Miniature D&D Characters

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About: I am a Primary School teacher from Australia. I currently teach 24 Grade 2/3 students. I am engaging students in playing D&D in the classroom and one of our recent tasks was to create miniatures of their...

My name is Mr Bartok and in my Grade 2/3 class this year we have started to play Dungeons and Dragons 5E. This has been a wonderful resource to teach a variety of reading, writing and mathematics skills as well as personal and social capabilities. To help engage the students and address our aspects of our digital learning we have been using our Lulzbot 3D Printer to print off miniature figures of students characters and monsters.

For D&D and most other RPGs the most commonly used scale for models is 25/28mm. To help make it easier for those students who wanted to paint we increased the size of the mini to 75mm before we printed.

For those interested here are my links to the curriculum at the Year 2 and 3 level;

-Identify and explore digital systems (hardware and software components) for a purpose

-Independently and with others create and organise ideas and information using information systems, and share these with known people in safe online environments.

-Explore how people safely use common information systems to meet information, communication and recreation needs

-Explore needs or opportunities for designing, and the technologies needed to realise designed solutions

-Use materials, components, tools, equipment and techniques to produce designed solutions safely

-Use personal preferences to evaluate the success of design ideas, processes and solution

MOST IMPORTANTLY IS HAVING FUN AND BEING CREATIVE!!!

Supplies:

Coloured PLA Filament

Tools:
3D Printer
Computer

Software:
DesktopHero3d (http://desktophero3d.com/)
Thingyverse (https://www.thingiverse.com/)
AutoDisk MeshMixer
Cura for Lulzbot Edition 3.2.27

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Step 1: Choose Your Project

We had been playing D&D in our classroom for 3 weeks leading up to this stage.

The first step to this project was having students decide to try and find a character already on Thingyverse or create a custom character using DesktopHero3d. For the purpose of this instructable students picked an Owlbear that was available on Thingverse (https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1557261) by MagicEngineer.

Step 2: Download the File

Download the .zip folder from thingyverse and extract the contents

If using DesktopHero3D download the .stl file.

Step 3: Import the File Into AutoDesk MeshMixer

Add the file into MeshMixer and follow these steps to edit your characters size and generate overhangs, starting at the top navigation bar;

Size: Edit - Transform - Size X - type in new size for character (for us this is 75mm) - Use the green arrow to move the character until it sits flat on the base plate - accept when finished.

Supports: Analyse - overhangs - generate support (This is the easiest option as the program will generate support over any area that overhangs the character) - Done.

To finish: Export and save the file as a .stl Binary Format.

Step 4: Import Into Cura and Print

Open up Cura for Lulzbot Edition and import your project.

This should be the same no matter what printing software you are using.

Once imported you can print the project.

NOTE:

Don't try to resize your project in cura. It's a more complicated process that students cannot follow and adults find it tricky too!

Step 5: Wait

Its the longest part, but now you have to wait for the model to print. Printing time varies depending on the quality of finish and size of character.

Step 6: Clean Up Product

The next step would be to clean up the printed product. The MeshMixer supports can be pulled off the project with a pair of pliers. I personally like to use some spruce cutters to help cut off the support plastic as well as any other parts that look like little pimples.

Folowing this you can choose to progressively sand down the model until its smooth, leave as it is or add in the optional steps of priming and painting.

Step 7: Optional: Seal, Prime and Paint

You can search for many ways to get rid of the lines left behind in your 3D printed model. We decided to use XTC-3D which acts as a protective coating for smoothing and finishing 3D printed parts that does not melt plastic. XTC‑3D also fills in 3D print striations and creates a smooth, high gloss finish. I buff this out with a 400 Grit sandpaper when dry and apply any store bought primer that you enjoy using.

To paint the model I used random acrylic paints that were laying around the house and painted the project for the class. I also went above and added in both dirt and , static grass and grass flocking to the base.

These steps are all optional and the individual characters made for my class will be a primed model and I will let them paint the characters themselves at the end of the year.

Step 8: Finished Project

Once the project is finished, sit back and let the students enjoy their work (With your paint) and repeat the process as many times for each students individual characters.

I hope you have enjoyed this Instructable as much as the students have enjoyed the process of making Owlbear.

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    3 Discussions

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    Garadin

    1 day ago

    Black Magic Crafts on YouTube has tons of tutorials on miniature and terrain painting/building. Now that you have miniatures, they need a world to live in. BMC has a background in construction, so he applies many basic building techniques in his videos on making structures and dungeon tiles. The best part is, he uses the most inexpensive supplies possible. Between the pink insulation foam from Lowe's to dollar store foam core, the projects are light weight, yet amazingly realistic.

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    jessyratfink

    4 weeks ago

    What a great project! The XTC-3D looks like it covers so well, too :D

    1 reply
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    ryanjbartokjessyratfink

    Reply 27 days ago

    It was an awesome product. Made the project smooth and was able to prime and airbrush so easy over the top of it.