Do-it-yourself D&D – how one team made a universe you can 3D print at home

Resin 3D printing is a bit like magic. You send a design to the machine, watch the build platform descend into a pool of goop, and then, hours later, a model appears seemingly from nowhere. Even after countless prints, the giddy excitement of that reveal doesn’t wear off. It’s what I always dreamed of as a young kid: the ability to print out literal toys.

Except, these days, the D&D community has taken that dream further: rather than leaving it at individual miniatures, they create entire worlds for us Cast n Play (opens in new tab) is one of the groups leading that charge, and it’s gone from a single person dabbling with the best 3D printers to a company building whole universes of content.

DIY realities

Cast n Play undead ogre

Each Cast n Play pack comes with a variety of creatures, terrain, and props (Image credit: Cast n Play)

However, it wasn’t plain sailing at the start. Alex Zaragoza’s first 3D printer arrived broken. As a second-hand machine he bought on eBay back in 2015, it was, in his own words, “very bad” – the pieces didn’t fit together properly and he had to glue them down. But even so, he was blown away by what he could do. Although it gave up the ghost less than a year later, Alex (then a 3D artist in the video game industry) had been bitten by the bug. So when a friend offered him a resin printer that they didn’t have space for anymore, he jumped at the opportunity. Fast-forward a few years and Alex is now in charge of well over a dozen staff and a company that pulls in monthly subscribers for roughly 40 fantasy miniatures every four weeks. They’re also finishing up their latest – and, judging by the $156,000+ raised so far, successful – crowdfunding campaign ‘Terrain Essentials Vol II: Interiors (opens in new tab)‘ with numerous props for your game table.

There are clearly people looking for something like this because I don’t know how else they would find this store which I made last night

Alex Zaragoza, co-founder & director