2016-12.1: 3D Printing at Home: 3

04 Dec 2016

Average: 3.9 (16 votes)
8:43 - Dec 2016 Act I - 3D Printing at Home, p3 (2016)

Many people see 3D printing as the ultimate solution for making models such as structures and detail parts.  Trevor and Jeff investigate ways to use the printer for parts “under the hood” of our models.

Series includes (click to watch):

1: 3D Printing at home - intro

2: 3D Printing at home - getting better results

3: 3D Printing at home - making "under the hood" parts (this episode)

4: 3D Printing at home - making helpful fixtures

Also for more, see our blog entry: A 3D PRINTER IN YOUR WORKSHOP?

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Act II: Diorama tips and tricks ...

Go to Act II


Where do I get one I'm triing to install a new motor in a bress steamer?



Mike C

tpmarshall's picture

Hi Mike:

I suggest you shop around. Look at the DaVinci models - like the one that Jeff uses in this series - but also those by other manufacturers. Compare price and - importantly - features. Read the reviews. Then make up your own mind about what printer, if any, you should buy.

The point of this series is not to recommend a specific printer. It's to provide some examples of how such consumer-grade printers, which are still very coarse compared to what one can get from a service such as Shapeways, can be used in our hobby. I was surprised at the many uses Jeff has found for his that have nothing to do with printing ready-to-paint models, but nevertheless contribute to his enjoyment of the hobby. Jeff's printer makes some projects easier. It makes some projects better. It saves him time. And so on.

The motor mounts are a good example. Jeff was able to create a mount that's a single piece, so it has lots of inherent structural strength, and easily adjust the size for different motors/locomotives. He's remotoring a stable of locomotives for his layout, and this is making the project go much faster, with better results, than he would achieve by fabricating motor mounts by soldering together brass shapes. As a bonus, this mount is not electrically conductive (as brass would be) so it helps isolate the motor from the frame - critical for DCC applications.

A search on Google or Amazon will turn up a number of 3D Printers. You can also ask for opinions on consumer grade (loosely defined in this series as those costing around $1,000, as opposed to $100,000) 3D printers on the Model Railroad Hobbyist forums.


- Trevor

Jeff's discussion of the "other" things he's made with the printer is an important point - and an something that can help justify the purchase.  It also illustrates the need to have a good software package that doesn't get in the way of (or discourage) imaginative uses.



Hi Treveor ...

I hope Im not asking a question for the hundredth time. I have an Old Brass Steam locomotive I'd like to repower. It too is a Van Hobbies CPR P-2 Mikado.

After seeing what Jeff made with his 3D printing, the bracket to hold the motor and gear box, first thing I did was write to you.

Im not looking to buy a 3D printer, but hopefully source out a bracket just like what Jeff made. Would or could Jeff make one for me, am I able to reach him??

Sounds like the man I need to talk too about repowering older brass locos.


Please and Thank You

Greg Mostardi

tpmarshall's picture

Hi Greg:

Unfortunately, I don't have any help for you. While I haven't talked to Jeff I'm fairly confident he has enough hobby projects on the go just getting his own steam engines to run (and building a layout to run them on) that he isn't taking on other people's projects.

For a locomotive rebuilder, you might ask on the Canadian Railway Modellers FB page, or on a CPR modellers Yahoo group...


- Trevor

tpmarshall's picture

Hi again, Greg:

Keep in mind that this segment isn't about locomotive repowering - it's about 3D printing, and why one might want such a machine. Many people have built their own motor-mounting brackets by soldering up brass strip and shapes. Jeff is showing another - and, we would argue - easier way to do this. It's especially easier if you have several locomotives do repower, because you can adjust the CAD work to adapt it to different locomotives.

Barry and I have talked about whether to do a series on repowering brass steam engines. It presents a lot of problems for us. For starters, we would need an expert to come in and demonstrate. Also, since brass locomotives are all over the map in terms of drive train and other mechanical details, any one given locomotive project that we demonstrated would be of only limited use.

From my own experience with brass steam, the best approach is to find someone local who can mentor you while you do the work.


- Trevor