Why use 3D printing for model trains?

Sacramento Northern 107 N Scale Side 2014-05-14

Sacramento Northern 107 – N Scale

Last Sunday Grizzly Peak Model Trains designer, Darby Johnston, presented a free 3D printing clinic at the Fall Bay Area Model Railroader’s Meeting held at Alameda’s historic Elk’s Lodge No. 1015.

Dozens of model railroad hobbyists gathered under the chandeliers of the ornate main level foyer to find out about 3D printing techniques and the latest resources and trends in 3D printing model trains. For Darby’s clinic pdf click here. 


Elks Lodge #1015 Main Foyer. Left: Frank Markovich. Right: Darby Johnston

Three advantages of using 3D printing for model trains: 

  • Create unique models that can be shared with others
  • Easy to make variations of models using copy and paste
  • Easy to make duplicates for building fleets of cars or replacing broken models

Special considerations for 3D modelers are also available on the clinic pdf

Thanks to everyone who attended and a big thank you to Frank Markovich for inviting Grizzly Peak Model Trains to participate! 

Auction preview.

Auction preview.

For more Coast Division, Pacific Coast Region, NMRA info visit: www.pcrnmra.org

For Train related events in California visit: PRC Master Calendar

Like Grizzly Peak Model Trains on Facebook

Email inquiries: darby@grizzlypeakmodeltrains.com















We survived the kids tent at Maker Faire Bay Area 2014

Grizzly Peak's 3D printed model trains debut to hundreds of young makers.


The 9th annual Maker Faire was an enlightening experience like no other. Grizzly Peak Model Trains was one of 1,100+ exhibitors that saw over 130,000 event attendees celebrate this year’s theme: The Year of the Maker.

Tucked into a corner of the hands-on activity tent appropriately called “The Yard”, we were next to heavy-hitters with The Sequoia Gem and Mineral Society and Peninsula and Geology Society showing kids how to polish gemstones to our left and the Bay Area Garden Railway Live Steamers to our right. Curiosity Hacked was a few spaces down while the popular Marshmallow Shooter station anchored the northeast corner (sadly, PancakeBot was not one of our neighbors).

We’ve never seen so many kids engaged in making things out basic household items. Everywhere you turned kids were making stuff like spaghetti and marshmallow towers or purses out of old blue jeans. The noise alone raged with the wind-blown tent as if the sheer power of imagination would launch us into space. Removed from the frenzy of the main expo hall brimming with 3D printer movers and shakers, we were nonetheless inundated with hundreds of curiously anxious 5 to 12 year-olds, who happened upon us as they lined up to polish semi-precious stones or “see the real trains.”

logo_01Witnessing their responses to our humble N-scale models was the best part of the weekend, that and giving away 300 souvenir pins. One parent called his son, “trainsfixed.” 

Another child cried out as his father pulled him away, “Those are my trains!”

We made a few new fans and have a mother lode of ideas to take back to our kitchen table as we gear up for what will hopefully be our next Maker adventure at the World Maker Faire New York in September. Here are some of our favorite Maker memories.

Set-up Day: Preview, paella and cupcakes


MF_BA2014_D0_HorseChairs MF_BA2014_D0_LegoTrain MF_BA2014_D0_NeedleFeltDino MF_BA2014_D0_StructureConstruction MF_BA2014_PaellaParty_service MF_BA2014_PaellaParty_Cupcakes

Day 1: Kids of all ages

MF_BA2014_D1_DJ_showing MF_BA2014_D1_Darby_showing1 MakerFaire_D1 MF_BA2014_D1_mobileCupCake MF_BA2014_D1_HoolaGirl1

Day 2: Trains, arduino-based aquaponics and bubbles


Maker Faire Bay Area 2014: Adam Savage’s 10 Maker Commandments


Seeing hundreds of kids and kids at heart react to our model trains for the first time at this weekend’s Maker Faire in San Mateo was a spectacular treat. Pictures of our three days at the Faire to come, until then, thanks to everyone who stopped by and gave us feedback. We can’t wait to do it again…World Maker Faire New York in September? 

Thankfully Make Magazine has video from the cool talks we missed, like this one from Adam Savage.

Bears out.

Countdown to Maker Faire Bay Area

Only 4 days to go until Grizzly Peak Model Trains' first-ever Maker Faire exhibit.

Final touches are in effect. Bear logo buttons made. Models packed. Production Team emails are coming in with instructions on event center check-in, set-up, parking, and a sweet invite to the 9th annual Maker Happy Hour and Paella Dinner Friday night. Weekend weather will be a cool 64 degrees. Don’t forget sunscreen.

Pick up your tickets and we’ll see you there!

Color renderings of a few of the models you can operate at our booth:




Go with the Bear to Maker Faire

  See Us at Maker Faire!

Grizzly Peak 3D Printed Model Trains to debut at Maker Faire Bay Area.

Berkeley, California

Grizzly Peak Model Trains is thrilled to announce the first release of its 3D printed models will be exhibited at Maker Faire Bay Area May 17 and 18.

Up to six N-scale models inspired by designs from mid-20th century California trains will be displayed at “the World’s Greatest Show (and Tell) on Earth.” —a family-friendly festival of invention, creativity and resourcefulness, and a celebration of the Maker movement.

Models will also be available for purchase via Grizzly Peak Model Trains’ Shapeways online store. (UPDATE 5/15: Bears at work! Grizzly Peak’s Shapeways online store is still under construction. Up to nine prototypes will be running at Maker Faire. Sign up for email updates by writing to sici@grizzlypeakmodeltrains.com)

Darby Johnston, Grizzly Peak’s Founder and Designer says, “Trains are cool. I love seeing how additive manufacturing is bringing train modeling into the 21st century.  When I was a kid I spent summers volunteering at The Western Railway Museum with my uncle who was a mechanical engineer for BART. Restoring trains with him gave me an appreciation for American manufacturing and craftsmanship. I liked re-building a piece of history. As a designer and programmer I spend all my time on the computer so for me, 3D model railroading is the best of both worlds.”

The trains will be running on layouts during Make Faire hours:

Saturday May 17th 10 am – 8pm

Sunday May 18th 10am – 6pm

Media Contact: Siciliana Trevino
Email: sici@grizzlypeakmodeltrains.com
Phone: (510) 982-6554

Click the banner to get your tickets!

Buy Tickets to Maker Faire Today!

Introducing our new logo!


After drawing a bear sketch on a post-it note I realized that as much as I love getting crafty, we needed the help of a professional to design our logo. Fortunately we hired the very talented Erik Dillinger  to adapt my sketch into a quality button logo and we’re thrilled with his results. Tadda! Our little conductor bear is buttoned up and ready to take your ticket to destination: model train fun. Go with the bear!

Big news about where you will be able to see the first release of our 3-D model trains soon! Stay tuned…

Designing the GPMT logo – who we are in one image.

The Grizzly Peak Model Trains logo should evoke a playful nostalgia with a touch of mystery. It should resonate with the heart of our project: a love of rail travel, engineering, history and bears too.

We’re on our way to defining our identity, our purpose and vision. I’m not a graphic designer by trade so we’ll see where we end up, but one thing I know for sure: I want the logo to have a bear on it.  A bear on a train says “destination fun.” It embodies imagination, adventure and the wild frontier of 3D printing.

Logo study: trains Source: Google images

Logo study: train logos. Google images.

Logo Study: Bears. Source: Google Images

Logo Study: Grizzly Bears. Google images.

I found RailFonts.com for cool Roman fonts and train silhouettes. I’m looking at our upcoming models, image searching logo designs, train logos and bears and of course there’s plenty of tips (10 to be exact) from the pro’s:

The Ultimate Guide to Logo Design

Five Tips for a Successful Logo Design

10 Logo Design Tips for Beginners

10 Tips for Designing Your Logo, Even If You Don’t Know How

10 Tips for Designing Logos That Don’t Suck

10 Logo Design Tips for a Timeless and Creative Logo