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Accessible 3-D printing for model railroaders

Learn about 3-D printing software and services for making custom model trains and other model railroading applications
Free software available online, such as Sketchup, can be used to design models that are produced by 3-D printing services like Shapeways. Alex Marchand followed this path to model a CSX class U-13 phosphate hopper in N scale.
When I was in high school in the late ’90s, I saw a TV show that ran a segment on the emerging technology of 3-D printing. Immediately, I thought about how useful those machines would someday be for model railroading.

I kept an eye open for the day when 3-D printing, or rapid prototyping, would finally become good enough, cheap enough, and user-friendly enough to use for my own model railroading. Then, in 2011, I learned about a service offered by a relatively new company at the time called Shapeways.

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