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> Is 3D printing the way to go??
scarborough rob
post 7 Nov 2012, 12:22
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I would like to suggest either an article or series of articles on 3D printing and it's possibilites and drawbacks in model rail modelling and scratch building your own rolling stock.

I myself use Shapeways and have already created a number of designs which I hope to run on my layout, these include the KUA and KXA double bogie nuclear flask wagons, High Speed Freight Vehicle 1 (HSFV1) test wagon as used by the RTC Old Dalby, different sight lighting generators for a track maintenance party or for towing behind the van, and a new body top for the PGA depressed 'v' tank wagon to turn it into one of the EWS CSA wagons - the only previous way I have seen these converted was to use a large amount of filler and hope you got the profile right - my current/future projects are for the APT-POP train and an APT-E/class 221 conversion project (as in parts to turn a class 221 into a representation of the APT-E), I won't say that any of these would satisfy a rivet counter, they are as near as I can get within the limitations of the design process, the 3D printing process and the materials.

A couple of examples of this are: (some are my designs some are from other designers on Shapeways) http://www.shapeways.com/model/721976/oo-s...oductBox-search, http://www.shapeways.com/model/726389/56cf...12ace3b0442?li=, http://www.shapeways.com/model/708900/61ad...7b1db7ccda7?li=, http://www.shapeways.com/model/195132/oo9-...oductBox-search, http://www.shapeways.com/model/52973/crave...oductBox-search and http://www.shapeways.com/model/148878/plea...oductBox-search

question.gif So what do people think? question.gif Would an article, or articles, on the 3D printing process and it's possibilities and drawbacks be worth doing? question.gif question.gif



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Phil P
post 7 Nov 2012, 15:05
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We had a quick look at some Shapeways products in the April 2011 issue - one of these was the 7mm scale version of the steeple cab loco you've linked to.

The problem is the surface of the "white & flexible" material is very rough, like sandpaper. Also there are problems with any curved surface. The printing system has to render this as a series of steps. At 1/3 of a mm, these are very obvious. Smoothing either of these out means the loss of surface detail.

There are other comapnies than Shapeways and some of them are producing very interesting items. I certainly plan to return to the subject in the future.

Phil
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TheBufoon
post 7 Nov 2012, 15:23
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I've been designing some 1:76 3D models with TinkerCad & Cinema4D. Some are on Shapeways but as yet they are not for sale, the reason for this is that at the moment I feel that the price is just too high.

When the price drop, as it will, 3D printing will be one of my chosen ways of modelling bespoke items & spare parts, no more plastic & cut fingers yikes.gif !

I'd be happy to read your article, go for it, thumbsup2.gif .

Heres to the future!

Cheers, Chris.


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scarborough rob
post 7 Nov 2012, 15:46
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QUOTE (Phil P @ 7 Nov 2012, 15:05) *
We had a quick look at some Shapeways products in the April 2011 issue - one of these was the 7mm scale version of the steeple cab loco you've linked to.

The problem is the surface of the "white & flexible" material is very rough, like sandpaper. Also there are problems with any curved surface. The printing system has to render this as a series of steps. At 1/3 of a mm, these are very obvious. Smoothing either of these out means the loss of surface detail.

There are other comapnies than Shapeways and some of them are producing very interesting items. I certainly plan to return to the subject in the future.

Phil


in 1:76 yes there is a bit of roughness, but when glueing one item I was experimenting and used Deluxe Materials Superphatic glue, this was absorbed by the white flexible material and basically filled a lot of the surface imperfection, also once painted properly, as in 2 coats of primer (alclad2 grey with micro filler) a gentle sand and then a couple of coats of EWS maroon enamel paint it was a very acceptable surface for me. one issue I found with most of the other company's was that they were based in the US and shipping was prohibative (Shapeways have a factory in germany as well) my last order from shapeways was 31.84 euros, 7.35 of which was the shipping, the same material's and designs from the next cheapest company I tried cost $103.45, $64.67 of which was shipping (cheapest option) more than 3 times the price, they may have a better product, but using same model of printer and the same material I don't see how they can have? I then found one in the uk who asked for £35 to print one of my designs that shapeways does for less than 10 euros, you can probably guess what i said to them, it was censored.gif lmfao.gif censored.gif censored.gif, it is not that I would not use a different company, it is that so far they are the best compromise I have found between cost, quality, shipping/making time and cost, yes I know i mentioned cost twice but at the moment it is a big factor, I was actually thinking of making my own 3D printer, £600 for a kit, as or when I could afford it!


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The king called all of his wise men to consult with him
He asked them for something that would
make him happy when he was sad and sad when he was happy
the wise men went away and discussed the requirements
then they came back and handed the king a ring
on the ring was engraved the legend
"This too shall pass"
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scarborough rob
post 7 Nov 2012, 16:02
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QUOTE (TheBufoon @ 7 Nov 2012, 15:23) *
I've been designing some 1:76 3D models with TinkerCad & Cinema4D. Some are on Shapeways but as yet they are not for sale, the reason for this is that at the moment I feel that the price is just too high.

When the price drop, as it will, 3D printing will be one of my chosen ways of modelling bespoke items & spare parts, no more plastic & cut fingers yikes.gif !

I'd be happy to read your article, go for it, thumbsup2.gif .

Heres to the future!

Cheers, Chris.


Chris you may already know this, and without seeing your designs I could not say for certain that this is relevant, but -

One potential factor in the cost is the amount of material there is in the design, one of my early designs for the KXA main chassis had a lot of material left inside of the main body (I thought at the time it would make it stronger, but it was irrelevant and un-necessary), but splitting it into half and then making it as hollow as I could reduced the cost of producing the item by 60%, and I found that continually fiddling with a design and compromising on the thickness of side wall or detail or even just leaving small details out for the printing and planning to add them later in the making-up phase just before printing reduced cost by a lot, and printing as much as you can in one item, to use the KXA as the example again, first design attempt would have cost about 105 euros to produce the entire superstructure, with all of the changes i have made since I got this down to under 30, just a bit of difference!


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The king called all of his wise men to consult with him
He asked them for something that would
make him happy when he was sad and sad when he was happy
the wise men went away and discussed the requirements
then they came back and handed the king a ring
on the ring was engraved the legend
"This too shall pass"
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Phil P
post 7 Nov 2012, 17:14
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I wasn't happy with the surface in 7mm. The roughness was lumpier than the rivets!



Maybe something can be done but a filler-primer is going to remove a lot of the panel lines and rivets or at least cover them up.

Other materials do seem to be a lot better in this respect and there is an element of getting what you pay for. I've seen examples of work produced on top spec machines that is amazing, although still not as good as a quality scratchbuild or RTR model. Trouble is this IS expensive.

As I said in the article, I think this is the future, or at least part of it, just not yet for everything. Mind you, technology does move on and in a few years time, who knows?
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dwb
post 7 Nov 2012, 20:20
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I'm trying out Autodesk 123D Beta 9 at the moment to see what's possible. This particular (free) piece of software has a steep learning curve but I think I'm getting somewhere.

My first design was considered far too small to be producible at the moment, so I've put that to one side in the sure and certain hope that it will be possible in a few years time. I'm working on something larger at the moment.

If it works out, I think a lot of my modelling will be done in the CAD program rather than cutting and gluing pieces of plastic sheet and strip. It makes me wonder if it will really be regarded as modelling?

David


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LTSR
post 7 Nov 2012, 21:17
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Anybody else remember dot-matrix printers?

Noisy, limited capabilities and costing a small fortune. Twenty or so years later you can get an acceptable colour picture from an inkjet costing £30!

This technology is really in its infancy, there are some expensive state of the art, almost "one-off" machines about and some of their output that I’ve seen is really quite impressive but that is the way with all new technologies.

In time, with the refinement of “printing” resolution and the development of new materials a similar improvement in output to the 2D printer is to be expected.
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scarborough rob
post 7 Nov 2012, 23:01
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QUOTE (LTSR @ 7 Nov 2012, 21:17) *
Anybody else remember dot-matrix printers?

Noisy, limited capabilities and costing a small fortune. Twenty or so years later you can get an acceptable colour picture from an inkjet costing £30!

This technology is really in its infancy, there are some expensive state of the art, almost "one-off" machines about and some of their output that I’ve seen is really quite impressive but that is the way with all new technologies.

In time, with the refinement of “printing” resolution and the development of new materials a similar improvement in output to the 2D printer is to be expected.

the points this raises for me are; when would you consider the technology to be "mature" enough? some people never do as they are always waiting for the perfect computer to come out before they buy one. the important, and time consuming, tasks of producing a 3D print are the research, the learning how to used CAD to produce an item that looks like you wanted rather than the misbegotten forced mating between an elephant and a duck, and actually creating the CAD drawing, when the state of the art improves I will have already done this and be ready to take advantage of it, rather than the ones who wait who will be madly rushing around trying to get going.

PS

you still can't get a good picture from an inkjet, you need a laser, and it has been 30 years, hopefully it will not be that long for 3D


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The king called all of his wise men to consult with him
He asked them for something that would
make him happy when he was sad and sad when he was happy
the wise men went away and discussed the requirements
then they came back and handed the king a ring
on the ring was engraved the legend
"This too shall pass"
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dwb
post 7 Nov 2012, 23:15
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QUOTE
you still can't get a good picture from an inkjet, you need a laser,


I can't let that statement go. From my experience as a software driver writer for desktop colour printers, that's not a statement I would agree with for photo printing but perhaps you were thinking of some other output type but this isn't the place for discussing the pros and cons of colour printing methods.

David


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Long funnel ...
post 8 Nov 2012, 00:06
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I'm pricking my ears up about this computer modelling software - before I retired I used to teach 3D modelling of the built environment using Autocad.
Now I'm retired I cannot afford as a pensioner to maintain what was a very high end program suite on my own home computer.

Do I understand from this that there are free programs downloadable with similar commands, protocols and capabilities ?

What really appealed to me was the way you designed and modelled at full size (1:1 scale) and only when the time comes, do you need to input what size (scale) you wanted to print out to.
Hence in rail modelling terms you could output the same computer model at 4mm, 7mm or 5" gauge.

Can someone out there point me to the best freebie CAD program please?

LF&T
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Richard Johnson
post 8 Nov 2012, 02:29
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*** I think it is a very good subject for an article, especially if you can talk about design, show photographs "as delivered" and also detail the processes you have used to take it to a finished model.

Its a rapidly developing new tool that is improving output ability day by day ...for manufacturers on one hand as it takes pre-tooling decision making to a new level - but just as importantly, its an available tool for all modellers who have an interest in creative modelling and any "User perspective" will always be very interesting and welcome.

Regards

Richard

QUOTE (scarborough rob @ 7 Nov 2012, 20:22) *
I would like to suggest either an article or series of articles on 3D printing and it's possibilites and drawbacks in model rail modelling and scratch building your own rolling stock.

<Snip>

question.gif So what do people think? question.gif Would an article, or articles, on the 3D printing process and it's possibilities and drawbacks be worth doing? question.gif question.gif


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john woodall
post 8 Nov 2012, 02:57
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Sometimes its hard to pick what the game changes are.

PC's, notebooks, ink jet printers, smart phones.

Hopefully 3D printers will be on the list soon
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jukebox
post 8 Nov 2012, 03:57
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QUOTE (Richard Johnson @ 8 Nov 2012, 10:29) *
*** I think it is a very good subject for an article, especially if you can talk about design, show photographs "as delivered" and also detail the processes you have used to take it to a finished model.

*snip*
Regards

Richard



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Richard Johnson
post 8 Nov 2012, 06:01
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*** Like anything. I have seen lots of 3d printed things including railway related - an entire article by a modeller is a different thing.... As is a completed model using the parts compared to a RTR unit.

Until its seen by all at the end stage as a useful comparison, most will not be able to see its real potential and understand possible "pitfalls and added effort"

Richard


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