Computer Aided Scratchbuilding

Mark Watson Oct 30, 2009

  1. Pete Nolan

    Pete Nolan TrainBoard Supporter

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    I buy my styrene in 4 x 8 foot sheets from a plastics dealer, and cut off what I need. A sheet costs me about $16. In Albuquerque it was available in .010, .020, .040 and .060 thicknesses. It's a lot cheaper than buying from a hobby store. I can order it here in Oxford, Ohio from a local sign painter, or drive about 20 miles and get it myself from the source. It rolls up into a tight cylinder, so it's easy to transport. I brought two sheets with me on the last ABQ-Oxford run.
     
  2. Mark Watson

    Mark Watson TrainBoard Member

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    This really shows its advantage when you go back and design removable interiors that can fit perfectly inside the building. [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    And this is still in Z scale.
     
  3. subwayaz

    subwayaz TrainBoard Member

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    Wow that is fantastic Mark. Nice work to say the least. Is this one going to be in Nscale as well I hope?

    Glen
     
  4. Mark Watson

    Mark Watson TrainBoard Member

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    I did not know styrene was available that way. I did a quick online search and came up with this place that shows .020x40x72" sheet of styrene for 6.10, plus shipping for 6. Actually this might be your very source as they're in Lima, OH. Anyways, does this styrene come pre-rolled or do you roll it from a flat sheet yourself? I cant see why a supplier would roll it, nor how they would ship a single .020 inch thick sheet for 6 bucks. :-/
     
  5. Mark Watson

    Mark Watson TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks Glen,

    Yep, all these templates can be scaled to the appropriate size for any scale, but they are all being laid out for N scale when printed at 100%. I printed this one at 72.72%, making it Z scale. [​IMG]
     
  6. subwayaz

    subwayaz TrainBoard Member

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    Cool Mark you got drooling, and it's not even Thanksgiving yet.

    Yummo can't wait

    Glen
     
  7. maxbo

    maxbo New Member

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    Interesting thread. I'm planing to do some styrene scratch building myself soon.

    Just a few questions, anyone:
    -Do you mitre the wall corners?
    -Where do you get etched brass window frames? I know about Grandt Line and Micron Art but I haven't quite found what I'm looking for.

    Thanks,
    Karstein
     
  8. Mark Watson

    Mark Watson TrainBoard Member

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    Hi Karstein ,

    Welcome to Trainboard!

    Mitre joints mostly depend on where the joint is placed. Usually all my wall joints are straight cut styrene with the edge of one piece glued to the face of the other. That creates a simple enough right angle, with out having to file each edge at 45 degrees. For other joints, such as an angled roof, or the bays shown on the building below, you'll want to mitre the edge of the ajoining piece to get an even attachment.

    As for the window frames, if you cant find what your looking for, you can always etch your own. One of my first posts here on trainboard was inquiring about etching. I recieved enough information from repies and links to successfully accomplish my own etchings. I'll have to do some digging to see if I can pull that thread back up.



    Moving on to my latest scratch build. Here is the Z scale apartment painted with a nice shade of green and white trim. I threw together 2 minute lighting job and here we have it.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The interiors still need to be painted and then we'll get the rooms furnished and windows put in and finally signs and maybe an awning for the shop and clinic on the street level. [​IMG]
     
  9. Mark Watson

    Mark Watson TrainBoard Member

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  10. Pete Nolan

    Pete Nolan TrainBoard Supporter

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    They would certainly roll it to ship it. It would come in a tube about six inches in diameter and 40" long. Shipping it flat would be stupid, unless you were shipping 100 sheets or more. The supplier I would use is in West Chester. The standard dimension for a styrene sheet is 48 x 96. You can get bigger sheets--60 x 120 or even 60 x 240 on special orders. I have no trouble rolling a 0.040 sheet up into an 8" tube, although it takes some strong hands. 0.060 sheets take about 12" diameter. I'm sure thinner sheets (0.020, for example) could be rolled into smaller diameters, but I've never had to do that.

    Rolling the sheets does stretch them, but this has never been a problem for the sizes used in N scale buildings. It is sometimes an advantage with larger N scale ships, which can be as long as 40-story buildings are high.

    Lima, Ohio is quite a ways from here, past Dayton. Hamilton is the closest city, and it was home to Lima Locomotive Works, which produced some of the finest and latest steam engines.
     
  11. maxbo

    maxbo New Member

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    Thanks, Mark.

    I have been thinking about etching. Seems like it gives great possibilities for both structures and rolling stock.

    I'll check the link you gave me. Thanks.

    Karstein
     
  12. Mark Watson

    Mark Watson TrainBoard Member

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    Well just over 3 weeks ago, I had a single building on the layout. Now, thanks to my computer aided templates, I have a small town's worth of buildings! Every building on the layout is scratch built except for the Atlas passenger station, front left. :D

    [​IMG]
     
  13. Shortround

    Shortround TrainBoard Member

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    Have any of you used a product generally used for architectural models? It has a glossy facing on both sides of a 1/8" foam core. It looks like it would be easy to work with.
     
  14. Pete Nolan

    Pete Nolan TrainBoard Supporter

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    I use it all the time. It comes in 1/8", 3/16", 1/4" thicknesses and thicker. If you look around, it also comes in sizes larger than 4' x 8'. I use it like plywood. Properly braced (and that's subject to debate) it can be just as stiff. But it does have to be protected: covered where its softness is exposed, and wrapped where it might be exposed to solvents. I love it. Because of my career, I have a whole lot of it. With wood veneers, I've made furniture from it--NOT RECOMMENDED!
     
  15. Shortround

    Shortround TrainBoard Member

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    Pete,
    A couple questions. How do you seal the ends and what kind of adhesive? The last time I saw this material was in '70. The instructor had a special cutting tool to cut 45 degrees edges along with some other angles.
    Unfortunately at that time I was studying mechanical design (draftsman).
     
  16. Pete Nolan

    Pete Nolan TrainBoard Supporter

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    I generally use strips of card stock, glued with simple white glue. White glue works well with the card stock, and also with the foam. It sounds onerous, but goes very fast once you get the hang of it.

    And I do use a 45 degree cutter for outside edges although, once I got the hang of it, I could angle the cuts along a straightedge by eye. If you cut a hair beyond 45 degrees, the glue will fill the gap.
     
  17. HydroSqueegee

    HydroSqueegee TrainBoard Member

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    Pete. Where would this place in West Chester be? I wouldnt mind stopping in next time im down that way.
     
  18. Benny

    Benny TrainBoard Member

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    Check the latest Model Railroad Hobbyist e-zine for this concept on steroids...There, the author is building a rather large roundhouse, so he laid it out in CAD and then had the entire roundhouse kit cut for him by the plastics dealer, seeing as how they had a cutter and he knew how they worked. Quite intriguing!!
     
  19. SleeperN06

    SleeperN06 TrainBoard Member

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    This is all great stuff, but I’m still trying to figure out if my HP Photosmart will work, because I thought it was supposed to print photos and I assumed card stock.

    I’ve had printers in the past that I bought for printing business cards and the printer clamed to do cardstock, but the cards would come out rounded. I gave up on my old printer and got an all-in-one printer.

    You mentioned rolling up the styrene for shipping and I was wondering how much this stuff will bend.

    Does your printer roll the styrene through the printer or does it come out the back?
     
  20. Flash Blackman

    Flash Blackman Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    I won't print on the styrene. I plan to print on paper, attach it to .020 inch styrene with rubber cement, then use a sharp hobby knife to cut the pieces.

    All theory; I'm still working on it.
     

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