Future of Gaming: Origo 3D Printer

Came across this last night:  Origo an inexpensive 3D printer in development by a couple of really smart guys.  The intent is to create an easy to use, ‘affordable’ 3D printer for around $800.  It’s being marketed as an educational toy for adolescents to excercise their creativity.  But when I saw it my first thought was “Cool, I could make my own miniatures!”  And 3D tile sets, terrain, dungeon dressings and the like.

The items made by the printer appear to be rather blocky and pixelated.  I’m not sure if that’s a limitation of the printer technology, a limitation of 3DTin (used to make the models for the printer), or because most of the sample items I’ve seen were designed by children…maybe it’s a combination of all three.  Still, I can see the potential here.

While $800 is certainly more affordable than the $1,700 3D printers I’ve seen on Amazon, it’s still not in the hobbiest price range yet.  For 800 bucks I could buy a whole mess of professionally designed miniatures, and a load of 3D dungeon sets from Dwarven Forge to boot.

But I can foresee a day in the not-too-distant future when the Origo, or something like it, really will be a household appliance, as common as a desk jet printer, and possibly even marketed the same way (at or below cost, making their profit on the sale of the plastic stuff used as ‘toner’ by the printer).  When that day comes, I think smart miniature makers will have to shift to, or at least offer, 3D model versions of their creations for customers to download and ‘print’ themselves.  Big-time miniature wargame companies, like Games Workship, probably won’t like that a bit, but it could give smaller miniature makers a leg up, and eventually reduce overall costs for the consumer.

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