Frequently Asked Questions

Below are answers to some frequently asked questions.  Don't see what you need?  Send me an email through the contact page.

Q: What are 3D printed parts?

A: All of the detail parts listed for sale at the Mr. Detail Parts Shapeways store are created in a process a bit different from traditional manufacturing.  Each part is printed in very thin tiny layers from materials you choose.  In more traditional manufacturing processes, a part would be formed from plastic injected into a mold.  However, these 3D printed parts can have a similar look and feel to their injection molded counterparts and offer more freedom in part design because of the manufacturing process.  The parts are created at the time you place an order from the materials you select.  It generally takes about one to two weeks for your part to arrive after the time you order it.

Q: What types of materials are used to create the detail parts?

A: In general, all the parts offered in the Mr. Detail Parts Shapeways store are a form of plastic.  Each type of plastic has a different finish (rough or smooth) and each has a different level of strength.  While each product can be customized by you at the time of checkout, the recommended material type for the part is set by default.  Please understand, the price of the materials vary - while you can save money by using the cheaper materials (like Strong & Flexible), the finish (rough) may not be an ideal finish for the particular model you are printing.  In many instances, the Frosted Ultra Detail material is recommended for the best finished part (especially for really small parts).  This is a bit more expensive but the final product you will receive will be more in line with your expectations of a model railroad detail part.  All parts come unfinished and will need to be painted before installing on your model railroad.

Q: How do I order an item?

A: All orders are fulfilled through our third party supplier Shapeways.com at the Mr. Detail Parts Shapeways store.

Q: I have a question about my order.  Who do I email?

A: Since all orders are fulfilled through Shapeways, please visit their help page here.  I do not have access to their order tracking system.

Q: I have an idea for a product, will you make it for me?

A: The short answer is that it depends.  At the moment, I am not able to make one off specialty pieces.  However, if you have an idea for a part in one of the twelve product categories listed as follows, I'd be willing to consider producing the item: Residential Exterior, Residential Interior, Streets and Parking, Trash Cans, Commercial Exterior, Commercial Interior, Industrial Exterior, Industrial Interior, Pavement Marking Templates, Right of Way, Stormwater Management, and Parks. 

Q: Will you make a part in a different scale than those already available?

A: For each particular product, an attempt is made to offer the item in seven different scales: N Scale, HO Scale, O Scale, S Scale, TT Scale, 1:72, and 1:32 (G Scale).  At times, particularly for the smaller scales (like N, TT, and HO), an item is simply not printable in those scales.  If an item is listed as unavailable in the scale desired, it simply means the design is not printable yet in the desired scale. As the 3D printing methods improve and smaller tolerances become available, we will do our best to make the part available in all scales.

Q: Are these products available at my local hobby shop?

A: Due to the high cost of production and to keep the retail price as low as possible, all of the parts are sold directly to the customer at the Mr. Detail Parts Shapeways store.

Q: Who creates all the Mr. Detail Parts products?

A: That'd be me, Jim Spavins.  I create 3D CAD models of the parts and license the designs to Shapeways for them to sell.  Visit the shop page to see all the designs I currently have available at: http://www.shapeways.com/shops/mrdetailparts