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3D-printing

In this section of the web site we want to show some modelers' efforts at using the 3D-printing technology to create some interesting models in S-scale. S-scale, as compared to for example HO- or N-scale, is a small market. This means that fewer manufacturers are involved in producing S-scale items. But regardless of which scale or scales you model in, if you want something unique, you have to resort to kit-bashing, scratch-building, or 3D-printing your desired models.

3D-printing is unique in that when you find a model in another scale, most of the time, the designer will be able to scale it up or down to produce an S-scale model. There are limitations, such as the thickness or sturdiness of a portion of the print that may not translate well when going from a smaller scale up to S or a larger scale down to S. But, if you find a model that you would like to have 3D-printed but it is not available in S-scale, it doesn't hurt to ask the designer if he or she can convert it to S-scale (a fee may be charged for this effort, to cover the designer's time, in addition to the cost of having the model 3D-printed).

As the actual 3D printers come down in price, people are buying them as legitimate modeling tools. So, you might also be able to find a 3D model design (free or commercially) that you can download, and then have your own printer print the model, or parts of the model that you then complete into the final model. And, if you have the time and the computer skills, you could even design your own models in a 3D CAD software program, and then print your own creations.

Alco C420

Bob Frascella and Michael Ostertag are working together under the Shapeways name "Century Models". Michael is a real-world train engineer and thus has access to prototype equipment which he can measure. Bob has the artistic and CAD experience to translate that data into 3D models. The entire top of this Alco C420 was made out of 3D-printed parts, which they sell on their Shapeways web site. The chassis is by Railmaster Exports (using North Yard's chassis). This is actually the first model for which Bob had the 3D parts printed. He then built the model, painted it, and applied the decals.


photo © Robert Frascella; used by permission

Ken Garber showed the as-received parts loosely placed together. They consist of the cab and short hood (available with or without doors), the long body hood, and the rear radiator section (without the roof grill). Ken also got the matching pilots, but they are not shown in the photo.


copyright © Ken Garber; used by permission

Fairmont S2 Speeder

Ken Garber took this photo of the unassembled, as-received, parts from Shapeways. Ken mentioned that Andrew Baird asked the designer to create an Sn42 version of this speeder, and so that is now also available on Shapeways.


copyright © Ken Garber; used by permission

Gondola

The gondola side shown in Jim Kindraka's photo below is the first iteration. Changes have already been made to improve it slightly.


copyright © Jim Kindraka; used by permission

Logging Bobber

Bill Lane bought an HO-scale Kadee logging bobber when he was young. Now in S-scale, he wanted to reproduce that model. He used his 3D-printer to print the body, and used a single brass truck. You can read Bill's story about this car on his web site.


photo © Bill Lane; used by permission

Pullman-Standard 60' Flat Car

Jim Kindraka shared photos of his 3D-printed efforts. He is working with Scott MacKenzie. Scott does the design work, while Jim does the actual printing and then building the parts into real models, as shown in the photos below. The models in the photo are not final yet. There are, as of yet, no plans to make these into some sort of commercial effort, as printing these cars is quite expensive. These were not printed using Shapeways. However, it does go to show that if you want a unique car, there are ways to accomplish it. The wooden deck of the flat car was custom-made by B.T.S. using their laser-cutter.


copyright © Jim Kindraka; used by permission

copyright © Jim Kindraka; used by permission

External Links

  • Centerbeam Flatcar in S (create a "load" that turns a regular flat car into a centerbeam version; the .stl files are available for you to print your own!)
  • Randy Griggs has a video of a Union Pacific "Jim Adams" (#809) Auxiliary Water Tender which he created in S-scale. His son, Scott, designed the model in CAD and had it printed via Shapeways. Randy then super-detailed and painted it, and applied some custom-made decals. The trucks are from an American Flyer crane car, as the appropriate number of wheels were needed, as well as their couplers. The print cost around $200 to $250 to make, and if you are interested in one yourself, contact Randy.
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