It seems most of them are only armchair car enthusiasts, so the majority of 3D printed kits I’m seeing are still rather toylike. Others are so into the minutiae that they just do very specific, detail oriented parts. I’m somewhere in between, but I have no idea how to attract the masses.
The first wave was using 3D to master resin parts. The next step will be printing and selling the parts directly. Next in line will be offering up the digital designs. Steps 2 and 3 are happening now, but not at a huge level for our hobby.
There seems to be a bit of disdain for 3D printing because “all you have to do is push a button” and manual machining gives “a level of satisfaction that can’t be achieved with 3D printing”. Horse hockey on both of those! Model building is a lot less of an exact science than CAD. Just copying a 1:1 design and shrinking it does not always please the eye. Some things we’ve gotten used to are just a little out of proportion to reality.
Licensing the 3D stuff will be a huge hurdle. It’ll be hard for GM (or anyone else) to fathom just handing over the digital files for the C8 or anything else, as the digital files are useful from N-scale to 1:1 replacement parts. In the digital age, it doesn’t matter which is your target scale, all of the info is there.
Most of the 3D models of cars seem to be ripped from game files…..which makes me question their integrity. Most of the truck models are scaled to fit R/C chassis…..which may mean questionable integrity.
If I can figure out logistics and shipping issues, I may be willing to offer up my printing services for those who don’t have a printer. My current “inventory” of designs tends to be rather obscure and specific parts that tickle my fancy, so I have no idea if I’m going to get involved in the aftermarket, though I’ve considered it.