Sunday, December 22, 2013

Kenworth W900L in Primer

Here are a few shots of my Kenworth W900L in primer.  I went with a flat top sleeper this time, but a full areodyne sleeper version wouldn't be too difficult now that the base cab design is done.  The front bumper is part of the frame, making it easy to paint separately from the body.  The cab and sleeper are all a single component, and the air filter canisters are separate as well, which aren't pictured here.  I plan to make at least a couple of these into bull haulers for my livestock trailers.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Tis the Season for Sharing

I received 3 packages from Shapeways last night, and I keep telling my wife they are Christmas presents for her.  Boy will she be in for a surprise.  :)  I have yet to closely examine all of the individual pieces, but at first glance, there appears to be no issues with any of them.  30 separate orders, and a multiple of that in actual individual parts, I would say that is impressive.  I don't have a lot to compare to since there are really no competitors in this space with what Shapeways does, but the quality of their printing is exceptional.  I can see a clear evolution even in the year that I have doing this 3d printing stuff.  Of course I do hope it continues to improve, so the models are more consistent.

Needless to say, I have some work ahead of me.  Most of these models I plan to make available on ebay, and through other channels.

These bags are just headache racks and herd bumpers.  I think there are 120 total.  I have intended to make these available through my Shapeways shop, however, they are a bit pricey when printing only a few.  I get these printed in larger batches to make it more cost effective. 

Here's the Kenworth W900L.  It's hard to see in this photo, but gives you an idea of the raw print result.  I am anxious to start working on a pair of these.

Lastly, I have been meaning to share some photos that others have sent me of their own N Scale Addict designs.  I thought I would share a few here.  My goal is to find an online album where people can share their work.  More to come on that.  It is very inspiring to see these designs becoming legitimate N scale truck and trailer models.  Please keep sharing!!!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

What Can Brown Do For You? UPS Mack Vision Progress Update

I don't know how I manage to get any hobby time lately, and especially during this Christmas season.  A truck project seems to take many days, with small chunks of work time as I can find it.  I have tried to keep myself very organized and focused on a very small number of projects, so I can increase my chances of completion.  I have found that shooting a couple coats of paint before work helps, as the model is ready for more steps that same evening.

Anyway, I added exhaust stacks to my Mack Vision pair this morning, and decided to take a few quick photos of my progress.  I think they are looking very nice.  The UPS, I mean "parcel service" decals are from a fellow modeler that I met via email.  What a great source for something that doesn't exist commercially.

I have a bunch of photos from other N scale addicts that have finished their own versions of my truck designs, and I just haven't had the chance to organize them and post here.  I am noodling the idea of having a public photo gallery where others can posts photos of their own models.  Of course, it would need to be moderated, or protected from inappropriate posting and behavior.  Anyone have any ideas for me?

I'll get some better photos once I am done with these guys.  The lighting is critical, to get the brown right.  This is just a quick set of photos to show my progress.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Going Overboard with 3d Printing Addiction

I can't believe that Christmas is just a couple weeks away.  Shapeways was having a great sale over the black Friday weekend, and I went crazy, like any addict would.  I think I spent over $1000 on 3d models, taking advantage of their special.  I'm only planning to save a few pieces for myself, and the rest is for Ebay.  If you haven't found me yet on Ebay, go check it out HERE.

The advantage of buying on Ebay is that all of my models are already soaked in Bestine solvent and ready for final prepping, primer, paint, and details.  I don't know how long I will buy models for resale, as it takes time to list them, package, and mail, which could be time spent on my hobby.  In addition, printing is expensive and ties up a lot of my personal capital that I have for hobby purchases.  However, as long as there seems to be a demand, I'll probably always have at least some selection available.  I never really intended for this project to get this wild, but since I am having success with my designs, I want to continue to promote my creations through multiple channels.

A couple noteworthy updates to share:  I received one of many packages today from Shapeways which contained a pair of my recently designed Kenworth W900 tractor.  They are soaking now, and I hope to get started on that model soon.  My recent designs include the Mack Vision tractor with sleeper, the Mack Vision parcel service tractor, and the KW 900 tractor.  All prints were great, and required no design changes.

Here is a quick peek at my parcel service UPS tractors.  Keep in mind that the color may not appear correctly due to the lighting and your computer screen.  I used Testers brown, which seems like a very good match for UPS brown.  I still have a lot of work to do, but progress is good.  The mirrors are bent wire and styrene.  I am dreading the silver stripe on the wheel rims.  I may have backed myself in a corner on that one.

Here's a shot of just a portion of my black Friday spending spree.  I have a bag full of cleaned models waiting to be packaged individually, and another order of stuff soaking.  As always, my designs are available at

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

UPS Arrived Today, With My UPS Mack Vision

I have the patience of a 2 year old when it comes to a new model arriving in a Shapeways package.  The UPS truck showed up at my door, and I met the delivery man before he could even ring the door bell.  After a quick soak in Bestine, here is my single axle "parcel service" Mack Vision.  This is before a coat of primer even, so you are seeing a very very fresh model.

I took these photos on my counter top, hoping that the dark background would help highlight the white models.  The white kinda glows, but at least you get an early peek at them before they go to the paint shop.  I had to drill out the 5th wheel a bit to accommodate the larger kingpin on the Trainworx trailers.  I think these will make a nice tractor for the brown shipping company.

I have a set of custom decals to apply to these, compliments of a generous individual that I met through this great hobby.  I will hopefully have a finished model to share in the near future.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Photography & Model Railroading

I have taken probably several thousands of photos related to model railroading over the past decade, and many of them for the sole purpose of magazine article material, and more recently this blog.  Even then, I still feel that I am a fresh amateur, and getting good shots isn't always easy.  There is a lot of middle space between a great photo and a bad photo, and I guess it just takes a lot of practice and a keen eye for quality to become good.  I recently purchased an inexpensive light box and set of lights, since I have been taking so many photographs of my n scale 3d printed trucks and trailers.  The current set up was staging my vehicles on an oak plywood surface and simply using the fluorescent lights on my garage ceiling for the light source.  The photo quality was decent, but didn't provide enough light where I wanted it.  I set my light box up tonight and tried it out, and wanted to share the results.  The set I purchased came with 3 small lights, so I have one aimed inward from both sides and the top.  It wasn't very expensive, so I thought it was worth a try.  Eventually I would like to have a small permanent studio for staging my photos, which will help me maintain consistency with light and camera settings.

My initial reaction was that the white material was too thick and not letting enough light through.  There is a double layer of material over a wire frame, so I could easily cut a hole in one layer, and reduce the thickness by half.  The lights seem to provide a satisfactory amount of light.  I may build my own box, with brackets to hold the lights, so it can be easily moved as a single, mini studio.  Overall, I think the camera did a nice job.

By the way, I know that my row crop duals have the tread pattern running the wrong direction.  That bracket is a separately printed component, and hasn't been glued permanently in place yet.  It just needs to be turned around.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Getting Organized - 3d Model Projects

First of all Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.  I have much to be thankful for outside of this incredible hobby, but since this is an N scale blog, I am thankful for the enjoyment that this hobby has brought to me, the skills that I have learned and evolved over the years, and of course the friendships that I have made.

Secondly, I wanted to make those interested in purchasing models from Shapeways aware, that there is a great promotion going on this weekend.  I am planning to take full advantage of it myself, as I try to have a steady stream of models showing up at my door.

I started experimenting with this 3d printing drug not even a year ago, and have since developed a very strong addiction.  I continue to think about the next layout, but every time I do, I am overwhelmed with the amount of models I still want to design, and the number of models that are waiting for me to assemble and paint.  I am now toying with the idea of simply building an oval where I can run trains, without the pressure to build scenery at this time.  I have some Kato intermodal cars that I purchased this year, that haven't even been taken out of the box.  If I go too much longer without having the ability to simply run some trains, I think I could start circling the drain, and never recover.

Of course, putting the new layout project on the back burner to focus on 3d design and printing has been well worth it.  But again, I am beginning to become overwhelmed with the list of models I want to design, and the growing pile of unfinished models I currently have.

In the past several years, I have singled out the Great Train Expo as my show of choice to be a layout exhibitor, and displayed the Marias Pass one final time this year in early February.  My goal was to have something stood up for the 2014 show, but that simply won't happen.  I do however have an interest in displaying my new truck models in the 2014 show, and view it as a great motivator to get some models finished in the next couple of months.  So anyway, I bought a couple additional plastic containers with dividers to help organize my unfinished models into unique projects, so I could prioritize which items I wanted to tackle first.  Although this isn't my entire inventory, it is a nice itemized grouping of projects that I can focus on for the next several weeks.

One compartment at a time....

Monday, November 25, 2013

And Finally... the KW is Ready!

I set this project to the side a couple times, and most recently to complete my Mack Vision due to a strong urge to design a tractor for my UPS trailers.  I put the finishing touches on this Kenworth W900L tonight, and it is now ready to print.  My intention for this configuration is to have another bull hauler to go with my Pete 379 on my livestock trailers.  My herd bumper should fit this rig as well.  This should be a beauty once I have a set of straight pipes on it.  This design will have separately printed air filters like the Pete, and a separate frame and wheels.  The grill is part of the cab, and the bumper part of the frame this time.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Kinze Blue & John Deere Green

Although I am more of a red fan, Deere seems to have the N scale market cornered.  Here is a pair of Kinze 1050 grain carts staged in front of a collection tractors I have.  I have 2 versions of this wagon, on both flotation tires, and row crop duals.  About the only thing left to do is a white stripe around the top, and a piece of wire added to simulate a PTO shaft in front.

One other item I wanted to mention is that Shapeways is offering free shipping on orders over $75 this week.  Here is my shop in case you need some models:

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Mack Vision: Single Axle Parcel Service Tractor

I recently completed a design for a Mack Vision in a single axle version which is a really good match for those used by UPS.  There have been a handful of excellent trailer models produced over the years, but not a single reasonable tractor model to pair up with them.  Well, I plan to change that with my Mack.

Here is a 3d rendering to wet your appetite.