Imagine a wee world replete with tiny buildings, diminutive factories, minute planes and buses, and pipelines so small they seem made to compete with capillaries.
Stinson Stokes Storrs "Stony" Smith does more than imagine that world, he builds the necessary files to make those trifling, yet highly-detailed, constructions emerge from a 3D printer.
A little northwest of Dallas, Texas, in an office converted from a bedroom on the second floor of his home, Smith toils away creating the parts of a miniature world so astonishing in detail that it boggles the mind. Models have always sought to ape the actual facets and functions of the larger items they portray, but what makes Smith's creations so captivating (aside from the pin-sharp detail) is their size – 1/220th of full scale – and the business model he's found to distribute his work.
Referred to as "Z scale," the minuscule format Smith works in was the brainchild of German model train manufacturer Märklin back in 1972. The man behind the miniatures, Helmut Killian, was Märklin's head design engineer back then, and the letter "Z" was chosen under the assumption that there would never be a commercial model railway scale any smaller.