3Dprinting for Artists

When I started using 3Dprinting, I saw it as a potential market for selling files that users could print themselves. Over the last couple of years, I have watched the field explode with artists thinking the same thing–all jumping in with their latest Kickstarter or Patreon, seeing this technology as a “gold rush”. There are now thousands of Patreons offering 3dprintable miniatures now!

There are so many STL files being released each month, that you could never print them all (much less paint them…). Many patrons just collect the files, with a fear of missing out driving them. Artist’s are joining this churn trying to offer more and more files/month at lower and lower prices. Most of the files make it onto Telegram or other pirate sites, which drives the value of the STL files even lower. It is a frustrating rush to the bottom…

But what about using the 3Dprinter as the means of production? Not selling a merchant license for other people to sell their prints of your work, but producing your own miniatures and figurines?

There are a number of advantages to this. When you are doing the printing, you remain in control of the quality of your work. Your intellectual property can not be shared or pirated, if you are only selling physical items. 3Dprinting allows for details as fine as a human hair, and geometries that would be impossible for recasters to duplicate.

Another advantage is that there are a LOT more customers who might like your art, than there are hobbyists using 3dprinters themselves.

Using a 3Dprinter to reproduce your work is more efficient than mold-making and casting, and will allow you to offer multiple sizes of the same sculpture.

multiple scales of the same Gnome Druid

The learning curve is not that difficult, if you are already sculpting digitally, consider adding a 3dprinter to your studio!

Miniatures now available directly on Etsy!

If you have been wishing you could use one of my Gnome miniatures for your next character or campaign, but do not have a 3Dprinter, now you can buy physical miniatures directly from me! I have added a Miniature section to my Etsy shop. These miniatures are printed by me in a durable ABS like resin. They are 28mm scale (1:56) for tabletop games like D&D or Pathfinder.

These are just the first available– I will be adding more as I have a chance to print and paint. Make your next character a Gnome!

Moria Tabletop

I have been seeing little game tables advertised on Facebook called Level-Up that cost $370 for what is essentially a modular table on skinny little legs… I felt that though the idea is a good one: elevate the map surface above the character sheets, dice towers, drinks and snacks–but the execution wasn’t very inspired….

So I took a look at a model that I had originally created in Animation:Master for my Balrog model, and thought about how to modify it to make 3dprintable Moria pillars for table legs.

3dprintable pillars

I decided to split the tabletop into 12″ squares with 4 legs. this will allow you to configure different size map tables, and designing the pillars to sit on 6″ centers will let the pattern continue underneath the game surface. I was going to use plywood for the table surface, but it was cheaper and looked nicer to use ceramic floor tiles!

2′ x 2′ tabletop
the table raises the game above the drinking glass!

The tabletop is about 7″ above the table, so it sits above the level of soft drinks and glasses. But is still low enough to give the players an unobstructed view of the game.

Finished Moria Tabletop

I was really happy with how this turned out! The floor tiles were only $2 a piece at Lowe’s, and the grid was drawn with a Sharpie! The pillars for each table were about $10 worth of resin, but it was much faster than printing on my FDM printer (at fine resolution, my Ender3 took about 20 hours for 1 pillar, while the Mighty4K printed 6 of pillar A in about 10 hours)

If you like this project and would like to make your own, you can get all of the files for $12 at Cults3D.

New Year Plans…

It is New Years Day, which a lot of people use to come up with resolutions…Instead of that, I thought that I would post some work from the past year and talk about what I’m working on now, and what will be coming up on my Patreon and Cults3D in 2022.

I’ve got the first set of gnomes for Gnomepoleonic Wars finished. I will be adding additional sets with different headgear (Bicorn and Shako hats). These minis are going to be great for tabletop wargames, and that has me thinking about publishing a Gnome Wars rule book, using my own wargame system!

guardin’gnome

It will not be limited to just Napoleanic battles, but works for skirmish games, scifi wargames, fantasy and historic. And it will be able to be used with any miniatures, whether traditional or 3dprinted–not just mine–Though I will use my own miniatures and illustrations for the book ( I better model some Space Gnomes…)

PuzzleLock Dungeon II

I also plan to release PuzzleLock Dungeon II this Spring. This is an improvement over my earlier PuzzleLock Dungeon, because I have focused on fully printed rooms and corridors (which make better use of the printbed), and have offset walls to maximize the playable space of the grid.

I also want to put up some more figurines on my Etsy shop! I have shown off a few on Facebook and Instagram, and based on the response I think there might be a desire for them amongst fans who don’t have access to their own 3Dprinter…

That’s the update for now. I hope that you have a Happy New Year!

Will

Gonk Gnomes

What do these gnomes look like without their caps? That was one of the questions that I asked myself when one of my Patreon Sponsors asked me to design some…

I thought this little guy looked adorable! I sculpted a lot of detail into him, so that he will make a great miniature or figurine. I plan on adding more of this style of gnome to my Patreon, Etsy, and Cults3D for you to enjoy!

King Troll

I was inspired to do some more trolls…this sculpt is a bit more inspired by the work of Paul Bonner rather than John Bauer, and would also fit right in to the Trudvang D&D setting.

Sketch in Procreate

As usual. I started with some concept sketches before working in ZBrush to create the finished sculpture.

The model is ready for 3Dprinting on Patreon

Closeup…

Limited Edition Figurines

After the trauma of dealing with scammers using my photographs to rip people off with phony ads on Facebook, Amazon, and Walmart this Spring… I started looking for a way to make my gnomes available to fans who did not have access to a 3Dprinter.

I decided to create a limited edition of these gnomes. 8″ tall, solid resin, hand-painted in loving detail. Each gnome figurine is designed, sculpted, 3dprinted and painted by me, the original artist. Each sculpture is limited to only 50 pieces, and comes with a signed and numbered certificate of authenticity. These exquisitely sculpted Guardin’Gnomes are created in resin using a process called stereolithography, which allows for details as small as 43µm (smaller than a human hair!). The 3Dprinting process can reproduce details and undercuts that would be impossible with traditional mold-making.

This charming Gnome adventurer carries a sturdy wooden shield, and a heavy mace. He carries a pack of supplies on his back. He is ready to defend both your home or garden.

This mighty warrior gnome carries a sturdy shield and broadsword. He wears a winged helmet and heavy coat of scalemail. On his back is his adventurers pack full of supplies. He is ready to defend your home or garden!

This stalwart gnome stands ready to defend home and garden, with his winged helmet and coat of chainmail. He carries a heavy bronze spear and wears a pack of adventuring gear on his back.

This tough little gnome is armed with horned helmet and chainmail, and carries a big axe. He is ready to defend home and garden!

This wise wizard gnome wields a carved dragon staff and a heavy spellbook full of magic that he can use to protect your home or garden. at his waist he has a couple of scroll cases, as well as his trusty dagger.

This beautiful gnomess healer carries her holy symbol on her staff, and has her hand raised to cast protective magic on your home or garden. Her cap is adorned with pearls and gold decorations, and on her back is her adventuring kit of supplies.

These six Guardin’Gnome designs are also available Unpainted, if you would like to paint it to suit your style. Available exclusively through my Etsy shop: www.etsy.com/shop/zandoria

Painting 3Dprinted Miniatures

I finally sat down and painted a group of my Gnome miniatures. One of the things that I was pleasantly surprised about, was how well the micro details showed up even at 28mm scale. I put in a level of detail that enables you to print my designs at different scales and have them still look good, whether as a tabletop miniature or as a figurine.

I am not a professional miniature painter, but I was very happy with how they turned out. I used craft acrylics and a wash to bring out the details (as described in a previous post about painting Guardin’ Gnomes). The wash brought out details that I couldn’t even see when holding the miniatures! Similar sized miniatures that are injection molded cannot hold the same level of detail… These are printed on a SparkmakerFHD which is pretty low resolution compared to newer printers, so I can’t wait to see what they will look like on a 4K printer!

If you would like to print your own, they are available individually on Cults3D or you can get access to ALL of my models when you join my Patreon!

Trolls

My newest theme for my 3Dprintable miniatures is Trolls. I’ve been researching a lot of artists and Scandinavian folk and fairy tales for inspiration. I think the biggest influence that I have is the fairy tale artwork of John Bauer.

I see them as big and shaggy, somewhat beastly in form… As I read some of the stories, I thought about our cousins the Neanderthals, and how they were displaced by our ancestors. The trolls seem to have retreated from the noisy humans and younger races in the same way, and I wondered if that might be a possible origin of their stories, (as well as yetis and jotun and even bigfoot!)

I started with a drawing in Procreate, and then a ZSphere armature in ZBrush for the basic form.

After sculpting the basic Troll body, I brought in some other 28mm scale objects as a reference, so that I could be sure my finished miniature would look good on the table after printing.

Using my drawing as a reference, I detailed the fur and the Trolls accessories. The John Bauer troll illustrations were influenced by the dress of the Sami people of Norway. So I decided that I would also draw from that, as well as relics from bronze age Scandinavia, such as the Troll’s sword:

Illustration from “The Troll Mother seeks a Wife” by John Bauer

I really liked Bauer’s big noses, so I decided to use that in my interpretation. Another artist that I love, Paul Bonner, also gives his trolls big noses and cites John Bauer as an influence!

This is the finished model, rendered in ZBrush. I exported this as an .STL file for 3Dprinting for my Patreon.

3dprinted on a SparkmakerFHD

I was very happy with how these Troll turned out, so I am planning to sculpt a few more trolls for my Patreon. If you like it, and would like to print your own, they are available exclusively at www.patreon.com/Zandoria

Gninjas

360

The “G” is silent….like the gninja! These are the Gninja of the Black Cap Clan–a deadly trio of gnome ninjas.

This was just a fun little gnome sculpting project. with an Asian theme. The models are printed on a SparkmakerFHD. I was happy to see that all of the tiny details printed well!

Available on Cults3D