NASA is obsessed with them. Elon Musk thinks they’re awesome. And the gamers in your life just might have spent countless hours with them. They’re Kerbals, intrepid space explorers — and they only come to life on Shapeways.
Jebediah Kerman on IVA by Kerbal Space Program 3D Prints
Kerbal Space Program is a game that invites players to design spacecraft, pilot missions, and explore new worlds. Based firmly on real-world physics, complex engineering challenges, and principles of spaceflight, few games have managed to combine science and lovable characters — the Kerbals themselves — in such a delightful way. Luckily, the Kerbals’ creators have chosen to offer 3D printed versions of the Kerbonauts and their worlds in vivid full color sandstone, exclusively on Shapeways.
You keep them in a special pouch. You imbue them with luck to protect you from eldritch powers. And, you definitely mind when others ask to use them. Dice are a game lover’s secret sauce. So, as we celebrate all the ways our loved ones Geek Out this holiday season, we’re highlighting some of the most uniquely beautiful dice we’ve seen, by one of our community’s most prolific gaming designers, Chris Vos of Tiny Tokens.
His D20 Balanced Gaming Die, as featured in the Gamemaster collection in our Holiday Gift Guide, is designed in the visual style of the Kaladesh Magic the Gathering expansion. Its unusual artistry is sure to set apart anyone lucky enough to own it. As a regular D20 die, this piece works for Dungeons and Dragons, Pathfinder, and other RPGs. A spindown version that can be used as a life counter is also available.
D20 Balanced Gaming Die by Tiny Tokens
And, if you’re looking to spoil your favorite gamemaster, the Starry Gaming Die Set below will set them up for whatever the game’s adventures bring.
‘Starry’ Gaming Die Set: D20, D12, D10, D8, D6, D4 by Tiny Tokens
3D printing has allowed for an explosion in creativity in the world of game design, resulting in intricately detailed collectors’ items like Chris Vos’ creations — perfect gifts for players who want to stand out from the crowd.
This week, we’re celebrating the many ways that Shapeways lets us geek out this holiday season, whether it’s by creating (and gifting) D&D game pieces or developing arcade game mods. Jady Swinkels’ shop Swinks is a perfect example of how a designer is using 3D printing in innovative ways to do just that — creating accessories and modifications for pinball machines. We wanted to find out more about how this pinball wizard got his start.
Congo Pinball Hippo (Schleich 14681) Mount by Swinks
How did you become interested in pinball machines?
I was part of the era in the ’80s when there were pinball machines in the arcades near the movie cinemas and fish & chip shops here in Australia, and I really enjoyed playing them. Then, in 2010, I discovered that lots of people bought them for their homes, so I purchased my first game.
Over the last six years I have bought eight different games, but at the moment I’m back down to two games, which are the first two games I purchased. The first was a 1976 Gottlieb Surf Champ, a surfing pinball game, and the second was a 1992 Bally Creature from the Black Lagoon which has great art and is a fun game with a cool drive-in movie theme in which I have produced many different custom designs for.
How do you determine the types of accessories and add-ons to create?
Custom accessories in the pinball world are known as pinball modifications (shortened to “mods”). They’re accessories that enhance a feature of a game that it could be lacking, usually by adding a 3D touch or more character. Many people like to personalize their own games with mods. I strive to design a mod that has a purpose and looks cool, but is fairly simple to install. A good mod is one where people are wowed by it and comment that the game should have had the mod as a standard feature when the game was made, though this is personal and hard to achieve as everyone is different. A good mod is also one that is removable and allows the game to be reassembled back to original if desired.
Then there’s another side to pinball parts, which is that older games often suffer from having no parts available anymore due to stock running out and then not being remade. So, in some cases, fellow pinheads have asked if I can help them out with a replacement part. I like to help them and others where possible to keep an old game playable — it’s rewarding.
How personalized or custom-designed can one make a pinball machine?
Some people like their games to stay stock/original. Others like to personalize it with a few quality features, and some like to fill it up. It really is a personal taste thing, and that’s the great thing about pinball mods: there is variety out there. Currently, at a rough guess, there are probably 40-50 people around the world designing quality pinball mods, each with a unique flare or game preference, from older games to newly released games and certain themes. Some specialize in casting, others in decals, and some experiment with 3D printed parts while others prefer machining parts. Some games are really popular for mods, and people could spend above and beyond $2k on mod accessories for their games when a game itself costs $5-6k.
CFTBL Tail Light Mod – Tail Light Lens by Swinks
Are there any modifications you’re particularly proud of?
Custom Flipper Bats are one of my cool designs as traditionally pinball machines have a cast, one-piece fixed-length bat. I wanted to approach it differently. Traditionally, the bat’s post passes through the playfield and is fastened to a mechanism. For a beginner, it’s a component that stays in there for years as the bats are awkward and sort of a pain to change out. My solution has 3 benefits:
It’s still is a pain to change out the first time, but now the bats can be swapped out in a few minutes instead of an hour for a beginner, all without lifting the playfield due to the designed-in square drive .
People can put in standard-length bats, shorter ones to make a game harder, or longer ones to make a game easier.
People can customize with custom colors or features.
Designer Jady Swinkels of Swinks
Check out Jady’s shop and see the way he’s totally pimping out people’s pinball machines with his custom modifications. If you’re a pinhead, leave a comment here and let us know of your dream mod!
The Teams gather at Fat Cat Fab lab and prepare to playtest and judge the final games.
With only 48 hours to complete the games, teams of game designers raced against the clock to conceptualize, prototype, playtest and iterate on their designs. To meet the challenging deadline set, teams had access to all the tools and materials the fab lab provides. These include multiple 3D printers (provided by Ultimaker), a laser cutter, a wood shop and a table full of cards and paper.
Close up of a Grimm Task by the Doomsday bunnies. Parts created on laser cutter and 3D printed
By working in small groups to quickly iterate a game concept, we could quickly move through prototypes to a final game product. Without the support of the group or the access to technology, this would be much more difficult. Getting together with a group of like-minded game designers gave us the ability to share feedback and test hypothesizes around game mechanics and figure out how to use digital manufacturing process to create unique game pieces.
Playtesting the Winners of the competition: Wraith of Heaven by team Lazerdog
With a hard deadline fast approaching, the massive advantage that 3D printing provides quickly became clear: Using 3D printing game designers could prototype very advanced mechanics quickly and with ease. “Greener Pastures” included a fully functional catapult. Landfall Saga had modular shapes to control the fall of ball bearings. These ideas simply couldn’t have been executed this quickly without 3D printing.
Playing the spinning Bedtime Frenzy by Fractal Attack
Check out this incredible marble rolling game of Landfall Saga by Zack Freeman
Finally, every group was given Shapeways credit to make a final version of their models to be playtested again at the 20 Sided Store in Brooklyn and displayed at the Ultimaker exhibit space at Maker Faire in early October. Through quick iteration in a group of creative game designers, each game can grow and potentially be shared via a Shapeways shop or Kickstarter project.
Team Doomsday Bunnies shows of our game, soon to be in a store near you!
Photographer: Eric Anderson Model/actor: Marisha Ray
Ng recently unveiled her newest project, the Sovereign Armor. After the Dreamer Regalia armor Ng started to consider how she could take her design to the next level. When she launched it with Felicia and Shapeways, it sparked a lot of discussion around design, craft, gender and the functionality of artwork. She came away with two new concepts to explore; first to show the public that 3D printing is a craft that requires hard work and creativity, and second to show that even decorative armor for women doesn’t need to follow the gender stereotypes of fantasy and video games.
Sanding the raw Elasto Plastic
In her blog Ng explains “A lot of people also still think that 3D printing does all the work for you…it doesn’t. Even so, there were debates on whether I actually had to do “real work” since I use 3D printing as part of my process to create intricate and complex pieces. “
Spray painting the primed Elasto Plastic
To show the work that went into this project, she outlines in detail the total hours it took to create her masterpiece: over 518 hours (not including the time it took Shapeways to manufacture). As she did last project, she breaks down the steps it took and clearly demonstrates the care and artistic skill it took to conceive, design and post process the armor into its final form. Ng chose to print everything in Elasto Plastic due to its additional flexibility. After printing she polished and painted the armor, then added fabric and LED lights.
While exposing the craft and labor that went into the armor, Ng started to question the implications of aesthetics and functionality of the work.
Testing the motion of the historically based armor design
“there still seems to be an overwhelming belief that fantasy armor that doesn’t have actual breasts just “isn’t sexy,” “isn’t showing off those feminine curves enough” or “doesn’t help people easily identify that she’s a woman.” I know this is just my opinion but how are the below images not badass??”
Melissa Ng was armed with a sense that her next project had to not just be beautiful but achieve a sense of meaning through functionality, that the armor was meant for a warrior to defend herself and not just be visually pleasing for a male audiance. Ng started to research traditional armor making techniques and discovered an expert in the medieval craft: Ian LaSpina, a youtuber who goes by Knyght Errant. She contacted him and he agreed to be her armor consultant.
Comparing the Dreamer Regalia and Sovereign armors
“Knyght Errant’s Youtube channel and website offers easily digestible content that explores medieval history, armor, armor maintenance, and various types of armor attire and undergarments. His channel and website are an amazing source of inspiration and knowledge that’s perfect for the complete medieval armor beginner, cosplayer, costume maker, and anyone interested in getting an intro to historical armor design and expanding their visual library.
Testing the Gloves and LED lights for the armor
Ian was kind enough to review my design progress every step of the way through Sketchfab’s 3D viewer to ensure I didn’t make any impractical armor components that might inhibit the wearer’s movement or…y’know…end up harming the wearer instead, haha (I’m looking at you, dangerously spiky pauldrons!! )”
This weekend I went to Gen Con 2016 in Indianapolis. The largest convention for boardgames, tabletop wargaming, role playing games and all manner of cosplay and geek culture. People worldwide descended on the Indianapolis convention center for 4 days of gaming, exhibitions, films and revelry.
Shapeways was introduced to the Gen Con community years ago when several of our makers started using 3D printing to make dice, game pieces and miniatures to bring their video games to life in the physical world. Being on the exhibition floor was almost overwhelming to see the vast number of ways 3D Printing could be used to expand the gaming experience. Vendors, Game Designers and artists cover the floor showing off their newest games and prototypes. My gamer self was in creative overload! I will try to keep this short and share my top, top favorites…
Some of my favorite miniatures are from Wraith of Kings by Cool Mini’s or Not.
Miniature painters were all over the floor showing of their techniques. For example I love this lighting effect of this glowing sword by James Wappel.
Impressed by the quality of painted figures on the floor, I decided to try my own hand at it in the paint and take area, where we were generously given free figurines and a paintbrush by Gencon.
I also attended to a workshop by David Dresch who gave some expert advice on how to create terrain for wargaming tables. Here’s my work in progress of adding grass and dirt below.
Naturally Gencon is all about gaming, and I got the opportunity to play numerous great Role Playing games including Dungeons and Dragons. Here’s a scene from a short and fun campaign where we save christmas from being ruined by the minions of Cthulhu, featuring Dwarvenite Game Tiles terrain shown by Dwarven Forge.
But of course, Gen Con is all about meeting cool and colorful new people. Whether they are in awesome cosplay costumes as your favorite video game characters, acting in a 6 hour LARP quest or just goofing around with some D20 dice, Gen Con was a blast to make new friends. The best part about Gen Con is the way it brings the gaming community together to play and be creative.
What games do you play? Do you use 3D printing to make your game pieces? Are you making your own game? Let us know in the comments below!
Imagine this scenario: You booked your flight too late and got stuck with a middle seat. You’ve got four more hours to kill but your phone is going to die and the inflight movie isn’t your cup of tea. The guy in front of you is snoring loud enough to drown out some of the noise from the crying baby sitting behind you. The good news is you planned ahead and brought some awesome 3D printed puzzles and games to keep you occupied until you’re safely back on the ground.
1: Flight boarding? Time to kick boredom to curb with board games! If you’re traveling with a friend, why not challenge them to a scholarly game of chess? This ultra convenient, credit card sized chess set can provide hours of fun.
Credit Card Chess Set by Innovo
2: Wear your entertainment. Then wear this crazy cool steel puzzle that fits on your finger. Once you solve the puzzle you can put it back on.
Holistic Ring metal by Oskar_van_Deventer
3: If you need a real head scratcher, try this horseshoe ring puzzle. The hours will fly by.
Horse Shoe and Ring puzzle by stop4stuff
4: Here is our final portable puzzle of this list, The Superstrings Cube. The puzzle gets bonus points for bold colors and convenient sizing for carry ons.
Superstrings by richgain
5: Given the hours you’ve got in the air, this could be a great opportunity to start a role playing campaign with the passengers next to you. Roll a critical hit in this clever, foldable mini Dice tower.
A dungeon or game master is nothing without his dice. One roll can make or break a game, deciding whether a character defeats a dragon or gets roasted to cinders by it. You can’t trust these matters of fate to just any dice. You need a set with character.
#1 For the prickliest of GM’s we recommend the Thorn Dice Set by CeramicWombat. Though they look sharp, the maker says they won’t scratch tables.
#2 The “Twined’ Dice Gaming Die Set in steel by Foxworks have been crafted to ensure that each die is “fair and well balanced” for unbiased throws.
#3 For those who prefer a lighter weight die, Figurebang D20 Bone Dice are made “from the littlest finger bones of only the luckiest elven children.” Well not really, actually they are 3D printed in white plastic with a smooth white finish, ready for hand painting if you prefer.
With dice like these, you’re practically guaranteed to come out the victor. Want to see more? Check out dice crafted by makers from all over the world.
International Table Top Day is right around the corner and we wanted to curate some of the coolest 3D printed products on Shapeways designed by community members to help you take your table top gaming to the next level this year. Whether you’re into RPGs or card games, these 3D prints are sure to impress your family and friends.
We have a very active and engaged tabletop gaming community on Shapeways and you can always explore more tabletop game inspired designs on our game category on Shapeways. What are some of your favorite table top games to play? Let us know in a comment below or feel free to tweet at us @Shapeways on Twitter.
One of the best things about 3D printing is that you can create incredibly unique pieces that you aren’t able to find anywhere else. This really comes in handy when you need to find the perfect gift for a friend who has very particular tastes. Many of us know (or are!) someone who considers themselves a “gamer,” and while most people think of video games when they hear that term we actually imagine a whole other group of people – the tabletop gamers! From card games to board games, there is plenty fun to be had with these 3D printed game accessories. Find something special for the gamer in your life!
Game week continues and the game of the day is 3D Printed Puzzles. Whether it’s mazes or Rubik cubes, puzzles are the ultimate brainteasers. Add 3D printing to the mix and you get super innovative puzzles that wouldn’t be possible with traditional manufacturing methods.
You can find a large selection of 3D printed puzzles on our puzzles page here and have a look at a few of these unique 3D printed puzzles that can be found on Shapeways.
Game week continues and the 3D printed game of the day is Minecraft. We’re sure there are many Shapies out there who have played Minecraft or knows someone who is addicted to Minecraft. Minecraft is one of the most creative and fascinating computer games out there where there are no specific goals or objectives; Minecraft is complete creative freedom to build, create, and do whatever you want. Minecraft is essentially your sandbox where you have the freedom of creation using three-dimensional objects.
It’s no coincidence that people would be interested in bringing their awesome Minecraft creations to life and Shapeways provides a platform for users to do so with 3D printing. The free program Mineways makes it easy to select a model from a Minecraft world map, render it, and 3D print via Shapeways. Also check out Eric’s Mineways Shapeways Shop for examples of incredible Minecraft 3D prints. You can also turn your Minecraft character into real life using the Minetoys app here.
Do you have a Minecraft creation that will blow our minds? Share a snapshot with us by tweeting us @Shapeways.
How does a Minecraft player get his exercise? He runs around the block…
Game week continues and todays 3D Printed game features the Kerbal Space Program. KSP is a interactive computer game where players can manage and create their own space station. It’s a fun game where a crew of Kerbals need to build a spacecraft and fly into space, the moon, and other planets.
If you’re a gamer this is a game worth checking out and with 3D printing, KSP were able to turn these digital green characters into physical figures which you can own. Check out some of the KSP 3D Prints and their shop on Shapeways.
Have you played the Kerbal Space Program before or own one of these popular 3D prints? Tweet us a photo to @Shapeways and show us your Kerbal love.
Watch Scott Manleys video review of a 3D printed Kerbal from Shapeways here.
Game week continues and todays 3D Printed game of the week is dice. Whether you’re playing Monopoly, Magic The Gathering, or Dungeons & Dragons; dice play a essential role to the experience. Did you know that this week marked the 40th anniversary of the popular RPG game Dungeons & Dragons? Lets commemorate 40 Years of D&D with 40 3D Printed dice!
Here are just a few examples of awesome 3D Printed dice to help you take your gaming to the next level. To see more check out our Pinterest board or Dice featured page.