3D Printing coming to Staples.

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#1
Someone posted this at another train forum and I thought it was worth mentioning here. Next year Staples will start offering 3D printing at their stores. The printer uses built-up layers of paper to make the object, so it's probably not capable of fine detail needed for body shells for engines and cars. But it looks like it should be suitable for things like tunnel portals, bridge abutments, and stuff like that.

One neat thing is that it can print colors as it builds the model. You could create a full-color 3D terrain of a layout that you're planning.

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This video shows how it works...

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Steve S
 

beiland

Well-Known Member
#4
Cost Effectiveness?

I wonder about its real cost effectiveness? It would appear as though it would have a LOT of waste of each sheet of paper not utilized to build a particular part. And if those sheets were each colored it would seem to use a LOT of color inks.

As opposed to those machines that build 3D parts with plastic?

I don't pretend to know enough about the technology of these 3D machines,...just my untrained observation
 
#5
It would appear as though it would have a LOT of waste of each sheet of paper not utilized to build a particular part.
Yeah, I hope Staples is going to be sending all that paper to the recycler.


And if those sheets were each colored it would seem to use a LOT of color inks.
I think it's only spraying ink where it's needed.

Steve S
 
#6
Good post!

3d printing via shapeways does not beat mass manufacturing for railcars dollar per dollar. But if you want a wellcar selectively compressed to look ok next to other tyco tyle shorties or on 18" curves it can get you one. Think I have $35 in mine by the time I screwed on trucks and glued on couplers. Oh, plus shipping.

Thanks for the post though. Building this should make quite well.
 

Michael J

New model railroader
#7
Shapeways?

I looked at the Shapeways site. It is intriguing. Do you have much experience dealing with them? (I will probably have more questions.)
 
#8
I looked at the Shapeways site. It is intriguing. Do you have much experience dealing with them? (I will probably have more questions.)
It is interesting. Maybe the wave of the future. No tooling cost but slow production I imagine.

A friend and myself have ordered a few dozen 1:1800 WWII warships for a miniatures game. http://aaminis.myfastforum.org/forum65.php some of them things are absolute works of art. I have painted up a decent HMS Vanguard someone else designed.

If there is a problem it is in the design phase. Pretty much you upload a design and if it seems like it will print Shapeways will let you order it. In the miniature boat world a few dollars a trial is not so bad but my wellcar was $20something! Thank goodness my work was straight and filled in right. The naval mini designers really get in some fine details. I was more conservative.

Um what else.... Turn around is a couple weeks.... The white strong and flexible material seems plenty strong and while a little fuzzy paints well.

Any other questions just ask.
 

Michael J

New model railroader
#9
Thanks Mark. I am considering it for making some HO-scale buildings and trackside objects. Off-the-shelf models are good, but sometimes a unique design is desired. There would not be a lot of intricate detail as you have. Or do you believe building-size objects are too big for a Shapeways model?

What design software do you use? The Shapeways site says that it will accept designs done in SketchUp, which I use a lot.

Any recommendations on material? You mentioned the white strong & flexible, but I'm not sure I need flexible. I definitely don't want any of the metals. (Although a sterling silver depot would be cool!) Have you tried the sandstone?

I did read their FAQ and learned about hollowing out an object to save on material and money. That makes a lot of sense. Are your objects solid or hollow?
 
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#10
Michael, I would think building size objects would be expensive. My thoughts would be to find a correct size building and accessorize it with Shapeways objects. I see even mini Keanu Reeves' on there so people, animals, benches, all that would work if its the right scale or you design it. That Kinko's 3D paper landscape looked tough enough to be on a layout. I wonder what the cost will be. If a decent sized building could be even cardboard toughness.

My buddy who designed some of the war game ships used SketchUp so I did as well. I had to download an extension to make a .stl file if I recall. If you have experience with it you are probably better than I am already!

What Strong and Flexible is my favorite material. I think by flexible it means it stands a chance of bending w/o breaking not that it is going to bend or fold readily. It has to be the hardest and most durable. Sandstone had some minimum size restrictions which got my attention. Tests I have seen make it look durable enough. http://youtu.be/o-yeV4tTTKE

My wellcar is solid, the 1:1800 ships are hollow. In WSF they could certainly be painted and set up on a layout but that sandstone trinket in the video looks tougher than hollow WSF.

I made mine solid because I had to attach a set of trucks and some couplers to it then drag a dozen other railcars around. For what its worth several millimeters of WSF is not the easiest material to drill through.

Michael, I look forward to seeing your ideas and work.
 

Michael J

New model railroader
#11
Mark: Thank you. I think that I will take your advice and forget about building-size objects for now until I see how smaller things work out (and how much they cost).

Perhaps the larger objects might be more suitable for the paper-based products Staples is planning. I am in no hurry, so I will wait.

Do you recall where you got the SketchUp extension to make .stl files? If not I can Google it.
 
#12
I looked at the Shapeways site. It is intriguing. Do you have much experience dealing with them? (I will probably have more questions.)
I'm about to send off a model of an HO dry bulk trailer to Shapeways. I'll post pics when I receive it. I'm going to use Frosted Ultra Detail. It's not cheap but should give the smoothest results. The sandstone material would be good for tunnel portals and such. It's also the cheap.

I agree with Mark that an entire building would be expensive. Shapeways would be good for some of the architectural details. Or if the building has a lot of repeating parts, use Shapeways to make a master, create a rubber mold from that and cast your own parts in plaster.

Steve S
 
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Michael J

New model railroader
#13
I have an idea to cast some cemetery headstones for our club's layout. A couple of our charter members recently passed away, and their families agreed it might be a nice remembrance if they were "laid to rest" on the layout. (The rest of the cemetery would be generic.)
 

Michael J

New model railroader
#14
Shapeways has my order for headstones. I will post photos when they arrive. I made several different designs and attached them to a sprue, so there should be enough for a small cemetery.
 



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