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Posted (edited)

I'm trying to get all the bits and pieces together to enable me to scratchbuild early SBB overhead line equipment in HO. I have a lot of the artwork done for the steelwork and my next task is to learn 3D CAD so I can print  the various types of insulators for the job.

I'm having real difficulty in getting the sizes of them right. To that end, does anyone have dimensions or drawings of the insulators pictured below? I'd be be very grateful for any help I can get. Thanks in advance.

 

 

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Edited by Swissrail
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Posted (edited)

Hi Mike.

I've tried that already. All the insulators in there are the current types (no pun intended). The old brown ceramic ones I'm after aren't included.

Edited by Swissrail
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Posted (edited)

In this instance, I would caution that 3d printing that small is going to have very poor resolution, FDM would just be a blob and resin a little better. You could spend a lot of time and effort for little reward at the end of the day. An easy CAD tool for those would be Tinkercad - https://www.tinkercad.com - its free and the basic shapes you would need are predefined.

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Edited by JimFin
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Posted (edited)

I've already started using FreeCAD. It's quite intuitive and I've managed to get a good approximation (as yet unfinished) of one of those insulators by referring to a scaled picture. It would be nice however to get it absolutely accurate.

 

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Edited by Swissrail
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Once you have completed the design, get a copy of Cura (free) and load the STL into that. Prepare and have a look at the layer view - it will give you an idea of how it will print out. 

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Posted (edited)

I've done as you advised, put the file into Cura and despite your misgivings about resolution, I think it looks pretty good actually. I'm not sure what the splat it's sitting on is, but that aside it is recognisable as an SBB catenary wire support insulator and it would do me just fine, thank you.

If I were to send this file to Shapeways for instance, would they be able to do something to remove that splat or prevent it from coming out that way? My original file doesn't have anything like that in it.

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Edited by Swissrail
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The "splat" is the build plate adherence to make sure the object remains firmly stuck down during the build process. It can be trimmed off after printing. Can you confirm the nozzle site used and vertical height of the insulator? 

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The nozzle used was 0.1mm and the vertical height is 5mm. I see there isan 0.06mm nozzle and the result with that was even cleaer.

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I can see how that would come out but that is a very small nozzle! The smallest practical FDM printer nozzle is 0.25 but very unreliable in use, 0.4 is the "normal". Not sure what shapeways can do or a resin printer which I think would be more appropriate for this task. If you want me to try an FDM print for you using my Ultimaker, happy to do so.

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Either upload the STL file onto here or attach it to a personal message where you can give me an address to post the result if its usable, will take some photos for you. There is so little material involved - no cost in a practical sense.

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