Detail parts and how to produce them (economies of scale)

A couple quick questions for the modelers present. If you were going to spend your hard earned money on detail parts, what form would you like to see them? 

Let me explain - Since I've started collecting/modeling in 2-Rail O, I've noticed a surprising sporadic lack of detail considering the physical size of the model(s). A perfect example is with the Atlas F7 - beautiful model with one of the worst fuel tanks I've ever seen....especially if the prototype you want to model runs skirt-less.

So, using the F7 fuel tank as an example, if a replacement was offered, would it be worth it to you to have it injection molded, or would you be satisfied with 3D printing? And if the later, which technology do you prefer?

I have several detail parts that I've created, and printed, with the intent to offer them for other modelers (if I think the fuel tank sucks, I'm sure others do as well) but I'm curious if you consider 3D printed parts 'good enough'?

 

And since I'm using the F7 fuel tank as an example - here is an unfinished early 3D CAD model -

tank_v1

One more question - do any of you know how many of each model are produced? Based on how difficult it is to find anything, I'd say the numbers are really low, but I really have no idea.

Thank you,

Tom

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Tom,

Can't answer about 3D,etc.,but yes detail is lacking. Airlines that couple magnetically would be a nice addition. These are available in HO for years now.

Grab irons are another thing that doesn't seem readily available as add ons,though over the years I've run across posts mentioning grab irons as add on detail so I guess that's still there.

This is a great scale as far as size,for older eyes,but from a cost perspective as well as availability,O lacks a lot. It's understandable as even HO presents space problems for many modelers,so O&G Scales are more for club layouts in large areas.

All of this is just my opinion for what little it's worth.

Alan Hummel

Boy, I'd give an arm and a leg...and half my retirement for an O scale Cannon and Company catalog! 

As to 3D printing; I've seen some good stuff, but as of today most of the offerings are still lacking in the finish.  The stratification issue is improving, but not enough for my cash.  O scale is more susceptible to stratification (the lines or ridges visible on the surface due to the layering process of the printers) due to the mass of the parts.  I believe the large smooth area of the fuel tank would be difficult to deal with the layering effect. 

My personal model building preference is styrene, so I personally want compatible details.  Injection molding produces the highest quality finished parts, but has the highest tooling costs for this level of quality.  If it was my investment project injection molded styrene would be my path.  I used to tell the local Snap-on dealer, "if I ever win the lottery, you would be a millionaire!"  I'll tell the O scale world nearly the same thing, my win makes more O scale product!

In all honesty, I think O scale should pay more attention to how HO does things, and the secondary detail market from the late 80s and 90s not only solved a consumer need but ultimately drove todays super detailed offerings.

As to Alan's grief (I believe every one of them to be true!), funny thing is I find my joy in O scale solving these problems for myself.  I find a lot of pleasure figuring out how to close the gaps in missing products I need to reach my end goal.  And my most pressing constraint; cost!  I spend substantially less on O scale than I did on HO!  4 times the mass equals half as much stuff to fill the same space.  Be patient, have a defined need list, and hunt what you want.  If it doesn't exist, learn how to make it!  I don't have the talent is just an excuse!  Until you have tried AND persevered you won't understand how cost effective scratch building is!

 

 

YVES - Thank you, I'll send Mr. Mann an email

Alan - Totally agree - My modelling progression - 3 rail O - first train set in the late 70s, N - built a small layout with my late grandfather, 15 year absence from the hobby, G - USA Trains got me hooked on large scale, had to sell it all to make room for two beautiful little girls, HO - currently in the process of selling because of my eyes, 2 rail O - like HO on steroids, large enough to handle and see, small enough to put around the Christmas tree.

Will - thought about that, and its still a possible option

Rick - painfully aware - I've been involved in 3D printing for 20+ years....cut my teeth on the second SLA250 sold in the state of Florida (number one went to Lockheed Martin). Our department currently has a Fortus 450, Dimension 1200, two Objet 24s and a Connex 350.... Z height resolution and part finishing used to be the bane of my existence (current role is, unfortunately, less hands on). Looking at the various 3D printing service bureaus is what got me thinking about short run production instead. Cost is reasonable per part, actually cheaper than printed, as long as I can find buyers for the remaining 999 parts LOL. 

Thanks for the input!

Tom

Cost of printing is high, at least to me. I have an 18" 4 part radio antenna structure on Shapeways and the cost to print is $75. (no royalties or markups from me.)

Since I have a printer it doesn't cost me. But I think that price is way out of line, although Shapeways is considering the time to print ( likely 12 hours) and resin.

AlanHN

You are right, Alan, cost of printing is too high; when I saw your thread about the radio antenna, I thouht that the cost would be around $100/$130. But even $75 is expensive; I think that SHAPEWAYS and others (SCULPTEO, etc,...) overestimate the global cost including inter alia labor and time to print. I don't know if it's the same in the USA, but here you often have more labor cost than the thing you give to do!

That's why I have re-done some parts of my SD 40 and other projects in styrene and that's also why I put money aside little by little to buy a 3D printer!

As said above, the layering effect is an issue when you use PLA, but a little finish work and a bit of elbow grease gives good results.

The idea of printing a prototype and to make mold after to cast is a good one. But you need to also have the tooling for molding and casting...in addition to the 3D printer or to use the sevices of a 3D maker.

Just my thought

jpv in France

ALANRAIL - how do you like that printer? The parts I've handled were pretty impressive.

JPV - you are right about the molding and casting. To do it correctly, you need both a vacuum chamber (to de-gas the mold silicone and resin) and a pressure vessel for casting. On top of that, the higher end industrial grade resins typically have a heated cure schedule to achieve maximum physical properties....so add a heater band to the pressure vessel..... it gets expensive quickly.

Shapeways - I have a few items on there, but they're small enough that the price, IMO, is reasonable. My issues are speed and printing/material options. First - it takes a LONG time to get your parts. Second - SLS and polyjet for polymer based prints isn't enough. Professional service bureaus offer for more options, but you're also going to pay more....sometimes a lot more.

 

I did get in touch with Scott Mann @ Sunset and he was very helpful. The quantities he stated were more or less what I expected. 

 

Another option could be to crowdfund some of these items. You'll know pretty quickly if there is interest.

Fwiw, I think it would be wise to invest in sturdy detailed parts that are not available. Items such as

the ALCo Long fuel tank for RS units( w mounting screw holes to match Weaver RS3's)

PRR "bug eye" marker lights

EMD early barrel control stands

Cab interior signals ( cored for leds)

Backlit radios for control stands

 

 

member:Golden Spike Club Charter Member

Well, I am excited about the possibilities, but sense that costs are astronomical.  Can you picture a main frame and cylinder block in one piece, like General Steel Castings used to do?  In lifetime bronze?

It is possible today, but I suspect the first one would be well north of a grand.  I will continue with bar stock and solder.

Durable parts - agreed - this is one of the aspects of the larger scales that make them so appealing...I can handle the model without fear of breaking it.

Here is an example of something I produced - F7 Coupler Mount

Actually, maybe one of you can help me - what is the bar that wraps around the rear coupler of a F unit called? I assumed it was part of the draft gear but now I'm not sure.

***Mod(s) - this isn't intended to be a 'for sale' post....however, if you feel it violates forum rules please take it down.

Tom

Rick Bacon posted:

As to 3D printing; I've seen some good stuff, but as of today most of the offerings are still lacking in the finish.  The stratification issue is improving, but not enough for my cash.  O scale is more susceptible to stratification (the lines or ridges visible on the surface due to the layering process of the printers) due to the mass of the parts.  I believe the large smooth area of the fuel tank would be difficult to deal with the layering effect. 

My personal model building preference is styrene, so I personally want compatible details.  Injection molding produces the highest quality finished parts, but has the highest tooling costs for this level of quality.  If it was my investment project injection molded styrene would be my path.  I used to tell the local Snap-on dealer, "if I ever win the lottery, you would be a millionaire!"  I'll tell the O scale world nearly the same thing, my win makes more O scale product! 

Due to the "Stratification", I have yet to see any 3D printing that is anywhere near the quality of a good injection molded plastic model or anything that I would purchase. I'm not saying that it is not out there, I just haven't seen it. 

My building preference is also plastic/styrene. The plastic models that I build have detail better than any brass/cast metal part that I have used. However, the brass/cast is a very close second (light years better than 3D print) and they definitely have their place when it comes to building in the the brass medium. I would welcome either of these two forms of detail parts.

I am interested in 3D printing of molds without any stratification for some our our building detail parts. Currently all parts are built up individually so we know that takes time that the hobbyist is usually not in favor of paying for. Other parts want to have 3-dimensional detail that is better served to be developed for us to be developed in AutCAD, and then 3-printed as a mold. 

For many years people have asked me at trade shows what 3D printer we are using to make small scale site model buildings. I say "its that guy over there, on a 10" Delta table saw, with brass etched windows and styrene strip details"

We do have a vacuum degasser and two 10-gallon pressure pots, so we are ready to cast nicely detailed parts.

When people talk about casting it seems to always end up about Locomotives but there are many more items that the O scale Modeller would like to see made like Steel Mill items and some modelling firms in America are making limited parts but there still is a desperate need for ladles and large hooks among many other Steel Mill parts, in HO scale these parts are made but no O scale here is a rough ladle (No details) just to show the size mounted on a MTH Slag Car frame on left, the original Slag Car is next to it on the right. The real thing is in the second photo there are many photos of these ladles in Steel Mill books showing variations this is just one type. Am I the only O scale Steel Modeller that wants these parts are there anymore Steel modellers out there?

Sure I could build them eventually but building a blast furnace, a BOF, a Rolling mill, a Slab mill, a large Foundry  and maintaining the Railroad at the same time takes a lot of modelling time and I work by myself.

Would this ever happen ? Or am I doomed to spend the rest of my life at the workbench scratch building 10 of these little annoyances. Thanks Roo.

 

DSC03037DSC03038

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Roo posted:

When people talk about casting it seems to always end up about Locomotives but there are many more items that the O scale Modeller would like to see made.........

That sums it up right there.

While I generally will make what's needed, make my own molds, cast whatever, etc., after a while doing so gets old. 


A good deal of strategic planning is like a ritual rain dance.

It has no effect on the weather that follows, but those who engage in it think it does. 

Furthermore, much of the advice related to strategic planning is directed at improving the

dancing, not the weather.

 

 

ROO,

I've been told this is a "Builder's Scale," which I understand. That doesn't make these things we miss in O Scale any easier to live without,at least as far as I'm concerned.

Shapeways might have something like you're looking for.(?)

I'm facing building all my buildings. Am making decent headway on trackwork,but keep seeing all these highly detailed HO kits sittting around,knowing I can never have all that detail in O Scale at my age.

Take care,hope you find what you're looking for.

As Always,

Al Hummel

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