I Don't Have a 3D Printer Yet, Where Can I Get My Wargames Terrain 3D Printed?
As we get closer to the launch of our 3D printable terrain & gaming accessories we want to start sharing some content that we hope you’ll find useful. This post is the first in a series of topics that are designed to demystify 3D printing and get you started on the road to making your own cool and useful 3D printed gaming terrain for your tabletop.
We’ll be talking about 3D printing in general, the different types of 3D printing processes, 3D printers, software, tools, tips, tricks and resources to get you up to speed and running with 3D printing. Our aim is to explain things plainly in a way that's relevant to tabletop gamers who are interested in getting started in 3D printing.
The first topic we're going address is one that we hear a lot, “I see all these great 3D printed wargame terrain models but I don't have a 3D printer, how do I get my hands on this stuff?”.
The good news is, you don't need to own a 3D printer to get started in this hobby. If you've purchased some 3D printable .stl files there are quite a few ways for you to get stuff printed or get access to a 3D printer so you can make your own 3D printed terrain and minis.
Here are some great ways you can start 3D printing or get items 3D printed for you:
Libraries: A good place to start your search for access to a 3D printer is your local library. In an increasing number of communities the local public libraries have 3D printers and workshops where you can learn about and use 3D printers. Some of this is fully funded by STEM (Science Technology Engineering & Math) outreach programs so it's worth asking around about those programs.
Makerspaces/Meetups: Another good place to look for in your local community is a Makerspace/Meetup group. You may be able to connect with a group that will print stuff for you or give you access to 3D printers so you can print your own projects. This is also a great place to learn about 3D printing in general - how to maintain, repair and build 3D printers.
The UPS Store: The UPS Store is rolling out 3D printing in some of its locations. This is still fairly new for them but you can check at the above link to see if a store in your area offers 3D printing services.
3DHubs: This is probably your best bet for finding a local service that will 3D print stuff for you. 3DHubs doesn't actually print anything though, it's an aggregator. People with 3D printers sign up with the website to offer their services. A quick search will show you if there's anyone in your community taking 3D print jobs and there should be some pricing, a list of available materials/colors, and unless they're brand new to the service you should also see some feedback from previous customers.
One tip you should keep in mind is that the quality level of these various on demand 3D printing services can vary wildly. Their idea of a quality print may not match your expectations. We recommend you get a sample test print from a printer you're considering before committing to a large print run.
Schools: Your local community college, vocational school or adult education center may offer classes and access to 3D printing. If you're a parent, your kids may have access to 3D printers at their school. (Or maybe you're a member of the Parent Teacher Association and could suggest they look into starting some sort of makerspace or STEM program)
Techshop: Techshop is a membership based, open access chain of DIY workshops. If you're lucky enough to have one of these in your area you should definitely go check it out. As mentioned it does require a membership fee and you’ll have to take some basic safety classes but once you do that you’ll get access to a whole host of powerful tools. In addition to 3D printers, Techshop has CNC routing machines, laser cutters, and more. Your membership includes basic training and safety courses on this equipment and they offer advanced classes as well.
As you can see there are actually quite a few options for getting your wargames terrain stuff 3D printed for those of you that don't have s 3d printer yet. It's worth doing a little research to see which options may be available in your area. One other option is to talk with your gaming group/club mates about the possibility of doing s group buy on a 3D printer so that the cost is spread around between a group of people with a common interest in 3D printing
Look for at least one new post a week about 3D printing. If you don't want to miss any of these, make sure you sign up for our newsletter and/or follow our various social media for news and announcements. We're on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. We'd love to hear from you! Feel free to ask us questions about 3D printing or share your latest prints via our social media!