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Posted: Tue Oct 07, 2014 10:17 am
by KEG
Equally there are resin cast models that are being produced from molds that are well past their sell by date, so not all is rosy on the resin cast front

But you miss my point - How many new Gn15 steam loco kits do we see being produced by these people ?

So far I only received very crisp resin and whitemetal castings from sellers. Some companies only offer limited runs. e.G. 50, of their castings and still are sold out quickly.

I have no idea how many Gn15 model were produced and sold. I have seen quite a few built Smallbrook resin models around. Steve Bennet wrote at Ebay, 34 of his DECADE locos (not a steam loco) where made.

So if the printed models seem not to sell too well, its probably because of poor marketing and advertising.
45 years ago, when I worked in the trade business, I learned, you have to bring money if you want to make money.

Have Fun


Posted: Tue Oct 07, 2014 7:43 pm
by Thorness
KEG wrote:

So far I only received very crisp resin and whitemetal castings from sellers.

Have Fun


I have had some whitemetal kits in the past that needed a lot of work with a file before assembly was possible!
Resin ones have usually been OK.


Posted: Tue Oct 07, 2014 8:34 pm
by rue_d_etropal
At the moment, 3D printing is offering virtually complete models, which need some work to complete, but not as much as building a metal or resin kit.
I have also come across poorly produced metal and resin kits.
3d printing not only produces models in plastic, but some can be produced in metal, such as stainless steel and brass.
One thing I am thinking is that it might be possible to produce a model using parts in metal and plastic, separately. Those fiddly pieces are better in brass, and some bigger parts better in plastic.

And as has been said before, its then hands off, and you can go on holiday, take time off sick, and the models can still be produced.

As for marketing that is normally something we think about as an after thought. I sent some of my items to Peco, and so far they have been in 2 issues of CM, and I am told something will be in RM soon. I am also preparing a couple of articles on small layouts I have built using the tram type track, not forgetting the article already published in CM earlier this year on my WW1 layout which had first of my 3D printed models.

I am also thinking of small articles on the track in other magazines, more like letters than articles as main thing is to get them published. And then I am thinking about small adverts in magazines.
Finally there are exhibitions I attend as both exhibitor and visitor. I find showing people is one of the best ways of promoting something.

Many say the internet is a good method to promote new products, but I have found you have to know where to put your words. I have just had someone else post a link to my Shapeways shop on the 7mm narrow gauge forum.

If time is money, then I have already spent quite a lot so far.

Posted: Wed Oct 08, 2014 3:24 am
by Jon Randall
I've been watching this topic with interest.

I think comparing 3D printing with resin models is like comparing paint with pencils, they both have advantages and disadvantages.

Firstly forget about comparing quality. Admittedly I haven't seen a printed item in the flesh but as regards to resin and white metal I've had some kits that have been absolutely fantastic and others which have been so poor that they still sit in the bottom of a drawer somewhere.

As I see it 3D printing has the advantage of the easiness of getting a model from the design stage to the physical product. I don't think any other technique would enable Tom and Simon to have such huge ranges over so many scales. I'm not going to count them but I guess that the pair of them are probably somewhere close to Airfix numbers which is incredible for a cottage industry.

I do however fail to see the logic in some of Shapeway's pricing with some models costing twice as much as similar models.

I think that for one or two models then 3D printing is way ahead of casting, especially if it needs tweaking.
For a substantial run though I think casting has the edge as long as the design isn't overly complicated.

All methods have their place and will never be totally replaced by any other.

Posted: Wed Oct 08, 2014 3:34 am
by Nevadablue
Another item for the discussion is the ability to use a printed part or model as a master for making silicone molds that can be used to cast resin parts or make more patterns for metal casting like lost wax or other processes.

Posted: Wed Oct 08, 2014 8:46 am
by KEG
One other advantage of 3-d printing is that you're not relying on some one man cottage industry to produce the kit. If I become ill or get run over by a bus, my stuff is still available.

Sounds good. But what do you do the day, Shapeways or other 3-D-printers get run over by a bus or from economic developments.

Have Fun


Posted: Wed Oct 08, 2014 9:20 am
by tebee
I agree wholeheartedly with Jon's post above, these are the points I've been trying to make.

As to the future availability of these things, I suspect it won't be too many years before decent quality home 3-d printing becomes affordable and we won't need Shapeways.

Remember all the conventional printing service bureaus that were around a few years ago? There are a few left but not many.

Then you can just download the file defining the 3-d model from somewhere and print it at home. You might have to buy that file or it might even be free or for a donation.

As Jon said I've not got a huge amount of time and effort invested in them, if I'm not around I have no problem people sharing my intellectual property. I'd rather the design lived on and gave people pleasure than it be tied up with copyright concerns.

It would be nice to recover the cost of my time first though!

If you don't believe this I'd like to point out that I've already made many of my early 009 designs freely available and downloadable.


Posted: Wed Oct 08, 2014 10:00 am
by rue_d_etropal
I agree with everything above. Its what I have been trying to get through to people for ages. It was something that was mentioned at tram exhibition recently and someone else was saying the same in response to why not produce my track in resin.

I hope everyone with items listed on Shapeways has updated their prices. I had thought new prices would be updated properly but had not fully appreciated the big fault in their database design which calculates commission based on what you enter as total price, when commission value should be stored and total price calculated. I have posted a message on Shapeways forum, so hopefully someone at Shapeways might realise they have a potential timebomb in their system.
If Shapeways don't change their database design they might find competitors picking up on this and offering a better hands off operation.

As for home printing, it will come, but as with photo printing I find it better to use a shop service, as it works out cheaper and more convenient in the long run. Asda have already tested out 3D printing in some stores, it will be the next big thing assuming their sums add up.

Posted: Wed Oct 08, 2014 12:22 pm
by Willow Creek Traction
rue_d_etropal wrote:Asda have already tested out 3D printing in some stores,
I don't know of that happening out here in farm land anywhere, yet. Sounds like a grand idea.

Posted: Wed Oct 08, 2014 12:30 pm
by KEG
As to the future availability of these things, I suspect it won't be too many years before decent quality home 3-d printing becomes affordable and we won't need Shapeways.

The Shapeway model actually is an opportunity for designers and inventors, to make money from ideas.

If you only need single models, it might be an idea to look for the "Fablab"
or "GarageLab" idea in the net or in your neighbourhood. Very often they have expensive machines there for their members. And they have people there, which will help and teach you.

Regarding molds for resin and white metal. It is a steep learning curve plus money for silicon, whitemetal and resin. Be prepared to invest quite a bit of money if you are a complete beginner.
Centrifugal and / or vacuum equipment helps to get quality results which you can sell.

If you plan to use rapid prototyping or 3 D printed masters, you have to make them a few percent larger than the parts you plan to get. Resin, whitemetal or styrene (plastic) shrinks in the molds.

I think, we live in a great time, to have affordable access to all these high tech tools. But don´t forget, to practise the traditionall crafts so they will not be forgotten.

Have Fun


Posted: Wed Oct 08, 2014 12:35 pm
by tebee
The thing is this is a new extra option - it give people the option of new models they didn't have before.

I think the availability of new models and more choice has to be a good thing - people are more likely to become interested in the hobby when they see they more choices.

Like I said before no one is forcing people to buy them - I may not put enough effort it to marketing them, but it's not as if I have all my eggs in ones basket like a more conventional manufacturer. To a certain extent I can just experiment and see what people find interesting and useful. I know this is going to result in some models with no commercial viability but it's not that much of a problem for me.

On the subject of photos, yes things like the local Asda are probably a much cheaper option, and better quality than printing on your home computer ( through my local Photographic club now uses inkjet home prints exclusively for their competitions) I've just thrown out my £6,500 true photographic quality dye-sub printer, as although it produces superb prints, they cost over £4 each and there is just no call for them.


Posted: Wed Oct 08, 2014 1:44 pm
by rue_d_etropal
I have just been looking at the metal options. Stainless steel has come down in price a lot. I am eagerly awaiting comments from person who has ordered some steel models, as prices for bigger models are still more expensive than FUD plastic, but given there are still problems with FUD , it might be preferred option for good quality models.
Given that Shapeways have also changed the process for steel, that they might change it for other metals. I have been told brass is very good for N gauge.

As for allowing for resin to shrink, I had been told the new resins don't shrink, and the Sci-fi modellers can easily take copies off old plastic kits. A few years ago I obtained what was almost certainly copied from an EFE tube train, but a resin version, and it was identical size to the original. I decided not to use them, and sold them on. I didn't see any others advertised, so think it must have been an experiment.


On looking through the materials offered by Shapeways, I notice steel is the only metal which is actually 3D printed and then it has something added afterwards. The other metals are actually cast using wax moulds which have been 3D printed. This means there are the same limitations as found with any moulding. But, it probably means this is the way small metal items will be moulded in future, and does give me some ideas as to how to add weight by making some parts in metal.Lack of weight is a big problem on some 3D printed plastic models.

Posted: Wed Oct 08, 2014 7:53 pm
by KEG
So we know everything about Shapeways now. I missed pictures and links to finished products. Something like this:

Now we still have to find an answer to the question, why Gnatterboxers seem not to feel like buying the Gn15 models mentioned in here.

Have Fun


Posted: Wed Oct 08, 2014 11:14 pm
by rue_d_etropal
many here probably like to mess around with models designed for other things. Rail mounted road vehicles, which are totally impossible in reality, but I have noticed a few trying to take it more seriously.
When Tom first came on forum, he asked if there would be any interest in Gn15 models. I assume the answer was positive.
Unfortunately there has been a dramatic drop in chat on this forum for a variety of reasons, but I think there is actually more interest in minimum gauge modelling out there, so suspect people would rather model than chat. Some of the negative chat did not help .

Now the changes made to pricing at Shapeways will probably result in even fewer models for Gn15. There are some very angry designers who have been using Shapeways , mainly because of the incompetant way the changes have been handled. I started to read through the thread, including some of Toms, but was too depressing, even though it has not affected my models as badly, but some like Tom have put a lot of time and effort into their designs, and I assume Shapeways have made their money, just not enough.
Imagine what would happen if resin prices doubled in price . I suspect most small one man operations which we depend on to supply us with models, would close down.

Posted: Wed Oct 08, 2014 11:45 pm
by chris69
I absolutely love all the input you guys are giving. It opens the spectrum to a different view of the whole subject.
As for me, I love the stuff on shapeways,there are a great number of models that I would love to have. But one one side I have to look at the price and do I really need it or just want it because it is a great base to start something new.
As to price, there is a great set of undercarriages on shapeways that would work fantastic with some cars I have from the Laser Gang. BUT one set is about as much as 2 1/2 sets from the resin manufacture (granted I am still waiting for my resin set [2 1/2 years to be exact] ) but there is hope. So there is a point to be made for either side.
A lot of the Gn15 shapeways stuff is great as starter for more detailed versions and eliminates the hunting for basic components and leaves one to the detailing and upgrading of the model. I also think that once the shapeways items become more known it is a fantastic way to get started in Gn15 without going bananas over the how , what wen where as a newbie.
Now you got my 5CTs worth.
Happy modelling everybody.
Chris 8) 8) 8)

Posted: Thu Oct 09, 2014 8:03 am
by KEG
there is a great set of undercarriages on shapeways that would work fantastic with some cars I have from the Laser Gang.

To illustrate Chris´remark, here is a Lasergang Merck-wagon with Shapeways undercarriages. [/img]

Imagine what would happen if resin prices doubled in price . I suspect most small one man operations which we depend on to supply us with models, would close down.

Resin doubled in price over the last 10 years. Never heard model railway firms closed down because of that. In the larger scales a few new ones have been founded. E.G. Andel, Swift Sixteen, Model Earth Design etc.

Have Fun


Posted: Thu Oct 09, 2014 9:39 am
by rue_d_etropal
Resin prices might have doubled over past 10 years, but that is not my point. What if that happened over night?

I know of one person who is switching from resin to a combination of laser cut wood and their own 3D printing for small detail parts.

Each technology suits some things better than others. The best way is to combine each of those technologies to maximise what it does best. Not every business can do this though, and they are stuck with all their eggs in one basket.

Posted: Thu Oct 09, 2014 10:09 am
by tebee
Resin prices also make up only a small part of the cost of producing a resin cast kit, but with 3-d printed items the material cost is normally the major one.

Multi-media kits are probably the ideal solution, the problem is to produce them you need to be the master of many techniques or collaborate with people who know know them.

Forums like this can be an excellent place to exchange information though. I'm sure this thread has got a few people thinking and given many an insight into what goes into producing 3-d printed models. Rocky Bottom produced a fine guide on here into the intricacies of making resin castings.


Posted: Thu Oct 09, 2014 10:14 am
by KEG
I know of one person who is switching from resin to a combination of laser cut wood and their own 3D printing for small detail parts.

Any link to that company or pictures of finished products? After all, most successful kit designers use a combination of different materials for their kits if necessary. Some add metal or lead shot to their resin castings, to add weight.

A resin firm doubling their prices today would be out of business tomorrow.

Have fun


Posted: Thu Oct 09, 2014 3:47 pm
by rue_d_etropal
check out Andel at All the wagons Andy produces now seem to be a combination of laser cut wood and resin detail parts. I know Andy also has a 3D printer so nothing to stop him producing the small parts that way. I have not managed to catch him at an exhibition recently as he does not attend many now.

Posted: Thu Oct 09, 2014 5:20 pm
by KEG
Thanks, Andel seem to be a fine firm, but they never answered requiries from Germany.
Somebody brought me their flatcar with the four small coal wagons from the UK some years ago. I build new 16,5 mm chassi for them to use them for Gn15.


Locomotive IRIS is from a Thomas A. Yorke kit on a Fleischmann Magic Train chassis.

Those large 16mm scale wagons needed a lot of resin and are quite heavy. So having them lasercut in wood seems like a very good decision.
I think, in the UK it was I.P. Engineering, who started lasercutting wooden Large Scale kits.

Have Fun


Posted: Fri Oct 10, 2014 8:42 am
by rue_d_etropal
I have known Andy for a few years, since he came into shop when he was just starting up. The rivets on those wagons might even be from the trackpins I sold him!
Like many other one man outfits, keeping up with things like email can be difficult. Can never be certain if email has even got through. He does have a Facebook page as well.

Posted: Fri Oct 10, 2014 4:18 pm
by Si
Andel seem to be a fine firm, but they never answered requiries from Germany.

Don't worry - they never answered my queries from the UK either!

But I do like the stuff they make.

Posted: Fri Oct 10, 2014 4:22 pm
by tebee
Interesting - they are already offering digital designs you can download and print on your own 3-d printer. ... ies/Design

Posted: Fri Oct 10, 2014 9:48 pm
by tom yorke
Interesting topic here. Over the past perhaps 10 years I have designed and produced numerous Gn15 kits in resin. it takes a long time to design and develop a kit. Research, design, patterns, molds and finally casting. Then plans and instructions. My earliest offerings faired better in sales, but over the years I have sold numbers that can be counted on one hand. What's happening to Gn15? At this point it isn't worth my while to design and manufacture something that sells maybe two or three kits! I love designing kits but at this point I can't see any use in it.

3D models are interesting but usually it's the texture that is off. For rusted steel it looks great but most other materials it's way too severe a texture to cope with. laser cutting is good but again, all that work for a few models sold?

Then of course one developed a model kit to fit an existing loco chassis only to have the maker change or drop the item all together. what's a manufacturer to do?