I had another Shapeways order delivered recently and just pulled the models out of solvent tonight. I decided to consolidate everything that I had printed so far in a single photo to illustrate just how far I have come in just 5 months. It is hard to believe that I literally downloaded Sketchup for the first time around Christmas a few months ago. Although it was a steep learning curve, I was able to produce my first model which was the Wilson 43' grain trailer just several weeks later.
There have been some bumps in the road, like Shapeways printing models, and then rejecting subsequent orders. This is a frustration shared by many, and voiced on their dedicated forum. I have learned some of the tricks to ensure that their manual and sometimes inconsistent review and approval processes don't impact my models. I am conservative with my drawings, and avoid pushing the limits on wall and wire thickness minimums. I am now getting very consistent results with my personal orders and sales by others.
Overall, I am very pleased with what I have learned and experienced so far. Is 3d printing for N scale purposes perfect? No, but when I look at many of the models available today outside the big names like Kato, Athearn, Atlas, etc. the quality of products has a long way to go still. And, if 3d printing isn't good enough yet, then I guess we'll just have to sit back and wait for someone or something better to come along and make the models that we need for us. I have decided to continue down the road I started a few months ago, and see just how far it will take me.
Thanks again for those of you that have purchased my models. I hope to see some finished models showing up soon around the N scale community. As you can see, I have my own collection of models waiting for paint and details. 6 more Pete cabs were in the last order, so I better get the airbrush fired up.