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Model Railroading > 3D Printing: Model Railroad Prototypes


Date: 04/19/09 09:02
3D Printing: Model Railroad Prototypes
Author: SandingValve

Just a passing thought:

Is anyone using 3D printing to build one-off scale prototype models? I was thinking for those 'one-of-a-kind' scale models we all seem to love to build or the modeler who is building a fleet of models that require specific parts en mass. Most 3D printers use ABS or ABSplus as a deposition material (the actual material the 3D model is built from), so it would seem a natural as a model railroad raw building material. This method could be combined with resin castings in the sense that the 3D printed model would serve as the mold master from which the resin molds are created to make countless castings. Mold patterns could be easily changed via CAD drawings and a new mold pattern created or modified as needed. Lots of possibilities here.

A desktop 3D printer that has an 8" x 8" x 6" build platform and a resolution of .010" and with a starting price of $15K, there are many possibilities to be explored.

SV


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Edited 4 time(s). Last edit at 04/19/09 09:52 by SandingValve.




Date: 04/19/09 10:01
Re: 3D Printing: Model Railroad Prototypes
Author: ts1457

> Is anyone using 3D printing to build one-off scale
> prototype models? I was thinking for those
> 'one-of-a-kind' scale models we all seem to love
> to build or the modeler who is building a fleet of
> models that require specific parts en mass. Most
> 3D printers use ABS or ABSplus as a deposition
> material (the actual material the 3D model is
> built from), so it would seem a natural as a model
> railroad raw building material. This method could
> be combined with resin castings in the sense that
> the 3D printed model would serve as the mold
> master from which the resin molds are created to
> make countless castings. Mold patterns could be
> easily changed via CAD drawings and a new mold
> pattern created or modified as needed. Lots of
> possibilities here.
>
> A desktop 3D printer that has an 8" x 8" x 6"
> build platform and a resolution of .010" and with
> a starting price of $15K, there are many
> possibilities to be explored.
>
> SV

Here are a couple of model railroad suppliers that are doing just that:

http://www.smokymountainmodelworks.com/

http://www.pacificlocomotive.com/

However your desktop 3D printer shown is too crude. You need resolutions of 0.001" or less to have a go at it. That more accurate equipment is a lot more expensive, but you might be able to find a service bureau that will run it for you. It won't be cheap, but at least you don't have to lay out tens of thousands. Your main expense becomes a good solid modeling CAD program such as Solidworks and moldmaking and casting equipment.



Date: 04/19/09 10:15
Re: 3D Printing: Model Railroad Prototypes
Author: SandingValve

ts1457 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> However your desktop 3D printer shown is too
> crude.

This particular model maybe too crude for the smaller scales, was thinking more along the line of the larger scales such as O scale and G scale or even for use in the live steam scales. Patterns for cast iron/steel castings for 15" gauge locomotives is a good application, like patterns for this scale compressor that actually works on 175lbs of steam and can produce 75lbs of air all day long. There are many uses that a resolution of .010" would be more than adequate in those scales.

This same manufacturer also produces another 3D printer with a resolution of .007" along with an increase in start up costs, but also has a wider variety of colored ABSplus material available as well.

CAD/3D modeling software is not an issue.

SV



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 04/19/09 10:30 by SandingValve.




Date: 04/19/09 19:41
Re: 3D Printing: Model Railroad Prototypes
Author: MysticHowler

Actually, try visiting a local college. The community college I attend has a 3D machine in their Mechanical Design Technology department. It doesn't produce the accuracy that would be needed for smaller scales, but some of the equipment I had made in one of the classes actually turned out very well. I was given permission to make some larger pieces, out of class, but was told I needed to supply my own ceramic powder. Each bucket costs around $300.
One person made a small set of Brio trains, and they actually printed it out. When I have a model of something I really want, I am going to talk to the Kewiet Foundation in Omaha. They have a high quality machine that can print with the detail needed to work on the smaller scales.

Sean T.
Papillion, NE



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