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Grenoir

Printmakr for Steamcon creations

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So I had a blast, creating my own Ball token at Steamcon (brilliant to have a go and was such a great addition to what we could do at Steamcon :)) and was looking forward to getting my bespoke ball printed via the new Printmakr system.

Steamcon finished the 18th Nov.  Yesterday I was at last told my Ball token was in a queue and should be done in 4-6 weeks time (so around Feb).  Today I was sent the invoice - £30 for my Ball token (inc £6 postage), and this was a special deal offer for those that attended Steamcon.

I've decided not to go with getting my creation 3D printed.  Disappointed that it's turned out to be such a long process (roughly 3 months from finishing the file) and to be so expensive for a tiny Ball token (plus the P&P seems massive).  Thought I would pass my story on as, with no previous experience of 3D printing and nothing with regards price or timescales on the Printmakr webpage, I thought it might be insightful info for others.

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That does seem a bit excessive to me.  My library has 3d printers for public usage and the charge is only 5 cents (US) per gram of output.  I'm sure the SFG printers are likely higher resolution than what is available to me but that still seems crazy.

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It's probably a really high resolution and mostly for industrial use, and are looking to profit while the library is nonprofit. Unless someone has a major desire for something unique I don't think it's worth considering. 

It's likely that larger items like an actual mini will be cheaper in comparison since the ball is probably mostly base cost + manual hours of workers making sure the print will work and looks good with a real small print time (at as high of a resolution they run, maybe 1 hour?) + plastic cost. 

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I'm basically guessing here ... but I think the Printmakr service is really aimed at industrial users. For example, if someone out there was planning their own board game kickstarter project, they could use this to print out their master models for that project, before taking them off to be cast. Steamforged must have a really high quality 3D printer, which probably isn't in full-out use most of the time for their own products, so it makes sense for them to hire it out if they can. Maybe it could even be hired to industrial users outside the games industry.

I've heard previously a figure of it costing around £200-300 to print-out a human-sized figure in high quality 3D print ... this is for the sort of quality you can then make moulds from, rather than something you'd print out for your own game at home. (I've got no idea how much it would cost from Printmakr, or whether this is accurate). I'm sure the materials are much cheaper than that would suggest, but you'd have to pay back the costs of purchasing the machine, storing it, maintaining it etc.

It would be really cool to make your own figures though!

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Having seen a sample of the models that their 3D printer is capable of making ... that doesn't sound like an unreasonable price at all.

We're not talking about public access 3D printers or even Shapeways quality - this is something you could use as a master for production molds. Ridiculously high quality for stereolithography.

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Which is totally understandable but it would be nice if they conveyed that (the cost vs quality vs intended use of the print) either when suggesting use of Printmakr for what was produced in the sculpting session, or anywhere on the Printmakr website.  Steamforged always seems to fall down with lacking good communication.

Have no knowledge of costs for quality 3D printing but high cost, with 3 month wait, with £6 postage all just pushed me away. 

I've actually placed an order with Shapeways,  in the most expensive plastic option they had for wargaming and, as it was my first order, I got free shipping.  Was £7.18 and should be delivered the first week of Jan :)

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Anyone ever tried sculpting in Blender? https://www.blender.org/

I think it's an open-source (free) alternative to the Z-Brush software that Steamforged uses. If you could make models in that and print them out at the £7 level via an online store as mentioned by Grenoir that could be an affordable experiment!

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1 hour ago, ADG said:

Anyone ever tried sculpting in Blender? https://www.blender.org/

I think it's an open-source (free) alternative to the Z-Brush software that Steamforged uses. If you could make models in that and print them out at the £7 level via an online store as mentioned by Grenoir that could be an affordable experiment!

It’s ok, but man is it a pain in some ways! Most things are only accessible by keyboard shortcut so it takes a lot of learning to get good with. I use it for geometric design and basic armature sculpting though (to use with my home-made 3d printer). It’s not really an alternative to zbrush so much as a different package with different uses (Russ actually does regularly shaped things like armour plates in it if I remember right, then imports those into zbrush to add to models).

For more organic sculpts, Sculptris is my usual thing (also free, owned by the people that make zbrush). It looks roughly the same as zbrush but with only simple controls and settings. Having had a great chat with Russ about it at Steamcon, Zbrush itself has two cost levels: one for all the functions and one that drops the rendering support (so sculpting is untouched but using it for graphics is gone), which is much cheaper. I think he mentioned around the £150 area?

Its worth getting blender to have a play, but it is a real fight to get organic looking stuff to work in it in my experience :)

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only 30 quid? I think thats cheap!

I currently learn programming but as soon as I finish I have plan )more like a dream) to actually make my own scuplts and get them to quote my very own, personalised minis ^^

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