We are Hero Forge, the internet's home for custom 3D printed tabletop minis. We just launched a new Kickstarter for full-color 3D printed minis! Ask us anything.
Hi there. My name is Joshua Bennett, and I'm one of the founders of www.heroforge.com. We make custom tabletop miniatures using 3D printing and the latest and greatest in 3D-on-the-web rendering tools. Originally funded by a hit crowdfunding campaign in January 2014, we've gone on to forge hundreds of thousands of custom miniatures, shipping them to dozens of countries all over the world!
Over the last five years, we've added over a thousand assets to our site, nearly two dozen new fantasy races, and we add new content every single week--but we're excited to announce our most exciting and game-changing feature yet: full color customization and full-color 3D printing for custom tabletop miniatures.
We just launched our campaign, which can be found here: www.heroforge.com/kickstarter. We're taking a break from obsessively checking our pledge total to answer your questions! Ask us about custom miniatures, 3D printing, running a Kickstarter, content additions to heroforge.com, and more!
UPDATE: That was so fun! Time to get back to work, but we reserve the right to drop in later and answer a question here or there that we didn't get to. Thanks so much to everyone who took the time to ask something or vote. Drop by our Kickstarter page to see the future of tabletop gaming!
- Constantly. Occasionally weird ones get shared around the office. The "Advanced Pose Competition" we just ran had soooo many wild uses of our creator that we couldn't have anticipated. And then you always get weird ones like a mini sticking a banana up its own butt.
- We try to prioritize the most popular requests whenever we can, so the top priority is very commonly the thing we're currently working on. Right now that's the addition of color!
Do you have any plans for things like asymmetrical limbs and more robotic/steampunk parts. With a lot of popular rpgs having automail/bionics it would be a great addition
Asymmetric limb options, for sure. No ETA, but based on user feedback, "my character has a robot arm" is very, very common. We didn't build our system with that in mind, so an addition like that requires going back and reworking some of our basic assumptions. It's doable though: we went through a similar process when we split the upper-body from the lower body so you could choose torso and leg options independently. It just takes time because it interacts with a lot of systems.
I have two questions. First, why did you decide to do this now and not before I bought Christmas presents for my party? :(
The real question, are there plans to expand your existing library of mini parts to include more cyberpunk? I love me some Shadowrun variety.
Hah, we get a lot of that, especially because we release new content every week: there's always something new for somebody who just bought! One of the prices we pay for always pushing forward!
As for cyberpunk, here's a good ctrl+c / ctrl+v from a different response: Typically when people ask if we have plans for any particular part, the answer is nearly always a yes because we want to add everything. We are constantly working on new additions to the site, and we collect hundreds and hundreds of user requests each week through our official User Request Wishlist : https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/HeroForgeRequest. We want to do it all, but we are constantly refining our priorities based on the popularity of particular requests, contextualized by the technical difficulty. We also work very very far ahead in order to keep a steady, reliable stream of parts. As usual for specific requests though, we don't have a timeline we can share.
A few quick questions about the Token Builder -
Will my players be able to create their characters for free and then send me the file so that I’m able to import it into the token maker? Or will they have to pay for subscriptions on their end to create their characters?
What monthly price are you guys targeting for access to the token tools?
We're still in the process of finalizing features, so some things I can't speak to with confidence yet, but we currently make it as absolutely easy as possible to share designs to other accounts (the "share" button that kicks our a URL). I would expect friends would be able to design on hero forge, then bounce the design over to the token-maker-account-holder to export. But again, still finalizing features, so don't hold me to anything. :p
I am a little out of them loop but the token builder do colours right?
Yes, for sure!
Additional question about the token builder:
Can you only create top-down tokens, or can you create portrait tokens?
We're still designing what the final tool will look like, so I can't promise anything, but our current intention is to offer both overhead style and profile picture style. I think we have examples of both on the Kickstarter page.
Design in 3D like normal, move camera to position and zoom you want, then snap a ss that converts straight to token ?
It will likely work quite like that, yes.
What will the price point be on a color mini (not pro painted) after the Kickstarter pricing is done and the new 2.0 tool is live?
We haven't announced anything publicly, but that's mostly because it isn't set in stone yet. We know that the Kickstarter pricing we have chosen represents a discounted rate over what we will eventually charge, but until we see user response and ramp up production, we don't want to speculate.
Question: Now with color coming out, will the non colored options still be available? If so, any possible price adjustment?
I was very happy with the Kickstarter price for color. I hope that you can keep the price under 50 USD.
Absolutely we will still have non-colored versions! We adore mini painting and the mini painting community, so we always want to have products that serve and support them.
What has been the biggest hurdle/moment of growth for the hero forge team so far?
Oh gosh, that's a great question. Every time we add a big new feature, we seem to reach a progressively bigger audience, so 'the next thing' is often the biggest moment! Our color Kickstarter is an example: it is just such an exciting feature, and we know it is because of how much we ourselves, as gamers, want it. It will make our service appealing to a whole new crowd. I myself am one of the founders and the COO here, so a lot of the most exciting stuff I personally work with would probably be related to 3D printing tech and the tabletop gaming world/market/fans as a whole.
As for a hurdle, that's a harder one. I may need to give it some thought. I know our very first public demo, before we even launched, was a wild ride: it was at PAX Prime way back in 2015 I believe. We were still working on the demo build of the site the night before the show started!
How do you select the companies/individuals who will be professionally painting the minis for 2.0?
We scouted. Most of the field seems to be made up of lots of smaller studios. They do amazing work, but we also need to consider volume and scalability, so we looked for painting studios who did top notch work, but could also do really high volume. We've worked with one of the studios we plan to use, Den of Imagination, a very long time: whenever we do a new content release and show images of a painted mini in the announcement, chances are it was them who did it.
Any plans for medusa hair in the future?
Typically when people ask if we have plans for any particular part, the answer is nearly always a yes because we want to add everything. We are constantly working on new additions to the site, and we collect hundreds and hundreds of user requests each week through our official User Request Wishlist : https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/HeroForgeRequest. We want to do it all, but we are constantly refining our priorities based on the popularity of particular requests, contextualized by the technical difficulty. We also work very very far ahead in order to keep a steady, reliable stream of parts. Medusa hair is a great example of something we can do and hope to do. As usual for specific requests though, we don't have a timeline we can share.
How many artists do you have, and what equipment do they use please? Which 3d design tools, and tablets/hardware?
We work with a deep bench of talent, some in-house, but with a lot of contributions from freelance artists and studios out-of-house too. As for in-office tallent, we typically have five or more individuals with a wide range of skills. They are amazingly talented and I am privileged to work with them.
Thank you for your answer :)
Ah so you do have off-site artists.
Do they use any specific modelling software, or is it all in-house tools?
The Kickstarter photos shows a giant tablet. I was so curious what model that was? That looks like an amazing setup.
Ah, I missed answering that part. We use industry-standard tools: zbrush, maya, wacom tablets. The tablet you saw on the KS page is one of the recent wacom tablets.
Do you print your minis at the same location and ship out or do you have multiple locations?
Our biggest talents lie in our developers and our artists, so we have always partnered with 3D printing experts to help us produce and fulfil orders. Our biggest and longest running partnership has been with Shapeways, Inc. They're truly one of the best 3D printing service providers out there. Most of our orders get shipped out of their facilities in New York City for North American orders and Eindhoven, Netherlands for EU orders.
Any plans for African Markets? We have a HUGE and upcoming market for all things geekery and at one of our latest expos your minis attracted a boat load of attention at the game I was hosting.
Nothing wrong with the Netherlands suppliers always top stuff but the 3-6week wait is tough sometimes.
We don't currently have any plans for additional manufacturing facilities, but we are super aware of how much more we could be feeding the international market. So far, the digital-download option has been the best thing we've done to serve folks: it is cheaper, gets delivered almost immediately, and can be manufactured locally. We also have some ambitions aimed at partnering with local 3D printing shops for more local delivery options, but that is a LOT of infrastructure to build, and things like color have taken priority so far.
Wait there is an Dutch printer company who prints for you? For how long is this relationship standing? Maybe like an +1 year ago, I had to wait almost 2 months for my and my friends mini. xD (I even live close to Eindhoven)
Our primary printing partner over the last five years has been Shapeways, Inc. They have a manufacturing facility in both New York and The Netherlands.
How will it work for the professionally painted minis that will be possible in Hero Forge 2.0? Are those also multi-location or US only?
We are still exploring whether the hand-painted option is sufficiently scalable to add as a standard option, as opposed to just for Kickstarter rewards. We're going to watch user interest very closely, and learn a lot as we fulfill the backer rewards. We will definitely ship rewards globally though!
Are there plans to make things like coats, robes, certain armor options a separate layer/option? Like if you want to keep a certain shirt option on but also want to have a duster coat.
Layered clothing items are some of the most finicky things to do: look at things like capes, shoulder armor, and chest armor. Interactions between those things are the most common problem spots for clipping, and we've done a ton of work to make that as clean as possible. While I'll never say never, adding additional layering is disproportionately difficult.
Do you think it might be possible to make certain shirt options flatter or thinner to allow for layering? Or perhaps give options to adjust things like shoulder armor, capes or chest armor manually to help them sit more naturally and not clip awkwardly?
It's hypothetically possible. As always, we have to weigh the dev time for something like that against adding other new content or features.
I ordered from you years back, but I saw an add recently on Dungeons of Drakkenheim (live dnd campaign) and I just wanted to say it's awesome you all advertise on smaller channels. It helps encourage those channels to grow and it's way more personal than just some random banner that I have blocked.
Do you all have any other interesting ways in the future to advertise, like an ambassador program or some sort of referral program that would allow normal people like me to accrue "Hero Bucks" that I could then spend on your website? I need more minis!
P.S. I signed up for the kickstarter the second I saw it open and I've posted the links all over discord to spread the good news and encourage people to do it also.
Yeah, we've been leaning much harder into sponsorships this year, especially for smaller-to-mid-range shows/podcasts/sites! They're doing it for love-of-the-game, and it's great to support that, even indirectly.
No firm plans yet, but we've been exploring what it might mean to partner with local game shops and affiliates in various ways. It is too early to say what that might eventually look like, but we are considering various pilot programs. That's unlikely to take center-stage in our efforts until after color is out though!
Thanks SO MUCH for sharing!
Did you all take bets on how quickly the new kickstarter would meet its goal?
One thing we've learned again and again is that Kickstarter is hard to predict: we definitely did not anticipate the response being so big so quick! It feels amazing, and we also feel a real, strong sense of responsibility to our backers. We only exist because our first Kickstarter was such a success. We love our supporters and are humbled by the support.
Can we get any sneak peaks down the line for new races coming?
I'm starting a Humblewood campaign soon and would love to see more support for their birdfolk, as well as hedgehog and raccoon people!
We actually do have a bunch of sneak peeks for races on the Kickstarter page. Check out the "future of Hero Forge" section and see if you can spot the several new races we previewed. :)
What part has been heavily requested but you haven't logistically been able to implement?
Hmm, probably leg posing (way more complex than you'd think). Mounts also take a lot of time to implement, and are not purchased as often, so there's a lot we want to implement that we just haven't gotten to prioritize yet.
Have you considered opening up a 3D marketplace for artists to be able to add their own custom content to your site? Like weapons or gear that would go onto yalls base model
3D printing really makes you think a lot about how a model is built--a lot of the systems we've built have more requirements than A. looking cool and B. remaining printable. Even pro artists and studios often take a lot of ramp-up and revision before they arrive at a part we can use. I'll never say never, but accepting user submissions would mostly just give us a loooot of art we can't really rely on and guarantee.
Congratulations on the magnificent launch! I'm very excited about the color printing tech and the new interface.
Has there been any discussion of a subscription model for digital downloads? $10/month for 3 STL files or something along those lines?
Some friends voiced surprise about the hand-painted figure's cost, but it seemed in line with paying artists for high-quality work. Could you provide any details about the amount of time and effort required for the $150 figures? Are all of the figures painted in the US?
It has been a whirlwind! We are so excited too.
We definitely are very interested in STL subscriptions! No timeline yet, but it is of great interest to us and we have done several focused surveys to find out what model will best meet the needs of the community and be sustainable. It is very high on our to do list after color.
As for painting, sure. I would contextualize the price this way: hiring painters means hiring highly skilled labor. It can take multiple hours to paint a mini, and they deserve a fair hourly rate. Not to mention manufacturing costs, shipping to/from the paint studio, and a small margin. You can find painters who would charge less--but in our research, for pro studios that can work at volume, this was about as low as we could go and still have it make good business sense for us to include it as an option.
Oh, I missed the part about location. The paint studios we are working with, Mixed Dimension and Den of Imagination, both do the bulk of their actual painting in Poland, I believe.
Wouldn't the TaleSpire 3D virtual tabletop be a good place to put your custom made virtual miniatures to use? Not just as flat tokens but in their full glory?
Any plans for import into or export to such great tools ?
Our Token Maker is targeting 2D VTTs. We have seen some interest in 3D tokens, but that's a longer term dev project--our models are designed in nearly every way for 3D printing, which has very different technical requirements than models that are for on-screen display. so: some day for sure, but it isn't yet at the top of our list. As 3D VTTs become more common, that may change!
If i recall, TaleSpire has STL imports so you can import minis through that.
The stl format doesn't support color, so you wouldn't be able to import cookies from hero forge's tools and would have to color it in later. The FAQ says they don't have any current plans to make digital files available in a format that supports color because they're isn't a commonly adopted standard for colored 3d printing models yet.
Our models are also super dense geometry (best for 3D printing but not very efficient for display-uses) so we'd need to figure out how to approach that.
First off, came from the Kickstarter link. Nice to see even you guys prefer Old Reddit!
Aside from this next step in minis, what are you excited to see come about in the miniatures world, whether it's through your company or your contemporaries?
Hmm, good question. I am still waiting to see whether home 3D printers will become must-have items for every tabletop gamer. You can get a $300 SLA/DLP printer now that can hit detail levels similar to what industrial machines can ship. It might be a matter of services like us giving people a reason to buy a printer. Regardless, I think 3D printing has the potential to really shake things up. I regularly wonder if/when any of the old-guard established brands will start exploring the space.
Has the initial response on this Kickstarter motivated you to make hand painting an available option going forward?
User response to painted figures is something we're watching with great interest. It is definitely overshadowed by user interest in the 3D prints though! Hand painting is MUCH less scalable, so we're exploring the space very tentatively.
Thoughts about expanding into custom designing boards for table top playing? Along this line, printing them onto boards for home delivery?
We don't have any ambitions aimed at becoming board game manufacturers. We're absolutely flat-out in love with minis and tabletop RPGs and war games, so that's where we want to focus our efforts. It's clear from our user request list and the volume of requests we get every day that we have a LOT more we have yet to add to Hero Forge.
just to add onto this as an idle thought, having customizable dungeon tile pieces (and non-dungeon tiles) would be awesome.
We have some long-term ambitions aimed at additional customizable tabletop products and services, but there is SO much we have yet to add to Hero Forge, so we try to stay focused on what's ahead while we also dream of the future. :)
Here's the dumbest question you're gonna get asked! Do you have glow-in-the-dark resin available?
Haha, I don't believe that is a feature of this printer. Yet, at least. :p
When can those of us who have backed start designing our color minis?
There should be a good estimated timeline on the Kickstarter page, but short answer is we hope to have beta for KS backers by May, and start opening ordering in June. We do warn that it could take "several months" to fulfil any given order during the beta as we ramp up capacity.
I will be honest I didn't think the color printed mini's were going to look as good as they do on the kickstarter. I haven't looked into the technology behind color 3d printing yet and so I didn't think it would look this good. My main question is, how do we know the 3d color printed ones shown in the kickstarter are good representations of what a buyer can expect in terms of quality?
With that question asked, I did buy into one of the limited weapon-smith tiers and look forward to submitting my weapon idea :D
Hi there! Yes, we have been really impressed by the tech too! These are our legit test prints, so they are very representative. If anything, I would think they will improve as we get more practice with the machine and fine-tune our art assets for the best printed results. :)
And: Thank you so much for backing! I can't wait to see the designs folks submit--they are always unexpected.
So it's fairly obvious that D&D/Pathfinder are the primary inspiration point(s) for most of the fantasy/medieval components. Do you guys have a similar TTRPG in mind when you design western, modern, and sci-fi components? If so, which one(s)?
Fantasy represents the vast majority of our audience, but we absolutely love other genres, and honestly, most people like to cross genre lines in one way or another, so it really isn't so clean. As for other game systems that are inspiring--I can speak for myself and say that I love deadlands, shadowrun, seven rings, and have been pretty inspired by Starfinder's awesome art.
Will the full color option be plastic only, or is it compatible with the metal prints you offer today?
The color printer only prints in plastic, so it'll be plastic.
Will the consistency of the plastic take a wash well? Looking at the difference between your prints and a hand painted, the gap looks like it will be massively bridged with just a wash. Slap some nuln oil on one of your color prints and call it a day! But, that only works if the wash takes without needing to spray primer on first.
Currently, out plan is to coat the prints in a protective coating. This coating is not designed to take paint, but we also haven't tried.
Do you plan to open an outlet in the UK to cut down on tax and postage charges? (DM me if you are).
We actually ship order to the EU from within the EU already!
When can we hope to see advanced posing for legs? What about advanced weapon/shield sizing?
Advanced posing for legs is a much more complex feature than it sounds. We won't rule it out, but it introduces a lot of other workflow and model integrity considerations, so there's a lot to solve there. Similar answer for weapon sizing. An example: if a user scales a sword down a lot, it could become too thin to print. That limit on scaling is contextual for every single part in our very, very large library.
Are there any things you simply WILL NOT do in terms of features or parts requests regardless or how popular or often its asked for?
Just wondering if you guys have any hard limits or if you're willing to cater to the consumer if the demand is high enough.
Hmm, good question. We sometimes get requests for hyper-specific stuff that we practically can't prioritize, but most of the really popular requests, we genuinely want to be able to offer. If I think of any stand-out "nopes" I'll follow up though.
Hi! Thank you for doing this, as my party loves using your minis! We only have one concern however. We know that you have been working on implementating a feature request system, however we were concerned about a lack of POC hair styles available on the site. Many of the styles fit a European style, however with the diversity of DND can we expect to see more options such as this in the future?
Thank you for your question! There are several additional non-european hairstyles in various stages of completion in our pipeline. No current ETA, but that's just one area where we're making efforts to improve representation. Adding wheelchairs is another great, frequently requested example of something that's on our to do list.
Does it annoy you when people like me use your site to design characters and save photos of them but never actually get anything made?
Are you kidding?! We love that! Every time someone creates and shares a character, that is good for us. We very intentionally made the character creation portion as easy to use as possible. We don't even require log-in for users to create and share a character. Honestly, the more we can support the hobby, the happier we are, both from a philosophical perspective, and from a business one too.
Will the 'Token Maker Unlimited' application support any additional options/features that wouldn't translate well into physical prints, like greater freedom on part rotation/resizing or the ability to detach parts from the body/base (like a floating book / familiar / spell effect)?
Probably not, or at least probably not initially. Interest in the token maker has been really wonderful though, so we'll see if and how it is received when it becomes part of our core service. User feedback almost always guides our priorities.
I’m in awe and at the same time not at all surprised of your success. I’ve ordered about a dozen figures from Hero Forge and will probably order dozens more. My question is:
Is there any fear or risk from being too successful with this Kickstarter? Would you be able to scale up production to meet the crazy initial demand? Is there a level of success that you wouldn’t be able to reasonably be able to handle logistically?
Thanks for all that you do!
We're in awe too! It's so exciting.
We've seen how 'too much success' has affected some Kickstarters, but KS really helps us when we communicate expectations for things like fulfilment times. In the case of this campaign, the print tech we're using is especially scale-friendly. Water-soluble support material means you can pack figures much more densely, and also vertically, on the print bed. That's a lot harder with SLA and support sprues.
I'm sure there will be challenges as we scale, there always are, but Kickstarter lets us communicate directly and manage speed expectations. The infrastructure we've built over the past five years should make that a smoother process since it ain't our first rodeo.
I was one of the first 1,000 backers for this, and I’m so so excited to see how much it grew in just a day!
Question: You unlocked animal patterns as a stretch goal yesterday, which is awesome! But I want to know, how advanced is the coloring tool in the new color software? Would one be able to draw their own patterns onto a creature in a mini? Or can things only be applied as a sort of decal, without the ability to add custom markings?
That's a very cool idea, though practically we won't be able to support user-drawn patterns at launch.
Do you plan on allowing custom patterns in the future?
Possibly. It's definitely much more technically complex to implement, and we'd have to be really conscientious of how that might influence and impact our terms of service and whatnot.
Two questions: What are the features that are the trickiest to make viable in print?
do you have a timeline (that you can share, naturally) when you believe the new features (new interface, color printing, token maker) will be available?
For your first question, one example would be more hand pose options: currently, individual fingers are too thin to print consistently and to be durable. While TONS of people would love a finger-gun pose, the print tech and materials aren't quite there yet.
For your second: we do have an estimated timeline! It is in the "how it works" section of the Kickstarter.
Do you have any plans to allow for larger minis? Or perhaps a monster collection?
We added the "XL," larger mini option in this past year. We also see lots of folks picking up the digital print file, scaling it up, and printing it through third parties or at home.
Adding monstrous humanoid races has been a big priority for us lately: orcs, goblins, hobgoblins, skeletons, zombies, minotaurs, lizardfolk were all added in the past year: you'll spot several more upcoming races in the "future of Hero Forge" section. Humanoid monstrous races are currently the best 'bang for our buck' in terms of tech development prerequisites, but we have more ambitious long-term plans as we grow to accommodate more and more body shapes.
For all the staff participating in this: Can you show us your favorite mini you've created?
That's like asking us to pick our favorite children! Gosh. My favorite is always the most recent one I designed. How about I share a couple:
Here's a "stand up comic" bard I recently designed: https://www.heroforge.com/load_config=5833960/
Here's one of my favorite characters I've played, Broketooth Flamebrand, the (reincarnated) goblin paladin: https://www.heroforge.com/load_config=590055/
And here's one I recently designed just for kicks, a friendly centaur prancing through the forest with a friend: https://www.heroforge.com/load_config=5833670/
Are there going to be all colors available for every piece of the mini? IE: Blue or green skin etc.
Colors, yes! Some of the "decal" options will be item-specific though.
Can you elaborate on what the "decals" are and how they work? I was unclear after reading the Kickstarter page.
Sure! "Decals" are shorthand for 2D graphical assets or patterns that can be placed on parts. Think a sigil on a shoulder pad, or stripes on a cape, for instance.
But it's not actually a decal that's hand applied like a sticker, right?
Also: hi! I recognize your name as a really active member of our social media community. Thanks so much for contributing over the years. :)
Could you please elaborate on what you classify as "Epic Weapons"?
Sure--they will be designs created with the mandate "Bigger, more elaborate, and cooler!" Especially early on in Hero Forge's lifespan, we needed to focus on getting 'basics' in so everyone can have parity with their character sheet. Now that we have all our bases covered, we can start adding a little more elaborate and themed parts. We went 'wide,' now we can go 'deep.'
Do you have any employees who work remotely/from home? I've been painting for a while now and have recently started 3d printing/modeling, but it seems like most opportunities require relocation.
We do have some folks who work remotely! Some jobs really just need to be on-site to be done effectively though.
Congrats on the Kickstarter! I can’t wait to use this amazing product.
For those of us who use 3D virtual tabletops, will digital downloads also include textures of our colors so we can import them alongside the models themselves?
I'll grab our response from the FAQ since it is a pretty good summary:
"No. Not initially, at least. File formats which support color are less widely supported by 3D printing software platforms, as color is not yet common for home 3D printers. While we expect to one day offer textured, color 3D model files, for the time being we will continue to distribute digital download model files in .stl format: the most commonly supported format for 3D printing software platforms."
Have you ever seen a mini design from a customer that was seriously NSFW? Like, creatively indecent?
Yeah, let me tell you, advanced posing really tore the roof off in terms of people's creativity, NSFW and otherwise. Lots of swords posed provocatively/evocatively. I mentioned in another spot, but a character putting a banana up their own butt certainly sticks in my memory.
So, did they actually have that one printed out, or was it merely a design? Because I really want to know what's going on in that game.
I don't! :p
Do you play with your own minis? Do you have an office DND campaign?
You do great work! The first mini I got for a game was reakky amazing :)
We sure do! Minis are all over the place in our office. There have been several company campaigns! Talk about a good 'team building exercise'!
Hows the atmosphere in the office right now?
When we hit the million mark, there was shouting. I think someone literally popped champagne.
Any plans on launching an app?
People ask about an app every so often, but so far, it seems like it really wouldn't add much to most people's experience. We already have a dedicated mobile UI. I personally have saved a bookmark to my iphone home screen. This lets me use Hero Forge full-screen, with mobile UI, and it has its own little Hero Forge icon and feels just like an app.
If we raise enough, would it be possible to increase the level of detail for the models further? The body and clothes look really good as they are now, but the faces are still a little bit blurry. They still look amazing either way, but it would be awesome to squeeze as much detail as possible into them.
Hi there! The Kickstarter's success isn't going to influence the final tech or production methods used. We do love the detail we're seeing though!
What are the challenges involved in changing a piece to give more options? (for example, a jacket having long, short, or no sleeves).
Not related, but how stoked are you guys over having blasted through the million mark on the first day?
There are occasions where we revise a part or use one as a base model for a variation on a theme. It is not especially challenging compared to making any other part, but we only do it when those alternate versions offer something substantively different, otherwise we could be clogging our menus with lots of samey parts.
Hi! I am a backer from your first kickstarter. So, i forgot that I have 2 minis from that campaign. Can I still use my codes to get 2 unpainted minis?
Absolutely! If you lost them, reach out to customer service and they'll find them. We absolutely adore our Kickstarter backers because we wouldn't be here without you. We still have lots of folks who have unredeemed vouchers from the 2014 campaign, and that's okay with us. People can take their time, especially since we're always coming out with new stuff.
How many of the full colour printers do you currently own? Do you plan on purchasing more in the future, and if so, how many?
We are developers and artists first, so we have always relied on strong partnerships with leading 3D printing experts for production. They typically own the printers, and we work with them to build and export models that are ideal for production, technically. All that to say: the only printers we personally own are the ones we use for prototyping in-house.
How many prototypes do you usually go through before you decide a new part is fit for release? Are there any particular "gotchas" you need to watch out for when designing new parts?
Our office has been, at various times, absolutely littered with test prints from various technologies. Sometimes it is easy to see whether a test print is promising or not. Then, you pretty much just need to order more than you think you need and make sure to handle them constantly. My desk nearly always has several test prints on it.
The main consideration when designing for 3D printing is keeping in mind the ultimate, real-world scale. Some stuff that looks best in mini format does not necessarily look the same when blown up to nearly a foot tall on your screen, and vice versa. People will often note that weapons look thick and chunky on screen, but in mini format, they look much more in-line with common design standards. Reading up about "heroic scale" practices in minis is illuminating.
How clean are the color mini's coming out? Any bleed issues?
I've been super impressed, myself. Especially compared to other non-custom 'pre-painted' figures on the market. Boundaries between color zones look crisp and clear.
Probably the wrong place for this but I added $40 to my pledge to add a color printed mini but don’t know how to select that or if I select that later?
Add-ons will be verified at the end of the campaign, probably through a backer survey. All you need to worry about is adjusting the total, which it sounds like you did.
Where are the wands? Are they too small to print?
That's one of the reasons they haven't been focused on, but I think we're hoping to revisit wand designs at some point. I don't think I have any specific timeline though.
Any plans on dropping the STL price? You guys have made a fantastic product, but the cost on those being half the cost of a printed mini (or more than a mini from Reaper) from you has kept me from purchasing. I'd be buying piles of them if you could get it to a sub $5 price.
We recently dropped the price from $9.99 to $7.99. It is unlikely that there are more price changes coming in the near future, but we are looking into subscription-based options as a way for people who want to economically get larger numbers of .stl files. No news yet--we're really focused on the Kickstarter for the moment, but it is on our mind.
I'm curious as to the painting system on a technical level. I have a couple of the World of Warcraft Figure Prints and I can't help but see some similarities in the way the coloration looks between both products. Could you give us a couple of paragraph description of the new painting process? Such as how long does it take? How much time does it add to the printing process for your "average" mini? How does the coloration stick to the figure? How durable is the coloration? Thanks!
My understanding is that
Stratasys Mimaki printer they are using deposits different micro droplets of resin using an inkjet like tech. This is immediately cured by UV. The color is generated during the print, not applied after.
They are offering hand-painted as well.
Edit: corrected manufacturer.
We are not using a Stratasys printer. We're going with Mimaki--similar tech, but produces preferable color results at mini scale.
What are you plans for future Kickstarter campaigns? Or is that currently so far out of scope, that you would prefer not to explain or even think about? :)
Oh gosh: one Kickstarter at a time! This one is enough excitement all on its own, and we don't want to get ahead of ourselves.
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