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Into a New Dimension - Part Four



I find it interesting to observe how, having broken the ice, the waters of enthusiasm start to flow!  


I’ve been experimenting with some of the tools in Fusion 360 and while it’s still very early days, I can now produce carriage sides with ‘tumble home’ curves and I can also add curved tops to the ends, for fitting to roofs.




So far, this has just been an experiment, as I explore some of the possibilities for future designs.


Although the Fusion 360 software can produce ‘sliced’ models directly for 3D printing, I decided to use the 'Cura' software in the first instance, since I have already set this up for my printer.  This is the image, ready for slicing, as shown on the 'Cura' screen.  Note that the estimated cost for this model is 18 pence, showing that, once the printing hardware has been bought, the main investment is in time.




It is very pleasing to realise that I can produce many of the model features in one go, using the computer software, rather than having to assemble lots of ‘bits’, when assembling a physical model, with all the hassle that using superglue or solvent inevitably brings!


The replacement print-head on my E180 printer also seems to be performing better than the original, producing a smooth flow of filament, when building up the sides of the body.




This is what emerges from the printer after about 2½ hours.  There's still some cleaning up to be done but the main shell looks quite good to me.  I'm taking it steadily, so there are no external beadings or framing, as yet.  I have included recesses for the droplights, however, and the ends are rounded!








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Excellent Mike.  Cost 18p, price on Shapeways, £30.00?


Seats?  Floor?  I bought a coach that had no floor so have been adding one.  The compartment dividers are the same height as the sides so you have to fit floors into each compartment.  Seats then go in so the whole lot becomes strong enough to take the wheels.  Just food for thought if it was possible to make the compartment dividers that bit smaller or make it with a floor.

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Thank you Chris - this one actually does have a floor, and seats would be an easy addition.  I'm still thinking about the best way to add the panel lines and bracing on the ends.  I don't thank it will be difficult but I want to be fairly sure I get things right, because each print takes a long time.  Fortunately, the printer is entirely self-contained, with it's own memory card, so it doesn't 'hog' the computer and I can get on with other things.

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10 hours ago, ChrisN said:

Excellent Mike.  Cost 18p, price on Shapeways, £30.00?


My thoughts exactly. Of course they must have some major investments for the hardware etc, but still.


Mike, I can see how this could become addictive. And as with the Silhouette, it doesn't really reduce creativity, on the contrary it prompts you to be more adventurous.

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One thing that keeps putting me off buying a 3d printer  ( and a silhouette for that matter ) is the amount of time it needs to learn something new, set it up, learn slicing etc. But with shapeways latest price increase I'm seriously tempted to go for it.


I realise it's extra gluing and not sure what glue would be needed, but just wondering how a silhouette overlay on top of a bodyshell would work.

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I agree, Charlie, about the investment in time (and effort) that is needed to get going with any type of CAD.  In my experience, the key thing is to make a start and get through the initial pain barrier.  If all goes well, enthusiasm starts to rise once the first 'object' has been created.


I am currently considering how to combine the use of the 3D printer with the Silhouette, for the final surface finish.  I note that ink-jet printable adhesive vinyl is now available, so I plan to see what can be done with this material.  Previously, I have used book-binders' adhesive, with good results.


On the subject of costs - remember that materials like oil and coal have no 'cost' when they are lying in the ground.  The cost to the end-user is the result of all the time and effort expended to get these things to the point of use.  If I costed my time at a reasonable rate, then I expect my models would be very expensive, even compared to Shapeways!

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11 hours ago, Mikkel said:



Mike, I can see how this could become addictive. And as with the Silhouette, it doesn't really reduce creativity, on the contrary it prompts you to be more adventurous.


... and not just for the railway.  I've just made an adapter to fit my right-angle viewfinder from a camera onto the polar-scope in my telescope mount.  This makes it possible to align the mount onto the axis of the Pole Star, without having to grovel about on the ground, in order to see the image.   The possibilities are endless ...

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I'm going through all of Mike's posts commenting - sorry Mike to be doing it to old posts, but some very interesting points are being raised!


On Shapeways, yes, the prices are increasing a lot, and it seems that they keep tweaking the algorithm that is doing the pricing, so you never really know from one week to another how much a model will cost. I worked out on my Moai resin printer that I could print out an open wagon for about 60p and a 2-4-0 loco is about 1.20. That includes resin, cleaner (isopropyl alcohol), kitchen towels and power, but not the price of the printer (obviously!).


The other thing Mike, is that the Silhouette was great for things that were flat in at least one plane, so was great for coaches, buildings, etc. It'll be interesting how your output changes over time to include other types of models.

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Hi Jason, it's good to hear from you again after those heady days with the Silhouette cutter several years ago.  I'm enjoying experimenting with the 3D printer and writing up my progress as I go.  When I look back over just a few posts, I find it amazing to see how things which were so puzzling are now almost second-nature!  It's not so much the cost savings that influenced me but my desire to be able to 'roll my own' with a rapidly advancing technology.

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Oh absolutely on the rolling your own, I've been looking at some pretty niche stuff (have  a quick shufty at MickLNER's post on the photo printer in the 3D printing forum for one of them). I think that 3D printing generally will be a boon for pre-grouping modellers.

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