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Thread: Should I get a 3D printer...?

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    Moderator VJ's Avatar
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    Mar 2001

    Default Should I get a 3D printer...?


    As some may know here, me and my girlfriend are boardgame fanatics. Many boardgames come with quite simple tokens, and I know that she would love to upgrade some games with higher quality tokens. Some companies sell them (e.g. GF9 sells resin models for the ships and shiny tokens for their game Firefly), or some can be bought third party (e.g. tokens for Agricola). But some are quite expensive (e.g. the resin ship tokens) and still need paining. I know my girlfriend would love to do that, so I thought it could make a nice present, but at the same time I know she would be afraid to paint it poorly (particularly given the high cost of the resin models). For some other games, there are no better third party tokens available.

    I am a bit fascinated by 3D printers but at the same time I don't know how much I would use one, but this boardgame aspect has got me wondering... 3D printers have come down in price and we could print our own ships and tokens (and if painting goes bad, just print again). In addition, there are many 3D models for making card holders and storage things that help both during game play (important for games such as Firefly, where there are a large number of card decks) and storage (e.g. to allow faster packing/unpacking). And that is something that is not possible to buy - unless you buy from custom 3D print places, and that is also not so cheap here...

    There is the issue of finding the 3d models. I've been googling a bit, and think it may not be too bad with that, as the games we use are quite popular or use tokens that are quite universal.
    My fears are that I would not use it enough to justify the cost, although for the things I mentioned (game objects, tokens, game helpers, game storage things) I think it may break even (just getting the resin models for one game would be over 130 euro, so that seems a bit steep). But too cheap a printer may be more hassle than it is worth. But a good one may get some more uses... or may just end up unused in a corner......

    I like the finish of SLA printers, but they are more expensive to use, so I guess filament printers is the way to go. My interest rekindled when I saw that m3d is coming out with a new full colour model, which seems to tick all the right boxes and is not too expensive in pre-order (meaning it may break even with just the uses I mentioned). It may make painting unnecessary but then would require a bit of 3d software modeling skills: most models at the moment have no colour in them. We both are computer scientists and a friend is a designer who works with Blender, so he could give some pointers.

    So... any thoughts?
    People who have one that sits in the corner? People who have one and use it? People who got rid of theirs?
    How does complexity increase from single extruder (single colour, would require painting the models to be an upgrade to the supplied tokens in most cases), dual extruder for dual color/material, dual mixing extruder or more? Given the price differences, I feel it makes sense to go to at least a dual mixing extruder and then the m3d one (with a quad-mixing extruder) seems perfect (also because it is not a kit, which scares me a bit)...
    Last edited by VJ; 20th July 2018 at 08:00.
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