Getting Started with 3D Printing

Introduction

3D printing is an amazing technology that allows you to produce physical objects at home from a variety of materials. Trackside3D produces detailed 3D models designed for Model Railways. A digital 3D model is a computer file that contains all the information about an object. 

That model is loaded into 3D printing software which turns the model into instructions for your 3D printer to produce the object. The software is called a slicer because it slices the model into wafer thin layers which it then creates instructions for. 

The instructions are either sent to the printer via USB or loaded onto an SD card which is then inserted into the printer. The printer follows the instructions and some time later you have the physical version of the digital 3D model in your hands. 

Proper Modeling For Everyone

3D printing is a digital technology and therefore it makes it easy to recreate fraction of a millimetre perfect results each time. You don't have to be a perfect model maker to get perfectly square buildings. You don't have to worry about not cutting the card quite right or gluing things wrong. You don't have to spend painstaking hours piecing hundreds of plastic kit pieces together. The 3D printer will do the tedious tasks for you while you run trains or sleep. When its done, you take the model off the printer and get down to the fun task of finish the model. 3D printing will enable you to produce unique results by finishing the model as you see fit. 

You can airbrush the model with your favorite modeling paints. You can take your favorite texture sheets and spray glue them to the model. You can use traditional modeling supplies and techniques on the 3D print. The nice thing about 3D printing is that it helps to bring proper modeling back to hobby. Advanced highly skilled modellers will continue to get fantastic results but even beginners will be able to produce results that rival those of master model makers.

 

Embrace 3D printing

3D printing is an amazing technology, it is an essential tool for modeling in the 21st century. It is not a difficult technology to use and with innovations like the Creality CR-6 SE, the technology is now more accessible and affordable than ever. Those who discourage 3D printing are the individuals holding on to information that is years out of date or those who want to leverage the technology for their own personal gain. 3D printing is a technology that should be shared and used by everyone. That is where Trackside3D comes in. One of the more difficult parts of 3D printing is producing the 3D model, but we've done it for you and made unlimited prints available for often less than the cost of a single model. The information below is intended as a guide for you to see whats involved with 3D printing, so lets get started..

 

Creality CR-6 SE

The latest in 3D printing technology from Creality, have a look at how easy 3D printing can be with the CR-6 SE:

 

 

 

Getting started with the Ender 3

The Creality Ender 3 / Ender 3 Pro and Ender 3 V2 are entry level 3D printers. These printers typically require a little bit of assembly but it isn't much harder than assembling some IKEA furniture. The following videos show how to get started with the Ender 3 while explaining things along the way. The Ender 3 can be purchased from Amazon, Gearbest and most retailers where you can buy computer equipment. If you have a little more room in your budget, we highly recommend looking at the Creality CR-6 or Ender 5 printers.

 

 

This video also walks you through the Ender 3 process:

What about resin 3D printing?

You have probably seen videos from model makers like Luke Towan and Kathy Millatt using resin 3D printers. Resin 3D printers can produce highly detailed results but are more difficult to work with and are limited to very small print sizes. Resin printers you can throw a highly detailed model and get good results. Filament / FDM printers can get fantastic results but require the model to be optimized for the 3D printing technology. This requires the designer to not only have good CAD / modeling skills but also intimate knowledge of how the 3D printing technology works.

The designer needs to create models in a way to take advantage of how the FDM printer works. It often requires the designer to be aware of the features and capabilities of the slicing software as well. Not many modellers have the required CAD, hardware and software technical skills to achieve this, so resin printers are attractive for those doing their own CAD as you will get good results regardless of the CAD design.

Trackside3D has developed unique ways of designing models that leverage the capabilities of the FDM printers, producing much higher quality models and ones that anyone can reproduce on their printer. 

Not too many people mention the safety concerns with using resin printers, so after watching Luke or Kathy use their resin 3D printers, before making a purchase decision, we highly recommend you watch Angus' video on resin printer safety:

 

Trackside3D does support Anycubic Photo printers, however over 95% of our printers are FDM and less than 1% of our projects at oorail use the Anycubic Photon SLA/MSLA printers. We highly recommend you look at Creality or similar FDM printers.

 

More information...

We recommend the following YouTube channels to learn more about 3D printing: