3D minis
Finished 3D minis designed by Miguel Zavala.

My 3D Adventures Part I

In which I learn CAD

Some time ago I’d heard about the free Dungeons and Dragons miniature designs by Miguel Zavala . Not having a 3D printer, it wasn’t too important to me, even though I find the whole idea of 3D printing to be fascinating. I’ve seen it being used to do things like create the bones of mummies without unwrapping them or combined with someone’s DNA to create a new replacement esophagus. All stuff I figured was way beyond my reach. I’d have to have a serious reason other than my own curiosity in order to get into 3D printing, right? Then my library system opened up a “maker space” which has, among other things, a small 3D printer.

In the interest of science (and fantasy), I have decided to learn the ins and outs of 3D printing and test Zavala’s designs with the smaller 3D printer and CAD programs available to me. Perhaps 3D printing can be just as accessible to the average person as a computer or tablet, or is it still beyond us ordinary mortals? It seems fated that according to 3dprint.com, Zavala has finished all the designs he intended to do and that they exist with the permission of Wizards of the Coast on Shapeways.

Displacer Beast in Tinkercad

Zavala’s Displacer Beast design imported into Tinkercad for separating pieces into separate files.

To test how accessible the idea of printing miniatures for a game could be for me, I’ll be using the web-based CAD program Tinkercad by Autodesk to make any of the adjustments needed to the files according to the instructions Miguel has included with each of his figures. Tinkercad is a free program that not only allows you to design items, but takes you through a series of tutorials with some sample designs. Perfect for kids and adults, like myself, who have never touched a CAD program before.

While I’m not going to bore everyone with my learning process, I will post my miniature making adventure here on Multiverse along with any tips and pitfalls for newbies to avoid. Let me find out the hard way, so you don’t have to!

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