Many thanks to all of you that expressed sympathy on the passing of my mom. It's been a rough stretch, but getting back into my modeling projects has been a good tonic. So I'm back in the shop, well actually mostly on the computer, as I restart work on the locomotive. The locomotive build project and techniques I plan to use on it are evolving as I work on it.
First, last month I purchased a Anycubic Photon 3D resin printer on sale. The price was less than $200. I also got their wash and cure machine, a few bottles of resin, some rubber gloves and alcohol. So I started dabbling in some 3D printing.
Since I am mostly interested in printing items that I can use on my railroad, I'm pretty much stuck learning how to do 3D drafting as very few fine scale models of civil war era stuff are available. I had a little prior experience with 3D drafting, but I needed to learn a lot more to be proficient. The best way to learn is by doing, so I dove in.
|First useful parts from the 3D printer|
As I discussed a few posts ago, I was planning on laser cutting the frame side rails along with some other parts from metal using a outside service. I still plan to do that for the drive rods and some of the valve gear. But, I think I will have the frame and the cylinders 3D printed in metal from Shapeways. Various folks have reported good success in printing locomotive parts in brass. Unfortunately, my frame is too large for their brass 3D printing process. I could cut the frame in parts and solder them together, but I think I will try make the frame in some other 3D printed metal. Shapeways makes their parts in brass using a lost wax process. They also have other techniques for printing steel (actually a steel-bronze matrix) and many other materials. The metal prints tend to be much more expensive than plastic and it looks like their surface texture is not as good, so I need to tread carefully here.