Sunday, 3 December 2017

Quick Look: DRAGONLOCK vs. OpenLOCK

I finally did it. For years I admired those people who could print tiles and terrain to their heart's content, or at the very least for as long as their filament lasted. I am happy to say I am now part of their ranks as I now have access to a 3D printer. It was easier and harder in ways I didn't expect at the start. And for that reason I hope to share some of my experiences on the matter. Since I was still trying to decide which way I wanted to go (or neither since OpenForge is an option), this post is purely focused on the trial sets of the Rampage and DRAGONLOCK systems. You can bet I'll be writing more on this topic later since I can't hope to cover it in one post. I have to start somewhere though. If you want the Rampage system you can get it here and the sample DRAGONLOCK set can be found here.


I printed everything using a 0.4 sized nozzle and at 150 microns.

Dragonlock and Rampage tiles.
DRAGONLOCK on the left and Rampage on the right.

Dungeon Tiles

One of the first things that comes to mind is printing all kinds of cool 3D tiles. And the first two sets that grabbed my eye were the Printable Scenery Rampage and the Fat Dragon DRAGONLOCK systems. They look great and allow dungeons to be easily constructed. Naturally, before I used a whole spool on these things I wanted to take a quick test print of their trial packs and see what I thought of them.


The Rampage system is quite interesting for a number of reasons. Disconnecting the wall from the floor like this system does means that it becomes much easier to create rooms. I don't need as many big specialized pieces, such as corner pieces, and instead need column adapters. This means that with very few pieces I have many options at my disposal and I absolutely love that feature.

The OpenLOCK connector is also interesting and is important. Since we are connecting more pieces in order to achieve the same result, the connection needs to be strong and well thought out. I also really like these connectors for a few reasons. That it's an open standard is very nice and means that quite a few OpenForge tiles can be connected. I won't be going too far into OpenForge here, but free and open tiles? That is great and them having such a great connection system is a massive benefit to the hobby in general. The other nice thing is that this connection system keeps the pieces close together. They don't wobble very much and there are many points of connections. Even the walls connect to other walls with 2 connectors. If you use the full total of connectors that the system allows, the setup is very sturdy. You can cause some shifting and experience some wobbling if you only use one clip. I'd recommend it only for smaller rooms or for connect rooms to each other over the course of the game. Otherwise use 2. All that said, I've found that the middle connector doesn't work as nicely as the outer 2. If you use one of the outer connectors it works fairly well and if you use both it is a very good connection. The only down side here is that it requires a lot of connectors compared to other systems but the sturdiness is nice.

I also have to commend the starter set. It gives you everything you need to make all the rooms you want. What's that, you want more? There is also a castle set provided. As far as starter sets go, this is very nice. Need floors? It's here. Need doorways? It's here (well, it's an open arch way or with a grate but it's better than nothing for sure). Need corner pieces? They can be built using all of the columns provided here. I wish the floor was more stone square style or at least one was included though. I think that style would be more versatile.

The biggest thing to note here is that the print quality really matters. The walls in particular have 2 connectors, one low and one high. If you get warping like my first one did, you'll end up with an unusable lower connector on the wall. One will still leave the piece functional but you'd want both to work so you will want to print using a brim. It is far easier if you do so for this set, and I'd say is essential for the walls and columns.

The designs are quite nice here. The wall is well detailed and textured. I like how the floor piece and how it resembles a floor due to its smoothness. It looks like the kind of thing purpose made to be walked on instead of being rough. And again, the connector works well.


This set is a more traditional wall-attached-to-floor affair. However, it looks great and has some advantages to the other design from a printing perspective. The wall pieces are obviously going to be more stable since they are a single piece instead of being 2 connected pieces. Being attached to the wall like this, no brim was needed either. The wall piece was one of my very first prints out of my printer and it came out slightly warped due to me needing to adjust the bed level, but it still attaches perfectly to the other tiles. This is another nice thing from this set compared to the Rampage system. Warping doesn't cause nearly as many issues from my experience.

The clip design here is different and also interesting. I've found the Dragonbite v2 to be a bit wobblier than OpenLOCK. The clip allows the pieces to be moved apart a slight bit. If you did that much with OpenLOCK, they would separate. The v3 clips are better in this regard and have a much better fit. My trial pack, however, came with the v2 set and I had to download the v3 after printing a whole bunch of v2s. So make sure you print the v3s. They also have connectors only at the bases, which means large rooms can flex a bit when lifted off the table. When placed on the table, none of this matters or affects things.

I really like the look of these tiles. The back wall in particular looks great. I think a good part of this comes from the texture of it. I absolutely love it. The floor is nice as well but it's on the rough side. A few people I've shown them to said that they thought it was too rough for a floor meant for something meant for humanoid feet. They said it's more like the floor of a cave or mine, but the walls suggest otherwise. I can understand why someone might prefer a smoother design for the floor, perhaps with cracked stones due to time, but I still like it because of the texture it has. If you wanted that smoother style, you'd probably want to check OpenForge. I'll definitely need to take a look at them later, especially since they now use the OpenLOCK connection system.

The starter set contains no door pieces or corner pieces, in contrast with the Rampage system. If you want to make use of the free trial pack, you'll need to combine them with tiles from OpenForge or the Rampage system. This is really a shame from the trial set and makes it a far inferior as a complete set. It really is more of a trial set where as the Rampage system provides a starter set. If I had the starter sets for both sets though, it would become a lot more even. These tiles are very good from an aesthetic, usefulness (the connectors are very good), and ease of printing perspective.

Update: This comparison is out of date now that there is the DRAGONLOCK Ultimate: Dungeon Separate Walls set. This set allows you to attach walls in much the same way as the OpenLOCK system. These parts must be purchased, however, and the starter set remains as I reviewed it. I will be taking an in-depth look at the set shortly. It's very nice to have this option as well and removes the distinction between the approaches. Now you can use them both in the DRAGONLOCK system. 

Closing Thoughts

I'm not sure which I prefer. It's a hard choice and may depend on which side of the bed I'm waking up on. I took a quick look at the other offerings from both and I think I like the Dragonlock door better than the Rampage one including in the trial set, but I don't have the set yet so I couldn't print it. When taking the whole complete set into account it becomes far more even and that's why I'm having trouble choosing. As plain trial sets go, the completeness of the Rampage system makes it far more usable. So if your budget is free, Rampage and OpenForge will get you into the 3D printing game. It's nice that we have this kind of choice and we have even more options to choose from as well. However, I think this much will need to be enough for now.

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