I know that there is a market for mass-produced collectible statues, and I know that there is a market for resin-cast “garage kit” sculptures. As I have been 3D printing the past few years, the quality of those prints has increased to a point where they are as good or better than what can be reproduced through casting. So, is there a market for 3D printed statues?
I hand-painted this print of “Tusk” to showcase the model, because I have the .stl file available for sale on Cults3D for $9.95.
For people who already own a 3D printer (and they are less than $200 now, so there are a lot of people jumping into 3D printing), the .STL file is the model that you want to print out. You can make it any size that you want, from a tabletop game miniature to a figurine for your bookshelf.
Buying the digital model is analogous to buying a pattern in a fabric store or buying a model kit. You also buy the materials (in this case, PLA plastic and acrylic paint) and print it out and paint it.
You can make as many as you want! This has made 3D printing really catch on in the tabletop gaming community, since you can print out an entire army of miniatures!
But what if you don’t want to print and paint the model? You would just like a cool statue, hand-painted by the artist who sculpted it! That seems like an work of art, right?