3D Printing from scratch

Cactus Feb 22, 2020

  1. Cactus

    Cactus TrainBoard Member

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    Here is my first attempt at making a building from scratch. I have no previous modeling experience apart from printing a building that I found on the internet. I designed this one in Blender, making separate elements. The walls, siding, corner posts, windows, door, and the standing seam roof were all made as individual pieces and assembled in the computer from those parts. For example, the siding elements were each applied individually to the walls, just as one would do when building a house.

    Then I 3D printed it in Z-scale. The building measures 53.15 x 25.3 x 18.7 scale feet.

    There are issues.

    First, the closeup of the building shows ragged painting. This bothers me a lot. I did a lot of microsurgery during my career, manipulating cells and tissues less than a millimeter in size, sometimes much less. I was known for my steady hand and performed much without a micromanipulator. My hands shake now as you can tell from the botched job around the windows. I hope that with practice I can compensate.

    Thank goodness the flaws are much less visible when the building is on the layout.

    I still don’t know how high to elevate it, either by raising up the “ground” around the roadbed or adding a foundation to the building. Perhaps someone can give me advice about that.

    Bldg 3.jpg Bldg1.jpg
     
  2. Kurt Moose

    Kurt Moose TrainBoard Member

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    Not too bad there! Maybe just a strip of square styrene around the base, paint it light grey for a foundation, and call it good!(y)

    Get some details on it like a small round chimney, basic steps at the front door, a small power meter of to one side, etc. It'll look great in no time!;)
     
  3. gmorider

    gmorider TrainBoard Member

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    maybe you could mock up road bed or ground or both to see which looks best.
     
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  4. SLSF Freak

    SLSF Freak Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    You can print a foundation platform for it to sit on, maybe include some steps that lead to the door. From the looks of the print quality it appears you're using a liquid resin printer - if you're ever feeling adventurous you can try to print those windows separately to insert into the window openings in the wall. That will allow you to paint them without worry of accidentally touching the other parts with the brush. That's a trade off though - you're going to spend time getting the measurements just right and also having delicate window parts to handle but it's one idea that might help make the painting easier. But really, your building looks excellent as it is!

    Mike
     
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  5. Cactus

    Cactus TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks to each of you. Those are all ideas I can try. I am using a resin printer--still getting the hang of it. The first railroad item I printed was an HO model of a station. It was composed of individual parts in separate STL files. I reduced it to Z-scale and printed everything. Dealing with the separate windows, doors, deck railings, etc. was very difficult and I gave up on that model. But I shouldn't have given up on the idea of separate parts. I'll work with it a bit.

    This building is simple, in the sense that it lacks a porch, chimney, foundation, etc. I will work through various iterations of it to see what combination of things is possible for me.

    The painting is another issue. My hands are no longer steady. I suspect they are normal for someone my age, but, as I explained above, I have grown to expect better from my fingers. ;-)

    Cheers!
     
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  6. CNE1899

    CNE1899 TrainBoard Member

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    Cactus,
    I have been doing some sort of modeling since I was in grade school. I have had shaky hands all my life. I have built and painted some pretty detailed pieces over the years. I just try and concentrate on what I am doing (hyper focus) and the shaking seems to stop. Even if you can't steady your hands fully, try to enjoy the hobby and let perfection go. At Z scale a lot can be forgiven! Besides I think your building looks very good! And good on you for getting into 3-D printing!
     
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  7. rray

    rray Staff Member

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    I would use 1/8" cork. You can buy Midwest N Scale roadbed cork at a hobby shop of $1.29 a 3 foot by 1" strip, and it has a split down the middle, so you can split it and butt up the bevel side to match the roadbed ballastprofile. Use it whenever you have something trackside to model.

    By the way, nice job on your suture, I mean structure, pun intended! :D
     
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  8. Cactus

    Cactus TrainBoard Member

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    CNE1899 - thanks for your advice and kind comments. You can bet I’ll learn to compensate. This is only the first try.
    rray - I’ll get some of the cork. By the way, some time ago in another thread, you advised me to try spraying. You suggested a sprayer to start with. I’d like to hear that recommendation again. Thanks much for your suggestions and for your great work.
     
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  9. rray

    rray Staff Member

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    I can't remember that topic right now, but if it is about an Airbrush, then the Aztek A370 is a good middle of the road starter airbrush, because it is easy to control, and gives great results. That's what I use since they work so well I have never needed to upgrade.
     
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  10. Cactus

    Cactus TrainBoard Member

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    Thank you! I won’t lose the recommendation this time.
     
  11. rray

    rray Staff Member

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    As was recommended above, +1 on printing windows, doors, chimnies, etc., as seperate parts. I understand the whole idea of using a 3D printer is thought to be that you can print the whole thing at once ready to go, but all the pro's are recognising that seperatly applied parts look better than the whole preassembled, because the parts transition is more abrupt instead of a smooth molded on appearance. You can have micro shaded areas between window frames and the structure walls. So as well as better defined painting possiblilties, you have that built up in layers look of real world buildings.
     
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  12. Cactus

    Cactus TrainBoard Member

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    rray - thanks for the information. I expect I will move in that direction as time goes on and my skills improve.
    I printed the entire structure in the photo as one piece because it was the easiest thing to do as I familiarize myself with the printing and painting process.
    The first building I printed was from a set of downloaded STL files. The windows were separate and frankly I was sure I could make better windows myself, which I did for this model. the photos I see of your work tell me that you know what you’re talking about.
    thanks again.
     
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  13. ddechamp71

    ddechamp71 TrainBoard Member

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    Whichever the issues you're complaining about, the result is very pleasant.:D;)

    Dom
     
  14. Cactus

    Cactus TrainBoard Member

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    Dom, thanks for the kind words. The building looks quite good on my layout, so I’m a happy camper.
     
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