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Discussion Starter #1
I posted awhile back about the HOn3 flatcar I had worked on. The original of this HO flat (from thingiverse) is what got me started trying to learn how to modify existing models. The original had been made with a solid deck and was horribly lightweight even with metal trucks. It also would not properly print the stake pockets (a close look showed the model had gaps and the pockets weren't even attached to the car on one side).

I've been working to fix the pockets and open a slot in the top to place lead weight.


Then I had to learn how to provide supports that could peel off easily without destroying the frame members. In Cura, it turns out support roofs are the magic bullet to make this happen. It still takes time to remove all the support material, but using my track snips helps pull that out fairly clean.


Being able to print the pockets also took some research, until I found a hidden option called "print thin walls". Because the pockets are so tiny I had to use a file to clean them up a bit, but they printed well enough that I can still see the holes in them.

I cut a couple layers of 1/32" lead sheet to fit in the frame. Since this will be covered with a wood deck I didn't mind having to use some scraps to make the second layer.


And finally, all pressed together... The top of the lead is actually flush with the top of the plastic, there's just a roll on the edge I cleaned up with a file that makes it look taller than it is.


In its current form the car weighs a solid 2.9oz. NMRA says it should come up to 3.5oz but this thing already feels pretty heavy. I think even empty it's going to stay on the rails nicely.

Since the framework is open you can see the lead from the bottom side. I'll hit it with a coat of brown paint before gluing in the pieces, then I have a sheet of basswood that is scored like 2x6 planks which I'll use for the deck. If I wanted to make the car heavier I could still use a third sheet of lead and score it as the deck (which is what I did on my HOn3 flat). I still need to do a bit of cleanup with a knife as the file is leaving behind small rolls in the plastic, and grind down the coupler screws. I think I'm going to try and dry-brush some red oxide paint on the sides to see if I can get it to look like a really old wood-frame car.

Anyway that's my project. Hope you enjoyed.
 

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Hmm... Why are you doing this again? It's not to sell them one at a time off a 3D printer to create a revenue stream is it? It's none of my business, but it seems to be a lot of work to go through to make a buck. 3D printing is not a mature enough technology to compete with injection molded plastics. The print time per copy takes way too long and requires far too much finishing time to come up to anything close to the level detail most railroaders would want to pay money for. Maybe some day, but not now. If you're looking to acquire or produce a specific car for yourself that is not readily available, I would suggest buying a large case lot of cars from ebay, some of which you will find are still in their original unopened box, and start from there. You will end up with a much better finished product.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I find it telling that your first thought about this project is in regards to a revenue stream. I suppose next you'll be telling people that they should stop scratch-building models when there are perfectly good kits available in every hobby store?

Most of us do modeling because we like to work with our hands, build things from scratch and see what kind of results we can get. So what if it doesn't have the same level of detail as a plastic kit? So what if it doesn't come up to someone else's standards? Imagine where we'd be today if you had given the same comments to the pioneers of plastic injection molding? If you really think money and quality are the only things that matter then you've completely missed the entire point of hobbies.

It ain't supposed to be pretty. It's supposed to be a starting point to see what can be done with what I have on hand.
 

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Cab1, there are plenty of people who make money selling one off or low volume 3d prints for model railroading so I am not really sure what you are on about.

Anyways I have 3d printed a few things for my model railroad because I either just wanted to, or a injection molded version either no longer exists or never existed in the first place. My current project is a 1:32nd SW1500 which I don't think I can even buy anywhere, and I don't know of a manufacturer making SWs in anything over O.
 

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Hmm... Why are you doing this again? It's not to sell them one at a time off a 3D printer to create a revenue stream is it? It's none of my business, but it seems to be a lot of work to go through to make a buck. 3D printing is not a mature enough technology to compete with injection molded plastics. The print time per copy takes way too long and requires far too much finishing time to come up to anything close to the level detail most railroaders would want to pay money for. Maybe some day, but not now. If you're looking to acquire or produce a specific car for yourself that is not readily available, I would suggest buying a large case lot of cars from ebay, some of which you will find are still in their original unopened box, and start from there. You will end up with a much better finished product.
Building things is a good way to learn how to build things.
 

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3D printing has interested me for some time now. I've seen the home level type printer products and I've seen the professional level products. Yeah, the quality is possible but ya have to pay for the equipment. If ya visit some of your local 3D print shops they will gladly show ya some of their products. Very detailed in ways you wouldn't even consider.
I don't think I would even bother with 3D printing unless I could invest 10s of thousands into it, and then, I would prolly go into business doing jobs with it. Anything less would be like tryin to paint portraits using a paint roller and 3" straw brush.
 

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Excuse me for thinking like a rational businessman. Your entitled to your own opinions, like everyone one else, but the truth is the truth. 3D printing is not yet a mature enough technology for production. It has been used successfully in certain niche markets; after dumping millions of dollars into it. This is not meant to be an insult to your passion, creativity, or drive to explore a new technology and help move it forward. Model railroading has gotten so expensive since I was a kid; especially for DCC. You really need all the skills you can muster to take you to where you want to go. We've all been there at some level. I don't think anyone on this site is gonna look down their nose at how you got there.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
@D&J Railroad -- Have you looked into resin printers? Very high-quality detail from units that are in the $300 price range. I'm actually considering getting one some day to print models of people. It just depends on what kind of quality you're looking for. I can't image what those extremely high-priced printers could do, in regards to hobby work, that we can't already do on much cheaper models?
 

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i don't know ... i have a 3d filament printer that cost 160 canadian probably a year and a half ago ...
i used it to produce a bunch of 28 foot and 24 foot truss rod flatcars in HO scale .. some with decks, and some wooden ones added afterwards

i think it's more than paid for itself , even though this model does not fit my era [1890s] i think it's great ..
 
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