Friday, February 15, 2013

If Heinz Made Railway Wagons

So my latest set of 3D prints arrived on Monday, shortly after I'd left the country headed for Hannover, and so I've only just got around to unpacking them and seeing how they turned out.

This print run consisted of three 18 foot wagons (looking from left to right in the rendering they are): a 5 plank mineral wagon with fixed ends, an 8 plank open coal wagon with an open end, and an 8 plank open coal wagon with fixed ends. I also decided to give each wagon a different brake system; the 5 plank coal wagon has a single brake, the 8 plank open end wagon has a combined brake system, and the 8 plank with fixed ends has two independent brake systems, one on each side. What's interesting is that I generated all three combinations from a single model by simply selecting the required parts. This means that I could actually produce a much larger number of variations than I printed this time.

I'm not sure I could rival Heinz and make 57 varieties but each wagon can have
  • one of three types of braking system
  • side doors or not
  • an opening end or a fixed end
  • if it has side doors then the catches can be on the plank above (assuming it has any) or at the side of the door
Assuming my maths is right then this gives us three side door combinations, three brake systems, and two end combinations, which means 18 versions in total. Couple this with the ability to alter the number of side planks and we can generate a large number of wagons. In reality most wagons have either 5, 7 or 8 side planks leaving us with 54 different versions, only just short of the number of Heinz varieties!

So on to the actual 3D prints.

The one thing I was worried about was how the brake gear would turn out, and if it would survive the printing process. I'm happy to report that it looks like the structure is actually quite strong and there are no problems at all. What is slightly annoying is that the bolts on all three models are almost invisible. This is really weird as I didn't change their size from the previous test print where they came out perfectly. I'm hopping that a layer of paint will make them stand out more. Even given this issue I'm more than happy with all three wagons, and they will all now be properly weighted and painted before joining the other wagons (here and here) I've built.


  1. You will have to show them to me the next time we are with you. Dad

  2. It will be good to see them all when they are up and running.