Design and 3D Print Your Own Gaming Miniature Bases

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Design and 3D Print Your Own Gaming Miniature Bases

We wrote about the launch of Make: contributor James Floyd Kelly’s Game Terrain Engineering YouTube channel earlier this year. Jim has been busy since and has already produced 31 videos since May, covering all aspects of game terrain construction, making buildings for tabletop gaming, painting miniatures, and working with the common (and not so common) tools of the trade.

In his most recent video, Jim shows you how to design and 3D print your own custom bases for mounting your gaming miniatures on. You can buy all sorts of decorative bases for miniatures but they are not cheap and are limited in selection. Creating your own is easy and the sky’s the limit in terms of what you could design on them. And, as Jim points out, even if you don’t own a 3D printer, you can still design your own bases and have them pro printed at services like Shapeways. After watching the video, my imagination ran wild with what sorts of bases I could design for my miniatures.

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Not only does the video show you how to create bases in a 3D modeling program for eventual 3D printing, it is basically a beginner’s tutorial in 3D design using the free, browser-based Tinkercad program. Jim also links to a library of STL files for a set of free 32mm miniature bases available from Fat Dragon Games. You can access those files here.

This week, I also bumped into another clever, albeit far more lo-tek, way of creating miniature bases that I had never thought of. In a video on DM Scotty’s channel, on how to make torches for D&D terrain, he shows his washer method of custom basing. He simply hot-glues a washer down so that it’s stable and then he covers the washer in hot glue and piles it around to make the shape on the base that he wants. Let it dry, prime, paint, and add basing materials, and you have a custom, weighted miniature or scatter terrain base.

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. His free weekly-ish maker tips newsletter can be found at

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