Alco C-855 R-T-R Build – All Together

Happy New Year!

2019 is here and what better way to start than to see a project completed.  My C-855 Ready-To-Run set of N Scale A-B-A Alco C-855 locomotives have been a challenging build but fun to do and I think the outcome is very good. This set are now on their way to their new owner.

The complete How-To series for the build of this A-B-A set can be found here.

Looking forward I have some more projects which need to be wrapped up and the next big one is the Union Pacific Rotary Snow Plow 900081.

I also have some updates for the DD35 as well as several replacement parts to share with you once we get stuck into the year.

So for now it’s back to the digital drawing board and on with 2019.

 

Wishing You All a Happy Christmas!

It’s the Holiday Season and as this is Christmas Eve my post will be short so I would just like to share with you some videos and pictures of the first test run of the N Scale A-B-A set of Alco C-855 locomotives.

There are not too many photos of the original A-B-A set but I always found this one interesting with both the A unit cabs facing into the B unit. (Image from American-rails)

So here they are in N Scale.

Whatever you’re doing over the holidays let’s hope it’s full of trains! I’m taking some time off to get to work on some of my personal train stock, so I won’t be posting next Monday and I will see you in the New Year.

The Poole Model Railway Exhibition – This Weekend

This week’s post will simply be a quick preview to the upcoming Poole Model Railway Exhibition which is this weekend, Sunday 4th November 2018.

It’s been a busy few weeks getting ready for the show which was why I was unable to post anything last week.

This year we have some great layouts coming including:

Arnold Lane – O
Bournemouth West – OO
Earl’s Court Model Railway – OO
Exton Quays – OO
Hillbrow – OO9
Holcome – O
Horsethief Bridge – N
Llaniog Town – N
Shillingsford – OO
Stephens Lane MPD – O
Trenance – OO
TWA Dale Estates – O
NTRAK Modular Layout – N

As well as demonstrations from:

Andy May
DCC & Computer Control
Slim Gauge Society
The Spetisbury Station Project
The Swanage Railway

Plus trade support from:

Aspire
Ian Shave
Model Railway Solutions Shop and Baseboards
RailRoom Electronics
R&T Model Railways
Ray Heard
The Second Hand Railway Book Shop
And the Poole Clubs own stand

The exhibition is at:

Poole Grammar School
Gravel Hill
Poole
Dorset
BH17 9JU

Next week I will be back on with the R-T-R C-855 build.

Upcoming Shows

This week’s post is a short one as I’m busy getting several ready-to-run models finished for customers.

But what I can tell you is parts of my club’s US N Scale layout, ‘Solent Summit’, will be at the Newbury model railway exhibition.  Hosted by the Newbury Model Railway Club, the exhibition is to be held on Saturday 27th October, at St Bartholomew’s School on the Andover Road.  You can find out more here.

The weekend after on Sunday 4th November is the Poole & District Model Railway Society’s exhibition in Poole.  This year the show is sponsored by Model Railway Solutions and although ‘Solent Summit’ will not be there, there will be plenty of US N Scale with both ‘BNSF Horsethief Bridge’ and an N-Trak layout. With many other great layouts on show, as well as traders, there’s something for everyone including a layout for the children to have a go.  Plus, not to be missed, is the spectacular ‘Bournemouth West’ which will be making its second exhibition appearance and debut in Dorset.  You can find out more about the show here.

In next week’s post I should have some more to share with you for the C-855 build.

3D Print Orientation and What To Do When It’s Wrong

As promised in last week’s post this week I’m going to share with you how to identify if your 3D printed model has been printed correctly.

So what do I mean by correctly printed? Back in October of 2017, in a post which you can find here, I shared with you the new feature from Shapeways which allows the orientation of the print to be set.  This means parts such as a locomotive shell can be printed with the roof on top ensuring the smoothest detail, rather than upside down like a bath tub.

However sometimes, even though the print orientation has been set, some models slip through the printer’s checks and get printed in a cost-saving way; this normally means upside-down.  But how can you tell?  Well, there are a few tell-tale signs which are caused by the print process which give away the orientation of the print.  These signs can be seen when the model is first delivered but given the transparent nature of the material it is fairly hard to spot and nearly impossible to photograph.

So the first thing I always do with any model is soak them in Goo Gone for 24 hours, which makes them opaque, rinse them under warm water and leave to dry for another 24 hours.  Below you can see a set of Alco C-855 shells which have been through this process.  These shells were ordered with the print orientation set so they printed the right way up and at first glance they look good.

But a closer inspection reveals they have been printed upside-down.

The first clue is the direction of the print shadow. The print shadow is the area under a section which sticks out.  In order to print this section support material is required to literally support it. However, where this support material comes into contact with the actual model it leaves a slighty rougher finish which is called the print shadow.  For example, in the image below you can see the print shadow running up from the bolt detail around the base, which means the model was printed upside-down. As the bolt detail protrudes out from the base a bit of support material was required under it. Also looking at the doors and vents on the side of the body you can see these were also covered in support material in order to print the base which also projects out further.

This effect is repeated on the rear as shown below.

The second clue is the inside of the model.  In the picture below you can see all the detail is crisp and smooth.  This is because it hasn’t come into any contact with support material.  This is the best finish on the model and sadly it’s the one location where it’s not needed.

The third clue is the actual top of the model.  It should be smooth, like the inside, but as you can see it’s rougher and ‘furry’ with support material residue which has turned into powder because of the Goo Gone.  The whole of the top of the model has been submerged in support material, because the model was printed upside-down instead of the right way up as requested in the orientation setting.

Now, these shells are not bad and the powder residue can easily be removed with a soft brush in a Dremel style tool, or by hand with a brush, leaving you with a good model.  But the surfaces which should have been on top will never be as good as the finish on the inside and areas such as the doors and vents will also be a bit rougher.

So what should it look like? Below is another set of Alco C-855 shells. You can see that after the cleaning process the finish on the outside is not all the same colour. This is because a lot of the surface hasn’t come into contact with support material, as we wanted.

There is still a print shadow effect but this time it’s running down the model and not up.

The doors and vents still have some print shadow but only in a few areas such as the recess for door hinges etc.

The inside of the shell is rougher and covered in print shadow, as we would expect as it was full of support material.

The top is smooth and very well detailed which will show up when the shells are painted.  In the pictures they look rough or lined but this is simply where the Goo Gone has not affected any support material residue and the surface is still a bit transparent.

Hopefully this will help you identify if a model has been printed in the correct orientation or not.  But what should you do if yours arrives and you think it was printed the wrong way up?

Firstly check to make sure the model was designed to have the orientation set. I can’t speak for other designs but my models will state this in the description if it has been set and I can always confirm if you want to contact me and check.  As for the Alco C-855 shells you need to purchase the Deluxe version as it’s not set on the standard.

Secondly, take some pictures of the incorrect model showing things like the print shadow running the wrong way.  Then send an email to Shapeways at service@shapeways.com.  Include your order number, photos and let them know the model you received has not been printed in the correct orientation. Please note: this must be done within ten days of receiving the model.  Their customer service team are quick to respond and will organize a re-print of the model if indeed it was printed wrongly. But again, you only have ten days from the time you receive your print.

As I said before any excess powder will need to be cleaned off and you will find the detail is good underneath it.  You also need to clean this off otherwise any paint applied will flake off as the powder is loose.

You may also be wondering what I’m doing with so many Alco C-855 shells?  These are for a fellow modeller and I’m making a fully powered ready to run A-B-A set for them.  And I intend to share the whole build process with you in a set of posts which should be starting very soon.

Privacy and Materials

This week I have two things to tell you about and although they are not directly related to trains they are both things which affect my website and 3D printed models.

Firstly I have updated my Privacy Policy and you can read it by clicking here or on the drop down menu below the ‘Contact’ button.  The primary reason for this change is the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into affect on May 25th.  This law is fairly complex but put simply it means that no business or organization can hold any personal data of an EU citizen without their permission.  So I have updated my policy and added a tick box to my contact form as a confirmation that people are happy for me to have this information.  I do however have several contacts for fellow modellers and customers on file, which I only use as contacts for model railway purposes, but if you think you are on the list and would like your details removed then please let me know and I will do so.

My second announcement comes from Shapeways who provide the bulk of my 3D printed models.

They have had a reorganization of the materials they offer and more importantly they have rebranded or rather renamed several of them;

White Strong & Flexible (WS&F) and Black Strong & Flexible (BS&F) are now simply called Versatile Plastic which is available in several colours, including black and white.

Frosted Ultra Detail (FUD) and Frosted Extreme Detail (FXD) are now called Fine Detail Plastic.  This is available in two finishes: Smooth and Smoothest.  Sadly this means the acronyms will be exactly the same so identifying them will be a bit longwinded but they are still FUD and FXD as we know them.  And I can also confirm there is no change in price.

Shapeways have also changed other materials but none which I currently use so I won’t cover them here.  I’ll be working through my products updating the pages for the new material names so please bear with me if you see the old names on any of them.

Next week I’ll have some 3D printed parts to share with you and some advice on how to see if your model was printed correctly.