I find myself making small incremental progress, and hope to get several models under my belt, build a small fleet of trucks, and then turn my attention back to my new layout project. Of course I plan to keep allocating time to designing new truck models and anything else that I may need where 3d printing can fill a gap.
So far, I am very pleased with my experiences with 3d printing and Shapeways. For those of you that have purchased my models so far, please don't hesitate to drop me a note and ask questions or share your finished models. This whole experience is new to me, so I certainly don't have all the answers, and look forward to gaining some best practices from others as well.
The Trail King bottom dump trailer is almost finished. I need to apply DOT stripes to each side and add mudflaps. I will try to share my DOT stripe technique in a future post, however, in a nutshell: I use MS Excel to create a grid or line of red/white/red/white dashes, print them on regular paper, use a hobby knife to cut a very fine strip of paper, spray the backside with adhesive, and stick it to the model. That is how I did the grain trailer. On that model, don't forget to add yellow marker lights, 5 on each side.
Here I have the Trail King on an R model Mack which actually doesn't have a 5th wheel, but is a suitable model for a construction rig. It looks a bit small on this trailer however, so it will likely need a Peterbilt or Kenworth tractor. This model is available on Shapeways now: http://www.shapeways.com/shops/NScaleAddict
The 379 Pete grain truck is nearly finished. For those of you who purchased my grain boxes, the small nob on the side of the box is intended to hold the tarp handle which you can make out of a piece of brass wire. The handles typically hook across the back of the box, or in this case on the side. I chose to do tall straight pipes on this model, although shorter pipes are also common. Why have the extra pipe extending up there if it is not needed? I have seen low bridges, load out augers, and other things get hung up on tall pipes. I personally like straight pipes, and made these out of brass rod.
Now that I have a solid base truck, I plan to utilize this model for many different configurations. Stay tuned on more designs. The options are endless.
Here is a trio of nearly completed models. Again, not as much progress as I would have hoped, but I feel like I have proven the original concept, and have a solid design to begin building my fleet.