There's NO way that's going to 3D print!

SLSF Freak Jul 5, 2021

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  1. SLSF Freak

    SLSF Freak Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    I'm hoping this will be a fun thread for you printers out there, sharing your journey with the technology, pushing the envelope and being amazed at what you can get away with in 3D printing. Logically, 3D printing can't do everything, but you'd be surprised what you can do - here's my "no way that's going to print" story...

    N Scale Pantographs. This is actually a multi-staged adventure, beginning with Shapeways. When I designed a Little Joe for N Scale several years ago, it was designed to use Kato GG-1 pantographs. However knowing that inventory would be limited and may one day dry up, I wanted to have pantographs still be available for my kit. I didn't think Shapeways could print pantographs in metal, but I tried it anyway. From experience I knew their plastic was a no-go. Anyway I did up a design, it passed the tests, and a few weeks later I had brass pantographs:
    brassPans.jpg
    I couldn't believe they actually printed! And despite being a little chonky in photographs, they actually look delicate in person. So I decided to take it to the next level, added springs and other details to the model, and those printed, too! However, two problems I discovered with these prints - 1) results were inconsistent. To make brass items like this, you 3D print the object in wax, pack it in a fine molding sand (sorry if that's not the right terminology) then they melt out the wax leaving a void that they can pour molten brass into. Sometimes I'd receive pantographs that looked...melted. How they passed inspection is anyone's guess. 2nd issue: these are fixed position - so you can have an up pantograph or down but a single pantograph cannot do both.

    Enter the home resin 3D printers - Anycubic Photon. While learning what all the Photon could do, I decided to try my Shapeways pantographs. No way those will print, but heck, let's try it. To my astonishment it worked!!!
    resinPans.jpg
    This was the moment I realized I was being unfair to this technology - always assuming it couldn't do the impossible. In the image above you see at far left, my first resin printed pantograph. Like the Shapeways versions, it was fixed position. So I decided to do some tests, push the printer to see if it could continue doing the impossible, and I made some small joints. They worked. So I applied the joints to the pantograph model and now - I had pantographs that could go up and down. The black pantograph in the middle is an articulated printed pantograph, as is the grey on the right. You'd think these would be super delicate - but surprisingly they are not. You can break them if you want to, but with normal usage they're surprisingly strong. Each pantograph has eight pieces and takes about 15-20 minutes to assemble. Totally worth it though.

    Finally - there are single arm pantographs that I have use for - LRVs like the Siemens/Duewag U2 used by the San Diego Trolley from 1982-2015, and the Budd Metroliner
    SD_U2.jpg
    I had done brass versions of these fixed position pantographs with Shapeways as well. They looked nice (as pictured above) However, I knew there could be a home solution:
    pantoAnim.gif
    At left is the home printed articulated pan, at right is the fixed Shapeways brass print. This is a design I've been testing the last few weeks. I'm finally at a point where these are printing consistently, they're sturdy, and easier to assemble than my Milwaukee Road style pantographs. Here's a line-up of my test prints:
    resinSingleArmPans.jpg
    So - what are your success stories with 3D printing? What did you think wouldn't print but you tried it anyway and it worked?

    Cheers -Mike
     
  2. gjslsffan

    gjslsffan Staff Member

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    Thats amazing Mike.
     
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  3. CSX Robert

    CSX Robert TrainBoard Member

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    Those are mazing!
    For me, it'd be pretty much anything useful in N-scale. When I got the printer, I wasn't really think about using it for my model trains. I've got an FDM printer and I thought to print anything useful in N-scale would really require a resin printer. While the detail from the FDM printer is not as good as a resin printer, and certainly nowhere near injection molding, I've found that, at least to my eyes, it's good enough for trains that are typically more than two feet away anyway. Here are some of the projects I've been working on:
    20210705_103901.jpg
    On the left is a coal car I've been working on. Althoug it doesn't show up well in the photo, the bottom two have better detail, but they are just sides and would have to be assembled into a car(I haven't printed the rest of it yet). The top one is definitely less detail, butit prints as one piece, so no assembly other than adding trucks and couplers. I'm currently leaning towards the top because I hope to print a long unit train and not having to assembly each car may be worth the decrease in detail. The top right is intermodal containers. One neat thing about printing them is you can print a stack of two as one piece. Then I have a flat car with printed trucks and coplers, and finally one of the trucks and the couplers I've been working on. To me the coupler is probably the most suprising one to be able to print. It's kind of a unimate clone. They started out like the one on the left, where you had to lift one over the other to couple them, but that got old fast, so I'm worknig on the one on the right that will couple when pushed together. I still have some fine tuning to do but it's working pretty well. You do have to push them together by hand, and lift them to uncouple them, but I plan on using them on unit trains and other special trains (see my Schnabel thread) that will pretty much stay together.
     
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  4. SLSF Freak

    SLSF Freak Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    @CSX Robert Those look great! Couplers from an FDM is a really good example of pushing the boundaries of the technology. (y)

    Mike
     
  5. Stephane Savard

    Stephane Savard TrainBoard Member

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    I'm really liking what you printed, and really impressed by the fact that they are articulating!

    I'm curious as to which resin you're using? One thing I've noticed is that in terms of durability, not all resins are created equal. The Green clear anycubic base resin has been by far the most detailed resin I've ever tried. But look at it wrong and it breaks! Siraya Tech Fast Grey on the other hand withstands bending of delicate parts to a nice degree, but no where near the ability to print fine details.
     
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  6. SLSF Freak

    SLSF Freak Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Up until two weeks ago I was using Anycubic Grey. However the single arm pans you see here were printed with Siraya Tech Fast Grey- I had never used that resin before so this is my evaluation period of it. So far I'm noticing issues with 'overhang' areas that I experienced in early days with the OG Photon where the underside of prints were pillowy and lacking detail. I've adjusted some of the printer settings to mitigate and it helped, but did not eliminate it. Still working on that. Aside from that, details top side are good and flexibility is pretty good, so I think it's a good resin for handrails and pantographs until something better comes along.

    Mike
     
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  7. Stephane Savard

    Stephane Savard TrainBoard Member

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    Yup! that's exactly what I'm talking about!
     
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  8. Doorgunnerjgs

    Doorgunnerjgs TrainBoard Member

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    This stuff is incredible! I've been doing some FDM printing on my Ender 3V2 but nothing like any of this!
     
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