With the 3D model of the UP re-built water tender complete and successfully ordered from Shapeways, a review of the actual model was needed to check everything was okay before making it available to all.
When the test print for the tender arrived it looked fantastic although it was hard to see all the detail due to the waxy residue left over from the print process, and the fact that the FUD material is almost transparent. This also makes it very hard to photograph but putting it onto a black background really helps. Here are all the parts for the kit laid out after a quick wash in warm water.
The water removed a lot of the residue but it would still need to be soaked in Goo Gone for 24 hours to totally eradicate it. At this stage the detailed parts start to become easier to see as well as the few areas which had not printed correctly. For example, on the trucks at the bottom of the photo you can see the air cylinders and the pipes running back into the trucks; there is a gap between them that should not be there. Looking back at the 3D model it became apparent there was an error which did not show up easily. This was fixed before releasing the model. There were also some other minor issues with the piping, once again all traced back to the 3D model; these were also fixed. One of the most noticeable things in this photo is the chassis which has a bow in it. This chassis is very thin to help keep the cost of printing the model down, however is not a concern as this particular model is designed so the strength comes from the main body, which is very strong due to the multi-curved surfaces. The chassis straightens out when put into place. Once the model is cleaned, painted and the trucks have been attached, the chassis is designed to be glued in place making a very strong, complete body. For reference, should you receive a chassis, or any other part, that is bowed more than is shown in this picture, it can be easily be corrected using hot water as described n this previous post.
Another important part to check are the trucks to see how well the wheels fit. This model has been designed to take Micro-trains 33″ wheel sets and, learning from experience, I don’t recommend trying to fit Atlas 33″ wheel sets as they are a lot wider and I broke one of the sides of the trucks clean off. This was not all bad, I discovered that this material can be repaired very effectively with Loctite Gel Control super glue and it highlighted a weak spot in the trucks which was also fixed in the 3D model. The Micro-Train wheels sets fit perfectly with a satisfying click.
Another problem I foresaw was with the ladders. In themselves they are very small and consequently could easily be misplaced, either whilst being handled by Shapeways or by the modeller as they are cleaned ready for painting. I didn’t want to make them a part of the main body as this would make it even harder to paint so I joined them together on a ring.
Once all the parts have been cleaned the ring can simply be cut away releasing the ladders. This is something that can be achieved only through 3D printing; no other manufacturing processes can produce parts joined together as one that don’t actually touch each other. This also helps Shapeways guarantee they have put the right parts in the right box. Customer feedback on this has proved this works.
I found when test fitting the Micro-Trains body mount couplers a slightly bigger space would help as they where a tight fit so this was changed in the 3D model.
Once the parts had been soaked in the Goo Gone and properly cleaned they were test fitted again. Everything fitted and worked. Below you can see the model on a test track between a Rivarossi Challenger and a steel box car.
The tool boxes on top are still loose, as are ladders, flag plates and headlights. Once painted these can all be glued on as well as securing the chassis.
With all the updates made to the 3D model it is now released for sale and you can find it here.
The next step is painting which is done by Bob so I’ll share that with you!