Have you ever dreamed of getting entirely customized Warhammer 40,000 models? Or, have you wished you could get one more power fist for your Terminator squad without buying a whole box of miniatures?
I sure have.
3D printing bits and models can be the answer to both of these problems. But where are you supposed to find the STL files you need for Warhammer models?
I have good news for you — the internet is chock-full of Warhammer-compatible 3D printing files. You just need to know where to look.
Come along and I’ll show you exactly how to find the best websites and STL files for Warhammer 40K 3D printing.
Table of Contents
- What is Warhammer 40k?
- Best Sites for 3D Printing Warhammer 40K
- Best 3D Printers for 3D Printing Warhammer 40k
- Is it Illegal to 3D Print Warhammer 40K?
- How to Find Warhammer 40K STLs?
- What Kinds of Warhammer 40K Models Should I Look For?
- How Long Does It Take To Print Warhammer 40K Minis?
- What Material Are Official Warhammer 40K Miniatures Made With?
- How Many Warhammer 40k Models Can You 3D Print with 1 Bottle of Resin?
- In The End
What is Warhammer 40k?
If you are reading this, you probably already know what Warhammer 40K is. But maybe you’ve heard rumors of this game and thought it might be a good way to put your brand-new 3D printer to the test.
If so, here’s a crash course to the grim and dark universe of the 41st Millenium.
Warhammer 40,000 — or 40K to fans — is one of, if not the world’s most popular miniature wargame. Two or more players pit armies consisting of detailed miniatures against each other to fight epic science-fiction battles.
The game was first released by Games Workshop in 1987. It drew heavy influence not only from the company’s earlier Warhammer Fantasy Battle, but also famous sci-fi movies and novels, like Dune, Judge Dredd, Terminator, and Alien.
Due to its fantasy roots, many of the factions and armies in Warhammer 40K can seem quite familiar. The iconic Space Marines are essentially your knights in (more or less) shining armor, while the Aeldari are elves and the Votann are dwarves — but IN SPACE.
Warhammer 40K has received plenty of updates since its birth, and the latest 10th Edition is due to hit the shelves later this year. Each edition has introduced new rules, armies, and miniatures — but one thing has always stayed the same.
Warhammer figurines, representing your brave soldiers, always come unbuilt and unpainted. Working on your models is a huge part of the fun of the Warhammer hobby.
And that’s exactly why Warhammer 40K is ideal for 3D printing your own models!
Best Sites for 3D Printing Warhammer 40K
The Warhammer community has a longstanding history of customizing figures and models. The increased accessibility of 3D printing has only enhanced this aspect of the game.
As such, many Warhammer fans have created countless 3D printing file and shared them with other players Here are some websites that offer printable 3D models or other Warhammer resources.
Cults3D is the premium resource for Warhammer 40K STL files., It has easily the broadest selection of high-quality models figures, both free and paid ones.
Cults3D should beis your go-to website for Warhammer 40K models. It certainly is mine.
Another advantage of Cults3D is the sheer number of available STL files. In addition to models and bits, you can find printable terrain, buildings, and vehicles.
They might not have rules in your army’s Codex, but they’ll look cool as f*** on your game table and can add some delicious flavor to your battle. Wouldn’t you rather fight over the ruins of a detailed Mechanicus factory instead of old cereal boxes?
Speaking of flavor, Cult3D also has plenty of real-life-sized printables. You can download and print a chainsword to hang on your wall.
Just make sure your printer is Astartes-sized.
Another quality-focused printing website is CGTrader. While it doesn’t have quite as large a selection as Cults3D, CGTrader offers a ton of different printable minis.
This website supports smaller designers and hobbyists through its public marketplace. If you enjoy helping small businesses and want some new Warhammer minis, consider giving CGTrader a look.
Another thing I like about CGTrader is the filtering system they have. It makes it really easy to find models that suit your 3D printer.
Just note that some of the models are pretty pricey. But hey, you’re supporting the community.
MyMiniFactory is a terrific website to buy STL files for printing. I’ve used it a lot for sourcing wargaming STL files, including Warhammer.
There’s one simple reason for that — the price.
MyMiniFactory is pretty cheap as far as Warhammer resources go., You can find a lot of good quality models and terrain for a few bucks, or even for free.
But you probably shouldn’t expect to find the most detailed models on MyMiniFactory. The free models in particular tend to be pretty chunky and generic.
That said, they’re great for tuning your 3D printer’s settings to prepare for more intricate miniatures.
Suppose you plan on buying a lot of different miniatures and want to print them over a long period. In that case, MyMiniFactory is the most economical resource.
As one of the more prominent names on today’s list, you might already be aware of Printables. Printables is a 3D printing service that covers several different tabletop games and generic fantasy designs.
What helps Printables stand out over their competition is their community-run designs. The community of dedicated players and designers has cultivated a bevy of different mini-designs, both unique and essential.
There’s just one issue with Printables. They don’t have a whole heck of a lot of actual Warhammer 40K models.
That’s probably because Prusa is primarily a 3D printer maker. They probably don’t want to sabotage their business case by getting constant cease-and-desist letters from Games Workshop.
Where Printables shines, though, is all the other stuff you need to play Warhammer 40K. They have printable markers, dice, and tokens, and you can even find printable merchandise.
While that stuff might not be as fun as the usual minis, they can help you to keep track of things better while playing. Let me tell you, you don’t want to spend an hour arguing about which unit your psyker buffed. Just slap a marker next to it and save your energy for the game.
Compared to some other sites, Gambody has one big advantage. It offers printing specs alongside the printable files.
Veteran and novice printers alike will tell you that models do not always print in the way they expected. That’s often especially the case with Warhammer 40K and other gaming miniatures that have a lot of small and fiddly details. Having this resource can save you a lot of time and money.
The website will inform you of what materials are needed for a print and even estimates how long it will take. When printing bulk minis on a schedule for your next game, properly planning out your time is a huge help.
Pinshape has a devent bit of reasonably priced STLs for Warhammer 40K units. They also list some neat terrain options and cool little printables for 40K fans.
For example, I found an entire printable industrial factory that’d be perfect for Kill Team games.
The nice thing about Pinshape over its competitors are its community features. This makes it a particulary valuable resource for beginner 3D printers.
The website hosts a blog and an education section that helps explain 3D printing with tips and tricks. This can be an excellent resource for new players, and a good read even for veterans.
Last but not least, we have Kickstarter. It’s not exactly an STL marketplace, but you can still find amazing 3D print files on there.
What you need to understand, though, is that Kickstarter is a crowdfunding platform. STL creators often deliver their model sculpts after the project has reached a certain funding goal. If they surpass the target, the creators often add some extra models into the mix.
That means you will often have to wait before you get your STLs. That’s not ideal if you have a big game next week.But if you don’t mind waiting, it’s worth taking a look at Kickstarter every now and then. You can find STLs for an entire proxy army at more or less reasonable prices.
Best 3D Printers for 3D Printing Warhammer 40k
Now that we’ve gone over the best websites for 3D printing, it’s time to discuss the best 3D printers for Warhammer figures. If you decide that you would be better off printing your figures than letting a service print them for you, all you will need is the STL file for a model and your 3D printer.
Here are some great options for 3D printers you should look into when printing Warhammer figures.
Phrozen Sonic Mini 8K
The Phrozen Sonic Mini 8K is easily one of, if not the best miniature 3D printer on the market. It offers ample printing space, fast printing times, and the most detailed prints you could ask for.
The large build volume serves you well for both quality and quantity. If you decide you want to print a large set piece or model, you can do that. Finally, you have the option to make a Lord of Change that’s not a bird but a blob of tentacles.
Alternatively, you can print several standard-size models at the same time. This can be a lifesaver for dedicated fans looking to bolster their armies.
One specific perk I appreciate about this printer is the high-quality display screen. The 8K display allows for highly detailed models that can be hard to distinguish from the official injection-molded ones.
Another advantage of this printer is its ease of use. Typically the more complex a printer is, the more difficult it is to operate. The Phrozen Sonic Mini 8K offers a simple interface without sacrificing utility.
Sonic Mini 8K is a bit pricey, but if money is no issue, then this printer is easily the best option available to you.
Elegoo Mars 3
On the other end of the printer spectrum, we have the Elegoo Mars 3. Rather than offering all the bells and whistles, this model focuses on giving a lot of good bang for your buck. Warhammer players on a budget should certainly give this printer a look.
The Elegoo Mars 3 is not the cheapest model on the market, but it comes pretty close. Despite the low-ish price, you get a 4K screen with decent detailing and a well-sized platform to build standard-size Warhammer figures.
While not the fanciest printer, it is undoubtedly serviceable to most Warhammer players. If you hand a print from the Elegoo Mars 3 and a top-of-the-line print from the Phrozen Sonic Mini 8K to the same person, you would only see negligible texture differences. There’s a reason why so many Warhammer fans choose an Elegoo.
Phrozen Sonic Mini 4K
The last printer I want to talk about is the Phrozen Sonic Mini 4K. Similar to its 8K counterpart, the Sonic Mini 4K offers a high print quality that’s beginner friendly.
This model shaves off hundreds of dollars from the 8 K price tag in exchange for SLIGHTLY lower print detail. It is not quite as specific, but the parts lose so little detail that you won’t notice it without a magnifying glass.
This model prints incredibly quickly, too, shoving out a layer about every two seconds.
However, the speed comes at the cost of convenience. This printer makes a lot of noise, and the Z-axis stepper motor will make it even louder when changing layers. You can lower the noise levels by slowing down the machine, but that kind of ruins its big selling point.
The Phrozen Sonic Mini 4K is a great choice and stands as the middle ground between the Elegoo Mars 3’s price and the Phrozen.Sonic Mini 8 K’s quality.
Is it Illegal to 3D Print Warhammer 40K?
Generally speaking, it is not illegal to print Warhammer figures on your 3D printer. However, it does sit in a bit of a gray area.
No one will care if you print Warhammer models at home. Games Workshop won’t send the Inquisition to break your 3D printer and drag you kicking and screaming into the dungeon.
Be aware, though, that you will not be allowed to play at Games Workshop stores with 3D-printed minis! That’s not because it’s illegal — they just don’t want you to advertise competing options.
However, if you’re planning on printing and selling Warhammer 40K proxy models, you can’t call them by their official names. Those are Games Workshop’s intellectual property. Listing the models by the names you find in the Codex will only earn you a cease-and-desist letter.
If you dig deep enough, you might come across STLs that are direct 3D scans of official Warhammer 40K models. I probably don’t have to tell you that those STLs are technically illegal. The rights to the model sculpt belong either to the sculptor or Games Workshop — who knows what their contracts are like?
The bottom line is, you can print your models without worrying. You only need to be cautious if you plan to sell the 3D prints.
How to Find Warhammer 40K STLs?
Miniature sellers can’t list their STLs by official Warhammer 40K names, so you may need a bit of imagination when looking for models. Instead of using the actual name, search for something that’s close but not quite the same.
If you search any of the sites I talked about for “Warhammer 40K,” you might find only very generic models. So, get creative with your search terms.
Instead of looking for Space Marine Terminators, search for “Astral Knight Destructors.” If you can’t find any Aeldari (or Eldar) models, try searching for “Space Elves.” If there are no Tyranids, I bet you can find “Hungry Space Bugs.”
Case in point, I once found a Slaanesh Chaos Lord miniature under “Kinky Master of Evil.” I wish I was kidding.
What Kinds of Warhammer 40K Models Should I Look For?
Not all Warhammer 40K miniatures translate very well into 3D-printable STL files. 3D printing is often best for a bit chunkier models, like Space or Chaos Marines, big monsters, and vehicles.
This is because SLA resin gets pretty brittle with very thin and fine parts. If you print, say, some Drukhari Wyches, you can probably expect all those whips and thin knives to break off.
I’m not saying you can’t print flimsier models. It will just take more practice and you should be prepared to see some broken parts during the learning process.
How Long Does It Take To Print Warhammer 40K Minis?
Printing times for miniatures will vary based on size, printer, and complexity. Fortunately, most Warhammer 40K models are a standard 28mm (1.1In) size, so they typically take about the same amount of time to print.
Warhammer 40K miniatures take around 3-4 hours of printing time with most 3D printers. Unless you plan on printing huge vehicles or terrain pieces you can typically perform 4-6 prints in a full work day.
What Material Are Official Warhammer 40K Miniatures Made With?
Official Warhammer 40K models are made from polystyrene plastic. Some older special models are made of resin and even more ancient figures might be pewter or another soft metal.
The reason for the varying materials is that plastic miniatures used to be really expensive and low in detail. Metal was cheaper, while resin produced sharper and smaller details.
Now, though, Games Workshop is moving toward making all miniatures out of plastic. But their product catalog is massive, so there are still some old resin and metal models floating around.
How Many Warhammer 40k Models Can You 3D Print with 1 Bottle of Resin?
How many Warhammer 40K models out print from a single bottle of resin depends on a whole load of factors. In general, if you’re printing basic infantry units, a bottle of resin will get you about 70 models.
But what if you’re an Imperial Guard-… Sorry, Astra Militarum player who wants to run a full tank force? Well, you can naturally expect to print fewer Baneblades than Guardsmen.
The brand and model of your printer will also affect resin consumption. And if you run into any print errors, they will also waste more resin.
In The End
It’s a great time to be a Warhammer 40K player. There are so many more options available today for making your own miniatures and customizing your army to be truly yours.
It used to be a huge hassle to sculpt custom details yourself out of green stuff. But with a 3D printer, you can quickly and cheaply print custom parts — or entire 40K armies.
You can find amazing STL files on any of the sites I mentioned. But if you were to ask me for my top 3, here they are:
- Cults3D has an awesome range of both paid and free good-quality models. This is my go-to site.
- MyMiniFactory is a fantastic source of affordable Warhammer 40K STLs, even if they’re not the most detailed.
- Kickstarter is a fun place to lurk for good whole-army deals.
Now, if you’ll excuse me. I need to go print some power rakes to prepare my Astral Agrarians chapter for an assault on the Garden of Nurgle.