Some Assembly Required….

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Almost two-and-a-half years ago, I started on a project to make some 28-foot, WW&F-inspired box cars. The idea was to create an easy-to-build “kit of parts” that would allow me to turn out a fair number of good-looking cars quickly. My first idea was to make the kits similar to the old Sandy River Car Shops kits, which consisted of a milled floor and roof, a couple of end blocks, skins, and a few details.

Well, that’s not what happened.

Instead, after a good bit of discussion and work with Rich Brungard (Marsh Creek Miniatures), a master for a resin cast floor was designed. After a number of holds and waits, I finally got a test shot and my master. The test shot made its debut on the railroad a year ago. And after much additional procrastination, I finally got Garry Cerrone (GC Design Group) to cast a few of the floors for me, and I received the first batch a couple of weeks ago.

As an aside, Rich briefly marketed a resin cast version in HOn30, which he called “The Maine Frame”, but has since replaced the product in his line with a similar 3D-printed, B&SR version.

Speaking of 3D printing, I decided to have the rest of the frame parts for the box car 3D printed as well. Instead of a milled roof, a framed set of ribs was designed to be assembled to a printed end block. These are then cemented to the resin-cast floor.

This assembly provides a platform for building a fairly accurate representation of the WW&F 20- or 60-series box cars — or similar — 28′, 6-foot-tall boxcars and also many of their flat cars. End pieces for the taller cars will be next.

One example of how the frame can be used for a box car reaches all the way back to the start of the project: the printed car sides, shown here without a roof. Unfortunately, the files I created to make these cars was lost in a hard drive crash, it appears, so if I am to use that method, I’ll have to start over.

With a little fudging and fidgeting, the framework also works wonderfully to use some “parts bags” I got from the Train Troll a number of years ago. I’ve got one of those in progress now, and I’m very pleased with the results.

In these shots, the cars are riding on Grandt Line 2-foot SR&RL trucks with HO gauge wheelsets. I figured a proper two-foot-width car should ride on proper two-foot trucks.

I’m picking up a couple more adjusted frame sets, with a new roofwalk in an hour or so. Depending on the results, I might decide to offer the parts for sale as well.

One Comment

  • The ‘common parts’ method is great for simply representing a wide variety of cars! I have been working on a similar design for machining steam locomotive frames, maybe I should look into 3D printing these. My concern for locos though, is weight….

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