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Posted: Tue Sep 29, 2015 1:19 pm
I have been fortunate to have been in the right place to observe the emergence of Modelu3D from a course put on at Missenden Abbey last October. From there, Alan Buttler has developed a business scanning people, principally in railway costume and poses, then printing them in whatever scale is wanted.
The business only went 'live' properly at the end of the summer with a succession of shows at Telford, Manchester and latterly Scaleforum where I know many saw Alan's figures. Earlier in the year, some people saw Alan at Scalefour North. Also being developed are 'objects' (for want of a better description), some scanned, others drawn and I have been given some samples of point rodding stools, which are not even on his website yet! These are shown with 0.4mm square wire available from Andrew Hartshorne of Wizard Models
I would urge you to take a look at the Modelu3D website
and, if you are at one of the shows he is attending, making a point of visiting his stand. His product range is developing and will continue to do, so don't look once and think that's all there is. The quality of the printed figures is not only excellent technically but the poses well considered and eminently usable. You will also find Alan open to ideas.
Groups might be interested to know that Alan can make visits to scan you. You need to find the costume and decide on your poses so that when he arrives, he can get to work. This is most probably a cost effective option of getting the figures you want for your layout.
Posted: Tue Sep 29, 2015 3:01 pm
Seriously tasty items.
Posted: Tue Sep 29, 2015 3:06 pm
I would certainly concur with David and recommend that the Modelu website is well worth a look. I was most impressed with the GWR point rodding stools - scanned from an original at the Severn Valley Railway apparently - and look forward to using them in due course. More immediately though I saw at S4um the range of figures and was particularly taken with the signalman leaning out of the 'box window in characteristic pose. I bought one and spent a little time painting it before installing him in Maiden Newton Signal Box. The quality is superb, the detail is exquisite and even his tie hangs down sepertately!!
I have subsequently shown the photo to Pete Squibb - his Dad was a signalman at Maiden Newton in the 1950s - and he reckons that the figure bears more than a passing resemblence to a signalman known as 'Korky' Samways - so henceforth he will be known as 'Korky'
The Modelu prints are quite simply suberb and the potential for using this medium is enourmous.
Posted: Thu Oct 01, 2015 8:00 pm
Having been alerted both by David and also by Andrew Ullyott to these products at Scaleforum , I immediately fired off an email to Modelu [pronounced, I am reliably informed as "mod-ELL-ee" - it's Welsh, look you] and got a very friendly reply back from them. I think they're onto a winner here.
(Bad news, though, for the dedicated, and I do mean dedicated, traders who went to so much trouble to produce all those fiendishly fiddly etched rodding stools for us.)
Posted: Thu Oct 01, 2015 9:11 pm
Yes, I'll certainly be ordering some of these for Cheddar.
Despite my best efforts, nothing I've managed to create from etched bits comes close.
Posted: Fri Oct 02, 2015 11:15 am
martin goodall wrote:(Bad news, though, for the dedicated, and I do mean dedicated, traders who went to so much trouble to produce all those fiendishly fiddly etched rodding stools for us
Possibly. It depends on how fine the 3D printed ones are, and it is difficult to tell from the picture. I shall wait until I see some in the flesh.
Posted: Fri Oct 02, 2015 12:03 pm
martin goodall wrote:
(Bad news, though, for the dedicated, and I do mean dedicated, traders who went to so much trouble to produce all those fiendishly fiddly etched rodding stools for us.)
They certainly look fabulous, but the interesting bit will be fitting them. As one who has built a fair bit of point rodding, I can say that it is most easily done when you don't have to "thread" the wires through the boxes which seems to be the only way open with the printed ones, whereas the etched one allow for the top wires to be threaded when all is complete. And a longish length of run with several lengths of wire might put a fair stress on them given that you would not want all the 400mm lengths of wire (if using the Wizzard stuff) jointed at the same position otherwise it might look a bit obvious. So that will bring some interesting challenges, which I am sure someone will rise to and I for one am looking forward to seeing it!
Otherwise I do have some etchings of my own!
Posted: Sat Oct 03, 2015 1:54 pm
The A frames themselves looked exquisite on the stand at Scaleforum. But looking at the pictures above the rodding spacings looks well over scale and the proportions consequently look all wrong for channel rodding, although this is not helped by the 0.4mm rodding being underscale.
Correct dimensions for channel rodding has the rods 1.625 inches wide spaced at 2.5 inch centres, hence the gap between rods is only 0.875 inches, noticeably less than the width of a rod.
David B. Could you measure the rodding centres on your sample?
Does anyone have prototype rodding centres for the GWR as the Modelu items are GW A frames?
Thanks and regards
Posted: Sat Oct 03, 2015 3:18 pm
Centres approx 0.85mm and I empahiseze the 'approx'. I had to put 3 pairs of glasses on.
I may be at fault having the square bar inserted rather than round, but that was what Alan was showing on his stand.
Rather than speculate, I think an email to Alan asking how the stools came about might enlighten us. I heard one explanation, but rather than repeat here what might be incorrect, I will enquire from the source.
Posted: Sat Oct 03, 2015 4:09 pm
Many thanks for the feedback on the point rodding and figures. The stools were created from a 2D drawing and were not 3D scanned. They have been adjusted to allow for easy (ish!) threading of the 0.4mm wire - that'll be why they look overscale width wise. This feedback is just what I'm looking for and also why the stools are not on general sale just yet. I'll revisit the width of the stools and see if I can pull them in closer together to somewhere nearer prototypical. I've not been happy either with the spacing, there is too much side play in the rodding which makes it hard to ensure the rodding runs parallel to each other. I'd planned to create a comb like etch as a guide to space the rodding correctly.
I'm also now using a new black resin for these kind of detail parts which does not have the lost wax properties of the red resin, allowing for sharper prints. These red ones look good but the few black ones I've printed look even better. I'll be getting real world feedback on the new black resin stools also before anything goes on general sale. If anyone would like a couple of samples popping in the post that would be no problem - the more feedback the better.
Thanks again for the feedback and constructive criticism, it is very much appreciated!
Posted: Sat Oct 03, 2015 4:34 pm
Part of an official drawing here for the new square rodding.
Posted: Sat Oct 03, 2015 4:41 pm
I've just revisited the design, making the stools closer together. The A frames are thicker than the prototype in order to make them strong enough, as at 0.2mm wide there isn't a lot of material! Looking at the comparisons below, the revised design should hopefully give a more prototypical look as well as eliminating the side play in the rodding that the current design suffers from. I'll print some of these off tomorrow and see how they look in reality.
EDIT - Tim thanks for the drawing, the one I did the design from only had the A frame
Posted: Sat Oct 03, 2015 5:49 pm
That does look much better, and given the 0.4 wire is undersize the spacing should now be near as dammit correct.
Posted: Sat Oct 03, 2015 6:08 pm
Thanks for the input Keith, I'll report back soon on how they print.
Posted: Sat Oct 03, 2015 6:14 pm
How's that for service?.........
Nice one Alan, looking very good.
Posted: Sun Oct 04, 2015 6:38 pm
I've done some test prints this evening of the revised stools using the new higher definition black resin. They look fantastic, however due to the shorter exposure times of the black resin the wall thickness are now too thin and I've found that the sides of the a-frames a little fragile when threading the rodding. I'll thicken up the a-frame slightly and try again tomorrow. Although the black resin is sharper, the red resin might be a bit more resilient and has more elasticity.
I've also created a round rodding variant with concave rollers. At 4mm scale it is almost impossible to tell the difference, but the theory is the round rodding should locate centrally on the roller. Photos and findings to come shortly!
Posted: Mon Oct 05, 2015 5:08 pm
There was an article by Mike Christensen on GWR point rodding in GWRJ No.89 (Winter 2014) which included copies of some official drawings. Unfortunately these were not reproduced to any recognised scale, but from the dimensions marked on the drawings, it appears that round rodding was set at centres of 3-inch or 3.5-inch. [The GWR was quite late in adopting the use of U-channel rodding.]
As regards the wire which the Modelu rodding guides are intended to accommodate, I have already bought quite a lot of 0.45mm straight nickel silver wire for my point rodding, on the basis that this is closer to scale than 0.4mm. If the Modelu rodding guides are made only for the smaller diameter wire (i.e. 0.4mm), I can see that I might have a slightly tedious task in opening up the hoies in the 3D-printed frames to accommodate 0.45mm rod (!)
As for the colour of the plastic (or resin), I can see that black (or brown?) might be preferable to red, but if the plastic/resin will take either acrylic or enamel paint reasonbaly well then maybe the colour is not all that important.
I have been quoted a price by Modelu which I consider reasonable (bearing in mind the time and trouble which this product should save), but Alan Buttler has suggested that I should await the issues discussed above being resolved first. As with all my model-making, I am not exactly champing at the bit, so I don't mind waiting while Alan satisfies himself that he has got it right.
Posted: Thu Oct 08, 2015 5:28 pm
An update on the revised rodding - after further tests I've found that the black resin is definitely too brittle and have reverted to red. Tests this evening with 7 rollers threaded with 0.4mm MSE square section wire have been very good with no breakages. I've found the best method to thread them is to thread the first with all required wires, then position it about 3-4mm from the end of the wire to act as a guide for the next, with a little push it goes straight on. In practice it will need some careful thought I'm sure and will no doubt throw up its own challenges!
Here are a few photos. Once I've some 0.45mm wire I'll conduct some more tests next week. I'll have this test piece on my stand this weekend at the Hornby show at the Heritage Motor Centre. Thanks again for the input, hopefully these modifications should improve them.
Posted: Thu Oct 08, 2015 8:08 pm
Indeed the spacing does look much better now.
Posted: Thu Oct 08, 2015 11:21 pm
Some brilliant stuff and no mistake. Just for the benefit of myself and other modellers on the west side of the big pond, what payment methods does Modelu accept? I've searched the website to no avail.
Posted: Mon Oct 12, 2015 5:09 pm
David Knight wrote:Some brilliant stuff and no mistake. Just for the benefit of myself and other modellers on the west side of the big pond, what payment methods does Modelu accept? I've searched the website to no avail.
Hi David, at present I can take cheques, bank transfers or paypal. I'll be giving the website a refresh in a few weeks to make all this a bit clearer! Thanks for the feedback
Posted: Wed Oct 28, 2015 5:23 pm
Since the last entries on this thread, I have been in correspondence with Alan Buttler, who kindly sent me some samples of the latest test printings of his rodding stools.
This prompted me to refresh my memory as to the prototype dimensions of these fittings. Unsurprisingly, the size of the rodding (round tube) and the spacing of the rodding in the guides varied as between one railway company and another. Rodding seems to have varied between 1¼ and 1½ inches in diameter (but 1¼ inches seems to have been the most commonly used size).
The centre-to-centre spacing of the rodding in the rodding guides varied from 2¼ to 3½ inches, although I have to say that the only reference I have seen to 2¼-inch spacing is a single mention in the Ambis Engineering datasheet on this subject, and the drawings reproduced in that same document actually show 2¾-inch spacing, as do other drawings I have seen. Official drawings of GWR rodding and guides, reproduced in an article by Mike Christensen in GWR Journal No.89, show that this company set its rodding either at 3-inch or (later) at 3½-inch spacing. However, a spacing of about 2¾ or 3 inches seems to have been the most commonly adopted ‘standard’ among railway companies generally.
Bearing in mind that it would be impossible (or at least unviable commercially) to reproduce exactly the rodding and stool designs of any one railway company, the chosen dimensions of a model product must necessarily be a compromise which strikes a reasonable balance between these variations. In components as small as this, such a compromise is entirely acceptable, and only the most fastidious modeller could object (probably the type who does not actually make any models themselves!).
Having examined the samples, it seems that these rodding guides have the rodding set at about 0.75mm (30-thou) apart, equivalent to 2¼ inches. This seems somewhat narrower than the most commonly used prototype setting, and I have suggested to Alan that it would be preferable, in order to have the widest application for modellers, that this spacing should be equivalent to about 2¾ or 3 inches (36 to 39 thou or 0.9 to 1mm centre-to-centre spacing).
As regards the size of the holes in the rodding guides through which the rodding is threaded, I found that nickel silver wire of 0.45 mm diameter is a push fit in the holes. It was not difficult to push this wire through the hole, and there were no signs of the plastic splitting or breaking open. However, pushing 0.45mm wire through a succession of rodding guides (which will then be glued down at intervals of about 24mm) might prove difficult.
I appreciate that the most commonly used size of rodding (1¼-inch diameter) scales out at just over 16-thou (0.42 mm), whereas 0.45mm wire (a little under 18-thou) scales out at 1.35 inches – a shade under 1 3/8 inches. However, on checking, I found that straight brass or nickel-silver wire seems to be most commonly supplied as 0.45mm diameter (for example by Eileen’s Emporium), and I am not aware of the availability of 0.4mm wire in long lengths (500mm in the case of the straight nickel silver wire from Eileen’s - not 150mm as incorrectly mentioned in this post originally). [As modellers have found over the years, coiled wire is the very devil to get straight, and so its use for point rodding is difficult and frustrating.]
This, rather than any dimensional considerations, leads me to suggest that it might be better to cater for the use of 0.45mm wire, rather than 0.4mm. I would suggest that in any event one should aim for the wire to be an easy sliding fit through the holes, in view of the need to thread up to 500 mm of wire through a series of rodding guides in a run of rodding. I suggest one should err on the side of a slightly sloppy fit, rather than a fit which is closer.
The excitement caused by Alan Buttler’s development of this product stems very much from the potential ease of its use, compared with the etched alternatives, which (although accurate) are very fiddly and time consuming to assemble. I am sure that, when perfected and launched commercially, it will prove to be a great success.
Posted: Wed Oct 28, 2015 6:41 pm
Have you thought about using guitar strings? They are available individually and you can get 16 thou. In my experience they straighten without any bother at all when uncoiled.
p.s. Any chance you can bring some of the point rodding stools to tomorrow's meeting?
Posted: Thu Oct 29, 2015 9:55 am
Thanks for the reminder, Andrew. I'll bring the samples along to this evening's meeting.
I have used guitar strings for various applications before, but they are steel, and don't take paint all that well. I prefer N/S, and so I opted for the 0.45 mm straight N/S wire supplied by Eileen's Emporium.
I did some 'quantity surveying' and was surprised at how many lengths of half metre N/S wire (not 150 mm as I stated yesterday!!!!!!!!!! What on earth made me write '150 mm' ?) I needed. I imagine that you would need to buy rather a lot of guitar strings, and most music shops wouldn't carry that quantity of stock.
Posted: Thu Oct 29, 2015 1:32 pm
the spacing isn't specified on this drawing in my collection, dated 5/12/32