2mm finescale

In China etching and 3d printing St Pancras

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I’m in China (more on that in another post) whilst I have been here I really wanted to find a photo etcher and visit some 3d printing factories.

Well I did just that and here are some samples from St Pancras Roof which are 10 thou brass with some nice detail and some sample 3d prints of St Pancras windows, I’m really happy with the result.

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Missenden Abbey Engineering Weekend 

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Opportunity to learn some hands on engineering at the residential Missenden Abbey Engineering Weekend. There was a huge mix of activities broken out into about 8 different areas ranging from paint spraying to metal work. I took the opportunity to work on the Midland Spinner frame which I am very happy with progress so far, definitely got to break in quite a bit of the equipment I have been collecting (think I took everything but the kitchen sink).

We even saw some snow!

Dinner in the clock tower!!

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Some may say I have a slight obsession with St Pancras, I was delighted to have the opportunity therefore to have a 5 course Argentinian inspired meal prepared by a top Chef. I had the opportunity to give a brief talk about the history of the Grand Midland Hotel and even met the owner who gave me a clock tower mug 🙂

A go at casting

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I recently wanted to get a feel for how difficult casting may be. A bit of trial and error going on here which seems a subject with actually very little detailed information on google – lots of high level but I failed to get any decent examples.

So jumping in I used some rubber tool silicone to make a negative cast which I then made a wax mould from which in theory I could then cast with investment powder. Lot more experimenting and a good book needed to proceed I think. But not a terrible outcome from an afternoon just jumping in and experimenting.

The idea being that with a good wax cast (and I think I had the wrong wax) I could make a number of patterns that I could cast in brass using some equipment available to me.

The makings of St Pancras V3

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I have reprinted the plans of St Pancras in my final quest of making St Pancras, now in 2mm scale. Here are the first sample outputs of the drawings which are taken from the plans and then re-drawn in Adobe Illustrator and then fiddled about with in InkScape via svg and dxf formats for cutting – all very complicated!

These flat structures will have a number of detail added to them by the way of low resolution printing I have been testing.

 

Watchmaking… nope same techniques though!

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St Pancras has to have something running on it, and here is what I am working on, I done a number of 3d prints which really pushed the boundaries but really a heavier material is what will make this work. The resin is probably just too light to pull any sort of loads out of the station.

So sticking with 3d printing, the boiler here is printed in wax and then cast in brass. However this is very light and probably still not very practical. The result looks amazing though. Close inspection however shows a lot of dimples where the brass is polished, this wouldn’t paint nicely, if you look on the inside you’ll see that the unpolished area is very rough. I have filed it flat and will smooth it off for painting, but still not there in a mass production perspective of having a dozen of these locos.

You’ll note my workbench has seen computers disappear and give way to a whole suit of watchmaking tools, now to learn how to use them!

More 3D fine scale

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A second round of 3d printing fine resolution. These prints explore how low you can go looking at rivet detail and resolution from 0.1mm to 0.33. You can see the orange print is my first reasonable output from my own low resolution resin printer. The detail becomes much clearer and amazing when primed in red. Finally mastering my metalwork skills by making something a little bit heavier out of metal and you can see the 3d printed wheel encapsulated in the rim. Certainly a lot of theory and technique on show here!