Right now, 3D printing is cheaper for some things, easier for other things, but only cheaper and easier for very niche products. BFG fleets, for example, are all OOP and hard to come by. It's actually easier and cheaper to print one than hunt it down on eBay. Ditto epic, FWIW.

I think that 3D printing will come first for the stuff that's OOP or only available in resin, in the same way that digital music killed bootleg tapes and imports.

My Painted Armies
: Co. B, 37th Praetorian IG: 11,000pts
Cygnar: 350pts
KOW Ogres: 4500 points
Loyalist Emperor's Children: 2500 points 
   
Made in us
Decrepit Dakkanaut






SoCal, USA!

 Ghool wrote:
Game companies still make physical rulebooks.
Physical board games are more popular than ever.
More video games are being converted to board games every day.

I still don't see ebooks or PDFS killing the physical sales of books,


Exactly so. I specifically went out of my way to BUY the quickstart Flames of War rulebooks, rather than print them, because the printed rules are higher quality paper, higher resolution print, professionally bound, etc.

   
Made in us
Osprey Reader



York, PA USA

I recently purchased an Anycubic Photon from Amazon during a flash sale. It cost $390 plus the cost of resin. I am finishing my second bottle up. It has been a learning curve with a ton of failed prints but I am able to now watch for areas that look troublesome and edit them in CAD. Like anything it take a lot of patience to learn.

All of my models were taken from Thingiverse.

Some of the good things are the amazing quality and ability to print the entire build area at once. So 13 troops come out as fast as 1.

The bad things?

The smell is intense, but I am actually used to it now and run it in my basement office/game room.

The resin is super brittle when cured. Drop anything and watch weapons shatter and fly off. HIPS is 100000000X better in this regard.

But it works for very specific projects. I have long wanted 15mm 40K models. No one has ever or will ever make them for me to purchase. I could make them in HIPS but it would be insanely time consuming and I only need enough for my own personal use.

With this printer I can have an unlimited supply of anything I want. I will be buying available troops when I can. So far I have an army of SLAP models Space Dorks and a lot of Vanguard Models 15mm stuff. They make some nice Steel Legion looking guys. But for all the guard tanks and stuff like Eldar I will be printing them.

Here are some fresh prints on the window awaiting the sun. rhino, predator, kill kan, chaplain, librarian, thunderfire canon and dread.



Painted tactical squad-



painted kan



how it comes out of the pan-



I do not think this will ever replace simply buying an item that is available. But for something you can not get it- provides a way to create that extremely niche model you want. And 15mm scale 40K has been something I wanted ever since I saw how ludicrous a Baneblade looks on a 4X6 table.




If you do not fail often you are not tackling big enough challenges. 
   
Made in us
Slaanesh Havoc with Blastmaster






It would be very interesting if GW stores started doing bit orders again via 3d printers. Place an order online and Warhammer world will 3d print your bits and ship them to your local. It does open up an interesting can of worms if GW has official 3d printed stuff that could be very hard to tell apart from unofficial.
   
Made in gb
Dakka Veteran




For 3D printing to even start to get close to being a thing for most people it needs to be vastly cheaper, massively easier to use (including set-up, cleaning and maintenance, managing the files to create the models etc) and much more user friendly in terms of the time it takes and the fact you basically need a dedicated room due to the fumes etc. Until those problems are sorted it'll remain an interesting option for people already technically competent and enthusiastic enough to use these systems but completely impractical for most people.
   
Made in ca
God-like Imperator Titan Commander





Halifax

I would much rather just buy a box of GW 2016+ quality designed injected plastic miniatures than to try to print my own.

Something I did with Titanomachina, aside from printing all the prototypes (the cost of which I do not like think about) was designing the robots so that they could swap out their weapons. It was incredible the difference made by the printers and materials on the tolerances that the artist built into the models. Some weapons needed reaming out, and others fitted well once I'd struggle to jam them on a few times.

3D-printing definitely reveals weak-points in prototypes though...

   
Made in us
Osprey Reader



York, PA USA

 Nurglitch wrote:
I would much rather just buy a box of GW 2016+ quality designed injected plastic miniatures than to try to print my own.

...



I agree 100%. In fact anything that is available is better and cheaper than printing your own. But if you want something that is not currently made, has never been made in the past, and is legally prevented from ever being made, I can think of no other option.

The 15mm project for 40K is an example of that. Either never have it or make it yourself. No other options. Not now, not ever.

If you do not fail often you are not tackling big enough challenges. 
   
Made in ca
God-like Imperator Titan Commander





Halifax

Being able to make your own stuff is pretty cool though. I have nowhere near the skill to make the robots for my Titanomachina game, but working with an artist was deeply satisfying to see my ideas come together and produce an actual object.

Of course, the tricky part is deciding when development is done as there's always something else to change and improve.

   
Made in us
Scarred Ultramarine Tyrannic War Veteran






Cheap 3D printers still aren't good enough to be a concern.
   
Made in ca
Posts with Authority




I'm from the future. The future of space

The average person working in an office calls for help when paper jams in a printer. Service and repair on inkjet printers is so expensive that the business model has switched to selling cheap disposable printers that are cheaper than the ink cartridges that go in them.

Now add in 3 dimensions molten plastic or lasers that harden resin and all the know how related to 3d printing.

Universal adoption is not going to happen. 3d printing is a geeky hobby unto itself and the Venn diagram overlap of miniatures gamers and 3d printer users is going to remain small for the foreseeable future.

If we can't even get paper printing to the point that the average person can solve problems that pop up, it's likely 3d printing is going to be reman very niche.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2019/05/16 18:31:17


A points system is a tool to create balance. Let's use it to intentionally seek out imbalance in order to win and then blame the game designer for it not working!  
   
 
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