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    • September 18, 2017 11:51 AM EDT
    • Thanks Dennis!


      I should have mentioned that, after some experimentation, I got the time per sheet down to 45 minutes. I'm using a 60 watt laser at 70% power setting (so maybe ~42 watts, hard to tell). Also, my graining patterns are pretty dense. So we're probably not too far apart. 



    • September 17, 2017 10:37 PM EDT
    • looking good Cliff, wow on your time, I cut a sheet in 25 minutes, with 45 watts

      it will look great when all finished


    • September 17, 2017 3:06 PM EDT
    • The ore chut parts are delayed, so this has been shingle-cutting weekend. 12 sheets (12x24") of acrylic to cut, 32 strips per, 1 hour per sheet. Here's what 384 strips of 1' long shingles look like:



      BTW, these were cut with an improved method (vs. what I did on the test building). Dennis R. helped me out with a thin galvanized steel cutting bed (thanks again Dennis, you de man!!). I positioned this on the laser bed and used the laser to locate and square up some tape, to locate each sheet of acrylic reliably. I used 1 strip of Scotch removable double-sided tape down the middle of the acrylic sheet, and aligned it with / stuck it to the new metal bed.


      The DS tape kept the acrylic from springing up during cutting (mostly). Sometimes I paused the cut to tuck in some more ds tape, if an edge was lifting too much. Anyway, it all worked great.


      And I'm starting on the cleanup process, which is removing the bit of tape, and any "hanging chads" from between shingles, for each strip. Tedious, but I'm listening to some tunes and 3d printing some ore chute parts at the same time.



    • September 11, 2017 7:30 PM EDT
    • Here's the updated wiring diagram.


      Instead of "home-running" all the module feeds to the main barrier strip in module #2 (lower left), I found it easier to extend a single wire-pair from that module into module 1 (the big one), and terminate each module's feeder with a banana plug. I learned this trick from Greg Elmassian (thanks Greg), while doing track wiring. These jacks are cheap, and I'll need the easy disconnectibility.


      This is a single-line diagram: all the red lines are paired wires. When it gets down to the power supply components in the lower left, I've broken out the negative legs and shown them in black. 


      All the wiring is 2-18. black/red. Overkill; I should have used 2-20 or even smaller. However, the automatic wire stripper I'm now using (I love it!!) tends to take off a couple strands; and the 2-18 was cheap anyway (speaker wire). So no worries from my end, overkill seems to be working fine and hasn't cost me anything.


      The little track thing in the upper left is part of the trestle sub-project, and it will probably become a big sub-sub-project... when I get to it. Maybe this year, maybe next, we'll see. The diagram for that portion is totally incomplete, but we'll get to it eventually. Not now, but eventually. 


      Next stop will be ore bins / chutes. This evening I've finalized several 3d files I need to get printing on; and the detail bits will get here from Shapeways in a couple days. So hopefully, I'll have the needed bits by Saturday. 





    • September 11, 2017 6:52 PM EDT
    • HAha David! No, I don't agree re the BM'ing. I've been totally neglecting the layout this year, along with other things. So between my lack of perspective and single-project obsession, I won't easily give up my BM membership badge! 


      I'm glad you noticed the glowing blue cupolas. One of the four is true to the prototype, representing THE Dr Who Tardis. The Doctor paid regular visits to Virginia City ca. 1869-83, and the Comstockians loved him dearly. The Tardis was parked over the boiler house, so I'm paying tribute as well as I can. Sadly, the blue plex will soon be hidden by sheathing, just as the Tardis was in the prototype after the Great Fire... 




    • September 11, 2017 4:19 PM EDT
    • I like the glowing blue cupolas. It gives the whole thing a surreal look.


      Darn, if you aren't making us butt modelers look bad.

    • September 11, 2017 10:01 AM EDT
    • Thanks guys!



      Dennis, that means a lot, I'm glad you're enjoying this build. Thanks again for the metal sheet, I'll sure be using it with the mountain of shingle strips I need to cut!


      Chris, the diffuser (aka poly sheet drop cloth stuff) is doing the job in hiding the interior; no extra paint is needed. Thanks though.



    • September 11, 2017 8:34 AM EDT
    • Cliffy,


      Try taking your diffuser and spraying 2-3 LIGHT coats of flat black on the inside.  This will make it so you can't see thru it, but will let the light pass thru.  You can vary the number of coats to get the result you want.   



    • September 11, 2017 8:21 AM EDT
    • Yea, what Animal said..................

    • September 15, 2017 7:26 AM EDT
    • Forgot to mention, I'm also making an insert for locomotive applications.  This will make the coupler slack-less:

    • September 12, 2017 1:23 PM EDT
    • Tinkercad is what I use all the time, both for my home 3D printer -- a DaVinci Jr. and the ones at the library -- Makerbot Replicators.  For figures, try thingiverse (their search engine is terrible though).  You can scan yourself and print yourself too.

      Write back if you have questions.  I started using the 3D printers at the library about two years ago.  Now I help others figure out how to do it!


    • September 11, 2017 7:37 PM EDT
    • Thanks everyone!!  Yes, I was truly surprised by their generosity.  And the fact my ten year old kept a secret is the most amazing part.  The brand is Mod-t by New Matter.  Looks pretty cool but supposedly easy to use which is right up my alley.  There are some free things in their store I can download for free to learn.  But I'll also check the sites you've all recommended.

      I'll keep you up to date on my technology prowess!! 


    • September 11, 2017 3:52 PM EDT
    • Too cool.   What kind did you get? I've been looking at them for some time now, but only because I want to push a button and have a part magically appear.   I don't think that they come to that stage yet...

    • September 11, 2017 2:39 PM EDT
    • Richard Mynderup said:
      My wife and son surprised me with a 3D printer for my Birthday. ...


         You lucky cat!


    • September 11, 2017 1:34 PM EDT
    • I like DesignSpark Mechanical and it is a free download.

    • September 11, 2017 12:37 PM EDT
    • Gregory Hile said:

      ... try a free internet-based program called Tinkercad, which you can find at Play around with it and I think you'll be able to get a good start. ..

      and while you learn, to use your new toy now...

      go to

      that is a searchmashine, to find printable 3D objects. it refers to objects on thinkercad, thingyverse and many others.

      (you will have to register and log in into these other sites, to download files from there.)


      for starters, i would recommend, that you go to yeggi, write "railway" or "railroad", set search option to "free" ... and be lost for the world during the next hours!

      welcome to the club.

      what make is your printer?

    • September 11, 2017 2:44 AM EDT
    • Richard, congratulations and happy birthday! No, you do not need a 3D scanner. What I would suggest is to try a free internet-based program called Tinkercad, which you can find at Play around with it and I think you'll be able to get a good start. There are some more complex programs out there (some of which are also free, like SketchUp and Blender) but unless you have prior experience with CAD or graphics software Tinkercad is a good place to start. There are also 3D printing services out there -- probably the most well-known one being Shapeways. Even though you have a 3D printer, it might be nice to compare what you print with that of a professional service.

      There are lots of resources here on LSC. Dig in, play around and enjoy!


    • September 11, 2017 1:08 AM EDT
    • My wife and son surprised me with a 3D printer for my Birthday. I always thought it would be fun to create different things for the hobby and now I can! However I have no clue how to create an a figure to ride in my coaches.... what is a good, user friendly software to create 3D objects? Do I need ac3D scanner? I think my technology learning curve has take a giant leap

      I appreciate any thoughts