A New Ordering Service To Help With Shipping Costs

From this weekend I’ll be offering a group order service for anyone who wants to keep their shipping costs at a minimum.  This will be in addition to the usual method of ordering through the Shapeways shop.

From this weekend you can get in touch with your order and within the next five weeks, when we have a group order, I’ll place that order with Shapeways. If I have an order ready to go sooner, yours will be included, but whenever you order you’ll never have to wait longer than five weeks before your order is placed with Shapeways.

I’m offering this service as a result of the increased shipping costs from Shapeways due to the current global situation.  Many of the shipping companies have had to increase their charges and these have had to be passed on to the customers.  My service is also designed to help with the issue of Value Added Tax (VAT) and import charges now the UK has left the EU.  Customers who receive their 3D printed orders from the US print facility shouldn’t be affected by this.

These increased charges can be really frustrating when a part only costs about £9 and the shipping is more expensive than the cost of the part.  Because I order parts myself I can add any part you require to my order and bring your shipping costs down.  Then I can post your parts to you at a cheaper price with Royal Mail, I’ll explain how the VAT works in a moment.

Ordering any of my 3D printed parts has always been easy through Shapeways and their checkout page looks something like this.

The example above is for a set of my 3D printed long DCC conversion sleeves for Wrenn locomotives and you will notice that tax (VAT) has not been charged on the order.  This is because the parts are printed in Eindhoven in the Netherlands and Shapeways are currently not set up to collect VAT for the UK government. So the parcel will be stoped at the UK border and VAT will be charged on the contents and shipping cost.  The shipper may also charge a fee for doing this which makes the parts rather expensive.  If the destination is changed to an EU country you will see the tax is added on here.

So how will my new service work?  If, as per my example above, you would like the set of the four Wrenn long isolating sleeves, drop me an email or get in touch via the contact page with your request.  I can then quote for the parts plus the 20% VAT and the shipping cost from me to you using Royal Mail.  I will not charge VAT on the shipping cost and you will not have to pay any import charges.  So the total cost of the Wrenn parts including postage to a UK address will be £12.04.  I can send an invoice for the parts and your order will be added to my next Shapeways order.  My Shapeways orders will be placed at a maximum of every six weeks but some orders might be earlier depending on what I’m working on at the time.

This service also comes with a hidden bonus.  For example, let’s say you only needed three of the Wrenn long sleeves and one short sleeve.  Normally you would have to order two sets from Shapeways but I can order exactly what you need for the cost of one set.

There is also the chance I have some of the parts in stock and can send them out right away.

Of course, this service may not be to your benefit if, for example, you live in the USA as the Shapeways shipping is less, and so is the state tax, if any.

So by all means have a look and see what the price is to order from Shapeways direct, and if you’re in the UK don’t forget to factor in the VAT and import charges, then drop me a message and if I can help reduce the cost, I will.

As I said at the beginning of this post this service will be on a group basis, starting this weekend. When I have an order ready to go, yours will be included, but whenever you order you’ll never have to wait longer than five weeks before your order is placed with Shapeways.

A Different Material for Gears – A Second Attempt

For several years I’ve been producing replacement gears in Shapeways’ Smooth Fine Detail, formally know as Frosted Ultra Detail (FUD).  But what about other materials?

Back in June of 2019 I tested a different material, Multi Jet Fusion Plastic or PA12.  You can find the post here.  This test was not successful, as you can see below, because the definition simply wasn’t there.

To be fair these gears were small, measuring only 4.38mm (0.172″) in diameter.

But this material is a lot stronger than the Smooth Fine Detail.  The Smooth Fine Detail is an acrylic and although it’s very hard, it’s brittle and impacts can cause cracking.  That’s why my replacement Bachmann HO 4-8-4 gears needed to be much thicker than the original.  The PA12 is a nylon plastic and some of its listed key properties are high strength and durability, as well as good impact resistance.

To give it a good test I needed to try a larger part and the ideal opportunity came along when a  customer wanted some replacement gears for an O Scale 3 Rail brass AC6 Cab Forward.  These 4-8-8-2 are huge and a lot of power is transferred to the driving wheels to be able to pull prototypical trains.  This particular model has an idler gear that runs between a metal worm gear and a metal axle gear. An idler gear is a gear that spins freely on an axle without turning that axle between two other gears, the purpose is either to change the direction of the second gear or to simply space the gears out. (Image take from https://www.notesandsketches.co.uk)

The original idler gear was plastic, and due to the constant wear from the two metal gears, had become damaged.

The reason for this gear being plastic rather than brass was it had a left-hand twist, as you can see below.  This is not impossible in brass but it’s very expensive compared to regular gears with straight-cut teeth.

But this sort of complex 3D geometry is ideal for 3D printing.  This gear has a diameter of 9mm (0.3543″) so is twice the size of the previous gear and has much larger teeth.  In order to allow for spares, several were test printed at once on my typical sprue.

The PA12 material has a coarser finish than the Smooth Fine Detail but given the scale of the components, this is not an issue.  As you can see below the new idler gear fits well into the AC6’s transmission.

After assembly, the locomotive had several hours of use with no problems at all, so in this case the PA12 material is a success. At the time of writing the cost of the set of five PA12 gears is the same as a set of Smooth Fine Detail gears.  When the PA12 was first introduced it was more expensive.  The base color for the PA12 is gray but the black, as used here, can be chosen for a little extra cost.

With this successful test, I now have another material available for larger gears that don’t rely on tiny smooth parts.  The point where Smooth Fine Detail will need to be used over PA12 will be different from model to model and will depend on things like teeth size, but I’ll endeavor to use this where possible.

I still have several new gears to try for projects I’m working on, but if you have a need for a gear that’s proving difficult to source please get in touch and hopefully I can produce it for you.

A New Year and Look Back

Happy New Year to All!

2021 is here, and despite wanting to look forward rather than back at 2020, for the first post of the year I wanted to reflect on some of the positive things from last year, mainly the new parts and kits released.

The year started out well with the Bachmann N Scale Doodlebug getting a new set of gears and axles to replace the cracked ones.  You can read about these here.

The esteemed N scale MRC/Rowa Y6b 2-8-8-2 also had some new parts in the form of a replacement bell crank. These also fit the 2-8-4 Berkshire and you can read about them here.

Stepping up the scale to OO, the Bachmann and former Mainline brand locomotives received replacement chassis fasteners.  Given that these are a common part to fail with split chassis locomotives they have proven to be a great aid in repairing lots of them.  The parts can be found here.

Returning to N Scale, the UK Britannia 4-6-2 locomotives made by Dapol received a replacement driveshaft.  These tender-driven loco powered models suffered from the same cracked plastic problem as other models I’ve fixed such as the Atlas 4-4-0.  You can read about the Britannia here.

Speaking of Atlas models, the N Gauge diesels also suffer from cracked drive parts.  The universal connecter inside the flywheel often cracks, leaving the locos underpowered.  But new 3D printed parts are now available and you can read about them here.

In a similar way to my Bachmann/Mainline OO replacement axles, the locomotives of the Replica Railways OO range also received a new set of gears and axles.  These are smaller than the Mainline ones, but again come in a set of three.  You can read about these here.

As well as axles and gears I also released a set of dummy knuckle couplings that work with Kadee couplings.  These have NEM fittings designed to fit into European trains forming a permanent coupling that can be easily separated.  You can read about them here.

After the earlier releases of the OO Gauge Bachmann/Mainline fasteners & washers, I was asked to do the same thing for the Bachmann N scale range, so I did.  You can find them here.

One of the older British locomotive models is the iconic Class 14xx made by Airfix.  However, given the huge amount of miles some of these have now clocked up the main drive gears are wearing out. But a new one can be found here.

The final release for 2020, and literally the largest, was the HO Baldwin DT6-6-2000.  This behemoth of a locomotive has been on the drawing table for a long time and I know many of you have been following its progress throughout the year.  You can read about its release here.

So what next, what will 2021 bring?  There are lots of projects in the pipeline and several to finish off.  The HO Baldwin RT-624 will be next as it’s almost ready, and then I want to finish my N Scale 900081 Rotary Snow Plow project.

And I’m sure there will be lots of gears, parts, and other interesting bits along the way which I’ll share with you as we go.

Thank you for your continued support throughout 2020. I hope 2021 is a good year for all and I look forward to sharing my 3D printing projects and modeling adventures with you.

A Baldwin DT6-6-2000 in HO – Project Update

It’s been several weeks since I last posted about the Baldwin DT6-6-2000 HO project but today I had some good news which means we are just about ready for release.

The bulk of the design and 3D printing has been done, as you can see from the photo of the successful test print below, but what was missing was the etched brass parts.

But today I had confirmation that they’ve been shipped from the etchers and I’m expecting them to arrive by tomorrow or Wednesday at the latest.  This means I can do all the test fitting this week, and assuming everything fits okay, I can release the full kit for sale in next Monday’s post.

The Baldwin RT-624 and some of the DT6-6-2000 varients are still being modified, but I should be able to release shells for Baldwin’s demonstrator, number 2000. ()

Elgin, Joliet, and Eastern Railway early DT6-6-2000s. (Uncredited image – If you know where this image originates from please drop me a message).

Santa Fe’s early models. (Picture from http://www.snowcrest.net/photobob/sfl2.html),

The Trona Railway locomotives. (Photo from Vernon Ryder, Jr.- collection of Mark Laundry – http://baldwindiesels.railfan.net/trona/index.html).

The Minneapolis, Northfield, and Southern Railway no 21. (Picture from Illinois Railway Museum http://www.railroadmichigan.com/illinoisrailwaymuseum.html)

And Peabody Coal Railroad’s locomotives. (Picture from Railrpictures.net)

There’ll be more as the variants get done, but if you have a specific DT6-6-2000 which you would like to model, please get in touch via the contacts page and hopefully I can make that shell available too.

I’m really looking forward to seeing the locomotive with all the brass fittings, I’ve just got to decide what color to paint the test print now!

A Personal Post

This week’s post is a little different, it’s not even about trains!  It’s about something my partner and I do each year to help a very good cause which is relevant to a lot of people in this hobby.

This coming Sunday we’ll be riding our motorcycles in one of the most important events in our yearly calendar – The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride.

Those of you who’ve known me for a while know we like to try and combine overseas travel with our yearly fundraising ride, but this year we’ll be riding in the UK again given the travel issues.

Despite the situations created by the pandemic the world over, as motorcyclists around the globe we’ll still come together as a community to raise money and awareness for men’s health.  Instead of the usual organized group rides we’ll be riding solo to support the cause.

The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride raises funds for research and awareness of prostate cancer, as well as providing programs for men suffering from mental health issues, creating resources to break down the barriers for men to talk and deal with their mental health issues, in the hope of reducing the number of suicides. We support the cause by dressing dapper for the ride and, usually in groups, we put on a fantastic show for the public in whatever city we chose to ride in. It really is a day of celebration and joy designed to bring to the forefront men’s health. This year folks will be riding and fundraising, just solo.

If this is a cause you feel is important to you I’m asking you to make a small donation to do something to help stop men dying from prostate cancer, or by losing their lives to mental health issues.

Understandably a lot of people are experiencing challenging times because of the pandemic, but if you are in a position to make a small donation, please do. The link is here – https://www.gentlemansride.com/rider/thedrawnstudio

If you are not in a position to make a donation you can still help – drop a message to a male friend you haven’t spoken to for a while, and just ask them how they’re doing.  Our hobby is largely a social one, and with so many modelers having to shield through these difficult times it’s easy to get cut off and isolated, so let’s just keep checking on each other. There’s some handy guides on the DGR link here – https://www.gentlemansride.com/about/mens-health, so have a read, and reach out to someone who may need a lifeline right now.

Thank you.

Next week I’ll have a train-related post for you, once I get back from the ride.