3d Printed Catan. (Designed, 3D Printed and Painted – Easy Guide)

Are you a fan of the popular board game Catan or popularly known as the Settlers of Catan? If you are then, I have got something interesting for you.

Imagine the same board game, but instead of a 2D board, you get a 3D one with realistic art can character designs. Sounds fun, right?

The good news is you can join the fun right at home. All you will need is this guide and a 3D printer to work on. So, let’s get going with the 3D printed Catan guide to enjoying the game in a new way.

Turning Catan into a 3D game

Well, the first thing you will need is an actual copy of the game. Because otherwise, you won’t have the development cards or the resources. When that’s done, you can move on to turning it into a new experience through 3D printing. Now the whole thing is done in 3 different parts. First, you will need to design the models. Secondly, you have to 3D print those designs. And finally, paint them to give them the perfect looks and dynamics. Let’s get started then

Supplies you will need for the job

These are the following supplies you will need to do this thing-

  • A 3D printer (preferably FLA)
  • PLA plastic
  • Files
  • Paints
  • Paintbrushes
  • PVA glue
  • Tissue paper
  • Sandpaper
  • Snips
  • Something to mix paints
  • Hobby knife

Once you get all these things, you can begin with your 3D Catan project right away.

Designing the model

The first step to making the game is designing the models. Now, this is not something you have to follow along with. Because you can find pre-designed files online as well. There are plenty of websites where you can find these files.

But if you want to make your game unique and immersive, you can design these components of the game yourself. You can use any CAD program; a popular one to try out is Blender. This gives you great quality designs that look exquisite after a 3D print.

You can get STL files of all the models of this game online if you don’t want to design them yourself. Websites like Thingiverse or yeggi have plenty of different designs to offer. You can choose any of them according to your liking.

Once you have either designed and created the files or downloaded them, you can move on to the 3D printing part right away.

3D printing the designs

Now, for the 3D printing part, it’s primarily dependent on the files you have in hand. If you have downloaded them from a website or source, they should have all the necessary 3D printing settings recommendations.

But if you have designed them yourself, then you can try out the following settings.

  • Try an infill of 5% since the parts won’t be that critical structurally.
  • For the layer height in the hex tiles, you can go 0.2mm. But if you want more details, you can go lower than that.
  • As for the layer height on other components, 0.1mm should work just fine.

Coming to the color, it’s ultimately your personal preference. You can use any filament color you want. But going for a color that matches your final paint job is a wise decision as it can hide any flaws in the paint job.

Let’s take a look at the different parts you should be printing to complete the game. There are 122 parts in total. Here are the parts you have to print –

  • You will need one desert tile
  • 3 hill or brick tiles
  • 3 mountain or ore tiles
  • 4 pasture or wool tiles
  • 4 lumber or forest tiles
  • 4 field resources
  • 6 water borders
  • For each player, you will need 4 cities that mean a total of 16 cities for 4 players.
  • 20 settlements for 4 players, which mean 5 for each of them.
  • 60 roads for 4 players meaning 15 for each of them.
  • 1 robber

Aside from these, you will need harbor pieces, sea tiles, dice, development, and resource cards. Usually, these all come in the package of the game, which is in good enough condition. However, if you want, then you can surely go ahead and make them as well.

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Painting the models

Now, the most crucial step of making this game interesting is painting. Before you can begin printing the models, you have to go through some preparation for that.

You have to use tools like snips to cut any corner discs from the print. To clear up any stringing issues you can use sandpaper and filer after you remove the bulk of it with a hobby knife. You will also have to sand and file the edges of the tiles to get rid of a flared base.

Once that’s done, give it a test and assemble all the pieces to see how the game looks. Then, you can move on to painting. Here’s where you can bring all your creativity out. You can go for a greener forest or a forest in winter covered in snow. It’s all up to you.

What I am going to show you are the steps you should be painting in. Let’s get through that now.

  1. First, you have to start with a base coating. It’s the primary colors that you will be putting on the tiles to make them their element. For example, a green forest should have green along with gray for the rocks, brown for the trunks or stumps, and so on.
  2. To add some depth to the model and give it a shadow look, you can go for washes. It’s a painting technique for painting models in general. You can also find premade washes online if you don’t want to make them yourself. Just remember to clean up the excessive washes after applying them to your model.
  3. Then, to add details and make the models more realistic, you have to do dry brushing. How you do this is up to your painting skills mostly.

That should be it for painting. However, if you wish you can go beyond these three steps and add extra elements through painting.

Wrap up

In short, making a 3D printed Catan isn’t that hard to do at all. The most intricate part of the whole process is the painting which mostly depends on your skills of painting.

Well, if you take it slow and be careful, you can do that pretty easily. You don’t need to be a professional painter or something.

Having said that, once you are done with it the whole experience of this game will be a lot different than usual with the 3D model version.


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