Narrow Gauge rolling stock 3D printing.

ModelRailroadForums.com is a free Model Railroad Discussion Forum and photo gallery. We cover all scales and sizes of model railroads. Whether you're a master model railroader or just getting started, you'll find something of interest here.


747flier

Member
A number of decades ago I began a small HON3 layout, being somewhat of a condensed "cartoon" of the Skagway terminus of the White Pass and Yukon. Currently I am designing and printing various rolling stock items. WP&Y at various points acquired rolling stock and engines from some of the more famous Colorado and other railroads. This probably reached it's peak during WWII. So some plans are available for boxcars, gondolas, flatcars and whatnot. The current item i am working on is some of the EBT hopper cars. I found a scale drawing of one of the two bay units and created such, only to find out that WP&Y probably only had the three bay, later units. So currently printing experimental 3 bay units, for which I only had photos. Like the originals, I modified the two bay units.

As time goes on I have found better references and photos. Some truly unique items could be built! From a mode ship project (LSM) I have a lot of designed Military vehicles which can make good wartime loads for flatcars etc. One is a M36 Tank Destroyer which fits on the depressed center flatcar, barely... Jeeps, trailers, oil drums, DUKW's etc. Sadly no "Duce n Half" yet. Some different challenges in printing as separate from ship modeling!

Cheers: Tom
 

747flier

Member
hopper 3 bay.jpg
Three Bay EBT Hopper as used on the WP&YR designed for 3D printing in HON3 with Design Spark Mechanical. Though they can be included, it often works out better to attach stirrups and some small fragile items at a later date.
Cheers: Tom
 

747flier

Member
This caboose is somewhat freelanced after a D&RGW
caboose.jpg
, but I have since obtained some photos of wooden cabooses documented on WP&Y. The floor is a separate item allowing interior painting and placement of glazing.
 

747flier

Member
I produced several gondolas based on some kit from years ago. It turned out the this , though printable as a single item, works better as an assemblage of sides and a bottom. The bottom not shown here.
Gondola sides.jpg
 

747flier

Member
Latest design object, Caboose 909 of WP&Y. Looking at the roof ends, may have been a boxcar at one point? I modified my previous effort. This was one of the few my current reference has photos of. I'll have to look elsewhere to see if I can find an approximate number and style for some of the other early cabooses.
Caboose 909.jpg
 

747flier

Member
I printed the 909 Caboose successfully and have a basic coat of paint on it. The biggest issue with SLA printing is overhanging and bottom areas which don't print well. It was the third one that had satisfactory roof overhands at the ends. I still have to add the ladders at the end and the brake handwheel. Final installation of windows will have to wait till after decal or stencil decoration, and of course last is attachment of floor to superstructure. The floor section is weighted with a couple of pistol bullets which I flattened on the anvil of my vice. Currently it has Bettendorf trucks but I need to go back and see if Arch Bar's are more appropriate.

Cheers: Tom
 

wvg_ca

nerdlinger
if you want something different, here is a short truss rod flatcar he can be printed fo HOn3, the stl file is on thingiverse, the deck adds on seperately
 

Attachments

  • flatcar.lots.jpg
    flatcar.lots.jpg
    129.7 KB · Views: 8

747flier

Member
Thank you for sharing! I do my own design work but that is an interesting way to proceed, for instance using strip wood to plank the deck, always an authentic build method. Those look to be thermally printed where as I use SLA but I do hope that there are readers out there that might try these and report back!

Best regards! Tom
 

747flier

Member
A few items of HON3 rolling stock. The MACK Truck was built by myself 60 years ago from Balsa Wood and might serve as a basis for a more detailed modern version. The White Pass on the side of the darker boxcar was made with a stencil and white spray paint. The stencil cut with my Cameo stencil cutter. Another way to do these is to spray a color undercoat and apply letters over the base and then spray the boxcar color. As WP decals seem to be no longer available I'll experiment some more with this. I may be able to print my own decals in black and colors such as seen on the boxcar at right. The arch bar trucks seen on the truck bed were a 3D experiment. They do roll but not as well as the commercial ones. I also am experimenting with the Gateway graphic which I have obtained from Borres Burkheart's website. Make a pretty fine stencil.
WP fright cars.jpg
 

747flier

Member
Last nights printing effort, a couple of sets of HON3 Trucks. As I posted elsewhere, with a break in the previously printed trucks seem to roll OK. So we shall see if this is a possible line of progression?

Microscale etc don't seem to have White Pass decals anymore so I am doing some experimentation using my Cameo stencil cutter. There are three ways that this can be used. The letters peeled off can be used as a press apply, however they will not follow contours like a snuggled decal. As press applies they can be used as a mask , protecting a base color from the final color application. This works pretty well with a clear sealer applied before the final coat. However.... they have better adhesion that a masking tape and if pressed down too hard can remove some of the base coat on removal. So a lighter touch needed! The third way is to use them as a classic stencil, which works, but maybe not as sharply as the applied lettering mask.

Being in what is here termed a niche experimentation is the rule and much of the fun!

Cheers: Tom
 

747flier

Member
So far I have 7 of the EBT type Hopper Cars which were used on the WP. five Gondolas, a bunch of box and work cars which still need bottoms and trucks. About time to call a screeching halt to making rolling stock till I get a track to run them on. Currently, maybe not enough side track to stash the 4 engines and 25 cars I have?

I do want to make several of the various and somewhat unique WP tank cars. Then there are the old timey open ended coaches such as I rode in 1969, I still have memories of standing in the end and watching the scenery slowly winding by as we ascended the grade from Lake Bennet to White Pass before descending to tidewater at "Skaguay". As a bow to frontier ingenuity, the daily train from Whitehorse arrived two hours after the daily ferry left. We instead rode an "Alaska Airlines": Grumman Goose back to Juneau. Establishing a trend they maintained for many years, they lost my Ice Axe on a non stop flight, it turned up in Gustavis...

Mostly onto the adventures of decorating and weathering. Don't think I will re paint my pair of very nice and pricy Blackstones. Supposedly BS is working on some K38's, which WP did use.

Cheers: Tom
 

Snowman

Well-Known Member
I have very little time now for MRR, but I can occasionally look in, and I'm reading along with your thread (and the other one).
You didn't say what resins you've been using for trucks. Maybe you are aware of the Igus resin, which is somewhat self-lubricating. There are those who are also trying additives to basic SLA resins, and one of those might be PTFE (teflon) powder. It seems to go for around $10/oz, and it wouldn't cost much to at least experiment with it.
There are other SLA resins (or additives) which can increase flexibility of the castings, some to quite an amazing degree. Those might also be of help with your project, for things like stirrup steps...or trucks...to allow enough flex to more easily insert/remove wheel sets.
I want to say thanks, too, for the heads up re: DesignSpark Mechanical. I'd like to give it a go, if I can find the time for it.
 

Snowman

Well-Known Member
Followup to previous: I forgot to mention the idea of using "seed beads" as bearings. The smallest size is 15/0, which measure ~1.5mm x 1.3mm with a 0.7mm hole. https://www.caravanbeads.com/15SeedBeads
Epoxy them inside of your trucks: Design a suitable cavity on the inside of the trucks to hold them, the idea being they act as a very small (low rolling resistance) bearing for the point ends of the rolling axles.
This probably would require truck frames cast to a greater precision than those molded in Delrin, and similarly precise axles--however, the larger the bead size the less precise the manufacturing required, albeit at the cost of increased rolling resistance (there is more dirctly bearing area).
I first saw this idea in this book: https://www.mikesflightdeck.com/mfdb/bsai/bsai.html
(sold out because it had a small niche audience, and because it was self published).
Mike used such bearings for the pivot ends of his miniature DIY air-core instruments (built much as you might make your own miniature motors). The air-cores work well, but sport very low-torque, but seemed to work well enough for Mike himself.
 

747flier

Member
Thank you for the useful information. I am currently using Phrozen Rapid Black resin which is quite good for detail. It is sufficiently flexible for most uses and is water washable. I am familiar with seed beads and may even have some floating about as I had once upon a time a girlfriend who was a beader. That might make brass axels again a worthwhile option. This is a somewhat similar idea to using jewels in watches. Surprisingly the printed wheels seem to have acceptable roundness though a touchup on the lathe might be a consideration. I can see designing a pocket in the truck to accept the bead. An alternate would be to use a commercial wheel set. Interesting ideas!

The DSM program is quite good for designing 3D printed items as it allows one to control very precisely dimensions and thicknesses. What it is not good for is items such as ship hulls, boats and whatnot. It does have workarounds and I did do a couple of destroyers in 1:144 but very much paddling upstream.

A good project to add to the many others!

Cheers: Tom
 

747flier

Member
Yesterday I designed and printed a pair of flatcar frames. As a pattern for detail and dimension, I used an existing fairly detailed flatcar I had for several decades. I could have printed this with a deck in place, but I think a planked deck, probably using wood, would be superior, though I might try a printed, separate piece deck. These also could end up as a base for a tank car, a number of ones which WP had on flatcar frames.

I'm not sure what size files can be attached here but I might post the .stl file for those who've some printing capability.

Regards: Tom

I see that it is not possible to attach other than image files here.
 
Last edited:

Snowman

Well-Known Member
Two useful videos, and an app (for Apple, Windows and Linux):

His app is "Bulge Buster," and it's available on his website, Nerdtronic3D.com

Also:

For printing trucks in particular, calibration has got to be critically important, just as a track gauge is. IMO anyway.
 
Last edited:

747flier

Member
Fortunately the design program allows setting of dimensions to about 1/100 mm, However one must calibrate the shrinkage of the resin, but pretty precise dimensions are possible.
 




Affiliate Disclosure: We may receive a commision from some of the links and ads shown on this website (Learn More Here)


ModelRailroadForums.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com

RailroadBookstore.com - An online railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used railroad books. Railroad pictorials, railroad history, steam locomotives, passenger trains, modern railroading. Hundreds of titles available, most at discount prices! We also have a video and children's book section.

ModelRailroadBookstore.com - An online model railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used books. Layout design, track plans, scenery and structure building, wiring, DCC, Tinplate, Toy Trains, Price Guides and more.

Top