For those of you reading this introduction, let me tell you a
bit about myself and the rationale for
putting together a series of articles which
I hope might get some of you seriously
thinking about exploring 3D printing as a
way to enhance your garden railroad.
In the 2019 elections
you elected me as President of the BTOC.
I want to thank you for your trust in
As we go through this turbulent time
of 2020, we have seen our conventions, train
shows and even club meetings cancelled,
leaving us with free time to work on our
And that time has been spent in
exploring 3D printing and developing a model
of a chemical processing plant named BLB
I have learned a lot and will be
putting together a series of articles to
discuss various aspects of the process of
generating a model using this new
Prior to retirement 3
years ago, I worked for Moog Inc. as a sales
and application engineer in the Industrial
I started as a production engineer
with a background in circuit development for
a variety of products from fish finders to
fighter aircraft radars.
At Moog I was exposed to lots of
industrial environments and had the
opportunity to see many railroad activities
around these plants as well as in the local
communities that I visited.
These trips filled my head with “what
ifs” on duplicating some of the things I saw
for a model railroad (not yet into G scale
in this time period – just armchair
My hobby interested
started back in 1944/45 when my grandfather
gave me a prewar Lionel train set.
For 16 years this was my hobby,
putting together Plasticville buildings.
I cut up outdoor Christmas lights to
light these house up (and in a few cases,
melted them down!).
I learn to wire a layout with sidings
and do block control so that I could have
more than one engine on the layout.
When married, my wife bought me an HO
set which then became my primary interest
having left the Lionel train at home with my
As an engineer I was
constantly looking at tools to advance my
model buildings of which two technologies
rose to the top of my interest.
One was the small CNC machines for
cutting out wood with thickness for making
walls in HO buildings.
I finally purchased one, but for the
time being it sits in the hobby room
The other was 3D printing.
Several hobby suppliers begin listing
these machines with publicity that would
lead you to believe this was a technology
that had finally achieved home hobbyist
I have a son who is a
true technocrat and invest in new technical
toys as they appear on the market.
He too was intrigued by 3D printing
and begin an earnest evaluation of available
He cautioned me not to invest in one
up through 2015 as he did not feel they had
achieved reliable performance in the price
range the was reasonable for the hobbyist.
(Note that in this time period,
expensive printers were being introduced
into Industry to make prototype parts as
well as complex parts that could not be
manufactured any other way.
But these machines started in the $
10,000 range, were large, and the material
2015, he found a printer under $200 that sat
on a tabletop and had some significant
And so the plunge began.
I purchased two of these machines and
started down the design and print road.
I printed doors for a warehouse,
windows for a custom building (NYC freight
house) and other items to enhance a display
model for shows.
I have now had 5 years experience in
3 D printing which combined with that of my son, gives me about 11 years of practical
experience to draw from for a series of
Between my son and I, we have 7
printers, two of which are running almost 24
hours, 7 days a week making a 3D printed
train set consisting of a diesel and three
cars that hold shot glasses for a unique
conversation train when entertaining.
The articles being
worked on include:
Detailing the Layout
- click to take a look
Software – programs, file formats, slicing
- this &
more will be coming
Materials for Printing
Thoughts on Details to
Make a Model Realistic – building materials
such as brick, wood, metal and how to model
Developing a Simple
Model – Files for printing will be supplied
as part of the article
Developing a Complex
Model – multi stories, footprint larger than
a print bed
Material to Make a Realistic Scene
will include comments from others on their
tricks and tips that they submit for
Here or some pictures that may give the
reader some ideas.
one is a
on a USA
As we go through these
articles, please feel free to reach out with
your questions and comments via my email,
I will endeavor to respond in a
reasonable time once received.
If they are comments, please include
a note allowing me to use these as
appropriate in future articles.
If you wish to call me, my cell
number is 716 583 1146.
I will accept calls between 10 am to
9 pm EST Monday through Saturday.
Sunday is a family day and I will not
normally answer the phone.
If possible, 10 am to 1 pm is the
most convenient time.