Notes on 3D model makers Patreon business model

I’m a big fan of painting miniatures, and generally the miniatures scene is dominated by a few large players, specifically Games Workshop. But recently I’ve been much less interested in Games Workshop miniatures, I’m a bit tired of the aesthetic and frankly, the cost.

3D printing itself is something I’m interested in, but haven’t had the opportunity to really dig into since resin is really toxic and I don’t have the space. So I usually send-off to a guy that helps me do resin printing. What matters is ensuring that I send the guy the files so he can help print them off. 

Finding 3D STL files has been an interesting experience, there’s plenty from sites like my mini factory, and Thingiverse, but I’ve found that there’s a whole sub-community of miniature designers that use 3D software and make massive collections, these guys generally sell on a subscription basis via Patreon. And this was the area of focus for this article. 

Patreon allows you to setup various level of subscription access allowing you to view articles with the same level of subscription access, so many of these 3D designers have setup Patreon subscriptions where you’ll get a new set of 3D files each month. Whats interesting (and seems to be time consuming) is that, to prevent people from subscribing then getting the entire back-log of files, each month the new article with links to the file replaced the old article, they don’t remove the old article, but instead all the links in the old article are deleted.

If you want older 3D files, you are directed to a my mini factory page where you pay a massing premium to buy items individually, though having a subscription to the Patreon does confer a big discount. 

I had a look and generally a monthly subscription is around 10USD, granting you access to around 10-15 3D miniatures each month, which you’re likely to print around 6 of them; buying them without a discount its around 5USD each, and with a discount its around 3USD each, so there’s a strong incentive to subscribe to the Patreon, though there are some collections that I’ve encountered which are not my taste at all so in that case I complete wasted 10USD for that month. 

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