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3 D printing Quick Technical Q & As - 3D Printing - More Practical Help - Your Model Railway Club
 Posted: Tue Mar 6th, 2018 01:40 pm
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An Area For Technical help          

    Edited to remove preductive  tixt  changes from titles, now off to beat predictive  text out of my tablet  ;-)

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 Posted: Mon Nov 26th, 2018 06:53 pm
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The Bankie
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Hi Matt

I hope a quick burst of FAQs may be useful. Now I can’t guarantee that these will really be FAQs as no one has asked them specifically yet, but, they are what concerned me when I wanted to start making the bits I couldn’t find on sale. For example 4.5 mm diameter wheels for an N gauge tram with 27 inch wheels. So could I print them? As it happens yes, and very accurately, BUT, (ain’t their always a BUT?) :roll: they are plastic and I now need to source some 4.5 mm outside diameter tube to make tyres so I’ll need to find the tube, reprint the wheels to allow for the inside diameter of the tube and slice off 0.5 sections of the tube for the tires. This is only to illustrate that the printer is NOT a panacea but an excellent tool in its own right.

Right now the FAQ bit.


MACHINE: Is probably the most important factor for home users and one I can’t answer directly but I can give you a range and that is from around |£150.00 to about £1000.00. At the lower end you will have to assemble the machine yourself but as I have said before anyone capable of building one of the Scalescenes or Metcalf kits should be able to do the physical build. Higher priced machine may only be the self assembly machine pre-built so pay attention to the sales blurb.

CONSUMABLES: Just as awkward as machine cost as there are so many types of filament (think of these as the ink for your printer) available, several sizes and compositions. The two main contenders are:-

PLA A plant derived plastic and intended as biodegradable but remember it must be recycled separately and at roughly 200 years to break down I think the term is being used rather loosely. It produces non-toxic fumes but do leave a window open.
ABS Is an oil based plastic. It is stronger and more flexible than PLA but it produces toxic fumes so not only use in a well ventilated area preferably with forced ventilation or a fume cabinet also leave the room. If you do not have either option an open window and a fan blowing out of the room. Leave for at least half an hour after the print ends before re-entering the room. Price depends on quality and composition, gold silver etc. thickness and spool size. It runs from 3-4 metre free samples :lol: through to 1kg reels and anything up to £100.00+ :shock:. Cheap end at about £6.00 for a half kilo of plain filament for either type.


You can obtain filament in a huge variety of differing material and colours and this will have an effect on stability and strength so you need to check up with the manufacturers claims. As a general rule of thumb plain filament is slightly stronger than those with additives, for example metallic flakes may look pretty but they will decrease the bond and therefore the strength of your print.
The most important factors are type, PLA /ABS, height above bed, correct print head heat and bed levelling.
The height above the bed for the initial layer is critical. Too high and the print will not stick and may move on the bed at any time causing misalignment if too high and physical pushing or pulling if too low.
Too high layers and the filament will not bond properly causing de-lamination and your print will peel apart into individual strings. This is also a heat problem as too cool a print head heat setting and you will get the same result.
Too low layer settings will result in sagging which looks like the print has been squashed down and is oozing out of shape. The result of too high a heat setting gives similar results.
Each machine has different ways of adjusting for a print run. Check your manual


Thingiverse has an incredible resource of ready to print items in a truly staggering variety of subjects. Just go and have a look. Otherwise you will need to design your stuff in a CAD program and I suggest looking around the web for one which will suit you. Thingiverse includes details of which program the chosen item was made with. You may, or may not have to run your program through a “slicer” to produce a file your machine can read. Think of the slicer as reducing your item into the individual layers that your printer will deposit when it prints your object.

Have to stop now as my brain hurts.


Because, except in some unfortunate circumstances, trains did not run on town centre streets
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 Posted: Tue Nov 27th, 2018 05:49 pm
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Check out Aldi. They have one on offer!

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