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3d printing

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3d printing
Posted by dcyale on Friday, March 29, 2013 8:41 PM

I was kind of disappointed at the article this month about 3d printing.  It gives the impression that 3d printing is a good way to make a master for casting resin.  It doesn't even mention Shapeways.com.  The technology is right at the tipping point where "one at a time" production is practical.  It will not displace ready to run units that come painted and detailed in the foreseeable future, nor craftsman kits, but it will make a change that will be felt.

 

I re-entered the hobby after a long absence.  In building a 4 foot module to be used in a club set-up I started looking for a reasonable source for interior details.  I found some exquisite cast metal parts, but at an exquisite price.  I was looking for items that would be seen at a one to two foot range through an HO scale window in a lit interior, and couldn't see spending $100 per room..

 

Since I couldn't find what I wanted, I turned to 3D printing.  So far I have made interior chairs, tables and booths for my bar and restaurant:

 

Kitchen and Bath stuff:

 

Bedroom Stuff:

 

And Living Room stuff:

I also did some bridge shoes in a higher detailed plastic:

 

These are not designed to make a mold, they are designed to use directly. 

 

I even designed a foundation for a DPM townhouse to raise it off the ground and give it more of the feel of something you might see in a Connecticut Mill Town- which is what I am modeling.

 

Right now I am working on more interior details, some exterior details, and investigating other sources for printing to see if Shapeways is the best place to have my printing done.

 

This technology is much bigger than the article might indicate, and given another couple years will have a much more dramatic effect.

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Posted by hon30critter on Saturday, March 30, 2013 1:34 AM

DCYALE:

Excellent examples of what is available to model railroaders right now as we speak!

Thanks for sharing. Perhaps if you could, how about providing us with some detailed insight into the actual steps involved in the process, what CAD program you are using, etc.

Thanks

Dave

OH, and by the way, exactly where does that lady have her hand?!!?DevilSmile, Wink & GrinLaughWhistling

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Posted by Santa Fe all the way! on Saturday, March 30, 2013 3:10 AM
Good thread! I just received my Model Railroader and haven't read the article yet. I've been following 3D printing for a while. I highly recommend checking out Shapeways website, lots of neat items to see. I ordered several cowl vents for a scale RC ship build. I hear that now there's a scanner available, so instead of programming the printer, you just scan an ob ject and the printer prints the object. Yeasterdays science fiction is today's science.
Come on CMW, make a '41-'46 Chevy school bus!
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Posted by NP2626 on Saturday, March 30, 2013 6:21 AM

I must be miss-informed!  I assume 3D printers are out of sight, price wise!  Of course what is out of sight for me is literally penny cheap for many others.  I'm also more into the old low tech way of doing things and find that enjoyable as opposed to spending head-scratching time reading/re-reading a manual on a new 3D printer.  What I found very interesting in this article is a new look at the thinking on the contour of the RP-25 wheel tread.  That a simple fillet in the corner between the wheel tread and flange will do wonders for how the wheel will behave!

 

NP 2626 "Northern Pacific, really terrific"

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Posted by slammin on Saturday, March 30, 2013 8:02 AM

3D printing also know as rapid prototyping has been around for several decades. Designed for industrial prototyping of new products. Originally prototypes were built by toolmakers and pattern makers, manually. With the advent of CNC machining and CAD-CAM drawings, they were produced by cnc machines. The next step was rapid prototyping, where the development was performed in a machine roughly the size of a large office copier. These cost tens of thousands of dollars. 3D printer prices have dropped dramatically. I have heard of some very good units available for a few thousand dollars. There are cheaper units on the market, but you sacrifice speed and part detail. Granted not for the modler that considers a $40.00 RTR freight car a major purchase.

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Posted by BATMAN on Saturday, March 30, 2013 11:50 AM

I wonder if there will come a time that we can take our memory stick with our design on it down to the local Staple's or craft store, plug it in to the 3-D printer in the corner, pop in our $10.00 and have it made while we wait.

Even better, just E-mail it in and pick it up the next time you're going by.

Brent


It's not the age honey, it's the mileage.

https://www.youtube.com/user/BATTRAIN1

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Posted by rrebell on Saturday, March 30, 2013 12:51 PM

You gotta relize too that Shapeways is not the only game nor do they necessarily have the latest machine on which the detail put out is amazing. I want to buy some HO pigeons made from a scan of a real one, anyone want to start a business????????????

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Posted by ChadLRyan on Saturday, March 30, 2013 1:34 PM

DCYale,
I really enjoyed your examples, & you are correct, those are hard to find gems, we would all like to have more of!!!!
Kudo's to you!
I also agree (i do not have the Mag yet) that these are not Cast Masters... The CAD is the cast master!!!!
Why double investment in casting supplies & Labor/Time when duplicates can be massproduced?
I believe this is a Major misunderstanding in this technology.
Once the CAD is finalized, everything is good, the options are the compounds used & the finish quality..

This tech should & does let us create parts that we cannot cast, & don't want to try casting.

As said, I do not have the Magazine yet, so I cannot begin to realize where they may have been coming from with that suggestion, so my apologies if I am out of turn..
Sorry, just my thoughts..

Chad L Ryan
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Posted by G Paine on Saturday, March 30, 2013 2:08 PM

dcyale
 It doesn't even mention Shapeways.com.  The technology is right at the tipping point where "one at a time" production is practical. 

Would you be willing to share what a couple of those items cost and how long it took to get them produced? For instance the bedroom set and the building foundation.

George In Midcoast Maine, 'bout halfway up the Rockland branch

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Posted by kt9797 on Saturday, March 30, 2013 3:00 PM

I just got 2 dry bulk trailers from shapways for a cement dealer to be on my n scale layout. Granted not painted, needed some minor final assembly,(makeing wire axels, attaching wheels) the cost for them was very good compare to a cost of a rtr or mass produced box trailer in n scale. If I had the experience to make up the info they needed to print what I wanted I'd be in heaven. I enjoy making things myself but If I had tried to make those drybulk trailers would of consumed to much time and my patience.

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Posted by ChadLRyan on Saturday, March 30, 2013 3:07 PM

Hey, a quick question here,...
How do we folk, go about getting, or ordering these from someone, (as said ShapeWays), etc?
Do we go through the Designer, or to the company directly?
I saw some very interesting things here & I would consider those as future purchases!

Just, need to know the way.....!

Thanks!

Chad L Ryan
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Posted by ericboone on Saturday, March 30, 2013 4:07 PM
Chad, you need to either use an existing design, make your own design with 3D CAD, or pay someone to do that for you.
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Posted by dcyale on Saturday, March 30, 2013 4:37 PM

You know, I never noticed her hand.  I looked at the figure with the a magnifier- it's OK.  The figures were made by a European Company- they are more relaxed,  but not quite that relaxed..

To try and answer a bunch of questions:

I use Sketchup, netfab, the netfab cloud service, Meshlab and then finalize in Blender.  They are all free, and although there is a learning curve (that I'm still climbing),  I am getting starting to get the hang of it. 

Generally I design full size in sketchup, then use netfab to scale the item (multiply real world by .0115 to get to HO), then meshlab centers the object (which I don't really understand- I just know I have to do it).  Blender is a very capable 3D CAD program but I only use about 5% of it's capabilities.  I use it to add some details that I designed in separate parts, and to duplicate when I want multiple copies of a particular item, and make the sprues that I connect the different pieces together with.  If it sounds kinda complicated, it was, but it is getting second nature at this point.  There may be better ways to do things than my way, but I found a way that works.

As to using Sketchup, which is a fairly simple program overall, there are many online tutorials.  And Shapeways.com has a wealth of good tutorials, too. I have customized sketchup with add ons- there are many that add extra functions not found in the base program, and quite a community online devoted to the program.  There are also many, many models designed by others online.  I spent quite awhile looking at other's work and trying to see how they did things,  When you design for 3d printing there are differences, however.  For one thing you want models that are hollow whenever possible, becasue printing is based upon volume of material used.  A hollow model generally costs a lot less than a solid one.

The cheaper plastic is limited to a wall thickness minimum of 3 scale inches in HO.  The more expensive to 1 scale inch.  Wires, a term for something that sticks out on it's own like a roof vent pipe, has to be about 3.5 scale inches in HO.  That is something you have to keep in mind when designing. 

I don't even know how much the printers shapeways use cost.  I can't afford my own, and the technology is advancing so fast I wouldn't buy one right now anyway.  I did that with a color scanner when they were new- $1200 for a scanner that had to go over the picture 3 times and took minutes per scan- at 300 DPI.  I cried when I sent it to recycling. 

I suspect there are other producers beyond shapeways.  That is something I plan on investigating in the near future,  For instance, I designed a rolltop desk and chair that I really like:

But a closer look at the chair revels a mistake I made in my design which casued one of the back supports not to print:

After I fixed it, shapeways says they can't print it because the spindles are too thin.  Kind of frustrating.

As to purchase, there are many products in the model railroading section of the shapeways website which can be purchased.  Shapeways prints and ships the design.  A designer can mark up the price if they choose and make a profit.  There are some civil war era products that are astounding and put my efforts to shame.  And it makes products available to segments of the hobby that are too small to support traditionally manufactured products. 

Costs vary, and there is a flat $6 shipping charge per order.  As I would guess there is a policy about advertising on the forums I won't be any more specific, but visiting the Shapeways site is entertaining, even if you are not interested in making any purchases.  It is somewhat buyer beware, though,  There are many designers that put products up for sale without making a test print and using a computer render to advertise them.  The final product may not live up to the computer rendering, or may not be printable at all.  And, even if it has successfully test printed, Shapeways may say it won't print when you order it.  It is a frustration that can occur.

I've rambled long enough.  I am an average scratch builder, but working with 3D printing I can design something beyond my skills with an exacto and glue, but get the same satisfaction.  It's certainly not for everyone, but that is what's grat about this hobby- there is room for a lot of different people with a lot of different interests and we all seem to fit together somehow.  Now I have to go put New Haven Railroad decals on my Spectrum undecorated 2-6-6-2 to give some rivet counter fits :)

Dave

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Posted by dcyale on Saturday, March 30, 2013 4:44 PM

RREBELL- How about N scale pigeons:

http://www.shapeways.com/model/499052/n-scale-1-160-pigeons-set-of-121.html

You could contact the designer and ask if they can be scaled up.  Or use them as chick-a-dees in HO.

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Posted by g&gfan on Saturday, March 30, 2013 5:58 PM

Chad,

   I have  no experience with Shapeways, but for the last few years at the Toronto RPM meet, there has been either  a clinic or models displayed using 3D printing. From what I understand, some of the products/models can be purchased directly from Shapeways. Other designers are selling them through dealers.

 Steve

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Posted by widetrack on Saturday, March 30, 2013 5:59 PM

Very interesting post, I just watched a video on the net about 3D printing the other night (sorry I dont remember where I found it). The detail thet can be achieved now is amazing especially when you consider that it only just became (affordable) available to the public in the last few years.
the show I was watching said that within the next few years that the prices on 3D printers will likely come down even lower as time passes.

The unit that they had on display was said to cost around a thousand dollars. Actually pretty cheap when you consider that standard printers cost about that much when they first hit the consumer market.

What I thought was amazing is they said that there are printers that can print with liquid metal!  

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Posted by ChadLRyan on Saturday, March 30, 2013 6:30 PM

Thanks for the responses.
Was interested on the availability structure of these.
Hopefully it will be fair to the designers, & continue to be so.

Thanks,

Chad L Ryan
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Posted by Santa Fe all the way! on Saturday, March 30, 2013 11:04 PM
My purchasing experience with Shapeways could not have been better. I believe they have a min. order amount of $25 . Ill try to post a pic of the vents I ordered.
Come on CMW, make a '41-'46 Chevy school bus!
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Posted by NevinW on Sunday, March 31, 2013 10:42 AM

I just ordered a oil bunker for the Bachmann 4-6-0 from Shapeways and the total cost was $16.  Are there any other companies besides Shapeways that sell Model Railroad models?  

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Posted by dcyale on Thursday, April 04, 2013 9:13 PM

A bit different item I 3d printed arrived today.  I am putting a DPM Pam's Pets (although it's going to be Kora's Cafe).  It's going to be close to the edge and have some interior details and be lit.  I was painting the stock windows and realized the stock windows had interior trim about 8 scale inches thick.  I decided to try a set of replacment windows- including a bay window for the back, and I am pretty happy with the results. Here are the stock windows next to the printed ones. (And yes, I noticed right away the upper section should be 2x3, not 3x2- I'm still trying to figure out how I didn't notice that one).

 

 

I really like this bay window.   

 

Here's an interior shot (I had to tape the stock window in).

It took a little filing to get a good fit, but not too much.

Now it's time to clean up the new windows and paint them.

I also decided to take more pictures of my work to review it becasue man, does it show flaws better than the naked eye!

 

Dave

 

 

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Posted by ModelCAD on Wednesday, August 07, 2013 1:30 PM

Shapeways has at least one special connection to our hobby: one of their employees.

http://www.shapeways.com/model/576647/ns-2200-1-160.html?li=productBox-search

Shapeways is in Eindhoven, NL. Thus, this fellow's models are notated in Dutch.

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Posted by yankee flyer on Thursday, August 08, 2013 8:22 AM

Good morning DCYALE

I notice the material has a sheen or "jello" look to it. Will it glue well and is it hard?

Have good day.

Lee

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Posted by Steven S on Thursday, August 08, 2013 9:06 AM

Shapeways is in Eindhoven, NL

They recently opened a production facility in Queens, NYC.

http://news.cnet.com/2300-11386_3-10016665.html

Steve S

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Posted by dcyale on Thursday, August 08, 2013 9:16 AM

I haven't tried gluing it yet.  But, I am told by people with more experience with the material that AC works well,  It has to be cleaned before painting.  I used to use a 20 minute acetone soak, which seem to etch it a little, but recently I got an ultrasonic cleaner and use white vinegar. 

 

I have also heard good things about soda blasting, and Harbor Freight has their air eraser, so I might try that when I get a good coupon.  I wanted to try a little glass etching anyway.

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Posted by dcyale on Thursday, August 08, 2013 9:17 AM

The two materials I use come form NYC.  Since I'm in CT, it means next day deliver via UPS for me.

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