Large Scale Central

3D prinetr advice wanted

In a way i am new here as I don’t think I have ever posted on this site. I have always been on and been a G guy for a long time. Apparently I joined this site a while back. I asked about 3D printers on mylargescale and it was suggested that i ask here, so here I am.

I have stewed on getting a 3D printer for a long time. I think I am ready to buy one and hope it actually gets used. I want to print ABS and understand it can be somewhat difficult and usually recommended to use an enclosed printer. I see printer enclosures that are similar to indoor plant growing tents and wonder if this would make it so that an open printer could print ABS? I am now leaning towards a Creality Ender 3 Neo I saw on amazon for $215.

Any great advice for me?


Welcome aboard Doug!

Got no advice on my end as I prefer to make junk outta junk but there are plenty here that are quite knowledgeable and I’m sure they will chime in.

I have used a FlashForge Adventurer 3 for a couple of years with no problems and results which I am very happy with. I recently used it to build the Baldwin 0-4-0 in the photo.

There are eight AAA batteries in the boiler, the radio receiver is in the water tank, the MyLocoSound soundcard is in the cab roof and the speaker is between the frames.

Peter Lucas


The Ender 3 Neo is a fine printer and it’s the one I recommend now that the Ender 3 Pro is discontinued. The Neo includes some upgrades I have suggested for 3 Pro owners like the all metal hotend and glass bed. As far as printing ABS, My feeling is it’s not worth the hassle as PETg and ASA are considered superior to ABS for outdoor use and generally easier to print.

The Ender 3 is a good printer. And I will echo Dan’s sentiment about ABS vs PETG and ASA. ABS is fiddly to print right.

The other piece of advice I would give is to get it in your head now that you will have failed prints. These things aren’t like a laser printer, where you just push a button and it works 100% of time. You will get failures, sometimes in the first five minutes, sometimes 17 1/2 hours into an 18 hour print. Your experience with 3d printers will be much more enjoyable once you accept this.

I admit I’m not a 3D printer user. But having said that, you may also need some sort of software such as Prusa Slicer or others to set up your printer to print the STL files the size you want.
I have designed over 200 figures and saved the STL files for others to use. But they are all sized the same, so therefore you will need the Slicer to size them for your scale you model.
Others here know a lot more than me about 3D printers…

Doug, thanks for posting here. I recall your name from my MLS days, so it’s nice to reconnect.

While your concern about the right printer and filament is of concern, I’d need to ask about where your 3d models are coming from.

If from 3d cad “warehouses” such as Grabcad dot com, that’s great. But you’ll still need to scale and otherwise modify them in your own software. Preferably, you’ll have capability to create your own models, or edit those you can acquire.

Where do you stand on that 3d-cad-creation line? I ask because then we’ll be able to give decent advice on that learning curve, and also its workflow into the printing process.

For all I know, you’re a cad expert and I’ll feel like a dumbass, but I needed to put this question forward.


Cliff, I am short on time so at least for a while I will need to just print stuff I find on the Internet. A while back, I found a site that had a nice locomotive and some cars and I got a friend to get a friend of his to print the locomotive parts. A couple of weeks ago, I tried to find that site and did not, but found other sites with some G items to print.

Regarding CAD, I took a CAD class long ago, like maybe 30 or so years ago. So I am not totally CAD ignorant, but it has been a long time. I have been hesitant to get into things that require using CAD just because of the lack of time to get back up to a usable knowledge. I have seen some simplified CAD software and do not know if any of that is useful for 3D printing.


Pretty sure the Ender 3 Neo comes with slicer software.


Cliff, one other thing I might ask you, why the MLS days as if there no more? I have had guys on there say that it is mainly for live steam people, but still plenty of electric stuff discussed.

The guy that sent me here responded to my question regarding a Northeast Narrow Gauge Porter. He was the only one that responded, but then again, spect there are not many of those around. I combined in a question on 3D printers to save time.

Bought the Porter from fleabay already built and messed up. Looks good but may never run.


I have seen claims that ABS must be printed in an enclosed machine. That is why i asked about using one of those enclosures with an Ender 3. I was told by one guy that the enclosure would do what is needed. But the same guy suggested i get a Flashfordge. There is one for sale used locally and i was ready to buy it, but then I saw the Ender 3 Neo on amazon and it looks like a good unit. So many choices makes buying very difficult.

That was me. :grin:

Doug, MLS had a problem a few years ago, after Shad sold the site to the current owner who is only looking for eyeballs to supply with ads. It was OK until they totally lost everyone’s file storage! Years of modelling projects disappeared, and they made no attempt to recover them. Lots of users just left in disgust, and many are here.
(I’m still on MLS as I am a live steamer too.)

@Doug_Spillman Sent you a message. [Top right is your icon, it will have a green or orange flag in it. Click it and follow the mail link.]


That’s all completely understandable, thanks. You’ll have fun taking that route, and that’s the main thing!

As you get the time and motivation to tweak and even create your own models, there are a number of free CAD products out there which can pump out STL files for 3d printing. But no need to belabor that aspect now.


If you ask 100 people what printer to get you can get 100 different answers! Most will reply with whatever printer they have is best even if it hasn’t been taken out of the box!
The truth is, the goal is to print a plastic part and ANY printer can do it. Much like an automobile, you can pay for speed, reliability, and size/capacity but the Ferrari, Civic and the F350 will all get you to Walmart. :grinning:

If you can explain exactly what you expect to do with the printer, I think that would help us to advise.

I see on MLS you mentioned a concern “Afraid it will end up as just another dust catcher”. Well, I don’t mean to dissuade you but I believe most folks stop using them after a month or 2.
Reasons: Needs replacement part, Jammed, Odor, noise, cost, Bored with it, etc.

I do remember that stuff. Seems around that times several groups I was on made changes and went to different places and I just backed out of almost all of them as no time or desire to learn new passwords and rules and all of that. I didn’t get upset, but then again, I did not lose files and such. And it did seem that MLS became pretty commercial, but again, that is the stuff of free services.

I have things i would love to print, but time is a big scarce commodity for me. I bought a hobby farm and it is nearly all the work of a real farm without the profit and tax deductions. But I love my cows, they are such sweet babies and the nature out there is wonderful and cool seeing the deer grazing near the moo kids.

Yup, so many variables to consider and would hate to regret the expenditure and end up with it being another listing on Marketplace for a 3D printer and needing to deal with that. I also see, “have too many printers and selling this one” and could see just buying the next best developments and not having time to get rid of the ones you already had and the inventory of machines just slowly growing.

I do love model RR stuff made of wood and metal and that usually means the items are unique and not the same old production stuff every other kid on the block has. I do see 3D printing as another source of somewhat unique items that you don’t tend to see on every layout picture or video, like some Bachmann figure.

Cliff, I am so ancient that i remember doing drafting in class with pencils in engineering school. I took an Auto Cad class after I graduated as it seemed to be the wave of the future. Also took a couple of classes in computer controlled automation and sure wish i had the time and money to fool with that to do cool stuff in G RR modeling.

There are other tech goodies i still stew over like a Cricut machine , a laser cutter, and a label maker that can be used with a computer. More ideas there to add to the G realism. So much things to do and so little time. I am late right now.


I hear ya Doug. My first job drafting was in '77, and used pencils and eventually ink on mylar. Got into AutoCad around '87, and it’s been button clicks ever since.

I wonder if pencil drafting is still taught, like in case of a power outage?