N Scale EMD F40PHM-2 (Metra)

by DaminKeenan
N Scale EMD F40PHM-2 (Metra) 3d printed Model trains Miniatures Model built and painted by custom modeler Jeff King of MilwaukeeRoadTrainShop.com. Photo by Jeff King.
Model built and painted by custom modeler Jeff King of MilwaukeeRoadTrainShop.com. Photo by Jeff King.
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This is a replacement shell for modeling an Electro-Motive Division (EMD) F40PHM-2 in N scale (1:160).

Built exclusively for Metra (Chicago’s suburban rail transit agency) as an order of 30 units in 1992, the F40PHM-2 was the last version of the F40PH built new by EMD. Their arrival allowed Burlington Northern (now BNSF, and a Metra contractor) to finally retire its veteran fleet of first-generation EMD E-units. These locomotives can be seen on a daily basis, hauling "dinkies" along BNSF’s busy “racetrack” between Chicago and Aurora.

This model is designed to fit a Kato N scale F40PH mechanism. It consists of the body and a sprue of detail parts. The detail parts include a replacement front pilot with a pocket sized to accept a Micro-Trains coupler, the platforms that mount onto the nose of the locomotive, and the beacons that mount on the roof of the cab. Warning, these parts are extremely delicate; please be very careful when handling them! I’ve provided extras in case some of them break.

In addition to the parts provided from Shapeways, you will need the following to complete the model...

• A Kato donor F40PH.

• BLMA #59 - 15" Drop Grab irons (0 .009" Wire, 20/pack).

• BLMA #81 - 48" Fan Grill w/o Center Plate.

• BLMA #83 - 48" Fan Grill w/Center Plate.

• BLMA #224 - Nathan K5HR24 Air Horns (2 per pack).

• Scalelink Mini 13 - Micro-Mesh (0.20mm Square, 0.125mm Bar Width).

• Micro-Trains 001-02-052 (2004-1) - Body Mount Couplers.

• Microscale #60-918 - Metra Diesels (Out of print, see note below).

In addition, a suitable DCC decoder and some LEDs will be needed to replicate the lighting effects of a Metra locomotive. Since this is an N scale model, you'll probably want to go with 0402 size surface-mount LEDs. I've purchased pre-wired 0402 LEDs from ledbaron on Ebay. The decoder would need at least 5 function outputs for the lighting effects: the headlights, the marker lights (you'd probably use the decoder's back-up light output), the left ditchlight, the right ditchlight, and the mars light. Digitrax makes a 6-function DCC decoder (DN163K0D) that replaces the Kato light board. They also make a sound decoder (SDN144K0A), but it only has 4 function outputs.

Please let me know what you think of this model if you order it.


SPECIAL NOTE: For those who are interested in decals for this locomotive, Jeff King has offered to print custom decals for a fee. He asks that you provide a photo of a painted model that's ready to have the decals applied. He asks this because he wants to be sure that the decals are actually used instead of being stashed away for "some day." You can contact him through his website, MilwaukeeRoadTrainShop.com. I would also like to thank him for sharing the pictures of the finished model that he built using this shell.


IN: 1.996 w x 4.094 d x 1.091 h
CM: 5.07 w x 10.398 d x 2.77 h


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This is pretty cool. There are really only two issues. One being related to 3D printing. Which I have encountered before from other printers too. Just seems to go with this process. That is the print lines. I asked Damin to indicate this is definitely a runner's model. The place this will be appreciated most is on a layout. While it is not beyond possible a collector might simply appreciate this for what it is. Unique. I think runners will get the most joy from it. As it should be. The other issue is really more decision related. The lights. Of which there are many. All having some potential to be lit and functional. I probably should not say this is even an issue. Except I know some of us have different skill sets. You might want a DCC person as a buddy to help you finish this. If lighting FX via SMT pads scares you. Hey, they scare me. That is why I even suggest this could be an issue. Certainly not one without a solution. Can't say thanks enough for doing this and sharing it with us. Now how about a F40C to round out a METRA roster. Ha ha!
September 28, 2013, 11:21 pm
@DaminKeenan cool ,
August 20, 2013, 11:05 pm
@mariuszjj @Metra614 Got my UPS shipment notification yesterday. Delivery is supposed to be Wednesday.
August 20, 2013, 10:05 pm
@DaminKeenan i guess need an f40 readdy for that :) .........
August 20, 2013, 5:53 pm
Outstanding, you're doing amazing work
August 15, 2013, 6:43 pm
@Metra614 The last issue that I need to resolve is the alignment between the doors (on the shell) and the steps (on the frame). I measured the offset and modified the design accordingly. I put in an order for another test print last night. It could take up to 10 days for delivery. If everything checks out, I'll make it available for purchase.
August 15, 2013, 5:12 pm
Do you have an estimate as to when I could buy some of these?
August 15, 2013, 3:25 pm
@mariuszjj No it's still FUD. It's just white because I soaked it in Bestine overnight to remove the wax residue. Bestine is sold in arts and crafts stores as a thinner for rubber cement. Lots of other users recommended it on various 3D printing forums.
August 15, 2013, 12:14 am
did u use different material for that one?
August 14, 2013, 11:15 pm
@DaminKeenan when u expect to release it? it looks good already ... plus how much ?
August 12, 2013, 10:28 pm
@DaminKeenan Hello any progress I see the pics on the page look never...
August 12, 2013, 8:16 pm
Beautiful work on this. Would love to get a few in HO.
August 12, 2013, 2:35 pm
That is awesome to hear. One of my customers saw this and pointed it out to me. So I know through me you have at least one sale. Probably 2. I need to round out my METRA fleet.
August 10, 2013, 12:27 am
@kingj63 The issue with the pilot is done, and I consider that design complete. I'm waiting on what I hope to be my final test print. If the print is successful, and the parts fit as intended, then I'll open the model up for sale to others. I just got my UPS shipping notice earlier today - hopefully this shell will be in my hands by Monday!
August 9, 2013, 9:30 pm
I know some people count rivets. Others do not. Looking at posts you have put up elsewhere of what you have accomplished so far. You have a marketable product now. Nothing will ever please everyone. It seems that the issues you are trying to resolve revolve around the pilot. If the Kato pilot works with the shell as you seem to indicate it does? Run with an early version. Making perfectly clear that this is the shell. The pilots will be included in a later update. Some people simply will not care about the pilots. Would like to have one of these in their lifetime. Like yesterday please. Oh yes. If it is not clear. The pictures of what you have pulled off to date are more than just OK. I pronounce resin casting dead. This stuff is so cool!
August 9, 2013, 6:38 pm
Waiting to receive the latest test printing. It should be in my hands by Monday. This one was to test the fit of the shell and pilot together on the Kato chassis (I've had good luck with the shell, the pilot has been a different story). If it turns out well, then the last thing to add will be the holes for the grab irons. I'll keep you posted.
July 20, 2013, 2:34 pm
@mariuszjj, the photo-etched parts worked out fine. It was a bit more difficult than I expected, but it's certainly do-able. Sorry, but I haven't gotten a chance to take pictures yet.
July 20, 2013, 2:33 pm
Just wondering ... What's the rear grille / went verdict... go / no go?
July 18, 2013, 9:14 pm
June 7, 2013, 3:30 am
Cool ...
May 17, 2013, 12:48 pm
The sound decoder from Digitrax is too much work and too much chopping of the chassis is needed. The MRC sound decoder drops right in and sounds just as good. Plus it does not stall when the horn is blown. You need to make room for a loose speaker and a required capacitor, that Digitrax says is optional but the loco would not move without it. With all the holes in the body near the speaker the MRC will sound great! Please list the needed part numbers if successful.
May 17, 2013, 5:39 am
@ChicagoNW, @mariuszjj, I've uploaded a new render of the shell with openings for inserting photo-etched fans and radiator screens. Once it's printed, I post a photo of the shell with the parts installed.
May 17, 2013, 5:01 am
@mariuszjj , it's a drop-in decoder (basically replaces the Kato lightboard). Here's a link to the decoder on the MRC website: http://www.modelrectifier.com/search/product-view.asp?ID=8284
May 16, 2013, 4:54 pm
@DaminKeenan for my use on f59s that would be nice how big is that decoder? The f40 requires the speaker To be in a frame ? I have shaved off the whole back end on my Second frame without issues but still hard wired I think is better.
May 16, 2013, 4:45 pm
@mariuszjj, I got an MRC sound decoder to test out specifically because I don't want to machine the frame (the Digitrax sound decoder requires that an openning be cut into the frame to fit the speaker, but the MRC speaker is mounted on the decoder). If it sounds okay, I'll use it. Otherwise, I'll drop the sound and just go with the lighting effects.
May 16, 2013, 4:27 pm
BTW cerfull how much u machine the f40 chassis ( had to machine mine to fit in my Kaslo f59ph shell and it CRACKED ..... ) the part that the trucks clip into (its really skinny to much heat and it just falls apart ( got it put together - dont see a replacement frames from kato ....... ) ..........
May 16, 2013, 2:49 am
cant wait to see it .... wanna see how that mesh will come out for the sides.... still working on my Metrolinks for now ... but anyhow the etched parts gonna look great - if u plan on sound decoder it will sound great as for the fans its hit and miss .... installed fans in my GP49-PH3 (tight fit) but f59phi came out better ( next need to do my f40) ....
May 16, 2013, 2:46 am
Sorry, I meant BLMA.
May 16, 2013, 2:19 am
@ChicagoNW, still working on it. I'm close but the fans and the radiator grills tend to fit in when you paint them. I was talking with @mariuszjj via private message, and am following his suggestion of using photo-etched parts for these areas. I've gotten fans from BMLA and screen material from Ngineering. I'm waiting on deliver of another test shell. I'll post pictures when it's ready.
May 16, 2013, 2:17 am
So, how is project going? I'd love one for my fleet.
May 16, 2013, 12:53 am
any chance when this is done of you upscaling it to HO?
March 21, 2013, 1:54 am
@ChicagoNW, In regards to modifying the original chassis, the new shell is designed to fit onto the chassis just as the original Kato shell did. No modification will be needed. I did have to file down the inside corners of the front pilot in order to get it to fit inside the new shell. However, the final design will include a replacement front pilot that better matches Metra practice. The final design will use the stock rear pilot. It fits without any modification, however I'd suggest removing the rear handrails and plating over the end steps (again to better to match Metra practice).
December 19, 2012, 8:38 pm
@ChicagoNW, I agree with your comment regarding not being able to see the details until the shell is painted (or at least primed). However I chose FUD because I wanted to get the finest detail possible.
December 19, 2012, 8:32 pm
I hate FUD as you cannot see and detail until it is panted. But as the designer you get the last word on the quality. What I see looks good. Are changes to the chassis add-ons or physical modifications?
December 19, 2012, 5:04 am
@mariuszjj Yes, it's sitting on the Kato frame. The photo shows the stock Kato front pilot which is incorrect for Metra and will be replaced with a new pilot as shown in the computer renderings (the replacement pilot will be included with the shell; along with some plates to cover the side steps on the rear pilot). In regards to the F40 Kato is releasing February, I've already got all three road numbers on reserve at my local hobbyshop.
December 19, 2012, 3:18 am
Nice... is that sitting on the F40 chassis? ( Kato is coming out with Metra f40 in Feb) i guess gonna have 3 sets then ..... ( most likely i gonna be up for 2 of yours )
December 19, 2012, 1:09 am
@km59 @mariuszjj @ChicagoNW Just a quick update to let you know that the second test shell arrived today and has been fitted onto the Kato donor chassis. I'm really pleased with the way the shell itself turned out. However the front pilot is going to need to adjustments to get it to fit. Pictures to follow soon...
December 15, 2012, 7:13 am
nice more metras ( even kato is coming out with f40 metra)
December 13, 2012, 9:44 am
Regarding direct comparisons to the prototype, I don't have a fully detailed shell in my hands yet. I just received a notification from Shapeways that my second test model is about to go to their printers. The first shell was just the basic shape without any of the surface details. The second one matches the lasted renders I've posted. Once I received it, I'll take it out for comparisions. I expected that some minor changes will need to be made before proceeding to the final version.
December 11, 2012, 10:35 pm
Regarding the F40C, making conversion pieces sounds like an interesting idea. Adding the corrugated side panels, carving off the steam generator details, and plating over the end steps would result in a very passible F40, especially in N scale. I think that'll be my next project. But first I need to get this one done!
December 11, 2012, 10:31 pm
While the F40C may seen not that different than a FP45 those stainless steel panels are very daunting when you have to add all those pieces to make the panels. Even just making conversion pieces would be useful. The F40 looks so good, have you made a direct comparison?
December 11, 2012, 1:35 am
Sorry that it's taking so long. But I want to make sure that everything works before offering it up for sale. Since the last update, I've had a test model made in order to evaluate the shape of the nose (I can't get rid of the feeling that it's wrong somehow but I can't figure out exactly why). Meanwhile, I hoping to get this model finished in a couple of weeks. I then plan on making another test shell to show to other local modellers to get their feedback. Then, if all goes well, I'll offer it for sale. In regards to an F40C, I too an interested in creating one. However, I don't have any scale drawings to start from and I'm not sure it's different enough from an FP45 to make a digital model worthwhile. Instead, it may be easier to kitbash it from the Santa Fe version of the Athearn model.
October 24, 2012, 10:10 pm
It's tough waiting for you to add all the details. I volunteer to test it out. Looks great so far. This and an F40C and the historical RTA/Metra fleet will be complete.
October 24, 2012, 2:54 am
I'm designing the shell to be specific to the Kato mechanism. However, I do have a powered Like-Like F40PH on hand, so I can make a version designed to fit that chassis. As for making a nose-only version, I did consider that. However I figured it would be easier to create a drop-in replacement for the body instead of trying to cut and fit two pieces together. Thanks, Damin.
October 16, 2012, 9:02 pm
Being that only the portion of the body in front of the cab doors is different than a standard F40. Would you consider just selling the cab for kitbashing? Do you think your body will fit the older Life-Like or Model Power/Mehano Chassis?
October 15, 2012, 8:38 pm
Yes, at least as accurate as I can make it. I am designing it to be a drop-in replacement for the stock Kato N scale F40PH shell. Handrails and lights (I'm planning on using surface-mount LEDS) will need to be separately applied. Thanks, Damin.
October 13, 2012, 1:00 pm
Yes, at least as accurate as I can make it. I am designing it to be a drop-in replacement for the stock Kato N scale F40PH shell. Handrails and lights (I'm planning on using surface-mount LEDS) will need to be separately applied. Thanks, Damin.
October 13, 2012, 12:59 pm
Is this gonna be accurate for Chicago metra? Using Kato f40 chassis or other?
October 13, 2012, 8:12 am


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