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Hobbyists are Nuts... for 3D Printing

Why create something no-one else has? Because you want it and you can.

May 2, 2016

Since 1998 CIDEAS has provided 3D printing services. Originally confined to OEM's and product designers (utilizing the service primarily for design verification and proof of concept), it didn't take long for hobbyists to take notice. Many mechanical engineers and product designers have a hobby or related passion outside their chosen profession, they are the best kind of nerds at heart. Perhaps its the fascination of how things work. Many share in similar hobbies such as; cars, planes, trains, legos, restorations, sci-fi, robotics and video/roll playing games.

In the early 2000's, CIDEAS started receiving a lot of requests for scale models. Specifically, products or components that were missing or incomplete from a person's chosen hobby and pastime. Model railroaders and kit bashers seem to be a more popular subculture of hobbyists and realism tends to drive, the want and need for custom one of a kind models. Many individuals have even created cottage businesses suppling N scale, Z scale and even HO scale models that they have created and printed in 3D, eventually to be resold to hobbyists without the skill set for designing the parts themselves in CAD.


Above (in the Banner and Center of this article) is a 3D printed G-Gauge (LGB) scale model of two DDX40 Union Pacific engines. These were designed in SolidWorks and due to being used on an outdoor railroad, the primary bodies were built using FDM M100 ABS plastic. Using the SLS process (due to complexity the smaller detailed components and assemblies); the chains, railing, heat extractors, louvers, ladders and drive wheels, were built in PA Nylon.

Once completed, CIDEAS; Bonded, sanded, primed and painted the final parts to the level requested by the customer. The motors and drive-train were used from production engines and once completed, were fully functional, including sound and lights. The same client has also built a series of railroad cars, buildings and road vehicles which are not available via mainstream brick and mortar companies.

Contact CIDEAS today, to request a quote for your unique project or model at: 847-639-1000.


  • Searails Scale Models

    Creating unique scale refinery equipment. Searails creates and sells to model railroaders or scale model enthusiasts alike.

  • SLS Detail

    This raw SLS model for the DDX40 project, shows the great detail which can be produced in an actual rigid Nylon thermoplastic.

  • 1/6th Scale 1958 Buick

    Brian Yingling (see the Cadillac story within the Idea Center). Created this scale Buick show-car using primarily 3D Printed parts. Brian then finished the raw parts, to create this near-perfect scale model.

  • Samurai Avatar

    Built in SLS Nylon this 14" Samurai captures great detail and fine features.

"The team at BuildParts has become an important partner in developing 3D printed parts and prototypes for my business."

K.S. , Singulate