I love 3D printing and have printed many things on my 3D printer. A common question people ask when first getting into 3D printing is whether it’s possible to 3D print anime characters. Based on my experience and that of other people who have been 3D printing for some time here’s what I found.
It’s possible to 3D print anime figures. A 3D printer can easily print anime figures, and there are many free anime 3D print files available online. They are downloaded, sliced using software, and then sent to a 3D printer to print. They can be printed with a hobbyist filament or resin 3D printer.
Below, I will describe how much it costs to print anime figures using a 3D printer, what 3D printers will work to print anime figures, as well as, whether you can print other figures for Warhammer 40k, and D&D.
So, you’re now aware that you can print anime figures, but is it worth it, and what’s involved?
To 3D print anime figures you need:
- A hobbyist 3D printer or better
- The design files
- Filament or resin
- A computer and slicing software – slicing software is free
3D printers can be broken down broadly into hobbyist models and industrial-grade models. Industrial 3D printing factories can use far bigger and elaborate 3D printers. But, it’s not necessary to get an expensive 3D printer to 3D print anime figures.
One of the most popular 3D printers is the Creality Ender 3. They are priced at about $250 depending on where you get it. An Ender 3 is perfectly fine for printing high-quality anime figures that look amazing.
On top of the difference between an industrial and hobbyist 3D printer, there are also resin and filament 3D printers. Both are priced the same, but, resin 3D printers print in better detail, and the 3D prints you make look better.
Filament 3D printed objects look fine, and you won’t be disappointed with a filament 3D printer. The one drawback of resin 3D printers is the cost of materials is higher than a filament 3D printer. But, all things considered, it’s still not that expensive. I’ll provide a full cost breakdown further below.
To 3D print anime figures, you need a 3D print design which comes in the form of a file that you download to your computer and then copy it to your 3D printer. There are many free files that users have submitted on websites such as Thingiverse.
You can find Pokemon, Bleach, Naruto, and My Neighbour Totoro files for free. But, less well-known anime generally aren’t there.
You can design any anime character you like. But, it does take a bit of learning and practice before you can do it.
Filament or resin is the material that a 3D print is made out of. These are both easily available to buy online or in stores.
A computer is needed to process the 3D print files, and to send them to your 3D printer. Many people wonder what kind of computer you need, and the answer is nothing too fancy. In this article, I summarized what computer you need for 3D printing[put link to article].
On top of that, you need slicing software, which formats the design file in a way your 3D printer understands. One of the most popular is Cura, which is free.
Now, you know about everything you need to 3D print anime figures, how do you actually do it? It’s actually surprisingly simple. You find an anime figure you want to print on one of the many websites online, then you download it to your computer.
After that, you open it in your slicing software, which will prepare it for your 3D printer. Finally, you send it to your 3D printer or put it onto an SD card, and then plug the SD card into your 3D printer and begin printing.
Since I’ve 3D printed a lot of objects I have a good idea about what it costs to print various sized objects. So, here’s how much it costs to 3D print an anime figure.
On average, it costs $0.20 cents to print a 2 to 3 inch (5 cm to 7.6 cm) tall anime figurine. The main cost is the material used to print it. The electricity cost is very negligible and only costs 1 to 2 cents per figure. This does not take into account the cost to buy the 3D printer itself.
Here’s a table that shows a breakdown of the costs involved in 3D printing an anime figurine:
|Expense||Price of a Chess Piece Sized Mini|
|Filament||$0.06 (2.5g of filament)|
|Margin for error for failed prints, and wasted filament||$0.01|
|Time to print||30 minutes|
It takes on average 30 minutes to 1 hour to print a 2 to 3 inch (5 cm to 7.6 cm) tall anime figure depending on how detailed it is.
If it doesn’t have much detail, for example, a Pokeball – which is smooth, and is very simple it can print faster.
Whereas, a Charizard or a Bleach character has much more detail to it, which requires the 3D printer to do more back and forth motions which takes more time. But, a good rule of thumb is about an hour give or take.
I’ve found it’s pretty much required to paint 3D printed anime figures. So, then how do you do it?
3D anime figures can be painted with regular acrylic paint you can buy at art stores or online. Before painting it, it’s best to fill in any imperfections using a poly filler, sand the surface using fine sandpaper, and spray it with primer.
Primer makes the paint stick better and creates a better end result. Here’s a good video I found that shows exactly how it’s done. The higher quality the acrylic paint is, the better the end result. But, fairly cheap acrylic paints still look good.
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