When I started playing tabletop RPG's I tried some card board dungeon tiles and I did not like them, too much of a hassle. I also proclaimed that I would never use those 3d nonsense because theatre of mind and drawing maps on the grid were much more fun for the imagination. Then... I got a 3d printer and I decided that being willing to admit I was wrong is a very adult thing to do.
I started printing terrain props. Nothing fancy, just some bits to put on the map. And then I learned something really awesome;
When I draw a map on the grid and tell the players "here is a cupboard and there is a door" they will not walk in the cupboard, but that's it. If I put the door and the cupboard on the map as 3d objects, the players will do things with it. Like drag the cupboard in front of the door to prevent the monsters from barging in.
I decided I had been very wrong about 3d toys on my gametable, and I started looking for printable dungeon tiles.
There are loads of them online, in all kinds of quality, prices from free to 'are you kidding me?' and them some more.
I was missing 1 kind however: hexagons.
I did find a few, but mut much. So I wondered and asked Mr.Diona if it would be impossible to make them. We spent an evening musing about how impossible that would be. Next day our printer was busy working on the first prototype of our hexagonal dungeon tiles. We had no idea it would be the prototype, it was just for the fun of it: is it possible?
Well, yes, it is possible. It takes a lot of complicated maths but Mr.Diona is very good at maths. He made them all on the command line, not in some CAD-visual thing. Don't ask me how he does that, he is obviously a genius.
Because it turned out to be 'difficult, but doable' I now wanted hexagonal 3d dungeon tiles. I am a hex-type DM. I like how the hexes allow players to move all over the place, without having the diagonal-discussion. Also, I like the shape, no idea why, I like it.
Making the base grid and the tile shapes was hard enough (for Mr.Diona, I just gave 'constructive' comments). Turning those into something that would look good on the table was a different story. We downloaded Blender, which is free and great and very good to make creative 3d stuff with, but it takes a while to learn it all. It is also has tons of options that you do not need if you make things for 3d printing and most online tutorials are about making 3d images and animations, which is not extremely usefull for 3d printing.
But, we made our first hexagonal tiles with stone floors and stone walls and I was very happy. I tried them during D&Demo's I give at events and they work perfectly!
We also gave our creation a name: WDhex tiles.
Unfortunately Blender turned out to be more of a struggle if you want something other than 'basic simple' stone walls. Life also got a bit in the way and I got frustrated. I took a break, which gave me the rest and brainspace I needed. Now I am working on a new style of WDhex tiles: the Meadow tiles, and I am already very happy with how they turn out.
I also learned a lesson, I have to keep remembering I make my dungeon tiles for myself, because I want to use them in my games. I will put them online once I am happy with them, and they will be free for anyone who wants them, but this is not my job.
If you are interested, I put the tiles we already had on MyMiniFactory where you can download them for free