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Making More Terrain

I've been using 3d printing to make gaming terrain.

That's cool, but there's a time issue. That piece took a couple of hours to print. Doing enough for a large room takes days, or weeks for a sizable dungeon. Pieces can be reused, certainly, but that's still a lot of lead time, and if I want to have terrain representing, say, forest floor vs. natural cave vs. paved dungeon floor, that's either a lot of repainting or a lot of new prints.

Then I saw that there are people selling reusable rubber molds for casting terrain pieces. You can mix up a little plaster or, if you're willing to spend a little extra, dental stone, fill up several of them at a go, pop them out a few minutes later once it sets adequately, and in...well, not no time at all, but in vastly less time than it'd take to print them out, you've got an awful lot of terrain to play with. So I wondered: Can I do that?

And the answer is yes. I got some two-part silicone rubber stuff which is intended specifically for mold making. Mix parts A and B, put the piece you want to make a mold from into it, and take it out a few hours later.

To hold the rubber mold, I printed a "tub" just a bit larger than the basic "megahex" shape I prefer for my GURPS terrain pieces. That lets me more or less properly calculate how much of the rubber I'll need to mix. The hole is to let me push the mold out from underneath; it gets covered with tape before filling. And the piece I'm making a mold of gets superglued to a "lid," so I can completely immerse it in the liquid rubber to exactly the right volume.

A little overflow down the sides, but not much. I'm good with that.

The silicone rubber separates from the tub and the molded piece quite nicely, and from there it's trivial to mix up some plaster, pour it in, and pop it out again after a little while.

So, results. I've got three molds now based on slightly different hex designs, and even the early experiments are good enough to use at the table.

And since these things are reusable, I can mix up more batches of plaster and make a whole bunch of them any time I need to. Nice! I must try painting them at some point.


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