I personally know that dilemma quite well.
Fortunately though, there is a solution: 3D printing through companies like Shapeways. 3D printing keeps getting better and cheaper, which is great news for model railroaders. However, there is a catch. You need to create a printable 3D file of the model you want in order to print the model you want. You could go through the hassle of obtaining and learning 3D modeling software. But that’s an investment in time and energy you’d likely rather not make.
That’s where I come in. I’ve been engaged in making printable 3D files for model railroaders for several years now. My 3D printed work has even been featured in Model Railroad magazine.
My experience in making 3D printable model railroad designs will allow you to have models you’ve long only dreamed of in your hand in a matter of weeks from right now.
I’ve helped many people make their modeling dreams come to life. And I can help you too.
Yes it will cost some money to hire me, but the beauty of 3D modeling is if you hire me to make a model for you, you’ll own it…which means you’ll have the ability to sell prints of it through Shapeways at a markup of your choice. Selling on Shapeways is very easy, all it requires is opening a free Shapeways account and also a free Paypal account so Shapeways can pay you royalties on any sales you make. That means, you could easily not only have a model you’ve long desired but also make a profit off taking the initiative to hire me to make the printable file for you.
3D printing is poised to become ever-better and ever-more-popular. So, you’d be wise to get in the game while the getting is good. Afterall, I might become too busy or have to charge higher rates in the future. As the saying goes: he who hesitates is lost.
Just send me a message telling me what you want to model and I’ll give you a quote on how much it will cost. I currently charge just $30 an hour. Read on for more details on the process. If you have a budget for what you are willing to pay me to design your model tell me it because that’s one way I’ll quickly be able to tell you if I can do your model for the price you are willing to pay.
What I can make for you: Any railroad equipment or structure/building you want I can probably do—just so long as you can give me good, accurate, detailed information about the prototype you want modeled. Small scales are currently most fit for 3D printing, but all scales are welcome (you can even invent your own scale). The only issue is, the larger the scale the higher the printing costs (but not design costs). I can design everything from complete models to masters for resin kits. Once you have the design file, you can use Shapeways (or any printer) to have the design printed in whatever material and whatever way you want (although different materials require different design specifications). And if you are a novice to 3D printing, I’ll guide you as needed.
Cost: I’m currently charging $30 an hour for design work. As an example of what to expect for costs, a full freight car design is likely to take at least a full workday (8 hours). I’m willing to come down on the hourly rate if you have a lot of work for me though. An average (symmetrical) freight car design of average complexity will run about $250 minimum. If you want a lot of detail, like every rivet, the price could quickly double to $400+. But detail potential is somewhat limited because the printers have a file size limit and more details mean bigger file sizes. I can only control the printable file, a third party like Shapeways is responsible for the printing. Beyond freight cars, an average locomotive shell will run around $500, but a lot of details could drive that price higher. Structure design prices can vary widely based on size and complexity. On bigger projects, I will ask for a $100 down payment upfront before I start designing.
Contact: As long as you know what you want and can give me drawings, measurements, diagrams etc., go ahead and contact me and I’ll give you a cost estimate. If you want me to do the research to gather prototype info, I can but it will cost extra. If you hire me to make you a printable file, you’ll own it which means you’ll be able to sell prints yourself on a site like Shapeways and earn a royalty; that could be lucrative going forward as 3D printing gets ever-better. Look at my current Shapeways shop for ideas on what is possible and how much printing costs.
Pay with Paypal when I give you the all clear and you are ready to pay. All major credit cards accepted.
Bitcoin is also accepted, as well as other crypto-currencies. Just ask me.