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Subject: Color 3D printers & wargaming rss

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Eddy Sterckx
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When monochrome 3D printers became affordable miniature wargamers immediately jumped on it as a (cheap) way to produce lots of scenery items – fences, walls, gabions, barrels, … after a paintjob they look splendid. A wargame buddy of mine has one and he’s been churning out stuff like crazy. Also boardgamers saw an opportunity to pimp their games with better bits.

The problem for board wargamers though is that the stuff they might want, like printed 3D blocks or replacement counters won’t work with monochrome printers – we need color – but that was not going to happen with 3D color printers retailing in the 300K range.

But as with everything technology quality is going up and prices are coming down so next year it’s expected we’ll have some basic models in the 5K range, still expensive, but do-able if you really want it. Google RoVa4D for more info.

In the distant future I can see wargame publishers circumventing the expensive production and shipping process by selling a license to 3D print their game – board, counters and dice – we already have the capability and are used to printing living rules and player aids. I also can’t see why the current print service companies won’t be offering 3D printing services in the future, so you won’t even need to own a 3D printer.

Now, just as brainstorming exercise : what would you use a 3D color printer for ?
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Pete Belli
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Quote:
what would you use a 3D color printer for ?




Bugs. Lots of bugs.



BTW, if anybody on BGG has some of these Micro Machine arachnids warriors zap me a private GeekMail.
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Robert Stuart
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I really like this possibility. We could print maps of any desired thickness or composition, our own counters, etc. The important thing would be to arrange a tight system of remuneration so that a royalty would be paid the wargame publisher for each game printed.
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Eddy Sterckx
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bob_santafe wrote:
The important thing would be to arrange a tight system of remuneration so that a royalty would be paid the wargame publisher for each game printed.


Your name printed in full on a corner of the map would dissuade most from "sharing" their 3D print-files. I already have some "name" watermarked pdf books/rulesets. The downside is that it's hard to re-sell those.



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"She comes out of the Sun in a silk dress runnin' like a watercolor in the rain."
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Keep in mind that these things burn electricity to run. They're not cheap even after you've bought them.
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Neal Durando
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Terrain visualization.
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Steven Mitchell
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Meh. Using a 3D printer to create cardboard counters seems like an incredible overkill.
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Eddy Sterckx
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patton1138 wrote:
Meh. Using a 3D printer to create cardboard counters seems like an incredible overkill.


What's certainly overkill is print them in China, ship them to the US, repackage and ship them to Europe - paying shipping, VAT & import duties multiple times. From my pov of course.
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Rex Stites
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eddy_sterckx wrote:
patton1138 wrote:
Meh. Using a 3D printer to create cardboard counters seems like an incredible overkill.


What's certainly overkill is print them in China, ship them to the US, repackage and ship them to Europe - paying shipping, VAT & import duties multiple times. From my pov of course.


You personally print counters and have them go through that entire process? Seems like there would be a better way...

Of course, if you're talking about the manner in which a game from GMT, for example, gets to you, then you're comparing apples to oranges. In-home printing capabilities aren't going to change the distribution model for games anymore than the ability to print on paper has changed the distribution method for books.
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Matt Irsik
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We have a dozen 3D printers of various kinds, including a color, powder based printer at one of the university computer facilities I manage. Several of them, especially the liquid resin one can do some incredible pieces. I could easily see 1" counters with the type of vehicle or aircraft printed on top of the counter with raised info. The issue is that someone needs to design this, then print it successfully. The best way is to do what some figure manufacturers are doing and that is print the prototype, then 3D print the molds, then set up an assembly line using resin in the molds.

Using 3D printers is actually pretty easy. Designing and completing successful prints is not.
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Adam D.
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Printing counters, not so much. Printing blocks and minies? There's a future in that.
 
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Barry Harvey
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I would equate it to printing out photographs. Now I can print photos on my home printer easily enough and I'm likely to do that for odd photos here and there, but if I have a lot to print out then it's cheaper and more efficient to get a print shop to do them.
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Tom Swider
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patton1138 wrote:
Meh. Using a 3D printer to create cardboard counters seems like an incredible overkill.


... until you lose a counter or two. Or buy a used game with missing counters.
 
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Rex Stites
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tswider wrote:
patton1138 wrote:
Meh. Using a 3D printer to create cardboard counters seems like an incredible overkill.


... until you lose a counter or two. Or buy a used game with missing counters.


Because 3D printing is the only means of replacing counters? There are ton of alternatives for replacing missing counters that would be much better than 3D printers. A 2D printer, for example...
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Andrew Stewart
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mirsik wrote:
The best way is to do what some figure manufacturers are doing and that is print the prototype, then 3D print the molds, then set up an assembly line using resin in the molds.



Please tell us which manufacturers are actually doing this. The resolution to do this to match current plastic/metal moulding quality just ISN'T there.
Then there is the issue of speed of production - 3D printing is SLOWWWW.
 
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Scott
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eddy_sterckx wrote:
Your name printed in full on a corner of the map would dissuade most from "sharing" their 3D print-files. I already have some "name" watermarked pdf books/rulesets. The downside is that it's hard to re-sell those.


While I don't have the tools or know how, PDF watermarks are easily removed by those who do. AFAIK no current 3D format offers security features like that. I expect in future if such a format is developed that the same tools used to create a 3D file would be capable of removing a mark and that people on the internet would do this for free. It only takes one.
 
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Scott
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Jherek Carnelian wrote:
The resolution to do this to match current plastic/metal moulding quality just ISN'T there.
Then there is the issue of speed of production - 3D printing is SLOWWWW.


The resolution is there. They're not using the printer kit you pick at the Warehouse Stationery, not even the same technology. Layer resolution about the thickness of a silk fibre, not silk thread, the fibre that makes the thread, is easily achieved by industrial machines and resolutions about 200 times finer already exist in research facilities which would be capable of printing CPUs.

I think you've miscomprehended the process of mould making. Sculpting a model by hand is SLOWWWW. Designing a model in CAD is SLOWWWW. One time print job for model after CAD, no so slow, also lets you split the model into multiple pieces without need for touching up the master manually. Printing moulds, rather than traditional methods of mould making, directly saves lead time and tooling costs by greater than 95% over traditional methods.

edit:spelling
 
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John Middleton
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eddy_sterckx wrote:
patton1138 wrote:
Meh. Using a 3D printer to create cardboard counters seems like an incredible overkill.


What's certainly overkill is print them in China, ship them to the US, repackage and ship them to Europe - paying shipping, VAT & import duties multiple times. From my pov of course.


That's why real game companies like MMP print in the USA.
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Barry Harvey
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Surely one idea for the future would be licensed local Print on Demand/3D Print on Demand facilities.

Dedicated companies could print all game components in the respective countries rather than being mass-produced in one location and shipped around the world. This would allow tailoring of the product to whatever requirements the purchaser wanted. Different language? Check. Mounted map (oh the horror)? Check. Deluxe models? Check. Even go back a few days later and get some extra counters.

Now this would be more expensive but it would cut down on three important areas - p&p, the increasingly ridiculous area of legalised banditry that is postal 'processing' and delivery time. This could be useful to some people (thinking of you, Aussies and Kiwis).
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Rich M
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blaecblaed wrote:
Jherek Carnelian wrote:
The resolution to do this to match current plastic/metal moulding quality just ISN'T there.
Then there is the issue of speed of production - 3D printing is SLOWWWW.


The resolution is there. They're not using the printer kit you pick at the Warehouse Stationery, not even the same technology. Layer resolution about the thickness of a silk fibre, not silk thread, the fibre that makes the thread, is easily achieved by industrial machines and resolutions about 200 times finer already exist in research facilities which would be capable of printing CPUs.

I think you've miscomprehended the process of mould making. Sculpting a model by hand is SLOWWWW. Designing a model in CAD is SLOWWWW. One time print job for model after CAD, no so slow, also lets you split the model into multiple pieces without need for touching up the master manually. Printing moulds, rather than traditional methods of mould making, directly saves lead time and tooling costs by greater than 95% over traditional methods.

edit:spelling

Some valid points which is why I laugh when inexperienced people buy a 3d printer and expect somehow to print stuff they want especially if they have no 3d cad capability or experience. If they can find what they want already 3d designed that is one thing but is it able to be 3d printed is another. Then you add in the knowledge how to make a custom 3d design 3d print friendly along with what STL resolution is just right without creating a processing headache. It is best to find someone with experience of 3d printing and work out some kind of trad or financial transaction and let them deal with the headaches it is both cheaper and easier on you. Some examples of 3d prints on my 3d printer and some models both my own and other peoples:

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