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Is It Illegal to 3D Print Warhammer? 5 Important Facts

If you are an avid Warhammer fan, you might have thought about it: would it be worth it to 3D print figures instead of purchasing the “real deal”? After all, there is no noticeable difference, and it is usually much cheaper. However, you must first answer whether printing Warhammer figures is legal.

It is not illegal to 3D print Warhammer game pieces as long as you use them for your own enjoyment and do not try to profit by selling the printed figures. If you choose to 3D print Warhammer figures, just make sure you keep them to yourself.

If you’re printing figures for yourself, all you need to decide is how to get the design file you want to print and how you’re going to go about actually printing the figure. The rest of this article will explain what you need to do to 3D print figures for your Warhammer game-playing in the most legal and ethical way possible.

When Is It Legal to 3D Print Warhammer Figures?

It is legal to 3D print Warhammer figures as long as you don’t try to profit from selling them. You can only use 3D printed figures for your own entertainment when you’re playing with friends and family. You cannot use them for business purposes or in gaming tournaments.

If you try to 3D print and sell your figures, you might get into some serious legal trouble. The reason for this is that the designs of the figures are copyrighted. So, if you try to sell them to others for profit, there’s a chance you might get a complaint or even a lawsuit from the company that produces the originals.

You should also keep in mind that you probably won’t be able to use 3D printed Warhammer models in a gaming tournament, so it might not be worth going through the trouble if that’s your goal.

Why Do Players 3D Print Warhammer Figures?

Warhammer is a popular strategy game that is played with physical figures on a tabletop

terrain. It is very entertaining and requires a lot of skill. Artists design the figures at Game Workshop, which could be costly.

Many players 3D print their Warhammer figures mainly because of their price. They can cost upwards of hundreds of dollars, and they are not available everywhere. So, if you are not able to afford them or cannot find them in your area, you may consider 3D printing your figures instead. 

5 Important Facts To Know Before 3D Printing Warhammer Figures

If you’ve decided to print your Warhammer pieces, here are 5 things you should know to ensure you’re able to do so legally.

1. Creating Your Own Designs is the Most Ethical Option

How do you choose a model to 3D print? Ethically speaking, the best way to 3D print your own figures is first to design them yourself using a CAD (Computer-Aided Design) program.

However, not everyone is a great designer. Other options include getting a design online – however, you should first reach out to the designer and ask if they are okay with you using their creations for your own games. You can also scan an existing piece or use a design without speaking to the creator, but these are more ethically (and maybe even legally) grey options.

2. You Will Likely Need a Good Scanner

A straightforward way to 3D print your own figure would be by scanning an original piece. If you decide to scan an existing figure, you will need a good scanner. There are great mobile

apps that may help you with the process, but it takes some time and effort to make sure you get all the details.

Another option is to buy a 3D scanner. Nowadays, 3D scanners are relatively inexpensive and could prove to be very useful for a multitude of purposes. If picking one up seems like the best choice for you, there are many excellent options to choose from.

If you are scanning an existing figure, you should remember that you are technically liable for copyright infringement. If you don’t try to profit from it, chances are you will never face any consequences. However, scanning is not the way to go if you want to be 100% ethically and legally protected.

3. You Can Find Designs Online

You might not want to scan existing figures. Instead, you may like a different design but find that you’re not skilled at creating your own options. Fortunately, there are thousands of models online, ready for you to 3D print.

Platforms like CultsThingiverseGambody, and others offer a wide range of characters and terrains available to you. Some of them are free, while others can cost up to $50.

Before choosing, make sure you know what you want and what is possible to 3D print. Not all designs on these websites are printable, especially free items, so it might be smart to choose simple, more printable designs.

warhammer figure

4. You Will Need Software to Design Your Own Figures

If you’re a creative type and well versed in digital design, you can try your hand in creating a model yourself. As mentioned, this is the most ethical method of all three – it ensures that you are creating something yourself and are not infringing on an artist’s copyright in any way.

Some programs make it easier for you to create your own 3D printable object. Of course, this process takes time and a lot of effort, but the result is your original work of art, ready to use for whatever purpose you want.

Alternatively, you can also use modeling software, like 3DCoat or ZBrush, to create the figure. These programs can help you design and sculpt any object and shape your desire, though that’s not always easy. You can also look for inspiration elsewhere and create your own version by giving your figure some unique characteristics.

5. You’ll Need to Know How to Use a 3D Printer Before Printing Your Figure

Once you’ve decided to 3D print your Warhammer figures and know what design you’re using, all that is left is actually doing it.

First, you will need to buy (or build) a 3D printer. In today’s market, the cost of 3D printers varies from $400 to $20,000. A cheap one will do the job, but if you want aesthetically pleasing, detailed figures, you might want to invest in a higher-quality printer.

After choosing the design, you have to export (if you designed it yourself) or download the printable file. This will be in a format such as STL or OBJ. These formats can be copied and recreated as many times as you want.

The next step is to choose the material and parameters. You have a lot of materials to choose from; you just need to think about what would work ideally with your figure. Parameters include features like the size of the object and the placement of the material.

Before printing, the last step is importing the file into slicing software, which means creating a specific code that will give the 3D printer all the instructions. Once this is done, you’re finally ready to print your own Warhammer figure.

Final Thoughts

You can 3D print Warhammer models for your entertainment as long as you don’t try to profit from them in any way. You need to be careful how you choose the design you will print and the implications of every choice. Once you’ve selected a design, you will be able to 3D print your very own Warhammer figure.