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If you haven’t taken a look at what’s going on at Shapeways recently, you might find it worth your while to go browse around for a bit. They’re constantly adding new features, new printing capabilities, and new models. And, perhaps most importantly, the cost of printing those models is falling rapidly. Enough so, in fact, that contract 3D printing is really starting to be a cost-effective alternative for hobbyists.

Case in point: These are just a few of the beautiful print-on-demand tabletop gaming miniatures offered by user Charles Oines, aka Irrational Designs, a professional 3D designer who moonlights selling models through Shapeways. In their basic white plastic material, most of Charles’ sixty-plus designs cost less than $10 US each, and none costs more than $28. As always, shipping from Shapeways is free.

It used to be that if you wanted anything other than “stock” miniatures for your games, you had to laboriously customize or scratch-build each unit by hand. Now, if you can use Blender, you can design, pose, and print your army and have it shipped to you, ready to paint.

Sean Michael Ragan

I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I write for MAKE, serve as Technical Editor for MAKE magazine, and develop original DIY content for Make: Projects.


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Comments

  1. RichB says:

    You could also section, mold, and cast your own sprues for mass production or for pewter replication :-)

    Now to get working on that Colossus (a la Starcraft 2) model I’ve always wanted…

  2. jakkyn says:

    Not only is it cheap enough for hobbyists, but it’s also low enough to allow for product manufacturing directly through 3D printing. I run a design business using Shapeways to print stainless jewelry, and it’s amazing to come up with a design and immediately be able to make as many copies as I need with no tooling costs. There’s no other manufacturing method quite like it.

    Also, it you don’t know 3D modeling, there’s a hired gun forum there where you can recruit someone (like me for instance ;) to model your whatsit.