Thursday, August 12, 2021
Wednesday, August 4, 2021
I've been working on various 3D printing projects since earlier this year. Most of them are geared toward models I need for our layout but that can't be found in kit or RTR versions. However, a few are only whimsical projects of my own because I fancy the prototype to some extent.
|A typical GTR caboose (credit: unknown)|
Then I thought, why not design a 3D printed conversion mini-kit... which I started designing right on the spot. Lots of compromises had to be done, but thanks to Clare Gilbert, Roger Chrysler, Steve Lucas and Brian Westhouse, I soon had enough pictures and information to move forward. A friend printed a few tests which showed it was a promising idea. A day later, the artwork for decals was ready too, with custom drawn fonts.
However, it became quickly apparent bashing the Roundhouse caboose would take a lot of time and not look that prototypical. Printing a kit can be costly when you take into account all the related cost, but resin isn't where most of the expenses are. Why not simply make a complete caboose kit like Dave Bedard does on Facebook? For almost the same cost, you can have an accurate model and not just a stand in.
And now I'm at the crossroad. You can't design models if you don't have a printer. You need to test the design, try different orientation and supports to get optimal results. You must also build the kit to find out the issues. This can't be done by relying on others' printer. Thus I decided to acquire a 3D printer. Over the last few months, 3D printing as started to take a more prevalent place in my modelling. Projects that were pipe dreams are now possible. It is no longer required to be hostage of the dwindling detail parts market that is dying off. I often wanted to convert a few of my old steamers in better rendition of Grand Trunk and Intercolonial locomotives. Need a headlight, a dome? No problem. I've been experimenting with this media for 7 years now and it had finally reached the level of quality I wanted.
The Grand Trunk caboose kit joins my growing catalog of models, namely the CN Transcona-built 65ft woodchip car, the CN NSC-built woodchip car and the CN 65ft gondola. I have still to figure out how I will produce and market these models, but I have already a few options out there.