Bridging the Gap Between Kits and Production Models

As you may have read on my blog before I often do commission work for companies allowing then to mass produce models using 3D printed parts.  And in this week’s post I have the latest release to share with you.

Three good examples of other projects which have been created this way are:

The Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) F22 flatcars & naval gun load.

The 4 vat open pickle car.

And the enclosed tank pickle car.

All three of these were drawn for the N Scale Architect who sells them as kits.  However, sometimes the projects are only sold as ready-to-run models and this new project is one of these.

My brief for the project was this photo of Pennsylvania Railroad gondola G26 #440375 taken around 1951. (Andrew J. Hart collection from “Pennsylvania Railroad Gondolas,” PRRT&HS).

The concept is to have a bridge girder load carried on or in a gondola car with the ends removed.  The overhang spans over flat cars, or idlers, at each end. I found it particularly interesting that the girder is not symmetrical;  I have seen this type of load modelled before in HO scale but never as an asymmetric girder.  This makes it unusual as the center of gravity will not be in the center of the car.

As well as making the girder I also had to work out how it was supported and strapped down in transit, taking into account the offset center of gravity.  And, as with all my projects, this work is all done in a 3D model.

The red parts are separate, allowing easy painting, and represent wooden blocks which brace the girder.  The black bars are just that, bars which clamp the girder between the blocks.

All five bottom wood sections will be fixed to the gondola car deck.  The two sets of vertical timbers prevent the girder from rolling over.  Two of the timbers clamps are positioned either side of the largest part of the girder, each one pulling towards the other, preventing the girder from sliding up and down the gondola.  The third clamp simply holds that end down.

And just to make sure it all fits I also modeled in the cars with just enough detail.

The next step was to order a test print to see how well it all worked, and I think you’ll agree from the pictures below that the actual girder looks good.

The supporting wood blocks are hard to see without any color, so the girder and the wood blocks took a trip to the paint shop and now they looks like this.

And here is a video of the train crossing the road, just as if you had stopped in your truck!

So where can you get one from?  These are on sale as a special run in limited numbers from the N Scale Enthusiast.  They have been painted and assembled by The N Scale Architect as a Union Pacific load from Kaiser Steel as shown below.

All three cars are made by Micro trains and include the shipping crates on the flat cars.

This was a great project to work on and really shows how 3D printed parts can help ‘bridge the gap’ between kits and production models.

 

Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) F22 Flatcars & Naval Gun Load

Several weeks ago I posted about the N Scale Architect’s new kit for a set of Pennsylvania Railroad F22 Flatcars & Naval Gun Load.  This kit, which was still in development, was announced at the Amherst Railway Society Show 2018, in West Springfield, Massachusetts.

And I spoke about it again two weeks ago as the sample came to the Bournemouth N Trak convention here in England.

Well, this kit is now complete and it looks amazing.

Here is what the N Scale Architect has to say about them:

“The Naval Gun Load kit is based on the Mark VII Naval Gun designed in 1939 and first used aboard Iowa-Class Battleships during World War II.  Measuring 16” in diameter, these guns could fire a 2,400 lbs projectile up to 24 miles. Each of these 68 foot guns weigh nearly 270,000 lbs and were shipped (breech first) across two(2) heavy weight flatcars with a third flatcar used as an idler. Many of these guns were manufactured by Bethlehem Steel in Pennsylvania and transported via the Pennsylvania Railroad across three(3) F22 flatcars. This kit comes complete with Frosted Ultra Detail (FUD) 3-D printed parts, full-color illustrated instructions, sixteen(16) inches of phosphor bronze rod and a ‘DO NOT HUMP’ placard sheet.

The Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) F22 Flatcar 3-Pak Kit builds three(3) of these wood-decked 30 foot heavy-duty flatcars which had a loading capacity of nearly 200,000 lbs when upgraded to the Crown 2F-F1 cast steel trucks modeled in this kit. These flatcars were originally designed in 1913 and, at their peak in the 1940’s, there were over 100 in use on the Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) roster with some of them surviving into the 1960’s. This kit comes complete with Frosted Ultra Detail (FUD) 3-D printed parts, full-color illustrated instructions, photo-etched stirrups & cut-levers, brass car weights, Micro-Trains brake wheels & body-mounted couplers, Fox Valley metal wheel sets and a PRR F22 decal sheet that features nine(9) verified road numbers, pertinent car data and prototypical reporting marks.

The ‘Naval Gun Load’ kit (#20100) retails for $39.95, the ‘Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) F22 Flatcar 3-Pak’ kit (#20101) retails for $69.95 and the ‘Box Set’ (#20102) retails for $89.95… a $20.00 Savings !!!  These kits are available exclusively at the THENARCH.COM.  Additional 3-D printing material options are available at our Shapeways Shop: https://www.shapeways.com/shops/the-n-scale-architect.”

This was a project I really enjoyed working on as it’s such unique load. It was great to get everything correct from the trucks to the length of the gun barrel. The lack of restrictions, which are often caused by donor chassis and other parts that I have to use when designing a locomotive, are what made this easier to do. Only the wheels and couplings are bought in items.

As The N Scale Architect says the kits are available direct from their website or via their Shapeways shop if you want to order them in Frosted Extreme Detail (FXD).  If you do purchase a kit from Shapeways don’t forget to contact the N Scale Architect via their website (THENARCH.COM) or e-mail (thenarch.com@gmail.com) to obtain the additional pieces and instructions needed to finish the kit.  Be sure to include your name, mailing address and Shapeways order number in this message. These items will be mailed to you at no additional charge (including international orders). Please allow 7 to 10 business days for delivery (international orders may take longer).

For me it’s back to the virtual drawing board and on with my current projects, and I hope next week to have some more progress to share with you.

New Axles for a Bachmann HO 4-8-4 Northern – Part 2

Last week I shared with you my designs for a set of replacement Bachmann HO 4-8-4 axles as shown below.

The locomotive was tested and ran smoothly with new axles fitted: the set of four axles are available in my Shapeways shop here.

One thing which I wasn’t sure of last week was one of the original axles has a square center section rather than circular as the other two.  I have since been informed by a fellow modeller that the orignal version of this locomotive also had smoke but the smoke unit had a section which was driven from this square axle to create the puff effect.  As the model was improved this feature was removed but the square axle was never updated.

This coming weekend, 9th to 11th March 2018, is the N Trak convention in Bournemouth, England and again it’s at The Trouville Hotel.  You can read a bit more about last year’s convention here and the 2014 convention here.  I’ll be there over the weekend if you are in the area and want to come by and say hello.

3D Printed Minitrix Cross Heads Part 2

Two weeks ago I shared with you my designs for a 3D printed replacement N Scale Minitrix cross head; you can read the post here.  This week I have the actual 3D printed cross head to show you.

The design, as pictured below, followed the original closely with the exception of the weaker areas which were strengthened by adding a bit more material.

The actual parts look like this, next to a broken original.

The parts have been cleaned by submerging in Goo Gone for 24 hours, rinsed in warm water and left for a further 24 hours in open air; this is my normal cleaning process for all parts 3D printed in Shapeways’ FUD and FXD materials.

In the image below you can see a new and an old cross head on the slide bar, the slots in the sides are just right to allow the crosshead to slide without being too tight or too loose.

The upper hole on the cross head is for the piston and connecting rod joint and as you can see below this fits together well.  The piston is actually a bar with a ninety degree bend in.  The bar passes through the cross head then the connecting rod.  When it comes to getting the bend through the two parts it needs a bit of a push.  This also stops the bar from falling out.

One thing I did learn at this point is the piston bar needs to be fitted after the lower hole is connected otherwise it’s very hard to assemble!  So it came out again.

Also, to connect the lower hole, make sure the crosshead is on the slider bar first. Don’t ask me how I know that!

The lower hole connects to part of the valve gear. This time it uses a metal pin.  The pin is actually a tube and the end is flared over to prevent it falling out.  I carefully un-flared the pin by squeezing it together with a pair of tweezers.  Then the remaining part of the old crosshead fell away and I was able to push the pin through the new one.  This is probably the stage when the new cross head is most at risk of breaking, so try to make the end of the pin as close to the diameter of the pin as you can.  Once it has passed through the pin can be re-flared by pushing in a needle file or something similar.  It doesn’t need to be flared much, just enough to stop the pin from passing back through the hole.

The piston bar can now be inserted, completing this part of the assembly.

The wheels and motion can now be inserted into the chassis; this is a really tricky job!

And here we have a repaired Minitrix cross head.  The chassis rolls up and down freely and is ready to have the motor and other parts refitted.

The cross head is available on my Shapeways shop in sets of two and four here via the links.

I will also try to keep a few in stock, although not until after Christmas, so you can also contact me directly for a set.  I will also offer the cross heads in a set, along with my replacement Minitrix Eccentric Rod Crank Pins.

Next week I’ll have another how-to to share with you about coal loads.

Getting in a Bit of a Pickle

Over the last few months it might have seemed that I haven’t really been doing much in the way of 3D printing design.  Well in fact I have; I just couldn’t tell you about it, until now!

The N Scale Architect has commissioned two new N Scale freight cars to accompany their new turn-of-the-century pickling plant kit, pictured below.

This lovely kit has everything you need to build a pickling plant, but how do you move the produce around the layout? The answer comes in two forms.

The 4 Vat Open Car.

And the Enclosed Tank Pickle Car.

Both car kits come complete with a full-color illustrated instruction sheet, photo-etched ladders & stirrups, bronze tie-rods, four 1/4oz car weights, a decal set of your choice and Micro-Trains brake wheel, trucks & body mounted couplers.  Each decal set is inspired by vintage pickling company markings and includes four different road numbers.

The 46′ open 4 vat pickle car follows prototypes made by Thrall, GATC, ACF and other manufacturers from the early 1900s up until the 1950s has four printed sections forming the chassis, vats, roof supports and the roof.

The roof supports are separated before they clip into the chassis.

The 42′ enclosed tank pickle car follows prototypes made by Thrall, GATC, ACF and other manufacturers from the early 1900’s up until the 1950’s and has three printed sections forming the chassis, sides and roof.  All are printed with the best side facing up to get the finest detail.

The etched ladders on both and the sign on the enclosed car are stainless steel.

Both of these new cars are available from the N Scale Architect’s Shapeways shop or through the website.

And that’s not all, there are more cars on the way from myself and the N Scale Architect but you’ll have to wait to see what they are!

Somerset & Dorset Signal Finials in OO

As a little bonus this week Shapeways, my chosen 3D printing company, are offering free shipping worldwide for any order over $25.  The sale ends on the 25th September 2017 at 11:59 PM PDT.  You can find all my models through the Shop drop down menu above or through my Shapeways shop.

As promised last week I have another new project to share with you; finials for Signals on the Somerset & Dorset Railway.

A finial, sometimes known as a hip-knob, is a decorative element used to mark the top of something.  You will see them on everything from bed posts to buildings.  Traditionally railways used them on top of the signal posts.  The example below is a Midland Railway lower quadrant signal (photographed by NottsExMiner).

As well as looking architecturally pleasing the finial also protects the timber post by helping to keep the rain from pooling and soaking into the top.

The S&D railways had some very decorative finials on their railway.  The ones I’ve modeled were for the OO scale layout ‘Bournemouth West’.  Although this station was the terminus of the S&D, the actual line from Broadstone and Bournemouth was owned by the London and South Western Railway.  Therefore the signals on this part of the line are actually L&SW. The finials used here were in a rounded cruciform shape with a hollow section in the middle.

As with all my projects, everything starts with a computer 3D model.  The base of each finial has a round peg. The idea is a 1mm hole can be drilled into the flat top of the signal and the finial can be pushed in, making a secure fixing.

The signals in this area didn’t use timber posts, instead they used lightweight lattice girders and these are often modeled from brass kits.  Again, giving the signal post a flat top and drilling a 1mm hole for the finial is the best way to fit them, making the signal look something like the rendered image below.

The peg in the bottom also helps with the 3D printing of the finial as it allows several to easily be put onto a sprew.  Printed in Shapeways FUD material or FXD gives the best definition for these tiny parts.

Typically these needed to be cleaned before they could be used and to do this I let them soak in a sealed jar of Goo Gone for 24 hours, then rinsed them in warm water.  Bestine is another good product for cleaning 3D printed items in FUD or FXD however that is a little hard to get outside of the US.

Once cleaned the finials were ready to be painted and mounted onto their signals.  And they look like this.

All these signals were built by Roger Sunderland for ‘Bournemouth West’.  They are all fully functioning using under board motors powered by DCC.

The finials are available in packs of 10 and can be found here.

Next week I’ll have a 3D printed body shell to show you which has been printed using some of Shapeways’ new tools.