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.


  1. I have been following your blog about 3 years now. I have to say your work on all the 3D vehicles has been outstanding. I have not yet purchased any yet but do have a long wish list. I've just been busy with redesigning my layout but have not gotten to the vehicle stage yet. Please don't stop on designing and produce N scale vehicles. You have definitely captured that market in my opinion. l would like to see you start a new layout in the future and put those vehicles to work. Keep it up.

    Brian in Denver, CO

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