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.

OO Gauge Fixed Link Coach Couplings – Part 3

Two weeks ago I shared with you the second part of my new designs for 3D printed OO Gauge fixed link couplings specifically for coaches; you can find the post here.  This week I’ll be showing you the final part and, more importantly, where you can get them.

The couplings are designed to give a close fit on straight track and open up on corners, using the NEM cam system, without coming uncoupled.  At the same time they are very easy to manually uncouple by simply lifting the coach off the track.

This saves a lot of time when packing away an exhibition layout as was proven this weekend when around 70 coaches were removed from the new layout ‘Bournemouth West’ at the Swindon Railway Festival.  As the trains rolled into the yard for the last time the coaches were simply lifted into their boxes.

The couplings are printed Shapeways’ Black Strong & Flexible material and come in 5 different types:

Type 1 gives 16mm between NEM sockets. (When two type 1’s are used).
Type 2 gives 17mm between NEM sockets. (When two type 2’s are used).
Type 3 gives 18mm between NEM sockets. (When two type 3’s are used).
Type 4 gives 20mm between NEM sockets. (When two type 4’s are used).
Type 5 gives 21.5mm between NEM sockets. (When two type 5’s are used).

And they are available in two pack sizes; 10 couplings and 40 couplings.

A sample pack is also available which has two of each type.

All the couplings are now available in my Shapeways Shop here.

Next week I’ll have another new product to share with you which was also tested on ‘Bournemouth West’ this weekend.

OO Gauge Fixed Link Couplings – Part 6

As promised in last week’s post I’ve been busy getting all the OO Gauge Fixed Link Couplings ready and uploaded onto Shapeways, and the Short series are now ready to buy.

The Short series will work for the majority of rolling stock and I’ve added a page which describes all the couplings and sample packs in detail, and that can be found here along with the links to buy each product.

The Medium and Long couplings will be available soon.

I’ve been asked if these couplings can be used for coaches as well.  The short answer is ‘yes’, but they are not very prototypical, as coaches normally have different couplers from freight stock.  But don’t panic as I also have a new and simple coach NEM coupler which is designed for exhibition and home layouts.  It will allow close coupling of coaches without the chance of uncoupling on the layout, but, and this is the good bit for exhibitions, when lifted from the layout the coaches separate straight away, making for a quick pack away after the show.  I’ll be sharing this with you, hopefully next week.

OO Gauge Fixed Link Couplings – Part 5

This week’s post will be short as I’ve been busy getting the new OO Gauge Fixed Link Couplings ready for the Shapeways shop.

As well as the sample sets I made available last week (see the post here) Types 1, 2, 7 & 8 are now available in packs of 4, 10 and 25.  As a reminder as to which couplings they are, please see the table below, which you can click on to make bigger.

Hopefully by next week I’ll have the rest up on the site as well.  If there’s a specific combination of couplings you would like please feel free to get in touch.