I just received my first test prints in the new Shapeways Maker Material (not yet available for public purchase). This material is an optically cured High Definition Acrylate material.
Here is an image of the material right out of the box. I will post updates as I work with the models.
In case you are wondering, these are the first test prints of several new models I have added to my store.
- The two tip car bins are for 1:32n20 Fowler tip cars (usable in Gn15) - the main frames are being printed on another order in FUD due to small wire sizes.
- The open wagon and passenger wagon are models of the early Duffield Bank Railway cars (a.k.a. the DBR 2x4 cars) as drawn in Mike Decker's plan packs. The axleboxes are attached to the end beams as sprues to save on print volume and to make it easier to add wheels.
- The wheelsets are for these cars (one will be assembled with these and one with Hornby OO gauge 4-hole wheelsets)
- The final small sprue is a pair of Heywood couplers in 1:24, operable once assembled.
First impression on the material is mixed.
- The material feels cleaner than FUD, roughly the same feel to the material as their old Acrylic material but much more accurate.
- There are very visible tooling marks where support structures were removed and there are indications of air bubbles in the material surface near these points.
- Most significantly there is significant material overage in close assemblies; I think their rule for spacing between parts is overly optimistic.
- The interlocked parts and a few areas where there should be a gap are filled with material.
- The Heywood couplers on the cars, which should be operable (and would be in FUD), will have to be cut apart as the interlocking parts have been melded together.
- The holes into which the axlebox sprues insert will have to be drilled out as they are undersize.
- The inner frames have "grown" inwards and will need to be shaved back to clear the wheels (there is plenty of clearance on the model).
- There is a bulge and "laddering" on the thin walls of the tip car bins.
Overall first impression: with some refining this could be a useful material, filling a gap between FUD and WSF. In bigger models (the Heywood cars for example), it saves about $5-$10 per model versus FUD. It should be interesting to see how this material progresses through the Maker stage.
I will be doing some cutting, assembly and painting of these models over the next few days and will report on how that goes.