3D Printing - cement car project 2023

Model Railroading POC Project

The goal of this project is to gain experience with 3D printing. Specifically on the complexities and challenges around resizing of existing models. Since 1:87 scale HO models are readably available, the ability to resize such models up to 1:64th scale, S scale, would be a huge game changer and would open up new realms of possibilities.

POC Model

As a starting point I choose a very distinct and different kind of car to be use as a POC. The intention was to see to what degree the current technologies allowed for such a conversion.

Origional model: Model 2809632


I am printing with an AnyCubic Photon Mono 4k printer.

Printing technology: SLA (resin)

Lessons Learned

I quickly learned several things with this POC:

  • Resizing (within reason) is easy.
  • Upscaling, while not complicated, does have the issue that you need a printer big enough to print the desired size
  • Sizing limitations are starting to go away as bigger printers are coming out. (Not so helpful once you already have a printer of a certain size and are thus already constrained.)
  • Size limitations can be overcome - at the time cost of splitting model components and getting your splitting right.
  • Sometimes models are right geometrically, but are non optimal. Take for example pieces that are solid vs empty/hollow. This can be easily correct, again at the cost of time to edit someone else's models to hollow them out.
  • Even when you get things right - plan ahead. There are always random print errors for no apparent reason. Be prepared to try , try again.
  • Sizing is not precise. When working out the mechanics you sometimes just have to play with the scaling till you get things to work. My truck trolleys were actually downscaled from O gauge, but still did not fit the wheels correctly. Scaling had to be tinkered with quite a bit.



I am very, very pleased with the results of my efforts. And since my initial POC I have even moved on to print another car, which worked out faster than my initial POC build. Which is as one would hope. So be of good cheer - there is hope!

The end story:

  • 3d printing does have a good uptick on the learning curve
  • There is a lot of good help out there
  • Be prepared to "tinker". If thats not your thing -- you might not want to get into 3d printing.


Completed model pictures


Making of video

There was a recent call out in the NASG publication for video material. Here is my first major video editing composition showing the project as it progresses. My hope is to raise awareness of S gague as well as to encourage other modelers in their use of 3d printing to enhance their hobbie.