Designer Spotlight: Chip Van Gilder

This week we are highlighting Chip Van Gilder, a model railroader who went from 3D drafting to 3D modeling; his love of technology brought him to 3D printing!

Tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? Where are you located?
I’m located in Tacoma, WA. I’m a model railroader from way back, who really loves technology.

Chip Van Gilder +Designer spotlight

What’s the story behind your designs? What inspires you?
I was introduced to 3D drafting a few years ago and tried creating flat prints from these to make various models. I heard about the 3D printing process and started researching the various machines and their capacities.

What brought you to 3D printing with Shapeways?
During my researching, I came across Shapeways. They had the finest details available, both commercially and desktop. So, why look any further. They still do! With my models I’m looking to create a lot of details, which I can with Shapeways.

How did you learn how to design in 3D?
Studied on my own. I have an idea what I want to do, I work to create what need.

How do you promote your work?
Mostly word of mouth. I’m at a National convention right now. I’ll soon open a web site, too. I’ve done that before for other items.

Who are your favorite designers or artists? Who in the Shapeways community has served as an inspiration to you?
3rdboxcar was one of the first designers I discovered on Shapeways and inspired me to move forward.

If you weren’t limited by current technologies, what would you want to make using 3D printing?
Right now the only limitations I have with 3D printing is maximum dimensions. Sometimes my models are too long to fit the design box.


  • Fun photos of painted and unpainted models
  • Great banner and logo branding
  • Sections for easy shopping
  • Range of items, from miniatures to jewelry


Thanks, Chip! Can’t wait to see the shop grow. Chip is also participating in the National Model Railroad Association Convention this week in Portland, OR until August 30–stop by and say hello if you’re in the area. Make sure to check out his shop in the meantime, and email aimee @ shapeways.com to be featured.

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