Fairlight Works

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

Prints of darkness

009 baguley-drewry kits model-railways narrow-gauge

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.