A couple weeks ago we visited a local hobby shop called Penn Valley Hobby Center  in Lansdale, PA.  Walking around the aisles flooded me with memories of my youth gluing together plastic models and rockets.  The shop specialized mostly in trains and they carried a size called N-Scale (1:148) which is the smallest I have ever seen.  Some internet searching revealed another scale called Z-Scale (1:220).  The table below show how Z-Scale translates to  some common objects.

  • NYC Block : 0.05 miles -> 14.4 inches
  • BMW 5 Series: 15.2 ft -> 0.82 inches

Z-Scale is not nearly has popular as the other train scales, buildings and accessories are scarce, and I cannot even imagine putting together and painting models.  I have been following 3D printing for a while and was wondering whether they could be used to print a fully assemblies Z-Scale city.  Discussion on the train forums hinted  print quality was  not high enough, but some simple math proved otherwise.  The 3D printing service company, Shapeways, specifies printing detail down to 0.3mm which is Z-Scale is actual 2.6 inches.  You would need a microscope to see this type of detail.

I placed an order for some Mac trucks and posted some pictures taken under a microscope.  If I can get these painted  my dream growing a mini city out of goo might be possible.

Imagine a Miniature Wunderland in Z-Scale!!!


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