Fun With 3D Printing For The Gaming Enthusiast
Published on January 29th, 2020
As 3D printing becomes more of a mainstream technology, it has growing associations with major industries in which it can have a significant impact. For example, we’ve begun to hear about 3D-printed parts for vehicles (from electric cars to, potentially, spacecraft); hospital supply and biomedical engineering companies are putting the technology to extraordinary use; and an article at Popular Mechanics a few years ago even explored the idea of 3D-printed food catching on – something that’s become a more popular idea in the years since.
Going by just those examples, it’s pretty clear that 3D printing has the potential to transform our world and our way of life in significant ways. But setting weighty topics aside, 3D printing can also be a lot of fun, and since its early days, gamers have been among those having the most fun with it. Typically this has meant finding ways to print out figurines for tabletop games and the like. But below we’ll get into a few more reasons gaming enthusiasts ought to embrace this technology.
Anyone Can Do It
First off, know that you don’t need to be in charge of a big company, or attached to a big industry, to engage in 3D printing. For one thing, you can purchase a 3D printer and the needed software and material for a project on your own – though this is still fairly expensive. More interestingly, you can take advantage of professional 3D printing services. A guide to on demand 3D printing services at Fictiv specifically states that your designs can go from prototype to production in just a matter of days, as well as that there are various materials and specific 3D printing technologies to choose from. This essentially means that 3D printing is available to anybody and any product, and while it’s primarily used to manufacture parts for inventions or industrial use, gamers’ applications are by no means excluded. Should you wish to create models based on your favorite games – whether for fun, to create tabletop versions of said games, or to sell or collect (more on those ideas below) – you can do it without owning your own 3D printer.
Designs Can Be Downloaded
The other tricky aspect to 3D printing that somehow seems to escape mention most of the time is that any project needs to be based on a fairly detailed digital design. After all, there has to be a computer file of sorts for a given 3D printer to work with. This can be a fun challenge for those with an interest in digital design – but for others it can be a significant hurdle. It’s for that reason that we’re mentioning specifically that designs for 3D-printed materials can be downloaded also. That doesn’t mean that you’ll necessarily find exactly what you want, particularly if you’re looking to create figurines or models stemming from an indie game, or something more obscure. But it’s worth a look, because there are plenty of sites (YouMagine, Pinshape, etc.) where you can in fact download these 3D files for use. On the other hand, if this is something you’re eyeing as a significant hobby or even a potential business, it’s worth learning how to craft the designs yourself.
A Whole New Kind Of Collection
As you likely know if you have an interest in gaming, gamers today tend to be very attached to their favorites. And if this is an important part of your life and how you entertain yourself, you may have interest in collecting related products, just the same as a sports fan collects jerseys, posters, and bobblehead dolls. However, such products often just don’t exist, particularly given the increasingly spread out and independent nature of gaming today. For example, we’ve highlighted some favorite mobile games in the past, and while they’re all terrific and fairly popular, they do not – with the exception of Angry Birds – spawn product markets. Well, this is where gamers with access to or interest in 3D printing can have a lot of fun. Printing out your own materials related to video games gives you the items that just don’t tend to be available otherwise, and before you know it you can have a whole collection of figures and objects from all your favorite games.
Potential For Business
Last but not least, there’s the potential for business to consider. People have figured out numerous ways to make money selling their own 3D-printed objects, and while figurines and the like from video games can be among the more complex personal projects, they also have a market. As Robots.net put it in a related post, figurines can fetch a high price for collectors and hobbyists alike, meaning that with well-crafted designs, you might just be able to spark a fun, independent business. Now, we have to mention that you should be careful with licensed material. We are not recommending you take it upon yourself to print famous gaming characters and sell them as official material. However, you might get by printing similar items and selling them as your own artistic interpretations. For that matter, you might conceive of your own tabletop game and sell wholly figurines to go with it, too! The possibilities, in a sense, are truly endless.
All in all, this can turn into quite the rewarding hobby for those with a passion for games. It’s not the easiest thing to get into, but with the availability of on demand printing, the potential to download designs or learn how to make them, and the various projects you can undertake, it can be worth the effort. And if that seems dubious now, just wait until you’re holding your first perfectly created model in your hands!