When it comes to creating model trains or awesome train layouts, 3D printers for model trains are the modern hobbyists’ dream come true! The ability to think it, mock it up and have it printed out, ready to be primed and painted is an awesome feeling.
And the best part is in this day and age, you can use a website like Sketchfab or TurboSquid to even find models to download and start printing in minutes!
However, like with anything else, the main challenge is finding a 3D printer that provides the finish you need, and unfortunately, not all are created equal!
In order to help you out, we’ve put together a list of what we think the 5 best 3D printers for model trains are and have a bit of a write-up on each one to help you decide!
Dremel 3D45-01 50-Micron Direct-Driver[amazon box=”B073MRVXN5″]
The Dremel 3D45-01 is an award-winning printer made to impress! For starters, the build volume is large and super convenient if you’re printing out the whole building parts. The removable glass build plate allows you to take the part off easier and clean it as well!
The heated bed lets you print Eco-ABS and Nylon perfectly without any shrink issues. The machine is rather quiet for its size, so you can work in peace without upsetting roommates or grumpy partners!
Dremel’s brand filament comes with an RFID tag. This allows the machine to recognize the type of material automatically and adjust extruder and bed temperature. This is a nice feature, but you can also manually input the material if you’re buying a third-party filament.
In comparison to other 3D printers, the printing time is good considering the complexity and detail it puts into each model.
It’s super easy to level because it comes with a semi-auto leveling feature, so you don’t need to worry about it printing anything lopsided either!
The LED-backlit touch screen also makes navigation on the machine much easier, especially if you’re working later at night after work!
The only real issue to be aware of is that some customers have experienced the nozzle clogging with certain filaments; it’s only a small number of customers, and regular cleaning and using approved filaments should correct this!
Official Creality Ender 3 V2[amazon box=”B07FFTHMMN”]
The Ender 3 V2 is an awesome 3D printer for your model trains that features an incredibly powerful yet silent motherboard with a stronger anti-interference, ensuring stable motion performance. The low decibel operation is always a big plus as well.
It heats up fast and we were really impressed by the long printing time.
A small yet important factor about this printer would be the offered security. The power supply is hidden inside the machine, making it safe to use in homes with small children and pets.
We loved the high-quality prints and the relative ease of use, it’d be great to add extra detail to your model train layouts!
The loading and feeding filament procedure has been simplified so even newbies can be comfortable using the printer.
The best feature this little 3D printer offers would have to be being able to continue printing from the last extruder point. In case there’s a power failure, you can recover your work without wasting time redoing it!
Overall, this is an awesome 3D printer that’s got a great introductory price, and the V2 has made a few quality of life changes over the original, so its definitely worth taking a look into!
ANYCUBIC Photon Mono X
In comparison to regular resin printers, the ANYCUBIC Photon Mono X prints three times as fast without losing those finer details.
Single-layer exposure only takes a couple of seconds, and printing speed maxes out at 60mm/h.
With the printer, you also get a remote control to check up on your printing progress in real-time if you’ve left it on while at work or overnight.
We were impressed by the printing volume given the actual size of the machine too. While it prints at a smaller capacity than some other 3D printers for model trains on this list, at 192*120*250mm.
This means that you’re probably going to want to split buildings up into floors and adhere them, as opposed to one whole model. Although if you’re just adding details, like light posts, fences, animals etc, then it’s perfect.
There are little to no printing lines too. The machine is pleasantly stable and cools down fast after use.
A very small minority of people have complained of the build-plate being misaligned on arrival, but it’s only a super small amount of customers and a little tweaking can fix it if you don’t want to wait for a replacement.
ELEGOO Mars Pro MSLA
A great 3D printer on a budget, the ELEGOO Mars Pro MSLA boasts high precision and excellent performance.
The moving accuracy on this one is really cool, which allows it to reduce printing lines as it goes.
Although lightweight, the design is sturdy. The Pro model has also made a few quality of life improvements over its predecessor. The USB port is positioned at the front for utmost convenience. We love the new interface – it’s user-friendly and simple.
Mars Pro features a silicone rubber seal. You can put that on the cover to stop the resin odor from emitting throughout the house, or if you’re working next to it while it prints.
The machine absorbs and filters the resin odor before it’s passed through the cooling fan.
Overall, it’s a safe and refreshing user experience and we’re hard-pressed to find anything negative to say about this 3D printer.
Why Should You 3D Print Model Train Parts?
Printing 3D model train parts give you the freedom to be unique! You can let your creative juices flow and create anything you want.
In doing this, you don’t have to limit yourself to a fixed layout provided by the set, or by the same brand of parts. It really is the best and most freedom-giving way to help build a model train layout, and you won’t have to ‘make do’ with parts directly off the shelf when you can quickly and easily mock up a little model yourself.
It’s also, more importantly, a great way to create unique parts of your layout that arent available to purchase online or in your local hobby store.
Is It Cheaper to 3D Print Model Train Scenery Than Buying It?
With 3D printing, parts can be manufactured in hours. If a good machine is chosen, it can cut down that printing process time in half while still keeping a high level of detail.
High-quality model train scenery isn’t cheap. You might end up spending hundreds of dollars over the years. It’s absolutely more cost-effective in the long run to 3D print your own parts.
In saying that, there is also the obvious time sink of setting up the printer, finding a good model, and then waiting for it to be finished. So if someone like Woodland Scenics has a piece at your local hobby store, it’s probably more convenient to just pick that up.
These were our picks for the best 3D printers for model trains. These are in no particular order so feel free to make your pick.
Peter has been building model trains for longer than he can remember. An avid fan of HO and O scale this blog is a creative outlet to allow him to dive further into other scales and aspects of the model train community and hobby.