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Author Topic Next Topic: Nye, Inyo & Esmeralda Railroad
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Coaltrain
Fireman

Posted - 12/30/2020 :  07:52:54 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Time for an update. I finally am able to turn a wheel on the shay. It took a while to get to this point because I kept making small adjustments to the parts, print them, assemble them, only to find I had a better idea, made more adjustments, reprint, reassemble, more changes, so on and so on. The cabooses are also a distraction I really did not need (but that is a fun diversion).

here is where I a sitting now and the direction I decided to go. I am going to build this locomotive as a hybrid brass / resin model, and here is why.

First I have to admit something, I believe I was wearing my "scratch building in brass" abilities as a badge of honor. I did not want to admit that but I need to so I can let it go and move on to what really matters, making the best model regardless of the materials and methods used, after it is the end result that is important and not how it was achieved. The short back story goes like this.

Back in the day "brass" was a holy word in model railroading. People would describe the level of someone's "model railroad-ness" with statements like, "he runs brass locomotives", or "every thing is brass". When you heard statements like that you knew they were serious model railroaders. Also, if you heard the words "scratch built" you also would thing the person was "next level". BUT, it the words "Brass" and "scratch built", AND "Locomotive" were all used to describe a model, then that person was a God. Early on those thoughts and measurements became my benchmarks that I worked to acquire. I didn't necessarily wanted to become a brass locomotive scratch builder to flaunt the skill, but it was level that I could get to and knew that I was in a special league with my idols, however I may have been silently waving my own flag more than I wanted to admit.

How I knew I had an issue with scratch building in brass is when I started dabbling in 3D resin printing. My initial goal was to use the 3D prints as test pieces only, however in a conversion with a few fellow modelers one of them asked by why don't I just try to 3D print most of it. I just could not come up with a good enough reason to hide the real reason, I scratch build in brass (said with my nose turned up).

I knew the right thing to do was to at least see if it was possible to build most the parts in resin. To do so I redesigned many of the parts to be stronger, more printer friendly, and in the case of the gear boxes and trucks I oversized all the axle slots to accept brass bushings. I also have been working with another 3D printing modeler, getting advice and bouncing ideas around with. The results so far have been really exciting.

The truth with brass is that in the early days it was not used because it held special powers, it was used because at the time it was the easiest material to work with the tools and the technology of the time. It only became special because many unusual models were being imported, and compared to the plastic or metal models of the time it did look better. However, most of the time brass may have looked better, but running better could be debated. Of course in the early years running good was always an issue no matter what the model was made of. These days brass cannot hold a candle to what is being offered in plastic, both in looks and running. it is funny though how we still use the brass as a measurement, "better than brass".

As a professional designer I feel it is my duty to embrace any new technology or methods that will produce better models. why do I "need to", because if I we don't keep looking forward we risk killing the hobby. I became aware of that a couple months ago when my nephew was over and I showed him what I was doing with trains, he is not a model railroader but he spent hours looking at what I was doing with 3D prints and the parts I was making. It also opens up the possibility of even more voids in the hobby being filled. As the older generation of model builders are passing we are losing (or getting really close to losing) many of the products they once produced. Casting that were made 40-50 years ago are either showing the age in the quality of detail, or the molds are wearing out and with low demand there is no reason to invest in replacing them. We may very well see a day with no brass casting manufactures. By starting now in 3D printing we will learn what works and what does not, then figure out how to make was does not work able to work. Then demand will produce better printers and material better suited for the parts we need to print. Maybe we will get to desktop injection molding, or printers that can print like injection molded parts that are just as strong and long lasting.

So the end of this story is that I am going to build this model with as many 3D printed parts as possible. If the model does not hold up I still have the parts to reprint replacements, or send them off for brass casting and just build it again in brass. However, if I go my goal now is to succeed, because if I go in assuming it will fail, or show it will fail, then I will not work hard to make it succeed.

here are some images of where I am at now. With the drive now testing and running I am working on all the details. I did some test prints to see what would reproduce on my current printer and I am using that data to confidently spend the hours modeling details on all the parts. One thing that we are going to have to get over is that 3D printing is not just "pushing the button". It is just pushing a button...after you spend 100 hours making the button. Digital scratch building is just as time and labor consuming as working in styrene, wood, or brass.

here is the assembled drive line, the crank shaft is just a brass rod for now. Manns Creek shay #8 is a little unusual because it was special ordered with a really long tender, which pushed the back truck out four feet more. Currently I am using a set of Kemtron universals but they were designed for a typical truck spacing and I will have to extend the shaft, but for now I just pulled the coupler we out so I could run it.



here is the current state of the digital model. the smoke stack is still being fleshed out, once done it will include all the repair patches of the prototype. you can see the cab front is fully detailed. If you are asking why not print in one pieces, the reason is that every part prints better in different orientations on the printer. Also, if one part fails to print, the entire part does not need reprinting. I want all the boiler attachments to be separate for painting.



here are some parts off the printer, there is some dust on the parts from support material removal. Most parts that are printed use what are called supports used to areas of the part in place, they look like sprues, and you cut the off like sprues. The resin sands really nice and i use fine sand paper or diamond files to remove all the little support nubs.







And where are the cabooses at. I printed a roof for the HOn3 version and just added grab irons on it last night (so glad I switched to O scale). The On3 version now has a full interior (minus seat cushions), all of which was 3D printed.





the HOn3 version is not in as good of shape as the On3. I had to remove some parts that were became broken or damaged over the years. The letter board I had to scrape away and a new one will be installed when the roof is glued in place. The cupola is in the process of being painted and still has tape on the inside and the roof.




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TRAINS1941
Engineer

Premium Member


Posted - 12/30/2020 :  09:35:22 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Great story line. And some beautiful parts made in resin.

I think with your talent and expertise things will turn out just fine.

Plus I think your right brass will be part of the past in model railroading!


Jerry

"And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years." A. Lincoln

Country: USA | Posts: 13391 Go to Top of Page

Tyson Rayles
Moderator

Premium Member


Posted - 12/30/2020 :  09:39:07 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Looking good!


Country: USA | Posts: 13458 Go to Top of Page

quarryman
Fireman



Posted - 12/30/2020 :  10:32:23 AM  Show Profile  Visit quarryman's Homepage  Reply with Quote
First horn-hook couplers, then dyed sawdust, now brass!

Mark Chase
Richmond VA



Country: USA | Posts: 1208 Go to Top of Page

Chris333
Engine Wiper

Posted - 12/30/2020 :  3:35:40 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I remember reading that there is nothing magical about brass, it just happens to be the best material suited for the process. When I was finally able to buy a brass loco I ended up tearing it apart to re-power and re-detail it into what I wanted. I quickly learned that they are just custom hand made body shells with just enough thought into the chassis to make them able to "move". But later on a few brass geared locomotives did run great from the factory due to the need for gear reduction to follow the prototype.

Then I learned how to etch parts in brass at home. Later found a place in Scotland that could etch them for me at a reasonable price. When I got back into HOn30 I could cobble up a few things that made it worthwhile. But then 3D hit. I knew CAD, but nothing about 3D. My first 3D models were draw up by someone else after me sending them a 2D CAD drawing and asking "can you make this 3D?". I slowly figured out how to do it myself and started just making what ever I wanted. Even have one video showing a whole train that is all 3D printed. If it wasn't for 3D I would have given up on HOn30 by now. The way 3D hit so fast I wonder how fast it will progress. I do know if printers get much better I will need to step up my drawings. Some say the 3D parts are only good to make casting from and will not last, but they are resin and many old MR kits are resin. And here is a guy who tested the resin strength:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ekDs60QxmNE

I never noticed the longer tank on the Manns Creek shay, I'll have to go dig out the book.



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Bernd
Fireman



Posted - 12/30/2020 :  5:42:01 PM  Show Profile  Visit Bernd's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Chris333

Some say the 3D parts are only good to make casting from and will not last, but they are resin and many old MR kits are resin.



The resin casting will last. The thing that won't last is a steal shaft spinning in a resin hole. The hole will eventually get worn bigger from lack of lubricant or dirt getting into the hole. That dirt and that shaft spinning around will act like a lapping compound and wear out to a bigger hole. Coaltrain was very smart in using a bushing for the gear shafts to run in. I really like his design of that gear box with the bushings in it.

Bernd


New York, Vermont & Northern Rwy. - Route of the Black Diamonds

Country: USA | Posts: 4005 Go to Top of Page

Coaltrain
Fireman

Posted - 12/30/2020 :  6:04:54 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
thanks all, I am pretty motivated now. I am very fortunate that 3D printing fell right into my job skill of 3D design of real parts. I have been 3D modeling since 1991, what a stroke of good fortune for me.

I have to say that not all 3D programs are created equal, and sad to say that at the moment the cheaper (or free) stuff seems a little cumbersome to use. I use parametric software an all my models are parts and assemblies. when I go to do shay #2 and #5 I will just alter the parameters to make the different variations without the need to go through this all over again.

here is #8's stack, complete with welded on patches. If I get really crazy I may load this part into Blender and add the dents.




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Sully
Fireman

Premium Member


Posted - 12/30/2020 :  7:12:31 PM  Show Profile  Visit Sully's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Really coming along well. Can't wait to see the test run video.
Your work in 3D modeling is really firing up a lot interest.



Country: USA | Posts: 2684 Go to Top of Page

Coaltrain
Fireman

Posted - 12/31/2020 :  09:09:43 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
i will do a test video soon, i actually broke it on purpose, I wanted to see how powerful it was and how much effort it would take to break the drive. That is another nice thing about making your own part is that it is fine to just break a few. I am going to change the main gear on the crank shaft, or what will be the crank shaft. The gear I was using is pretty small and I have one that is just a little bigger. Currently I am trying to figure out how I want to do the crank shaft. I am pretty sure a resin crank shaft will fail, too think and the weird way it transmits torque will break it easily. some ideas I am toying with is to use the Kemtron (still made by PSC) and saw out the journal that the gear would be installed, make a jig to drill into the counter weights, and add a new shaft in that spot with the gear mounted on it. second idea is to still use the Kemtron crank shaft but make a jig and saw the gear in half, which require using two gears to make one, then solder them in place around the shaft using another jig to hold them in place. Third idea is to have one printed in two pieces from shapeways. fourth idea is to just make all the pieces and solder up an entirely new crank shaft

this morning was exciting, I printed the smoke stack, which is the signature feature of shay #8. the story of the stack is that when #8 was delivered it had a straight stack, the RR ordered a Radley Hunter stack from Lima, however in the process a number got mixed up and instead of a stack sized for a 42 ton narrow gauge shay they got a much larger stack for a standard gauge shay that I believe was operating up in Canada. The giant stack, and the long rear line shaft are the two really special features of #8.

Last night I loaded up the stack model in the printer and this morning when I saw it I was pretty impressed. I also printed what is called the smokebox saddle, however I will have to reprint it because this morning when I was looking through the Lima parts catalog I noticed that it should have 8 hold down bolts and I only have 6.

I also reprinted a new steam dome with more details on it. I added lagging clamps to the insulating jacket that goes around the steam delivery pipe flange.

The stack is keyed to the base so the weld patches will be in the correct orientation when I install it. I mock assembled it to see how it all was fitting up. keep in mind that nothing is glued in place and may look to be leaning this way or that. I set the new #8 next to my old #8 to see the difference, and you can see just how big that stack really is. I also tried to tilt the lighting to show the details better, it is really hard to see in a photo of black plastic, I am sure when it weathers the details will really pop











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Chris333
Engine Wiper

Posted - 01/01/2021 :  12:50:09 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Man I know those are O scale, but still those are crisp prints.


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Tyson Rayles
Moderator

Premium Member


Posted - 01/01/2021 :  09:25:42 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote



Country: USA | Posts: 13458 Go to Top of Page

Chris333
Engine Wiper

Posted - 01/01/2021 :  10:54:07 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Ha! I just noticed the slot in the sand dome for the actuating lever, nice.


Country: | Posts: 301 Go to Top of Page

Coaltrain
Fireman

Posted - 01/01/2021 :  11:31:03 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks. I am not sure why model steam locomotives donít have the sand rod ever, even the PSC models donít have it. I purchased the Lima drawings for the sand dome and it is neat how it all works and what a sand dome really looks like on the inside, not what I expected


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Coaltrain
Fireman

Posted - 01/01/2021 :  11:34:37 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The picture of my printed model next to my brass model is a good comparison. As you can see the detail level in the resin model is actually better than the brass castings. So between brass and resin when it comes to detail resin to me is the winner. So if the strength thing can be overcome then R.I.P. brass.


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Coaltrain
Fireman

Posted - 01/05/2021 :  07:10:58 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Happy New Year everyone.

Shay update, built a third model with new parts, it is getting better. I enlarged all the shaft holes to accept brass tube bearings, the gearbox now turns smooth. I replaced the motor with a different one I had, it used the same mounting holes but the max RPMs were less so the motor did not cog. I changed my test decoder from an old DH140 to a ESU, which made the motor run much better, no more buzzing.

from the motor through the crank shaft everything is running good and smooth, the trucks are a different story. I noticed that I did not gauge the wheel sets before I designed the truck parts, turns out they were 0.017" under gauge. When I gauged my wheel sets the side frames were too tight, so I altered the 3D parts and as I type this the new ones are on the printer. I should be able to assemble a new set of trucks tonight. maybe tonight is the night I get a video of it running.

I also modeled up some Kadee couplers to check the fit of the box and the coupler height. my goal is to be able to use a full coupler box that will fit a Kadee and be able to self center. I know at the moment I am using Serent couplers, however that may change do to availability issues, and I still prefer Kadee couplers for ease of operation.

I made a 2D drawing of my 3D model so far so I could check some dimensions against the Lima drawing. There is still something I like about seeing a 2D drawing.





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