Why I’ve decided not to sell my work.


*Just to be extra clear, i’m most defiantly not complaining about being asked for STLs, in fact that’s a big compliment. I’m more referencing those who pester and who seemingly become personally offended when they find out the potentially IP infringing design isn’t going to be made publicly available.(admittedly this appears to be a small minority).

** I’m also not claiming any great skill, this is something i’ve noticed on a few posts and heard from another creator.

Although I have previously indicated my intent to share and sell some of my digital sculpts, after much deliberation I have decided not to distribute the majority of my work. Let me explain why;


As I’m sure many can relate, I don’t have a huge excess of free time. As a father, husband, home owner and business owner, free time can be quite difficult to come by and is relatively valuable to me.

Designing/modelling miniatures for personal use is one thing, as it’s fun, relaxing and any foibles can be worked around or just ignored. But preparing models/sculpts for distribution and making them available is something extra.

Preparing a mini takes time. It’s not just a case of chucking the files up on Thingiverse. At least it’s not for me.


For me, hobby time should be enjoyable and relaxing. Making my hobby into a business venture (however small) just isn’t something I’ll get much value out of at the moment.

Personal Ethics:

Intellectual property rights is a hot, contentious and complex topic, full of potential legal and ethical ‘grey areas’. But I personally don’t feel comfortable distributing material based heavily on someone else’s IP (although to be clear, i don’t see a problem creating for ones own use).

This opinion is not generated exclusively for concern of possible legal repercussion, but I also believe that it is potentially damaging to individual creators, companies and by extension, the hobby as a whole.

Copying others works/creations and distributing without permission, hypothetically diminishes the demand for the originals and potentially infringes on IP rights.

*Just to be clear, this is not an indictment of others actions or opinions, it is my personal view and how I do. You do you.

Connected Side Notes/Slight Rant:


With what could be considered blatant piracy so rife in the 3D printing community (Thingyverse is almost the pirate bay of STLs), is it any surprise a small creator wouldn’t wish to invest time in digital distribution?

*my understanding of Piracy: Intellectual property theft involves the theft and unauthorised use (particularly the sale/distribution) of a person’s or company’s ideas, inventions, and creative expressions.

Expectations Of Entitlement:

I see this a lot, particularly in 3D printing and 40k hobby related Facebook groups; a creator will post something ‘desirable’ and instead of constructive commentary and discussion, the thread often falls in to calls for ‘We Want STLs!’ (or something to that effect).

*this has been my personal experience, your mileage may vary.

What I’m getting at here is, where does this expectation that all creations should automatically be shared come from?

A Few More Considerations:

  • Is it not okay to keep creations for the creators use, particularly if the creator isn’t comfortable distributing? (for what ever reason there may be).
  • Is this simply selfishness or completely understandable?
  • Isn’t sharing of the inspiration, process and outcome enough?
  • Would the same expectation relate to a physical sculpt? E.g. ‘We Want Casts!’
  • Is it just that distributing digital context is seen as easier? So has a lower perceived value?


It’s less stressful for me not to distribute and just focus on enjoying my hobby time.

You do you.

But… I’d be interested to hear your hot take. Do you Agree? Disagree? Or just not give a single F?

Sorry if this offends, appears pretentious etc. That’s not the intent, just sharing an observation.


15 thoughts on “Why I’ve decided not to sell my work.

  1. Totally cool and I understand but I often fall in the “if your work can make someone else’s day, why not share?” mind set. Personally, if I make something that I’m not ready to share : I don’t post it. If I post a pic of a cool mini I just painted, I expect to have to share my recipe. Same goes for builds. I’d expect the same for when and if I digitally craft. Maybe it’s because I’m a teacher and that my life is all about giving tips and tricks and taking time to help others… On the other hand I just hate when people think they’re entitled to get free stuff just because I made it.


    1. Cheers, I’d be more than happy to share my work for free or otherwise, but not if it infringes on ip that I don’t have permission to utilise. I’m always happy to help and advise we’re I can, that way people can learn to do things for themselves. Which has got to be more for filling?

      Also, why not share pics of a model even if its for personal use? Isn’t getting feedback and inspiring others half of the battle? I’m not sure i would agree that sharing a paint recipe is comparative to sharing the actual model.


  2. Isn’t sharing an STL file more akin to sharing a paint recipe than to sharing an actual model or mold? For the actual model or mold you cannot possibly pass it on without losing something yourself, whereas a paint recipe or STL file is just the passing of information, which in no way reduces what you have.

    Furthermore, while passing out IP-based materials may impact sales and demand at some point, using them personally actually impacts sales and demand right now, right? Do you anticipate needing to buy much ZM terrain from GW? Where is the moral imperative there?


    1. It’s an interesting question Chris and thanks for stopping by. But the post isn’t about sharing in general, the key points i was trying to highlight and discuss are why i personally don’t feel comfortable distributing designs heavily based on someone else’s IP (whether free or paid for) and the apparent entitlement/expectation I’ve noticed (not just with my models) when sharing pics of models. E.g. that some (not the majority) seem to feel that just because something could be given to them, its should be given to them, and that not making something available even if the creator is unwilling (for what ever reason) is somehow wrong.

      Not saying this is wright or wrong, only articulating that it’s something i’ve noticed and that I personally disagree with.

      As to my replicating ZM terrain for personalise use with a 3D printer, yup i suppose that could effect sales (although printing a whole set just wouldn’t be cost effective or practical for me. I’d more than likely just purchase another set) even so, its purely for personal use and it’s most defiantly not the same as distributing a potentially IP infringing model. At least that’s how i see it at the moment.


  3. Totally agree and love your work. If people want to convert their own stuff there’s nothing stopping them putting in the time and effort. Just like the teams of people putting their heart a soul into the ip. Once again love your work.


  4. Certainly if you don’t want to, you shouldn’t, and no one has the right to even an explanation from you. Seems like a lot of effort for basically saying “because I just don’t want to”.
    You can post stuff, and people can ask for it, and you can say no, and they can feel how they want about it. I guess I just don’t get making the whole explanation when it just boils down to your preference?


      1. How would compare this situation to say, widely sharing fan fiction? Both based on others IP but have the creative ingenuity of another party. Is it ripping off the creators to do that?
        It feels very analogous as they are both creating something new from some one else’s IP, that can be easily be shared in a wholly digital context. What is your take there?


      2. Another interesting one, i really don’t know. The only thing that comes to mind i suppose is that would reading fan fiction decrease or increase sales for the IP holder? But i can say for certain that I’ve never had a Cease and Desist/take down for distributing fan fiction.


  5. Fortunately the GW that would do a C and D for that sort of thing are long gone!!

    Taking that concept back to the original, many of your beautiful works (not the straight copies, obviously) would only be usable with a shed of bought from GW terrain. I could easily see a situation where your sharing of work would incentivize a sale and then your stealing of IP becomes a net positive for them. Just a thought.


  6. Honestly, the 3D Printing community is full of entitled ******.

    The “gimme STL” mentality is not only greedy and selfish, it’s also often coupled with a blatant disrespect for the creators work and the hours put into it. That ranges from remixes being chucked on the share sites without any credit given to the creator, to leeches on Etsy selling prints of files shared clearly without a commercial license and then being a **** about it.

    It’s also why I’d never to into commercial STL sales, the mentality of “I paid for this file and I can do with it whatever I want” is way too prevalent.

    I say keep your STLs to yourself, even if they weren’t clearly inspired by someone elses’ IP. And I’ll probably soon take all my files off thingiverse and cults.

    Liked by 1 person

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