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Thread: N Scale Tanktainers

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    Default N Scale Tanktainers

    Hello

    I've been fascinated by the seemingly endless variation in tanktainer designs and liveries for a while now.
    As there isn't much of a range, either ready-made or in kit form in N scale, I decided to produce some 3D printed tanktainers using Shapeways.


    I picked three designs to start with.


    The first is a fairly standard 20ft ISO tank:




    The second tank that caught my eye would be a bit more of a challenge. Plus I wanted to test how well the 3D printing process could replicate the intricate side detail some of which is only 0.3mm x 0.6mm (0.0118in x 0.0236in):




    For the third model I picked something a little more unusual. A specialist tanktainer for bromine:



    All three models have come out really well but as this is the first time I've produced something like there was a bit of a learning curve and there were a few minor issues to deal with.

    The first and most expensive lesson I learnt was that it's very important how your model and it's component parts are arranged when you produce your 3D file. All the models above are made up of separate tanks, tank ends and frames to make painting easier; the parts are joined by sprues that hold everything together until assembly. You need to arrange these parts in a way that minimises the amount of space your model will occupy in the 3D printer to achieve the most cost effective print.

    Some of the models use tabs to aid assembly and it is very important to make sure that the tabs and slots are positioned correctly, that they don't weaken the structure and that they stay within tolerance.

    You also have to learn to accept that when you are pushing the limits (some of these models are made up of components that are right at printable minimums), that you might have to modify your designs slightly to accommodate limitations in the printing process. For example, the frame and tank of the second tanktainer separate when the sprues are removed as shown below:



    When I printed the first version of this model, despite being within the specified tolerances the side frame and tank fused together on one side. I had to go back and increase the gap to prevent this happening.


    I've learnt a lot in the process and have modified all the designs to incorporate the lessons learnt into final versions of these models.
    Here are some photos of the initial results of my efforts:






    You might have spotted that this is a print of a slightly earlier version of the tanktainer with the tank-end caps outside the frame. The picture further up the thread shows the revised version.


    I'm currently putting together some etches for the walkways and other small details and I hope to post some pictures of the finished models soon.

    If anyone has any questions about the process I'd be be happy to do my best to answer.


    Simon


    If anyone is interested in having a go at putting one of these together I'll be making these available via a Shapeways shop.
    http://nscalenotes.com/
    My blog real-World locations that might make interesting layouts, modules or dioramas.

    Find out more about my N scale 3D printed tanktainer models:
    http://nscalenotes.com/category/mode...ng/3dprinting/


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    Those are very cool !

    From start to finish how much time to make one of those ?

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    Default

    Simon,

    Nice job. I've kicked around the idea of doing these but it's pretty low on my priority list, for a number of reasons. There's quite a few different varieties of tank container floating around and it's a badly underserved area of the market. Off the top of my head the only production I can think of is a recent Kato release which comes in JNR livery.

    I am working on a pair of out of production American Limited tanktainers at the moment. One thing to consider is how easy it'll be to decal the tanks prior to final assembly. I ended up filling mine with lead shot and white glue to bring them up to the same weight as my regular 20' boxes. For your smaller tank, it may be worth considering the use of tungsten powder to weight it.

    Sam

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    Quote Originally Posted by CraigN View Post
    Those are very cool !

    From start to finish how much time to make one of those ?
    Hi Craig

    Thanks

    The time is in the CAD really and I've found how long that takes usually depended on how good my reference materials were. The better your references the less time you spend calculating key measurements, figuring out hidden details etc. There is always a bit of trail and error figuring out how the various components that make up the model will go together. Sometimes you just have to make the best decision and see how it prints, this takes time and money too

    If there are similarities to a model you've already made then that can save time as it's likely you've already figured a lot of the measurements out already.

    So short answer at least a couple of days for gathering reference materials and making the CAD. Then initial prints, corrections if necessary, then another print. Then painting/building and documenting the process. Then designing etches for details like walkways (another lengthy process). Then designing decals.

    I've found I quite enjoy it though.
    In fact I've just started painting some prints today and I've got to say they look really good and I'm really pleased with how they are coming along. My etches have been OK'd I just need to give the go ahead to the etching company and I've got decals for the bromine tanks at the printers which is really exciting because they are going to look stunning when painted and decaled up.

    I'll keep you all posted here.

    Simon
    http://nscalenotes.com/
    My blog real-World locations that might make interesting layouts, modules or dioramas.

    Find out more about my N scale 3D printed tanktainer models:
    http://nscalenotes.com/category/mode...ng/3dprinting/


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    Quote Originally Posted by samusi01 View Post
    Simon,

    Nice job. I've kicked around the idea of doing these but it's pretty low on my priority list, for a number of reasons. There's quite a few different varieties of tank container floating around and it's a badly underserved area of the market. Off the top of my head the only production I can think of is a recent Kato release which comes in JNR livery.

    I am working on a pair of out of production American Limited tanktainers at the moment. One thing to consider is how easy it'll be to decal the tanks prior to final assembly. I ended up filling mine with lead shot and white glue to bring them up to the same weight as my regular 20' boxes. For your smaller tank, it may be worth considering the use of tungsten powder to weight it.

    Sam
    Hi Sam

    The models come in two main pieces (tank/frame) so you have full access to the tank to paint and decal before final assembly. I still paint with a brush so this was quite high on my priority list.

    Thanks for the tips about ballast, a bit of weight would be useful. The tanks are a hollow design so adding enough ballast shouldn't be a problem if required.

    Simon
    http://nscalenotes.com/
    My blog real-World locations that might make interesting layouts, modules or dioramas.

    Find out more about my N scale 3D printed tanktainer models:
    http://nscalenotes.com/category/mode...ng/3dprinting/


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    Default Updated Pictures

    Hello all

    I've been painting some of the tanktainer models I've had printed so I thought I'd show off the pictures.
    I did want to push on with all of them and get a couple of re-prints and also get the kit versions printed but I haven't been able to do that yet.

    Anyway, here's the first tanktainer:
    Front View.jpg

    Side View Two.JPG

    The tank did come out a little fuzzy on this one and needs some cleanup. Digital photography of small items is very cruel and as the tank is so prominent I was tempted not to even show these photos and to re-design this model as a kit with a tube for the tank. However at normal view distances it looks fine.

    Of the two I've painted I think the bromine tank is most impressive.

    Side One.JPG

    Side Two.JPG

    Top.JPG

    In Stack Two.JPG

    The is almost completely smooth after a little sanding and while there is a couple of spots where the detail is a little fuzzy or you can see print lines (where it'd be very difficult to remove them) from normal viewing distances it looks very good. As I only paint with a brush I know the paint-job is far from perfect.
    I do have some decals for this on order and I think it'll look even better once these are in place.
    There is also a sheet of photo-etch for the decks and some other small details but I haven't had this printed just yet.

    Any comments/questions then do let me know.

    Simon
    http://nscalenotes.com/
    My blog real-World locations that might make interesting layouts, modules or dioramas.

    Find out more about my N scale 3D printed tanktainer models:
    http://nscalenotes.com/category/mode...ng/3dprinting/


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