3d printing

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Frank

Active Member
Hi all,
I was wondering if anybody else is planning to use 3d printing as part of their model railroading. I've got a printer coming in the next couple weeks and I'm planning on using it to print parts for my layout that can't easily be located elsewhere. Or, the bigger problem, don't fit in with the era that I'm looking to model.

Plus, some things like a railer that actually works when you don't have a long stretch of straight tracks and probably some custom switch throws.
 

Iron Horseman

Well-Known Member
Hi all,
I was wondering if anybody else is planning to use 3d printing as part of their model railroading. I've got a printer coming in the next couple weeks and I'm planning on using it to print parts for my layout that can't easily be located elsewhere. Or, the bigger problem, don't fit in with the era that I'm looking to model.

Plus, some things like a railer that actually works when you don't have a long stretch of straight tracks and probably some custom switch throws.
You know about shapeways right? You can purchase files to print. Sell products you have printed, or the 3D model files you have developed. https://www.shapeways.com/marketplace/miniatures/?tag=ho+scale
 

Frank

Active Member
You know about shapeways right? You can purchase files to print. Sell products you have printed, or the 3D model files you have developed. https://www.shapeways.com/marketplace/miniatures/?tag=ho+scale
I haven't looked into them recently, I'd probably be using a service like that if I wasn't planning on prototyping my own stuff anyways. (I'm buying it primarily to print motorcycle parts)

You do raise a solid point though, even though I'm working in a somewhat obscure period, there might well be other people out there that would be interested in the results of any designs I make. I haven't yet decided whether I'll offer any of that up for sale, or just upload the design files for others to print their own.
 

Frank

Active Member
I sub-contract all of my 3D printing needs to Shapeways :)
That all depends on your needs. In my case, I'm going to be designing things that don't exist, hence why I'm buying the printer. Doing the prototyping via mail gets expensive fast. But, if I was using somebody else's design, or I didn't care how well it interfaced, I'd probably go that route.

I'm seriously considering building my own turntable from scratch that just does 180 degree turns for the ends of my layout, and that's something I'd likely outsource if anybody is doing them.
 

Frank

Active Member
I'm pretty fortunate. Most of what I need exists. a printer wouldn't pay for itself.
Printer technology has come down a lot lately. I only ordered mine because it could be had for a bit over $200 including shipping.

One of the downsides of working with a less common era is that you wind up having to create a lot of it one way or another. One nice thing about designing in software is that you can share. Whereas scratch building absolutely does not scale at all.
 

Espeefan

Well-Known Member
Printer technology has come down a lot lately. I only ordered mine because it could be had for a bit over $200 including shipping.

One of the downsides of working with a less common era is that you wind up having to create a lot of it one way or another. One nice thing about designing in software is that you can share. Whereas scratch building absolutely does not scale at all.
Ok but what about printer capability? Some HO stuff gets awfully tiny. Is the $200 printer capable enough?
 

migalyto

Well-Known Member
Ok but what about printer capability? Some HO stuff gets awfully tiny. Is the $200 printer capable enough?
It’s going to be interesting to see what this printer is capable of. If
It will print a wide array of things. The price tag is right though, but what are it’s capabilities.
 

Frank

Active Member
It’s going to be interesting to see what this printer is capable of. If
It will print a wide array of things. The price tag is right though, but what are it’s capabilities.
It looks promising, the entire device as well as the software is open sourced, so printing replacement parts and upgrading shouldn't be much of a problem if anything breaks. It handles the standard PLA filaments as well as flexible ones and ABS.

I'm working primarily in n-scale on my project, so if I can get that working properly, there's no reason that folks working on HO, O or larger wouldn't be able to.

I've already got a number of ideas to try that should answer the questions about capability pretty thoroughly. I'm working with late 19th/early 20th century Chinese buildings, so I'm largely stuck scratch building everything.

Probably the biggest advantage to owning is that you can rapidly go through the prototyping process before sending the design off to shapeways or one of the other 3d printing houses for reproduction.

That being said, for some projects, it makes more sense to laser cut the plastic for assembly the way that so many manufacturers have been doing for years. But, for complicated shapes like roofs, statutes and stair cases, 3d printing is likely a better choice.
 

Frank

Active Member
is it the Chinese "Creality" one?
AFAIK, there's just one Crealty and they're the most popular brand of Chinese 3d printer. I'll refrain from saying too much about the quality, until I get and assemble mine, but the reviewers have been largely positive about it, even if it's not perfect.
 

Frank

Active Member
The assembly video looked interesting.
It's involved, that's why some folks spend the extra $100 or so to get the next more expensive model.

But, most of the bits are pre-assembled, it's just a few of them. It mostly seems complicated because these are high precision machines. But, I'm definitely excited.
 

Frank

Active Member
I finally received it in the mail today. Still waiting on filament, but it appeared to go together relatively easily, but the instruction card is a bit tough to use. Better to watch the animation on the microsd. Did a small test print, or part of one before it ran out of material. I should be receiving a batch of filament on Saturday, so I can do more meaningful work.

That being said, it is kind of fiddly to assemble and if you've got the money/aren't that mechanically inclined, you'd probably be better off buying one that's pre-assembled. But, from the looks of my test print, I seem to have gotten it approximately right.

One of the big todo list items for the printer is to print out a few manual switch machines. It also occurs to me that a device like this would be great, albeit expensive, for building helixes and the like. Or for printing roofs. If I get a laser cutter, I could fairly easily turn out some rather impressive buildings.

I'm definitely going to be using it at some point to print up a giant SE Asia style Buddha and a rough stone stairway to a tall hill.
 

Frank

Active Member
OK, I've got some of my first prints finished. Most of them are upgrades to the printer itself, but I did do a couple ground throws for my turnouts. On the left is as it came out of the machine, with a brim. Earlier ones didn't need it to stick. The middle column is the component parts and the last part is the assembled unit. The hole is 1/32" wide, and I will be attaching it to the actual switch via some piano wire running through a styrene tube. The color is probably not ideal, but I'm probably going to make this temporary until I can afford some tortoise switches to do the job automatically.

SwitchMachine.jpg
Just forgot, this was from thingiverse.com . Worked fairly well with the initial settings.
 
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