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bmwr71 07-14-2020 02:16 AM

3d printed locomotive
Fellers, as i have said in the past, spend way too much time with Pintrest looking at dirty train pictures. As far as locomotives and cars go, I like the small ones as they make the layout look bigger. Was looking at some pictures of small locomotives on one of the many Pintrest lists I got and ran across a locomotive with a downloadable zip file to print it.

Looks like something I would want. I do not have a printer and understand one can get Shapeways to print a file. Any ideas about the locomotive and/or getting it printyed?


Nick Jr 07-14-2020 07:39 AM

I don't know about the printing process, but have had work done by Shapeways. Only small pieces, but excellent detail. LiG

David Leech 07-14-2020 11:39 AM

You can try Shapeways, or similar, or look around locally to see if there are 3D groups that can offer assistance.
When I started with 3D, I found someone local to do my first test attempts of printing, but at $15 an hour it quickly made me realise that I had better buy my own printer.
Maybe try something like Craigslist to look for someone local who can do 3D printing.
3D printing is NOT fast, so the hours will quickly add up. The one that you have found, depending on the quality of the print, will probably take 10, 20 or more hours to print.
Also, the orientation of the print will effect the outcome. For example IF the roof was printed vertically it would have a nice smooth curve to it and not the stepped look from printing it flat.
Good luck,
All the best,
David Leech, Delta, Canada

bmwr71 07-16-2020 04:49 AM

Would Shapeways give an estimate on cost?


Nick Jr 07-16-2020 08:42 AM

I received a drawing of the piece and price agreed upon before any printing is done. LiG

bmwr71 07-17-2020 03:18 AM

I emailed a guy I used to work with that was one of those computer nerd, like try to make Comadore computers do modern things years after they were obsolete kind of guys. He told me he belongs to a "hacker" club in town where one can go use a variety of 3d printers and other things like laser cutters. He said non-members could go and use the machinery as long as none of the members decided they didn't like the person. Said the only cost would be the plastic and don't have to buy it from them. Sooooo, if I can ever find time......., it will be mine.


Scott 07-17-2020 05:36 AM

I have used Shapeways in the past - with varying results. Some projects have been great (anything cast metal) while some have been average wise. I have found Shapeways is getting pricey so the manufacturing costs do eat into a limited budget. The website is not as user friendly as it once was and gets a tad annoying. Delivery to Australia is soooo slow - slower now thanks to a pandemic.

I have used Facfox, they are more cost effective and ship faster. Facfox can cut, print, fold, bend, cnc and cast in a wide of materials. i.materialise is another printing group that I'll be trying shortly.

Have a look and compare, speak to others that have used the services and compare notes. Work within the limits of your own skills (I'm always improving mine), the limits of programs and the limits of manufacturing. The scene is improving at a rate of knots and the results are getting a higher standard all the time - for all scales.

Also try your local area for Makerlabs / Fablabs - it's free or very very low cost and a good way to use the technology while developing your railway.

Victorian 07-18-2020 05:40 AM

1 Attachment(s)
I thought you might be interested in my experience as a data point. I build models in G1 and occasionally G3 of early prototypes that, mostly, haven't been modelled before using contemporary sources. I use SLS Nylon and the models are built in one piece, apart from moving parts and details. The nylon material is extremely robust and suitable for complete boiler, frame, footplate and chimney as a single component with 1mm wall thickness - like an eggshell, but very strong.

One reason for the one piece technique is that nylon doesn't take glue! These are working models, frequently run at shows (remember those?) and have survived numerous escape attempts involving diving to the floor, ety.. One even had a full size lifebelt (don't ask how this happened!) fall on it with modest damage, where a traditional brass model would have been stove in.

The limiting factor with these models is surface finish, which in SLS nylon is a granulation similar to 200 grit glass paper. However, this does fill with multiple thin aerosol coats (the aerosol car paint takes very well to the slightly porous texture of the nylon) and is acceptable for surfaces like smokeboxes. For high quality finishes I use photo paper and now ink jet printed vinyl which conveniently takes care of lining and lettering in many cases.

Note that wheels are always SLS Nylon with no issues of eccentricity and adequate strength, even with very early prototypes. All the models are tender drive to leave the locomotive free for working motion, all made in Nylon with a ruling thickness again of 1mm, and all use a low voltage helical drive powered by a single cell phone battery. The only metal components are carrying axles which are too flimsy at 1/8" diameter, although crank axles are always printed.

The oldest models are approaching 10 yrs and show no sign of 'creep', distortion, or material degradation. Left unpainted, the material does yellow over a number of years, which may suggest chemical changes and embrittlement, but so far no deterioration in mechanical properties has been noted. I built these models to outlast me (!).

SLS is not yet a home printing technology and so most of the models are printed by Shapeways. Other printing houses offer SLS but tend to go quiet when they see the size and complexity of the models. This is an expensive way to produce a model locomotive, although overall, and accepting the surface finish issues, ends up at a price point not too different to other types of kit. For me, it was the only way to get a significant roster of largely forgotten and rarely modelled mid-Victorian prototypes.

Hope that's of interest and best regards, David Viewing

PS I couldn't work out how to embed pics in this forum. If someone can help me out with this, I'll be happy to illustrate the above! I have been able to attach an image showing a brace of 'Sharpies' in 10mm scale G1: 'Odin' is a model of the Danish Railway Museum's brand new operating replica, and 'Sphynx' (apparently in icing sugar, but actually nylon) is built from an original drawing (in exquisite detail) in DK Clark's 'Railway Machinery', published 1855.

Pete Thornton 07-18-2020 12:11 PM


PS I couldn't work out how to embed pics in this forum.
You've done the hard part - attaching a photo. Go and edit your post in 'advanced' mode, right click on the attachment link and 'copy link location', then use the "insert image" icon (yellow box with hills in it) and paste the link. Like this:;d=1595064300

bmwr71 07-18-2020 02:39 PM

I saw where that guy also has files to print some cars, crates, drums, and track on that site. The cars have buffers, so must be European, but a little saw work would fix that.


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