Shapeways at Rail 2009: The long train

We were at Rail 2009 on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. We were there to get feedback on’s rapid prototyping initiative. 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:


  1. Bob Davies

    This is very interesting. I am prototyping various UK N Gauge (1:148) model train parts at present with some success. Over the next few months I hope to be producing a mix of master models, for resin casting, and a number of smaller components for direct use.

    I know of at least one other person who is looking seriously at the 3D printing methods.

    Although it would be a long way off in the project, or may be to expensive, I have heard rumours of a 3D printing technique, for surface printing onto models. However, I have not been able to find any information to substantiate the rumour. If I have the info right, it is rather like having an inkjet printer printing onto the outside surface of a 3D object.

    1. joris


      if you like any of the items you could ask the Shop owner to scale them to your scale.

      What do you mean by the surface printing onto models technique?

    2. Bob Davies

      The traditional methods for printing a 3D object are to paint with a brush, air brush, pad printer (one colour at a time), water silde decal or vinyl overlay.

      I am convinced that I came accross something which allows for direct printing of full colour, onto a 3D surface.

      Theoretically the Z-Corp 3D printers can do full colour of the object itself, but the example I have seen are somewhat muted.

      The kits I will be producing will probably have vinyl overlays, which will be precut.

    3. joris


      If you did find something that does 3D direct color printing let me know!

      The only processes I’ve seen all are a derivative of the Zcorp method, and are as you say politely quite muted.

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