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Originally Posted by Rusty Traque:

Here's an outfit doing multiple scale 3D printed production now: IHP



I notice as the size goes up, the price really goes up.  No surprise there, this is still a niche market until the technology is more developed and a whole lot faster.


3D printing is great for prototypes and one-off units, production quantities are a long way off unless your production is three units.


Originally Posted by Rusty Traque:

Didn't say it was cheap, but I get the impression from some that 3-D printing will open up a world of inexpensive models of endless variety.


'Taint so, at least not for the foreseeable future.



I don't know about the inexpensive part of your statement, but I think the variety could happen At some point.


If nothing else, 3D printing has the potential to make life easier for the obscure manufacturers in our hobby, and for people who model in the less popular scales. If a small manufacturer offers a model in N scale through Shapeways, it's very easy to also make the same item available in Z, HO and TT scales as well. That's a big deal, compared to a manufacturer who offers resin castings...and it certainly makes life easier for those same resin manufacturers who need to make a master for casting.


Jeff C

Last edited by leikec
Originally Posted by RailRide:

Originally Posted by ptalar:
I'm considering attending Maker Faire in NYC this weekend. There are supposed to be demonstations of 3D scanning as well as printing (among other technological gee-whizzery). I have an obscure MPC part for a bottom-end loco that hasn't been made since the early 1980's. Maybe I can get someone to scan it as a demonstation...and someone else to print it


I attended this even in Queens on Saturday and I am blown away at what I saw.  3d printing was a huge sector of this Fair with dozens of exhibitors displaying their products. This is a major area of tech innovation. Size capability is increasing and prices are coming down. Very impressed.  Pat B.

Here's a interesing TED talk on 3D printing


"Just like his beloved grandfather, Avi Reichental is a maker of things. The difference is, now he can use 3D printers to make almost anything, out of almost any material. Reichental tours us through the possibilities of 3D printing, for everything from printed candy to highly custom sneakers"


TED Talk on the future (and present) of 3D printing

I'm convinced you'll see an eventual collapse of the hobby industry as we currently know it in regard to paying for products already built.

In the future, I see an industry based on downloading product designs that you make yourself with your own equipment. If this follows, then the future will be in design for those downloads, as well as the capability to paint road names on locomotives and cars. That isn't in place yet (as I know of no computer system that can adjust a paint scheme and lettering to whatever scale item is being presented) so probably you'll soon also see an eventual upsurge in technology and suport for pritning your own decals for the 3D stuff you've made yourself. Otherwise, you'd have people making all kinds of cool stuff who have no way to put paint and lettering on it to match what we can buy out of the box now.

I sure wouldn't want to be in the detail parts industry right now with all this coming out, it's a given that 3D printing will become more affordable and reliable as time goes on.

Charlie: I saw that too. It struck me because I saw a site for Soliddoodle 3D printers at $449.00 and $799.00 already assembled!!!
Why buy a kit for $724.95!!!!!
Originally Posted by Charlie Howard:

I got a Micro Mark catalog a couple of days ago. They have a 3D printer kit for $724.95. Typical assembly time 30 hours. It's interesting. If I was younger, and the eyes, and brain were better I'd probably get one along with that mini lathe and milling machine. But that ship has sailed for me. This one will do 7 7/8 x 7 7/8 x 7 7/8. Layers less than .010"


I sure like my MakerBot.  Lots of O scale goodies.  What most folks don't realize is the HUGE potential of the process.  The current detail issues are ALL related to the plastic filaments we currently use.  That changes almost daily and they are getting so very good.  Second is that as you start to design stuff you add it to your library and the next time you want a box car you don't start from scratch you just make changes.  Like I said I sure like mine.  Russ


An assortment of machine shop stuff:




Hollow pipe fittings:


The pipe fittings in use:


An ON30 hopper printed as one piece:


With O scale figure to show scale:

My MB is not very good resolution even after updating the printhead several times. What I mean by resolution is that a MB lays out a very fine line of hot plastic. Each subsequent pass of the printhead lays out another line at the next location of the build. The software interprets your drawing and handles the most efficient laying out of the lines of hot plastic.


So looking closely at the build you can see each line that needs to be sanded down smooth. The newer MB are even finer than mine so much less sanding maybe none.


Also I have a rotating build platform that allows multiple builds of the same object without resetting anything. It literally shoves the completed build off the platform before starting anew. 


Originally Posted by AlanRail:

It's like color TVs in the 60s or color Laser Printers in the 90s there were not affordable then today not so much.


the same will be true of 3D printing. Right now my MakerBot will print limited items in O-gauge; but I stopped using it because the print head resolution is not fine enough for me.

Folks are definitely paying hefty premiums to be an early adopter in this space.


Having indulged my fancy many years ago in the wide-format printer market, being a professional photographer now... I would simply caution everyone of the following:


Whenever you take on the role of producing your own stuff, with that comes a lot of draft products before the final product is exactly the way you want it.  So plan on that in terms of materials.  In the wide-format color printer market, that meant lots of ink cartridges, ink heads, and of course rolls of wide-format paper.


We'd often create a print -- only to find the colors weren't perfect compared to what was on our monitor.  So calibration was an ongoing part of maintenance procedures.  I'm surmising there may be similar issues with 3D printing technology, where materials will be "wasted" with draft prints that aren't quite what we want in the finished product.


All I'm saying here is to look before you leap into this space.  Is it exciting?  Perhaps.  Is it right for everyone?  Probably not.


Some of us will be better off just purchasing what we need from suppliers who offer the service.  I've already decided that's where I'll fall regarding this whole 3D-printer space.  So I'll watch the early adoption curve from the sidelines, and re-evaluate my direct participation much, much further down the road.  And even then, I may just decide to purchase what I need from suppliers who produce the product(s) I'm looking for.



As far as early adopters are concerned those were folks some 20 plus years ago in 3d printing.  Most of the technology today is so old that the patents have expired and that is why there is a plethora of NEW 3d printers on the market these days.  The biggest changes coming are in the arena of the filaments, those things we run through our printers.  I have upgraded my Replicator 2 several times but never a hardware change, only controlling software and firmware upgrades.  The costs are the costs.  If you don't want to play then don't pay.  I have been doing an ON30 layout 20 x 40 triple deck, there is no way I can afford detail castings for every station, engine house, roundhouse, water tank etc,.  Sooooo in my estimation my printer is not that terribly expensive.  Also we are modeling the summer of 1940, my choices of O scale suppliers in that era is rather small.


The common format between MOST of the current crop of 3d printers is called an STL file.  What we need is a place to exchange railroad related stl files.


As far as finishing is concerned I have found two coats of rattle-can primer usually takes care of any issues.  Also I have just recently discovered that the little brass brush in my Dremel kit does a really quick job of major stuff!    


3d printing is not for everyone.  Neither is TMCC or DCS or DCC or . . . . !  Russ

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