Products and Design

Documenting a the creation of a Hawaiian coach trollycar

Creating a scale model is often an dedicated act of love. Take Shapeways community member rkapuaala. For over ten years, he’s been working on a model of a coach 64 trolley car and sharing the process in our forums. We’ve loved being along for the ride and learning from his method of combining 3D printing with railroad modeling techniques to solve challenging problems at scale.

Like this design challenge he shared in the forum: “This is as far as I’ve gotten to date with this wooden model. Everything on this version is scratch built using combinations of wood, brass, resin and polystyrene. That includes the trucks. I stalled on this project mainly because of the ornate railing.”


This is the railing, as seen on the original trolley car:


Due to the complexity of the design, he decided to 3D print the railings in Strong and Flexible plastic and paint them afterwards.


“As you can see from the render above,” he wrote in the forum, “I did them in 3D which allows me to work in 1:1 scale and explode details to microscopic levels if I want. Not to mention that I can make repetitive parts and copy them over and over again.”

When the 3D printed rails from Shapeways arrived, they fit well with the trolley:




“I spent a lot of time cleaning up the railing detail and was rewarded. The detail emerged beneath the white powder that caked the print. This is the first coat of paint. I’m not going to use primer because I do not want to loose any detail on the railing. Now I’m confident my more detailed 7/8ths scale model will print out.”

We can’t wait to see what he challenge he posts, and solves, next. You can find this thread (and more) here. Also check out rkpuaala’s work in his shop and follow him him here. For more scale model trains keep an eye out the blog and social media. I’ll be at the Fine Scale Model Train Expo in Danvers Massachusetts this weekend.


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