The advent of affordable means to 3D print items, either using a home 3D printer or by using one of the many 3D printing bureaux that you may find, the modeller now has access to a very flexible tool. To take full advantage of this technology however the modeller has to add yet another skill to the already wide ranging skillset needed to produce a model railway, namely the ability to create your own designs that can be 3D printed. As with any new skill this might at first seem daunting and something that is outside of your ability, with the right level of help and encouragement however it soon becomes possible to create your own designs, simply at first, but as with all developing skills, as you use them and develop them you become more competent and create better and more complex results.
The ability to create your own designs and print them allows the modeller to not only print those items for which designs are readily available, but also to create items that are unique to them. This gives us another tool to make our models our own and to stand out from those others that are built from readily available components. It also means that that model you have always wanted to create but could not, because some casting was not available or you need to replaced a dozen identical parts, now becomes viable.
3D printing is not just about creating models or components for models however, it can also be used as a mechanism to create tools to jigs that aid you in your other modelling tasks. It can also be used to create structural elements, such as brackets to attach items to your layout, or holders for stock items, tools etc.
The primary goal of the Missenden Abbey Railway modellers courses is to give that tuition that is need to learn new skills and develop those skills you already possess. We are therefore developing a course to help those that either have some minimal knowledge using the software needed to create designs for 3D printing or wish to embark on using this technology to enhance their model railway.
We will be running a Design for 3D Printing course at our Autumn weekend in November 2022, using the free for hobbyists software package from Adobe, Fusion 360, as the basis for the design component. We will also cover the process of taking a design and sending it to be printed. Perhaps the most important aspect of this course however is to gain from the experience of a tutor, in this case Justin Newitt, who regularly creates models using the technology and who can impart the mindset needed to create the 3D model that can be turned into a reality by using 3D printing technologies.