First adventures in 3D printing

Brass pattern

For a long time, I have been a firm believer in 3D printing for model railroad parts.
But I have just recently gotten around to trying the concept for myself. Above you can see the testcasting from the first rapid prototyping part I have made.

The subject for my 3D printing adventure is an 0m gauge (1/45 scale) ore wagon:

Ore wagon

So far, I am preparing the .stl files in SketchUp, a software that is reasonably cheap, and pretty straight forward to learn.

wagon 3D

I plan to make this wagon in brass, so I started to look for a service provider that uses Solidscape printers. Solidscape make printers that are especially designed for printing wax patterns intended for Lost Wax casting.

For those not familiar with the lost-wax process, here is a brief overview:

1. Make a master in a stable material, preferably metal.
2. Make a rubber mould from the master
3. Cast a wax part in the rubber mould Casters usually make several wax patterns and assemble them into a casting “three”.
4. Cover the wax part with plaster.
5. Burn out the wax part in a special oven.
6. Fill the void in plaster with molten brass.
7. Smash the plaster without damaging the brass parts.
8.Go back to step 3 and repeat as many times as necessary.

I have earlier used the company Korean Brass for casting with good results. I wanted to use them again, so I found a service provider in Korea that uses Solidscape machine. Unfortunately, this was not as straightforward as I hoped, so I might try another printer n the future. But to make a long story short, I got a test pattern in brass form Korea Brass, and it looks rather promising.

Brass pattern

Brass pattern

Brass pattern

There are several issues with this part that have to be worked out. So even if this part is good enough to use as a master, it will be no more than a proof of concept.
To be continued!

3 thoughts on “First adventures in 3D printing

  1. It’s look good!

    Maybe you can show a hole train set whit both Westinghouse engine
    and wagons on the train Show in 2011! And maybe You should
    build a another Module to! So you have som track length.

  2. Since I am modeling in 1:48 I have been interested in this ‘work in progress’. The use of Sketchup as the modeling engine of course has all been interesting. I just downloaded Sketchup 8 .. and wish I could afford the Pro version. I’m curious about the process you went through with the Korean casting service if you get the opportunity to talk about that! 🙂

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