Re: The future of RP and small Resin Manufacturers?

James Eckman

From: "Brian Chapman" <cornbeltroute@...>

I am self-taught, at considerable investment of
dollars and time, in CAD and CAM software and the use of CNC tabletop
equipment (among other production venues, too, such as photo etching).
How soon will my world of manufacturing collapse about me? I do not know.
I would be worried more about the collapse of the model railroad freight car market myself. RP isn't going to happen overnight, it will take a while before the service bureaus even can do things with the level of detail required. Note Jim's? post where the salespeople didn't even know what their machine could do along with a silly pricing policy.

Sitting near me is a test CNC cut negative mold of one side of a
40-foot bead-sided Trailmobile meat reefer, with some 1200 rivets
located between each corrugation in vertical rows. The corrugations
and rivets were cut with a ball mill and a drill bit, respectively, of
appropriate scale size. I think the result looks terrific. But, can
this type of work compete with RP? I do not know.
If it looks good, why not? The end purchaser will only care that it looks right and can be put together into a working model. I'd look at Westerfield kits for pointers on that!

I wonder if RP, eventually, will not be a greater threat to injection
molding manufacturers than to today's small shop resin manufacturers.
If you have a mass market, injection is the way to go, making molds is easier and cheapier as well nowadays.

Today, small resin manufacturers are seen, I believe, as the future
for prototype modelers (particularly steam-era modelers) wishing to
acquire highly accurate models of equipment and structures that can
never been produced by injection molding. How long is this "future"
likely to last?
As long as the hobby.

Egads, I do believe I have developed a stomach-ache while writing this
post ;-/
I hope you will derive pleasure from your business, model freight cars are probably not the road to riches. Of course there's my secret method for making a million at model railroading, if you send me $1,000,000 I will be glad to share it with you ;).

Jim Eckman

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