I am not doing Solidworks designing for others anymore. I may be able to give you some tips on how to do it, but by far the best thing to do is learn it yourself and make your own parts and designs. No one knows what you want more than you do. The learning curve for Solidworks and designing for producing 3D master patterns is absolutely massive though.
The following is the page archive of when I was actively doing designing, and a lot of the items I made for me. It is extremely outdated at this point. I have made a lot of parts not shown here.
When I first heard about Solidworks I knew there had to be some model railroading applications. I have previously made brass masters the old fashioned way by machining a brass pattern 4% oversized. It is a VERY time consuming process. The worst thing about it is, many times during the making of the mold; the master pattern can be damaged or totally destroyed. So when the mold expires, the part cannot be reproduced again without a new master. I have had that happen to me. This process has been replaced with Solidworks and a Rapid Prototype printer for producing master patterns.
The simplified key difference between AutoCAD and Solidworks is AutoCAD is just a 2D drawing. With Solidworks, you can send the file to a number of different end processes that will manufacture the part. It is a 3D MODELING program. Solidworks is also very flexible, in that an item can be easily modified and revised after the initial creation of the item.
See below for the master patterns I had made from my drawings. It is really a truly amazing process. The quality was outstanding.
Prototherm and VisiJet are 3D printing materials I have used.
Prototherm becomes the master pattern for a lost wax brass casting mold where you have a mold made for traditional lost wax brass casting. This has a glassy smooth top surface for great finish and resolution – on ONE surface.
VisiJet is a burnout material. It is for very low production items. No mold is needed. You get a 1 cast part per SLA printing because it is burned out in the curing of the investment plaster. My venture into using VisiJet was not as successful as I had hoped. What is considered an acceptable VisiJet parts surface by industry standards once it is burned out and cast was by far not acceptable to me. It is good for utility parts like motor mounts that are not seen or for difficult to cast parts, but you will spend extensive time sanding and smoothing the brass part surfaces.
I model almost exclusively in brass, so brass casting is the most likely way to go here. If you are modeling in plastic, then of course you just use the rapid prototype produced plastic part as is, but that would be very expensive!
In November 2013 I made a Seaboard express boxcar that had a large vent in the side of the car. I had some vents made in Prototherm and used them as the final use parts. It is the first time I have used a 3D printed item like this and it worked out very well. Still I would NOT do this on a wear part of something that is highly susceptible it handling. I do not know if the parts can become brittle with age. Since the vent was completely painted I am not very concerned with any issues happening later.
See the end details of my Solidworks 2 Page for more details on getting urethane items made.
I am not up to the level of drawing steam engine boiler fronts and drivers – yet. It is just a matter of time until I will be able to design a boiler front.
I HAVE 10 years of “dream parts”, the parts I never thought I would ever get - in my hands now. I am making new parts all the time.
The item does not have to be rolling stock related. Truly anything can be made.
P70r Roof Vents
The Penn Ventilator
(I call them stumps!)
Penn Ventilator and Capped Vents Master Pattern
This material is called Prototherm
(Made from VisiJet)
Steam Engine Handrail Stanchions
(From the I1)
RS11 Antenna Stanchion
Sound Cam Wiper Assembly
While none of this was made using Solidworks, it looks SO nice when drawn in 3D!
This is mounted down in the frame right behind the sound cam on a new cross member soldered to the frame. The approximate dimensions are 3/8’ wide x ¼” high x ¾” long. The bottom wheel plate is between the brass screw and the C bracket. You can adjust the pressure of the wiper finger on the sound cam from the bottom of the locomotive without ever taking it apart.
Actual 3D Printed Master
PRR PA1 and E7 Modern Numberboard, Brackets & Marker Light
PRR 2D-F1 Archbar Truck
This is my biggest success so far. More is to come!
This truck is now available from Pennsy S Models
The 2D-F1 truck was used on FM GL, GLa, GLb, GLc GP, GPa, GR, GRa, GS, GSa, GSd, H22, K7, XL, X23, X24, X25, X25a and GSC. It was the predecessor to the very common 2D-F8 truck.
These trucks have never been offered previously in S Scale in any form. It was done as a design challenge when I was going to school for Solidworks. I measured a real 2D-F1 truck on the GLa hopper at the RRMPA in Strasburg PA, and then compared my sketches to real PRR drawings I have. I crossed the prototype details and features of S Helper Service trucks to design this truck. So it is essentially a brass S Helper Service truck that uses their Delrin axle bushings and wheels. NWSL premium code 110 Nickel Silver wheels fit in perfectly as well. I am not sure if P64 wheels fit. They roll and equalize VERY well. The bolsters have the same ride height as the SHS trucks when using 33” wheels. The castings include 4 side frames and 9 journal box covers (1 extra) on the first tree. The second tree includes 4 bolsters. 1 bolster pair is for generic installations like brass cars. The second bolster set is designed to fit S Helper Service cars. Assembly and some drilling out of holes is required.
E7 Vent Door
Vent for Seaboard Express Boxcar
All photos and content © Lanes Trains 2005-2018