Author Topic: New 3D Printing Technology for N scale trains, need opinions  (Read 7742 times)

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orionfield

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New 3D Printing Technology for N scale trains, need opinions
« on: November 04, 2017, 07:50:13 PM »
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So, while looking into options to break away from Shapeways, I stumbled upon a local 3D print shop that had a really cool technology I was not aware of. They had a new type of 3D printer, that is similar in technology to FXD, but without the instability issues that people have been complaining about, plus higher print resolution, and with the added bonus of being able to print models in full color, including crystal clear parts for windows, and markings, thus negating the need for paint and decals.

My question is, would anyone be interested in such a technology, and how much more that the current going price for 3D printed models would you be willing to pay? 

Personally, I would see this being more useful for 3D printed N scale buildings and scenery items, but I don't see a downside for using it to make railcars either.
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chessie system fan

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Re: New 3D Printing Technology for N scale trains, need opinions
« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2017, 08:14:28 PM »
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Have they got a website?
Aaron Bearden

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Re: New 3D Printing Technology for N scale trains, need opinions
« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2017, 08:20:23 PM »
+1
thus negating the need for paint and decals.


I seriously doubt that.

Who makes the printer?

Jason

C855B

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Re: New 3D Printing Technology for N scale trains, need opinions
« Reply #3 on: November 04, 2017, 08:30:02 PM »
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Who makes the printer?

I second that. There are a number of folks here who try to keep abreast of developments in this technology, and I for one have not read of anything near like what is described, which in some ways sounds too good to be true. Make and model would be enormously helpful so we can research specs and verify the claims.
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orionfield

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Re: New 3D Printing Technology for N scale trains, need opinions
« Reply #4 on: November 04, 2017, 08:46:49 PM »
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That's a fair assessment. I don't have any of my CAD models colored at the moment, but I can get to work on that and do a test print. When I went to tour their facility on Friday, they had a 3D print of a 3D scanned banana in full color, and before I picked it up to handle it, it was hard to tell the banana wasn't real. I believe the machine they were using was a Stsratasys polyjet printer, not sure which model.
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chessie system fan

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Re: New 3D Printing Technology for N scale trains, need opinions
« Reply #5 on: November 04, 2017, 08:51:07 PM »
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If it's this one it's .014mm print resolution.

http://www.stratasys.com/3d-printers/j750
Aaron Bearden

orionfield

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Re: New 3D Printing Technology for N scale trains, need opinions
« Reply #6 on: November 04, 2017, 08:55:31 PM »
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If it's this one it's .014mm print resolution.

http://www.stratasys.com/3d-printers/j750

Definitely the right brand, but i don't know which one it was. They had a bunch of different Stratasys printer, all different models. For the sake of argument, lets say this technology exists as I say it does, how much would it be worth for, to make a model made to order, with the colors and markings of any railroad you want, and with the road numbers you want?
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chessie system fan

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Re: New 3D Printing Technology for N scale trains, need opinions
« Reply #7 on: November 04, 2017, 09:12:27 PM »
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Don't know about paint schemes, but as a Chessie modeler having a light shell vs a dark shell makes a difference.  Painting yellow is a challenge.
Aaron Bearden

orionfield

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Re: New 3D Printing Technology for N scale trains, need opinions
« Reply #8 on: November 04, 2017, 09:16:31 PM »
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Don't know about paint schemes, but as a Chessie modeler having a light shell vs a dark shell makes a difference.  Painting yellow is a challenge.

After some further research on my end, my local vendor does indeed have the J750 printer, and Statasys claims it can do photo-realistic color. I'll do some exhaustive testing and get back to you guys when I do, but I think this could be a huge Game Changer.
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C855B

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Re: New 3D Printing Technology for N scale trains, need opinions
« Reply #9 on: November 04, 2017, 09:35:33 PM »
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Bear in mind I used to run a number of hi-res 2D service bureaus 30 years ago back when it was the latest and greatest leap out of the dark ages... so I'm naturally going to be skeptical. Color was the most difficult to get right.

To answer your direct "What's it worth to you?", considering the special Hell I've been going through in the attempt to paint/finish FXD shells for a unique model - and Aaron mentioned yellow - I would say that such output would be worth ~$250 to me, this for a large locomotive shell. But that said...

The output I saw illustrated in their product brochure indicated - again, to me - that the device, while capable of a wide gamut, does not have the contrast for sharp, small lettering. I noticed blurring around even large (relative to models) pushbutton captions, somewhat reminiscent of the appearance of double-injection plastic where the plastics slightly melt at the boundary of the two colors. To a degree that is something I would expect from a process-color 3D machine. Photo-realistic? Yeah, maybe, but I've been down that road before with claims of "photo-realistic" which was OK with biologic objects, but precise geographic or technical objects such as lettering, not so much.

In the analysis, what we need for custom model production is a device, or process, that emulates fine-quality injection molding, possibly in a base color, and then another device, or process, to handle remaining surface finish colors, similar to a pad printer. That second device almost exists - MTL is using it for their weathered models, for example - but the process resolution is not quite good enough to take the place of a stencil-based pad printer.
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Re: New 3D Printing Technology for N scale trains, need opinions
« Reply #10 on: November 04, 2017, 09:36:19 PM »
-1
Definitely the right brand, but i don't know which one it was. They had a bunch of different Stratasys printer, all different models. For the sake of argument, lets say this technology exists as I say it does, how much would it be worth for, to make a model made to order, with the colors and markings of any railroad you want, and with the road numbers you want?

Personally I'm not quite ready for 3D-printed models using colored resin for body color and decoration.  What about silver and gold colors (if that was what's needed for decoration or markings)?  Also, how are the various colors printed? Small dots of CYMK resins (like the way standard CYMK printers work)?  Would that dot pattern be visible in close-up photos?

For some reason all I can think of when visualizing this is  Legos.  I realize that these will be much finer models, but that is how my mid works.  But if these 3D printers can produce smooth enough surface that no additional sanding/smoothign is needed I woudl be interested (and I would still paint/decorate them myself).
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Chris333

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Re: New 3D Printing Technology for N scale trains, need opinions
« Reply #11 on: November 04, 2017, 09:37:40 PM »
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Can't say till I hold parts in my hand. Don't really care about the color though.

C855B

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Re: New 3D Printing Technology for N scale trains, need opinions
« Reply #12 on: November 04, 2017, 09:39:31 PM »
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Chris is right.

"The proof is in the pudding." Since you have models already expressed in 3D CAD, add "paint and decals" to your art. Work with your prospective supplier and see what they can do for you to generate samples.
...mike

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C855B

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Re: New 3D Printing Technology for N scale trains, need opinions
« Reply #13 on: November 04, 2017, 09:44:21 PM »
+1
[This lack of after-posting edit capability is driving me crazy! :x ]

Pete is right about metallic colors being an issue, and he also better conveyed my concerns about "fuzziness" of CMYK(etc.) printing, be it 2D or 3D. I also know from professional experience that shades of brown are incredibly difficult to render in process colors. 0.1% off in any of the component primaries, and your result is simply the wrong color.
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tehachapifan

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Re: New 3D Printing Technology for N scale trains, need opinions
« Reply #14 on: November 04, 2017, 09:57:19 PM »
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I'm guessing that, at this rate, in 10 years or less we will be able to print (quality) 3D shells and parts at home, 15 years in full (N scale quality) color and within 20 years we will be able to print the whole drive mechanism with LED's integrated right into the printing itself. Maybe less.