3D question

In the case where a figure is designed for gaming (ie; 28 mm), but is also available printed in larger scales/sizes, does the printing quality look chunky and exaggerated in the larger size? I’ve seen many examples of figures on Etsy which are typically 28 - 30 mm, but are also available in a variety of bigger sizes (54 - 70 mm) - are they worth ordering?
:grin: :canada:

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Usually no. The details would be not be as sharp. Of course, there can be exceptions.

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It depends on whether they made different CAD models to suit the detail level of each scale. You need to ask them - if the answer is “yes” you’re OK, but if they use the same CAD then the bigger model will look very plain with poor chunky detail. Best pop them an email before ordering…

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I did this once on ETSY and the figure came out very smooth in appearance. It looks like a statue for your backyard…something the ancient Greeks or Romans would sculpt from a single block of rock as there are no undercuts, parts, or separations. The gun was molded onto the hands and look like it was chiseled from a single rock. The details weren’t loss, just that it doesn’t look like a model figure kit with sharp edges, overhangs, overlaps, or anything to border. I would have preferred the gun to be separate because it looks like it was welded to the hands with no line to separate the gun from the armored gloves.

You have to check first to see if the proportions are correct. Mine was…it looks like an armored Sci-Fi trooper, but it also looks like a fixed-pose action figure…very toylike. It was fun to paint, but realistically, I would prefer it to have separate parts.

How it will turn out depends on how crisp those CAD images are. My print turned out excellent scaled up, but again, I got a statue appearance when I wanted something with way more edges (the edges were rounded), crispness, and model kit looking.

So it depends on what you want and are after. If you want a single-mold and printed 28mm gaming piece scaled up to 75mm, then it should be fine…ask the seller if any detail is lost when enlarged. But if you want a figure kit that is 75mm and looks like a model figure kit, then best to buy 3D figures that come in parts that you have to assemble.


Concur with other comments. The short answer is “it depends”.

The long answer is that it depends on several factors including the features of the original CAD file, if the figure was designed to be optimized for a certain scale, whether or not it was designed to meet the specifications of certain printers and/or certain resins.

Some designs for figures and models are indeed optimized for printing at a certain scale. If enlarged or reduced in scale, the figure or model can suffer from print degradation. In other words, if enlarged, some features may look clunky. If reduced, some features may disappear.

All 3D printers and 3D-printing resins are not created equal. If a design has been optimized to meet the requirements of a certain printer or resin, it may not print well if done on other printers or in other resins.

As others have said, contact the designer and ask.

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Another question: I’ve seen where 3D designers just sell their STL files that they have created for anywhere between $5 and $100. Does that make the buyer the new owner of that file? The buyer (printer) prints out the item by the dozens and typically sells each of them for multiple times the cost of the original file. I haven’t seen any restrictions on the use of the files by the designer. Is the printer obligated to declare who the original designer was, or can he just put his own brand on it? Does the designer receive any kind of royalty, or compensation, for each item sold by the printer? It would seem he (the designer) is getting little pay for most of the work!
:grin: :canada:

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You put your finger on the problem! There are laws in most countries about copyright etc, but unless they are enforced they are useless. So at the moment the designer could well be throwing away their hard work if the buyer decides to abuse the rules. One of the reasons why I’ll never put any of my CADs up for download!

And even if you do get an agreement with the buyer, there is never enough cash to compensate for the hours - it’s best approached as a labour of love…

Copyright or plagerism laws should apply here just as they would to the illegal reuse of a photograph or someone’s written work.

(I could be mistaken here as any new technology tends to operate ahead of the laws that might serve to control and regulate it.)

But if the designer is selling his/her file, without restriction, doesn’t it now belong to whoever buys it, to do with it what he/she wants? There are several outlets on Etsy, Aliexpress, and elsewhere, selling the same items, obviously from the same STL file/designer at varying prices. It would seem the designer is willfully selling his/her work and not caring what the buyer does with it. This not just a case of piracy/copyright stealing/intellectual theft, where a metal Andrea figure is copied as resin and sold from China. There are printers worldwide - Canada, USA, and Europe - who purchase the STL files and sell the same items.
:grin: :canada:

It all depends on the terms the designer set when offering the CAD/STL for sale. If they said “personal use only” or “only one copy” then they should still have control, but even if they didn’t they still hold intellectual copyright and must be identified as the designer.

Bear in mind not all outlets actually print the stuff they sell - Etsy for example is used by some Shapeways designers as a sales platform, but it is Shapeways that does the printing once you buy from the designer’s Etsy shopfront. So the same guy can offer his work through a number of platforms that all come back to him, with only one place doing the production. (I know one who offers on Etsy & Ebay, then orders the prints from SW in bulk, before shipping them out from his home. It allows him to QC the items before they ship…) But without a specific case to study there are too many possibilities for us to generalize. And we haven’t even touched on China’s views on owner’s rights once they have a copy of the STL!

sometimes the seller does not specify because the sales site itself imposes rules, other times at the time of purchase it must be specified whether it is for personal use or for commercial use, in any case I have never seen a file with a copy limit , for personal use you can print as many copies as you want as long as you don’t sell them, I printed files for third parties who had bought the file without having a printer and since the work was for a group of people (gel blaster club) I simply contacted the guy who did the file and gave him a cut of the profit…all happily ever after

Hi Leo,
So whether the buyer of the 3D printable STL or OBJ file can engage in commercial activities or anything else other than personal use depends on what license is attached with the purchase.

This is somewhat of a new area of regulations b/c obviously, 3D technology is relatively new as compared to let’s say written materials, music, and movies for which the copyright laws were originally invented. I was an IP attorney 12 years ago, and things have changed a lot since then. When I started selling 3D prints and making my own CADs, I had to do some research on this arena b/c I was simply ignorant about it and it was quite different from trademarks or patents I was familiar with.

The most common digital license for these media is called Creative Commons. When you buy or download 3D CAD files, you may see these license types on the webpage. This is going to be long so please get ready if you’re willing to read further.

Creative Commons licenses have several levels of attribution requirements - depending on what the designer provided and what attribution to the original designer is necessary.
Sourced from Wikipedia:

License name Abbreviation Icon Attribution required Allows remix culture Allows commercial use Allows Free Cultural Works Meets the OKFOpen Definition
Attribution BY CC-BY icon Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Attribution-ShareAlike BY-SA CC-BY-SA icon Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Attribution-NonCommercial BY-NC CC-by-NC icon Yes Yes No No No
Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike BY-NC-SA CC-BY-NC-SA icon Yes Yes No No No
Attribution-NoDerivatives BY-ND CC-BY-ND icon Yes No Yes No No
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives BY-NC-ND CC-BY-NC-ND icon Yes No No No No

Zero / public domain (View source for Creative Commons license - Wikipedia)

Stuff you find in thangs.com are mostly in the public domain.

“CC0” redirects here. Not to be confused with CCO (disambiguation).

CC zero public domain dedication tool logo.[36]

Creative Commons Public Domain Mark. Indicates works which have already fallen into (or were given to) the public domain.

Tool name Abbreviation Icon Attribution required Allows remix culture Allows commercial use Allows Free Cultural Works Meets the OKFOpen Definition
“No Rights Reserved” CC0 CC0 icon No Yes Yes Yes Yes

It can be a bit tricky and hard to find but need to figure out and read the stipulations when downloading or buying. As a newbie, I had forgotten to attribute the original designer a few times on this Forum.

Then there’s Fair Use Doctrine, which allows uses of copyrighted material for certain situations, such as for educational purposes and satire. Not going to get into the legalese behind it.

So when you see a copyright indication or some sort of use restriction, instead of Creative Commons license or some other form of royalty free license, you have to be very careful.
Certain prohibited uses may mount to copyright infringement, which is when a copyrighted work is reproduced, distributed, performed, publicly displayed, or made into a derivative work without the permission of the copyright owner.

As opposed to trademark infringement, which is the unauthorized use of a trademark (e.g. brand name, model name, logo, etc.) or service mark on or in connection with goods and/or services in a manner that is likely to cause confusion, deception, or mistake about the source of the goods and/or services. I do not think it applies to 3D files.

Now let me discuss my personal take on this instead of talking about legalese.

I have sold my STL files to other modelers, traded with some, and gave away some for free also even though they may have taken me hours and hours of work. Why? B/c I like this hobby and want to help the armor modeling community to enjoy and flourish. Yes, there are a few jerks out there, but that’s human.

For instance, this Leopard 2A5/6 commander’s periscope, which I spent like 16 hours to get it accurately CADded and I was less experienced with CAD many months ago:

I sold the STL file to a fellow modeler for $16 last week - with a permission to do whatever he wants to do with the file. Basically, my time was $1 per hour. My time is worth heck a lot more than that as you can imagine.

Sure, some projects get delayed and I apologize to those who have been waiting for my prints for a month or two b/c I have a day job and a family to take care of, while taking on way more projects than I should.

I do not charge much for my 3D prints either b/c I am not a business and I am only a modeler. I do this for fun and to give back to the modeling community. I also want to fill the gap that the plastic model and AM companies have failed or ignored to touch.
This is a hobby, and I have never intended to gain wealth from this. The money I get covers the resin cost and some hamburgers for the family on the weekends. Not only that, it is not my intention to compete against a fellow modeler or some AM company financially. I do compete with them for the purpose of designing something more accurate and provide it cheaper to other modelers. The whole thing is a terrible business when I factor in time ROI, and I should have quit months ago.

I seek out projects time to time b/c I want to challenge myself in doing CADs but some people don’t get it and complain about $6 shipping fee, which goes to the post office and packaging material. Come on.

Again, I am here to help out your projects. So don’t think every 3D designer/printing hobbyist has the same philosophy about one’s designs.

Sorry for being long-winded here but that’s my personal take. I understand some modelers will not sell or give away their CAD files - rightfully so and respectfully. It’s their IP, and they would want to protect it. I do not believe any Armoramans would abuse my files but give your fellow modeler some benefit of the doubt and please do not judge their intention behind why they CAD and 3D print. Seriously, these things do not sell that well, and their time is never paid for.

I hope this is helpful, and merry Xmas and healthy new year.

Kind regards,

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Thanks for the info. I do not own a printer, nor do I intend to buy one (I am 72+ years, and “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks”). I just wanted to inform myself of the legal processes.
:grin: :canada: