3D printing and the future of miniatures and props


I don't know if this thread is in the correct forum so excuse me if it should be elsewhere. As a fan of physical models in film I was thinking about the new technology of 3D printing which is now more and more affordable and very effective in reproducing everything you create on your PC. Could this new tool replace CG models in the near future for the productions to come? Certainly it makes the creation of props and miniatures relatively simple and perhaps at a better cost than using expensive softwares and animators for any CG object. What do you think?


Sr Member
Not sure what the question or comment is but to animated anything you need to build a 3d model. To rp or 3d print anything you still need a 3d model. to make stuff that looks great in mulptie quantities you need to to have model making and sculpting skills. Same goes for animating things you still need to be good at animating and using software. Either way you still need what amounts to a craftsman of their trade and the cost and time is comparable. It depends on the situation. In some cases haviing a physical model is needed. But in skme cases a space ship perse makes sense to fake out in CG. It all depends on budget. I dont believe one can replace the other. Take a look at the grand budapest hotel effect reel. For what its worth, Wes Anderson mixes both seamlessly where needed. In the case of interstellar. The TARs actually being there in the shot make the movie a bit more legit as far and analog effects.
You will get a multitute of opinions. I just think. It should be used where needed and as seamless as possible. It also besed on budget.

As far as model making with RP and 3d files. Some people need to learn to clean up their prints and recast those finished really nice so the end result needs less work for everyone wanting a copy. But just some happens some 3d modelers either dont know or have the time to do that.

Jedi Dade

Master Member
Like anything else 3D Printing is a tool... it has strong points and weak ones. used when appropriate its cost effective and awesome.

The current threads on the Hasbro Falcon are a perfect example the parts were crafted in a PC and printed. The parts if you buy them from the printer are pretty expensive. so the parts were printed once then cast in polyurethane resin (sometimes reinforced with brass tubing to add structural strength, and sold as sets at a much more reasonable for the average modeler to afford. Still pricey but DAMN NICE at a price point of around $300 for a near studio scale replica of the millennium falcon.

3 -4 years ago that project would have been near impossible. 10 years ago it would have been completely impossible.

However - you still see people purchasing kits for those extra little details and add kitbashing to their projects. they wind up with a damn nice falcon for under $100.. A perfectly reasonable and some would say preferable way to go...

And let me tell you there is little better than scratchbuilding a model and having it turn out well (I will not use perfect because all builders know where all the little inaccuracies are in other wise perfect builds- that nobody else ever sees/notices). Can I see a day when the concept of scratchbuilding includes designing and printing parts... totally. Someday it will be just as much of the hobby as knowing how to paint.

But in general I see 3D printing as another tool in the toolbox - a darn good tool.

Jedi Dade
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