Fairlight Works

Official blog of the High Weald Light Railway (1977) Co. Ltd.

Any way, shape or form

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After measuring (and driving) the ex-RNAD Baguley-Drewry at Amberley last year it has been hovering near the top of my “to model” list. Thanks to its fairly simple, boxy outline I was thinking brass or styrene would be an easy way to make one, with the deep side skirts offering a convenient veil over any chassis indiscretions. The first hope was to use the excellent Kato tram chassis as a power unit, but the 60hp loco is surprisingly short and wouldn’t fit without some serious surgery (the longer 99hp version should be fine) so progress ground to a halt – as my projects so often do.

However recent advances in the fidelity of materials available through custom 3D printing service Shapeways have provoked a re-think. They can now offer a wall thickness of 0.3mm and surface detail of 0.1mm, although it remains to be see how well it will come out.

3D visualisation of 60hp Baguley-Drewry

The simple* shape of the prototype again made the drawing process in Sketchup fairly quick, and the Shapeways site allows you to re-import and test your model until you’re happy with it. So, everything you see in the image above should be magically printed in one piece.

3D visualisation of 60hp Baguley-Drewry

There will still need to be some detail added, the cab roof and door, the radiator grille and various other bits and pieces are all either too small or too fine to print. I’ve also worked out that the Nigel Lawton MPD18 chassis should fit perfectly inside so I’ve designed the internal mounting points appropriately. It’s likely that some of the other small N gauge mechanisms that have started to appear in OO9 use recently will also fit but I’ll wait until I have the test model before experimenting.

I’ve been using 3D visualisation as an aid to designing models before, but this is the first time I’ve attempted a 3D print – hopefully the promise of the new Shapeways materials will be fulfilled!

* Until you get to the curved and cut-out buffer blocks, that is…