3D printing of HO and N Scale models

 
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
I have looking to buy a 3d printer for a project with the thought now occurring that I could use this to design and build a number of HO scale locomotive moulds.

My question thus, has anyone experience in doing this and are any locomotive templates available for this purpose?  I am thinking of starting with a design and modifying it for the CSR class.

Regards
Brian

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  thebeechy Station Master

I've just been reading about this in the latest issue of tech life Australia and I must admit it has cross my mind, so II'll be very interested in where this goes.

http://www.techlife.net/lifestyle/news/2013/4/print-your-imagination-in-3d/
  allambee Chief Train Controller

I have looking to buy a 3d printer for a project with the thought now occurring that I could use this to design and build a number of HO scale locomotive moulds.

My question thus, has anyone experience in doing this and are any locomotive templates available for this purpose?  I am thinking of starting with a design and modifying it for the CSR class.

Regards
Brian
bevans
You might consider using a 3D printing service before committing to the cost of a 3D printer as this technology is rapidly changing each year.
http://www.shapeways.com

People have uploaded their railway models here for sale.
http://www.shapeways.com/search?q=locomotive

Typlical example of whats for sale
http://www.shapeways.com/model/758296/leo70-in-09-1-45-on-9mm-track.html?li=productBox-search

You also need to be fairly proficient at 3D modeling. Rhino, Solidworks, Sketchup etc. Start with Sketchup (around $500) if not proficient with the others.
  WUISKE Assistant Commissioner

G'day All,
As one who has done a fair amount of Rapid Prototyping as well as 3D printing (yes they are different from each other), I would suggest exercising a bit of caution before doing too much. RP models are pretty good for patterns but you have to be VERY quick to get them in rubber. You will also find that the material is very unstable. The material degrades very quickly into a gelatinous gooey type of stuff that will attract every particle of dust from the known universe and a few other places too. The material does not give a smooth surface as is usually shown in the photos on the sites that offer these services.

As has been mentioned here before, I would also say that it is not (yet) worth buying an RP machine as the cheaper models will not give you the resolution required for fine models. The base model machine we use STARTS at $140,000 to buy. This sort of machine will give you the quality you want but by the time you have made it pay for itself, it will be very out of date.

All that aside, I would suggest to have a play with the process as it is facinating and amazing. As the technology improves it will only get better and better though.

Cheers,
Adam
  TheBlacksmith Chief Commissioner

Location: Ankh Morpork
Brian, you might try reading this: http://www.hollywoodfoundry.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=19
  jt1991 Beginner

I purchased a Felix 3D printer with the intention of printing scenery type stuff for my Sn3.5 in progress railway.  My research suggested the resolution would not be adequate for printing the fine detail required by rolling stock.  However I reasoned there was a fair change of success with stationery parts.  My test part was a simple old style phone box - remember them?

The results were very disappointing.  I struggled to get any reasonable result for MONTHS.  A key issue is that the Skeinforge software used by Felix, RepRap and so on just has far too may variables to play with.  Then I happened to se a UP printer being demonstrated, and to cut a long story short, the guy just took my STL phone box file and drag-and-drop printed it first go.  So I traded the Felix on a UP and as advertised it worked 15 minutes out of the box.  The key is its "Closed" software means there are few adjustments one can make, no G Code files and so on.  One just draws the object (I use 3D CAD) and print it.

Phone box and the like - no problems.  I then went for a Red/Green signal, printing the base, and ladder, with allowance to insert a 3mm brass tube for the post and top it with a head, target and shroud to which I fit a 3mm bi-level Dialight LED.  It's about the right size for 1:64.  After some experimentation I have success.  

Keys to success are to oversize the pars so they will print and be robust enough to remove the thin support structure the UP inserts during printing.  The result becomes what I call "Visual" or "Stand OFF" scale rather than exact fine scale.  I challenge anyone to pick the difference at 2 metres.

The printable design has ladder sides 2mm x 0.6mm, as are the ladder steps. The safety ring is 1.2 x 3mm and for printing the thing has one edge of the base down and the ladder rotated so the safety ring is at the same Z level as the edge of the base.  In this orientation the thin support structure is minimal about the fragile safety ring, and with a bit of practice all the support stuff can be removed without destroying the part we want.

So, at full size the ladder would be about 36 x 120mm, and the ring 38 x 180mm.  Well oversize, but as I said, at 2 metres the difference to exact fine scale can only be detected by persons of overstimulated imaginations or those prone to extreme pedantry.

That said the signal as a test item show the limitations of 3d printing.  The signal at proper scale id too fragile for any (home) 3D printer to make reliably.  Even if successful the strength of the plastic is quite low.  Big chamfers on the base of the ladder to stop breaking away from the base, for example.  But unless pointed out, it still looks the part.

But, I conclude
* That a signal at 1:64 scale is about the limit of practical resolution and practical strength for 3D extrusion printing
* That strength and detail are not adequate for locomotives or rolling stock.
* The focus should be on scenery and building items.  (I make doos and windows with the UP and building sides and door/window cut outs with 3mm MDF and a 3020 CNC router.  Quite a productive combination.

My recommendation is go for a UP for its "Drag and drop" printing, forget about the bigger (you won't use the extra size) machines and treat Skeinforge et al as you would a vampire!  Concentrate on using the machine, not finessing its operation I say.

Hope that helps.  If anyone wants an example (eg the signal) I am happy to post you one.



Hope that helps
  JoppaJunction Chief Train Controller

Location: Banned
Some 3D STL files have started appearing on Railpage.

https://www.railpage.com.au/downloads?mode=category&id=28
  Hendo Deputy Commissioner

Brian, you might try reading this: http://www.hollywoodfoundry.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=19
TheBlacksmith
That page appears to be dead.

Cheers,
Hendo
  dthead Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
That page appears to be dead.

Cheers,
Hendo
Hendo

Well it was there 2 years ago, so may have gone,expired, done what the author wanted and removel long ago..... One of the "dangers" of replying to a older thread.

Regards,
Davis Head

ps there have been several other threads with #D prinitng to have a look for and a read.....
  TheBlacksmith Chief Commissioner

Location: Ankh Morpork
That page appears to be dead.

Cheers,
Hendo
Hendo
Yes, I took the forum down a year or so ago, as it was not being used.
  Draffa Chief Commissioner

A quick reply myself, as I've been eyeing off developments in home-based 3D Printing for some time (but have yet to take the plunge).  My conclusion is that I would not buy a filament-based printer for modelling work; the detail is just too coarse.  I would, however, buy a SLA (Stereo Lithography) printer.  They are expensive, but coming down in price (there's been some on Kickstarter etc, and a few home-built ones).  Even these are not sufficient if you want the truly fine detail that would be acceptable for sale in any meaningful quantities; for that you would send the job out to a dedicated printing lab.

For me, the CNC is first, then the SLA printer. Smile
  stuie83 Train Controller

Location: Stawell
Home based 3d printers at this stage are not that great for making model railway due to the size.
I have used a up2 3d printer to get all the drafts done but had this (the grey one) printed overseas and at the price each wagon would cost about $200.
The finish is close to injection molding as you can see by the photos.

CFCLA CHEY wagon used on the Hopetoun to Hamilton Mineral Sands Train
Grey is 3d printed and white is resin cast copy


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