My son is loves his toy trains, mostly used with his Thomas the Train toys. He has so many types of track, some wood and some plastic, but of the same “gauge” or width. However, there are many different types of connectors in the different iterations of track so you can’t link them together. TrainLab
solves this problem fits this niche need with 3D printing! Here’s a cute online TrainLab commercial summarizing what they do and below are some of the pieces we personally own.
In addition to track connectors they also can make personalized pieces of track with a child’s name. Below is a great video showing their 3D printers in action making a track adapter called a “dog bone” (seen above) to connect two female pieces of wooden track together.
Another great use of 3D printing for model trains is the printing of scenery for a track layout. This Shapeways blog has some awesome examples complete with a 3D printed Porta John. Of course my personal favorite use of a Porta Potty is Hole Number Two on the ABC mini golf show Holey Moley! It’s great to see a very home and consumer-centric application of 3D printing, especially in the toy space. It can also potentially be a great conversation starter with a young child with how these special track pieces are made and be their first introduction to 3D printing.