Passenger car ideas

My first passenger car was 3D printed by accident. It started with the bullnose roof, which would have been difficult to craft. When I finally had the roof drawn, I started wondering how difficult it would be to draw the rest of the car, and then I wondered how much it would cost at Shapeways, which was a new service at the time. And while it wasn’t quite an accident that I hit “purchase,” it may as well have been.

I’ve never been very happy with the finish on the car, however. The Canada Atlantic passenger cars had decorative lining, and I reproduced that with a gold pencil to avoid the garish look that over-thick lining would have yielded.

I lay awake the other night with a million projects rattling around my head until three in the morning, and one of them was the next passenger car. There is no near-term plan for another passenger car, and some of the thoughts, like printed and Cricut-embossed car sides, will likely be tested on freight cars before I get here. However, I thought I would capture the ideas before they either disappear, or overwhelm other ideas.

The key idea is to print and emboss the sides and letterboards with the lettering and lining in place. I would apply these to a 3D-printed core, which would incorporate the window frames, belt rails, doors and roof. A secondary idea is to make recesses to allow me to sand the roof (if necessary) and yet accurately locate the details.

There could be some challenges around curved sections on the corners, and where baggage doors intersect with the letterboards. Also, I’m unsure if I can match the painted sections of the car with ink from my printer.

4 thoughts on “Passenger car ideas

  1. Just thinking out loud:
    – gold decals for the lining and letter board etc, plus
    – plain decal film painted in the colour you use on the car can be applied over the edges of the gold lettering where you need to narrow the width of lines
    – Cricut to cut the car-coloured decal masks.
    – Magnification to see what you are doing.

    I did wonder whether you could emboss real gold leaf onto decal film with the embossing capability of the Cricut, but imagine that would be too course compared to other methods. But for the corner posts, I wonder about real gold leaf as the first layer and coloured decal film as a mask over that. Probably overthinking it for HO scale . . .

    1. Hi Rob, I don’t imagine it was gold leaf – more likely paint, I think. The lines are really faint in photographs, which makes me believe they were very fine – less than 6mm? So I’m aiming for the right appearance over the right colour.

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