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"Your Home Printed Castle Scenery" Topic

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23 Feb 2019 10:17 a.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

  • Changed title from "Your Home Printe Castle Scenery" to "Your Home Printed Castle Scenery"Crossposted to Terrain and Scenics boardCrossposted to 3D Printing board

Areas of Interest


909 hits since 23 Feb 2019
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

londoncalling23 Feb 2019 8:04 a.m. PST

I was thinking that a castle/medieval town project could justify a 3d printer, and so backing one of those castle "print file only" kick starters.

I think there's been a few of these, so has anyone got any pics of something they backed and subsequently printed off ?

It would be good to see feedback on time and effort involved, quality of output etc ? Did you just print off one wall and building and then give up or do you now have a 10 foot square walled medieval city ? :)

Maybe people are simply starting .stl mountains to add to their lead and plastic ones ???

darthfozzywig Supporting Member of TMP23 Feb 2019 10:19 a.m. PST

I've been wondering about that as well. I'm excited about 3D printing but not sure that it's still more time/cost effective to scratch build something that large.

But I'm afraid it isn't and that if I get a suitable printer I won't stop printing until I have all seven gates of Gondolin, all seven walls of Minas Tirith, etc. etc. filling our tiny home.

Then again, I make the walls stackable and print an expansion to the home. 😀

Personal logo Sgt Slag Supporting Member of TMP23 Feb 2019 8:50 p.m. PST

Not 3D printed, rather, paper models glued to 3mm thick cardboard. Nice part, NO PAINTING required.


I print on full-sheet label paper, cut, peel-n-stick to the 3mm thick cardboard, cut, glue. I reinforced the cardboard with square balsa rods, to avoid warping. They have good strength, plenty of heft, and they are rather durable. By the way, the two siege towers are made the same way, with the cardboard clad on both sides.

I like the concept of 3D printing, but it has downsides. Paper crafting, by itself, is not that durable. However, if you use it as a skin, to apply over a more durable skeleton, it has tremendous benefits.

Sorry I can't offer what you really wanted. I don't own a 3D printer -- yet. Hope this helps a little. Cheers!

londoncalling24 Feb 2019 10:54 a.m. PST

Thanks Sgt Slag some very tidy work in that photo.

I was hoping my post would prompt a rush of people wanting to show off their 3d prints, obviously not.

No takers ?

Hmm rather telling…..

Personal logo Bashytubits Supporting Member of TMP24 Feb 2019 9:05 p.m. PST

To print an entire castle take loads of plastic and loads of time. I estimate a moderate sized castle would probably take months to print all the parts with a single machine.

Munster25 Feb 2019 2:33 a.m. PST

Possibly easiest to jump onto facebook, there are plenty of 3D terrain groups where you can see what is printed.

The quality of the print is generally fine from the cheap FDM printers, mine has printed 6-28mm buildings for use

Thresher01 Supporting Member of TMP25 Feb 2019 5:05 a.m. PST

Foam board carved seems like a lot better, and more affordable option, if you have the time to do that.

londoncalling25 Feb 2019 5:11 a.m. PST

Not being a FB person means I never thought of looking there, though my SO has an account. Good suggestion.

Bashytubits – doh, seriously ? I guess to me, a moderate castle will be say 3 foot by 2 foot ?

ps it's not like I don't already have large castles, but always looking to improve on them !

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP25 Feb 2019 5:30 a.m. PST

The time and quality question are a function of how much money you are willing to spend. If you spend $150 USD on a K-12 6"x6"x6" printer, it would take a long time and you would have to do some sanding and other post-prod to get tabletop quality. If you buy the $50,000 USD one I had in my lab a few years back, you could bang out an 18"x18"x6" in stainless in an afternoon.

Of course, those aren't the only two choices. There are a wide range of options between (and possibly a few outside) those bounds.

Money is not the only tradespace. If you want plug-and-play using someone else's models and no intervention you're going to need more material and time. If you learn to optimize the build (can the castle walls be hollow? how hollow?) and the print (will this model print faster/better in a different orientation? can I change the model characteristics for a faster better print?), you will use less material and time.

tshryock Sponsoring Member of TMP25 Feb 2019 1:05 p.m. PST

I haven't gotten to printing a castle yet because I've been printing other projects, mainly for WWII. I have a Creality Ender 3 that was $200. USD With the right settings, it prints high-quality pieces.
I would go to as they have the best-looking files in my opinion, and there are painted samples on their website. Also look at and search under "castle" or "tower" to see what free options are out there. I've found some quality projects on Thingiverse.
As to time, the notion of it taking "months" for a castle is not accurate, at least with my printer, which has a pretty good sized print bed compared to most. But I'm also printing for 15mm.
Keep in mind that you can run your printer pretty much 24/7 if you are there to switch pieces.
I did a pretty good-sized planter that looked like a castle tower that was a 10-hour print. A detailed tank might take 4 hours, for a comparison.
I have the orc/tribal tower from printable scenery and it comes in three pieces. Each piece takes about 4 hours, so one day per tower. Even on a workday, I can start one piece when I leave for work, start another as soon as I get home and start another before I go to bed, thus printing one tower per day. The ramparts take about 4 hours each for the larger ones and are about four inches long. 28mm items would probably take twice as long, so one to two pieces a day might be all you could accomplish.
I've done extensive work with foam in the past. The biggest difference is in ease of use. Carving foam can be tedious and time-consuming and it takes 100 percent of my attention. I also can only work a few hours a night or on weekends on any foam project. The 3D printer is like a magical elf I tell it to make a tower, and it makes a tower. I prime it, paint it and it's ready to go and in most cases is far better than anything I could have ever done in foam.
Here's some early prints I've done for various eras:
Note that these were early prints and I've dialed in the resolution even better now. But it will give you some idea of what's possible. A 3d printer is another tool it's not a panacea, and in some cases making your own stuff will work better. There is a learning curve to using a 3D printer, but if you are somewhat computer savvy, it shouldn't be hard to figure out. After that, it's a matter of finding the settings that work best for your printer.

Personal logo Bashytubits Supporting Member of TMP25 Feb 2019 8:05 p.m. PST

Your time estimate for 28mm stuff is way off, a single Printable scenery 2 story building with roof takes about 28 hours to print. In 15mm you could probably do the same building in about 7-8 hours. Your slicr can generally give you an estimate on the time for a print. I use Cura and it usually is pretty close give or take 20 minutes. If you use a normal FDM printer you cannot speed the machine up if you want to have a quality print. Generally for the highest quality prints you slow the print head down and slightly thin the normal settings for layers, all those add lots more time to printing the piece.

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP26 Feb 2019 8:28 a.m. PST

If we ignore scale and size and just say that 28mm is nominally 1.86 times the size of 15mm, then for a volume, which is 3D, we get 28mm buildings being 1.86 x 1.86 x 1.86 times the size of 15mm or 6.5 times the volume, ostensibly taking about 6.5 times as long.

Again, if you optimize, you can cut this down quite a bit. F'r'ex if you need a minimum of 3mm thick walls, that makes a 28mm wall proportionally much more hollow than a 15mm one, ostensibly going a lot faster.

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP26 Feb 2019 12:22 p.m. PST

Another bit about doing castles and 3D printing.

Big, long walls are pretty easy to do without a 3D printer. Gates, doors, and fitting are hard to do on your own and easy to print out on a 3D printer. A hybrid approach might be a good approach.

Personal logo Bashytubits Supporting Member of TMP26 Feb 2019 12:51 p.m. PST

Your instincts on this are very good etotheipi, I have been planning on doing parts that can be slotted with foam board to build larger structures quickly that will be inexpensive, lightweight and sturdy. I actually have some of the prep work done but it has been a low priority as I am working on 1/144 stuff right now.

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP27 Feb 2019 6:42 a.m. PST

Thanks. I got those instincts from watching guys in my lab build stuff we needed for prototypes an n-offs (like one-offs, but usually a dozen or so unique, one-time pieces).

We reused all our dross, which was just at the borderline of being cheaper and more ecologically sound than throwing it out and buying new. So I did a lot of efficiency analysis on the processes.

DOM has a cheap hobby printer and makes me house fittings every once in a while. The door I put on this project using a pretty plain basic building structure was one of those. You could probably do decent business with a pick list of doors and windows allowing custom numbers of items per project.

One thing I have been thinking is to allow 1mm space under the pane framing for a window. That way you can slide in a piece of paper with whatever you want on it and they slap it on the outside of a wall. I think that would work well for castles and cathedrals.

tshryock Sponsoring Member of TMP27 Feb 2019 1:11 p.m. PST

As I said, I have only done 15mm prints, but even at 28 hours per piece (using the two-story house as comparable to a castle tower), would it really take months to print out a castle? I guess it depends on how we define a moderate-sized castle and how many parts make up the whole thing and the detail level, but seems like weeks might be more accurate?
Bashy -- what speed do you use for your detailed prints? I've been getting good quality in the 40-45 range. Curious what others are using. I also use 15-20% infill.
If I think about it tonight, I'll put my orc tower in Cura and see what the time estimate is for each level and one of the bigger ramparts at 28mm for comparison to 15mm.

tshryock Sponsoring Member of TMP28 Feb 2019 6:42 a.m. PST

OK – ran my tribal ramparts and tower through Cura with 28mm settings and got similar times as described by others -- tower pieces with high detail were about 28 hours each, ramparts were 14 (though I can't remember if that was .2 or .1 setting.
So to print an orc castle with four towers and say 8 feet of walls would take about 472 total hours at 28mm (and far less than that at 15mm).

Going back to the original question -- my printer is running almost all the time. I have two SD cards full of various designs, and I'm typically focused on printing out specific items to build a particular scenario. When I'm not doing that, I'm printing things I know I'll need or will use in the future -- road sections, hex hills, sherman tanks etc. I've found the detail to be very good -- but the better the detail the longer the print time. But as mentioned before, you don't need to be there for the printer to do its work, so while you are sleeping or working your day job, it's churning out toys.

londoncalling01 Mar 2019 3:52 a.m. PST

Thanks tshryock, so that's approx 19 days run-time to print out a reasonable 28mm castle.Given real life intervening, planning etc, let's double that and say almost 40 days elapsed time? That is not an inconsiderable investment in effort, but as has been said, once kicked off the printer just does its thing.

I am beginning to think, that unless you are really "into" 3d printing and accept it as a labour of love then a hybrid approach is a good alternative. E.g perhaps make use of my existing Warlord towers and walls, and just print off detailing or small buildings?

We can already see 3d print technology follow the standard development cycle and a couple years from now should hopefully see major advances! (similar to me not having to code in hex anymore :) )

tshryock Sponsoring Member of TMP01 Mar 2019 6:50 a.m. PST

That sounds pretty reasonable, especially is you aren't tending to the printer all the time. A hybrid approach works fine -- I still have a lot of homemade foam scenery on the shelves and there are some things that there aren't 3D designs for (and I can't make my own).

For my orc fortress, I'm not currently working off of a plan because I don't have a specific scenario in mind yet. When I have available printer time between other projects, I'll just assign it an orc tower or rampart to add to the collection. Over time, I'm accumulating a solid base set to start from and can print specific needs later on when I map out exactly what I want.

Good luck!

Canuckinator01 Mar 2019 6:14 p.m. PST

And then there are the folks who mesh the best of two worlds (new technology and old techniques) like Wartorn Studios recently did on KS. Their Dungeon Architect concept allows users to 3D print textured rollers which can then be used to manually produce multitudes of the same item (like dungeon tiles or bricks) quickly in traditional mediums like foam. I thought it was an interesting premise.


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