Monday, October 6, 2014

More on 3D Printing | 8 Comments - Click Here :

    Mike McKenzie - This is in response to Keith Hayes’ 3D printing post. Like Keith, I use Shapeways to print my 3D models. There are other vendors out there that I’d like to investigate, but for now Shapeways fits my needs.
    I was out of the hobby for 35 years until 4-5 years ago. As a teenager (the early ‘70s, ah, remember the ‘70s?)  I belonged to the old Midwest Narrow Gaugers here in the Chicagoland area, with the likes of Len Madsen (my narrow gauge mentor) and Al Kamm Jr. I left the hobby when college came around but always kept a place in my heart for trains. As a graphic designer, I’d been using 3D software for product mock-up renders. I use a 3D software package called Carrara Pro (started life as Ray Dream Designer), and had my own copy at home. Wanting to create something in 3D on my own led me back to narrow  gauge railroading and eventually back to “hard” modeling, Sn3 this time around.
    The thing that really got me into 3D printing was the fact that I’m a better 3D modeler than I am a wood carver. I’d picked up an Sn3  Tomalco Pagosa Springs combine and thought that 3D printing would work nicely for the clerestory roof, I sure wasn’t confident I could carve it with satisfactory results! I’d been posting some 3D renders (not prints) of K-36 parts modeled from D&RGW engineering drawings on the Narrow Gauge Discussion Forum. It was sort of a zen exercise, with a vague dream of finishing a complete 3D K-36 someday.

    Another member saw them and asked if I could model some D&RGW flat car parts to be 3D printed in On3, parts otherwise not commercially available. Well, that turned into some 3D parts for a San Juan Decals On3 6200 series flat car kit. Another gentleman saw my clerestory roof in my Shapeways shop and wanted me to 3D print some coach roofs (a couple C&S coaches included) for his Heartland Railway HOn3 kits. Those roof s came out really, really nice, even though they were the cheaper plastic (lower resolution, less detail).He wants to do a couple more C&S kits in the future. As it stands (and it will only get better), 3D printing is almost perfect for short run kits in our chosen niche scales and gauges, and bodes well for the future.

    My main scale is Sn3, but as with the San Juan kits, I dabble in On3 on occasion. I’m modeling and printing parts for an On3 K-37 (parts not available and/or problematic to scratch build, for me anyway) to be used in a diorama of K-37 490 as it sat on a flat car in Alamosa being parted out. The frame and other parts would not be appropriate for a powered model. I think they came out really nice.

As for the C&S…
    When I first came back to model railroading, I zeroed in on ‘40s-ish D&RGW 3rd division as my main focus, in Sn3. But I’ve been broadening my narrow gauge horizons as time goes by, becoming more fascinated by other roads and eras, the DSP&P/C&S included, as well as the RGS, Crystal River (I’m a big C-21 fan) and the Mears’ lines out of Silverton. Among the limited literature I kept when I left the hobby in the late ‘70s were the Silver San Juan and Colorado Rail Annuals #9 and #12 (on the South Park), divesting myself of such gems as Rails, Sagebrush and Pine (!!), Slim Rails Through the Sand and Last of the 3 Foot Loggers.
    I plan to model a freelance narrow gauge line heavily influenced by the D&RGW 3rd division but with another line based on the C&S, either independent or acquired. While most of my rolling stock and power will be Grande, I’ve acquired a number of “Miller” cars, BLW and Overland stock and box car kits. I got me one of the Leadville Shops 26’ stock cars which I’ll fit into the ‘40s somehow – mostly because it’s just such a cool kit. Also just acquired a Cimmaron Works C&S business car #910, well, just because.
    Anyway, just as the wood laser-cut people are pushing the envelope on that technology for the betterment of our hobby, so too will the growth of 3D printing make an impact.

Mike McKenzie
8 Comments - Click Here :
  1. Welcome aboard Mike! Great post. I look forward to future updates. We'll make a full time C&S modeler out of you yet!

  2. Well, I did just buy the Narrow Gauge Pictorial on C&S rolling stock...


  3. About time, you slacker! Never leave home without it!

    Leadville in Sn3

  4. Mike,

    I have been working with some of the best 3d modeling equipment for several years for my models. I used the models for spin casting molds with good success. I have made the complete under frame for the miller cars in 1:20.3

    Al Pomeroy

  5. Al, I agree that 3d printing has great possibilities as masters for spin casting and lost wax. I've sent some driver centers to NWSL to test as lost wax masters, but not sure how they worked out. I've done only a couple small items in 1:20.3 like stake pockets, striker plates and body bolsters for a 6200 series flat car. At the larger scale they look great and the resolution issue is mitigated somewhat by the size. It's not my scale so I don't know for certain how well they work but I haven't heard any complaints and I imagine they work fine. At the NG convention I had a chance to talk with Bob Stears of Leadville shops and he showed me a On3 oil headlamp in the Fineline's green plastic (don't know the actual name of the material) and it looked fantastic. As the industry shakes out and evolves, I think we're in for some great possibilities.


    1. Mike,

      have not used the fine line green which is the ultra fine resolution material, and is as perfect as you can get, but very expensive, but one step back. I first connected with this technology when one place I worked had one of the systems and was able to pass some thru on the qt. one of those was a C&S brake wheel that had very thin cross sections. could not do this one with spin cast, but used the master to go to lost wax, with excellent results.

      Al Pomeroy

  6. Mike, the driver centers are for the Grandt Line Porter - as you know. NWSL has permission from Grandt to basically copy the models power frame and has hopes of one day (Please, DO NOT call and "voice" for this as it will happen when it happens; unless you are willing to step up and fund the project with money!). The problem with the RP driver centers is the same reason many "masters" cannot be used; the resolution is so rough that they cannot be extracted from the mold and even if the molds are used the castings further destroy the cavities with ripping and tearing.

    I ran into this problem with some striker plate masters for the 1907 run of (type II) C&S cars to replace the 1908 style used on the Berlyn Sn3 Car Kits. None of the BLW kits properly represent the 1907 run of so called type II cars (and is yet another issue with the 1907 Stock car they offered.) My masters were too rough; they tore the mold so that only about 1/3 of the castings were usable. After about 1/2 a dozen shots the molds are basically shot. Not production friendly.

    I've tried to clean up these RP masters for the drivers but it is a low priority and I believe it would be better to find a higher resolution solution.

    These thoughts seem to be the primary issue with using RPs as masters. Some casting services will no longer accept these as masters. As individual production parts they are great and I'll probably use these striker masters as actual parts instead. But the Porter Kits need to use a more economical part.


  7. Mike,

    Excellent 3D modeling. I've started do some myself and eventually would like to make some parts for some 1:20.3 cars that I would like to build.