3D Printing for D&D and Other Tabletop RPGs

3D Printing for D&D and Other Tabletop RPGs

By: Maxwell Gawlick

I’m one of many DMs out there who uses battlemaps, miniatures, and terrain to enhance immersion in role-playing games, usually the iconic Dungeons and Dragons. Being able to physically contextualize the playing field makes it feel more real than anything else. Imagination gets you far, but physical pieces get you even farther. 3d printing D&D pieces go beyond that, allowing you to perfectly customize pieces for yourself, along with a slew of other benefits. 3d printed D&D terrain and 3d printed D&D minis are here, and they’re easier to make than ever. If you’ve ever wanted to play God, now’s the time. Just remember to use a light touch. When you do things right, people won’t be sure you’ve done anything at all.

Typical Expenses

I’m a student, and if you know anything about being a student, that means you’re poor. I have 3 classes and no money. Why can’t I have no classes and three money? Unfortunately, that’s not the case, and typical D&D pieces are expensive. A good starter set of Dwarven Forge dungeon tiles will run you about $200, and larger miniatures can cost anywhere from $15 - 60 each. That’s not to mention the typical mooks, player characters, and paints. Going for themed sets can cost you even more. You can try handcrafting terrain, but that takes time that I don’t have. Luckily, 3d printed D&D pieces are our salvation.

Dragon figurine

The Alternative

3d printed D&D terrain and 3d printed D&D minis are the perfect replacement for expensive sets. I recently began 3d printing my own D&D pieces and it’s dirt cheap. Most models don’t cost me more than thirty cents to print. That’s more money for stonks. The starting costs may seem scary at first. Some printers go for thousands of dollars. But, just like with food, there’s always a cheaper option. I bought and highly recommend a Monoprice MP Select Mini V2 from Amazon. It’s only $200! That’s cheap for 3d printing. As far as materials go, a roll of filament can last you for over a month and only costs $20, also from Amazon. Altogether, that’s the same price as a single Dwarven Forge set but gets you countless sets going into the future.

The Time Factor

You still have to consider time for your D&D 3d printing. Depending on the model, 3d printed D&D minis can take 3-4 hours to print. 3d printed D&D terrain can take even longer. The good news is, once you’ve got printing set up, it automates itself. There will still be a learning curve and fine-tuning, though. If you’re smooth-brained like me and want something super simple, printers like the Creality CR-20 come pre-assembled and are ready to go right out the gate. More popular printers have the advantage of having more documentation as well. And, you can go join the apes at Reddit and Facebook for helpful resources and a dedicated community.

Warlock 3d model


Incredible Ease of Use

Once you’re beyond the initial time and money investment, your D&D 3d printing will be easier than ever. At 3 cents per 3d printed D&D mini, you can pump them out and quickly grow your collection. You’ll be popping out pieces faster than the BBG can produce faceless enemies. You don’t even have to design them yourself. There’s an extensive library throughout the internet, with my personal favorite being Thingiverse. And, you’re not limited to 3d printed D&D terrain and minis. You can print any number of things, from other game pieces to dice. You could even print yourself a metal dice set! Some of my best dice are 3d-printed (but don’t tell Dice Envy I told you that.)

A Worthwhile Investment

3d printing D&D pieces is incredibly worth it. Everyone I know who’s done it is more than satisfied with the results. As with most things, you’ll need to do your research and find what’s best for you, as well as invest some time and money upfront. But, when you start printing an expansive gaming tabletop, you’ll never go back. Regularly priced D&D pieces are a thing of the past. Welcome to the age of 3d printing.

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