Dear shapies,

Some of you have met me already at
Siggraph, but up to know I have not introduced myself yet at our
website. My name is Marleen and since June I became a team member of
Shapeways. I am responsible for finance. I have a quite diverse
background that combines logistics and operations in paper
manufacturing with strategic advice and mergers & acquisitions. I
have always wanted to be an entrepreneur and Shapeways is the perfect
place for me where Internet, production and lots of hard and fun work
comes together.

Some weeks ago I was contacted by Hans
van de Burgt working at TNO,
and secretary of the foundation
. This foundation runs several
websites for model train enthusiasts and her objective is to spread
the passion and fun of the model train hobby in the Benelux(Belgium,
The Netherlands and Luxembourg). Hans and his fellow model train
friend Karst Drenth- who happens to be one of the  specialists
in the Netherlands in building handmade model trains out of
‘plotter-cut’ styrene – wanted to test whether 3d printing
could be a feasible option for all model train hobbyists. 

The great thing about 3D printing for
model trains, is that it cuts back the amount of time of building a
train from 3 months to just a few days. This makes it fun for so many
more people than just the small group that has a lot of patience. In
addition, it makes customized models affordable ­čÖé !

I immediately liked the idea, and
because I have worked in the past for a train network operator (the
REAL trains) I have an interest in anything to do with trains. Karst,
Hans and I decided to print a scaled carriage in the materials
that Shapeways currently offers. We learned a lot from this exercise.
The train hobby demands a very high level of detail and easy
finishing with sanding, spray painting and gluing. The material that
right now suits well, is our White Detail but we are determined to
take it even a step further; so keep checking our material pages. In
the near future we will place an interview with Karst on this blog to
share all the details and photos of our tests.

I was honored to be invited by Hans and
Karst to visit Eurospoor 2008, which is a convention for the model
train hobby. The Foundation had a huge stand with
enthusiasts that are specialized in the electronics, scenery, model
train building and so on. It was great to be there, share ideas and
to learn that 3D manufacturing can be a solution for many
enthusiasts. Hans, Karst and me have lot’s of great ideas to
inspire, help and enable the model train community. So keep checking
Shapeways, because encouraging members to buy Karst’s
is only the beginning.