3D Printed Turnouts - Promising Progress

Discuss the prototype and how to model it.
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Martin Wynne
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3D Printed Turnouts - Promising Progress

Postby Martin Wynne » Sat Jan 20, 2018 12:18 am

For those not following this topic elsewhere, Andrew Barrowman is making great progress with his innovative idea.

He is 3D printing turnouts from Templot designs, including chaired rails in the print, but without the full rail head width. The head is attached as a nickel-silver channel-section capping.

Image

Image

More info: http://85a.co.uk/forum/view_topic.php?i ... 437#p23170

regards,

Martin.
40 years developing Templot. And counting ...

Lindsay G
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Re: 3D Printed Turnouts - Promising Progress

Postby Lindsay G » Sat Jan 20, 2018 1:35 am

Hey, that really is an innovative approach (well it is as far as I'm concerned). There's obviously lots to be thought through in the pros and cons, viability, reliability of it all and so it might well prove a no-goer as a result. But, even if it comes to that, it might provoke some associated off-shoot thoughts that prove to be possible winners. Whatever, I really commend the out-of-the-box thinking and possible use of recent developments.

Now, that's better than a lot of navel-gazing threads. Who was asking what the Forum's for?

Lindsay

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Le Corbusier
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Re: 3D Printed Turnouts - Promising Progress

Postby Le Corbusier » Sat Jan 20, 2018 7:52 am

Thanks for posting Martin,

Presumably if this proves successful it would be a commercial proposition ... ie you would need to submit Templot (or similar) plans to give the track layout configuration, which would then need to be bespoke printed as an entire component? If used for plain track I am assuming that there is little to no flexibility possible in the configuration, so it would need to be printed to specific radii?

Very interesting .... but I hazard a guess that it may take production away from kitchen table fabrication and towards a purchased solution? Unless of course the 3d printer becomes a ubiquitous household appliance and the software needed to configure and then print (like with Templot) is readily available.
Tim Lee

Terry Bendall
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Re: 3D Printed Turnouts - Promising Progress

Postby Terry Bendall » Sat Jan 20, 2018 8:26 am

A very interesting idea with lots of possibilities. I wonder how accurate to gauge the printed "rails" are? Probably gauges would be needed to ensure the channel section was in gauge when it was glued in place. Thinning down the rails for the blades might be a problem. Perhaps solid rail could be used and the chairs made sufficiently robust to held the rail?

Le Corbusier wrote:Unless of course the 3d printer becomes a ubiquitous household appliance


About 8 years ago someone I knew who worked in the area of CAD?/CAM and rapid prototyping predicted just that. Having dabbled in this area since about 1970 during my career in education, there has been amazing progress during that time which can only accererate.

Terry Bendall

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Le Corbusier
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Re: 3D Printed Turnouts - Promising Progress

Postby Le Corbusier » Sat Jan 20, 2018 9:05 am

Terry Bendall wrote:About 8 years ago someone I knew who worked in the area of CAD?/CAM and rapid prototyping predicted just that. Having dabbled in this area since about 1970 during my career in education, there has been amazing progress during that time which can only accererate.

Terry Bendall

I admit to having a bit of a love hate relationship with 3d printing. The technology is fascinating and the possibilities looking forward immense. I don't know if you have seen this TED talk on where it may be going ....


But we also do seem to be getting near to the Star Treck idea of the 'replicator' and part of me is in mourning for what this is likely to do for the crafts and skills base .... it could almost wipe it out. I know that there is an element of Canute about this, but I can't help it. As a draftsman (and I think the last generation trained to draw on drawing boards), it is sad when I produce pretty basic sketches for construction issue by hand (because of the speed of turn around), and younger members of staff (trained exclusively on CAD) oooh and aaah over them as if they are art works.

Similarly with architectural models .... many firms are now exporting 3d cad files and the whole thing is printed as one, with no modelmaking at all :shock: .

oh well :?
Tim Lee

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David Thorpe
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Re: 3D Printed Turnouts - Promising Progress

Postby David Thorpe » Sat Jan 20, 2018 10:02 am

Lindsay G wrote:Who was asking what the Forum's for?


Me.

Tim, I would wholeheartedly agree with your "love hate relationship with 3d printing" except that I find it very difficult to find any element of love. If people are going to replicate rather than build, and turn to their computers rather than their workbenches, it puts an entirely different (and IMO unwelcome) complection on our hobby.

DT

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Guy Rixon
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Re: 3D Printed Turnouts - Promising Progress

Postby Guy Rixon » Sat Jan 20, 2018 11:02 am

David, I have to disagree. Printing something that you could have crafted manually is equivalent to designing an etch instead of using a piercing saw. Printing somebody else's CAD is only like buying the etch instead of commissioning your own. Most of us are comfortable with etched products in place of hand-cut parts.

Disclosure: I sell prints. I'm biased.

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Le Corbusier
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Re: 3D Printed Turnouts - Promising Progress

Postby Le Corbusier » Sat Jan 20, 2018 11:33 am

Guy Rixon wrote:David, I have to disagree. Printing something that you could have crafted manually is equivalent to designing an etch instead of using a piercing saw. Printing somebody else's CAD is only like buying the etch instead of commissioning your own. Most of us are comfortable with etched products in place of hand-cut parts.

Disclosure: I sell prints. I'm biased.


Printing components which are assembled is simply another way of doing kits .... to which I say great :thumb particularly where the component is an improvement on current availability - Modelu springs to mind alongside axle boxes, springs etc etc.

Its when the whole thing becomes a print that I start to become disillusioned as we're then into the realms of ready RTR but for everything ... and for me that robs things of the raison d'etre for modelling in the first place. Etching does not have this facility but 3d printing soon will I suspect. The skill will then be CAD, and scenic modelling and painting may be all that is left.
Tim Lee

essdee
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Re: 3D Printed Turnouts - Promising Progress

Postby essdee » Sat Jan 20, 2018 11:38 am

And with, eg. 'Protocab' and battery power......

!!!!!

"Beam me down, Scottie"

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Rod Cameron
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Re: 3D Printed Turnouts - Promising Progress

Postby Rod Cameron » Sat Jan 20, 2018 1:05 pm

Very interesting development, especially for more bespoke crossing formations.

I haven't read the full thread on the Templot forum, but I would see this as something to integrate with 'conventional' track work in specific areas, and as Terry has alluded to it would presumably struggle for switchblades, both in form and requirement to move. As for whether it is cost-effective only time will tell - possibly at the time that home 3D printers become ubiquitous.

Electrical feeds would be a challenge, or maybe this system would only be effective for radio control - likely the way things are heading anyway.
Rod

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Martin Wynne
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Re: 3D Printed Turnouts - Promising Progress

Postby Martin Wynne » Sat Jan 20, 2018 1:45 pm

Rod Cameron wrote:it would presumably struggle for switchblades .... Electrical feeds would be a challenge

Hi Rod,

Switch blades would be conventional rail, slide into the end couple of chairs. Which might be printed, or glue-on functional chairs as now. File down the head for a few mm at the end to fit into and make an electrical connection with the rail cap.

My idea for electrical feeds: http://85a.co.uk/forum/view_topic.php?i ... 443#p23440

Andy has lots of ideas. The main obstacle at present is sourcing the rail cap section in quantity. But there is no technical difficulty to that, just finding a supplier at reasonable cost.

regards,

Martin.
40 years developing Templot. And counting ...

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Rod Cameron
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Re: 3D Printed Turnouts - Promising Progress

Postby Rod Cameron » Sat Jan 20, 2018 2:01 pm

Martin Wynne wrote:
Rod Cameron wrote:it would presumably struggle for switchblades .... Electrical feeds would be a challenge


My idea for electrical feeds: http://85a.co.uk/forum/view_topic.php?i ... 443#p23440


That could work for plain track. Getting feeds to crossings/blades in the absence of rail joints/fishplates would need a different system wouldn't it? (Not nit-picking, just curious!).
Rod

Philip Hall
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Re: 3D Printed Turnouts - Promising Progress

Postby Philip Hall » Sat Jan 20, 2018 2:02 pm

Interesting. I think I saw at Scaleforum a year or two back bases for trackwork which had been completely 3D printed to accept conventional rails?

Philip

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Martin Wynne
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Re: 3D Printed Turnouts - Promising Progress

Postby Martin Wynne » Sat Jan 20, 2018 2:09 pm

Rod Cameron wrote:That could work for plain track. Getting feeds to crossings/blades in the absence of rail joints/fishplates would need a different system wouldn't it? (Not nit-picking, just curious!).

Hi Rod,

I meant dummy cosmetic fishplates for the feeds. There are several prototype rail joints within a turnout -- in the stock rails at the switch heel, in the wing rail fronts at the crossing.

For actual physical connection to plain track flexi, Andy suggests filing down the rail head for a few mm so that it fits into an extension of the cap. See in the photo.

regards,

Martin.
40 years developing Templot. And counting ...

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Noel
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Re: 3D Printed Turnouts - Promising Progress

Postby Noel » Sat Jan 20, 2018 3:12 pm

Le Corbusier wrote:The skill will then be CAD, and scenic modelling and painting may be all that is left.


1) Scenery and painting of models are areas which, done badly, can spoil an otherwise good model; conversely when well done they can do much to 'lift' an otherwise average model.

2) With less time being spent on messing about with more and more complex methods of construction, perhaps more people might spend more time on learning how to operate the outcome rather more like a real railway than is often the case.

3) Following on from 2), some people like building things, and some like operating them, and some [a few?] enjoy both. The builders will probably stick with their preferred interest, whatever the technological advances, or perhaps start building something complex but not railway related.
Regards
Noel

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Le Corbusier
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Re: 3D Printed Turnouts - Promising Progress

Postby Le Corbusier » Sat Jan 20, 2018 3:15 pm

Noel wrote:
Le Corbusier wrote:The skill will then be CAD, and scenic modelling and painting may be all that is left.


1) Scenery and painting of models are areas which, done badly, can spoil an otherwise good model; conversely when well done they can do much to 'lift' an otherwise average model.

2) With less time being spent on messing about with more and more complex methods of construction, perhaps more people might spend more time on learning how to operate the outcome rather more like a real railway than is often the case.

3) Following on from 2), some people like building things, and some like operating them, and some [a few?] enjoy both. The builders will probably stick with their preferred interest, whatever the technological advances, or perhaps start building something complex but not railway related.


Good points :thumb

And anyway .... the development of this is fascinating in its own right ;)
Tim Lee

Tony Wilkins
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Re: 3D Printed Turnouts - Promising Progress

Postby Tony Wilkins » Sat Jan 20, 2018 11:45 pm

Hi Tim.
Noel has already beaten me to it in mentioning some of what I was thinking following this thread.
I am ambivalent about this new technology, which always brings mixed blessings. Yes skills change over time as technology develops.
Personally I still prefer ply and rivet track construction despite the advantages of functional chaired track, others have differing preferences and there is room for both approaches in this hobby.
Train driving simulator programmes don't appeal to me, but always seem popular where I have seen them available at shows.
If computing is anything to go by, the prices will come down at first as the technology improves but a stage seems to be reached where the improvements and add-ons, (which you must have, mustn’t you), make the price plateau. Any new technology opens up new possibilities. Where a large number of repeated items are needed 3-D printing comes into its own. The best example of this I have seen is a T scale model of the Forth railway bridge. Even in this scale it is a very impressive structure. I doubt if it would have been built otherwise.
I do concur regarding the loss of basic modelling skills, which seems to have been a trend for some time now. If we ever get colour 3-D printers we won't even need a paint brush. There is also a prevalent attitude that relies too much on the trade to supply everything out of the box and in many ways the trade oblige to the extent where we as modellers have never had it so good albeit at a price. Although I have a good many (too many) kits to build, I tend to get on with converting the RTR stock I already have first, knowing that as soon as I build a kit an RTR version, which is probably superior, will appear.
That's life.
Regards
Tony.

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jim s-w
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Re: 3D Printed Turnouts - Promising Progress

Postby jim s-w » Sun Jan 21, 2018 5:44 pm

Can you mix materials in 1 3d print? Why can’t you print resin and metal?

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kelly
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Re: 3D Printed Turnouts - Promising Progress

Postby kelly » Sun Jan 21, 2018 7:24 pm

jim s-w wrote:Can you mix materials in 1 3d print? Why can’t you print resin and metal?


The short answer to that I think is yes, the long answer is, it depends on the printers/supplier etc.
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Will L
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Re: 3D Printed Turnouts - Promising Progress

Postby Will L » Sun Jan 21, 2018 11:14 pm

kelly wrote:
jim s-w wrote:Can you mix materials in 1 3d print? Why can’t you print resin and metal?


The short answer to that I think is yes, the long answer is, it depends on the printers/supplier etc.


You sure about that, yes different materials can be printed, but the methods used are different for different materials and use different printers.

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kelly
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Re: 3D Printed Turnouts - Promising Progress

Postby kelly » Mon Jan 22, 2018 12:18 am

Will L wrote:
kelly wrote:
jim s-w wrote:Can you mix materials in 1 3d print? Why can’t you print resin and metal?


The short answer to that I think is yes, the long answer is, it depends on the printers/supplier etc.


You sure about that, yes different materials can be printed, but the methods used are different for different materials and use different printers.


I believe there exists at least a couple of printers capable of doing it together, but they're the extreme expensive ones for specialist use. Certainly not possible I expect with the likes of shapeways that I know of.
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billbedford
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Re: 3D Printed Turnouts - Promising Progress

Postby billbedford » Mon Jan 22, 2018 11:24 am

jim s-w wrote:Can you mix materials in 1 3d print? Why can’t you print resin and metal?


Don't think so. Metals are usually sintered from powder which puts the working temperature above the melting point of most plastics.
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Le Corbusier
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Re: 3D Printed Turnouts - Promising Progress

Postby Le Corbusier » Mon Jan 22, 2018 12:07 pm

How good, how strong and how expensive is metal 3d printing? Might the capping be printed as well as a component?
Tim Lee

billbedford
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Re: 3D Printed Turnouts - Promising Progress

Postby billbedford » Mon Jan 22, 2018 12:38 pm

Le Corbusier wrote:How good, how strong and how expensive is metal 3d printing? Might the capping be printed as well as a component?


It would a lot cheaper to have a batch of capping drawn from wire, or even milled than 3D printed.
Bill Bedford
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junctionmad
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Re: 3D Printed Turnouts - Promising Progress

Postby junctionmad » Sun Mar 04, 2018 7:39 pm

As a general comment , if I put my modelling expertise into creating a CAD drawing and it’s 3D printed , I’m as much scratch buildings the next person

I mean I don’t see people trying to make models with 17 century machine tools !!

Dave


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