Where do you find good gaming STL models to 3d Print? You’ve done the hard part. You’ve gone and gotten yourself a 3d printer. Excellent! If you’re like me, once it’s in the house, you couldn’t wait to print your first thing and see how well it does. For us miniature collectors, painters and gamers, we want great miniatures to print, paint and use on our tabletops. So where do you find models to print?
There is a huge collection of gaming miniatures that can be printed on Thingiverse.Com. The downloads are free, and the quality is generally excellent! Most are ideal for DLP resin 3d printers, but you could try them on an FDM filament printer, especially the larger vehicle models.
The resolution on DLP resin printers is superior to that of FDM filament printers, at least for the common home versions of the printers. To get a decent looking miniature figurine, the liquid resin DLP method will give you smooth faces, well rendered hands and bodies, and enough detail to come close to (but not quite as good as) the plastic miniatures offerings on the market. An AnyCubic Photon can make a great miniature, but it’s still a step down in quality from a Games Workshop professionally created plastic miniature. FDM filament prints are two or three steps down.
It’s hard to know where to look for good miniatures within Thingiverse, and know which ones are good for printing for tabletop use. I’ve compiled a list of links to some of the best out there. Use this as a shortcut to finding some great models to get going with. You can, of course, search on Thingiverse, but I’ve found the search function there is not the strongest. If I need something very specific, many times I can find it, but more broad terms return a lot of garbage results. Best of luck to you in finding good models to print!
Why DLP Resin 3d Printers Instead of FDM Resin 3d Printers?
In a word, quality. The layer height for DLP resin printers can go as low as 25 microns for home-grade printing. Typical FDM filament printers can reliably print at 100 to 200 microns for the layer height. You can still print good models with an FDM filament printer, but it’s not as easy to get the good quality. You’ll likely have to do some sanding and filing to hide the obvious layer lines.
If you can afford it, a DLP resin printer, retailing new from Amazon.Com at under $300.00USD is a great option. The downside to the printers is the very small print bed, but it still holds six or more 28mm miniature figurines at a time. They seem tailor-made for small figure printing, like figures. Vehicles in scales from 1:72 and smaller can also be done with these printers, and even some 1:56 scale vehicles. 1:56 is the scale most use for 28mm miniature gaming.
Buildings, however, are better suited to FDM filament printers at the moment. There are very few DLP resin printers with print beds large enough to do entire buildings, but they do exist. They’re expensive, at the moment, but I’m sure prices will drop as the technology matures.
Where To Find Models on ThingiVerse.Com
On to the models. I’ve listed each designer (as self-identified on Thingiverse.Com) and a listing to the designs that they have on offer. At the time of writing, Thingiverse.Com’s tipping service will accept money, but it doesn’t seem to get to the designers themselves. I hope that they’ll fix this bug moving forward, but at this point, you may be better to contact the designer directly to find a way to tip them, should you want to.
Hero Quest and Battle Masters replacement figures
Nice collection of figures for miniature armies or as D&D figures. I had to repair these figures as they had some issues and wouldn’t slice correctly.
Large collection of fantasy figures, including a bunch of classic D&D monsters.
Large collection of both 18mm and 28mm figures, especially orcs and goblins. He also has a nice collection of movement trays for square basers. There are some 28mm Space Marines, too.
He has nearly 1000 designs on Thingiverse.Com. In fantasy miniatures, there’s not much he doesn’t do.
Excellent figures and monsters for 28mm fantasy settings. His mounts look a little strange, but can accommodate a character on a regular base!
Unbelievably good 40K-like figures and vehicles.
Battletech and Battletech-like mechs.
Star Wars Legion terrain items.
Star Wars Legion troops and a nice selection of historical ancients.
World War 2 tanks and support vehicles in 1:100 scale.
World War 2 tanks and support vehicles in 1:100 and 1:200 scales. His selection is second-to-none for the number of models he does!
Lots of military vehicles and terrain pieces, most scaled to 1:56 scale for 28mm gaming.
Varied subjects, from World War 2 vehicles to pumpkin-headed 28mm figures to interesting terrain pieces, cars and even martial artists!
There are, I’m sure, hundreds more excellent designers out there that I haven’t mentioned here. The intention here is that you can get started with a great STL design file and get some excellent models for your collection. It won’t take you long to see that this 3d printing hobby is very useful to your tabletop gaming.
Most miniatures can be printed for well under $1.00USD in resin costs. Many are even cheaper than a US quarter a piece, and that’s better than most miniatures available for sale on the market! Browse, download and enjoy your new miniatures!
Can you print from STL file?
You cannot print directly from an .STL file. You must convert it to a file that your printer can read. The converter software is called a slicer. As the name suggests, the slicer will take the .STL model (made in triangles), and slice it into layers. It then creates the machine code necessary to control the printer to create that slice. The output can be a .GCODE file or a proprietary code file that you will load into the printer.
What file format does a 3d printer use?
The .STL file is the current standard file format for describing a 3d object that can be prepared for print. You load an STL file into a slicer software to create the necessary printer code to tell the printer what to do. The output from a slicer can be .GCODE files (for G-Code, a procedural language for controlling a print head, common for FDM filament printers) or proprietary formats (like .PHOTON for AnyCubic Photon DLP resin printers). They all start with an STL file, but output what the printer actually reads to get the job done.