3D Print Project Update

You may remember that a few months ago, I purchased a 3D printer, and I was experimenting with printing an OO9 loco shell. I followed that up by scaling it to O scale to see what an On30 version might look like. What you see here is the result of my resizing it to use a Bachmann trolley mechanism, and enclosing the cab. It’s not perfect, but I’m nearly satisfied.

I’ve been fighting with various 3D CAD programs like Fusion 360 and DesignSpark, but ultimately made the changes using a web-based AutoDesk product called TinkerCAD. It’s horribly basic and clunky, and it’s not terribly accurate — or maybe I’m just not “getting” it just yet.

While this version is “good enough” to finish, I’ll make some more refinements before I print the next shell (I have another trolley mechanism on the shelf). You can’t see from the pictures, but the top of the door doesn’t quite reach the roof (it’s about a tenth of a millimeter short), and the blocks that mount the frame to the shell also aren’t quite right. I’m also not entirely happy with the pilots. All minor tweaks, unless you’re me trying to use 3D CAD software.

Anyway, the project is being a lot of fun. Next up is a little more clean-up and a couple coats of paint. Of course, it’ll also get a DelTang receiver and batteries.

4 thoughts on “3D Print Project Update

  1. Geren: I am surprised you have not tried “SketchUp”. I can model to the tenth of a millimeter and it is easy to learn. SketchUp has a few videos out on the web that are beginning lessons for the program. I went to two of their BootCamp training sessions but Kent Hurley has learned only from the net. Please check out Kent’s photos at https://www.flickr.com/photos/nvrr49/
    I have been 3D printing an On30 diesel (GE 70 T) for the KC StockYards. and I have several points where the parts are snap fit together. As I am a customer of yours you can email me and I will send you some key covers that are made for SketchUp they make even the free version very easy to learn and use.
    I should have said the engine looks great. Good luck as you proceed!
    Miles – DeRailHale, my nick name when I worked for the SP.

    1. Hi Miles. Thanks for your comments! I’ve tried SketchUp on numerous times, and a lot of people are getting great results with it, but I just can’t get the hang of it. TinkerCAD gives me the same tenth of a millimeter accuracy, but I’m just not all that good at using it … yet. It also provides some sort of pathway to Fusion 360, which is one of the tools used by a number of folks locally.

      I wish that I could afford Solidworks. I used to use that when I worked for MTH, and it’s the only 3D design program that I’ve ever found to be even close to intuitive. I can build pretty much anything with that, and one other fellow locally uses it (he does contract 3D CAD work, and is usually willing to share his experience. But, at $4000 for the basic software plus $1300 a year for the support/upgrade package, it’s out of my realm for hobby use (or even for hobby-business use).

  2. I WANT ONE OR TWO OR THREE!!! I always wondered what I’d with all those damn trolly’s!

    1. David, I was not planning on making these available as a product — at least not any time soon. If I do offer them, they won’t be cheap. They eat up a lot of machine time, which is the real cost in 3D printing. Certain expensive components of the printer have a very finite lifespan.

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