23 January 2016

3D printing becomes affordable

My precious!
I got a 3D printer for the holidays and I am having a blast with it. From the replica lightsaber I am making, to cool minis for RPGing, it is very cool. The best part is you can afford one. I got the XYZPrinting DaVinci Jr. for $299.00, though it seems to be going for $339.00 since the holidays ended.

The DaVinci Jr. is very easy to use. Out of the box it just worked, so for a beginner it is excellent. It is not fast, but you just leave it to do its job. Printing a 28mm figure takes about two to three hours at "excellent" quality, less time for good quality. A great feature is that you can save the print file to an SD-CARD and put it in the printer and it will print it, so your computer is freed up unlike some other printers.

It is small, limited to a 5-inch cube maximum, but that is fine for minis, and many models are broken up to print out and glue together, like my lightsaber which is longer than the five inch maximum. The software that comes with it is not bad. It processes models to work with the printer, and you can scale prints up and down, such as taking a 52mm figure and shrinking it to 28mm.

You can find free models on Thingiverse, YouImagine and other sites. Companies are coming out wit printable models you buy (DriveThruRPG has a format categorty called .STL; STL is a popular format for trading models). Fat Dragon Games is at the forefront of this with their DragonLock terrain, and will have figures and objects available soon. More companies will join in as the market hits critical. You can also make your own with a 3D modeling program, or rework other objects into something new (just don't share any unless it is based on an open license). Blender is one of the most popular and is FREE! Free is always good. Plus it is very robust for an opensource product and available on Windows, Mac and Linux.

If you love to paint models you need to get into this.

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