No announcement yet.

An Old Man Contemplates an Old Man's Layout

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • A 3D Printed Steam Car Bash

    While there are a number of historic references to steam dummy locomotives pulling period passenger cars, prototypes for developing this particular bash were rare on this side of the big pond and even rarer in narrow gauge. Therefore, this bash is a prototypical bit of whimsy, built using parts already on hand…well, almost.

    While hunkered down during the pandemic, I bought an On30 combine kit consisting of just three parts, a roof, a body and a chassis from a dealer on eBay. It was 3D printed, something that I had not worked with before and the body scaled out to be seven feet wide by eighteen feet long. As was expected, the texture of the exterior of the car is rather rough with numerous anomalies and glitches from the 3D printing process, among them the door and window frames and the doorknobs, which are oversized.

    Complementing this kit in its overall coarseness is the bashed running gear. It is from an Airfix OO, unpowered 0-4-0 saddle tank plastic loco kit, aka the Pug, that was bought as bash bait many years ago, during my first foray into On30. The frames, drivers, cylinders and side rods form a separate assembly that is easy to build, as the parts just snap together. In O-scale, the wheelbase measures forty-five inches and the disc type drivers are twenty-four inches in diameter.

    To make room for this assembly one of the bolsters on the 3D printed chassis had to be removed, which is a simple task requiring basic hand tools. An old HO arch bar truck supports the other end of the chassis by way of the remaining printed on bolster. Because of the driver diameter, mounting this truck requires a spacer between it and the bolster and this creates a gap under the chassis that is filled by wood dowel water tanks, slung along each side of the chassis, under the passenger compartment.

    In theory, by placing the driving wheels beneath the freight compartment of the combine body, the lack of a boiler as well as other essential stuff, will be hidden from view. However, as things turned out, the actual body is only thirteen feet long as there are end platforms, each of them two and a half feet wide, that are printed on to it. While the eight foot, three window passenger section is adequate in size, potentially seating eight at a time, the truncated freight compartment, at just five feet long, is too small to be an effective boiler room.

    Fortuitously, the eBay dealer also offers additional 3D printed parts that fit over the platforms to make enclosed vestibules that match the rest of the car body. One of them added over the platform of the freight compartment extends it to an adequate seven and a half feet long, with cubbyholes indicated at the front corners for the engineer and fireman. Historically, with full water tanks and a bushel of coal on board, a run of several miles was the norm.

    Adding a few exterior detail parts completes this caricature of a narrow gauge, self-propelled, steam powered passenger car. One of these details – the “almost” mentioned at the end of the first paragraph – is actually a plumbing part that was bought specifically for this bash from a local DIY store. It is the brass sleeve for a common, 3/8 inch compression connector that was modified to represent a flared O-scale smokestack. The part was chucked in a drill and the manufactured flare was filed down to a typical diameter and the sleeve length was shortened to fit into a hole drilled in the 3D printed roof.

    While it is more of a creature than a critter, I did enjoy the bash, although I have no plans to add it to the layout as it looks too crude – more like a LEGO train than anything else. All the best to everyone and questions and comments are always welcome.
    Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_0471.JPG
Views:	36
Size:	113.1 KB
ID:	1003517 Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_0472.JPG
Views:	32
Size:	60.0 KB
ID:	1003518 Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_0473.JPG
Views:	35
Size:	74.2 KB
ID:	1003519 Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_0474.JPG
Views:	31
Size:	111.4 KB
ID:	1003520 Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_0475.JPG
Views:	33
Size:	53.8 KB
ID:	1003521


    • Dan that looks pretty good for a 3D print and nice bash too. As a way of a suggestion if you
      don't want to use it on your layout you could always make a very small diorama to use your
      finished build. Just a thought.
      Owner, General Manager, and all around "chief cook and bottle washer" of the Caz Coal-and-Wood Railroad


      • Thanks Larry,

        I have an Ameri-Towne 501 Flag Stop Station kit that has an interesting story behind it, to do a diorama in the future.

        I can always park the creature critter behind the station. It would be a good fit.



        • Interesting piece of equipment.
          And like Larry said, that's a good 3D print job.
          Follow along as my dog and I travel the country in our van.
          FaceBook link: