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hurricanemk1c

3D Printing for N Gauge

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Hi all,

I suppose it's about time to open up a thread here about one of my part-time activities (among many!) regarding railways, so I'll try and keep this thread up to date with the latest news

Being an N gauge modeller, Irish N gauge isn't exactly massively well represented. There's a few very nice models that have been bashed together from UK rolling stock or scratchbuilt, but my interest lay in finding various 3D printed products uploaded by people to the likes of Shapeways. The big hole being the most common vehicle class on the Irish network - the Class 22000 ICR fleet. It's a fleet that is reasonably significant to me, commuting on them daily and previously working on them as part of work placements (under supervision) and going to the lengths of doing my college dissertation on the wheels of the fleet. They are a fundamental part of the modern Irish scene, coming in a couple of months after moving to Portlaoise, and instead of complaining I decided to do something practical about it

Anyway, enough of that!

 

Stage 1 was to draw the rough vehicle profile (I use SketchUp) and order it to see what it actually looked like. I started off with the "B" car (centre car)

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Stage 2 onwards was adding detail and see what happened, this included drawing an interior and adding things like gangways and windows

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The test bogie at this point didn't work out, being too fragile for use. Back to the drawing board for that!

I then took a long break and then tackled the cab - four times to try and get the profile right. This time I ordered both an N gauge and OO gauge version just for comparison. This revealed a few engineering issues

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For those complaining about the resprayed ICR's on the market, it was a distinct possibility as Bombardier did bid for the contract with the Eirestar, but that's another project ;)

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Current status is nearly complete, just a few minor tweaks to it (such as the bogie attachment point at the cab end needs moving and testing for bogie fitment), then on the next project (of which a test print has been completed......)

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Regards,

Kieran

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Great work Kieran, I look forward to having a fleet of these in OO some day. i myself have just printed a 40 foot beet wagon for myself (see my workbench thread) - a lot simpler than the work you have shown here though! Looking forward to the progress of this.

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The models look very impressive. 3D printing has a lot of advantages but for me the big draw back would be the initial drawings whether in CAD or Sketchup. 

 

MikeO

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Thanks Robert, interesting stuff and you may end up costing me a bit!

Initially I was the same Mike, it took a lot of tinkering to get it right and a lot of cursing / starting again at some points, but once you get into it, I've found it gets easier and easier. A good drawing (especially one with detailed measurements) is a great base. I've also done a commission for a friend of a Class 2751 in HO gauge, and currently doing a bus for another friend

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That's very impressive. 👍The profile looks spot on. The material looks like Frosted ultra detail?

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For those with the knowledge, 3D printing is coming on leaps and bounds as this fantastic work shows.

 A different type of modelling to conventional scratch building, but still requires a lot of skill and patience. Those complex front ends are a work of art as much as anything.

Top job.

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This looks fantastic! Great job.

I think 3D printing is going to open up a lot of possibilities for Irish N-Gauge, which is very much a niche within a niche.

It's also an area N-Gauge has a slight advantage over HO/OO, at least for the time being, as consumer resin printers tend to have a limited print volume, and only larger and more expensive models can handle the volume of a OO coach body in a single piece.

I look forward to seeing how this progresses.

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20 hours ago, hurricanemk1c said:

interesting stuff and you may end up costing me a bit!

I'm all ears if you need anything!

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Thanks for the comments folks! I've got something new coming in a few days hopefully, as well as a couple of updates to the ICR CAD

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Are you printing them yourself, or using a service such as Shapeways?

I'm aiming to pick up a resin printer in the next few months, and have a couple of 3D locomotive models on the go that I'll be tinkering with. I expect it will take a few months to produce anything useful, but would be very interested in sharing 3D models, if you were willing to exchange designs.

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I'm currently using Shapeways but looking to get my own printer. It takes a while to get used to designing but once you've done a bit it becomes easier

The latest prints are of Mark 4 vehicles. These are test prints again, and since then I've added extra detail to them

Standard vehicle (luckily the bodyshell is the same for all the passenger vehicles with only the buffet windows and the Standard End vehicle having detail differences)

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Control Car (need to add in the 'crease' below the cab windows). This also has grill detail but needs primer to pick it out

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Regards,

Kieran

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Kieran

Very impressive captures the look of the real thing. The extra detail should make it even better.

The 2nd photo in the sequence reminds me of a Shapeways N Gauge Generator van I was given. There was a lot of stratification which I found very difficult to make smooth. Even though it seemed smooth enough to paint, once done the lines were still visible. on the track it looks fine but closer up not as good as would have liked it to have been.

I hope you will be able to get a good fonish on the final print.

MikeO

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Anyone who has the wherewithal to acquire their own quality 3D printer, first, I salute you.

Second, I point out that my word-predictive  text idiot phone referred to it as a 3D ”prayer”; I sincerely hope this is not as predictive as the “text”.

My third point is that hopefully those who CAN afford one of these gadgets can produce work as fine as that displayed above...... 

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Thanks for the comments.

Mike: I had noticed there is a bit of stratification on them, even after a bit of sanding. It doesn't help that some of the curves are quite complex but we'll get there. As you said from a normal viewing distance it looks alright

John: I haven't as yet got my own printer (there's a few I have my eye on alright!) so currently going through Shapeways but in time intend to do them myself

 

A couple from tonight's messing around

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While the models look great, it's a bit disappointing to read there is some stratification evident, as with recent equipment my impression is that should no longer be an issue.

 One of our club members is one of those very clever/talented people who not only understands how most mechanical and electronic things work, he can take them apart and put them back together again, so they work better. Anyway, he has self taught 3D printing over the last couple of years and worked his way through a number of machines, mostly bought as kits on line. His latest one prints with no visible layering at all, so maybe Shapeways are not using the latest technology?

 However, as the model looks great, hopefully the technology will soon catch up and enable your excellent CAD work to fulfill its potential.

 No idea what machines he uses. Am afraid I am sticking to what I know, which is kit and scratch building, with a bit of resin casting where appropriate.

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There are two main types of consumer level printers: filament and resin printers.

Filament printers work by melting a plastic filament and extruding plastic to build up the 3D object. They are limited by the diameter of the extrusion nozzle, and not really capable of fine detail in prints. However, they can produce very strong structural elements, so may be useful for making chassis and mechanical elements that don't need to be visible.

Resin printers work with a bath of resin that sets when exposed to a certain light wavelength. In the past they used a laser, but now most of them use a LCD screen to set a whole layer at once, making them relatively fast. They can produce very fine layers and can produce incredibly accurate prints. However, they still print in layers, so there will always be some banding, but how you set up the model on the print area can dramatically affect how visible this is.

There are also a number of industrial 3D printing methods, better suited to mass production, generally involving machines costing hundreds of thousands of Euros, so I suspect Shapeways uses one of these. I'm not sure how the detail of their output compares to a consumer resin printer.

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Posted (edited)

Latest bit of work, primed a few bits and test bogies for the Mark 4. Need to add primary suspension damper but apart from that should be good enough for N gauge.

I can't take credit for the 201 design, being Valve Design model

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Edited by hurricanemk1c
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Posted (edited)

Those look fantastic! The 3D printer layering is clearly visible, but they look pretty good despite it.

I like the Valve designs, but I think Shapeways print resolution holds them back.

Edited by LostCarPark

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Shapeways do seem to be a bit variable, wilm definately be buying my own printer shortly, just to decide which one!

In the meantime.....

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The Mark 4 coaches look well how do you intend coupling them?

I also like the container wagon chassis. Is this your own design?

MikeO

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I've ordered a couple of Dapol Schafenberg couplers (spares for their 15x and 22x models) and will adapt to that. For me, they will be in a fixed formation so doesn't bother me

And yes, the flat is my own design, it's an LX wagon as used on the IWT liner

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I realised after I pressed "order" that I was missing the metal plates over the bogies, plus a few other bits (should have looked at my own photos more!). Thanks Glenderg

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