Prints of darkness

Since I last wrote about my project to 3D print an ex-RNAD Baguley-Drewry loco, progress has been erratic to say the least. But with a growing desire to see the thing finished I’ve been quietly toiling behind the scenes to get it ready to put on sale.

The first decision was that, due to the intended chassis kit that would fit the 60hp version of the loco undergoing a redesign, I would change my focus to the slightly longer 99hp model instead. This version is mechanically quite different, but the overall look of the body is very similar so not much extra design work would be required. It also has the advantage that it will (or should) fit on the well-regarded Kato tram chassis which us readily available and gives a readier-to-run option for modellers.

The next step was to get the 3D print itself sorted out. While I was impressed with the detail resolution on the initial Shapeways print, the model was quite fragile (in fact both test prints I tried arrived broken in different ways). So I looked around for alternative printers, trying first Sculpteo (decent detail resolution but still fragile and a powdery/grainy surface finish) and then i.materialise.

Test print v2

This seems to have been the breakthrough. Their ‘prime grey’ material delivered a robust print in a smooth, solid plastic with a similar feeling to the ABS that is used in many model railway kits. The only downside is that some of the detail in the 3D model was too fine to print, so I’ve had to simplify it slightly, but it will be easy enough to replicate most of that in the detail etch which will complete the kit.

The image above is a test of the 60hp loco, but now I’m confident of the quality I’m trying out the 99hp model with a view to having it all done by the end of October.

This entry was posted in 009, baguley-drewry, kits, model railways, narrow gauge. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Prints of darkness

  1. Phil Parker says:

    How smooth is the surface ? My problem with 3D print to date has been the powdery (nice description by the way) finish of what are supposed to be flat surfaces. There’s no point in printing detail if you have to sand it all off to sort this out.

    • Steve says:

      The top surfaces of the layers are really smooth in this material, almost glassy. You can see the effect better in this worse photo.

      The layering on the sides isn’t too bad, certainly not flat but getting there. I’m intending to use etched overlays for the bonnet side panels (which are printed in this version) which will partially solve the problem.

  2. Christian Summers says:

    This looks stunning! I can see this igniting a fair few industrial 009 projects, myself included! A couple of these and some modern looking wagons would go done a treat.

  3. Dieter says:

    Locos and wagons created by a 3D printer? I´m not very familiar with new technologies, but this seems very interesting. I never heard (read) of that before!

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