Saturday, January 31, 2015

Kenworth K100 Cabover Update - In Primer

I finally got around to working on my Kenworth K100 that has been sitting in a box waiting for my attention (next to the dozens of other models that are waiting patiently as well).  My goal is to finish at least 1 of every model that I have designed so I have some examples to share on my Shapeways store.  I also feel it is important that I take every design from beginning to end, so that prospective buyers can feel confident about buying a model.  I have a hard time buying a model on Shapeways based only on a 3d rendering.

My K100 was designed with some specific finishing details in mind that are left to the modeler to add.  If you have one of my K100's already, or plan to buy one, I will explain how I intended to finish this model.

First, the handrails could have been designed into the truck cab, but I felt it would look much nicer with a free standing detail made from wire.  I use .010 wire on my trucks for mirror brackets and other details like railings.  On the K100, there are 3 sets of brackets to hold the railing to the side of the cab, which I designed into my N scale version.  I also designed a #80 hole right above the top set of brackets.  Using a prototype photo, I bend a wire into a railing, that can be inserted into the #80 holes, and then glued to each bracket to hold it in place.  It's a bit tricky, but it can be done.  I use a #80 drill bit to clean out the holes after painting.

It seems like most cabovers in the 1980's had stripes or multiple color paint schemes.  If someone wanted to spend the time to create a set of stripe decals for these trucks, that would be great.  However, I plan to paint mine a solid color, or maybe two tone.

Cabover trucks generally have a large opening in the rear of the cab where the motor is located.  I did the best I could on my model as I don't have any motor detail, and didn't want to leave a hole in the back of the cab and not have anything inside to fill it.  I did leave two openings for exhaust and air cleaner details.  The K100 has an air filter that is located on the driver side, which you can see on my model.  The air filter is usually fed by a stack on the back of the cab to pull in cold air from above roof.  The stack should be located on the rear of the cab, on the driver's side.  If you plan to do a single stack exhaust, locate it on the passenger side of the cab.  I plan to do dual exhaust on mine, which will be made from brass or aluminum rod.  Each stack should have a 90 degree bend on the bottom which can then be glued to the inside of the cab.  Refer to the photo below to see how a typical dual exhaust and air intake are configured on these trucks.

 Here are a pair of K100's in primer paint.  I used grey on these so I could get some better photographs.  White is hard to photograph.  These have 2 generous coats of primer, which I recommend.  Thicker paint seems to give a smoother finish on 3d printed models.

If you want your own N scale Kenworth K100, check out my Shapeways Store: K100

Monday, January 26, 2015

Ready to Print - 53' Utility Reefer Trailer

I started working on my 53' reefer again tonight and just couldn't go to bed until I finished it.  Well here it is.  You will notice some unique design characteristics with this model, and I will try to explain the various components.

First, this model will be expensive to print, so I tried to reduce the overall volume of the body.  To eliminate warping, I added some reinforcements to the inside while trying to minimize material.

Second, based on experience, vertical surfaces with detail can yield varying results from Shapeways.  I chose to design the rear door component as a separate piece.  This should yield a cleaner print, while making the painting process easier.  This idea actually came from my Pete 379/389 grill, as the design is very similar.  The door panel has a rim that mates perfectly to the rear opening of the trailer body.

Third, the landing gear and fuel tank will print onto a flat surface that will fit into the underside of the trailer body, where I have included a ledge to aid in locating this detail.  There is no reason to guess the location when it can be precisely located within the design.

Fourth, I eliminated the need for a piece of wire for the axles.  The suspension component now has axles designed in, exactly like my trucks.

Lastly, I created a sprue to hold the 3 components pictured.  My hope is that these pieces will be printed flat, which will yield the best quality prints.

There you have it.  A few new design ideas implemented into this model.  Time will tell if these will become best practices for me.

Who Needs a 53' Utility Reefer Trailer?

I was cleaning up some old files the other day and ran across this 53' reefer that I had started and then moved on to something else without finishing it.  I worked on it a couple hours today and thought I would take a look at a rendering.  It still needs some work, but it is getting close to completion.  I have 2 very nice prints of my UPS 28' pup trailer, so I know a box type model like this prints well, but it does get expensive due to the volume of material used.  However, I have opted to keep the walls on the thicker side to avoid warping, rather than go cheap on the overall print cost.

I'll post some updates as this project progresses.  I plan to use BLMA refrigerator units on these since they are already available as a separate detail.  The landing gear and fuel tank will be printed on a separate piece that can be added after the body is painted.  The sliding tandem axles will also be separately printed.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

3d Truck Improvements

I have learned a lot about 3d design and printing from the various models I have created, and am trying to incorporate enhancements to my new designs.  I also plan to go back and add these same improvements to my existing models as I have time.

First, I realize that mirrors are a fairly critical detail for my trucks, and while my very first finished models had no mirrors, I began adding my own custom mirrors to my recently finished trucks.  I simply use brass wire bent to the appropriate shape, inserted into a #80 hole that I drilled into the cab.  I am amazed at how 3d printers can print a very small hole into a model like my truck rims, and I came to the conclusion that I could simply design my trucks with the hole already printed, ready to accept a piece of wire.  This way, I can avoid damage to the model from my drill, or trying to hold the model while getting the hole started.  The biggest benefit is having precision location every time.  On a couple of my models such as the Pete 386, I designed a mirror assembly, and added these details to the wheel and tire sprue.  I also added the appropriately located hole in the cab to accept the mirror.

Second, I recently uploaded a file of dual wheels and put them into a square pattern rather than a long straight line.  I have had mixed results from Shapeways, as they like to print these long lines at various orientations, since they likely find extra spaces in the print tray for these long strings around other models.  The wheels that get printed flat with the rim facing up are usually a very clean print.  If they are printed on their side, they have texture.  Since I changed the pattern, I have had great feedback on print results.  So, now my wheel sprue pattern is rectangular, to promote flat print orientation by Shapeways.

Third, I beefed up my front axles, and added a shoulder that allows the front wheel to slide to the accurate location.  Up to this point, I have had to trim the axle and eyeball the spacing of the front wheels.  I now realize that I was making things much harder for myself in the assembly stage.

I know there are probably many other things that I will discover in future models, but wanted to share what I am beginning to incorporate into my designs now.  As always, I am open to feedback and suggestions on how I can make these better.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Kenworth T2000 - I'm on a roll

Here's my Kenworth T2000 nearly ready to print.  After creating the rendering in Shapeways I found a couple more details that I would like to add before printing.

I am also going to add the mirror assemblies as a printed detail with this truck due to the particular style that makes is suitable to print.  I plan to add the mirrors to the sprue that holds the wheels.  The arm or bracket on the mirror will have a pin on the end that will fit into a matching hole in the cab door.  While I have been using a small drill bit to make holes for mirrors on these trucks, I am going to start adding the hole to my designs so they are printed that way.  I am actually surprised how small of a hole can be printed in a Shapeways model.  Of course they may have to be cleaned out with a piece of wire or drill bit, but at least the location of the hole will be perfect every print.  These are the types of enhancements I keep thinking about as I design more trucks.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Silverado and Ram - Ready to Print

If you are wondering what happened to my Silverado and Ram projects, here is an update.  I received a pair of Silverados from Shapeways and they turned out as planned.  I added a bit more material at the axle locations since the wheels wanted to bow outward from only being attached to the body of the truck at the top corner of each wheel.  I also found no tires in the package so decided to connect them via a sprue.  Now that the file is updated, I will combine both the Chevy and Dodge into a file and print a pair as you see below.  I will update again once I have the final prints.    

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Peterbilt 386 - Starting the New Year on the Right Foot

Well, I guess I felt inspired after that last post, and decided to design a Pete 386 before I went to bed tonight.  The great part about this design is that I recycled almost everything here from my existing Pete 389 model.  The hood is the obvious difference between the 2 models, in addition to the lack of external air filter canisters.

There are many configurations for the 386 like most trucks, so I used the sleeper from the 389 model, left the fuel tanks exposed, and plan to mount my exhaust stacks behind the cab like the example pictured here.  Also, like my 389, the sleeper is a separate piece so this could be built as a daycab, or I could use my other sleeper designs to make other configurations.

N Scale Addict 3d Models - Time to Reflect

I was doing some end of year organization the other day, and was looking at my total sales of 3d printed models through my Shapeways shop.  First, it is hard to believe that is going on 2 years since I designed my first model, which happen to be a simple grain box for a straight truck, followed by my Wilson grain trailer, which really started it all for me.

Since April of 2013, I have sold ~700 models through Shapeways.  Keep in mind that I offer some of these models as a 2 pack, which only get counted once at Shapeways.  I have also sold a lot of models through ebay, so I am guessing my count is north of 1000 so far.

Shapeways doesn't give me details as to who ordered my designs, but does share the country destination.  While the majority are going to homes here in the states, I was quite surprised to see the following countries on the list too:  United States, Germany, Australia, Switzerland, Mexico, Austria, Canada, Norway, Denmark, New Zealand, Portugal, United Kingdom,

I never quite know the overall impact of a project like this when I decide to venture into something new, but 1000 models does give me affirmation that while 3d printing has its shortcomings, the types of vehicles that I am designing are interesting to many in the hobby, and will likely continue for years to come.

The funny thing is that this all started due to a personal need for truck models.  I never really intended to make this a business, and don't really consider it a business even now.  However, the service that Shapeways provides just happen to solve a personal N scale issue, and allow me to make these models available to others without much extra work.

I appreciate everyone that has purchased my models, shared photos of their own finished models, provided feedback and comments, as well as gripes about some of the undesirable characteristics of 3d printed models.

My goal for 2015 is to continue to design new models that are interesting and needed by the N scale community.  I also plan to catch up on my own finishing, as I still have a handful of models where I don't have a painted version to share.  Oh, and I would like to start a layout if I can get around to it.

Here is a peak at some of the models that I would like to tackle this year:

Kenworth T660

Kenworth T2000

Peterbilt 385

Peterbilt 386