HO model train 3d printing

Brian’s been back in touch – he’s been busy with some HO model train 3d printing.

(His last post is here if you want to get up to speed.)

“Hi Alastair,

A few more 3D printed items in HO scale, boats for all the waterfront areas on my layout. I wanted some small boats to populate the vast water areas on my layout.

I found these files for free on thingieverse and sent them to a friend in the neighbouring town who has a 3D printer and asked him resize them to a 15 scale feet for an scale HO boat.

They do need a lot of cleaning up but most of the interior can be hidden by cargo in them. The outside is easy to sand (but when I say easy, the product is quite hard) and then the imperfections are smoothed out with Tamiya putty.

I sprayed them with a sand colour undercoat and them painted the a few different colours.

I use a Pilot paint pen to paint the boat rails after sanding them with different colours as it is so easy to use and doesn’t get anywhere but where you want it to be.

The outboard motors are cleaned up and painted to suit the different makes. Where they have not printed properly, I mount then on a boat and cut the bottom off at water level to look as if they are ready to go.

Below are a few photos of the painting and detailing process.

I have no an intention to buy a 3D printer as at this stage it would not be justified cost wise, but the HO model train 3d printing is interesting.


HO model train 3d printing

HO model train 3d printing

HO model train 3d printing

HO model train 3d printing

A big thanks to Brian.

Dean has also been playing with a 3d print model train.

“Hi Al,

first thing I want to say excuse my spelling and grammar. I have been receiving your emails for about a year now and have been taking notes and buying a ton of stuff.

I finally started building my bench work and have a little piece of kind of in a oval just so I can run a little training blow the horn entertain myself as I slowly build my Little Empire.

One of the things I wanted to put on my layout with some bridges but a lot of them are quite expensive and I found a man on eBay that’s laser cutting them out of cardboard and also MDF.

They’re very inexpensive compared 2 most show the bridges are looked at once you glue them together and He suggests clear coating them before you paint them they’re really quite strong and they look really good to me I think they rival $150 2 a couple hundred dollars that I have seen online.

I bought 3 21 in bridges for $20 and I also just bought a fourth Bridge from him that I haven’t received yet and I just wanted to share them with everybody and a link to his eBay if that is okay.

I have a picture I painted three of them and working on making them look old

I wanted to share and just wanted to thank you and everybody for all the great information that I’ve been able to gather for the last year thank you again and here is the three that I bought.

I hope the rest of the community thinks are pretty cool also.


That’s all for this time folks.

Please do keep ’em coming.

And don’t forget the Beginner’s Guide is here if today is the day you get started on your layout.

In fact, I read through all the comments on the Beginner’s Guide yesterday. It does feel wonderful to have helped so many of you.

Remember, it’s all about that start.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

8 Responses to HO model train 3d printing

  1. Rob says:

    Looking good Brian,
    I’d suggest your friend download one of the temperature towers from Thingiverse to get his quality of prints up and perhaps lower the layer thickness. They should be printing a lot smooher than they appear in the photos saving waste filament and sanding time. The lower legs on the outboard motors would print a lot nicer too.


  2. Robert Brady says:

    Mike, Love the bridges great job

  3. Erick says:

    Looking good.!!!!

  4. Frank says:

    I think those bridges look nice. Awesome really.

    Nothing wrong with plastic or thin metal or wood or stiff paper. If it works, looks good and is inexpensive that fine. Model railroads cost enough as it is.

    Frank in Orlando

  5. Scott Vorlander says:

    Mike those bridges are really cool looking. Are they truly HO scale? The girders look big but without a locomotive or car to reference with them. Do you know if he also sells double track model? Thanks for the tip

  6. Mike says:

    Hi I’m glad you like the bridges they are supposed to be HO scale since I’m new at this now you have me wondering. He probably has 12 or 13 different Bridges on his eBay site and yes Scott he does have several double-track Bridges thanks again for everything I’ve been learning from all you folks.

  7. ScenicsRme says:

    Brian, no offense to your friend intended, but most any 3D printer out there can turn out much higher quality models than those. 3D printers have dropped considerably in price and gone way up in quality of print and ease of use in the last year alone.

    Mike easy enough to check scale. Lay a piece of track across the bridge and place a loco or box car on the track. Should look in proportion to the space around it, not cramped or swallowed up by the structure.

  8. Jim Richards says:

    Thank you soooo much for the link on ebay for the bridges. they look great and he has many more projects as well.

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