Any hints or suggestions (filament type? suggested settings? model sources?) for 3D printing minis to use in Dungeons & Dragons?

I've done a couple where the support structures were difficult to break off without breaking off a hand or something.

I have a Lulzbot Mini (1), single-extruder if that makes any difference.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ get a set of needle files and some good paint. $\endgroup$
    – Abel
    Apr 30 at 22:38
  • $\begingroup$ ... or a scalpel. How exactly are you currently removing the supports? $\endgroup$
    – Greenonline
    May 1 at 6:19
  • $\begingroup$ I've been using a pair of nail clippers, the type that are shaped like pliers. They are sharp and are meant for cutting. $\endgroup$
    – Hometoy
    Jun 8 at 12:02

There are adequate demonstration videos on YouTube showing that it is possible to print very acceptable 28 mm scale miniatures with FDM printers, easily rivaling the quality of resin printers from only a few years ago.

There are a couple of key requirements to get optimum quality for small, highly detailed parts (like miniatures): the smallest practical nozzle (0.2 mm seems to be elected), the smallest practical layer height (for 0.2 mm nozzle, this seems to be 0.1 mm), and optimal temperature and cooling. Supports, if needed, can be optimized for layer skip, interface, and traditional or tree style. It may take several test prints to find the best combination, but once found this should remain fairly constant for a given printer and filament choice.

The final ingredient, of course, is patience -- small nozzle, fine layer height, possibly reduced print speed required for those, mean these prints will take longer than you'd think for the size of the final object -- but if you get the settings right, and are willing to wait, you can get good miniatures with FDM.

For filament choice, I'd suggest PLA, generally -- it's very tolerant stuff, except for temperature, and you aren't likely to leave your minis on the dash of your car in the sun anyway.

  • $\begingroup$ PETG can be finnicky to print on some printers, but is usually easy at low speeds and might be a better choice because it's less brittle. $\endgroup$ Jun 1 at 13:12

Buckle up, this is going to be rough:

FDM printers are not the best choice for printing figurines in the 25 to 40 mm scale that is typical for wargaming and D&D games. Resolution-wise, that's the area of resin printers.

But there are ways to get some partially decent prints made:

  • you might want a small nozzle. 0.2 is about the smallest you can do without specialty extruders, so there is our lower limit.
  • You need to make sure to have a minimum layer time set, especially as the crosssections of figures are often rather slim.
  • Overhangs can be a pain

You might be better-served printing "meeples" than actual figurines.


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