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I wrote more than a year ago about the community designing, printing, and selling custom tabletop gaming miniatures using contract 3D printing services, like Shapeways, that have access to expensive high-resolution SLS (Selective Laser Sintering) rapid prototyping machines. Miniatures produced by SLS can look almost as good as those made by traditional sculpting and casting methods, and depending on the particular artist and design, sometimes better.

Until I saw these recent Warhammer 40K designs from Thingiverse user 3dYeti, however, I thought good-looking gaming minis were beyond the capabilities of hobby-scale desktop FDM/FFF (Fused Deposition Modeling, which is a trademarked term AKA Fused Filament Fabrication, which is not legally encumbered) printers like those from MakerBot, MakerGear, Ultimaker, etc. Guess I was wrong!

Shown uppermost is user Kerry’s print of 3dYeti’s 7-part Leman Russ tank, and below that, two prints of his Imperial Guard sentinel, at different scales and in different colors.  Nice work, guys!

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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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