Printing miniature is something that every 3D artist find challenging and exciting. I know how complicated some of us might think it is. But the fact is, it’s a lot simpler than it seems. Actually, I have printed a couple of figurines, and in this article, I will show you how. You don’t really need exceptional 3D printing skills to get it done. You will only need to follow the instructions in this article.
What Will You Need to Print Your Own Miniature Figures?
Just like any other process, the first thing you need to know is the tools you are going to be using. No need to mention you will need a 3D printer. The more advanced your printer is, the better.
You will also need 3D scanning software to be able to build and edit your 3D models. Lastly, you will need an Xbox Kinect with a USB port that you can connect to your computer or laptop.
How to Print Miniature Figures?
There is a lot of 3D scanning software available on the market. The most used 3D software by beginners is “Reconstruct Me”
You might think you need talent for this; however, you can follow a scanning application. This is why most beginners use Reconstruct Me. Not only is it free, but it also gives more details that help guide you through the scanning process.
If you use Xbox Kinect, keep in mind that it has two cameras. The first camera is infrared that scans the depth in the photo. The other one is just a regular camera the captures colors.
Avoid working in sunlight. It has various infrared frequencies that can be detected by the infrared camera on the Kinect. This will interfere with the depth of the scanned image and throw off your program.
For a better resolution, make sure that the scanning area is is as close to the scanned object or person as possible. This will maximize the quality of your 3D print.
Another critical thing to pay proper attention to if you are scanning yourself is the type of clothes you are wearing. A lot of times, beginners are wearing reflective materials that throw the program off as well. These will ruin your model because they are not perceived correctly by the cameras.
After everything is set up, start the scanning process. We recommend you go from a top-down angle as this will allow you to scan some upward facing details from a better perspective.
You might need a little practice to master this part. However, don’t worry if you find some errors in the model you just scanned. This is perfectly normal and, of course, expected.
Once you have a scanned model, your software program will allow you to clean some of the errors up.
You can now work on your model and start coloring it if you want it to be printed in colors. Also, you will need to spend some time working on the texture of the model.
In my humble opinion, the whole editing thing is a matter of taste and preferences. There’s no single right way to do this. You will have to try things out and decide how you want your model to look like.
You can add detailed objects to your model and start cropping out anything that you don’t need in the 3D print.
Some programs allow you to fill up the holes in your model. If the one you are using doesn’t support this feature, you can always use a modifier.
3. The Size
After you are done with the editing, you will need to decide on a scale for your model to be printed in. It can be of any height yet, keep in mind that the bigger the miniature is, the more expensive it will be. Also, big miniatures can take such a long time to be printed.
Finally, it’s time you connect your 3D printer to your PC. The printing process will vary a little from one printer to the other. This is why you will need to follow the instructions specified for your make and model of printer.
And Voila, your model just came to life.
Printing 3D miniature is simpler than it seems to a lot of people. Once you know what you need to use and how to use it, you will be able to get the hang of things.
If you are a beginner, don’t start with complicated models. Instead, choose something rather simple and not highly detailed. And know that there’s a learning curve to the 3D process, so give it some time and dedication.
I am sure that once you start feeling satisfied with your printed models, you will get addicted to 3D printing. It’s what happened to every 3D artist.