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Commercial Printing

Posted: Sat Jul 30, 2022 11:51 am
by Soar Valley Light
Hello all,

I hope you will forgive a non garden railway (and 12" to the foot scale) enquiry.

The Eastern Region of BR used to mark each chain along the railway by nailing small cast numbers to the sleepers (about and inch and a half by two inches and about and eighth of an inch thick). Over the years I've collected a full set of numbers and I now want to get a fair quantity reproduced for use in the Great Central.

Are there companies out there who would be able to scan and print these for me?

SVLR Andrew

Re: Commercial Printing

Posted: Sat Jul 30, 2022 5:58 pm
by philipy
You could try Dean. I don't know if he would be interested but he specialises in scanning and printing, so maybe?

Dean // Design Scan Print 3D <info@designscanprint3d.co.uk>

Re: Commercial Printing

Posted: Mon Aug 01, 2022 5:38 pm
by Soar Valley Light
Thanks Philip,

I might give him a try.

SVLR Andrew

Re: Commercial Printing

Posted: Mon Aug 01, 2022 6:16 pm
by -steves-
I am in the process of putting together a scanning setup myself. Hopefully it should become ready over the coming weekend.

I have no idea how good or bad it will be, but I think it's the same setup as what Dean uses.

I will let people on here know how it goes in another thread once I get it all working or not.

Re: Commercial Printing

Posted: Mon Aug 01, 2022 6:19 pm
by -steves-
If your things are to be used outside then I would strongly suggest ABS, no idea how it will fair with rain, then ice and repeat as I have never tried ABS or outside items. Trevor Thompson on here is the ABS man, he swears by it and I just swear at it. :lol:

Re: Commercial Printing

Posted: Mon Aug 01, 2022 6:30 pm
by Andrew
No idea about printing, I'm afraid, but I'm VERY impressed with your/the GCR's attention to detail!

Mostly for station areas I guess, if a lot of the main line uses concrete sleepers?

Perhaps you could post a photo when you've got some in place?

All the best,

Andrew

PS I wonder if there'd be a market for them as house door numbers?!

Re: Commercial Printing

Posted: Mon Aug 01, 2022 6:37 pm
by ge_rik
-steves- wrote:
Mon Aug 01, 2022 6:16 pm
I am in the process of putting together a scanning setup myself. Hopefully it should become ready over the coming weekend.

I have no idea how good or bad it will be, but I think it's the same setup as what Dean uses.

I will let people on here know how it goes in another thread once I get it all working or not.
If it's the same setup as Dean's (a hand-held scanner attached to a laptop), then he reckons it's great for people and especially clothing, but not so good for regular shapes. I took along a porter's trolley when he came to do the scanning but he ended up taking a series of photos of it and said he'd draw it using a CAD package as a scan wouldn't be very effective.

Rik

Re: Commercial Printing

Posted: Wed Aug 03, 2022 9:00 pm
by Soar Valley Light
Thanks folks,

You've given me some food for thought here. Durability was an issue I hadn't considered. They will need to be able to withstand the odd hot cinder and the effects of foot traffic.
Andrew wrote:
Mon Aug 01, 2022 6:30 pm
No idea about printing, I'm afraid, but I'm VERY impressed with your/the GCR's attention to detail!

Mostly for station areas I guess, if a lot of the main line uses concrete sleepers?

Perhaps you could post a photo when you've got some in place?

All the best,

Andrew

PS I wonder if there'd be a market for them as house door numbers?!
They are not cosmetic Andrew, the chainage is already painted in the web of the rails for reference when locating track faults, etc. The trouble is they wear off and there's enough to do without having to refresh them. I can see why the Eastern Region came up with the idea of the metal numbers! Concrete sleepers could be a challenge but we use an adhesive at work for cant and curve markers that is effective most of the time and I was thinking of using something like that if necessary. With the up still having wood sleepers though it would be possible to nail them onto that road, however, they would traditionally be on the down road as chainage was always measured along the six foot rail of the down road.

Durability may prove to be the greatest limiting factor. It may be a case of back to the drawing board!

SVLR Andrew

Re: Commercial Printing

Posted: Thu Aug 04, 2022 5:52 am
by philipy
Soar Valley Light wrote:
Wed Aug 03, 2022 9:00 pm
Durability was an issue I hadn't considered. They will need to be able to withstand the odd hot cinder
In which case I'm afraid that you will be on a hiding to nothing with the 'normal' 3d printing materials, which are all plastics of one sort or another. It is possible to 3D print metals these days, but those are pretty hi-tech and, I would think, have prices to match.

Re: Commercial Printing

Posted: Thu Aug 04, 2022 2:02 pm
by GTB
Soar Valley Light wrote:
Wed Aug 03, 2022 9:00 pm
You've given me some food for thought here. Durability was an issue I hadn't considered. They will need to be able to withstand the odd hot cinder and the effects of foot traffic.
Not just cinders and boots, the polymers commonly used in 3D printers won't last long continuously exposed to the weather. Even in the UK, the UV levels will break them down rapidly unless they are formulated for external use.

At 80 chains to the mile, a railway the size of the LNER must have had half a million or so of the things scattered around. :shock:

I assume the originals were cast iron? There are still foundries around, even here in the post industrial wasteland of Oz, so you should be able to find one that can churn them out in large numbers fairly cheaply in grey iron, or maybe aluminium. Your mechanical engineering dept. should have a list of foundries they use and can advise on patterns.

3D printing in metals is commercially available, but as Phillipy suggested it is eye-wateringly expensive. I looked at the costs a few years ago for loco driving wheels in 1:20 scale and a wheel that would cost about A$10 ea. cast in grey iron was about A$150 ea. printed in steel. A quick squizz at the Shapeways website shows things haven't gotten any cheaper since I last looked.

If cost is more important than aesthetics, the cheapest way to make the markers is to cut and drill pieces of steel sheet and write the numbers on the plates with electric glue (an arc welder).

Alternatively, getting a stencil type number plate laser cut out of steel sheet should be a lot cheaper than a casting and neater than an arc welder. Plasma cutting is a bit rougher than laser cutting, but also a bit cheaper. Again talk with your mech. engineering dept.

Regards,
Graeme

Re: Commercial Printing

Posted: Thu Aug 04, 2022 7:55 pm
by Lonsdaler
Not printing, but heritage museums (in particular Blists Hill at Ironbridge and the Black Country Museum at Dudley) have forges producing cast iron items - may be worth an inquiry?

Re: Commercial Printing

Posted: Sun Aug 07, 2022 4:38 pm
by Soar Valley Light
Thanks all for the advice and suggestions.

Definitely some food for thought there and some ideas well worth following up. Much appreciated.

SVLR Andrew

Re: Commercial Printing

Posted: Sun Aug 07, 2022 7:59 pm
by Tingewickmax
TfL use a company on the Isle of Wight to screen print their enamel signage https://www.ajwells.com/ Might this be an option given your demands ?