Any Fellow Model Railroaders Out There Willing To Help Me With Test Prints?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by LoperHobbyShop, Jul 30, 2020.

  1. Hello, I'm Jason and I'm a model train guy. I've been making some models lately for HO and many other scales and would love it if someone could test print them to see if they're to-scale before I put them up for sale on my shop. I don't own a 3D printer so I could really use an experts opinion. Any feedback is welcome.
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2020
  2. SemperVaporo
    SemperVaporo Well-Known Member
    Why not just have ShapeWays print your experiments for you? Do it in the cheapest material (it will do detail pretty good).
    If there is any section of what is to be printed that is possibly too fragile, you can select "Print it anyway" to get the print done just for testing and make adjustments accordingly before releasing for production parts in the material for the final product.
    Home 3D printers just won't tell you enough about the quality you will get from ShapeWays or what can or cannot be printed or what detail you can get.
    I also find that home printers tend to "goof up" and ruin prints much too often and thus, maybe if you can make one run cheaper than a single ShapeWays print, the "goof ups" will double, triple, quadruple, etc. the cost of one run of a part that ShapeWays could do just once, saving the frustration and expense of "try it again" on a home machine.
  3. Well see the thing is I feel like it'd be a waste of money no matter how cheap the material is to print something only to get rid of it because somethings wrong with it. I mean why keep something that has a mistake on it? I have no use for it. Well that and my dad would probably get on my case lol. Plus although it may seem cheap at first, theres also the matter of paying and processing payments which increases the price significantly. Besides its not like it would cost somebody money to help me out. I'll send them the file, they print it, if it's out of scale they give me suggestions on how to improve, and I go from there. Sounds easy and reasonable enough right? Besides, I can't be the only one who's asked this before. There are other people who have asked and have gotten help. Trust me, this is for the better.
  4. SemperVaporo
    SemperVaporo Well-Known Member
    So, you expect someone to supply the materials for free for printing an experiment, and eat the cost of errors in printing, and throw away the result, instead of you paying for it all? Note: you cannot melt down the failures and reuse the material. Once heated and extruded, it is "used" and trash if there is any sort of failure in the print, whether it is a poor design or a machine "Oops!"
    You need to price the materials for a home 3-D printer.
    And read reviews of machines. They need to be maintained, calibrated, oiled, repaired, nozzles cleaned or replaced when worn/clogged. Hours of prep time and then the machine hiccups and drags the 90% complete product off the print platform, ruining the print after several hours of printing -- with the attendant loss of material used so far... and you cannot restart a print half way in... alignment will invariably fail and produce a useless part (more wasted material).
    You may also find that the cheapest material is just fine for a model RR part. I model G gauge (1:32 to 1:20.3) and I have only used the cheapest sintered nylon material and it works great.
    Yes, I have had a few failures, (none catastrophic) but experience leads one to know where to make things more robust and where you can skimp on things to reduce the cost.
    You could post a design or two here and ask the experienced folk whether it would be a printable design and what could be done to improve it. (Just don't make it a habit, you should learn from the answers you get and apply them to the next design.)
  5. Jeez excuse me for asking for a little help. Nevermind.
  6. SemperVaporo
    SemperVaporo Well-Known Member
    Hey, if anybody has a home machine and wants to expend the time, materials and wear on their machine to help you along, they are certainly free to do so. Maybe they can be magnanimous and pay to ship the experiments to you, too.

    Shapeways provides tools for us experimenters to test designs... draw something simple, (or as complex as you want), upload it to Shapeways and open it in the 3-D Tools they provide. You can see where they think you have things too thin, or if it is too big to fit in the printer. It will tell you if you have a hole in a surface (Non-manifold error) and thus it is not printable. No money spent or wasted, just your time and effort to learn.
  7. They don't need to ship me anything. They could just... I don't know... Take a picture or something?
  8. Hey buddy, just yesterday I decided that maybe I should in fact get a 3D printer after all. I believe I owe you an apology.
  9. SemperVaporo
    SemperVaporo Well-Known Member
    No apology necessary. Maybe I was a bit harsh in some comments.

    Good luck with a home machine. There is something to be said for the immediate satisfaction of drawing an item and hitting "Print" to see it grow right in front of you... well... immediate is a relative term! It might be a couple of hours, but that is faster than a couple of weeks if ordered on-line.

    I still think you need to price a spool of plastic wire.

    And be prepared for the amount of scrap you will accidently create when prints go awry.

    You will also find home machines often have very limited print size. For scale model trains, that won't be much of a problem, but somehow having the ability to print in 3-D seems to provide for ideas that have nothing to do with trains or models of anything, but a fancy for something full sized that I can't buy someplace already made!

    It may take longer and you miss the immediate satisfaction, but I still think it is cheaper and you get a much better product if you go with ShapeWays. You can draw the item and upload the file, then view it in the various tools that ShapeWays provides to see if it is truly printable. I have thrown away whole designs because I could see major problems evident using the Heat Map tool (my walls were too thin in places). Once you are happy with the design, then you print it. Assuming the price is acceptable! There is another thing that as caused designs to land in the bit bucket and I think they would have been there even if I had a home 3-D printer! It is just so easy to imagine it and draw it, and then the wallet has other ideas.

    I used to have a printer (document printer, not a 3-D printer), right next to me, turned on and ready to print. I'd write a document, print it out, then discover a misspelled word. Oops, correct it, and print it again. Oops, I have a duplicate word in that sentence. Correct it and print it again. Oh no! There is another wrong word, should have been TWO not TOO, correct it and print it again. I might have killed half a forest because it was so easy to just print now and check for stupid mistakes later. Not to mention the cost of Toner when I got a LASER printer (gheesh you can buy a brand new printer for the cost of 4 colors of toner for a LASER printer!)

    Not having 3-D printer right next to me forces me to "proof read" the 3-D design and eliminates a lot of waste I am sure I would otherwise create. Hope you can be better self-disciplined in that regard!