3d printing

 
  comtrain Chief Commissioner

Location: Near Albury Wodonga
Hey Rod,

He wouldn't also work at the same Flight Trials Unit would he? The reason I ask is that there is a bloke building a 5 inch loco there at the moment. Funny if it was.

That is the perfect scenario! I am sure they would be learning a lot. It's those that do try things that make progress. Having access to and not buying at this stage in the 3D printer world is still probably the best way to go.

Linton
"linton78"


No, mate,
He is a Locomotive driver working in WA, and a member of Wandong Live Steamers. So their could be a connection there? He flies out to work for a few weeks and gets returned home in between. What a life Smile
Cheers
Rod

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  rpilgrim Station Staff

Blacksmith/Hollywood

I assume that this quote is related my earlier post about 3D printing signals:

"5. Many modellers can come to grips with the software to produce a 3D model, but fail to understand that a one-piece model is not necessarily the way to best utilise the additive printing process. Silly things like handrails in the design tell you the person hasn't got a clue."

I am perfectly aware that the handrails/ladders are many times too thick however if you had taken the time to look at my Signals Branch blog assembly instructions you would have found a statement that the handrails can be cut away and replaced with wire if the modeller so desires. Similarly the ladders can also be cut away and etched ladders used. Even etched signal arms could be used. The handrails being on the model as printed shows the modeller what the handrail shapes are and where they are attached.

The idea of supplying a signal with the thick handrails and ladders was to give the modellers a choice, they don't all aspire to high end modelling.

The White Strong and Flexible Shapeways material, a sintered nylon, was chosen as it allows the signal to take a knock or push and survive. Being a slightly 'sandy' surface at gives an amazing key for glue and paint. I do advise that the surface is primed to at least partially fill the surface and to stop paint bleed when painting the smaller black parts.

The reason for the all in one piece design was to allow the mechanism to be firmly held in the baseboard which then stops the post from breaking off when knocked.

To print the posts in the higher resolution Fine Ultra Detail Shapeways material as the signal detail parts are would also mean that a knock could break the post.

The Fine Ultra Detail material has allowed some parts to be produced that are a lot better than the etchings previously used. I refer to parts that have some thickness and detail such as the cast iron support casting on a bracket signal.

While higher detail parts could be used to produce say white metal castings and etched ladders and wires could be included in a kit that would then involve a lot more work in making up the kits, packaging and posting. This method of using the Shapeways shop means that I am not involved in that process, it also means that as their is no labour of mine the result can be cheaper.

These signals started as an exercise in seeing what the process could produce and then I thought that others might like to try them hence the shop. The handrails, etc. are little different from those on Ratio signals.

As an illustration of the level of interest, I showed several signals and detail parts at the Armidale NSW New England Modelling Convention in November and there was a lot of positive comments including from a couple of well known P87 modellers who liked the idea of cutting the handrails and ladders away and replacing them with wire/etches.

You probably don't know my modelling history but I have been in the hobby since 1966.

I have scratchbuilt 10 or 11 HO steam locomotives for Neil Cram. You might have to be a New South Welshman to know of Neil and his huge collection of NSW locomotives the bulk of which are now in the collection of the Powerhouse Museum I understand.

I produced and sold the first HO polyester wagon kit a NSWGR LLV/GLV through George Bergs shop in about 1968-69.

From the mid 1970s I owned Craftsman Models and under that label I produced an etched HO LLV/GLV, an etched body for a NSWGR Z26, an etched kit for a NSWGR Z13 (all but motor, wheels and gears), sundry detail etches and a line of NSWGR paints matched to actual pieces of locomotives (that 40 class brakewheel was very heavy). The company was later sold to Terry Flynn.

All through my hobby I have broken new ground, this is just one more new technique/process.

The attempt here was to push the boundaries of the hobby, to try a new process and see what could be done.


I obviously found the above comment offensive.

If however the comment wasn't aimed at me then I profoundly apologise.


Ray Pilgrim

http://bylong.blogspot.com.au/
http://signalsbranch.blogspot.com.au/
https://www.shapeways.com/shops/signalsbranch
  dthead Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Ray, he was NOT aiming at you at all. It is a general observation. You clearly know the situation and allowed for it.  Now, have you a another link to your products ?

The NRT1 in my projects has a example of thick handrails. But I can (and will) cut 'em off to have a finer
version made.  

Regards,
David Head
  rpilgrim Station Staff

David

Ok, I will leave it there then.

Another link? I am not sure what you are after.

Ray
  dthead Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
the signals sound interesting to see......... not as if you are advertising them so do share !

David
  linton78 Train Controller

Location: South Coast NSW
After seeing Rays signals at the Armidale convention, I was really impressed. Do what you want with the ladders and handrails but not having to build 15 signals from scratch will save a lot of time. One thing that is very impressive is the operating mechanism complete with adjustable limits. All the work put into these signals (so many variations) is outstanding. Thanks for all the effort.

I don't think Geoff was criticising the signals though. I think it may have been more like printing hand rails on to wagon/coach sides. I don't even like this with injection moulded models.


I thought I read somewhere that Shapeway (or perhaps another company) products can very dimensionally. Was this or is this still the case?

Linton
  Aaron Minister for Railways

Location: University of Adelaide SA
I think I have posted this before, but I'll mention it again anyway. Further to Mr Blacksmith's comments on surface detail one of the biggest issues I find with companies like Shapeways and their SLS printed articles is that there (as far as I can tell) is no way to guarantee the orientation in which your object is printed. That and the prints are not seemingly repeatable, that is you might get some printed in an ideal orientation, but you may get others printed in a less ideal orientation. On occasion they will print multiple copies of the one object in different orientations too. Way too hit and miss from what I have seen.
  TheBlacksmith Chief Commissioner

Location: Ankh Morpork
To Ray Pilgrim, I was not even aware of your signals, and I would agree that offering them fully printed is advantageous to modellers who do not aspire to the highest quality models. If I had meant ladders, I would have said ladders.

My comment was really aimed at the many designs I have seen for rolling stock where the handrails are part of the 3D design, simply because the designer could design them that way. 3D printed handrails are like a chocolate teapot, a waste of time and effort when a far more durable brass rail can quickly and easily made and fitted to the model after it is built.

Like most people, I was fascinated by the concept of 3D printing, and I have been using it for more that 12 years now, however I have also come to the realisation that it does not deliver what it promised to in the beginning, and the process has hardly improved in quality over that time, just availability and lower prices.
  rpilgrim Station Staff

Blacksmith

Fair enough then, if you didn't read my post then you have my apology for misunderstanding your post.

Yes, 3D printing is just a process that needs to be used where it can be, its just another potential process in our modelling tool box, it isn't a modelling panacea.

I first became aware of it in the early 1990s when Graeme Brown sent me a photocopy of an article on photo-lithography which I think I still have somewhere.

One can only hope that the quality will improve and the cost drops so that it can open more doors modelling wise.


Ray P
  rpilgrim Station Staff

Linton

Shapeways do seem to have some dimensional issues but mainly with small parts such as the handrails and ladders on my signals they have varied in thickness by as much as perhaps 15%. The rest of the model is OK, a process issue due to the thinness of the design at those places maybe.

Ray P
  rpilgrim Station Staff

Aaron

Shapeways fill the machine space with as many models as they can and as such the orientation can vary from one print to another. This is evidenced on my signals by seeing which side of the signal post has several fine horizontal lines at equidistant places up the post. Interestingly, the opposite side of the square post doesn't seem to have the lines as you might expect. A curved surface will definitely have visible stepping and this is where a different modelling technique would be used such as a wagon roof formed from styrene or metal. The composite model is going to be with us for a while yet.

Using Shapeways is a matter of learning what the process limits are and adapting the design to get the best from them, there are limits of course. It has been an interesting six months iterative process learning what the Shapeways minimum design limits actually mean in practice, that is they aren't a true statement of the actual process capability.

Not doing anything because a process is not perfect or there are limits will never push things forward.


Ray P
  dthead Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Blacksmith/Hollywood


Ray Pilgrim

http://bylong.blogspot.com.au/
http://signalsbranch.blogspot.com.au/
https://www.shapeways.com/shops/signalsbranch
"rpilgrim"


oK I decided to actually look and have seen the links, gone and visited the site. Good work !

Regards,
David Head
  TheBlacksmith Chief Commissioner

Location: Ankh Morpork

Not doing anything because a process is not perfect or there are limits will never push things forward.

Ray P
"rpilgrim"


Mm, can't see anything wrong with waiting until the process improves. Not that I have. I don't use Shapeways because the results are, in my opinion, very poor. I use Finelines in the US, who produce much better results, however the cost is high and the builds can be extremely fragile. Frankly, I don't have the money to waste on poor results, I would rather wait until they improve.

You mention Graeme Brown, then you are probably aware that Graeme can craft a model out of styrene sections that is the envy of most modellers, and absolutely craps on the results from 3D printing. When 3D printing begins to mirror those results, my interest will be re-awakened.
  SA_trains Deputy Commissioner

Location: ACT
3D printing is not the panacea of railway modelling, BUT, I am certain that it has a place, even now.

Shapeways seem to be the yardstick that 3D printing is measured against, and I feel that they have a place, but they are not the "only game in town". The company i.materialise  http://i.materialise.com/ also offer a 3D printing service. I'm sure there are others. There is a RP member on here called Marbleup who models WA Sn3.5. There are a number of examples of his work on here (see the "workbench" thread") which seem to be of very high quality. I believe that Marbleup uses i.materialise.

Producing quality scale models say in HO scale is for sure possible. I have several models of different items produced by our work 3D printer that are excellent. One item is an aircraft, a SU-24 for the aeronuatically inclined. It required no sanding or extra finishing. All surfaces were smooth and suitable for painting. There was no evidence of stepping on curved surfaces. Small details were reproduced well. THOUGH very fine details like thin antennas do not reproduce well. They are too fine to be self supporting. In a sense this is analogous to molding on handrails on a railway carriage. As others have pointed out, this form of detail is much better in wire.

So what does this mean. I believe that 3D printing has a place for bespoke items. I believe that there are other producers that should be looked at, not just Shapeways. I believe that 3D printing will in time, become much more mainstream, cheaper and better quality. Have a look at any other technology... take home use printers for example. In the 1990's Laser printers were only something large businesses could afford. Now you can buy a colour laser printer for a handful of cash, then when it runs out of ink, throw it out and buy another because that is cheaper than buying the ink! (well toner I suppose is the correct term) Smile

In time, there is a fair chance that we will all have a 3D printer sitting next to the ordinary printer in your home office. Not tomorrow, but potentially likely within the end of the decade...

My thoughts anyway...
  MtBeenak Train Controller

I have built several On30 VR NG models from 3d prints and displayed them on these pages.  Some are models that can be obtained elsewhere, others can only currently be obtained as 3d prints or scratchbuilt.  This is my hobby; building and recreating scenes of VR NG in On30.  I have no interest in learning to design or print 3d models.  That would be a completely new hobby, and I do not have unlimited hobby time.  Searching the internet and uploading jpegs and posting them on forums (fora?) is about the limit of my ability with computers, another hobby in itself.

I have noticed that a number of contributors to this forum speak condescendingly about 3d printing, but I have seen nothing of their efforts in the hobby of modelling railways, and let us face it, that is what this forum category is about.  Some of my scratch building is not as good as the 3d models I have worked on.  Many of the 3d prints have better detail, particularly with regard to rivets and hinges.  (The G42 even has working hinges on the cab doors, although I do not know how many cycles before they break off.)  The Fox Pattern bogies work well with SEM wheels and have excellent rivet and plate detail.  The finish is a little coarse, but once sprayed red oxide and weathered with mud, who can tell?  They are the best alternative to the MDC Roundhouse HO bogies I used to choose, but are no longer produced. Sure, ILM make cast metal bogies, but these are more expensive, fiddly to assemble (for me) and depending on your level of skill, run better or worse than the 3d version.

So 3d printing of model railway rolling stock is not perfect.  But what medium is?  And how many of you critics have built better quality models than Ray Pilgrim has designed?  (Not planned...actually built)  And how many of you have a reasonable, working representation of G42 for under $500?

Like Ray, I would like this discussion to be about what can be done, rather than what the limitations are.  And Mr Head; good luck with your PBR diesels.  Remember that when you get them finished you may be the only person to have working models of these particular prototypes.

Mick.
  TheBlacksmith Chief Commissioner

Location: Ankh Morpork
And how many of you critics have built better quality models than Ray Pilgrim has designed?  (Not planned...actually built)  
"MtBeenak"


Come on, how can anyone answer that question? Any affirmative answer would mean that we are fully aware of every model Ray has built and claim to be better. What is 'better'? Stupid questions!

And how many of you have a reasonable, working representation of G42 for under $500?
"MtBeenak"


More disconnected thinking, what has ownership of a model of G42 got to do with anything. If I built one out of Lego in 1/12th. scale would it be a 'reasonable, working representation'?

This is a thread for discussion of 3D printing. It does not require everyone to agree, nor does it require everyone to relate positive experiences. Stop trying to stifle discussion, no-one appointed you censor here.
  MtBeenak Train Controller

This THREAD is about 3d Printing.  I know.  I started it.  The FORUM is about Model Railways.  You know, the hobby where you build models of railways.  I am trying to promote positive discussion about building model railways.  Most feedback has been negative and has not helped promote or improve the hobby.  

I am sorry if you do not recognise a rhetorical question.  Have another try.  How many people logged onto these forums (fora) actually 'model' railways, instead of just typing about it?  Perhaps we should all spend more time building a model and less time whining about how hard it is and how poor the resources are.  Then when you get the pleasant feeling of accomplishment that results from finishing a project, you can get back on the internet and share it with others.

Until then, go to the Lounge and waste your time whining about what the government is doing wrong, or whatever vents your spleen.
  FirstStopCentral Chief Train Controller


Despite all the good humor jabs at each other, Aaron and the Blacksmith know what they are talking about here on this topic.
dthead

Blacksmith continues to 'talk down' the technology and reckons it hasn't improved in all the years it's been around.

AND

Aaron, says that it's all crap, so he's just going to go build a better one himself "because he can".

Hmmm.

It's people like Ray P that are pushing the technology and actually getting on and doing something useful for the modelers and not just talking (down) about it.

Paul
  BladeHunter Station Master

Location: Sydney
Last year or the year before I drew up a loose representation of an undercarriage, based on a VR ELX (I think). I had two prints made be shapeways, yes the technology is good and a lot can be done with it but where I felt let down was the "sandy" finish of the white strong and flexible. In reality this was just an experiment to see what the technology offered.
When it comes down to it in my opinion it probably isn't for "high class models" but if you are willing to accept what the technology offers at it's current stage more power to you, if not, that's ok as well.
As for negative comments, they will be offered and one should learn to either deal with them or if you can't choose to ignore them. Not everyone is going to be in agreement and as long as it doesn't get personal many good ideas can come off it.

Now just to go off on a little tangent after a few years I've finished a cnc conversion of a hobby mill and would like to try milling a basic underframe for freight wagons as a base to build a few models, maybe not be a full prototypical model but one that i can be happy with taking into account my current skills.
  warp_kez Station Staff

If anyone is interested, Just Like the Real Thing (http://www.justliketherealthing.co.uk/) under their Manufacturing Service have a list of the tools and devices they use to manufacture their O scale models.

What caught my eye was the SLA/SL printer.
  Aaron Minister for Railways

Location: University of Adelaide SA
Aaron

Shapeways fill the machine space with as many models as they can and as such the orientation can vary from one print to another. This is evidenced on my signals by seeing which side of the signal post has several fine horizontal lines at equidistant places up the post. Interestingly, the opposite side of the square post doesn't seem to have the lines as you might expect. A curved surface will definitely have visible stepping and this is where a different modelling technique would be used such as a wagon roof formed from styrene or metal. The composite model is going to be with us for a while yet.

Using Shapeways is a matter of learning what the process limits are and adapting the design to get the best from them, there are limits of course. It has been an interesting six months iterative process learning what the Shapeways minimum design limits actually mean in practice, that is they aren't a true statement of the actual process capability.

Not doing anything because a process is not perfect or there are limits will never push things forward.


Ray P
"rpilgrim"
Yes, I am aware of how Shapeways like to miscellaneously stack my precious prints in what ever orientation suits them. The problem with Shapeways is that you cannot undertake a learning process because the process is poorly controlled at their end, and hence results are not repeatable, which means you cannot 'learn' to minimise their process limitations.

Call me a 'whatever you want to call me for it' but I don't believe I should spend my financial and time resources to learn a professional company's design limitations. I expect that the professionals undertaking the process ought to be able to accurately and consistantly describe their limitations. I do not expect to find that universal sciences like geometry, mathematics and measurement change across oceans and that their 0.3mm limitation actually means 0.5mm or that a circle made of infinite points becomes polygon of finite surfaces on my final article.

By all means, spend your resources as you wish, and model as you wish to, just don't expect me to think as you do, and don't expect me to interpret their fact from fiction for them.

Lastly of note is that being a user of technology does not push it, technology is pushed strictly by improving on flaws, not by accepting or accomodating flaws.
  Aaron Minister for Railways

Location: University of Adelaide SA
This THREAD is about 3d Printing.  I know.  I started it.  The FORUM is about Model Railways.  You know, the hobby where you build models of railways.  I am trying to promote positive discussion about building model railways.  Most feedback has been negative and has not helped promote or improve the hobby.
"MtBeenak"
I am sorry, I thought that contrary opinions were just as valid. Some of us have been using this technology for some years, me probably 7-8 at least. If you want to just believe it's perfect that's fine, you don't have to read contrary opinions. If you actually want to know what's wrong with the technology and more importantly understand how to get the best possible output from a fairly flawed process the read responses from Mr Blacksmith and I.

I am sorry if you do not recognise a rhetorical question.  Have another try.  How many people logged onto these forums (fora) actually 'model' railways, instead of just typing about it?
"MtBeenak"
Here's a couple of non rhetorical questions for you: How many 3D items have you drawn and printed? Did you think the results could have been better?
  Aaron Minister for Railways

Location: University of Adelaide SA
Blacksmith continues to 'talk down' the technology and reckons it hasn't improved in all the years it's been around.

AND

Aaron, says that it's all crap, so he's just going to go build a better one himself "because he can".

Hmmm.

It's people like Ray P that are pushing the technology and actually getting on and doing something useful for the modelers and not just talking (down) about it.

Paul
"FirstStopCentral"
As I have said in posts above, wear your rose glasses if you will, but technology (anything really) is actually improved by finding flaws and improving on flaws, not by blindly accepting them and doing nothing to reduce or eliminate them.

3D printing has not improved much in my experience either, sure it's got cheaper, but that does not imply a technological improvement. Selective layering has not got to a finer fuse thickness, filament printers have always used about a 0.4mm extruder, stepper motors are still driven in fundamentally the same way as they have been since their 'invention', maybe we are now slightly better at printing rafts and unsupported spaces than we used to be, but that's not much to say. Feel free to tell us what you preceive to have changed significantly.

Those who actually know me, know that I take on many, many projects 'because I can'. I have been drawing 'things' for all sorts of production technology for many years, be it for 3D printing, some form of CNC, or other electronics related process, building a 3D printer is just one extension of these projects. I only mentioned that I was building my own purely to demonstrate that I am no newbie to the technology of 3D printing, whilst acknowledging that I don't think that it can be done much better than it currently is. I have the printer 95% designed, 90% of parts have been acquired, and it's about 40% assembled so far.

'Because I can' it can print directly from USB stick, SD card or from prints stored on it's internal memory. It can print from a computer via USB cable, LAN, Bluetooth and WiFi. It has a built in camera and I have it streaming full HD video over WiFi, it can also produce time lapse video with frames on Z-axis change, or on a user defined frame rate. It is powered by fan cooled 400W switch mode supply and has a 320x240 pixel colour touch screen to drive the printer when not attached to a computer, relatively sophistocated stuff, but it's what I do, and despite all that, I still won't be 'modelling' in railway terms with it, it's just not good enough.
  NSWGR1855 Deputy Commissioner

As I have said in posts above, wear your rose glasses if you will, but technology (anything really) is actually improved by finding flaws and improving on flaws, not by blindly accepting them and doing nothing to reduce or eliminate them.

3D printing has not improved much in my experience either, sure it's got cheaper, but that does not imply a technological improvement. Selective layering has not got to a finer fuse thickness, filament printers have always used about a 0.4mm extruder, stepper motors are still driven in fundamentally the same way as they have been since their 'invention', maybe we are now slightly better at printing rafts and unsupported spaces than we used to be, but that's not much to say. Feel free to tell us what you preceive to have changed significantly.

Those who actually know me, know that I take on many, many projects 'because I can'. I have been drawing 'things' for all sorts of production technology for many years, be it for 3D printing, some form of CNC, or other electronics related process, building a 3D printer is just one extension of these projects. I only mentioned that I was building my own purely to demonstrate that I am no newbie to the technology of 3D printing, whilst acknowledging that I don't think that it can be done much better than it currently is. I have the printer 95% designed, 90% of parts have been acquired, and it's about 40% assembled so far.

'Because I can' it can print directly from USB stick, SD card or from prints stored on it's internal memory. It can print from a computer via USB cable, LAN, Bluetooth and WiFi. It has a built in camera and I have it streaming full HD video over WiFi, it can also produce time lapse video with frames on Z-axis change, or on a user defined frame rate. It is powered by fan cooled 400W switch mode supply and has a 320x240 pixel colour touch screen to drive the printer when not attached to a computer, relatively sophistocated stuff, but it's what I do, and despite all that, I still won't be 'modelling' in railway terms with it, it's just not good enough.
"Aaron"



What you a building sounds like the 3D printer I have in my lab at work. This technology type has very limited use for model railways at the moment. One example where the extrusion 3D technology has been successfully used in production is the speaker boxes on Zimo "sugar cube" speakers.  Ray has successfully used a totally different 3D plotting technology compared to your extrusion type machine to produce his signals. I have seen Rays signals up close, and they are great for those who do not wish to scratch build in brass. I have also seen excellent O gauge and large scale model components that used 3D plotted patterns that were hand finished then cast in metal. The result can be more accurate compared to hand made pattern work. Like any technology it has it's limitations.

Terry Flynn.
  Marbelup Station Master

Location: Perth, Western Australia
I just typed in a lengthy response to this thread, but when I submitted it, Railpage decided I was not logged in after all.

Anyway, have a look at my Marbelup Models site if you would like to see my efforts at producing WAGR models in Sn3.5 scale over the last 2 years.

I readily admit none of the 3D-printed models are "perfect" but the quality and detail equal or exceed what I could produce by scratchbuilding (which I have been doing for around 40 years) and I have been able to add over 30 wagons and locos to my layout in a relatively short space of time.

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