We were at Rail 2009 on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. We were there to get feedback on BeneluxSpoor.net’s rapid prototyping initiative. BeneluxSpoor.net is a foundation of railway enthusiasts and they have a rapid manufacturing/3D printing working group that is doing research into how 3D printing can benefit the model train community. They are looking into painting as well as a host of different 3D printing processes. We were at Rail 2009 in order to show off Beneluxspoor’s work and find out what the railroading community think. And let me tell you that they are a tough crowd to please. Their eye and attention for detail is second to none. We got a lot of enthusiastic responses though and think that this is a huge opportunity for us and model railway enthusiasts. With Shapeways people can produce unique trains and other accessories and even sell them via the Shops: the long train if you will.

There was a complete manufacturing section on the Beneluxspoor stand with a CNC machine, a Dimension 1200 3D printer a LOM 3D printer and a laser cutting machine. There were also a few computers where you could try out the Alibre modeling tool.  

At Rail 2009 we also put our first theme page live. Theme pages are pages for particular communities or themes and give someone an overview of a particular collection of models around a group or theme. Our first theme page showcases Beneluxspoor’s models on Shapeways. You can go there to look at all their trains of even purchase a N scale DG-1 for $27.This is a 1:160 scale model of the Dutch Wadloper train. Frits Westers, the modeler, also made the train in H0 scale(1:87), and we have a caboose model made by Karst and a signal made by Mitchell. If you have an idea for your own theme page, email me.

Several versions of Frits’ DG in White, Strong & Flexible, Cream Robust and White Detail with the painted White, Strong & Flexible version in front. 

All the different versions of Karst’s caboose. 

A close up of the DG-1.

A laser cut house that people could put together.

Some nice displays: