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"Does 3D printing make Kallistra style hexes feasible?" Topic

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79thPA Supporting Member of TMP In the TMP Dawghouse25 Jan 2023 12:17 p.m. PST

Kallistra 3D hexes are pretty cost prohibitive when you add in shipping to the states. I wonder if 3D printing makes this a viable product for the US market, or if printing them is just (or more) expensive than shipping them. Does anyone have any ideas about it?

Edit to add that I am asking about commercial application for the gaming market.

Kallistra hex terrain:

Robert Johnson25 Jan 2023 1:09 p.m. PST

Resin or filament?

You're going to need a printer with at least a 150mm X 150mm build plate to print a single hex, so let's assume filament. Doable, but commercially viable? Only if you have at least a dozen printers, and the space to use them simultaneously

Nick Bowler25 Jan 2023 1:17 p.m. PST

I have designed and printed my own hexes. I used an ender 3. Covering my table took a month of printing. link

UshCha25 Jan 2023 1:22 p.m. PST

I make a few pieces Kalistra don't. Its not cheap as they take quite a long time to print even at Low res on an FDM printer. You need lots of hex. I would suggest in large quantities postage is not going to be too excessive. In the large numbers required, 3D printing is not a realistic option see below.

A quick look under my table indicates we have about 388 equivalent of single hexes in 6's and singles. and about 100 2 hex high slopes of various types. Plus lots of other stuff like the Vac Formed stuff and 1 hex high slopes for starters.

At that level specialist importers could probably get postage down.

In addition you can't copy them as they will be copyright. Plus do you have the capability to cover them. Kallistra has some special production methods to cover them. Try as I may I can't make the flock stay on as long as Kallistra by a factor of YEARS.

Talk to Paul there will be a way if you really want commercial quantities i.e Thousands.

Personal logo Extra Crispy Sponsoring Member of TMP25 Jan 2023 1:39 p.m. PST

The way to do it, I think, is to use a hexed mat and then just print the extra pieces you need like hills.

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP In the TMP Dawghouse25 Jan 2023 4:16 p.m. PST

It is just something that popped into my head today. I don't own a 3D printer, nor do I know anything about 3D printing, hence the question.

Mark, that is certainly a workable solution.

UshCha, I agree. You probably can't get the same level of coverage that the commercial ones have.

Tgerritsen Supporting Member of TMP25 Jan 2023 5:47 p.m. PST

Honestly, this is the point where I think you have to think about the cost in filament and time versus just doing it in foam and cutting out what you want or need. I have 3D printers and have experimented in tiles, but it's a lot of work and cost in time and materials.

I just found my old Kallistra set back from when they were briefly available in the US. They are very nice, but even the large bins of it I have would really only cover about a 4x6 area.

If I had to recreate that, I'd go with foam, or terrain maker from GHQ.

Munster25 Jan 2023 8:04 p.m. PST

link print to your heart's content there's quite a few different systems out there

Personal logo Yellow Admiral Supporting Member of TMP25 Jan 2023 8:56 p.m. PST

I would suggest in large quantities postage is not going to be too excessive
It is excessive. I just placed an order for 6 boxes of Hexon tiles plus hills, mountains, slopes, single hexes, etc. Shipping was £196.20 GBP on a £738.35 GBP order.

- Ix

Zephyr125 Jan 2023 10:30 p.m. PST

Cheaper to build your own terrain hexes, make a rubber mold of them, and cast them in plaster. Might be a little heavy, though… ;-)

Lascaris26 Jan 2023 7:57 a.m. PST

I think it would depend on how heavily loaded your 3D printer was doing other projects. If you're in a lull in your printer usage, then having it spit out a bunch of terrain tiles would only be the cost of the filament (for reference I use Hatchbox at $24 USD/kg) and I can get a lot of printing on a roll.

For example, printing Meade's HQ at Gettysburg in 15mm costs $1.34 USD and uses 61g of material and would take roughly 8.25 hours to print. This is a 5-part model not a solid block fyi.

Lascaris26 Jan 2023 8:07 a.m. PST

Ok now I was curious and checked what it would cost to print hexes. I found a basic, interlocking, hex stl file on thingiverse, so no cost for the model. Scaling it to 150mm across, flat edge to flat edge, and 10mm thick, would cost $1.88 USD per tile and take 3'22" to print. So covering my 9' x 6' table would take roughly 216 ($406) tiles as a base layer and, assuming I printed 6/day, take just over a month to print. Obviously if I thinned out the tiles it would take less time, although because you still need solid top and bottom layers half the thickness is more than half the time and material.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP26 Jan 2023 8:24 a.m. PST

I'd look very seriously at Terrain Maker at this point.

Lascaris26 Jan 2023 9:16 a.m. PST

Terrain Maker would certainly be less expensive, especially for flat pieces. The only advantage to printing would be that you could sculpt the base terrain however you want but I'm not sure it would be worth the price differential. I think for buildings or things like ships/vehicles 3D printing is significantly less expensive than the alternatives but probably not for base terrain.

Nick Bowler26 Jan 2023 5:44 p.m. PST

Terrain Maker hexes cost just under 50 cents each. My 3D printed hexes cost about 70 cents each. The 3D printed hexes are a LOT stronger. But also heavier.

My hexes are a slightly different scale than Kallistra's.

1. I use metric measurements.
2. My hexes are 10cm across, 5cm on each side, and 1.5 cm high (so that you can build trenches, rivers, craters, etc.
3. I measure point to point. A hexagon is made of 6 equilateral triangles. If you measure flat to flat you are dealing with triangles that have measurements that are some square root.
4. It took about a month to print enough hexes to do Command and Colors. Cost about $85. USD
5. Flat Hexes are double sided. I have green on one side and desert on the other. So effectively $85 USD for two different terrain sets. Hills and trenches are single sided, so there is an additional cost for those.
6. If I need a new piece, I can just print it out. Which I have done for some custom scenarios.

Pictures of my setup: link

UshCha27 Jan 2023 1:53 a.m. PST

We did try using a mat as the base layer. It failed for us. The key was we used cloth however it needs to be VERY accurate so all the hexes lined up. I marked one out. By the time it was folded away and opened up again it was not exact so was a useless. Now you may fair better with a neoprene mat. The other issue was getting it the right coloure to match the NOCH green Kalistra use, that was never going to be achieved.

Our solution though expensive, is quite good. We use Hexon 6 hax flat as the base board, its about 2 mm thick. We tried using other materials but we never found a material that did not warp once flocked. After several years the Hexon material is still flat.

Personal logo FlyXwire Supporting Member of TMP27 Jan 2023 5:26 a.m. PST

I've made many custom and accurate hex mats printed out on vinyl and fleece.

Two Battle Cry 3D conversions mats here on fleece, that easily take hex hills placed underneath, as an example -

You roll up mats like these -

I don't recommend folding up any mats for storage, or for transporting (with or w/o hexes).

Personal logo Bashytubits Supporting Member of TMP28 Jan 2023 10:09 a.m. PST

Those Fleece mats are very impressive, did you use a template to score the hexes?

Personal logo FlyXwire Supporting Member of TMP28 Jan 2023 11:36 a.m. PST

Thanks Bashytubits!

The hex grid was done digitally, and so it's all part of the image file that's completed on a desired material from the print company.

UshCha29 Jan 2023 1:22 a.m. PST

It does look like neoprene would be a good base for a hex may and possibly if you can get one with matching texture even better. However its probaly not going to be that much cheaper. Good neoprene mats are not that cheap certainly in the UK.

Nick Bowler that is quite a small battlefield.
This is a 6ft by 6ft battlefield so significantly larger and

TMP link

with hills so again a lot more hexes. This is why print your own may not be that viable.

Its interesting about size. Oue own original hex system from cork used 10mm across flats vs Hexon 2 100mm across points. Its in the compromise range between too long to set up vs not enough granularity. Hexon has some vacumed foermed hills which get a bit more granularity at the expence of flexability (they are obviously fixed shapes) but they doo stack well so not too much storage space. Its always been tantalising to consider a modular stacking vac formed system. Storage space would be far less.

Personal logo Yellow Admiral Supporting Member of TMP02 Feb 2023 4:23 p.m. PST

The big problem with neoprene is getting the printed hex grid to match the 3D hex grid (e.g. Hexon or Terrain Maker). A slight incongruity between the cloth and plastic hex sizes adds up across a long hex grain and skews the hex grid. If I were going to use my own plastic or foam hex panels with an underlying mat, I'd probably still want to make the mat by hand so I could guarantee the grid matched my system. Drawing the hex center points instead of corners or edges would help keep the grid better regulated.

- Ix

Personal logo jensutkremp Supporting Member of TMP04 Feb 2023 6:42 a.m. PST

Not in principle, due the Kallistra system is cool.
But as nice addition some printed hexes can help.
I have some 6mm scaled buildings on 100mm hex (Normandysetting in the moment, later Napoleonic, ACW, Europe will come).
Of course the buildings and trees come as single parts, but my idea was, to create hexes incl. roads, trees, buildings and walls.

Printed with Creality CR10 Pro and Anet ET5

greenknight4 Sponsoring Member of TMP04 Feb 2023 7:22 a.m. PST

Nice work. Filament printer correct?

Personal logo jensutkremp Supporting Member of TMP04 Feb 2023 8:27 a.m. PST

Yes. Constructed specially that they will come out fine on FDM printer

UshCha04 Feb 2023 1:47 p.m. PST

I do like the trees but they do seem at their best at 1/133 scale. I think at 1/144 they would take up too much room.

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