It seems like I am never content without having lots of projects going at the same time in this hobby, so a couple months ago I decided to explore 3 dimensional printing. Fast forward to now, and I have my first proof of concept model in final paint. Knowing that I would need a fleet of grain trucks for my future grain elevator, I decided to design my own to plug the enormous void that currently exists. "Big enough to drive a Mack truck through" pun intended. I personally haul grain with a 43' Wilson Pacesetter that dad owns for farming, so that is where I decided to start.
My N scale grain trailer version, like the one pictured above, is a common 43' aluminum grain trailer made by Wilson. I designed it with ag hoppers which have greater ground clearance for unloading augers and operating in fields. It has a shur-lok rolltarp in the rolled position. Elevators sample all grain that gets unloaded, and they usually have a remote operated probe located after the weigh scale. Also, many truckers leave the tarp rolled open on short hauls when returning empty. So it made sense to make my trailer with an open top. I do have a tarped version in the works however. I designed my own 24.5" aluminum rims and tires, Wilson logo mudflaps, DOT striping, ladder and end platform detail, tarp bows, tarp handle (brass wire), air-ride suspension detail, and finally Polly S aluminum and Reefer White paint.
Everything except the tarp handle and axles is 3D printed. The rim/tire sets were printed as separate pieces and mounted to a short piece of piano wire for the axle. The mudflaps are paper.
Anyway, now that I am satisfied with my initial results, I thought I would share what I came up with so far. I see a lot of potential with 3D printing, and hopefully you will see many more models from me in the future. 3D printing is not perfect, and it seems there is quite the controversy about whether 3D print quality is suitable for N scale. So take a look at my 43' Wilson grain trailer and let me know what you think. Sorry for the less than ideal ford 9000 tractor, but I needed something with a 5th wheel. I have a project in the works that should remedy that problem. Keep in mind that this is my first model, so I am still working on perfecting the painting process. For example, I am not completely satisfied with the paint on the red tarp. It may require some additional attention.