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Thread: 3D printing?

  1. #1
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    Default 3D printing?

    There was a thread some time back with a discussion on three dimensional printing, and its applications in making models in general.

    I have not been able to find it to add this post.

    However, I came across this video and wanted to share it with the interested parties:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZboxM...e_gdata_player

    There are several follow-up videos on the same subject.
    (The voices I hear in my head may not be real, but sometimes they come up with a good idea.)

    Have fun.

    Moose

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    There is a website called Shapeways where some 3D designers are using this for N Scale items already.
    Here is a link to one who has designed a shed and some strobe light domes: CLICK HERE

    There are already people talking about how in a decade we won't have to worry about the engines we want being in stock or not. You'll just click and add your details, the printers will print your shell, coloring and numbering already in place. The technology we already have is amazing, the next generation will be even better...
    Karl

    CEO of the Skally Line, an Eastern MN Shortline

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    How cool would that be. Maybe buy a generic powered chasis and print what ever body style and railroad you like.

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    Look into the REPRAP open source system:

    http://reprap.org/wiki/Main_Page
    Rob in Nova Scotia

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    I don't know if the technology to print cars (let alone locomotives) with the fidelity that we are accustomed to will find its way to our desktops any time soon, but I can see a day in the not-to-distant future when you go to a hobby shop and have a piece of rolling stock printed there. That would allow the cost of the machine to be amortized over a much larger volume of production. That would also give the manufacturers some control over their intellectual property, because only the LHS owners would have access to the printing, so pirating of software models would be far lower. In other words, large manufacturers would be much more willing to participate. Think about what a revolution that would be in model railroading manufacturing and distribution. Anyone could make the software models, and the only thing that we would rely on manufacturers for would be the mechanisms and metal components.
    -Eric
    Modeling a transcontinental PRR

    http://www.pennsylvania-railroad.com

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    they also make the
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fScRYhq-5M0
    here and it uses plastic
    WOW CANT WAIT TO GET MY LAYOUT FINISHED

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    Most modern printers with good resolution use some sort of plastic base. The first video shows a Zcorp printer that prints using starch and inks. While you can get some pretty cool looking models with it, the resolution is poor. Reprap and Makerbot have poor resolution as can be seen in the last video. While Shapeways has a Z-scale ore car, cars even in N-scale will be missing details. Other details will have to be made much larger/thicker to print properly.

    I work as an engineer and use SLAs and Objet printers in both my workplace and for model kits I do on the side. We have found that even with Objet, certain features like rivets will come out as blobs or steps instead of hemispherical because of scale. While some may say that hey can just as easily add rivets or decals, this will not do for RTR cars. Objet has a resolution of about 0.0006". If something scales to .005, it still may not be big enough. For reference 0.0006 is .096 in N while 0.005 is 0.8. There are quite a few rivets and other fasteners that will never be made right, whereas injection molding will make these.

    I don't think hobbyists will have a 3D printer in their shops for quite some time yet, and even a store is likely to balk as machines will continue to cost a considerable amount. If there are any LHS's around by then, they will probably not bother to buy one. There are US companies out there that will make RPs, but you are looking at $100 minimum order or more. While this is not suitable for most railcar applications yet, some building components are suitable. I am designing my own steel mill which will incorporate numerous RPs or RP based castings. All told, it will probably be a few hundred dollars to make just the hard to make parts.

    Not to sound harsh, but this is a pipe dream in my opinion. We may see the required quality in ten years. In 20, low ends models will be priced decently. I don't expect hobbyists to get them in 30 yrs, unless they can use it for work as well. And don't forget about having to buy, learn and update 3D CAD software. While Google is free, and Alibre is $199, learning it can be a challenge for some. Finding suitable drawings, and I don't mean the limited detail in some cyclopedias, will be harder. Keep in mind also that plastic will continue to rise in price, and most models will require support material, so double the price there. Right now, many are just happy to have a job. Even if the quality from Makerbot and Reprap was there, most of us would stay away just on cost alone.
    Stogie

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    Well even as recent as a decade ago no one outside of huge corporations had even heard of 3D printers/rapid prototype machines, now I could go to my old architecture school and try one out, or go online to a place like Shapeways. Remember those dot matrix printers from the 90's? Now look at what we have. Now I'm not saying as many people will want to use 3D printers as we do the ol' 2D kind, but it does show how far things can advance in time. Do I think they'll be able to pump out loco shells as easy or cheap as Kato or Atlas, or buildings as easy as Walther's? No, but I think for things like that loco shell that NOBODY makes, or that prototype building from your hometown that only you really want, I think in the future that the quality and cost could make it a reasonable option. All I can say is I need to keep working on my AutoCAD and 3D Studio Max skills because there's already a few small projects I'd like to model...
    Third Coast Railway Company
    -

    The Great Lakes Railroad







    "I guess architecture school wasn't a total waste, at least now I can build some sweet N scale buildings."

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    There's a 3D printer at the design studio affiliated with my university. I watched them sculpt a molecule in 3D once... VERY cool. Never thought about using it for making train models but it would probably be very useful for that... if you could afford one.

    C

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    For the scratch builder/kit-basher, what's currently available (quality wise) could still be a helpful start... a blank profile/outline of a shell can be printed... putty and sand to get a smooth surface to apply details to... the detail could be "off the shelf" or scavenged from donor shells.
    This approach may give you a better head start on odd shaped shells than having to fabricate/bend sheet styrene.

    I could also see one of the DIY 3D printers being a club project/acquisition.
    Bryan
    “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” ~ Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519)

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    Bryan,
    That's right. Like I said in my post, I will be producing various parts from rapid prototypes. These will be minimal detail, and I will likely use an Objet unless I can get time on a dental printer thru my contacts. These are the best machines and require little if any clean up. I have begun writing for the Model Railroad Tips newsletter and may see about doing an article on this to try and disspell some of the myths. Should I do this, I will be getting samples of rivet and bolt heads made, and maybe some other features.

    As for the DIY printers like Makerbot or Reprap, spend the money on some more cars. I talked to a professional model maker the other night. He was at a meeting last year where several high ranking employees were present from major companies as well as Reprap. Apparently, this guy was the court jester that day. From those who have used this machine, the table shakes. Having seen another video for the MakerBot, I have to say, you are better off working with styrene. No amount of fill and sand could fix some of the examples showcased.

    Now, back to business. Alibre makes a great 3D CAD software priced reasonably at $199. I say reasonably, because it is a solid program that compares favorably to SolidWorks and Inventor which are over $2k. Not to sound arrogant, I know CAD. Alibre was my eigth or ninth CAD software that I have used. You can design 1:1 scale and re-scale everything as you wish. Great tool. If you want to know more about it, send me your email and I can send a PDF review I did a couple years ago. Alibre also announced today, that they have been bought by 3DSystems, one of the biggest makers of 3D printing systems.

    Lastly, if I were to do an article on rapid prototypes, would anyone here be interested? Also, would you want to see reviews of RP service companies and their equipment? Keep in mind this will be a part of Model Railroad Tips emailed newsletters.

    Regards
    Stogie

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bryan View Post
    For the scratch builder/kit-basher, what's currently available (quality wise) could still be a helpful start... a blank profile/outline of a shell can be printed... putty and sand to get a smooth surface to apply details to... the detail could be "off the shelf" or scavenged from donor shells.
    This approach may give you a better head start on odd shaped shells than having to fabricate/bend sheet styrene.

    I could also see one of the DIY 3D printers being a club project/acquisition.
    I've seen Mark 4 Design shells and he is selling rapid prototype printed shells at a reasonable cost already. I'm not sure what he uses for a machine, but he is selling shells for $32 to $34 dollars. I know what it would take for me to kitbash a similar shell and printing it is worth the cost. The quality level is far above what you guys are talking about here. His detail level is on par with stock Kato and Atlas shells. No filling of holes and sanding needed.
    Karl

    CEO of the Skally Line, an Eastern MN Shortline

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    Karl,
    I am very familiar with Mark as we used him for some work with a model company. He is using what is basically a dental printer. The version he has is about half the resolution of the Objet, but the print seems better. I figure the machine is somewhere in the realm of 6-digits for cost. If anyone wants to make their own models, I suggest going with Mark before a service company. If you intend to resin cast, keep in mind that just because an RP may be able to make the details you want, the castings may not.
    Stogie

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