Modelu May News

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Modelu May News

Modelu’s second month of operation has been a busy one with more 3D Body Scanning and work on a diverse range of Design and Print Commissions.  With April being dominated by preparing for and attending my first show (Scalefour North), May has been focused on getting stuck into Modelu’s three core services – Design, 3D Body Scanning and 3D Printing.  These three services are now operational and throughout May I’ve been working on a mixture of design commissions, print only orders and group bookings for 3D body scanning.

It’s been great to meet so many people at Derby, ExpoEM and Railex during May, the feedback on sample figures and prints has been really encouraging.  Thank you! If you are interested in any of Modelu’s services, please drop me a mail at, or call 07887 803737.

Design & Print Commissions

The quality of the figure prints has generated some interesting discussions around printing other highly detailed items, such as boiler fittings, trackwork details and architectural components.  As well as design commissions, we also offer a print only service where by you can send your STL files and if suitable we’ll print them.

Our 3D printing facility can offer some of the best print quality available, but there are also things it will not do and we’ll be up front about its limitations.  It is highly suited to small, complex and detailed designs, so if you need a whole locomotive body printing for example, then this particular 3D printing technology is not suitable and we’ll recommend another.  In all cases we aim to be helpful and honest about what the service can and can’t do.

The examples below show where 3D printing can compliment traditional model making methods. We were commissioned to provide range of chimney stacks and pots, saving a considerable amount of repetitive construction time.   In the other example, these whistles provided the finishing touches to an RTR locomotive detailing project.

3D Body Scanning

At Scalefour North back in April, our upgraded scanning equipment significantly improved the quality of the printed scale figures, with facial detail captured in higher resolution (see banner image). The process is now quicker, approx 2-3 minutes to capture the scan.   Getting the scale figure you want is all about preparation – finding the right clothing and props, using reference photos and deciding on poses beforehand helps.

If you are a club or layout group you can book Modelu for a group scanning evening, where your members can be scanned for your layout as loco crew, station staff, passengers – whatever you like – the limiting factor is finding the right clothing for the era/purpose, the rest is down to your imagination!

Products in development

The Modeu Website is behind schedule but should be live in June and through this site some of Modelu’s first products will be on sale.  These will include the first phase of a range of 3D scanned scale figures and various detailing components, in particular point rodding stools.

These were a recent design commission and we’re currently waiting feedback on the sample print usability.  All being well they will be available initially in 4mm and 7mm scales via the website.  In the image below, 4 way 4mm scale stools are shown threaded onto 0.4mm MSE square section point rodding.

A note on Lead Times

Modelu is just myself, Alan so I have to set realistic lead time expectations for designs, commissioned prints and the editing and printing of 3D scans.  Leaving my full time job last year I moved back home to Mid Wales, where my Mother recently underwent surgery, sadly with considerable post-op complications, it will be some time yet before she is back to herself.   With that in mind I’m working on 6-8 weeks for commissioned design deliveries and 4-6 weeks for commissioned prints and edited 3D scan deliveries.  I’ll do my best to deliver before those estimates and I can be more accurate on specific enquiries.

Forthcoming Exhibitions

Looking later into 2015 I’m pleased to announce that Modelu will again be demonstrating 3D Body Scanning at Scaleforum (19&20th September) and the Hornby Great Electric Train Show (9/10/11th October).  I’m also in discussions about three other shows in the Autumn, more to come on that soon.

Thank you!

Lastly just a quick note of thanks to everyone that has shown an interest in Modelu and the services I’m developing. It’s been greatly encouraging getting feedback on the scans and components produced so far, but it is still very much early days and there is much more to come!  Once the website is launched I’ll send another update, but in the mean time please take a look behind the scenes on the Modelu Facebook page.



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Comments (5)

  • Thomas Petith Reply

    Picked up my axle boxes from Alan at Scaleforum and was delighted with the results. At a glance you would be fooled into believing that they were injection moulded. The first batch he did were soft edged and were rejected because I needed sharp edges if they were going to be cast. I placed an order with Shapeways thinking that they would be able to go one better but was disappointed with their results as all the axle boxes were missing from the springs when I received my order. I strengthened the sprue, beefed up the design slightly and updated my model on Shapeways to be reprinted all before I received Alan’s new prints. Alan’s new calibration on the machine certainly made a difference and I have now cancelled my order with Shapeways and go with Modelu. The problem with Shapeways is that they are more or less operating on a production line bases and can’t afford the time to give you a personal service or even do a test print for you without charging you for it.

    September 21, 2015 at 1:35 pm
    • Works Manager Reply

      Hi Tom, thanks for your comment and positive feedback. A personal service is what I aim to provide first and foremost, including providing samples as it is good to get a feel for the material and it’s capabilities before committing to a full order. Looking forward to see the 440 progress, good luck with it!

      September 21, 2015 at 2:47 pm
  • Keith Charman Reply

    Having seen your first batch of scanned figures at Scaleforum last weekend I am very impressed. There are so many excellent finescale layouts spoiled by lumpy/misshapen figures that I cannot wait to have some of your mini-humans on my layout!

    September 21, 2015 at 1:41 pm
    • Works Manager Reply

      Hi Keith, thanks for the feedback! There is much more to come soon, I’ve another session booked in with the guys from Llangollen and the SVR soon. Cheers

      September 21, 2015 at 2:48 pm
  • Mr Edward Mills Reply

    Had an idea a couple of years ago, re pullman staff, obviously bachmanns recent midland pullman figures give some solutions to staffing my many pullman coaches, trains, but they are limiting too by the chosen poses of the attendants.
    if you look at any pullman reference book you will find that they miss out on some unique but necessary staff, the bar car, observation car barman/woman, the attendant who collected supplements for being in observation car, chef
    the “wh smith” papers, cigar seller, and the biggest WOMEN pullman attendants yes they did/do exist ! I’ve seen the pictures, plus with the scope for era’s style of coaches/ cars, mk1, 12 wheel, 8 wheel, wooden, smooth sided etc, etc plus with modern day pullman services, northern belle, etc. With your unique system it may be a possible for you to plug the gap in a possible market as of yet untapped ?

    January 28, 2018 at 2:52 pm

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