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The latest railings hanging the Machine look pretty good too. It takes me about 3 iterations to get the whole process working for a given part. I'm on my last 500g bottle of resin and am not really interested in taxing the logistics systems in the USA with the current situation. I get it from Amazon. They're reporting cases in their system. That's been a worry if (or when) all of the service people on whom we depend get sick. I'm talking about water and sewage treatment plants, power plants, mail, trash collection, etc., etc. We need all of these people and don't pay them much mind in our gig economy. Not everyone is a goat-yoga instructor. When you watch HGTV and hear about the things these people do for a living you immediately (at least I do) think, just how important are those jobs? We can run a society without goat yoga, but we wouldn't get through a week without water treatment.

Hey folks. Still here! Still kicking! We're lucky having a hobby that is best practiced indoors and self-isolated. To that end, my life hasn't changed a whole lot. Us modelers are not typical Americans. Silver linings!

The printer problems have been solved for a while and now and every day is continuing to produce the parts needed for the house. I now have 8 mansard windows done, but one of them has a missing lower sash member, so I'll print a spare. I've perfected how to remove the supports without breaking anything by using a needle-point, diamond coated burr with the Dremel Flexi-shaft. I just grind through the supports as near to the part as I can. It imparts no shock so no breakage. I just couldn't clip carefully enough to keep the parts from breaking. I'm printing a set of fancy fireplace hearths right now. 

HBTRR Manard Windows Batch

I've finished all the laser cutting drawings and sent them to Stephen Miley at Real Scale Models for a cutting estimate. I could cut them myself at University of Louisville, but they're closed for the duration. I have the Tie Hackers Cabin to build so there's really no rush.

I sold that ancient model of the Royal Sovereign on eBay and made much more money for it than I expected. And to think, I was going to just toss it.

And the Typhoon is nearing completion. The exterior painting is done including some serious invasion stripes.

Typhoon Stripes Top

Typhoon Stripes Bottom

I'm up to doing some major decaling. The decals are terrible. They're thick, stiff and take a long time to release from the film. I will muddle through.

Stay well, stay safe… keep your distance, where masks and gloves. Don't go out unless you absolutely have to. 


Images (3)
  • HBTRR Manard Windows Batch
  • Typhoon Stripes Top
  • Typhoon Stripes Bottom
Trainman2001 posted:

Thank you folks! Larry, your layout is spectacular also. Your very humble.

One of my new customers wanted a "naked" 567, so I've drawn the following:

567 Naked Block

As usual, I've taken some artistic license. The crank pins are the correct diameters, but the spacing's a bit off. Also the inner block structure is a bit stylized. The lower part, including the oil pan are sheet metal, but would be unprintable, so they're much thicker for this model. The air box walls are also sheet metal welded to the more robust inner structure. This too had to be thickened considerably to ensure it would print successfully. To print it, I've split the block right down the middle including the bearing supports and caps. I will install the crank before gluing the two halves together. I will also print cranks as display parts in their own rights.

The shaping of the naked block is based on these pictures. These look like 645 series engines with the round access ports.

Screen Shot 2020-01-31 at 6.59.43 PMScreen Shot 2020-01-31 at 6.57.31 PM

One of the block halves is on the printer now and my intermediate check showed that it was printing successfully. I'll post the finished products.

I'm also creating the end-grain block flooring for the machine shop. Since I have the CorelDraw drawing of the laser cut plans for the actual floor, it facilitates making a false floor with the graphic on it.

I was so intrigued by your Power assembly details. I ordered and just took delivery of these 645 Power assemblies from the Czech Republic...

EMD_645 Prime001EMD_645 Prime002EMD_645 Prime003EMD_645 Prime004



Images (4)
  • EMD_645 Prime001
  • EMD_645 Prime002
  • EMD_645 Prime003
  • EMD_645 Prime004

If you don't mind my asking, what did they charge you for the set? I also notice that they're expecting you to do all the trimming. I find that most of the damage to 3D printed parts come in the trimming. That puts all the responsibility on the buyer. I was charging a different price for trimmed and untrimmed parts. They look pretty good. I'm assuming this is O'scale. Also, who was the vendor? I'm finding that trimming with a Dremel and a narrow, diamond-coated burr removes the supports without damaging fine details. Cleanup is definitely a chore...

Got it… thanks and replied.

Cleaned up the prints of the fireplace facings that will go on each floor of the House. The SketchUp downloaded version had a plaster facing that went all the way up to the ceiling. I thought it was overkill and greatly complicated the print. So I just printed the main portion. Took some creative clean up since some of the supports had to going into sensitive area. End results will work. You can see the grinding marks to the right of the left-hand decoration. There was also a support in the curve of the right-hand decoration. Using various shapes of diamond coated burrs did the job. I wear a mask, magnifiers and ear muffs. I look like an ER doctor during the crisis.

HBTRR Fireplaces

Right now I'm reprinting some fancy interior doors. There were imprinting areas that I found, after analysis, could be corrected just by re-situating the parts. I'm printing them 6-up. 

I'm also redoing the stair case. The one I downloaded had a wrought iron railing that would be basically unprintable. By going to a spindled banister I will have some success. I also am using my Profile Builder 3 more. This is a plug-in that facilitates laying down all kinds of architectural details including base, door casings, crown molding, etc., etc. The product comes with hundreds of samples of molding designs. You can also created repetitive assemblies suck as fencing, although I haven't used that feature yet.  The newel posts and spindles were captured from the 3D Warehouse. The railing was a profile from the Profile Builder 3.

Screen Shot 2020-04-13 at 7.08.53 PM

Here's a close up of the railing curve. Normally, this would be an absolute bear to draw, but both SU and Profile Builder does it in a snap. The first thing you do is draw a single line conforming to the shape you want the railing to be. In SU, you would place a profile on the end of the line, a select the entire line and then click on the "Follow-me" icon. The profile then creates the railing. In Profile builder you don't have to place the profile into the drawing. You select the profile in the dialog box. You click on the line and then click on the icon in the Profile Builder dialog that tells it to FOLLOW a PATH, and then "ZAP", the railing appears following that beautiful curve. It the same curve as a railing in my home follows and I wanted to duplicate it. In looking at the image, I think I need a post at that junction...



Images (3)
  • HBTRR Fireplaces
  • Screen Shot 2020-04-13 at 7.08.53 PM
  • IMG_6558

So am I!

I got the six interior doors printed. Not great, but considering they'll really never be seen I'll live with them. The supports were into the trim frame on the side that the bullseye details and I had to grunge the trim up pretty bad to grind the supports off. All the door knobs stayed in place, and that's a good thing. After priming and painting they'll look somewhat better.

HBTRR New Interior Door Run

I just ran some more tables with tools and diesel parts for one of our forum readers. He's going to take some of the order that another person wanted, but the deal fell through.


Images (1)
  • HBTRR New Interior Door Run

Here's the progress as of yesterday. When I took this 3 more main windows were printing (they're done now waiting for me downstairs). So I have two more runs of three each to get the 19 required by the building. Then it will be printing the staircase.  Most of this work was done with a single EPAX Non-FEP vat liner. The machine's been running perfectly. Between changes in how I support the jobs, the new liner and pre-coating the build plate with mildly cured resin, everything is lined out and humming along.

HBTRR Parts Production Status

I've further modified the staircase simplifying the turns to eliminate some of the clunky newel posts. This makes a more elegant design, but adds challenges to printing. I'm going to put base strips under some of the spindles to tie them together and then inset them into the floor. It will be more structurally sound, although not prototypical. If I can pull this off it will be a miracle. Incidentally, I put this drawing and the entire house onto SketchUp's 3D Warehouse, so if you're so inclined and use SketchUp, you can download your own. Have fun.

Screen Shot 2020-04-21 at 10.48.50 AMScreen Shot 2020-04-21 at 10.49.42 AM

And then there's this… The "Tiffy" is done. It was a challenging kit, especially with the very delicate glazing. I persisted. I give myself and A-. It's a good job, but not my best, partly due to my errors and partly due to Airfix's engineering and fits. They picked a challenging aircraft to issue and put a lot into it, but it could have been done better. If Tamiya, Meng, Takom or Hasegawa did it, it would have been a much better built. Regardless, the final product is impressive. It's big with almost a 20" wing span.

Typhoon Fin 9Typhoon Fin 1Typhoon Fin 4Typhoon Fin 7

Next project on the bench will be the "Tie Hacker's Cabin". First I need to finish up the hoists for the engine house, and clean the work shop in prep for the Cabin. I'm going to build that on the big work bench since it's surfaced with Homosote. That allows me to pin directly on the plans. This will be a completely stick-built project with full interior framing and exterior sheathing. Should be a fun build and I don't expect it to take too long. Meanwhile, Real Scale Models will probably be cutting the House by the RR parts. If U of L opens their AMIST lab before then, I may cut it myself, but there's no indication when that might be.


Images (7)
  • HBTRR Parts Production Status
  • Screen Shot 2020-04-21 at 10.48.50 AM
  • Screen Shot 2020-04-21 at 10.49.42 AM
  • Typhoon Fin 9
  • Typhoon Fin 1
  • Typhoon Fin 4
  • Typhoon Fin 7

Yup… it's going to be a challenge to put it mildly.

Instead of the Hacker's Cabin, I decided to get the hoist finished. I cut the pieces out of the plastruct 3/8 H-column using the razor saw and miter box. I had to shape the curved mounting lug and then drill it for the 1/16" pin. I used 0.040" styrene for the gussets and reinforcements and MEK to glue the parts in place. Instead of paying $$$ for Tamiya thin solvent cement, when the bottle started to get low I began to add methyl ethyl ketone (MEK) which is a terrific styrene/ABS solvent and does the same job as the Tamiya glue. In fact, if you've ever read the Styrene Primer put out by the Evergreen folks many years ago, you notice that the solvent they recommend is MEK. You can buy it by the pint or quart at the local hardware store.

MS Hoist Build Plan

The mounting lug needed a radius so the moving boom could pivot.

MS Hoist Pivot Bracket

The styrene plates added more strength to the joints and represented weldments that would be used in such an application.

MS Hoist Swivel Design

On top of the post and end of the boom I added styrene plates. The boom plate prevents the trolly from coming off the end. The post plate served as a base for the support rod lug. 

MS Hoist Post Lug

Another plate served as a base for the boom lug. I put both lugs on as rectangles and then shaped them after the glue set.

MS Hoist Support Lug

For an adequate base I laminated five layers of styrene, attached it to the post and then added some Meng resin NBW sets to "hold" the base to the shop floor. I am going to bore and install a mounting post that will penetrate the machine shop floor and hold it in place.

MS Hoist Base with NBWs

The most challenging aspect of the job was creating the diagonal brace. I needed to make some clevises quickly so I chose to form them out of a piece of 1/8" brass tube. I opened up the space for the lug using the Dremel held in a Pana Vise and a diamond coated cutting wheel. I first drilled a 1/16" hole through and through for the mounting pin. It took three tries to get my method down. At first I was taking too much material out of the sides of the groove and the result looked like this.

MS Hoist Failure Mode

Once I got the hang of it and got a reasonably successful clevis. I then soldered a smaller tube inside to provide the 1/16" hole for the rod itself. In a better world, I would have turned and milled these clevises out of solid bar. I didn't feel like fussing with the lathe for this somewhat insignificant job.

MS Hoist Reducing sleeve

I used thin CA to glue the rod into one end and then set the hoist up on the cutting pad so I could measure and cut the free end to give me the correct angle. I toyed with the idea to make a fake turnbuckle, but tossed that out as overkill. I temporarily held the clevises in their lug holes using toothpicks. I used the mat gridlines to keep it all square.

MS Hoist Fitting the Support Bar

I used thin CA again to fasten the other end. The job was effectively finished. BTW: I did have to put the hoist on the boom before gluing the end plates. I actually had the glue applied to the end and was ready to put the cap on, and realized that it would prevent getting the trolley on. Caught it in a nick of time. So I tried the thing in the engine house. And guess what. It was too darn tall by about the thickness of the base. 

MS Hoist Support Bar Install 1

Took it back to the shop and carefully chopped a 1/4" off the bottom. Now the chain was dragging on the floor. I'll live with that. I re-glued the base back on after truing up the saw cut for gluing. Next up tomorrow putting the pin in the bottom and then priming and painting. It was just what I wanted: a quick simple job that wouldn't tie the shop up too long. There's one mistake I made which isn't getting fixed. The boom really can't pivot. I neglected to design and build a pivot in the top of the post lug. The support rod prevents the boom from swiveling. I won't tell anybody if you don't.


Images (10)
  • MS Hoist Build Plan
  • MS Hoist Pivot Bracket
  • MS Hoist Swivel Design
  • MS Hoist Post Lug
  • MS Hoist Support Lug
  • MS Hoist Base with NBWs
  • MS Hoist Failure Mode
  • MS Hoist Reducing sleeve
  • MS Hoist Fitting the Support Bar
  • MS Hoist Support Bar Install 1

Myles, The boom looks great!!  Thank you for the tip on MEK.  I haven't heard of anyone using it in years and forgot about it actually.  Coincidence, we have been cleaning out the garage, and I found a box on a tip top shelf with a bunch of old solvents, etc.  I know some are 25 years old and decided I would buy new.  Of course I will have to store the old stuff until I have a big enough load to take to the recycling place and pay more for them to take them than I paid for the stuff originally.    Oh well, I always try to follow the laws or instructions as best as I am able.  

Thanks everyone! Adriatic, chain is a splendid idea. I may do that now before painting and final finishing. The tricky part will be removing the right amount of bar to replace with chain and still keep the geometry at 90 degrees. I had my first minor print failure in over a month. It's time to change the vat liner. I heard it popping a bit when the build plate was rising yesterday and thought…. "hmmm. I think something's sticking." It was!

I'm always open to good suggestions and making a chain link to serve as a swivel was a good one. I was thinking of over-engineering a swivel under the lug. Way too much work! Instead, I just cut out a chunk, flattened the ends to accept a 0.020" hole and formed a couple of chain links. The lugs came off due to my manhandling. I put them back on and reinforced with CA.

It works perfectly.

MS Hoist Swivel Chain

I took it outside to prime it and then let it dry. Tomorrow I give it some color.

MS Hoist PrimedSometimes (always) simple is better. I also inserted a 1/8" piece of brass tubing in the base in a corresponding 1/8" drilled hole to serve as a firm anchor in the machine shop floor. The hoist now is functionally oriented. By Friday it should be in the machine shop. 


Images (2)
  • MS Hoist Swivel Chain
  • MS Hoist Primed

The hoist is installed. I painted the hoist mechanism yesterday and painted the chain and base today. I then drilled the floor 1/8" and installed it only to find that because of the sloped roof it was too tall (DOH!). I then moved it back to the rear wall which is where I had measured its height. Now it fit properly. I should have painted the trolley rollers a different color, but that train has left the engine house, so to speak.

MS Hoist Installed

I also started the Tie Hacker's Cabin. I got the joist framing in place yesterday and let it dry overnight. Rusty Stumps instruction book is very comprehensive and it says "Make sure it dries completely before going to the next step." I am following the instructions. It's nice to have instructions. In all my scratch build projects instructions are hard to come by. The framing includes the space of the porch in the front. Like I did with the bridge project, I work on my Homosote-covered work bench which provides a good surface for T-pins. I use some thin poly sheeting left over from a cheap (and large) drop cloth that I bought to protect the RR village during the Great Dishwasher Flood of 2018. Glue and CA doesn't stick to it. I use Aleen's Tacky Glue initially and then follow up with CA where I need more structural integrity.

THC Start floor framing

I need to cut a ton of 1 X 10s for the floor boards. My Chopper has a length stop, but it doesn't even extend to the end of the Chopper. In the past to cut pieces that extend past the Chopper's width I've clamped it to a work bench and then clamped a stop the correct distance away from the tool to cut longer pieces. What was needed is a permanent depth stop that extends past the Choppers extremis. I woke up this morning thinking about how to do this, and today I attacked it.

This is what I came up with. My plan calls for a piece of drill rod passing through holes on both sides of the Chopper. On the end of the drill rod would be a piece of metal (in this case some brass plate). The whole deal would be clamped by some sort of binding screw. I had visualized how to lay out the hole locations so they were at the proper location and in line with each other and square to the Chopper using a surface gauge. The clamp screw shouldn't interfere too much since you can never cut anything wider than the razor blade. If it works, it's such a good idea that NWSL should have included it. Unfortunately, I believe they are no longer in business. (You have no idea how long it took me to shape the base in SketchUp. Almost as long as to make it in real life).

Screen Shot 2020-04-25 at 10.47.13 AM

I started by finding a nice piece of 3/16" drill rod for the shaft and cut a piece of 1/8" brass plate for the stop. Years ago (and I mean YEARS ago) I bought a supply of some bulk metal including a selection of drill rod sizes, a big chunk of aluminum, brass plate, etc. The idea was to build a model live steam engine. That plan never happened, and the metal has been there ever since. But you should never through anything away, especially raw material.

The Chopper's wall thickness is too thin to support threads for the clamp screw. They would strip out almost immediately. It needed some more material below.  From that cache was 1" nice piece of billet aluminum that would work as the thick stuff for the threads and stop screw. I had to cut this chunk out with a hand hacksaw, but I used some "Tap Right" cutting fluid for aluminum and a little elbow grease and got a nice piece. I cleaned up the edges on my various sanding machines. I was toying with attaching this block to the Chopper's underside using threaded flathead screws, but decided to use J-B weld. I have some wonderful M4, torx flathead screws, but don't have an M4 tap. There was plenty of surface area and sanded off all the paint so it would be a good joint.

Chopper Mounting Block J-B

This block will be drilled at the same time as that side of the Chopper and the hole on the other side will be drilled from the other direction. I'm going to lay out these holes using the surface gauge on the surface plate, so they will be in line. 

While this was curing (overnight to be safe), I sawed out the brass piece and drilled it for the 3/16" drill rod. The two were fastened together with non-lead containing solder. I used a propane torch and that terrific flux I used to rebuild the Sikorsky. The joint was very good and I cleaned it in the ultrasonic cleaner.

I also made the clamp screw by taking a slotted round-head 1/4-20 screw and soldered a piece of drill rod across the slot to turn it into a wing nut. Normally, I would have gone to the hardware store and bought an actual wing nut (and maybe that M4 tap), but with all the precautions I just didn't want to bother with the mask and gloves.  When the block cures, I will drill the cross holes and drill and tap the clamp screw hole to 1/4-20. The hole in the brass piece was done in the drill press so it was nice and square to the face.

Chopper Parts

This apparatus will be finished on Monday.

And one more thing, the last three main window frames are on the 3D printer as I write this. So other than the stair case, all of the fittings will be ready for the House on the RR project. Just on this project alone, the printer has paid for itself several times over. And that doesn't include the sales of printed items to others.

I've said it before, but unlike many folks who are at home and bored out of their mind, my weeks are screaming by. I just get going and it's Friday again.


Images (5)
  • Screen Shot 2020-04-25 at 10.47.13 AM
  • MS Hoist Installed
  • THC Start floor framing
  • Chopper Mounting Block J-B
  • Chopper Parts

Thanks guys!

I posted some of this on Al Graziano's Sunday Showcase, but I'm going to give a more in-depth description here.

The last three main windows came off the Machine today and I now have 20 perfect windows (one extra). On the machine right now is one more small entry door. I'm using two of these style doors; one at the rear of the house and one leading to the upper balcony off the master bedroom.  The 3D printer has paid for itself many times over already. At commercial pricing, each load on the machine was between $40 and $50. So just for these windows we're at or above the $300 mark. I've printed two times this amount already just for this project. There's over $1,000 just in the Hopper House. That doesn't account all the work for the engine house. Then you add the $$$ that I've recouped selling engines and machine tools and the whole deal's been pretty darn good. 

HBTRR Main Windows Printed

I finished the Chopper mod. My first layout lines were in the wrong place… too far forward and not giving enough meat in the aluminum block to my liking. I re-scribed and corrected with the surface gauge. The gauge dimensions were set from the digital calipers.  For the vertical positions I clamped a large angle block to the Chopper so it was vertical and parallel to the surface plate (a piece of nice smooth and flat Corian).

Chopper Mod Layout

I started the hole drilling with a small diameter drill and then, again clamping the Chopper vertically, drilled the corresponding through holes with a 3/16" drill. After testing the sliding stop in the holes, I felt they were too snug and opened them up one size with a 11/64" drill. I then drilled another 3/16" hole from above into the Chopper and the aluminum block through and through for the tapping of the 1/4-20 clamp screw. 

I had drilled the first holes in the wrong set of lines (of course… if you have two sets of lines, one right and one wrong, it's not a 50/50 proposition as to which you will drill. This is not quantum mechanics. You have a 90/10 possibility to pick the wrong one… at least that's my experience.) 

Due to the large part of the Chopper sticking up (the lever and it's hinge), it was very difficult to use a standard tap handle. I chose to tap the hole in the drill press using the chuck key to apply the torque needed to tap the hole. 3/16" tap drill size yields a 96% full-thread result. It also takes a bit of pulling to get the tap through. I used aluminum tapping fluid and tested it with the screw. It was deep enough so I went back and tapped deeper. That did the trick.

Chopper Mod Tapping Op

I went back and filled the errant holes with, in the larger case, some Plastruct tubing and Bondic, and the smaller, just Bondic. I painted the Chopper with some Tamiya semi-gloss black to make it all look pretty. Here's the finished job.

Chopper Mod TopChopper Mod Bottom\

I then put it to immediate use to cut 26 identical pieces of scale 19' of floor board (scale 2 X 10 lumber). I then soaked them in Instant Weathering liquid from MicroMark. I'll have to do more weathering on the boards before gluing them to the framing completed last week. The stop gauge worked perfectly. As George Peppard on the A-Team used to say, "It's great to see a plan come together."

THC Aging Floor Planks



Images (6)
  • HBTRR Main Windows Printed
  • Chopper Mod Layout
  • Chopper Mod Tapping Op
  • Chopper Mod Top
  • Chopper Mod Bottom
  • THC Aging Floor Planks

Work is going on in earnest on the Hacker's Cabin. I finished staining the floor boards, glued them and then added nail holes. The Chopper mod earned its keep today cutting another set of floorboard 52 scale 4 X 4 studs and the header and sills for the front and back walls.

I settled on a stain which consisted of a half and half mixture of Tamiya Black and Brown Panel Accents liquids thinned with some low-odor mineral spirits. These two liquids are mineral spirit-based so the thinning worked properly. At first I tried some alcohol and india ink, but it didn't give a tone that I wanted. The MicroMark aging fluid didn't do much at all. For the main floor I stained them one stick at a time, but decided I didn't have to and stained the add-on room floor after it was glued down.

Nothing looks like wood as real wood. That horizontal floor board was just supposed to be tack glued and then removed. I had glued it in solidly. I did remove it, but then found that it left and exposed rim joist so I glued it back on when putting in the add-on room flooring.

THC Flooring WIPTHC Flooring Begin

I installed the add-on room's floor and pulled it off the workbench so it could dry elsewhere. I started building the walls but cutting the studs. Even though the Choppers cut very accurately, the razor blade imparts a slight angle to the cut end. For precision gluing, this really isn't acceptable. I used the precision sander to true the ends in batches of three. I used an angle plate to apply equal pressure to the parts while pushing the three pieces against the fence.

THC Truing the Studs

I firmly positioned the headers and sill plates onto the build surface and added in the end studs.

THC Pinning the Walls

All of the studs glued in nominally. I reinforced the joints with some CA, and let them dry overnight. It has to dry completely because the next step is to install the cross-bracing. The instructions show individual measurements of each piece before cutting. These walls only get sheathing on the outside. The sheeting is the same 2 X 10 that is used for the floor boards.

THC Framing the 1st Walls

While the above was drying I went back and added nail holes in the floor boards using a dividers to step off the lines, a metal rule to serve to keep the lines sort of straight, and a freshly-sharpened scribe to made the penetrations. I then wen back and added another layer of stain to highlight the nail holes. The I noticed that the left side wall of the add-on room is not square to the main floor. Somewhere in the building process, this underframe had shifted to the left. You can see this highlighted by the row of nail holes that is square to the base edge, but is askew to the building edge.

THC Flooring w Nails

I will have to decide whether or not that out-of-square edge will cause me a problem further along in the build. I'm afraid it might, but we'll see. The instructions made a big deal out of keeping the framing tight and square while building. I was surprised that the model call for 2 X 6 joists instead of 2 X 10 or 2 X 12s which made them easily pushed out of alignment. It won't really show up until fitting the roof.



Images (6)
  • THC Flooring WIP
  • THC Flooring Begin
  • THC Truing the Studs
  • THC Pinning the Walls
  • THC Flooring w Nails
  • THC Framing the 1st Walls

Thanks Mark!

The mod has a blind spot when you're just beyond the range of the standard stop gauges and where I can position the permanent gauge. So my workaround is to add a chunk of something to bridge the gap to the permanent gauge and use it to position the dimension. For a part I did today, I took a piece of Plastruct H-beam and with some double-sided tape, added it to the permanent gauge so it would hold that intermediate distance. Worked!

Before I get to the Hacker's Cabin, I printed the first stairway test for the House. It was a failure. The spindles, while scale-sized, they were too fine and basically fell apart in the cleaning process. Here is was right out of the machine. You can see broken spindles on the left end.

HBTRR Stair Test Print

After cleaning, here was the mess I was left with. It was impossible to remove the supports without losing the spindles. Or at least I found it impossible. This was with grinding with the diamond needle burr. Didn't work.

HBTRR Stair Test Failure

I went back and enlarged the spindle girth 1.5X, and set it up to print the left side of the top level rail, which was the same as I did in the test, and the right side and end as a separate part on the same load. The left side printed okay and is on the machine, but the right side failed at some point and detached from the build plate and will mean a vat clean out tomorrow. 

As a result, I'm seriously thinking about scrapping the idea of 3D printing the stairs. I think it's going to be more trouble than its worth and will be almost entire invisible in the finished project. I may scratch-build something as I get into the project.

Now to the Tie Hacker's Cabin:

Finished the framing for the main cabin's walls. The end walls have the framing for the peaked roof. Between the studs goes more 4 X 4 material for cross-bracing. The building will only be skinned on the exterior so it needed some more strength in the walls… at least that what I'm proposing.

To correctly size these pieces I'm using my "Digital Calipers as a Gauge" method to transfer accurate measurements when scratch-building.

THC Measuring for Cross Frames

I transfer the marks to the part with the inside jaws which have a sharp edge on the inner edges. I use the chopper to cut the stock at the sharp cutoff of the mark which represents the inner caliper edge. I hope it's just a tad long and then use the precision sander to bring it down to a perfect slip fit. I'm using Aleen's Tacky Glue which will fill some minor gaps.

The end walls have the pitched roof components. I used the angle gauge on the Chopper to get a nice clean angle. Working on a Homosote base and using a little jeweler's hammer to tap in the T-pins is a great way to construct, build-to-plans models including RC models. I had already removed all of the construction pins when I took this image. The slight misalignment of the cross-pieces is intentional and is shown that way on the plans.

THC End Wall Framing

Here's the pile of finished wall pieces.

THC Cabin Framing\

I've started working on the add-on rooms walls and will have them framed tomorrow. The sheathing on the cabin walls runs horizontally whereas the add-on rooms run vertically. Don't ask me why, it's just how the kit designer chose to model it.

Just for nostalgia, he was the first thing I built on this work surface in 2010/11 when I built the 1:16 RC B-17. The Homosote was much, much cleaner in those days. A lots happened since then.

Stab 04


Images (6)
  • HBTRR Stair Test Print
  • HBTRR Stair Test Failure
  • THC Measuring for Cross Frames
  • THC Cabin Framing
  • THC End Wall Framing
  • Stab 04

The second attempt at 3D printing the complex stair design was marginally successful. Part of the multi-part print job failed due to too much long surface contact. It separated from the build plate early in the job. I redesigned how I was going to print it. I had the long rail and the right angle end rail printing as a single part. This compromised my ability to position it for minimum contact. I split the end and side rails and printed it again. I checked before coming up for dinner and all four (I printed two of each part) were printing well. 

That said, the spindles are just too fragile to be trimmed. I really tried to be very, very careful in separating the essential supports and this is the result. 

HBTRR Stair 2nd Attempt

Clearly, it was an improvement on the first attempt, but still totally unusable. I decided that the turned spindles, while very elegant, make no sense in this application. I just went back and modified the entire stair to go with a more utilitarian square spindle. Traditionally, the first flight of steps would be more elaborate than the ones to higher floors, especially the attic. For the upper flights (or back stairs if the house was big enough to have one) would be plain spindles. These will not need any print supports at all since there are no overhangs that need separate support. On the turned spindles each of those lobes has an island that needs a support.

This is a screen shot of the spindles in the support screen. Any red areas are possible unsupported points that could need supports. As you move the cursor up the drawing it scribes the path that the printer will follow. You'll notice that there is a concentrated black circle as the apex that curved surface. That black spot would be an island that would start forming disconnected from the object and could cause the part to fail (at least at that spot). Sometimes the island is so small that before it actually caused a problem the nearest connected part forms and the part doesn't fail. However, that small island will harden in the UV and that little piece of resin will go floating off into the bath. As you can also see, I manually put in some light supports to capture some of the questionable areas. It was removing these supports that broke the spindles… even with the needle diamond burr. Those little curves are too small to see even if they are fully formed.

Screen Shot 2020-05-01 at 6.13.32 PM

Squares will self-support. Again, since it's buried in the middle of the model, the square spindles will work just fine. It's interesting that I actually thought the tough part to print was the handrail especially around the turns. It wasn't. That part printed fine.

Victorian Stair with Sq Spindles\

Re: the Hacker's Cabin. Finished up the rest of the framing. The last two walls I decided to try using thick gel CA to speed up the drying process and let me move a little faster. I just finished up the end wall right a quitting time and was using the micro sander to remove excess CA, and then two of the 6 studs and their cross pieces fell apart. The CA is brittle and really wasn't holding. I left it in pieces and will repair it on Monday. Sometimes CA just doesn't really work. Meanwhile, the Tacky Glue, when you let it fully dry is very secure.

Have a safe and healthy weekend. See y'all on Monday.


Images (3)
  • HBTRR Stair 2nd Attempt
  • Victorian Stair with Sq Spindles
  • Screen Shot 2020-05-01 at 6.13.32 PM


The latest Sketchup rendering of the railings should look great in your finished model.

Is the screen shot of the sliced model of the spindles made from the "Animation Option" derived from within  C'box settings screen? I would like to see the  complete supported model before slicing.

I also wonder if some of the upper lobes  were eliminated and some artistic license was applied to the spindle details would help?

Enjoy tour weekend and stay safe.


Here's the complete set up. I'm thinking the same thing. I could redesign the spindles to simplify them and still keep some interest. The variety of spindle designs in architectural are practically infinite. Anything I design could be considered prototypical. The spindle design I'm using just happened to be attached to the entire stair case I downloaded from the SketchUp 3D Warehouse. I was being lazy. As it is, I've already redesigned about 1/2 of it to make it printable and fit my building. I just notice that the end of the hand rail is showing black. That says, "no print here". Whatever I do, that needs to be fixed.

Screen Shot 2020-05-03 at 10.38.54 AM


Images (1)
  • Screen Shot 2020-05-03 at 10.38.54 AM


Can't wait too see Hopper house as the build unfolds. The 3D printer is really great especially when multiple parts like windows and doors are required.

Many thanx for posting the animation shots, I have been using this option on every build for future reference since my  memory seems to be lousy lately.

I have also found that the bottom surface of objects tends be convex regardless of how it's supported.

Lately I have been supporting objects parallel to build plate to minimize the rounding of the corner closest to plate and also reduces supports if oriented vertically. I guess it depends on the  part.



Thanks guys! Yes, all this stairway stuff is for the House.

I'm not getting any horizontal distortion. My upper and lower surfaces are remarkedly flat. I don't know why you're getting the curvature. Perhaps, your exposure times are a little short not permitting enough cure to be stable.

I redesigned the spindles (Again!) to simplify them but still give more character than a square post. I set up print files for the attic rails and the 4ht flight and the complicated 3rd flight. The 3rd flight has a landing attached to it and this made a much more massive print. It's the piece I'm printing first to test the ability to include the landing at the same time. The right hand banister is not included in the print. I'm going to print it separately. I had some trouble with the drawing. For some reason the landing's floor wasn't showing up in the STL file or the slicer. After some troubleshooting I found a surface that wasn't contiguous.

Here's the setup in the slicer. The supports it generated are massive! After printing it's a solid wall of resin since all the support weld themselves together. I had the same problem on attic rail test #3 and after realizing that using cutters put enough shock into the part to fracture the base board. I glued it back together with Bondic. I found I could use a diamond-coated cutoff wheel in the Dremel to just cut the supports off with brute force. It imposes no side thrust so the parts didn't break anywhere. I post-cured this test, but didn't attempt to cut the supports from the spindles since it's not the design I'm going to end up using.

This image has the latest spindle design. It's simple with no additional rings to complicate things. And the narrow portions have more meat than the originals. It will come off the Machine around 10 p.m. so we'll see… I checked early on to make sure it had good adhesion all the way around, and it did. While there was red spot at the transition from the upper spindle square section to the turned section, the slicer was unwilling to let me place supports there. You can see just one that formed up. The animation didn't show and island forming, so I'm hoping the print will be successful.

HBTRR 3rd Flight\

I know I said I was giving up on 3D printing the stair case, but had a change of heart. Redesigning the spindles was an attempt to solve the delicacy problem. I will look really cool if I can pull it off.

THC: I cut and stained all the outside sheathing for the main cabin.

THC Exterior Planking Stained

Again, the length was between where the Chopper lets you use their various stop gauges and my new sliding gauge. I put a piece of Plastruct to fill the space, but then decided another permanent mod was in order. I drilled and tapped the brass stop plate and inserted a 5/16-18 bolt to work as a movable stop to fill the space that the main stop can't fill. I need to do a little more work on this since the flats on the bolt create a situation what the stock might slip underneath. I'll probably cut of f the flats on the lathe and see if that solves the problem. A longer bolt might be in order, but it was the only bolt of that size I had in my bolt drawer. I have a much larger selection of metric bolts left over from layout construction. Unfortunately, I don't have any metric taps or dies. Instead, I have this wonderful Craftsman full set that my dad gave me probably 45 years ago. Another trip to the hardware store is in order.

Chopper Mod on Mod

The 3D printing experience is interesting… you draw something. You set up supports that you hope will keep it all together during the process, and then you wait until it comes off the machine. It's much like making pottery, where the green ware and first firing is so much different than it will be after the final glazing goes on. And it takes hours for this transition to take place and it's not always successful. I was just listening to Zeke Emanuel taking about the steps to make a vaccine. Even when you have something that seems to work, you first have to see if it does harm. Then if that works you have to expose people to the actual virus and see if it prevents the disease, and then you have to figure out to make millions (billions) of doses and distribute it. It all takes a long time and success isn't guaranteed.



Images (3)
  • HBTRR 3rd Flight
  • THC Exterior Planking Stained
  • Chopper Mod on Mod
Last edited by Trainman2001

Thanks Pat! The full stair print failed. I was afraid that removing most of the system generated supports might present a problem. It did. The landing, steps themselves and railing formed, more or less, correctly. The underside of the steps and the stringers delaminated completely (arrows). It looks like some phillo dough pastry… a mess. The supports weren't strong enough to keep pulling the model off the teflon without the layers separating. Or at least that's my working theory. 

HBTRR Failed Staircase

The good news is the spindles and railing formed correctly with no additional supports. I will test my hypothesis by printing the steps and rail without the landing and pedestal. If the stairs continue to delaminate, then I'll have to find something else. It would be great if I could print the entire railing without base, but I'm afraid they will be too fragile to work with. I'll be setting up this new print later today.


Images (1)
  • HBTRR Failed Staircase

I made the mod in the drawing and am now printing just the stairs with the landing. After examining the failure, I did leave all those supports system generated, so the problem may have been the distance from the build plate. I'll know at a little after 9 tonight as to whether or not this attempt works. It needs to since there's also another flight (the first) that has a landing attached to it. It makes me mad because the railing was pretty good. The previous print really was awful and you can really see when it was removed from the printer. I didn't even spend the time to remove the excess resin. I just tossed it in the trash. I did have a further problem. I needed to clean the vat to make sure nothing was left behind. There were some little specks that stuck too tightly and I decided to replace the FEP. When I removed the vat from the Machine there was resin underneath on the LCD screen. I don't know how it leaked out, but the new film should fix any seepage that occurred. It was good that I removed the vat since that harden resin below may have been the cause of failure itself since it distorts the LCD image and pixel placement.

HBTRR 3rd Stair Case Fail

Today was a short session. I needed to run some errands. I got bagels, dropped off shirts at the cleaners via curbside, and then went to Costco for a propane refill, got petrol and went into the store to pick up a couple more items. Costco no longer allows you in the store without a mask. If you do not have one, they provide it. I was appalled that the President conducted his entire trip along with his entourage without a mask. It makes it hard to enforce this policy when the chief executive chooses to ignore his own guidelines. Don't get me started….!

I began planking the sides of the cabin and got the main house fully planked, windows and doors cut and edges trued. The end planks overlap the front edges so they need to be two 4 X 4s and 2 planks thicknesses longer than the side planks which are flush with the wall edges. To ensure that I had them spaced properly when I glued them on. I made a spacer of a 4 X 4 and a 2 X 6 and used these to hold the wall edge off the angle plate the proper distance. Forgive the focus (or lack thereof).

THC Spacing the End Planks\

I couldn't help myself and placed the walls together to see how it looks. Notice I stained the interior as well. I do believe the interior would be less weathered than outside, but this is going to be a very difficult building to look into and I'm not going to spend the time to detail the interior since it's going to be situated in a location that will be difficult to visualize.

THC Trial Cabin Fit

I think I mentioned this before; I was thinking about making this whole deal "the Johnny B. Goode" house. I really wish I could draw 3D figures that I could print so I could create a character "He carried his guitar in a gunny sack, sitt'n 'neath trees by the railroad track. The engineer would see him sit'n in the shade, strum'n to the rhythm that the drivers made. People pass'n by would stop and say, "my how that country boy can play."" I need an 1:48 African American kid sitting indian-style with a guitar. I'm afraid I will have to make that figure myself. I've tried making them out of Sculpey and it was a disaster.

Tomorrow I'll plank the add-on walls and do what the instructions tell me to do next. If the print is successful, I'll edit this post later tonight with the updated stair print. If it's another failure, I won't bother since another design approach is called for.


Images (3)
  • HBTRR 3rd Stair Case Fail
  • THC Spacing the End Planks
  • THC Trial Cabin Fit

Myles, that railing looks okay to me, I can't see the flaws in that photo. I know nothing about 3d printing, but it strikes me that you have many times more resin in the sprues than the actual piece. Seems like there must be a way to print with less waste. Have you thought of printing just the newel posts and handrail and fining something to use for the spindles? Wire, toothpicks? You could put the holes for them in the handrail file so assembly would be accurate.

Anyway, I bet you are enjoying some old-fashioned stick building with scale lumber. All this technology is a double edged sword. It can be maddening to a perfectionist.

Thank you! Yes, it's fun gluing sticks together for a change. The test last night was…well…sort of… looked like what happens when the Star Trek transporter has a problem. It was a complicated blob that bore absolutely no resemblance to the part it was supposed to be. I may or may not even photograph it. So this leads me to trial number 4. Remember my problem solving method: "Test pilot problem solving". It's my own little emulation of the challenge of making a Covid-19 vaccine. No… not really. 

So this time I split the stair case into the railing area and the steps proper. But it needed some stairs below the railing to stabilize the spindles, so I split the stairs themselves leaving part under the spindles. It took quite a while to do this, but I think it will work.

Screen Shot 2020-05-06 at 11.41.28 AM

While there's still a lot of surface area being pulled from the FEP under the steps, I think it is close enough to the build plate to keep the supports from failing. We'll see. I can always print the rail portion and scratch-build the steps. I'll be printing this new test this afternoon and I have to order resin. I'll keep you posted.


Images (1)
  • Screen Shot 2020-05-06 at 11.41.28 AM

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