Model Ship Stud Link Anchor Chain


Matthews Model Marine’s model stud link chain is 3D printed.

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 ( ; 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!


Various sizes of MMM stud link chain. The new 13.5 LPI chain is in the foreground.

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!


Raw chain, as delivered from the printer.



After an early tumble deburr trial– much smoother surface, and almost wax free. Finer tumbling media take care of the rest.




Filed under Model Ship Building

8 responses to “Model Ship Stud Link Anchor Chain

  1. Dan M

    People who reload ammunition have vibrating tumblers to clean and polish brass shell casings. These vibrating tumblers might work well for cleaning the chain. Ground up walnut shells are sometimes used and might be a good tumbling medium.

  2. Thanks! I have used one of these too, with various media, even rice! Fairly effective.

  3. Jim Azelton

    I followed the ModelShips forum write-ups on your 13.5 LPI stud-link chain and wanted to know if you are making anymore, please. Thanks.

    • matthewsmodelmarine

      Sorry, it proved to be impossible for Shapeways to make reliably. We had a few good samples, then everything after that was basically welded solidly together… it couldn’t be made to flex and lay naturally. Had to stop offering it.

  4. Hi,
    I’m also interested in a 13links/inch studded chain.
    Have you tried having Shapeway to print it out in brass?

    (You can actually buy a neet 10links/inch brass chain from caldercraft, but those links are just a little bit to long to round the wheel in my working anchor winch…)

    • matthewsmodelmarine

      Sorry, no more chain. SW could not make it consistently… too small, links too close together… they usually weld themselves together in the printing process. And this plastic is very delicate; 13 LPI has 0.6mm wire diameter… it would not be happy in a working windlass.
      SW will not print interlocking brass parts, and again, the wire diameter is too small for their process.

  5. k.winter

    looks any available yet.

  6. matthewsmodelmarine

    Same situation as stated above… this experiment was a good try, but Shapeways could not support it.

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