Sometimes, I imagine going back to early 2000, to meet the little me and to tell him about the crazy future that awaits him. Well, me.
I wonder how the younger me would have reacted, if somebody told me that one day, we will be able to create amazing miniatures at home, just by filling a weird machine with smelling resin and by clicking a button!
Indeed, it sounds like some techno-madness and maybe it is, if we stop a moment to really think about it!
If you hung out on our website, in the last few days, you surely have noticed that the Late Pledge of our latest Kickstarter campaign is officially open, but the most acute observers may have noticed another big change, precisely in our store: there is now a new category of products, the Digital Files!
Following the success of our Mighty Digital Bundle, I've decided to make a try with .stl files also directly on our store, to start a little but crucial digital revolution that will support our main ranges of resin miniatures.
At the moment, I've just put a small number of characters, I want to make things little by little, but I decided also to release a little group of Elves: after all, the backers who pledged for the Mighty Digital Bundle are already printing happily their Elves, so I thought to give the chance to print some Elves also to those that don't want to spend 60€ on the big bundle, and don't want to wait for the high-quality resins, that will come in September.
All our digital files are released pre-supported, thanks to the amazing staff of Atlas3dss, for what I've learned it's an important feature for amateur 3dprinters (please, consider that I'm a total noob, concerning 3d printing. I know the theory, I've cleaned many and many 3dprints, but I've not a direct experience with these futuristic machines!).
I've seen that 3d printing is really adding tons of excitement, in the hobby community, and I honestly have no doubts about the reason: it is not only fascinating but also extremely rewarding!
From a creator point of view, I confess that the whole 3d printing affair is really teasing me, for many reasons.
First of all, I love the immediacy that there is between us, the designers, and you, the final recipients of our efforts.
Normally, between the design part of a new product and the moment when you receive the final product, there is a long journey to take, often full of setbacks and, well...costs!
On the contrary, with 3d printing the connection between the creator and the customer is incredibly short: soon after the design is complete, we are able to see it on your desk!
This is, believe me, truly amazing because it breaks the boundaries between us, allowing us to focus more on designing and expanding our visions, and less on frustrating and expensive sides of our job (just imagine the difference between directly downloading a file, soon after the checkout of your order, and all the work and costs that lie behind a classic delivery of physical products!).
If we will ever be able to replace the classic production, with a system of digital products, without obviously reducing our income, indeed it will be a life-changing revolution for all of us: all the costs invested on the final product (high-quality prototypes, stocks of resin copies, shipment materials like boxes etc), could be re-directed in the development of new sculpts and projects! After some math, I calculated that at the cost of a single product made for a classic physical distribution, I would be able to make 3 products designed for a digital release only.
And that, without thinking about all the hours that we spend, checking one by one every resin miniatures to detach fails, or the parcels that go lost during the shipment and need to be replaced, or the raw amount of time that we spend materially preparing the shipments!
Indeed, we are possibly facing a life-changing revolution, at least in our market.
Yet, despite I will have almost only pros, by skipping from physical products to digital ones, I can't help but...feeling kinda reluctant, about quitting the production of resin miniatures.
It's true: it's tricky, time-consuming and expensive (let alone the environmental impact of a classic distribution of physical products!), but I'm insanely attached to the romantic side of this hobby.
Of course, the first reason for keeping alive the production of resin miniatures is that not all hobbyists have a good quality 3d printer at home, we are still far from being part of the techno-autarchy, but I'm talking about something that goes beyond the logic approach.
I think that our hobby is strictly connected with emotions, especially those who belong to our childhood. 3d printing maybe it's the future, and will surely help a lot the small manufacturers like us, but I think that there is something special in going to a store in searching for a miniature to catch our creativity and start a new project, or in unboxing our brand new box of miniatures.
Moreover, at this exact moment, domestic 3d printers can't reach the highest levels reached by professional ones (that are still super expensive!), so I prefer to keep a range of our products that is made with the highest quality available in the market.
We spend a lot of time on every detail of our sculpts, and I want you to see them in all their glory. Of course, if you are happy with how your 3d printer works, that's fine: domestic 3d printing really can revolutionize our hobby (for example, think about how many possibilities you have, just by re-scaling the scenic accessories or directly the characters, without considering the possibility of printing as many copies as you want, at the only cost of the resin and electricity).
But, if I can be brutally honest with you, I want you to have the chance to buy my products also at a quality level that simply your 3d printer won't achieve.
I like to imagine that, when you get one of our boxes full of our Dwarves, you will smile, thinking "well, this is quality!". Or at least, I'm constantly working to improve DPF that way.
I will talk about 3d printing more in some next blog posts, especially for what I have in mind concerning the game I'm developing, and above all I think you've reached your maximum level of tolerance of my potato English, so I think it's enough for today.
Let me know in the comments your opinion about 3d printing and what you expect from us, or maybe some suggestions of a possible way to make your hobby happier, with digital files!