Best 3D Printer for Miniatures & Wargames Models 2022

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The Best 3D Printer for Miniatures & Models 2.0 - Featured

Last updated on September 27th, 2022 at 10:23 am

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If you’re reading this I assume you are interested in 3D printing miniatures and/or Wargames Terrain. Great, because just below we are going to take a look at the current best 3D printers for Miniatures & Models. There are a lot of options to choose from and everyone has a certain need to balance with their own budget. Check our guide and follow the steps to get the perfect printer for you. (Updated article from best 3d printer miniatures 2021)

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The Best 3D Printers for Miniatures & Models – Summary

Already have a resin 3D printer? miniatures and scale models are some of the most amazing things to create. It’s such a perfect combination of products for your hobby. But you can do much more with your 3D printer, Action Figures are another popular choice. If you love Warhammer specifically then this goes great when 3D printing parts for the Mcfarlane Warhammer Action Figures. Want another use for your 3D printer? Anime Figures, Scenery, Props, the list goes on. One of my favourite things to make with my 3d printer, lego figures. If you dream it, you can do it. One of the most popular uses in our hobby is with personalised games, such as d&d miniatures, 3D print is to D&D what butter is to bread.

If you aren’t too bothered about any reasoning and just want to see the list, check out this quick summary below of the best 3D printers for Miniatures & Models.

But if you want our buying advice for your particular scenario, see the table

RankModelResolution (PPI)*XY ResolutionPrint Volume (XYZ mm)
1Anycubic Photon D2DLP 2k51µm DLP130 x 73 x 165
2Phrozen Sonic Mini 8k1152ppi22µm165 x 72 x 180
3Elegoo Mars 3 Pro725ppi35µm163 x 102 x 180
4Phrozen Sonic Mini 4k 722ppi35µm132 x 74 x 130
5Sonic Mega 8k 587ppi43µm330 x 185 x 400
6ELEGOO Saturn495ppi50µm192 x 120 x 200
7Anycubic Photon Mono X495ppi50µm192 x 120 x 245
8Phrozen Sonic Mighty 4K 473ppi52µm200 x 125 x 220
9ELEGOO Mars 2 Mono 362ppi50µm129 x 80 x 150
10Creality Halot-One 362ppi50µm132 x 82 x 160
*Approximate Estimations based on screen size/Resolution

Best 3D Printer for Miniatures – Quick Buying Guide.

If this is your first printer, get the Elegoo Mars 3 pro. It’s a 4K printer with monochrome LCD, Elegoo has a great history of being the starting spot for printer enthusiasts. if you want something a bit bigger, the Saturn 2 8k has a bigger screen, But because of the larger LCD the output resolution is about on par with the smaller Mars 3 Pro.

We have more detail on printer resolution vs 4k 8k etc and why that matters in the article below.

If you want the best quality miniatures possible. You want the Phrozen Sonic Mini 8k it’s results when dialled in are on par (I’d argue better in some cases) with plastic miniatures from Games Workshop. For miniatures though, our recommendation over this is the Anycubic Photon Ultra, which proves that DLP is the future of 3D printing technologies.

Despite a much lower printing resolution, the sharpness of DLP (providing results on par with the Mini 8k) coupled with Anycubic’s softer Craftsman Resin and Cheaper Price make this a much more balanced choice. It’s super quiet, low energy and the projector lasts 10x longer than an LCD. It’s super fast with very little in the way of fumes. and unlike the Mini 8k, There’s far less to go wrong.

But you are limited by the size of the build plate. For miniatures, the Ultra is more than fine, but for vehicles and large 1-piece models, you could find yourself a bit limited unless the models are broken down into multiple components.

Everything else is in the middle of the road so read below what the benefits are (normally at the cost of print quality) to see if it’s the right printer for your needs.

The Best 3D Printer for Tabletop Miniatures, Wargames, Busts & Scale Models – Introduction

Before we begin properly, let’s get this out of the way. Now is the perfect time to get a 3D printer, miniatures, d&d, Warhammer, proxies, unique sculpts and more are readily available at comparable quality to retail products from your favourite brands. This is perfect for people who want truly unique d&d miniatures, 3D print them in just a few short hours.

Yes In 2022 it’s finally possible to recreate the model quality you’ll see from some of your favourite manufacturers, using consumer-grade home 3D printers. do you play Warhammer? 3D printed miniatures will probably be a very appealing prospect. and yeah you can easily just print a whole army of proxy models to use in Warhammer Games. Also, you can still print a ton of stuff to enhance your existing force, giving some incredible and unique style to your models.

Best 3D Printer for Miniatures - Spartan Space Marines

However, It’s not only illegal to steal other company’s Intellectual Property, but just finding the 3d printer miniatures models to create such a force is nigh-on impossible, When you want the style of your 3D printed parts to match eachother. Companies like Games Workshop are clamping down on the models which bear obvious similarities with their products. – though there is a growing number of companies out there providing, not only proxies, but also their own games. And this makes the idea of 3D printing for miniature gamers – highly attractive. You can make some incredibly decent 3D printed d&d miniatures or miniatures for various other games. Or even just to paint because they look awesome. 3d printing wargaming miniatures is so much fun!

If you want to know how to paint 3D printed miniatures? well, thankfully it’s exactly the same as any other miniature and unlike most retail resin sculpts. Once fully cleaned and cured, you shouldn’t need to do any further cleanup and a primer will stick great. 3dpreinter and miniature models go hand in hand.

3d printing miniature figurines are really fun and rewarding, it’s essentially a hobby in itself. When you don’t need to worry about stealing from someone else’s IP. You can get some incredible creations.

Halo 3 Force Unpainted

In fact, generic models are aplenty online, if you’re looking at 3d printing tabletop miniatures or you’re after 3d printed RPG miniatures. Then there are sites which will let you design a custom model and download the file to print it with. This also extends to 3d printing ww2 miniatures and 3d print Napoleonic miniatures too. From full models to components, this opens up a whole new world of possibilities to many modellers.

There are certainly a lot of things to learn when it comes to getting the best out of 3D prints, supporting the components, printing orientation, layer heights and exposure settings. Then once printed you do need to deal with trimming down the areas which supported the printed model. But when you dial your printer in for its environment. You’ll soon and rapidly be printing miniatures at a higher quality than even the likes of Games Workshop produce.

Best 3D Printer for Miniatures - Custom Space Wolves

Whilst the process of “whole models printed at 28mm” isn’t quite at its pinnacle yet. Larger models and slightly lesser detailed 3d printer gaming miniatures are still very achievable, even with the existing printers, people are improving on their model printing results every day.

The Best Tools For Miniatures?

FauxHammer.com is dedicated to finding the best tools for your hobby. Start with our list of Essential Hobby Tools which will lead you to find the Top-10 tools for each category.

Essential Hobby Tools for Miniatures & Wargames Models

To see all of our guides to the Best Tools for Miniatures, click on the image above.

2k Vs 4k Vs 6k Vs 8k Resin 3D LCD Printers

Wow, I hear you exclaim. This is an 8K 3D Resin printer, so details are twice as crisp as they are on a 4k printer, right?

Well, maybe, sure, yeah, Ummm….

Sorry about this bit, but most of the above is marketing spiel. Just like in the TV world, 4k means little more than the standard 3840 x 2160 pixels. but those pixels could be spread from over a few inches to over a foot depending on the screen size. This also assumes the manufacturer is using a standard aspect ratio. After all, 4k in itself is already a loose marketing term.

4K resolution refers to a horizontal display resolution of approximately 4,000 pixels”.

Wikipedia

“Approximately”. You see, 3840 isn’t even 4000 pixels across, but they have rounded up.

8k is further off the mark, with screens at only 7680px wide, itss called 8k, because it’s double the standard 4k. Wait until we see the 12k standard which is closer to 15,000 than 16,000.

So when you are looking at a 2k, 4k, 6k or even 8k printer. you also need to check the screen size. Because any 8k screen which is physically twice as large as an equivalent 4k screen has the exact same resolution for a model printed at the same size on each. Meaning print quality will generally be the same. The bigger printer in this example is only really better if you want to print larger things…

What you should really look for in regard to display resolution, which is pixels per inch (PPI). Few, if any, of the manufacturers tend to show off. Even when they are good.

You can easily calculate this by the diagonal in pixels over the diagonal in inches.

But to make it harder for you to work this out, manufacturers will provide the diagonal in inches, and display resolution in Height & Width. The real PITA companies will only give you the screen size in height and width too.

So just take the Square Root of (width squared) x (height squared) to get your diagonal – Thanks Pythagoras

Or you can just read the article below where we’ve done it for you.

As for FDM resolution. Its nozzle size is multiplied by how much material it splurges out per minute. (That’s a whole different ball game)

The Best 3D Printers for Miniatures & Models

10. Creality Halot-One

Display Resolution: 362ppi (approx based on 6″/2k)
Build Volume (XYZ): 132 x 82 x 160mm

Creality has made a name for themselves by being amongst the first to launch consumer-grade 3D FDM printers, but when it comes to resin, they are still playing catch-up.

The Harlot-One is a solid addition to the range of available 3D printers with impressive resolution and light uniformity. This is a great entry-level Resin 3D printer.

Creality3D Halot-One CL-60 3D Resin Printer – Technology Outlet

The unfortunate part which lets this product down is the lack of a large community behind it. There just isn;t one when compared to the other brands

You can still easily use this without issue, but when it comes to dialling in the settings to get the absolute best out of it, you’re a bit more on your own. But to be fair, dialling in settings for a particular resin is easier than most people think. No more than trying to get a stable temperature in your printing room and printing a small resolution tester at various settings so see which looks most crisp.

The printer also has a wifi mode which means you can send prints to it remotely and even upgrade the firmware without having to run over to it.

9. ELEGOO Mars 2 Mono

Display Resolution: 362ppi (approx based on 6.08″/2k)
Build Volume (XYZ): 129 x 80 x 150 mm

When it comes to entry-level resin printers, nothing currently beats the popularity of the Mars 2. When I first wrote this article in 2019. It was head to head for the Photon S vs the original Mars, and whilst my preference was for the Anycubic offering for its out-of-box ease of use. The price point for the Mars saw it gain the lead in the engaged community.

Once again, thanks to that community, people have not only dialled in the best curing settings to the millisecond. they have done this with such a variety of resins that is now super easy to get started with just a bit of community support (check [printer name] Facebook groups).

Several popular miniature bitz companies selling physical copies of their own designs have been doing so on the original mars. That’s just popular the printer has become.

Now Elegoo is back with the Mars 2.

Whilst the model above is the entry-level model, there are some excellent features to this which make it great for the beginner. Specifically, the plastic (rather than the pro’s metal) resin vat is translucent. This means you can get a visible indication of print failure, much sooner.

8. Phrozen Sonic Mighty 4K

Display Resolution: 473ppi (approx based on 9.3″/4k)
Build Volume (XYZ): 200 x 125 x 220 mm

15% off Phrozen with code: “22PRFHDP15

And now we have a 4k Printer. Phrozen are an exceptionally well-respected brand but tends to be on a fewer-purchased list, simply because their products aren’t on the world’s most popular marketplace, Amazon.

But check out Phrozen’s own website for a whole host of incredible offerings including printers and their very, very good resin. Of all the manufacturer’s own brand resins, I generally rate Phrozen as the highest.

Even though this is slightly lower on the list than other 4k printers, doesn’t mean it’s necessarily a worse printer. Phrozen is currently the more respected brand and the only reason we have this item lower on the list than the others is because whilst it’s 4k, it’s is over a larger screen area. giving it an ever so slightly smaller YX resolution. And for miniatures, that resolution is paramount to detail.

But in all honesty, the difference between the 2 is probably impercieveable and this one hosts a larger build volume.

If you are looking for a decent beginner 3D printer. this is an incredibly good unit with an absolutely huge community following.

7. ANYCUBIC Photon Mono X

Display Resolution: 495ppi (approx based on 8.9″/4K)
Build Volume (XYZ): 192 x 120 x 245 mm

Yeah sure, when it comes to miniatures we want to print the smaller things, but this is one of the largest resin printers available. Build area wise it rivals the Saturn by an inch, well technically 2 inches. With a 192mm x 120mm x 245mm (7.55″ x 4.72″ x 9.84″) build volume. it can make taller models. Trus me, 2″ can make the difference

So why, when it is arguably the same on paper, and the Saturn but has a slightly larger build volume, is this lower in the list? Well…

On Launch, the Photon X was proposed to be the Saturn Killer, in that it’s something which may final topple the existing popularity of Elegoo’s offering.

Unfortunately once launched, the Photon suffered a myriad of problems. From Cracked build plates to failing LCD’s it did not go as smooth as it could. People have had issues with the antialiasing function too. Whilst Elegoo also had its share of launch issues and general “not up to personal expectation” complaints. By the time the Mono X came to market. The Saturn was already established and generally considered as working.

It does have several strengths in its corner, so deciding on these two is a bit “swings and roundabouts”. The benefits of the Mono X include a more stable build plate (yet when secured properly neither should come loose). The aforementioned extra 2″ build height. And the photon lets you print an RERF file. which is a method of testing multiple exposure times on one single print. Great for honing in your print settings initially, but honestly getting this to work can be an absolute pain.

Nowadays the argument of which is best is a hard slice, Generally, do you want the taller build volume? (get this). Or do you want more community support? (get the Saturn)

6. ELEGOO Saturn

Display Resolution: 495ppi (approx based on 8.9″/4K)
Build Volume (XYZ): 192 x 120 x 200 mm

Once again BIIIIIIIIIIG!

This is where resin printing really gets fun. Another 8.9″ 4k mono screen.

The mono screen really (as above) helps with these printers. as the normal UV backlight is removed, in it’s place are a grid of UV LED casting light to the curing plate. This allows a more uniform light to be cast across the surface. Allowing the edges to be more defined and speeding up layer cure time.

All good things.

With a comparatively massive 192x120x200mm (7.55in4.72in7.87in) build area. this really brings 3D resin printing home. The entry-level models are great for a few parts, but whilst you initially buy a resin printer for miniatures and parts. You’ll soon want to throw out larger stuff. This will still give you something the size of a standard action figure.

If that’s not of interest to you then, consider it as; how many more shoulder pads you can throw out in any one print session. thanks to the larger screen and build plate.

You can even start doing some decent sized terrain pieces too.

The reason this is higher up the list than the photon is because of its popularity. Once again, like the Mars, because of the success of the launch and the lower price point. More people have these. more people have tested these with different resins. So if you are looking to skip past a lot of trial and error when it comes to dialling in your settings. there are a ton of people out there to help you.

Supports Chitubox as standard

Replacement screens on this are also slightly cheaper to replace than on the Photon Mono X. Considering this is a consumable part, that’s a very good thing.

5. Sonic Mega 8k

Display Resolution: 587ppi (approx. based on 4k/15″)
Build Volume (XYZ): 330 x 185 x 400 mm

15% off Phrozen with code: “22PRFHDP15

ooooohhhhh baby.

This is the printer I want. this is the printer you want. This is a veritable wardrobe of goodness when it comes to 3D resin printing. When 3d printing, maximum size may be your consideration. This offers it.

Sure sure, we’re talking about the best printer for miniatures here, and this beast is designed to print some absolutely huge models. And what could be better than printing massive versions of your miniatures? Or printing a whole army in just a few hours on the build plate’s massive surface area!?

This is an amazing 3d printer for miniature terrain

Allowing prints up to the maximum build volume of 33 x 18.5 x 40 cm. the things you can make with this are insane. The unit is powered by an 8k 15″ panel – that’s the size of a small TV! The build plate is so large it has relief holes drilled through it just so the resin can get back to the FEP in time to cure the next layer!

Sure, it’s on the more expensive side of printers shown here, but with ‘s sturdy case and incredible build quality. everything is neatly contained in this professional-level unit.

It’s worth it for the fact that you can print large multi-component models in one go.

4. Phrozen Sonic Mini 4k

Display Resolution: 722ppi
Build Volume (XYZ): 132 x 74 x 130 mm

15% off Phrozen with code: “22PRFHDP15

yep, another 4k printer, but this one is especially good for printing miniatures, as I said at the top of the article, 4k vs 4k, doesn’t really matter. It’s Pixels Per Inch (ppi) which is responsible for the X+Y- axis level of detail. And here, because the 4k screen’s printing area is only 6.1″. That’s a lot of resolution in a super small area. 722PPI in fact

The quality of prints you can get from this thing is just absolutely stunning. don’t take my word for it. Don’t even take Phrozen’s word for it. Check out what the community are making in the Phrozen 3D Facebook group

Below is an image from Reddit user u/Redline04 comparing a model printed on the Mars Pro 2 (left) to the Mini 4k (right). Worth noting that this was only an initial test print too. I’m sure you’ll agree that the results speak for themselves!

The Best 3D Printer for Miniatures & Models - Phrozen Mini 4k Vs Elegoo Mars Pro 2

Also noted in his Reddit post is a link to this initial grid of Slicer Settings for this printer using different resins at standard 0.05mm layer heights.

Specifically, check out this post where someone has printed a Bob Odenkirk sculpt and even his stubble (not a sculpted beard, but hair stubble) is correctly rendered. This thing actually printed the pores in the actor’s face! wow.

This thing is an absolute beast of a machine and it’s competitively priced too.

3. Elegoo Mars 3 Pro

Elegoo Mars 3 Pro Specs

  • Screen Size: 6.66″
  • Screen Resolution: 4098 x 2560 px
  • Pixel Size: 0.035mm (35µm)
  • Display Resolution: 725ppi
  • Build Volume (XYZ): 163 x 102 x 180 mm

The Elegoo Mars 3 Pro is possibly the best beginner 3D printer on the market right now. And the only reason it’s not number 1 on the list is that the below printers offer better quality miniatures and a few more ease-of-use features.

But the Mars 3 pro is a simple and solid printer which I’ve been having a ton of fun with lately despite owning (what are arguably) better printers. As for build volume, Here’s a quick look at a small force of 3D printed Halo Miniatures (32mm) I printed out in just 2 print sessions! One session for the vehicle and another for the Marines

To get the only negatives out of the way, there are a couple of annoying niggles I have with the Mars 3 pro but in all honesty, I can ignore them and I’m only aware of them because again, I have other printers which don’t have these quirks.

You can see them for yourself in our video review below.

One, The printer’s cooling fan runs whenever the printer is on, rather than when it is printing. So even when I’m not printing, this thing is whirring away, but if anything, this is a handy reminder to turn it off. And Two, most printers nowadays use a Z sensor to automate the levelling process. the Mars 3 pro still requires a manual adjustment by moving the print bed up and down in 0.01mm increments to get the bed level. It’s not a problem just a lack of convenience that other modern printers have provided. on the other side of that coin though, not having this sensor, it’s one less point of failure.

Detail-wise, well… see below…!

The coin to the right is the edge of a Uk £0.01p coin

Once you get the layer exposure time dialled in for your environment, just the first level of Antiailising is applied, along with Image blur, you can get super sharp miniatures with only minimal layer lines. And these are pretty much gone after the paint is applied.

Go on, See if you can spot the layer lines in the image above. And remember though, that this is shown on an average desktop monitor so it’s 300% to 400% larger than it looks in real life.

On the advancement side though, this printer comes with a powered and refillable carbon filter to remove all those nasty smells and toxins from your printing environment. This works and it works really well. I have this printer in the same office that I’m typing from, and I can’t smell it at all.

Here’s how the models from this printer look painted.

The main benefit of the Mars 3 pro for printing miniatures is the huge community behind it. Elegoo has intelligently carved itself out a solid lead in the resin 3D printer space with several notable creators selling hobby parts back from the days of the original Mars.

Any issues with this printer or support you need dialling it in can be found in various online social forums such as Facebook Groups or Reddit Communities. Though, unlike their competitors, Elegoo Manage only one Elegoo Support Group, rather than having a dedicated community per printer, which would be better for us all.

TLDR, If you are looking for your first 3D printer, for miniatures. I think you just found it.

2. Phrozen Sonic Mini 8k

Phrozen Sonic Mini 8k Specs

  • Screen Size: 7.1″
  • Screen Resolution: 7500 x 3240 px
  • Pixel Size: 0.022mm (22 µm)
  • Display Resolution: 1152ppi
  • Build Volume (XYZ): 165 x 720 x 180 mm

15% off Phrozen with code: “22PRFHDP15

The (not so mini) Mini 8k is the present pinnacle of LCD quality. Whilst the screen has a weird aspect ratio (it’s far wider than it is tall) it is still the highest resolution screen available at this size.

The details this thing can produce are absolutely superb. and it’s here where the line between companies like Games Workshop and what you can print at home – truly start to blur. Yes, you can print better than forgeworld quality models with this thing.

However, in my situation, I have not had the best, out of box, experience for printing miniatures. But that is mostly due to some technical issues I’ve had. and I must admit, Phrozen’s Customer Service has been superb. Not only were they straight to the point but they even reviewed my posts in their Facebook Community page (unprompted) to get more detail about the issues I faced.

Once set up, however, this thing pretty much eradicates layer lines (z-axis) and voxel/graduation lines (X & Y-axis)

Don’t believe me? well check these out, these are Space Marine Accessories printed on one of our Mini 8K printers. no Anitailising applied, these are as direct to the 3D file as you can get. And go-on. find a layer line? Try…

The Best 3D Printer for Miniatures & Models Anycubic Photon Ultra 3D Print Examples

These parts are nigh on part with production quality models. I know a lot of people worry that printing will kill Games Workshop. That’s highly doubtful, but it has certainly changed the landscape for the quality of the miniatures – now very much in favour of 3D printed parts.

You can see this printer in use in our review video

Whilst resin prints aren’t as convenient to work with as GW’s HIPS plastics. What this Mini 8k printer can produce, definitely provides better quality (read as “sharper and more accurate”) parts than what Forge World put out.

If you want maximum detail on your miniatures this is your first real choice.

For more on the Sonic Mini 8k, you can Check out our Written Review

Phrozen Sonic Mini 8k Review - Featured

1. Anycubic Photon D2

Anycubic Photon Ultra Specs

Screen Size: 5.9″
Screen Resolution: 2560 x 1440px – But it’s DLP
Pixel Size: 0.51mm (51 µm) – But it’s DLP
Display Resolution: 498ppi – But it’s DLP
Build Volume (XYZ): 130 x 73 x 165 mm

So, this is the second consumer-grade DLP printer, as direct sequel to the Photon Ultra. Whilst it feels a bit cheap with its mostly plastic components, including the resin vat. – it’s managed to get our number 1 pick!

And that’s because, from our own personal experience, we’ve been able to print higher-quality miniatures on this, far more easily than with the Phrozen 8k – (please note, results will vary from person to person. but my OOB experience was superb). That’s even more impressive when you learn that the resolution is only somewhere around 498ppi (51µm pixel size) (WHAAAAAATTTTT! That’s only 2k, we had those years ago!)

Yeah, that’s 4x less than the Mini 8k, and is actually the lowest XY resolution on this list, well, it shows initially. The huge difference between these and LCD printers is that DLP printers are super sharp when projecting light. Instead of projecting a whole chamber of light and having an LCD block it out (leaving some light bleed around the edges, these DLP models actually project light in the shape of the layer, and only that much light toward the resin. Very Precise.

To visualise the effect, think back to the original apple iPhones before they created retina displays. remember before retina how you could make out the individual pixels if you looked close enough. Well here, it kinda goes back to that the projected light is so sharp that you can make out the edges of individual pixels that make up a layer.

But by adding 16x antialiasing and 2x Image blur in your slicer, you’ll pretty much make all of that disappear. But because DLP’s project direct light, you still get super-sharp details in the final result whereas an LCD panel will always have some outward light projection no matter what you do.

If you want to see the D2 in action, printing Warhammer equivalent models from OnePageRules and larger models, then see our detailed review video below which will also guide you through getting the best possible miniature quality from it.

The added benefit to getting this printer for miniatures is that the included DLP Craftsman Resin is sharp but still quite soft and has some comfortable flex to it, whereas the resin included with the Mini 8k is quite firm and brittle. With that resin you only need to pick up a miniature the wrong way and parts can snap off. With this stuff, it should easily survive the odd drop or fall.

When it comes to prepping miniatures to paint. support marks are easily just pulled away and scraped down, (much like mould lines) when using this stuff.

Why 3D Print Minis?

There are a lot of great reasons to use 3D printing in your miniature Hobby. You can incredibly detailed 3d printed custom miniatures. Albeit not quite to the same quality level as the extruded plastic models you will get from retail. But still god enough to exist as parts of your armies. They’re great for making a great multitude of terrain pieces. But the best thing is making custom components and conversion parts for existing models. Think Weapons, Emblems and armour pieces.

After all, If you want your models to stand out on the tabletop, as I’ve said many times. They just need to look a little bit different from the norm.

Another fun thing to do with 3D printers is to make yourself some hobby tools or supporting components. You can make brush or paint holders, storage for your models, water pots and mini holders. A fan favourite Miniature Painter Garfy, who is very active in the community and has written a ton of incredible guides over on Tale of Painters (one of my personal favourite blogs) has even started up his own 3d printed miniatures business, making some of the Best Miniature Painting Handles you can buy.

If you are wondering “can I sell 3d printed miniatures?” Well, many early adopters have made their investments back 100-fold by selling parts online. I was even considering opening a shop called “3d printed miniatures UK”, specifically as a 3d printing service UK miniatures. But unfortunately, I just don’t have the time.

It doesn’t take much to put 3d printed miniatures for sale on eBay or etsy or quickly create your own 3d printing miniatures service. 3d printed miniatures as a business is still a fully untapped goldmine. Tons of people are looking online for where to buy 3d printed miniatures. So if you are wondering “is 3d printing miniatures worth it?”. Yes, yes it is!

All in all though the process of 3d printing your own miniatures is really rewarding in its own right. Here we are on the first step toward the replicators from Star Trek. Whilst you can already 3D print various foods with these machines, none of them will be edible.

What Types of Miniatures can I print?

Can you 3d print Warhammer? Meaning generic off-brand miniatures to use in that particular game? Well yeah, (legalities of this is different beast we will go into below) But it’s not just Warhammer, 3D printing has opened up the Quality of Warhammer to so many other areas of this hobby. below we have listed just some of the different things you can look for and many may inspire your creative brain-juices. So have a look and see what takes your fancy.

  • 3d printed 6mm miniatures
  • 3d printing 10mm miniatures
  • 3d printed 15mm miniatures
  • 3d printed 28mm miniatures
  • 3d printed 32mm miniatures
  • 3d printed miniature buildings
  • 3d printed military miniatures
  • 3d print zone mortalis
  • 3d printed Halo miniatures
  • 3d printed Videogame miniatures

Are 3D Printed Warhammer Parts and Miniature Parts Cheap?

Here’s an example of the cost of 3D printing miniatures.

A friend of mine recently asked me to 3D print some shoulder pads and heads for his Space Marines after seeing all of the custom parts I was using on my Mk VI Horus Heresy Models. He offered to pay me for them.

Here is the breakdown of what it I charged him (at cost, minus my time) for 53 Shoulder pads and 24 heads.

So how much does it cost to 3d print miniatures? See below for

  • £5.17 for the STL Files bought from the designer on Cults3D
  • £5-7 postage (he’s in a different country)
  • £0.60p for the parts themselves…

£0.60p That’s your 3d printing miniatures cost, A similar set of parts would be somewhere around £120 at £15 per set of 100 heads or shoulders. Nothing is wasted either? If you only want 5, print 5.

And this is mostly because the parts in this scenario were only available at a cost. Once you have your printer and resin, you can essentially 3d print miniatures free.

So yes 3D printed wargaming miniatures and parts are incredibly cheap. Make no mistake This is the future of 3D printed tabletop miniatures.

Print Quality & Types of 3D Printer.

If you want to know how to 3d print rpg miniatures and the like, it really depends on the printer you get. If you what to know which 3D printer for miniatures you should get, this depends on what you want to print.

It’s worth noting that there are 2 main types of 3D printer tabletop miniatures. One of them uses a plastic filament which is fed through a nozzle (or multiple nozzles) These are Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) printers. The other uses a bath of liquid resin which is hardened when light is focussed within it, commonly known as resin printers. Even within these 2 main categories, there are some further subcategories.

To understand print quality, you need to know how the printers work.

FDM printers

Have a reel of plastic wire called PolyLactic Acid (PLA) or Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS). often referred to as 3d printing miniatures “filament”. The latter of which is generally stronger, but requires more head to become usable. They are types of thermoplastic which means they can be heated to a temperature which makes them act like a liquid.

Best 3D printer for miniatures - FDM Printer Fillament

An FDM printer will feed this reel of plastic wire into a nozzle which heats it to its reformable temperature. The plastic is extruded through the printer’s nozzle and the print head is moved around. The printer extrudes the plastic layers. Once a layer of a model is complete, the head moved up and prints the next layer.

The quality of these prints is based on many factors, so you may want to check for your printer’s best filament for 3d printing miniatures – the type of plastic used. Also the size of the nozzle, the minimum layer height you can achieve and your patience. But generally (when compared to resin 3d printers below) the print quality is much lower but you can make much larger models. Once printed you’ll need to look up techniques on how to smooth 3d printed miniatures such as how to sand 3D printed miniatures or how to smooth 3D printed miniatures. It’s not a fun process in either case and often leads to softening of many details.

Resin 3D Printers

UV curing Resin is by far the best material for 3d printing miniatures

The printers are quite a different beast altogether when compared with FDM above. Instead of a reel of plastic wire, you create a bath of liquid resin. the resin hardens when UltraViolet (UV) Light is directed at it. here’s where we have the subcategories.

StereoLithography Apparatus (SLA) technology uses UV lasers focused on particular points causing the resin to harden. Unlike FDM printers where the print head moves. with Resin printers, the light sits below the resin bath. The print base itself is raised upwards as the laser is focused. You’ll see that with resin printers, they actually print the models upside down.

Digital Light Processing (DLP) is identical in the way it works except instead of lasers this uses a UV projector. This also prints in layers, however with SLA printers where the laser traces the surface of each layer (like some high-tech etch-a-sketch)). DLP will actually print a whole layer at the same time. This makes them faster than SLA printers. DLP printers have the advantage of using a projector to focus light. As you may know, light does not easily travel in a straight line. So where LCD printers with a large array of light shone through them causes outward fade which naturally softens edges on prints. DLP printers are capable of incredibly sharp results as the light projection is more direct. (these types of printers currently provide the sharpest results – but in some cases, maybe that’s too sharp). DLP printers also last much longer than LCD printers where the LCD itself is classed as a consumable component.

The difference really is that DLP printers will project the shape of each layer up at the resin, whereas LCD printers will project light and the screen blocks it out, leaving only the shape you want for each layer.

Best 3D Printer for miniatures - SLA Vs DLP Vs LCD

Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) is the most common type of resin printer, though even within this category there are subcategories such as monochrome panels providing darker blacks and preventing light bleed through blacked-out areas. The newer printers also tend to come with a reflected UV array of lights rather than a UV lit backlight – All that is before we even start to consider printer resolution (below). AS stated above. We’ll go into the details below, but the general challenge with LCD over DLP is that between the (0.02mm – 0.05mm) LCD and the build plate, the light is not focussed, so whilst it cures upwards, it also slightly cures outwards, softening the edges of a print. but at super high resolutions, does this even matter? well, no not so much.

Generally, though, the most noticeable impact on quality is with the individual layers of the model. If these are too thick (deep/tall), you can see ridges on the individual layers which are printed. These are especially prominent on FDM printers and will show even after a model is primed. There are ways to smooth these out like manually sanding, which takes forever or using acetone-like vapours which smooths out the whole model, including any intentionally sharp edges. You could also coat FDM prints in liquid resin and then cure that with UV light.

With Resin printers, these layer ridges are almost non-existent, but they are still there.

Ease of Use

3D printing is as much a skill as it is a new technology. If you want to get the best out of any of these printers, it’s unlikely you will get those results out of the box. There are a lot of settings to understand for 3D printing which makes or breaks a quality model.

In a similar vein to 2D printers, there are various options to consider. When you get a 2D printer (it’s rather standardised now) you get the option to print in various qualities. Black & White or Colour? are you printing documents or photographs? What quality do you want in that photograph? All of these options can use more or less ink, and print quicker or slower. Even the paper you use and your knowledge of working with that paper type can have a dramatic impact on the result.

It’s the same with 3D printing but more, much more. 3D printing doesn’t have many standards yet, it’s still in its infancy which should excite you with how far it can go. I was still using a Dot-Matrix printer less than 20 years ago. (because my school was cheap). But this means you need to fine-tune many of the intricate settings to get the results you want.

In regard to quality, there are 2 primary considerations. nozzle width, laser beam width or UV projection panel resolution will control the level of detail on the X & Y axes. (left/ right and back & forth, like a 2D printer) the precision of how incremental the print head of build place can be moved on the Z-axis (up & down) will control your vertical quality.

If you’re getting into 3D printing, please understand that high-quality comes from your time and understanding. Thankfully there are numerous resources out there and many people have already come up with some of the best settings you can use. A consideration we’ve taken when compiling the list below.

It’s not just 3D printing that has a large community, but each printer has its own sub-communities and miniature printing is a 3d printing sub-community in itself. So don’t worry, you’re not on your own in this and there are numerous resources that will accelerate your progress. With these guides, you will be printing good quality models very quickly.

Best Resin for 3d Printing Miniatures

Ok, when looking for the best resin for 3d printing miniatures, this is a topic in itself and we’d need to update it weekly as people test and tweak the various setting on their printers. But there’s also the question back to you…

What do you mean by best?

You could mean the sharpest quality for 3D printing something close to a production master. you could mean the best value so you can 3D print a wargaming army at a low price. If you are 3D printing Warhammer Army, you may want something a bit more sturdy. so best may mean least brittle, even though you could loose some quality. Or more unique situations where you want to 3D print Space Marines with a clear or semi-opaque coloured resin so you can insert LED’s and create glowing effects.

best could also mean, easiest to clean up or most environmentally friendly.

Personally, I would always start with the resin that comes with the printers. Nowadays, many resins are created with specific use cases for a particular printer. The Anycubic Photon Ultra uses a special DLP resin with really sharp detail and nice flexibility to it. Whereas the Phrozen Mini 8k has their Aqua 8k resin, which clearly provides better detail than their 4k resin. Which has been the most popular all-around choice for a good couple of years.

But depending on how much time and effort you put in, you could find a blend of multiple resins gives the best results.

Here’s a quick summary of some of the best resins.

CategoryResinJustification
Best QualityPhrozen Aquak 8k (only with 8k printer)No layer Lines
Best for MiniaturesAnycubic Craftsman DLP (only on DLP printers)Sharp and flexible
Best ToughnessSiraya Tech FastABS like finish
Best All-RoundPhrozen Aquak 4k (only with 8k printer)Balance of detail and toughness
Best ValueAnycubic UV sensitive 3D resinCheapest – Does the job

There are a few options to get you started, but honestly, it varies a lot from printer to printer, start with whatever you get with it and join a Facebook or Discord Community for your printer and get direct advice. from there as to what is best for your specific needs.

Where to Find 3D Miniatures to Print

So I know you have a burning question, where can I find Warhammer files to print? Well, if it’s not already clear 3D printing Warhammer minis is a very grey area. When I talk about “3D printing Warhammer” here, I’m going to be referring to compatible parts to be used on Warhammer Models that enhance the existing character and vehicle sculps GW produce, or Warhammer Proxy Models. More on this in a mo.

But where can you find 3d printer miniatures files?

That’s quite a common question. In fact, the following image perfectly summarises the comments you’ll see in most online discussion forums.

First off, when it comes to 3D printing, communities are your best friend. whatever printer you have or get. Go to Facebook and search for “your printer” and look in the group’s tab. Join that group. The posts there should inspire your initial creations with various things, but they can also help you with advice on settings and dialling in the

As for 3D printing Miniatures Specifically. Join our Facebook Group below. a great place to see examples and share what you create.

As for just finding models you think are cool. here’s a few great sources

  • Cults3D – An absolute ton of stuff available from various creators – a mix of free and individually priced files/collections
  • My Mini Factory – Similar to Cults 3D but not as popular for Warhammer Specific files. Tons of great minis though
  • Thingiverse – The former leading file resource (everything is free) – runs very slow and clunky now.
  • Yeggi – A search engine that shows files from the sources above and more – very outdated though and lots of results are dead links where models have been rightly taken down for blatant IP breaches.

Let’s say you are 3d printing 28mm miniatures in general or 3d printing D&D miniatures. then one of the coolest resources out there is HeroForge

HeroForge lets you design a character on their website, in a similar way to character creators at the beginning of RPG video games. You can change the base, poses, expressions outfits textures and more.

Once done, you can purchase and download the file for your printer, or have them print it for you.

3D Miniatures Subscription Services

You’ll find there are a great few subscription services out there too, these have a general approach of subscribing to us and you’ll get a bundle of models each month at a super low price, and rewards for longer-term subscriptions. Alternately they sell their older bundles at a premium if you missed any.

The main services are. (in Alphabetical order)

Independant 3D miniatures studios

I wouldn’t even know where to start here because the selection is a veritable minefield.

There are a ton of 3D printing studios out there, from individuals to larger companies like Titan-Forge. dozens if not hundreds of people have their own 3d printed miniatures Patreon where you can get specific things you want.

This is really down to your exploration and you’ll find things in groups like the one we linked above

Just beware that before long on your miniature printing journey, your current “piles of shame” will soon be joined by “files of shame”. Too many of us have multiple hard drives full of things we’ll never print.

3D Printing Warhammer Models – Is it Legal?

When it comes to 3d printing 40k miniatures. Honestly, I don’t know, 3D printing, in general, is a legal minefield and let’s talk about why.

Let’s say someone sculpts a model of a celebrity and sells that sculpt. Should the subject of that sculpt not claim some royalties on the sale of their likeness? Could they sue you for profiting from selling their Likeness? , from what I have read online, In the US, most states have what is called a “Right of Publicity”, which means you cannot use their name or likeness without permission. Creating the model is not a violation of that right but showing or selling it is. But that’s only in some states and of course, that only caters for some US state-specific Laws. what about the rest? or even everywhere else in the world. You could live in one of these places where sharing or selling the model is a violation. But what if you are sharing it online. Where the company hosting the file operates in a location where this is not a violation?

What if you paint or draw artwork of that Celebrity (go to any hobby convention and you’ll find people selling their artwork of celebs) heck, just look in a tattoo parlour. What if you take a photograph and sell it to a news outlet? You see, people have been getting around various individual rights for years, especially for individuals in the public sector.

So there’s all that to contend with for a start…

3D Printing Games Workshop’s Models…

Now onto Games Workshop, Warhammer and what is/isn’t IP theft? Again, from a legal standpoint, I don’t know, these are just my musings on the topic. so don’t take this as advice. if you want advice, start here with Games Workshop’s Intellectual Property Guidelines.

Specifically;

recasting and 3D printing – our products must not be illegally re-cast or scanned, nor should digital designs of our products be illegally produced and distributed.

Games Workshop’s Intellectual Property Guidelines

Quite clean and yet vague at the same time. so you cannot recast (the process of taking one of their production pieces like a master and using a moulding process to recreate it), and you also can’t 3D scan one of your models. So all of you with newer phones and use them to scan your models. Naughty naughty. what if you 3d scan your room and it has Warhammer models in it? More grey area. If you 3D scan a model you have painted and store it on your phone, would GW care enough to take action. probably not, but for any company that owns copyright, if they are not seen to be taking action against infringements, they can lose that copyright.

So what does GW own the copyright on? Well, here we can refer to Games Workshop’s Copyright and Legal Information page where it says;

GW, Games Workshop, Citadel, Black Library, Forge World, Warhammer, the Twin-tailed Comet logo, Warhammer 40,000, the ‘Aquila’ Double-headed Eagle logo, Space Marine, 40K, 40,000, Warhammer Age of Sigmar, Battletome, Stormcast Eternals, White Dwarf, Blood Bowl, Necromunda, Space Hulk, Battlefleet Gothic, Dreadfleet, Mordheim, Inquisitor, Warmaster, Epic, Gorkamorka, and all associated logos, illustrations, images, names, creatures, races, vehicles, locations, weapons, characters, and the distinctive likenesses thereof, are either ® or TM, and/or © Games Workshop Limited, variably registered around the world. All Rights Reserved.

Games Workshop’s Copyright and Legal Information

Specifically focus on the bit after all those things where it says “all associated logos, illustrations, images, names, creatures, races, vehicles, locations, weapons, characters, and the distinctive likenesses thereof

So it’s quite clear now that GW claims to own (I use “claims to” I haven’t the knowledge or skill to verify), all of these things listed, including models within these franchises and all logos (which I believe clearly extends to chapter emblems).

So you can probably understand why the following happened.

Games Workshop Vs 3D Printers

Courtesy of Spikey Bitz, it was reported back in May 2022 (according to the article date) that Several 3D artists had purportedly received Cease and Desist notifications from Games Workshop. (see that article for more details) The example shown below is an “Elf Titan” modelled and released on MyMiniFactory by Duncan ‘Shadow’ Louca, compared to the £254 Revenant Titan with Pulsars from Forge World

Despite having no Aeldari emblems on the Elf Titan model, this did not stop the Cease and Desist from going out to MyMiniFactory.

Now, let’s be real here. Going back to Games Workshop’s Copyright and Legal Information page. I think we’ll all agree on the distinctive likeness of these two models… Just changing the name from Aeldari and removing any Aeldari Emblems (logos) is far from enough to get around copyright. Surely any layman would argue is in direct breach of GW-owned property and as such Duncan could be liable for any proven damages. Sorry, Duncan, your original sculpts are amazing and you are a talented guy, but sharing this puts you at serious risk.

As of the present time, this model has been taken down on MyMiniFactorty, despite Duncan making it freely available on that platform following the C&D, but i was easily able to find this model available without trying when doing very lazy research for this post. On the available platform (which I won’t share) that file, in parts or as a whole piece, has been downloaded a combined total of 272 times at the time of writing.

At the price of this model you’re looking at a total of £69.088 in potential claimed losses + legal fees (I think this is how it works, am I wrong?). this in spite of an objective view that Duncan’s 3D print file will produce a better quality (sharper)) model than what Forgeworld sell. If you want to take that risk as a 3D modeller, that’s on you, Personally, I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night. Especially when, in Duncan’s case, you have clearly shown your skill is far above and beyond blatant copies.

But why hasn’t the C&D been followed up on and how is this model still freely available when GW should be policing this? That’s not for me to answer and is an article in it’s own right. Heck this whole piece is and I may move it to one in the future.

Games Workshop Vs Cults 3D

One of the most popular online repositories for 3D Warhammer Parts is Cults 3D, in 2022, Games Workshop (via their lawyers) requested takedown of over 2000 models on the cults 3D platform.

Cults took down only 65 of them, and even advised the creators what to do (how they could be renamed) so they could be re-uploaded.

See the details of that event here

Games Workshop Vs Cults3D - Featured

It looks as though Games Workshop is only requesting the removal of files, based on trademarked naming conventions and not on the models themselves.

Is that all they can do, or is this just the first wave?

What Warhammer 3D Print Files are legal?

Again, I don’t know, but the copyright policy above indicates that anything which likens to GW models is not ok. But is this “whole models only”, or are individual parts included in that? If so, and the Titan above is not ok, how has the following been ok for over 2 decades?

Best 3D Printer for Miniatures - Sons of Thor Backpack
Sons of Thor Backpack
Kromlech
Best 3D Printer for Miniatures - Space Wolf Backpack
Space Wolf Backpack
Games Workshop

Ok, so it’s slightly more dissimilar, but it’s also clear to anyone that the Sons of Thor pack bears a striking similarity to the Space Wolf backpack. The Sons of Thor backpack is made specifically to fit on a Space Marine, and IMHO would not exist if Space Wolves Space Marines weren’t a thing. But then Sons of Anarchy would not exist without Hamlet. What is IP theft and what is art inspired by other art? And now we’re just arguing there’s nothing new under the sun.

Going back to Games Workshops Own words. I would infer that the Sons of Thor backpack fits within distinctive likenesses to part of a vehicle[s], creature[s], race[s], or character[s], which in turn are are part of the Warhammer 40,000, Space Marine, 40K & 40,000 claimed Trademarks.

So why is that allowed to exist where Duncan Louca Elf Titan is claimed not to be? Both are clear likenesses to GW products. Is allowable likeness based on a percentage of accuracy in details and scale? Is it because (as per GW’s IP guidelines, Kromlechs piece is not a, in Gw’s words “digital design[s] of our products”.

Wow, I think I just went a complete 180° here, and I’m sure that’s how many of us feel as we flit back and forth trying to figure this out.

The problem is we don’t know, none of us knows. and GW is probably happy with this being in the realm of the unknown because uncertainty is one of the best deterrents.

But when push comes to shove, and I’m confident that it will, We’ll likely see this battle occur on the legal plane as the laws catch up to our collective actions. and when that happens, I worry for those who will become the poster-children of what is not ok.

In the meantime, we just want our models to look cool and unique. So, as is human nature, we’ll follow the path of least resistance to do that.

in General games workshop are ok with 3D printed parts (in some respect), so long as you have designed and printed them for yourself – as per their in-store play guidelines (see here) where it says;

Much like hand sculpted detail, if you’ve gone to the effort of designing and printing your own bespoke parts for your army, then these parts are indeed permitted at our events. Commercially available, third party 3D printed parts aren’t permitted though. Please bear in mind that if we do spot cast/printed parts on miniatures at our events, we will ask you to prove where they’re from, and may ask for them to be removed if there’s any doubt as to their origins.

Model Requirements for events at Warhammer World

So this adds even more confusion to the whole debate. phew!! glad I’m not a lawyer. Good luck everyone.

How to Clean and Cure Resin 3D prints

resin cures under Uv light, this is how your printer works, but as you pull the build plate out and remove the model from it. you’ll see that it is still covered in uncured liquid resin. you need to perform 2 actions at this stage. you need to rinse off (and in the case of hollowed prints, out), any uncured liquid resin.

Cleaning 3D Printed Miniatures

To do this you need to wash it off in Isopropanol (which is also great for stripping paint off miniatures). however several people have argued that Methylated Spirits (Ethanol) is better for removing resin but i haven’t tested it yet personally.

You can do this in a small jar and just shake it about, you can use a “dedicated” toothbrush to clean up the details, but the prefered method is two-stage. get a pickle jar to do the initial wash pass and take off the bulk of the resin, then use a larger bath, ideal in a resin wash [and cure] station or ultrasonic cleaner to remove the majority. Not having a 2-stage process will lead you to gunk up a large volume of cleaning solution much faster.

Curing 3D Printed Miniatures.

for this, you want UV light, and the most cost-effective source of UV light is sunlight. However this is somewhat inconsistent in strength and where I live in the Uk, it’s rarely available.

A cheap option would be to make your own UV curing statin with UV LED tape and a paint bucket, luckily we have a guide on that for you.

How to make a UV Cure Station - Featured

One of these with a cheap turntable in the bottom is a low-cost option.

Just be aware that overexposure can turn resin really brittle and even cause it to warp and crack.

The best option is to get a dedicated cure station, notably one function of wash and cure stations which are available from most 3D printer manufacturers.

Best 3D Printer Slicer for Miniatures

Welcome to the war of slicers. for those who are’t aware of what it takes to take a 3D model into a 3D printable file. here’s the summary, you need a slicer application. a computer program which prepares the 3D model. here you can add supports for your model and then export it as a series of contained image files with data advising your printer how long each layer should be exposed for, how far the print bed should lift up and how fast among various other settings.

There are a few to pick from but two main candidates. Lychee and ChiTuBox

Some printers will come with their own proprietary software, but in the case of the consumer-grade options below, you can mostly ignore these applications and go with one of the options above. Both of these programs have a fully usable set of free features, but they also have some premium features locked behind a paywall, thankfully unless you are a modeller or sell a ton of 3D printed parts for a living. These features are mostly unnecessary.

Lychee is my (like many people’s) preferred application. The workflow is much better as are the auto-support and support refinement features (such as locating unsupported elements of your model). the minor drawback of lychee is that you can find a few odd compatibility issues. never anything major really, just a few irritations such as the issue I have where the creation of a raft layer will raise the base layer up and into the model you are printing. but this can be overcome by being aware and just heightening your initial support level. And it doesn’t have a dedicated button for a 90-degree part rotation like all the others do (a personal annoyance).

In my opinion Lychee is the best software for 3d printing miniatures

ChiTuBox or as it is often referred to ShiTuBox generally has better support, with numerous manufacturers directly supporting this slicer to the point of including it as the app you get with your printer. It’s light it’s fast and has all the features you would want. but the workflow is not as clear as it is with Lychee. It also just doesn’t operate well as a windows application. you know how you can do things with other apps where you drag the window to the top and the window fills the screen, this doesn’t even do that. Auto supports are ok, but there’s no method of checking the model for floating areas (islands) missing supports.

Personally, I used a mix, I’ll hollow a model using ChiTuBox and then export it as a hollowed STL (because Lychee won’t let you export a hollowed file). Then I’ll support it in Lychee and slice it. Though on my Photon Ultra I’ll actually use their own Photon Workshop application to slice because none of the other applications offers up the level of antialiasing that this printer is capable of.

Essential Accessories for Resin Printers

Resin printing miniatures will cost more than just some resin in a vat and click go. There are numerous other consumables that you need to use for safety. The main ones are latex/nitrile gove and cleaning tissue paper. Resin can be harmful and I’ve had more than a few surface-level resin burns on my skin from handling uncured models.

FYI, even your LCD screen is classed as a consumable

Here are another few products you want to get your hands on throughout your resin printing journey.

Essentials

Extras

  • Silicone Matt(s) – Dirty work area and easier to clean than a desk top.
  • Sharp Putty Knife – the one that comes with your printers is probably rubbish
  • Wash &/or Cure Station – All in one post-processing
  • Plastic Putty Knife – Scrape cured resin off the VAT#’s clear FEP film layer
  • Small Suction Cup Handles – Remove the cover without touching it with dirty hands
  • Toothbrushes – Clean resin from hard-to-reach spaces
  • Resin Strainers – Pour resin back into the bottle whilst removing cured artefacts
  • FEP Film – Consumable film for your vat, varies by printer, nFEP is better.
  • Ultrasonic Cleaner – for thorough print cleaning.

The Best 3D Printers for Miniatures & Models

The below list focuses on Print Quality Order for the 3d printing board game miniatures, but please note that this is based on the best possible quality which has been learned through trial and error using specific settings for each device. You are not likely to get the best possible print quality out of the box. Unless you want to pay for it and get a professional-grade printer. Those printers are “call for quote” and you’ll be working with an account manager. But you can get great results from the machines below when looking for the best printer or just searching for “what is a good 3d printer for miniatures”.

With that in mind, we aren’t looking at FDM printers for printing miniatures, it’s been clear for a long while that if you want to print miniatures, then resin is the way to go. FDM is fine for large items like terrain, props, helmet replicas and whilst. yeah, they can print miniatures. The quality at that scale is far from what you will want to be producing.

1o get, it’s probably worth going with whichever is cheapest at the time.

The Best 3D Printer for Miniatures & Models – FAQ

Here is the part of the article with some useful info that also plays a hand for us in ranking us up on google by answering many of the Frequently asked questions you see on your search results page. so, without further ado.

Is it worth buying a 3D printer for miniatures?

It depends on what you want, do you want to print for painting? for playing a specific game or accessorising an existing army?

3D printing is its own hobby, and for miniature painters, it’s a hobby within a hobby. if you buy models just to paint, you have many more model options available to you with a 3D printer. The industry is moving in the direction of 3D print models first, so do not get left behind and get yourself a printer ASAP

For playing a specific game, ok yes, we are talking Warhammer here, you’ll be limited to proxies for the most part. getting your hands on copies of Warhammer sculpts is nigh on impossible and very very naughty to boot. But to print a whole army or a huge vehicle, you are talking pence on the dollar in price difference once you have made the outlay for the printer itself.

If you are happy with the limitations GW will put on you for having a 3D army, go for it. You can;t go playing in official tournaments, but in a friendly game between mates at a FLGS, who’s to stop you?

For accessories, I think this is the sweet spot. having made a force of Samurai marines. I’d say that since kitting out a single 10-man squad can cost over £100 or the local equivalent. heck, scenic bases or base toppers alone make the investment in an entry-level printer a no-brainer. You can easily get this in less than half an army. Better yet you can print and sell parts to your mates and easily recoup what you lost, if you have enough friends you could even end up making a profit. I have…

Is it legal to 3D print Warhammer? Summary

Well, what do you mean? Ask yourself the same question about a different brand such as 3d printed x wing miniatures? Do you want to 3D print an army and play Warhammer with it? Well, there’s been multiple stories of people in the armed forces playing on deployments with rocks or standees. proxy armies exist as do compatible parts so long as they do not contain any GW specific iconography.

As for the legality, really, ask a lawyer, 3D printing is so new and rife with IP theft. There’s no legal president to reference here. but beyond Warhammer, look at all the people creating and selling sculptures for marvel properties or busts of famous celebrities. I don’t think any of that is legally ok. We just haven’t seen enough people be publicly sued for it yet. but it’ll come.

As for printing Warhammer, well if it’s a copy of an existing model, no, that’s not legal. It’s IP theft. if it contains GW IP. again, IP theft.

But if it’s a shoulder pad or head or armour accessory and contains no GW IP, like with the many accessory companies that have existed over the years like Kromlech and others. I do not believe this is illegal. And morally I feel this is where 3D printing truly enhances the miniatures hobby.

No longer are cool and unique sculpts locked to those few god-like people who can sculpt with modelling clays.

Is 3D printing killing Warhammer?

No, Games Workshop is much more than a warehouse that pumps out models for profit. They have a huge history and rich lore surrounding all of their IP. Along with various other tools that have become almost necessary staples in the miniature painting industry. They have books Videogames and several ever-evolving Game-Systems, they have new games coming out a decent pace too. 3D printing is changing the landscape, but it will not kill GW.

Do you know how easy it is to download ebooks nd audiobooks? It’s super easy and has been for years, they are tiny text files. yet Black Libray Still exists and pumps out content on a regular basius, so please stop worrying.

What is more likely to kill GW is a failure to connect with the next generation of modellers from an early age. I grew up with Games Workshop. As a teen it was my version of a creche, where my mum would dump me as she went off to do her shopping. Now as an adult I’m reliving those teenage years with disposable income. But when I look in Warhammer store today, the current generation of kids are nowhere to be found.

When my generation dies off or gets too old to hold a brush. if today’s kids aren’t replacing me, GW will have a limited customer base.

What is the best material to 3D print miniatures?

Resin, hands down. if you are printing miniatures, you want details and FDM will not cut it. for larger models like props sure go FDM, within the miniatures hobbyFDM is only good for terrain, and even then it will have many grainy print lines.

Can FDM printers print miniatures?

As above, yes. but the detail is miles away from what you would get from a Resin printer. if you don’t mind thick layer lines and soft details. sure, they will sit on your tables as proxies, but will likely cost just as much as a resin equivalent.

the only benefit with FDM is that model cleanup is not as messy, having to deal with uncured liquid resin is a pain. but IMHO, it’s worth it.

Can I sell 3D-printed D&D miniatures?

You can design, print and sell miniatures to be used in D&D without any problem, just like with any game system. You could even licence and print other people’s creations if they allow you to do so. But if someone has made a near enough one-to-one copy of another company’s model. No, you can’t sell that, it’s IP theft.

Is it legal to sell 3D printed miniatures?

Yes, very easily too. And it’s a very profitable venture in the present market. so long as you have created or licenced something which does not infringe on another IP. Stick it up on Etsy or eBay and sell them until your heart’s content. I paid back my first 3D printer by just selling parts to mates alone! (still at decent mate’s rates) Nowadays it still pays for most of my resin.

Figuring out what is legal and not in breach of another IP is completely on you, however.

Can you 3D print a 40k army?

let me change the wording here to be clear. You can very easily and even more cheaply 3D print an army to use when playing Warhammer and Warhammer 40k. But they must be proxies (similar style models) that do not infringe on GW’s IP. Also, you will not be allowed to use it in competitions or tournaments.

How long does it take to 3D print miniatures?

Hmmm, “how long is a piece of string?” and “how long does it take to 3d print a miniature?” are similar questions. It depends on the Printer, the size of the miniature and layer height. A 32mm miniature at a 0.05mm layer height can take an hour or two on the fastest printers.

A single print, maximising the z-height of a printer, and printed down at 0.02mm scale can take 2 or 3 days. I printed some accessories for a Warhammer Rhino and it took 5 x 13 hour print sessions for all the parts to complete. Larger models have taken over a week to print all the components on in multiple print sessions.

The Best 3D Printer for Miniatures & Models – Final Thoughts

It’s important to decide what your budget is and how much effort you want to put in. With FDM printers the effort is put in upfront in practising to get the right settings for fine layers on your printer. you may think just print everything in the thinnest layer but the issue is that when you print the next layer, ambient heat will reactivate the layer beneath causing it to warp. FDM is best for terrain over anything else. It’s just about how much you are willing to spend.

With resin, you are looking at more time cleaning up 3d printed miniatures afterwards, but this is the only way to get the smoothest and sharpest quality prints.

It has the added bonus of being a bit more plug and play too.

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  • Self-appointed Editor in chief of FauxHammer.com - But I need to thank the team for existing and therefore enabling me to give myself role - without them, I'm just a nerd with a computer and a plastic addiction.

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The Best 3D Printer for Miniatures & Models
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The Best 3D Printer for Miniatures & Models
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Below we are going to take a look at the best 3D printers for Miniatures & Models.
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About FauxHammer 257 Articles
Self-appointed Editor in chief of FauxHammer.com - But I need to thank the team for existing and therefore enabling me to give myself role - without them, I'm just a nerd with a computer and a plastic addiction.

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