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Subject: 3D Printing and mass production rss

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Alexia Lisi
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Hi guys!
I'd like to start a campaign on Kickstarter (a series of miniatures), and I'd need a quote about 3D printing.
Since it's a professional project, miniatures need to be overly detailed, very smooth and well done.
There are many 3D printing service online (like I-materialise, Shapeways etc.), but I'm afraid they are only for hobbyists. I'm saying that because their prices are too low for professional job.

Does anyone know how much would it cost a master (75 mm) by a good professional company? For example, Zealot Miniatures or RN Estudio.
And also, how much for mold making/casting?

Thank you and kind regards,

Bobolo
 
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maf man
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uhmmm I'm not sure you know the scope of what your asking. You mentioned mass production, 3d printing, mold making, casting, and "need to be overly detailed"; and I just don't know where to go with that. All I know is your looking for pricing. What do you have and where are you going?
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Board Dads Podcast
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Bobolo1 wrote:
Hi guys!
I'd need a quote about 3D printing.
Since it's a professional project, miniatures need to be overly detailed, very smooth and well done. Bobolo


Your best bet for this is having them printed with resin, which is more expensive than standard filament printing. Printing with standard filament will leave the layers there which will require extra work to remove them, but that leaves a high margin of error.

The quality of the final print will also LARGELY depend on the quality of your 3D file. If your files suck... It's not the printer's fault.

Bobolo1 wrote:

There are many 3D printing service online (like I-materialise, Shapeways etc.), but I'm afraid they are only for hobbyists. I'm saying that because their prices are too low for professional job. Bobolo


These companies are meant for small scale/prototyping. If you're looking to create 3D model prototypes, use the cheap companies, and be comfortable with it being a prototype.

Bobolo1 wrote:

Does anyone know how much would it cost a master (75 mm) by a good professional company? For example, Zealot Miniatures or RN Estudio.
And also, how much for mold making/casting? Bobolo


When you 3D print, you don't use a master. You just print how ever many you want. Master copies are used to create molds for injection manufacturing. Generally these are made from Clay so they can be burned out when the mold is created.
If you're wanting to 3D print a mold for injection manufacturing you can check out Polymaker here: http://www.polymaker.com/polycast-info/ They have a new product that is meant to be 3D printed with a high enough quality to create a master mold for injection manufacturing.

If that is not what you're looking for, then I suggest you just go get a sculptor. They can create high quality masters out of clay which you can then take to create master molds for injection manufacturing.

Also, depending on the volume of miniatures you plan to produce, injection manufacturing is probably the cheapest route.
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Gary Averett
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uh...whose turn is it?
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The lost wax method is used for casting, injection molds are machined and are quite expensive, it is only cost-effective if you order thousands of parts.
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Alexia Lisi
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Thank you all for replies!

I already have 3D file of the miniature (quality is very high, is the same of 74 mm miniatures of Black Sun Miniature just to be clear), what I want to know is how much would cost to print a professional physical prototype from that 3D file and after reproduce in 150/200 copies.

 
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Bobolo1 wrote:
Thank you all for replies!

I already have 3D file of the miniature (quality is very high, is the same of 74 mm miniatures of Black Sun Miniature just to be clear), what I want to know is how much would cost to print a professional physical prototype from that 3D file and after reproduce in 150/200 copies.



Read the comments above... It depends on HOW you want to reproduce. For that few copies I suggest 3d printing with a resin printer. You can request a free sample from Form Labs here: https://formlabs.com/

I'd recommend doing that so you can see the quality. It is pretty high IMO.

If the quality meets your standard, look around in your area for someone that has a good resin printer, or you could use Shapeways. They have a good reputation. You could always order just 1 and see if you like the quality, then send a larger order when you find quality your satisfied with.

As far as pricing goes. Go create an account on shapeways https://www.shapeways.com/create/#tabletop-gaming
Upload your file and choose the materials you'd like and it will give you a price. You can probably use that figure as a basis if you decide to shop around.


 
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John "Omega" Williams
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Last check 3d printing was still appallingly expensive per mini to mass produce compared to more traditional molds.

The price has come down over the years. But Im not sure 3d printing is viable yet for actual board pieces. It would jack the games price prohibitively in some cases.

Depends on who you go with too.

you will have to ask around and get quotes.
 
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Travis Hoglund
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We bought the Form2 Printer for our minis in Venture the Fog https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/236999/venture-fog-hydra, but it is not scalable. Formlabs flexible resin is the best choice, but it will cost you around $2 in resin per figure without calculating in the cost of the machine or the man-hours of switching them out. Plus, some parts will fail on top of that. We are in the process of switching our models to being injection-moldable.

We have had a great experience so far with Imagine 3D Miniatures. They charge about $300 Euros per model, but they have great communication and deliver.

http://www.imagine3dminiatures.com/
 
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Janis Sweek
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Bobolo1 wrote:
I'd need a quote about 3D printing. Since it's a professional project, miniatures need to be overly detailed, very smooth and well done.There are many 3D printing service online (like I-materialise, Shapeways etc.), but I'm afraid they are only for hobbyists.
You can't use Shapeways because the printer they utilize is a SLS printer. It prints creating things from a powder which leaves the finish rough. It requires too much post production work to get it to a quality as a 3D-Master. You will need to use at the very least a SLA 3D resin printer although better results with a DLP 3D resin printer.

Bobolo1 wrote:
Does anyone know how much would it cost a master (75 mm) by a good professional company? For example, Zealot Miniatures or RN Estudio.
Awaken Realm and Zealot Miniatures have both used Solus DLP 3D-Printers for their masters. I believe Zealot has moved to a different printer, given how their prints are now. The Solus 3D Printer costs $3950 and $250 per Liter of resin (although you don't have to use their resin). You would want the master to be done by someone who specializes in 3D-Master prints, most miniatures companies do theirs in-house and offer services. You can also utilize a 3dhub or go directly to EnvisionTec or Solus for quote.

I had mine originally done with Scale 75. For a single 32mm multi-piece miniature, it would usually cost me about $100-200. We have since moved printing masters in-house. Once you start creating past a certain point, it becomes more economical to bring it in-house. The cost of printing 20 masters almost pays for a lower end DLP 3D printer. Early on there were some issues with sculpting that weren't discovered until after printing, which meant after the digital sculpts were fixed, we had to print another batch of masters. It just was better to move that in-house for us.

Bobolo1 wrote:
And also, how much for mold making/casting?
Moulds and casting can vary. It depends on what you wanting your final piece to be. Is it metal or resin? Are you doing 2-piece moulds or spin casting? Moulds can cost between $100-500 depending on what you are doing. Resin moulds last for about 40-50 pulls before needing to be remade. Usually if you are having someone do the moulds and casting (which is what I suggest), the cost is a flat cost that includes the mould and resin used for casting. For example 32mm miniatures can cost between $1-4, which includes the mould, casting material and labor. The rate varies because it depends on what country you are having it done and exchange rates.

Questions you need to have answers first before starting to figure things out are:

How many unique miniatures are you having done?
How many digital files is that piece broken up into (when cut) for multi-piece miniatures?
What material do you want the miniatures made from?
What type of casting are you having done (usually determined by the material of the miniature)?
What time frame are you looking to have it done?

mroseksi wrote:
The quality of the final print will also LARGELY depend on the quality of your 3D file. If your files suck... It's not the printer's fault.

When you 3D print, you don't use a master. You just print how ever many you want. Master copies are used to create molds for injection manufacturing. Generally these are made from Clay so they can be burned out when the mold is created.

If that is not what you're looking for, then I suggest you just go get a sculptor. They can create high quality masters out of clay which you can then take to create master molds for injection manufacturing.

Also, depending on the volume of miniatures you plan to produce, injection manufacturing is probably the cheapest route.
This isn't entirely accurate.

The quality of the final print depends on 3 factors. Digital Sculpting; If it something meant to be cast, the details need to be deep, not soft otherwise it will result in a loss of detail in the final product. You tend to lose roughly about 10% of detail from a 3D-Master to something that is casted. Slicer; The program utilized to slice the miniature, create the supports, how it is orientated will impact the print. Printer; The printer has a very large impact on the quality of the miniature. Solus DLP and Moonray DLP run in the same price range, however the quality between them is very far apart.

3D Printing is absolutely used to create masters for casting. That is the current standard at this time. Unfortunately traditional sculpting has started to drop off. Traditional sculpting (green/gray stuff, clay) are great if you want to do 1/8th scale, larger pieces, statuettes. Unfortunately for miniatures there are too many issues these days. Traditional sculpting tends to take longer. It is harder to control uniformity and making sure pieces match when working with different sculptings. If you have to make modifications, additions, normally you start from almost scratch again.

Digital Sculpting allows one to sculpt and resize. What I use for 32mm miniatures can be resized, with some minor touch-up then used for 1/12th scale or 150mm collector and painter pieces. If you find an issue casting, because of a pose, part too thin, you can just touch it up and print a new master in a quarter of the time of traditional fixes. With all digital, it makes it easier to keep track, make sure they are all uniform for a collection. There are other strengths but overall that is the industry standard.

3D-Masters when used for metal casting tend to be done with a high temperature resin so it can be vulcanized for spin casting. If they are using it for resin, then they can use a standard resin. They then create the silicone two-piece mould from that miniature. The disadvantage of resin casting is that the mould lasts for 40-50 pulls. Then the mould deteriorates and you have to create another one. The detail is high, so this is great for small runs 100-1000. Metal casting moulds tend to run for about 150-250 pulls, good for medium size runs. The cost of metal vs resin will depend as it flucuates, sometimes it is cheaper to do metal and other times cheaper to do resin.

Injection moulding really only because feasible if you plan to sell 10,000 units or more. To break even on the casting and mould you normally have to do about 10,000 units. Anything less will end up resulting in a loss. Moulds for injection moulding can run $5000-100,000 but they last for hundreds of thousands of pulls. There are multiple methods to create the moulds but traditionally you use a 3-Up master to CNC your mould. Newer methods can CNC using the initial digital file.

Digital File:


3D-Master Print:




Casted Miniatures:


Assembled Resin Miniatures:


Painted Resin:
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