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How to 3D Print forward march miniatures

This step-by-step guide explains the 3D printing process.

3D printing can seem intimidating at first, but it is actually very simple.  If you don't have your own 3D printer, you will need to use a 3D printing hub.


The instructions below explain how to print an entire 1 : 1 scale model army of Forward March Miniatures from the website www.treatstock.com . Treatstock is currently one of the best options for cheap, dependable printing by hobbyists.  There are many, many other options available, such as www.3dhubs.com .  No matter which hub you choose, the format will be similar.


Just follow the instructions below and you'll be printing out vast armies in no time!

Why 3D prinitng?

By making our models available as 3D printing files, we allow you to print off as many figures as you want, anywhere in the world.  This means you don't pay for shipping or any overhead associated with traditional model soldiers (which are reflected in the price you pay).  This model also gives you access to the very competitive pricing environemnt of 3D printing hubs.  This results in a final product that is much cheaper for you, the customer than metal figures.


If you wan to get more in-depth information about 3D printing technology, check out this explanation:  https://www.makeuseof.com/tag/beginners-guide-3d-printing/

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Step one

Go to Treatstock.com

The first step to turning your Forward March Studios files into physical copies is to go to the website of your 3D printer service.  As described above, we are using www.treatstock.com .


Click the option that says "upload 3D models."  It will prompt you to upload the files from your computer.

Tip:

You'll need to download the models from the Forward March Studios Library before you can print them.  Click the red button below for instructions on how to do that.

How to Purchase and Download the forward march studios library
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Step two

Upload your files

After you choose the models you want to print, they will be placed in a list for your review.  You can add as many files as you want to your order, and adjust the number of prints you want of each.  Here, we are printing off enough files to make a small corps of Napoleonic infantry at 1:1 scale.  This is more than enough models to game on an 8' x 6' table.


Each infantry unit will have three bases (for 450 troops per battalion; campaign strength) and each cavalry regiment will have four bases (200 figures per regiment; definitely campaign strength!).  

Tip

It is a good idea to plan out your army ahead of time so that you know exactly what figures you'll need.  It is also a good idea to order an extra or two, just in case something gets damaged during shipping.

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STEp three

Choose a Printing Service

Now that you have uploaded your files, you will see a list of price quotes from different 3D printing companies.  This also illustrates nicely how a hub works.  You'll notice that the price for this order is only $18.26 USD for an entire army corps.  You should always hunt for bargains when selecting a printer.   Printers often provide bulk discounts as well.


You will also note, on the left hand side of the screen, options for materials.  This topic is somewhat beyond the scope of these instructions, but here is some brief advice:


PLA:  This is the classic fillament material that you probably think about when you think about 3D printers.  PLA is used on fused deposition modelling ("FDM") printers.  The other filament type is ABS.  PLA is preferential for printing our miniatures.  It is cheap and durable for table-top use.  


There are two sizes of fillament generally used in FDM printers:  100 microns and 200 microns.  This size refers to the height of the layers used to build up the models.  100 micron prints will have less obvious layering.  Generally, you should use 100 microns for the figures, and 200 microns for buildings.  If you want to go very cheap you can always print everything in 200 microns.  It is recommended that you NOT use 300 microns for any of our models.  Click here for an indepth discussion of this topic:  https://www.desktop3dprinter.com/news/creat3d-3d-printing-tips-microns-layer-height-resolution-explained.html .


Resin:  More expensive than PLA, but greater accuracy. Also, you will not get layers in your prints.


SLS:  The most expensive option, but almost indestructible.   FMS miniatures were originally designed for SLS printers, but FDM technology has improved so much while coming down in cost that SLS are no longer as attractive an option as it once was.


After you select your printing service, you'll be prompted ot put in your address and payment information.  Once you do that, you just wait to receive your models.



TIP

Many 3D printers, especially FDM printers, will have a "high detail" setting.  Printers often recommend this setting when printing the models in the FMS Library.  This is good advice, but it will be slightly more expensive because the settings slow down the printer.  It might be a good idea to bring this up to the printer in the "instructions" box when you put in your order.  Most of the buildings should not need the high detail settings, but defer to your printer on these issues. 

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Step four

Follow up with your printer

The printers on www.treatstock.com are very professional and financially interested in making you a happy customer.  You'll have the ability to directly communicate with the person who is printing your order.  Be sure to provide feedback, especially if you are happy with how the prints turn out.  If you go back to the same printer for another purchase, be sure to reference your prior purchase and tell them to use the same settings as before, to guarantee that you will get the same product.  

Tip

It is often a good idea to order a few test models from a printer before committing to a large run of figures.  This ensures that you'll get prints of the exact quality you want.  Printers are willing to provide photos, but in my experience they often use camera phones to take these pictures, which isn't optimal for a quality check.