I discovered 3D Stage Builder in my stream on Facebook, as several friends had bought their products and started showing off their stage builds. It looked like a great idea, and great ideas are made for sharing. Hopefully you have a need for these kits, otherwise, just enjoy the pictures of what these kits can create.
After some initial contact with the inventor and owner of the company, he was kind to send me a Shooter’s kit for evaluation to make this review. No, the Minion below is not part of the kit, but everything else is.
The package shipped fast from the USA to Europe and I immediately built a short stage. You can see the result below. It’s probably not my best stage design ever, but as you can see The Firearm Blog was kind to sponsor my first stage!
3D stage builder is what happens when Märklin trains meet LEGO bricks combined with competition shooting.
If you have ever been thinking about designing stages for competitive shooting, or actually done a few already, I am sure you have been sketching on a white piece of paper, been using Word or Powerpoint up to CAD-like programs like Sketchup.
Each of those solutions comes with their own frustrations. With Sketchup, you can do amazing and very realistic stage designs that you can “fly” around in, but you soon realize you just spent the better part of a day doing it. My shooting club actually measured most of our shooting ranges with an accuracy of about 3-10″ and made CAD models out of them for stage design. But designing a stage in this environment takes time, and changes are difficult.
By now people are probably bored doing stage designs in computers with CAD-like systems. All of the other options above are very 2D in their presentation. Quick, but not so fun to look at. So the idea here is to use 3D printed parts and place them around your stage, take a photo and show it to the world as part of your championship package. I think we will see a lot more of this in the near future.
Below: As by coincidence, The Firearm Blog seems to have sponsored my second stage as well.
Take a photo of your stage and include it in the match’s pdf in SSI Shoot’nScoreIt or similar scoring system.
As you will see from the sample pictures, you can just place your stage design and props on a table or make a dedicated, realistic shooting range for that stage (with grass, sand or whatever the reality looks like on that stage).
Interestingly, if you video the stage it looks rather realistic from a shooter’s point of view. That’s if you can get the camera inside the stage which may pose a bit of a problem sometimes.
Below is an excellent example of how a stage can be built, although a few fault lines seem to be missing.
The parts are 3D printed, and the barricades have nets glued to the main structure. The advertising boards already have some stickers on them, but just like me you can easily print new ones and tape them. A great way of giving your sponsor more for their money!
I am also seeing some possibilities where you, as a shooter, can build a stage and discuss it with fellow competitors before or after shooting it. It should also work great for an instructor.
The people who are supposed to build the stage are also helped by these pictures, it gives a great idea what the stage designer wanted to be built and which props to use where and at what distance. That can cause a lot of confusion sometimes, as workers incorporate their own ideas. 30 stages later the match is completely different than the original idea…
Below: Sample stage by Ogie Delarosa for the TEXAS PCC SHOOTOUT 2019.
For a lot of your designs, you’re going to need a lot of fault lines (the red outline around the stage), so I think this is what is going to be what you run out first but an idea is to use toothpicks, matches or whatever you have laying around. Or just buy more.
I like that you can play around and use so many different ideas, and take whatever you have laying around as long as it’s more or less to scale.
This is a great way of using rapid prototyping and 3Dprinting. The parts are printed in Prusa3D machines. Well, you can see part of the setup below. It also means that you can get custom made colors and filaments if you ask for it.
Why use 3D Targets for stage design?
The idea came from the frustration of using word, powerpoint or sketch up to design stages for USPSA. With the new 3D Props, it makes life so much easier, it takes minutes to design a stage, to be able to observe it from every angle, plan shots, etc.
This is a stage design by Trevor Furlotte for their two-level high shooting platform at Restigouche Gun Club, Canada IPSC. This stage looks like a blast to shoot – just get your LEGO Stormtroopers ready!
Here’s the same stage with the second layer of the platform added. This is like LEGO for grown-ups.
Below: An IPSC stage designed by Trevor Furlotte in Canada. Using scaled paper is a good idea and can make the model very realistic in terms of depth and what the shooter will experience in reality.
It would be interesting to see a few long-range rifle stages (or even PRS-like stages) with the scale. You can present the stage with a drone-like overview combined with detailed pictures of the shooting positions as well as the targets. Who will be the first to do it?
Below you can see the level of detail of the items, much more than needed really. There is also a slide on hardcover to any of the paper targets.
Below: Bobber Target with a hardcover.
Below: The Texas Star is a must.
There is even a VTAC Barricade.
If you are convinced by this review and have the urge to build a few stages I would recommend that you go for the 3D Stage Builder Master Design Package or an IPSC Masters Kit straight away. They are 200 USD each, and the shop offers numerous ways to pay and checkout.
If you want to dip your toes before you get addicted try the Shooters kit for just shy of 100 USD.
In a review, you always try to find out the good and the bad in a product. All of the good is above, and it’s difficult to point out anything bad. You can always argue about the pricing, but someone came up with a great idea and put his 3D printers to work.
All pictures from https://3dstagebuilder.com/ , Their Facebook page or from the author.
One of the stages are made by Robert Porter of Double Tap Ranch in Wichita Falls Texas. That stage was part of the “Double Tap Ranch Championship 2019”.
We need more people that design great stages, and these kits make the life a lot easier and faster. I am going to pass my kit to the Master Stage Designer™ in my Shooting Club, I’m sure he will enjoy the flexibility, and hopefully, the rest of the club can enjoy his stages.
There are dedicated props for USPSA, IPSC, IDPA and ICORE but a lot of the items are the same for obvious reasons.
If you are in Europe you can now also buy these kits from within the EU, and a lot of cool international patches, here: https://store.rangemaster.se/