I continue to work on a feasible 3D printed stud link anchor chain suitable for models as small as the new 1:200 scale battleships– I’ve been successfully making and supplying larger sizes for some time. I have more to do to perfect it, but I now have a small quantity on sale at ebay ( http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=301173646591 ; link will die before long, but just search for “Model Ship Stud Link Anchor Chain”– if I have any available, it will show up).
The 1:200 battleship chain is 13.5 links per inch (LPI), and is fully articulated. But it is tiny– the “wire diameter” is 1/2 mm, or 500 microns– about the size of a sewing pin’s shaft!
One successful development is the use of a dry tumble deburr process to knock off the 3D printing’s rough layering effect, and which also removes the last traces of processing wax from the parts. The chain can now be painted without further cleaning, yay!