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I always admired these rural utility poles that would pop in and out of the trees along the PA Turnpike somewhere out around Youngwood. They had these amazing big green insulators on them and I always thought they’d look cool on my layout. Recently wanting to try a resin printer, I went and snagged an Elegoo Mars 3 Pro and thought that trying to replicate those insulators in clear green would be a good first project. The insulators have vanished over the years but some quick internet searching led me to finding out that these poles also had many admirers in the insulator collector community. I was able to find out that the insulators were Hemingray Provo No. 0 types and was even able to locate some dimensions.

I doodled up a couple versions of the insulators in Tinkercad and then decided to try making the crossarms after finding scale drawings on Alamy of all places.

My first print was successful after a quick setup of the machine and installation of the slicer software. These were single piece upper and lower crossarms. Please excuse the mock-up and quickie paint job as I was excited to put them together and get some color onto them. I needed to see if I was onto something!


I thought it might be cool if I could print the insulators separately. I was thinking about mounting the insulators to the pins so you could see the pin inside the clear insulator. This time I modified the petticoats to be hollow with a hollow bushing to accept a crossarm pin. First print was a fail as I did them with the petticoats on the platen. I had only one survivor.


On the next print I flipped them over and it seems most survived:


The next experiment will be to print the crossarms and pins in a solid color resin and then install the insulators after I assemble the poles.


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Last edited by Norm Charbonneau
Original Post

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That’s funny, I just found a 42 this weekend out in the far reaches of western MI:


All, thanks for the kind words on my latest experiments! I hope to get back at it by the end of the week. The individual insulator print needs a few more tries. I may try to suspend them with supports on the next try. Can’t stick them to the petticoat as it is very thin. May try sticking them to the sides with them inverted. At least I can get a feel for the capability of this style of printer.


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Last edited by Norm Charbonneau
@GG1 4877 posted:

Very cool!  I used to collect insulators and still have hundreds of them in milk crates.  The colors and styles are so varied.

The most common insulator I found in the Mid-Atlantic was the Hemingray No. 42.  They came in several iterations and colors with the most common being aqua in color and having round drip points on the bottom.

May I suggest the Western Reserve Insulator Club.  Email newsletter is $7 a year.

Lou N

@Lou N posted:

May I suggest the Western Reserve Insulator Club.  Email newsletter is $7 a year.

Lou N

I'll look into it Lou.  I have an early edition Milholland guide and used to subscribe to "Crown Jewels of the Wire" during my teens and 20's when I collected most of mine.  Like a lot of my hobbies, I go through phases and sometimes circle back and sometime don't.  Still waiting to circle back on this one. 

I have about 30 in my collection that are considered rare or at least uncommon. 

However, for a layout I would personally stay away from the unusual colors as the most common colors were clear and green / aqua.  Only once did I see a carnival glass insulator on a pole in Hawely, PA and the pole was 40 feet tall.  Even as a fearless teen I wasn't about to shimmy up that pole!

Norm, with the complete crossbar print with the insulators, might it be possible to dip the crossbar in paint for color, then just touch up the uprights?  That might streamline the process of making these.

Funny, that was exactly what I was thinking as I scrolled through this thread!

When I did my own power poles (all two of them), I had metal castings for the crossarms and insulators as one piece. I painted the latter in gloss green. They're of course opaque but the look wasn't too off.

This was a very first attempt and I probably got a bit ahead of myself in my excitement.

Painting these crossarm assemblies was very easy so there‘s no real time savings in need of pursuit here.

I am back home for a couple days so I hope to get some time to perfect the design and assembly plan. I am definitely going with the separate insulator idea for these poles. Keep in mind these were some of the largest size clear green insulators that were in regular use. They were almost twice as large as a Hemingray 42 in all dimensions. That makes the scale versions real easy to handle. I really want to capture the look of the pin inside the insulator!

One of my plans is to model the upper third of these poles (including double arm and H fixture style) as one piece (crossarms with pins and supports). I hope to capture as much hardware detail as I can. The square washer detail on the first shots was very promising, showing this fairly inexpensive resin printer can resolve fine surface relief to my satisfaction. I would model the upper third of the pole, say about 75mm. I could print socketed pole extensions that I could stack to achieve height. I am limited to 175mm in the Z (vertical) axis so I have to be a little creative.

Allan, once I get a few projects under my belt I don’t see why not!

Excellent! I absolutely love the extent you go to in assuring that things are as close to prototype as possible. Not sure if you mentioned it earlier, here or elsewhere, but what is the make/model of the printer you are using? It's a subject I know little about, but I sure am interested in learning.

Hope to see you sat York in October, my friend!

Allan, this is the model I am using:

I found some time to play around with the crossarm assemblies yesterday. I had to adjust the angle of it to optimize the supports and got ok prints. Not sure I want to go this route. I may experiment with printing the crossarm/pin assemblies and the supports as separate pieces and assemble them onto 1/4” dowels. This print was made to plug into Evergreen .219” styrene tube:

My curing machine showed up during the week:9AD4FACF-2A22-4FBF-9458-541EA1867E2009AEBC42-0B34-40BD-AA0C-CB443D465A09

Hanging from the platen. I tried some Anycubic clear water washable resin:9A078F2A-82E0-40CF-B264-167F17F82B3C

Separate insulators on pins. I adjusted the size of the pins to fit into the cored insulators I printed earlier:7E2274DA-1652-44DA-B084-9870EA5AA0C968F2A313-C7DA-474B-9FB9-7FE553C82970

I slopped a little RR Tie Brown on the assemblies to see things in better contrast. I am liking the insulators on pins look. Just wondering if it’s worth the hassle! I need to clean up the shop and organize for better work flow and will commence with more experiments.



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Thanks man. I am learning here that I may have gotten lucky on the first crossarms as they printed flat to the platen. My crossarm/upper pole assemblies haven't come out so great as I didn't have enough angle on the part. I realized that the Chitubox slicer will highlight sections it wants more supports for. 45 degrees seems to be best right now. I have another set of assemblies printing now.

Thanks! I thought of different ways to construct these during the course of this project. The visible pin/separate insulator pursuit yielded mixed results. If I make more of these I may just print the crossbar/support assemblies with holes and print the insulators with hollowed petticoats on a pin. That way I can plug them into the crossbars. The pins were reduced to 1mm and I broke a few during removal from the platen and assembly. I certainly learned a lot though. I learned how to orient and support the assemblies during the print and was able to get reliable results after a while. I am really impressed with the resolution of this printer. Surface relief details show up nicely. I should probably make some wood grain attempts on future efforts.

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