New 3D Printed Models

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csundstr
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New 3D Printed Models

Postby csundstr » Sat Aug 08, 2015 5:46 am

Hello Gnatterboxers.

I have been working on designing and prototyping some 3D models for my own use for the past few months. I am a professional 3D CAD designer in real life, so I have been using Solidworks to create some designs and then trialing them through Shapeways. Some of these are now at the point that I felt I could start selling them, so here is a link to my Shapeways Store:

https://www.shapeways.com/shops/keeneye?sort=name&s=0

Most of the parts are 1/32 (mostly 3/8n20) or 1/43.5 scale (mostly On18/O9), but two items are multi-scale and suitable for Gn15: a 16.5mm gauge pressed steel portable turnout and a cast iron sectional water tank. The portable turnout paints up nicely in rust colours. The sectional water tank can be built as a complete 1m x 1m x 1m cube or (not modelling hidden portions) as a larger tank, and multiple prints can be combined to make even larger tanks.

If anyone has any interest in me scaling up some of the 1/43.5 or 1/32 items, message me and I'll see what I can do about uploading them. Some of the items that may be of interest include ties and a turntable (scenic item) for J. Fowler & Co. portable track.

I have several other items which I will be working on bringing to production status soon. I will post updates as they become available, and photos as I complete my production models.

Please send feedback - any suggestions or comments are always helpful.
Chris Sundstrom
Keen Eye Models - Industrial Prototypes in 1/24, 1/32 and 1/43 Scales
https://www.shapeways.com/shops/keeneye?sort=name&s=0

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rue_d_etropal
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Re: New 3D Printed Models

Postby rue_d_etropal » Sat Aug 08, 2015 9:11 am

always interested to see new 3D printed items. Nice for scenic pieces, but as you mention it takes some thought to make them operational. Nought wrong with that.
I have taken opposite approach, looking for something that can be made to work(one reason why I prefer WSF to FUD, as it is stronger). I have to make compromises, but in the end I want something to operate not just look at.
I can see some of those turntables cropping up.
I think the type of items that might be popular with out type of modellers, is various fittings kits for locos, namely hand brakes, seats, dials, etc. And couplings. These are the items I have deliberately not done because there is a lot of variety and I have less knowledge on the subject. The thing about modellers is that they don't want a fully finished item, they want to adapt things and build things.
Simon Dawson
(Simon D.),
Narrow gauge Francophile interested in 1m, 60cm,50cm , 40cm and smaller gauges . Build in scales from 1/6th to 1/24th. Also 1/32nd and 1/35th using 16.5mm track to represent 50cm and 60cm gauges.
http://www.rue-d-etropal.com

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csundstr
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Re: New 3D Printed Models

Postby csundstr » Mon Aug 10, 2015 4:51 am

I agree and understand. I have a bunch of other items in the pipeline. I have some Decauville prototype cars I have been testing and I have more parts, including couplers, in the works. I have also been working on a fully detailed Heywood 4-wheel car. Personally I have always been more interested in the scenery than operation, hence the focus on those types of items. Besides, you and Tebee and a few others on Shapeways seem to be cornering the market on operational items, and I am a firm believer in finding what other people aren't doing but customers want versus trying to out-compete in a small market.

The only reason I haven't released my Decauville cars yet is durability issues with FUD. The cars assemble and paint up fine, but even the slightest stress in operation and the FUD can snap like a twig. I had one car simply sitting on the track for a month, not running, and then it simply split down the middle sitting on the track because I missed removing some of the support wax in the axle boxes, leading the axles to overstress the frame. I am testing the durability of the Acrylic Plastic and Strong and Flexible...while their level of detail is less, it actually may be better than that of FUD when you account for how much you have bulk the FUD up to prevent damage/failure. I am also considering testing some metallic prints for car frames...it is the stress on the frames that is the worst, details attached to the frames printed in FUD seem fine as long as 1:1 scale fingers don't get in the way (no different than styrene).

Happy modelling!
Chris Sundstrom
Keen Eye Models - Industrial Prototypes in 1/24, 1/32 and 1/43 Scales
https://www.shapeways.com/shops/keeneye?sort=name&s=0

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rue_d_etropal
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Re: New 3D Printed Models

Postby rue_d_etropal » Mon Aug 10, 2015 11:25 pm

Chris, one reason I am not a fan of FUD, is that it can break easily . I do offer some models in FUD because people ask for them.
In particular for track, the strength and flexibility of WSF shows it is far better for that job. Also unless it is a model of something that is shiny smooth, then the grittiness ,especially in larger scales, can look better.
It did not take me long to realise 3D printing is not best tool for everything. It is one option, but I have had a few reality checks.
Thinking what the potential customer wants is important. In my view it is more important to get the basics in a model, and not to worry about every little detail, unless you want to spend the time in the design. It is also nice to leave something for people to add or customise, and leaving something off might actually make it easier to customise. It is always possible to offer two versions, and see which is more popular. Not having to actually manufacture items is a great boom for small startups like me.
I tend to have alternate versions which have had some of the large flat areas removed, It is easy to use card to fill these gaps, and it makes a bid difference to cost.
Talking of flat areas, I have started thinking about laser cutting , as it could be used to a lot of stuff that is too expensive using 3D printing. Costs(online) seem to be based on how many cuts there are, not the overall size. I have read, that wear and tear is dependent on this, so is a consideration for home use as well. I still have far too many ideas for 3D printing, so suspect this will be a while.
What really interests me about these two technologies is the ability to design, (test?), make available and then sit on the beach, relaxing(hopefully).
Just noticed you are looking at metal options. I think this has been popular with N gauge to produce loco bodies in brass, but as far as I can tell from Shapeways info, they actually use 3D printing to create the mould, so this might mean some designs can not be done. It might therefore be worth looking out for some metal smiths who have computer links.
Simon Dawson
(Simon D.),
Narrow gauge Francophile interested in 1m, 60cm,50cm , 40cm and smaller gauges . Build in scales from 1/6th to 1/24th. Also 1/32nd and 1/35th using 16.5mm track to represent 50cm and 60cm gauges.
http://www.rue-d-etropal.com

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csundstr
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Re: New 3D Printed Models

Postby csundstr » Tue Aug 11, 2015 5:49 am

I have been looking at laser cutting as well. My brother is a CNC machinist who has a custom CNC laser cutting company (http://www.skog.ca), so I have ready access to a machine for trials. There are also a couple of local online companies who will mail results back to you when complete. In general the "costs" of laser cutting are in proportion to not just the cut length but also the cut depth. If the company is using a non-CO2 laser (i.e.: solid state or one of the pro-level diode lasers) then the burn time of the laser head is amortized into many many cuts, and therefore run time is the deciding factor, which is a function of length and depth of cut (deeper cuts are slower). If they are using a low-cost CO2 laser, the burn time of the laser head also has to be factored in (they have a much shorter working life and are not cheap).

For many materials like thin metal, thin plastic and thicker metals, plastics and ceramics, I usually send items for CNC waterjet cutting. In thin materials like what we as modellers would typically use for underframes, waterjet cutting of metal frames would be inexpensive and fast. I get aluminum, stainless, carbon steel and plastic cut by waterjet all the time for work. In materials under 1/4", the taper of the cut is negligible.

I have a couple of friends who run CNC and manual machine shops (and I am a manual machinist as well as an engineer), and it is the setup times that kill you. Great if you have a distribution chain set set up to sell the large box of parts you just got done in order to amortize the costs, not so great if you need a single item. I have looked at having a CNC shop run off machined wheel rims for use with 3D printed plastic centers and the realistic number for production would be 1000 units. Anything less than that isn't worth the setup charges. I just cannot find a use for 500 axles each of 10", 12", 14", 16", 18" and so on wheel sizes...or afford the costs involved in those numbers. Getting the axles machined is just as expensive. Few CNC shops will handle that small a material. For that matter few CNC shops have the required double-head lathe (both the shops I work with have them...but they are precision aircraft sub-contractors so they are unusually well equipped).

As for Shapeways metals, they use two methods. You are correct that the "Precious Metals" are 3D printed in wax and then investment cast...so if it will print in the castable wax, it will investment cast in precious metal...theoretically. The steels, however, are laser sintered as a single process, and the porous material structure is then infused with bronze...about 60% 420 Stainless Steel/40% Bronze. It is magnetic, but not as much as regular steel...I still have to test to see if it will have any impact, but I suspect it will be no worse than older plastic HO/OO freight cars which used a stamped steel plate as their body weight. I am thinking of making a steel underframe with a FUD or WSF cosmetic exterior (customer buys 2-3 pieces)...this gives a very strong underbody with significant mass (better running) while giving the external detail desired. The third piece would be optional - the decking, which could just as easily be hand-cut wooden planks.

If I was going to set up my own distribution channel, I'd have the support frames waterjet cut and purchase a FORM1+ printer to make my own body cosmetic exteriors and detail parts with laser cut wooden parts. Unfortunately I haven't won the lottery yet! :-)

Until then, FUD has worked for me for some parts and it seems that if the part has sufficient structure and is not under stress it is adequate. WSF seems nice for cars (I am trying several of Tebee's designs to save the time redesigning mine to work with the WSF requirements), and I agree the textured finish seems to work for larger scales, but I am not entirely satisfied with it in 1:32 and not at all in 1:43.5. It seems OK for cars which are intended to be rusty and cruddy, but the texture is wrong for cars with planking or where it should be smooth paint. I have tried some of the other materials and will be trying polished WSF for another project shortly. I am also going to try to source some "Mr Surfacer" and try to smooth out the WSF surface with that.

Despite the occasional frustration or setback, it is quite interesting to explore the limits of this technology.

Thanks for all your comments and help.
Chris Sundstrom
Keen Eye Models - Industrial Prototypes in 1/24, 1/32 and 1/43 Scales
https://www.shapeways.com/shops/keeneye?sort=name&s=0

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rue_d_etropal
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Re: New 3D Printed Models

Postby rue_d_etropal » Tue Aug 11, 2015 9:41 am

Chris, this is the type of conversation I like. No negatives, no one trying to shout some-else down.
One of the great things about an internet based business(which is what I am in effect doing), is that it is worldwide. I have people all over interested in what I have designed, and from some I have got new ideas.
The debate over the texture of WSF. I think it should be considered some personal, and some are less bothered than others. In OO9 it has actually been extremely popular, Tom will back me up on that. Probably because price is pretty reasonable. O scale is probably one of those scales, which because it is well served, is a lot fuzzier.
Military modellers in 1/35 scale would be critical, but then they would be counting every rivet as well. 1/32 and 1/35 scale narrow gauge is still relatively uncommon, and depends either on scatchbuild and modification, but also some quite expensive kits. I checked this out when I started on my WW1 models, and prices looked about OK. Prices did go up when Shapeways reorganised, but my models are still cheaper than a fancy kit, and still leave enough to be customised.
Thing is that if you have something people want and no-one else produces then you are in a good position. I am always looking for ways to improve some of my models, hence why the larger scale Simplex models have more detail. Chris Ward has started a inset track system for narrow gauge, which should actually help me, not compete, and I am looking at ways to improve my original inset designs before I moved to complete track panels. I still prefer to use inserts for points which require moving point blades. I also feel that because I am not chasing the manufacturer wagon, I am more in control, and have more freedom.
Tom has taken the initiative to try and plug the gap while Steve is unable to supply Gn15, and I think anyone designing loco fitting kits for Simplex locos, and coupling blocks for narrow gauge would find a lot of interest. Definitely in WSF for strength. The key to 3D printing commercial success is making it easy to get hold of, and no problems when sickness or holidays intervene.

The laser cutting/engraving I was thinking off was for card, possibly thin wood for some stronger supports. I won't say more as it is only an idea which I want to play with.
Simon Dawson
(Simon D.),
Narrow gauge Francophile interested in 1m, 60cm,50cm , 40cm and smaller gauges . Build in scales from 1/6th to 1/24th. Also 1/32nd and 1/35th using 16.5mm track to represent 50cm and 60cm gauges.
http://www.rue-d-etropal.com

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csundstr
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Interests: Modelling small industrial prototypes in 3/8n20.

Re: New 3D Printed Models

Postby csundstr » Thu Aug 13, 2015 12:04 am

Thanks for the input - I agree.

Coupling blocks of various sorts have been on my list for a while - I'll have to see what I can come up with.

Let me know if you want to run some laser prototypes - I can talk to my brother about doing some prototyping on his system.

I'll post an update soon...life is a bit hectic this week!

Cheers,

Chris
Chris Sundstrom
Keen Eye Models - Industrial Prototypes in 1/24, 1/32 and 1/43 Scales
https://www.shapeways.com/shops/keeneye?sort=name&s=0


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