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.