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You ask a loaded question.  And the answer is, "It depends."

If you are looking for a "molded" plastic like finish and detail you want to use a resin printer.  Look at the posts by AlanRail.  If you do a search on filament and printer you'll get more info.  If you're looking forrecommendations on printers look closely at the date of the post as the technology is quickly evolving.

YouTube has many reviews on printers, but you'll need to search to find applications to model railroading.  I like Norm's Trains; Norm posts on the Forum and uses 3D printers in his modelling.

I am partial to Elegoo printers (I have both resin and filament) for their build quality, customer service, performance, and price.


@Sgolden876 posted:

Looking to print basic o gauge accessories and buildings -- I have some knowledge of 3d printing and stl files so it can have some features

any advice / recommendations would be appreciated

@Andrew B. posted:

Until we know whether he wants to print with filament or resin, it's impossible to answer....

He is looking for advice.  For what he wants to do someone could give him some pros/cons of each type.  I think Jan and John provided some good stuff.

I have been thinking about a filament printer mainly because it sounds easier to use, easier to clean, and maybe safer.  Higher end ones seem to be getting closer to the detail level that a resin can do.  Still researching and always interested in what others think.

You picked a good time to look into getting a printer. The FDM side of the river just got fancier new printers that print very well out of the box. The bottom end of that spectrum is going to be about $400. The upper bound will be about $1300. FDM does leave some layer lines depending on your geometry but it's a one step method, which appeals to some people. I had to walk uphill both ways in the snow to make my first printer produce decent prints

I don't know much about resin printer besides the part where it makes very good looking models. I know you'll need to cure the resin after it's done printing. Somebody will chime in. You'll be pleased with the surface finish on a resin printer.

I'm waiting on a Bambu Labs P1S to arrive. I finally wore out my CR10S Pro and it needs rebuilt. I plan to build a Voron 2.4 this year or next year too. The FDM printers work well for me because I'm printing a lot of inorganic shapes that are on the larger side. This means I can get away with less detail. I would recommend a newer FDM printer like a Flashforge Adventurer 5M or the P1S if you want to just print but that it not based on experience (yet). It's based on what I've been reading and seeing on Youtube. The resin printers make better parts but require a little bit more work. I have no experience with them. If you're a tinkerer with no fear, get a cheap Creality FDM machine and mod it to death. My CR10S Pro carried me for seven years with the mods I did (mostly firmware) and that was enough to let me develop 90% of a blast furnace kit for O Scale. It bit the dust on my final revision print run so now I'm dead in the water until the new printer arrives or I rebuild the CR10S Pro.

It would be helpful if you provided more details on what you plan to print, how much you plant to print, and what you have already done in 3D printing.

I have an Elegoo Mars 4 9k Resin 3D printer. I started with a Mars 3 and recently upgraded. I have been printing a little of everything from bridge supports to small interior building detail items. The printer has been very versatile, and the detail is impeccable.  I use TinkerCad to make my objects or find free files on OGR and the web. I have been very happy with it. I also have the Elegoo Mercury post processing unit for washing and curing. The Elegoo is certainly not the fanciest, but it does very well and the price is reasonable at around $250. I get the different resins I use (ABS like, clear, gray etc.) on Amazon. You will not be able to print very large objects in one piece. I have about a 7-8 inch vertical limit on this unit.

Last edited by LT1Poncho

Just a reminder when posting the names of items - the names are often very odd, and it's important to spell them correctly or you might not find them in a search.  For instance, the name of the printers on amazon is  Elegoo (one L) - spelling it differently might not yield all the results that you want.  Another example is a type of terminal strip that was mentioned in another thread - the company(?) was "Joinfworld" - not a name I'm familiar with, and who knows what it means, if anything.  Thankfully, the post contained the correct spelling; otherwise I'm guessing that I would never have found the product.

Sometimes autocorrect will bite us on this type of thing - copy and paste is our friend.  Also remember that scammer websites often use slightly-misspelled names to try to snare people.

Last edited by Mallard4468
@Sgolden876 posted:

Looking to print basic o gauge accessories and 'buildings'

You can certainly print *smallish* buildings... but larger buildings would  require a fairly large build plate... something like the Neptune 4 Max with a Print Volume of: 420 x 420 x 480 mm³.  Reductive (or, subtractive) 3D printing (i.e., Laser engraving) is probably a better bet for buildings.

You can significantly reduce layer lines associated with FDM printers by setting the quality of a prints layer height to something like 0.12mm or less and incorporating features like Ironing.  With these settings, a primer coat and a couple of finish coats of paint you can 'usually' make the lines go away... without sanding.

The Elegoo Mars 4 9k Resin has the highest XY resolution out there at 18x18µm (yes, higher than the Saturn 3 or Formlabs 3+ etc.).   Do not get hung up on 8k, 12k etc., you want the best XY resolution.   Not a lot of bells, whistles and a smallish build plate... it's a very good entry level resin printer.

I had the same question and been doing a lot of searching for myself and what I want to do. I plan on printing parts for the layout such as boxes, handrails, trestle parts and maybe some buildings and I plan on going with the

Bambu Lab A1 3D Printer COMBO

$559.00 USD
It give me multi printing if I want and it has a large printing
  • 256*256*256 mm³ Build Volume

You can look them up on line, but so far I have only found the Manufacture as a place to buy it. I maybe wrong! I know I have been wrong before as my wife tells me so! LOL

Good luck and let us know what you come up with!

I have an A1 mini, before that a Creality.  The A1 mini is light years ahead of Creality and is only $300.  It has a small build area which it makes up for in quality and speed.  I use fusion 360 for design so parsing up the objects is fairly simple especially with the fine print accuracy of the mini.  If you would like a larger print bed I would wait until May when the A1 comes back on the market.   From the time my A1 was delivered until my first print was in process was under a hour and it came out perfect.

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