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Unfortunately... you seem to have based your assessment on one sample of an unidentified Shapeways build. Each of the many available materials has different characteristics, and may be more or less suitable for a given part.
- Which Shapeways material was used?
- What type of surfaces are on the part?
- How large/small was the object?
- Quote: "material is too thin to mold it"... This sounds like a design issue?
I'm agreeing with you that Shapeways is no panacea for development of production model parts, but with modest cost and quick turn-around it is often suitable for one-offs and pilot models. YMMV
Richard Brennan - San Leandro CA
At 10:26 AM 9/6/2012, you wrote:
Much has been said at times on Yahoo groups suggesting Shapeways as a viable
source of low production or 1 off model railroad items for a reasonable
price. Since starting my own part designing with Solidworks about 5 years
ago I have long been skeptical of what you would get for your purchase. I
have mostly thought (without seeing first hand) they are not there yet. The
best I had ever heard was from N Scalers saying their purchased items were
That changed about an hour ago. A fellow S Scaler sent me an S Scale roof he
purchased. The material is rather fragile. It arrived to him broken - which
is why he graciously sent it to me just to see. In some ways it is a little
better than I expected but mostly it is **much worse** than I expected. The
material is a bit waxy but the layering is just awful! These is no chance
anyone would find it to be acceptable right out of the box. It was built
across the width so the roof was made vertically. It probably would have
been a worse finish if the roof was built as if you would see it on that
car. This just more than confirms my thoughts about Shapeways - you get what
you pay for and they are by far NOT there yet!
The material is too thin to mold it and try and use the casting as a master
which you would have to sand the cast part extensively. That is too much
like work! To get this roof made where I get my stuff printed would cost a
TON of money and possibly not that much better in finish but the material is
stronger so there are more possibilities - but nothing is easy for sure.