Not good 3D printing...that was obvious. But my ready acceptance of it when I finally saw good stuff, done by a hobbyist, affordably.
I went to the Christmas bash of KLOGGIES, the King's Lynn O Gauge Group people, only to collect an old book from Bob Pearman, who was selling a lot of books for the widow of an ex member. The list had been published and I spotted Miniature Landscape Construction by John H. Aherne. I have his other two minimum opii, Building and Locomotive, but had missed out on the third all these years.
So I get to the Social Club at Runcton Holme and the place is jumping. I got the last space in the car park. I knew they were having a dinner later, but I didn't expect a mini exhibition! There were dealers, shops, various emporia and displays. One display had a couple of Wisbech & Upwell tram engine bodies on the table. I looked at the 7mm, guessing this would be 3D printing and sure enough, though the detailing was excellent and very complete, the finish was the usual spotty, dotty powdery rubbish demanding so much clean up you could scratchbuild it from nickel silver just as quick. Shame, it really was nicely modelled. But then the friendly young chap showed me the 4mm version.
To say I was blown clean away is an understatement. It was done by the original system of resin, laser hardened, layer by layer. This technique was demonstrated to me years ago, decades in fact, on the very machine that the BBC used on their programme, Tommorrow's World. Stereo Lithography they called it. Before 3D printing was even dreamed of and here it was, (isn't justice wonderful?), being used to superb effect in a rigid Acrylic material with every rivet on every hinge of every inspection hatch on the side skirts. In 4mm scale, smooth as a baby's bum showing up conventional 3D printing for the messy con that it still is uness you re-mortgage your house.
"Of course", said I to the chap, "you were trained by your company in CAD". No, he said, got it off Youtube. What!! I can't bear to listen to all the boring turds telling the world how it works on that channel, but he learned how to use something called Blender to the extent that here were models missing absolutely nothing, better than any I've ever seen AND needing no more clean up than you could do in 5 minutes with a thumb of wet'n'dry, in a lovely hard, smooth material. Clearly this was not a young man who would consider for one moment paying more than necessary for his hobby, so here was the confirmation that time was short for conventional modelmaking. If the 7mm had been done by the same method as the 4mm, I'd have bought it from him straight away.
I might have a few customers left, but if just one young blade like this one decides to do cars, I am finished and so is every other modelmaker.
It had to happen...