My Life as a 3D Designer

Hi, I'm Dave Yale.  I started becoming involved with 3d printing in early 2013. I had re-started a hobby I enjoyed as a teenager, model railroading. I joined a club where each member did a four foot module using standard design specifications and joined them together at shows to make a large set up.  You can learn more about my club, Valley HO Trak at or our facebook page.

I was looking for some interior details for my buildings and was very surprised that I wasn't finding what I wanted, or the details available were too pricey.  I had heard about 3D printing and investigated whether I could design and print my own details.  I found out I could, one thing led to another, and now I sell some of my designs.  This is a small business in every sense of the word.

3D printing is truly an entirely different way of doing business. When someone buys one of my designs, Shapeways prints it. There is no stock sitting somewhere. It is the ultimate "just in time" supply chain. The downside is it takes a week or two before the model ships, but it's a real world solution for manufacturing items without very expensive overhead.

Sometime I sell items on Ebay Dave's Auctions. The advantage is that I don't list an auction unless I have the item in hand. The disadvantage is that I don't always have auctions going, and may not have an auction for the item you want. Also, because of Ebay and Paypal fees, generally Ebay will cost more.

For the most part I do not do custom design work- I find that what I think the customer wants is seldom exactly what they want.  However, I have designed models based on suggestions of customers so feel free to make suggestions for models, or tell me the detail you haven't been able to find.

THE FUTURE (and not too far away)- HP is introducing a 3D printer that is supposed to be a lot faster than present printers, have better resolution and it will print in FULL COLOR. I am going to try like crazy to to print items on this printer. The industrial complex pictured is not painted- the parts come out like that.

I would be amazed if that model isn't sitting somewhere on a layout right now.

Pricing: There is a company that sells very good quality metal interior details.  They have a claw foot tub ($8) a bathroom sink ($12) and a "throne" (another $8).  A basic bathroom goes for $28. 

I can offer a basic bathroom, and throw in kitchen appliances for $14!  Everything shown in the next two photos (except the people), AND the a claw foot tub that's not shown in the photos.


And, if you want the best quality material, I'll give you the a bath and a half only for $9, (computer render, not photo shown) OR...

The kitchen and two baths for $1 more than they charge for just the bath-$29.