Pending Shapeways Store Price Increases

UPDATE, JANUARY 30, 2019 – Shapeways emailed today saying the pricing adjustment for FUD plastics like my models are in is temporarily on hold while they try to work out some pricing issues with the changes. They are saying a few weeks, I will update this post again when a new date is announded.


I’m not sure how many people who stumble across my blog wind up being the ones who buy things from my Shapeways Store, but it seems only fair to warn people about an impending price increase. Shapeways told designers/sellers some time ago that their pricing structure was changing to factor in more things into the costing, which is a mix of material, machine space, and part handling charges. When they first told us, they said anything already on sale as being grandfathered at its current price until sometime in 2019. That time has finally arrived, and on February 4th, the new prices will go into effect. For most of my models, the price changes are not significant, and to be fully honest, a few things like the CNR/CPR Don Station and Cabin D signal boxes will actually go down a bit in price, but some of my top sellers, the S Scale Speeder Cars will be going up in price $3-4 US depending on the car and the material choice made (Smooth vs Smoothest Detail Plastic). The S Scale Speeders are currently between $18-$25US depending on the material.After February 4th, they will be between $22-$28US, so get them while they are a bit less.

 

Getting Cheaper, Don Station, getting more expensive, CNR D-1 components and Speeder cars in HO and S.

S Scale Speeders – M14, S2

HO Scale Speeders – M14, S2, Woodings CBI

I’m not happy about this, as they are really good sellers, but there is also no value in selling them as the couple of dollars I make on each fund me doing test prints for other projects that are in the work, unfortunately, as with everything, the cost of production is going up, and some of that has to get passed on to the end user. We will see if it affects sales. I’ll have to revisit this in say six months time, but its so hard to know with S Scale whether a change in sales is because I’ve literally sold to every S Scale modeller who wants them, or if the small price increase has driven people away.

 

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The S Scale Resource Online Magazine

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This is a thank you to the S Scale Community in response to the two Speeder Cars I have available on Shapeways.  I really should have bet Trevor on how many I’d sell.  I’d also like to thank the publisher of the online magazine the S Scale Resource for including my two speeder cars in their most recent issue to spread the word after a number of modellers who have bought them posted about them on various forums.

The S Scale Resource and its sister the O Scale Resource are free online magazines published by modellers.  Even if you aren’t in these scales, they have lots of great articles about modelling techniques that can be applied to other scales.  They are ad-supported, so if you sign up, visit and support their advertisers, it keeps great hard-working modellers who want to help build communities going and giving out a great resource to the rest of us for free!!

SScaleScreenCapLookit That, my speeder model in digital print being advertised to others!!  In the August-September 2018 issue.

Let it never be said I don’ t listen – Another S Scale Speeder Car Available

So to follow up on my post from the weekend, I’m rolling the dice to see if there is interest in a second type of 3D printed S Scale speeder car.  The Fairmont M14, another speeder in the collection of the Toronto Railway Museum that I have produced an HO Scale version of, has been converted to S Scale and Sn42 Narrow Gauge for my one customer (from and modelling all the way east in Newfoundland if memory serves!!).

No pictures, as I haven’t ordered them for myself yet, but I’ve made the adjustments I think are needed, and put them up for sale on my Shapeways Store at the links below the pictures.

Shapeways Renders of the S Scale standard gauge (left) and Sn42 Narrow Gauge (right) Fairmont M14 Speeder Cars.  The body details are the same other than some adjustments to get the body to fit the narrower wheels on the Sn42.

As I haven’t ordered them myself yet, I’m relying on this car having the same frame structure as the S2 Speeder to make sure the parts work and fit together when printed.

Hopefully the S Scale community finds these useful additions to their modelling.

Shapeways Sales Review – Who knows what will sell? It sure isn’t me.

The model railroad industry is a surprisingly competitive place, and it certainly isn’t a place where people go (at least not sane people) go to try to make money unless they have a lot of dedication or are crazy (see Exhibit A Jason Shron of Rapido Trains).  I’m a hobbyist, but one with some skills in 3D design, and whose dabbled in 3D printing for our hobby.  As part of this, I’ve been able to make some of the 3D printed bits and pieces I’ve done for my models available through my Shapeways Store.  I’ve sold a fair bit of stuff, but not nearly enough to make any kind of living or consider it to be a real business.  It’s a pleasing sideline to the things I need for myself to fund me buying things I design for myself.  I’m not treating it as a business, and have no plans too, but the emails when things are bought always amaze me and I’m constantly amazed at what sells.

imgp4766My Best Selling Item – A Sprue of HO Scale BBQ propane tanks. I’ve sold 39!!

My top three selling items are all HO Scale little details, the aforementioned sprue of BBQ gas tanks above, a block of 4 HO Scale lockers, then a residential BBQ.  Perfectly sensible small items that are all fairly cheap, and not readily available from commercial manufacturers.  This however, is where it gets weird.  My fourth best-selling item, is something I did initially as a “this would be nice for my friends layout”, a resizing of the HO Scale Canadian National Fairmont Speeder Car into S Scale.

The S Scale Fairmont S2 speeder on its own, and alongside its little HO Scale brother.

Not including the one I printed myself that was gifted to Trevor Marshall, I have now sold 22 of these!! I’ve only sold 18 in HO Scale in a much bigger pond than the S Scale universe.  The message here, is twofold, one, as Trevor keeps telling me, there is a pent-up demand in the S Scale universe for products, and two, even in S scale, something small ish like a speeder can be a profitable item at a reasonable price where its affordable enough to sell lots, but where I can have enough markup to actually make some money from it.

I’ve had a number of people as about the Fairmont M14 speeder I’ve done in HO in S Scale.  I am seriously considering looking at re-scaling it and doing it in S Scale, if there really is a market out there, I’d like to help those modellers, and I’m not going to complain about a few extra dollars in my pockets every month!

imgp6081rawconvFairmont M14 Speeder in HO Scale, aparently coming soon in S Scale based on market demand!

So, with that, S-Scalers, I still don’t do commissions or take on outside work, as my 3D modelling time is my lunch break at work, but if you see anything in the handful of small items or detail parts I offer in HO on Shapeways that you really think you must have or there is a market for, let me know in the comments.  That may be enough to push me over the top into adjusting the 3D model and offering it to you.

587 Yonge St/Bar Volo – Model Completed

For how small the model is (12″x12″ square), this has been a long slow burn of a project.  The idea of it was hatched in October 2016 when the original location of Bar Volo closed for the building to be demolished.  This will be a photo heavy post, but I will include links at the end as this is a project wrap-up post to earlier ones on the process of building the model.

This project had a bit of every aspect of model making and design, 3D printed components, designing signs for printing from the computer, working with styrene, using pan pastels, scenery techniques for the ivy.  The building and interior are all done. There are no loose ends.  I do want to make a sign for when it is out on display, and I am still messing about with which cars are going to be on the diorama, and where they go, but those are cosmetic things that can be changed as I desire.  There are no more “construction” tasks to do, the model is done!! (how nice it is to say that!)

My timing couldn’t be better, with the news this week that Bar Volo has finally found a new home, and that a liquor license application has been filed for a location only a block away from their old home, this time to the northwest of Yonge and Wellesley.  I look forward to seeing many good friends at Volo again in the future, and to bringing the model down to the bar for others to see.

With all that said,  I can now sit back and admire my model, and hopefully you enjoy it too!

IMGP7205RawConvCome on in to Bar Volo, the lights are on, the beer is flowing, and good company awaits.
The Dundonald Street (south) side of the building with the patio.
The Yonge Street view of Bar Volo.
The Interior View, showing the switches for lights, and the opening back wall so you can look into the bar and see the interior of the model.
The east side of the building, mostly hidden behind other buildings not modeled (the black card material)
IMGP7215RawConvAerial View of the diorama, the whole square foot of it!!!
View of the patio from street level, complete down to the blackboards with the beer lists on it.
Slightly higher view of the patio. As you can see, when the interior lights are on, its very visible.
IMG_5154A shot of the model to give a better sense of scale. For those not familiar, I model in what is known as HO Scale, a model railroad scale of 1″ of the model is equal to 87″ in the real world, often seen referred to as 1/87th.

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Getting GOing again on a Project

I haven’t worked much on the first test of the Hawker Siddeley single level GO car since last fall.  The discovery of the CAD error in the first print in October (see here) has kinda set me back, as despite the quick fix in the 3D computer model, I haven’t really felt like spending the money to re-print the first sample body until I was certain any other issues were found out.  For now and for me, for my first sample and the model that will be in my collection, for the moment, I can live with the wrong window radius.  This weekend, I finally got off my rear end and said I’m sick of looking at the half finished bits of this car.  Lets actually paint the fine details, and look at what needs to be done so the car is presentable.  Ordinarily, the upcoming Barrie-Allandale Train Show on the February 17-18th would be cause for motivating me to have had it done, but the Toronto Railway Museum isn’t able to attend the show this year, so my models won’t be out on display.  Their next major outing is likely now Doors Open Toronto at the Roundhouse on May 26-27.  That gives me more time for getting any parts I discover I need, but to figure that out, I actually need to work on it.

IMGP6672RawConvTinting clear styrene window strips with Tamiya Clear Smoke paint. It looks better when done and dry than this mid way though shot makes it look.

With the window error, and this being the largest 3D printed body I’ve designed, along with a completely 3D printed interior and underbody, there’s lots of learning experiences in this project. Not only fit and clearance to make sure the parts still fit when assembled and things like clear window glazing are added, but making sure you can even do things like finish the car and assemble it and have it run.  It has all fallen down on the have it run, my first attempt at 3D printed trucks are to be kind, garbage, but as they are easily swapped out, the only thing really keeping me from moving forward was myself.  I’ve also discovered some parts of the body and underframe have warped over time, even with the strengthening brass in the frame.  This is something I’ll need to examine more, though the longer I have looked at and worked on the car, I suspect that if I ever manage to bring it to the market, it will be by using the 3D prints as masters for resin castings, not as a fully 3D printed car.  The 3D printed material is just posing too many issues for something of this size thats designed to actually run on your layout.

IMGP6673RawConvMagnets to hold the body and frame together and in alignment. A trick I learned while designing D-1, but taken from an Athearn/Roundhouse coach I was using for parts on that project.

The two biggest tasks were installing magnets to hold the frame and body together, and finishing the windows.  The Magnets are 0.125″ diameter round magnets, that are set into circular openings in the frame and body prints and held in place with CA. I’d use epoxy, but I have concerns with the bit of heat it generates as it cures warping the 3D printed parts, CA doesn’t have this side effect.

For the windows, it was a slow and steady couple of hours lining the window frame gaskets black, then inserting the windows with a smoke tint.  One thing I realized from this is the full interior gets lost with the smoke.  This is good for the future as not having the interior would reduce the cost of the 3D prints substantially.

Progress on GO Cab Car 104 as preserved at the Toronto Railway Museum. Need to sort out the cab stripes, then I can finish the front end details.

At times today, it felt like every two small steps forward I took, I took one big step back.  It took four attempts at figuring out how to get a number board into place in the cab.  I’d designed them thinking I could light them.  Same for the headlights above the cab.  Both of those have been non-starters because of other design decisions in how the pieces went together, that whole learning by doing with the 3D designing of models I mentioned above.  For future prints I’ll be making some changes to the design of the interior to leave more clearance for fitting it in when the windows are glazed, and to make installing the number boards a bit easier.

I also discovered that somewhere along the line, I ruined the screw holes for mounting the couplers.  That resulted in me having to go at the front end of the car with my Dremel to drill through the brass bar that forms the spine of the car to let me create new mounting holes for the coupler screws.  It worked, but only just barely was I able to create new holes and tap the brass bar enough to take the screw.  Again, this kind of error doesn’t hurt as bad on my car that will likely never run on a layout, but I need to sort out what I did wrong in the design to make sure someone else doesn’t have that problem if I sell them a print.

All in all, despite many frustrating setbacks, I managed to advance the model a lot.  I certainly know some spots where I need to go back to the 3D model and make adjustments before any future prints of parts of the car are attempted.