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3D Printers - Are they worth it? Recommendation

I'm looking to get a 3D printer for Christmas and was looking for the communities recommendation(s).  I would mostly use it to print custom inserts, terrain, misc components.  I'm not sure how many mini's I would create. 

My current questions that I would love the communities thoughts on are:

  1. Which model and why?  I'm currently leaning towards the Ender 3 Pro but am not sold on it yet.
  2. Best place(s) to find 3D files
  3. Is a 3D printer worth it or should I just spend the cash to purchase others 3D items?

Thanks everyone for the help and recommendations.

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Supporter2 months ago

I'd love to get a printer just for this reason. I'd bling out ALL.THE.GAMES.

2 months ago

The Ender is a good brand. I usually do thingivers. And they are totally worth it. My brother bought one and he's already saved hundreds of dollars on warhammer 40k and other miniatures. There's just so much you can do with 3d printers

Premium User2 months ago

I've never looked into them before so I can't be of any help on that front. But I think the cost of something like that could be offset if you set up a shop to sell some of your creations. Particularly if you managed to make some decent inserts or upgraded components. Just a thought.

2 months ago

1.  You'll have to do your own research, but I purchased an Ender 3 a couple years ago and it's been very reliable and has produced great results so far.

2. I mostly turn towards Thingiverse, but check out this thread on BGG, it has links to 3D files for specific board games.

3. (My opinion only) There is certainly some ramp up in building and learning how to use a 3D printer.  In a lower price range it's definitely not plug-and-play, and I doubt if it is really at any price range.  You need to be patient, learn how to use the slicer software and tweak the settings.  And don't be shocked if that little thing you want to print says it will take 8 hours!  Then again, you'll find ways to cut down the time.  Many prints will backfire for various reasons.  I think 3D printing still falls under the "enthusiast" category, i.e. the concept of creating your own pieces excites you, and you're willing to put up with the hassles in order to get the results you want.  I have learned to use TinkerCad and it's a great tool to create your own storage and game accessories.

So if you're looking at this as a reliable tool to just download some premade files and always print them out successfully, I would steer clear.  If you want to take up the hobby of 3D printing along with the hobby of boardgaming and invest some time to get good results, then full steam ahead!  I'm in the latter category and have had a lot of fun (and some frustration) along the way, but there are many, many web sites, FaceBook groups and youtube videos that will help you get through the rough parts if you're patient.  

2 months ago

Thank you for the response .  I've messed around on Thingiverse before and would expect that I would mostly start with items from there while I figure out how to create my own/things to print. 

I'm well aware of the ramp up time and don't have a problem with it and am kinda excited about learning the tech.  I do have a couple of co-workers who do/have done 3D printing so I have a pretty good idea of what I'm getting myself into.

2 months ago

Sounds like you're on the right path then, good luck and enjoy the ride!

2 months ago

Really good feedback, that was interesting to read. What are some of your favourite prints that you've done?

2 months ago

Thanks!  I made another post where I show some of my upgrades here, check them out!

Supporter2 months ago

How much does all that cost? What kind of supply costs do you see? I've never really even considered getting a 3D printer.

2 months ago

The Ender 3 Pro runs ~ $200 USD.  I expect to spend ~ $25 - $50 a year for filiment/running cost.  I expect to spend ~ $20 - $50 a year to purchase files from places such as Hero Forge.  My gaming group for #Pandemic Legacy: Season 2 created our own mini's to replace the standard meeples. 

Ender 3 Pro Link

Supporter2 months ago

Interesting. Thanks. What else can you use them for, besides game stuff?


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