Thursday, August 11, 2016

3D Printing - Far from Finished

What a difference a couple years makes in this hobby.  When I designed my first truck for 3d printing, there was a huge void in realistic trucks in N scale.  I look around now and we have a lot to choose from, and more on the way.

I had ordered some models a few months ago in the new "extreme detail" by Shapeways, and never got around to finishing them.  I haven't shared anything for several months, so thought I would shoot some photos and post them tonight.

Here is my triple axle Wilson cattle trailer.  Yes, I agree that the Trainworx Merritt trailer is awesome, but mine is bigger....

You can never have enough of a great model.  I need a packing plant to serve with this many trailers.

Here is the reefer project I started, finished, and then became bored with.  Trainworx has a beautiful model of their own coming soon, but this version has horizontal ribs.  I might try to complete a couple of these, but the painting is where man versus machine is so apparent.

 A couple short extendable container chassis.  I just need to get some paint on these guys.

Here is my complete East 39' Dump Trailer.  The front axle is raised in case it looks a bit funny in the picture.  This will be a good model for a construction scene or hauling aggregate to a cement plant.

A couple new trucks in the paint shop.  My 379 Pete had a flat top roof, where this 389 has the taller cab roof for either a day cab version or with the Unibilt sleeper.  This is also the same cab/sleeper combo that I used on my custom version 389 which is on the triple axle cattle trailer above.  The lime green rig will have one of my bull bumpers applied for livestock service and the red will be a daycab.

Monday, February 15, 2016

It's About Time - Some New Layout Ideas

It's been a very long time since I have spent any meaningful energy towards my N scale hobby.  I guess addictions can fade over time.  However, lately I've had a desire to get re-engaged in the hobby, at least in a small way.  I revisited a couple layout designs that I drafted over the last couple of years to see if I could come up with something that would inspire me to start a new project.  My garage is used for multiple things, and I didn't want another island style layout like my Marias Pass, which took up a lot of space.  Instead, I am looking to do a shelf style layout in an "L" shape to optimize the wall space I have available.  The main component on the left will be a 7' maximum length, with a width of 4' at the elbow of the "L".  This can be conveniently built from a 4x8 sheet of plywood.  I then have about 10' along the right side wall in which I can add an extension of 6' for some additional yard space.

I would like to feature my 3d printed trucks on this layout, as well as the lumber loads that I created a few years back.  That gives me at least a start to my list of industries.

The current short list includes:

  • grain elevator with truck scale and unloading building for my 43' and 50' Wilson grain trailers and straight trucks
  • lumber centerbeam transloading area or simple truss building shop requiring lumber delivery
  • meat packing with loads of cattle being delivered in my Wilson cattle pots, and then cold storage and outbound beef in 64' reefer cars as well as truck/trailer reefer rigs.
  • small intermodal facility to feature trucks and utilize a pair of piggy packer loaders that I own.
  • other industries that I haven't decided on yet.
I like the idea of a major highway overpass stretching through the center of the layout.  I haul grain to an elevator in Council Bluffs that is right next to and under interstate I-80 which gave me the idea.  This would be a focal point for truck traffic as well as a natural view block to separate the layout into two sides.

I'll give these ideas some time to sink in and just maybe I'll be inspired to get the woodworking tools dirty again.  Let me know what you think.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Time to Start a New Chapter

I haven't posted on my blog for months, due to lots of other things going on in my life, and I seem to check email about once a month, so while I haven't been off the grid, it hasn't been far from it.

I thought I would post some exciting news from Trainworx if you haven't already seen it.  I must say that when I first saw the announcements of Trainworx getting in the truck and trailer arena, it was bittersweet.  I am excited that a major player is now getting serious about some popular and meaningful models for us in N scale.  However, they have come forward with guns blazing, and seem to have replicated multiple truck and trailer models that I have designed for 3D printing over the past 2 years.  I have always said that 3d printing had its limitations, and now that Trainworx has stepped up, they will be able to provide us great models, painted, and ready to use on our layouts, as well as a very reasonable price compared to a raw 3d printed model.

I do find it ironic that they are creating a 379 Pete with a Merritt livestock trailer.  Hmmm, I wonder how they got that idea?  I like to think that I had a lot of influence over their model decisions, but I guess it really doesn't matter whose idea it was in the end.  I hope to see a lot more modern truck models from them and welcome other players into this space as well.

So what does this mean for me?  Not sure.  I get hot and cold on projects all the time, and lately, I haven't touched anything in N scale.  I still do have many unique designs that no one else in N scale has replicated, so I don't plan to shut down my Shapeways shop any time soon.  I never really intended this to be a business, but rather a fun way to finance my hobby.  I would have put forth more effort otherwise.  If I get an itch in the future I might try to design some new models.  But ultimately, I think this might be the change that forces me to look at a layout again.  I am certainly due for another layout project, and have carried many ideas with me since I sold my Marias Pass years ago.

Here is the flyer about the new Trainworx model.  There are photos online circulating of other "in progress" models as well which include a wide variety of models we desperately need.  I see the 379 Pete with Merritt trailer listed for under $30 on some online shops.  That is a steal when you consider that my Wilson version costs about that same amount for a raw printed copy.  Way to go Trainworx.

Monday, March 23, 2015

3d Print Quality - A Closer Look (some new things including my 53' reefer)

I just got a new package from Shapeways today and thought I would share some close up photos of some of my latest designs.  After a soak in Bestine, I rinsed the pieces off with warm water and while they were drying, I took some photos.  Keep in mind that some of the parts are still damp, which tends to leave them with a more transparent appearance.

This 389 Peterbilt isn't a new design, but I did enhance some things.  In addition, I have added a set of mudflaps as part of the grill and air cleaner sprue.  They have a bracket already designed in, with a mounting pin that fits into a hole already designed into the frame.  I am anxious to assemble one of these to see how they turn out.

My concrete block layered sandwich pieces turned out as expected.  The detail is great.

This isn't my first 53' reefer print, but the first I am sharing.  I tweaked the design slightly from the original, but the components are still pretty much the same.  I wanted to show a close up of the rear door, as the detail is very clean.  I have already assembled one of these trailers and they are a beautiful trailer.  With no one else in the world making a modern reefer, I'm excited to be the first to do so.  We desperately need them.