Update On My 3D Printed Tanktainers

I haven’t blogged about my 3D printing endeavours for a while, in fact the last time I wrote anything on this topic was back in March 2019!

At that point:

  • I’d had my first three models 3D printed by Shapeways and while I’d been pleased with the results I’d had a few design problems and been a bit disappointed by some surface quality issues.
  • I’d designed my first set of decals.
  • I’d designed a sheet of etched parts for the three models that I’d had printed.

Since then I’ve been busily working on this project and now have some promising results to share.

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Useful Website: The Intermodal Container Web Page a.k.a Matt’s Place

I don’t know why it hadn’t occurred to me before to give this website a bit of well-deserved publicity; especially as I’m often visiting to browse the galleries for inspiration or to collect data to help create 3D models of a container or swap body.

Perhaps it’s because it’s such a great resource I’d assumed everyone already knows about it but if you don’t and you have an interest in:

Then I definitely recommend checking out the galleries on the Intermodal Container Web Page run by Matt Hannes.

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Grain Silos & Feed Mills In Mount Joy, Pennsylvania

The town of Mount Joy in Pennsylvania, USA has been on my must research list ever since I found this photograph of the Wenger Feed Mill:

Wenger Feed Mill by Jim Epler – Own work, CC BY 2.0, View Image

You might think that’s strange because a closer look at the picture reveals there isn’t actually any track in the picture. While that observation is true, it’s still a very interesting and attractive jumble of buildings which would make a very nice scratch-building or kit-bashing project.

I don’t have a photo to show it but the facility is still rail served, it’s just that railcars are currently loaded/unloaded on the other (north) side of the facility. However there’s no reason why we couldn’t apply a little modellers license, add some track and create the option to model tracks on both sides of the facility.

There’s also something else not visible in the photo above that makes this location somewhat rare and interesting, at least in terms of US operations…

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Inspirational Modelling #3 (Boulder Creek Railroad)

Luke Towan & Boulder Creek Railroad

Over the last couple of months I’ve presented a lot of locations that could be recreated as modules but I haven’t done a lot of module building myself.

I’ve started a Stadtbahn module on a Gatorboard T-Trak baseboard but it’s still very early days. So I thought it might be useful to show just what can be achieved in a small space by highlighting the amazing dioramas of Luke Towan…

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Inspirational Modelling #2 (Adam Savage)

I’ll admit that I often get so focused on making super-accurate, perfectly-finished models that after starting a project I get paralysed and end up not finishing or even worse, I won’t even start a project at all.

Whether you suffer from what I call ‘model-makers paralysis’ or not the YouTube videos and forum threads I’ll be highlighting in this post are definitely worth taking a look at as they are full of useful tips and inspirational modelling…

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Inspirational Modelling #1 (Shunting Tractors)

While researching rail-served industries in the United States and Europe I’ve often seen pictures that include interesting looking rail-car movers or shunting tractors like this Mercedes Road Rail UniMog:

Unimog U-400 As Two-Way-Vehicle by LosHawlos – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, View Image

For a while I dabbled with the idea of creating a 3D model of one of these units but put the idea on the back-burner because I’d assumed it would be impossible to motorise something as small as a shunting tractor in N scale.

Then I saw this amazing bit of modelling posted on the East Surrey N Gauge blog: It’s shunting Jim, but not as we know it….

A fully-working, ‘free-range’ shunting tractor in N scale!

After taking a look at the video I’m sure you’ll agree that it’s an amazing piece of engineering and very inspirational.

The Ups & Downs Of 3D Printing Tanktainers

I’ve been a bit quiet about my 3D printed models recently; although I’ve made some progress I’ve also run into some problems which have really slowed me down.

So I thought I’d run through some of the steps I went through while finishing the models I’ve discussed in previous posts, some of the problems I experienced while doing that and what I’ll be doing next…

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Grain Silos: Useful Reference Photos

Grain silos are a common sight alongside railroads in agricultural areas and seaports in the United States and Canada.

Nebraska Grain Silo RAAM 2015 by D Ramey Logan – Own work, CC BY 4.0, View Image

Many of these silo complexes have evolved and expanded over time resulting in an interesting combination of different building materials and styles. As such they have the potential to make a fascinating scratch-building projects.

You’ll often find photographs of the whole complex but sometimes photographs of small details can provide inspiration for a project so I thought I’d share a few interesting photographs that I’ve discovered on the Internet…

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