To recap – we’ve talked about my setup, and the differences between filament and resin 3D printing. Now we’ll talk about the 3D files side of things, because ideally we’ll need something to print.
Unless you’re already an accomplished 3D designer (and maybe we’ll talk about that process in the future), you’ll need some models to print. I say “model” as if they’re all Warhammer figures but to be honest it could be anything. You could be creating a case for a Raspberry Pi, or a wedge to keep a door from slamming. It’s a really wide open world out there for what you can do with these things. However, my interest is primarily Warhammer so this is where my head will be at.
There are some good sites out there to find and obtain 3D models for print. Here’s where we need to talk about IP (intellectual property), and copyright. Games Workshop owns the original IP and has copyrights for all of their products. In theory, you could download a high resolution 3D scan of an existing GW model and re-print it yourself. This would be illegal. I’m not endorsing this practice, however some of the sites I’m about to link may have some such models on them. In my opinion if you want a Games Workshop model, go ahead and buy the original. Personally my interest is in customization of existing models, or printing non Games Workshop branded products. Now that we have that out of the way:
Site #1: MyMiniFactory: This site is a treasure-trove for 28mm (and up) scaled miniatures, busts, comic characters, etc. There’s a blend of paid and free content on here. Some of the designers on this site are really really good.
Site #2: Cults3D: Another great resource for tracking down models for printing, and expands beyond miniatures/wargaming.
Site #3: Yeggi: Yeggi is a .STL (3D printable file) aggregator search engine. It searches other sites for 3D models, and is regularly updated. The interface is awful, but it gets the job done.
Site #4: Thingiverse: Where I got started with 3D printing. The original (* to the best of my knowledge) and cleanest 3D file repository, but is becoming a bit stale with the availability of models on other sites. (To clarify, I mean wargaming inspired models/28mm characters. For random “everything-else”, Thingiverse is still awesome.)
There’s a lot more sites, but this should be enough to get you going. Once you’ve found the file you want, you’ll download it to your computer (and possibly pay for it first, although I’d definitely recommend starting with some free models to get a feel for it before spending more money). The downloaded file will likely arrive in .zip format, and will need to be extracted to a location on your PC. In addition, the file format will likely be .STL, a common format for creating 3D models based on triangles. For more information, Wikipedia is always a great resource.
Once you have the .STL files you’d like to print, we’ll talk about setting them up in the software that comes with the printer. In my case, Elegoo uses ChituBox – but I’m getting ahead of myself. We’ll talk about that in my next post.
Throughout this series, I’ve been showing off the Barbarian Chieftan sculpt by Matt Gubser of Prophet Miniatures. I’m not affiliated with Matt or Prophet in any way, I just think it’s a great sculpt that prints well. You can find the .STL at Matt’s page on MyMiniFactory.