The chamber’s wooden doors creak and groan. Your party of adventurers draws their swords and prepares spells for an epic battle. Finally, the doors burst, and through the yawning portal emerges…
A tennis ball that’s supposed to be a beholder. Oh look, it rolled under the couch.
That kind of ruined the mood, didn’t it? Proper miniatures make your Dungeons & Dragons sessions much more fun and immersive. 3D printing is an awesome way to get personalized models for your game.
But you need STL files to print D&D models. Where are you supposed to get those?
Strap on your wizard hat and I’ll tell you how you find the best D&D 3D printing files for heroes, monsters, and more.
Table of Contents
- Make Your Own D&D Miniatures
- Find Ready-to-Print D&D STL Files
- Best D&D Model Files
- Best 3D Printers for D&D Miniature
- Bought Files vs. Free Files
- Let the Adventure Begin!
Make Your Own D&D Miniatures
Multiple web services let you make custom miniatures to depict your characters and NPCs exactly as they are. Here are my favorite options for making my own original models:
Hero Forge is the go-to make-your-own-model site for D&D. They have a lot of options available for customizing your miniatures, the interface is easy to use, and you can quickly whip up any character.
The web app has templates for practically every fantasy race or species you can think of, from half-elf to insect people. The clothing and gear selection is pretty huge, and you can freely pose and even color your models.
Hero Forge is the standard D&D character creator for good reason.
Mind you, the STL files are pretty pricey. Also, Hero Forge’s chunky, cartoony style may not please those who prefer grittier adventures.
But overall, Hero Forge makes creating your own D&D models quick, easy, and — most importantly — fun.
If your character has a special magic item you want to show off on your miniature, Eldritch Foundry probably has it. It’s an excellent character creator with a huge range of unique clothing and appearance options.
Eldritch Foundry goes all in on the customization aspect. On top of the mountains of weapons, gear, and styles, you can even render specific missing limbs for mangled veteran adventurers.
Basically, if I can’t find an option I want on Hero Forge, I turn to Eldritch Foundry.
The STL files are also a bit cheaper than on Hero Forge. However, the website is kind of annoying to use with the rotating menus, so making your character isn’t as easy.
This is where I would’ve featured Desktop Hero, but they’ve actually been rolled into TitanCraft. Which is fine — TitanCraft’s service is great if you want to print a lot of D&D models.
Unlike Hero Forge or Eldritch Foundry, you don’t have to pay separately for each STL download. You can, but that gets expensive really quickly.
Instead, TitanCraft sells you packs of customization assets that come with unlimited STL downloads.
Buy an asset pack and you can use the included options to create as many 3D printing files as you want.
Of course, that means you may have to buy a $25 asset pack for one sword you want. But if you that sword on five different models, you’ll end up saving money in the long run.
If you’d rather not waste time making your own 3D printing files, you don’t have to. The internet is full of STL files for D&D (and other role-playing games) that are ready to print. Here are my recommendations on where to find D&D 3D printing files for player and dungeon master alike.
If I’m looking for miniature STLs, I always start by checking Cults3D. They host the best paid and free high-quality miniatures.
The website is easy to use and finding the perfect minis for your adventure doesn’t take long. The models’ quality varies naturally by the creator, but in my experience, Cults3D has more good-looking miniatures than most sites.
They can be a bit pricey but you get what you pay for. Cults3D is a good place to start your search for the most detailed miniatures.
Sometimes, quantity has a quality of its own. MyMiniFactory hosts a ridiculous number of STLs of all shapes, sizes, and prices.
Many famous miniature STL creators sell their stunningly gorgeous files on MyMiniFactory. But if you’re on a budget, you can also find perfectly good models at a lower price — or even for free.
I sometimes browse MyMiniFactory just for fun to see what I can find on there. If there is an STL for a certain kind of D&D adventurer or creature, you will find it here.
Want excellent STLS to 3D print D&D minis but don’t feel like paying for them? Then you’d better head to Thingiverse.
Thingiverse hosts amazing STLs for miniatures without asking a dime — simple as that. When I first came across this site, I was sure there was some kind of a catch, but nope.
Most creators restrict commercial use of their files, so you can’t legally sell the prints. But you’re completely free to print them for your own adventure.
(PS: Check out the reproductions of classic HeroQuest models. My nostalgia meter is off the charts.)
The Models Resource
The Models Resource is your #1 models resource for 3D files from video games. If you’re running a tabletop rendition of your favorite video game, you can print authentic models for the adventure.
Just note that Models Resource doesn’t host actual STL files for 3D printing.
Some of the .ZIP packages come with files that can work with 3D printers, like .OBJ files. Most, however, you have to pose yourself in a 3D modeling program and convert them into the STL format.
That takes some effort but hey — you can finally have genuine models for playing the Super Mario RPG on the tabletop.
If I want a certain miniature but can’t be bothered to print it myself, I head to Etsy. You can buy STL files and 3D-printed miniatures from famous creators on Etsy.
Etsy is a great, easy-to-use source for all kinds of models. Whatever you want, you’re sure to find a seller.
But remember to check what you’re buying and from who.
Some people sell illegally ripped or stolen STLs, so you probably don’t want to support them. If you’re ordering printed miniatures, check the seller’s reviews to make sure you’re getting high-quality prints. I’m still salty over one print line-riddled miniature I bought.
STL Base makes finding the best 3D printing files for D&D models easy. Instead of hosting STLs, STL Base searches other websites for models.
Its search engine covers many websites I’ve already mentioned, like Cults3D and Thingiverse. Don’t waste time going through every site individually — just type your search term into STL Base and pick the best miniature for your adventurer.
Gambody is an online marketplace for pop culture-adjacent 3D printing files. If you’re running, say, a homebrew Star Wars module for D&D, this is the place to get your models.
The models on Gambody are generally very high quality. Their prices are often equally high, but nobody ever said the best D&D 3D print files would be free.
If you don’t mind the cost, Gambody can satisfy your need for intricately detailed miniatures.
You need more than character miniatures for D&D. Good terrain does just as much to bring the adventure to life, and you can find that on Pinshape.
You can find excellent terrain and scenery pieces on Pinshape, optimized for both resin and FDM printers. And the best part is that they’re either free or reasonably priced.
There are miniatures of Pinshape as well, but many have questionable detail quality. For terrain, though, I say start your search here.
Best D&D Model Files
Are you feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the options and don’t know where to start looking for 3D-printable miniatures? I know the feeling. Here’s a little collection of great D&D 3D models (both free and paid) that I threw together to get you started.
This collection of various adventurers can help you learn the ropes of D&D miniature printing. The models aren’t the most detailed, but they’re great for practicing before moving to more intricate miniatures.
Your players will find a lot of weird and wonderful characters to interact with in this massive NPC pack. Like the adventurer pack, the miniatures aren’t super detailed, but they’re perfect for beginners.
Is he a roadside bandit? Or just a particularly rugged rogue? He could be either, depending on what you decide to use this grungy fellow for.
Tieflings have gone from reviled outcasts to being one of the most popular player races in D&D 5th Edition. Here’s a warrior who’s just begging to be thrown at a horde of monsters.
What self-respecting wizard, warlock, or sorcerer doesn’t love a good flowing robe and a mysterious hood? This enigmatic (and free) spellcaster works as any kind of magician, whether naughty or nice.
Paladins are the stalwart protectors of the weak and zealous warriors of justice — or whatever their deity tasks them with. This heavily-armored elven champion is ready to smite evil wherever it may be found.
With their animal companions, rangers are a force to be reckoned with, whether wielding a bow or sword. Here’s a suitably rugged woodsman for exploring both forests and dungeons.
The smallest heroes can end up being the biggest ones. Frodo and Sam did it, and so will this duo of free, highly detailed halfling adventurers.
He’ll grind your bones for his bread and commits all manner of other atrocities. Be careful when encroaching on this hideously gorgeous ogre’s swamp.
They’re small, sneaky, and nasty. This horde of kobolds will offer your players a challenge before they reach the dragon at the end of the dungeon.
Your kobolds need a dragon to boss them around, and this stunning free miniature should do the trick. After the game, you can throw it on your bookshelf if you’re a Song of Ice and Fire fan.
The wormy, squirmy gricks are stable opponents for any adventure in the Underdark. Print this model and make your players fear anything with tentacles.
It’s an owl, it’s a bear, it’s an owlbear! If you know anything about D&D, you love this beaky beastie (if only it counted as a beast so druids could Wild Shape into one). I’m surprised this detailed model is free.
Monks in D&D follow mystic traditions to train both their bodies and spirits. There’s always something satisfying about pummeling your opponent to a pulp with nothing but your bare fists.
Fear the cockatrice, for one peck of its horrible beak will turn you into stone. This free, high-quality miniature will show your adventurers just how scary a rooster-snake can be.
Nobody said the seductive siren lounging on the beach has to be a girl. Handsome Finley is here to tell your adventurers why life is better down where it’s wetter — take it from him.
Great heroes have battled cyclopses since the times of Ancient Greece. This monocular monstrosity brings ancient myths to life at your game table.
Ah, mimics — you love to hate them. You thought you found a packed treasure chest, only for it to try to eat you. Surprise your players by throwing this beast on the board.
Back in my day, we didn’t have your fancy 3D printers — we made our golems by super-gluing pebbles together. I wish I’d had this free miniature back in the day, though. It looks a whole lot better.
If you’re exploring a spooky forest, there has to be a werewolf. Sorry, those are the rules. This howling wolfman will have the party listening in awe as they hear him bark at the moon.
Best 3D Printers for D&D Miniature
Now that you have your STL files, you need a machine to print them. If you don’t already have a 3D printer (or are looking for a new one), let me give you my recommendations for the current best printers on the market.
Phrozen Sonic Mini 8K
Want the best miniature 3D printer available at the moment? Then the Phrozen Sonic Mini 8K is your machine.
The detail quality is absolutely mindblowing. I have a few miniatures printed with a Sonic Mini 8K, and my gaming group didn’t realize they weren’t injection molded.
I’m looking at one right now and I can’t see a single layer line.
Not only that, the Sonic Mini 8K is super simple to use, so it works for both beginners and veterans. The well-sized chamber also lets you print even a big dracolich with ease.
Granted, the Sonic Mini 8K is a bit on the pricier side. Personally, though, the detail accuracy is well worth it.
Anycubic Photon Mono 4K
Anycubic Photon Mono 4K is a fantastic miniature 3D printer if you’re on a budget. It’s accurate, fast, and cheap — the holy trinity of miniature printing.
The detail accuracy isn’t as high as with the Sonic Mini 8K, but nobody can tell at a tabletop distance. You’ll have to break out a magnifying glass to see the difference.
Photon Mono 4K’s speed is one of the bigger reasons why I recommend this machine. A normal 28mm miniature takes only a couple of hours to print. Start the print in the morning and you’re ready to adventure by the time you get out of work.And as a cherry on top, this printer is seriously cheap. Honestly, why don’t you have one already?
Bought Files vs. Free Files
One of the more common questions I hear from people getting into D&D 3D printing is, “Are paid models worth it?” Well, that depends on what you’re after.
Free models are, naturally, easier on your wallet. But they’re also usually less detailed since they’re often made by amateur creators who are just practicing their sculpting skills. They can also be much more challenging to print
Paid STL files, on the other hand, are typically much more impressive. But, since they’re often made by professionals, they can get fairly expensive.
Personally, I buy highly detailed paid STL files for player characters and recurring NPCs, since those miniatures will spend a lot of time on the table. Rougher free models are more than sufficient for generic NPCs or monsters. The players will defeat those in a couple of combat turns, anyway.
Let the Adventure Begin!
You don’t need miniatures to play D&D. I didn’t start using them until I’d already been playing tabletop RPGs for a decade.
But once I did, I never went back. Not only do miniatures make figuring out combat much easier, they really do bring your D&D story to life.
Fortunately, there’s never been a better time to get your own miniatures. With such a gigantic range of options, you can easily find STL files and print wizards, warriors, werewolves, and wyverns for your games.
Check out my links and recommendations and start building your miniature collection!
(DISCLAIMER: Printing Atoms will not be held responsible for you developing a crippling addiction to printing more and more miniatures.)