Garden Railway Coach O&K

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Garden Railway Coach O&K

Postby Vailala » Wed Aug 31, 2016 9:40 pm

I've been using FreeCad for about 10 months and I'm still exploring its possibilities - especially those of the Part workbench. Attached is a jpeg of a recent drawing of an 1897 built Orenstein & Koppel narrow gauge coach. This is being 3d printed to a scale of 1:13.7 for use on a 45 mm gauge garden railway. There are about 118 parts involved, mostly printed in Shapeways SWF, a few in FUG and a few in raw brass, and four in stainless steel. It took me a while to work out ways of managing complex assemblies in FreeCad. I first tried the cloud-based softwares but my assembly files seemed too complex for them to adequately manage so I simply restructured my drawing trees to better establish clear dissociations. Because I'm drawing a scale model based on a limited core of known dimensions and a very large number of conjectured dimensions it's necessary to draw all the parts together in one assembly so that as each conjectured part is drawn it can be held against parts with known dimensions and assessed for scale accuracy. The starting point for conjectured dimensions is the assessment of full-size scantlings - e.g. a brass handrail is going to be 20 mm diameter. But it is only when all the parts have been put together that mis-estimations can be properly assessed and corrections made.

Thanks FreeCad for the journey so far. I'm confident that as I continue to explore FreeCad the horizon of possibilities will continue to expand.


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Re: Garden Railway Coach O&K

Postby Korslight » Thu Sep 01, 2016 1:39 am

Great job, Vailala!

Looks awesome, and I am sure you put in quite a few hours for this. Will you update with a picture of the printed Railway Coach? I would like to see how it turns out.

I see that you mentioned you will be printing brass and stainless steel. Do you own a metal printer or are you having someone do it?

By the way, your download link doesn't seem to be working.
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Re: Garden Railway Coach O&K

Postby NormandC » Thu Sep 01, 2016 4:05 am

Welcome here, Vailalahtt.

What an awesome first post. The level of detail in your model is outstanding. That would be a top candidate for the Call for screenshots topic.
Korslight wrote:I see that you mentioned you will be printing brass and stainless steel. Do you own a metal printer or are you having someone do it?
Vailalahtt mentioned Shapeways, a worldwide 3D printing service (I have no idea what SWF stands for though). For work I had a look once at metal 3D printing, they can even print with platinum! For fun I compared prices (the quote system is automated) for brass, the original material, and platinum. The part would have cost about $300 in brass and something like $45,000 in platinum, if I recall correctly. :D
Korslight wrote:By the way, your download link doesn't seem to be working.
It's because the url is truncated, it's missing "htt" at the start. But this links to the jpg image.
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Re: Garden Railway Coach O&K

Postby Vailala » Fri Sep 02, 2016 8:45 pm

Thanks for the compliments. My apologies for the typos.

FreeCad is very good software and it has produced for me some interesting surprises. For instance I was rather surprised that simply by using the 5 primitives it is possible to draw every shape (including ‘organic’ shapes) in the known universe. Using FreeCad provoked an interest in topology and Breps, useful for understanding and managing the strengths and constraints inherent to this type of software. I did, at first, think that FreeCad was limited because it isn’t set up for the design bureaucracy, but I now see this “limitation” as a strength – especially for people like me.

I have had Shapeways print out 70% of the O&K (Orenstein & Koppel) coach. The two photos show the underframe and three walls. These parts are printed in Shapeways cheapest material SWF (strong white flexible). The underframe is dyed black (this costs an extra dollar) while the walls are SWF painted. The wheels have stainless steel printed tyres while the wheel centres and axle are black SWF. The tyres are a push fit onto the wheel centres. Black dyed SWF works very well in 1:13.7 scale for representing steel and iron (especially cast iron) parts and the lowest quality print provides just enough definition for good representation of the details. The underframe has been fitted with a 1.6 mm thick steel plate rectangle. This sits on tabs inside the frame and when fixed gives the print necessary rigidity and strength.

AFIK only Shapeways and Ponoko offer stainless steel prints that are made by printing stainless steel powder with a resin binder. This print is then enclosed in a shell, the resin boiled off, and molten bronze poured into the shell. This process is much, much cheaper than laser sintered metal printing – at least when Shapeways does it. One does have to carefully assess shrinkage since it is a casting. For the shapes and volumes that I deal with shrinkage is about 2 – 3 %. It’s necessary to assess shrinkage in relation to the three axes of movement towards the centre of mass of the whole and its composite (that is not separate) parts.



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Re: Garden Railway Coach O&K

Postby r-frank » Mon Sep 12, 2016 6:20 pm


Very impressive work.
I used your picture as title picture for the FreeCAD Release_notes_0.17.
Thanks for sharing your awesome project.

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Re: Garden Railway Coach O&K

Postby Vailala » Mon Sep 12, 2016 10:04 pm

Thanks for the compliment. You are welcome to have the use of the image.


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Re: Garden Railway Coach O&K

Postby mp77Bushnell » Sun Dec 23, 2018 4:05 pm

Ok this thread is a bit old but...

I'd like to learn more how folks are using FreeCAd for model railroad projects.

Ive just started kicking the wheels of FreeCad after Autodesk Inventor and Fusion360 use.

In my designs I take real world items (using field measurements, railroad drawings etc) and input them into CAD drawings FULL scale.
This entails not only the "geometry" but DIMENSIONS.
I can then scale that drawing down and create STL files OR DXF files (print and CNC router)
BTW, I'm N scale (1/160)

So far the dimensioning seems to be the BIGGEST issue though scaling might be an issue too.
In Inventor and others, I draw a line, Click dimension icon, click the line and it lets me input the dimension. EASY.
I've found nothing similar in FreeCAD.

Hopefully this photo will attach. This is an N scale Southern Railway SU box car (circa 1920) Hutchins ends. It is a resin casting from a 3D printed master. STL file was created in Inventor. Original drawing FULL Size and scaled. I'd like to do similar in FreeCAD. See attached (?)
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Re: Garden Railway Coach O&K

Postby chrisb » Sun Dec 23, 2018 6:56 pm

Hi mp77Bushnell, welcome to tthe forum.
mp77Bushnell wrote:
Sun Dec 23, 2018 4:05 pm
In Inventor and others, I draw a line, Click dimension icon, click the line and it lets me input the dimension. EASY.
In FreeCAD you can enter a value with its dimension like "12.4 mm" or "1.5m". VERY easy.

You cannot parametrically scale down a model later, but you can create a scaled clone.
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Re: Garden Railway Coach O&K -multiple ways to help the less fortunate?

Postby mp77Bushnell » Sun Dec 23, 2018 8:58 pm

Maybe it's the season. Perhaps a bit more egg-nog would help<G>

I admit to being like a duckling following the mother...(Inventor being mother) but so far FreeCad seems more than awkward to use.
Dimensioning seems to take more steps (and a bit clunky at that.
Inventor- click dimension icon, click on (example) a line and a dimension box opens. Key the dimension and it is there.

Maybe I'm starting in the wrong place or something but...
I open a "part design" create a sketch (XY)
Draw a line.
And then (even with the Drawing Dimension "workbench" which seems to load (but might not be supported 17 and beyond) it gives me an error.
Flustered? Me? Yep.
I admit to being and old curmudgeon but I've yet to find a "good" Youtube tutorial! (Amazed how folks who think they have knowledge even manage to stumble in their OWN tutorials! Do it over if you make a mistake! Don't admit on camera that "This doesn't always seem to work etc.) <G>

I drew a simple 2D double hung window in Inventor in less than three minutes- WITH dimensions of the window, the sash width AND the glass pane dimensions. After TEN minutes in FREECAD I had a rectangle with no dimensions. And yet some folks seem to know how to use it. Some people must have learned somehow. Granted I haven't found a good drawing with good dimensioning. It reminds me of my experience with "Blender" which I can highly recommend avoiding if you want to create accurate drawings for real railroad equipment.

Can you or anyone recommend Good documentation or even Youtube tutorials that can help "me" learn how to do what should be "easy" CAD tasks. I mean-- I remember working with AutoCAD on an IBM AT (it had to be loaded from 15 5.25 inch floppy diskettes onto the hard drive. I did some simple drawings with that (dimensions and all) within minutes and little frustration. (Needless to say there was no Youtube in 1985!)

Since I've used Inventor for a few years <G> some friends in a local RR club asked me if they thought I could help them get started with FREECAD in the New Year. I promised to take a look at it. Right now they will be calling ME every 30 seconds lost and complaining if I recommend it. Heck, I found some issues with Fusion360 that I knew would be issues for them and that's why they asked About FREECAD after I told them I couldn't recommend Fusion (at this time)

I REALLY want to find a way to learn FreeCAD so I can recommend it but after looking at multiple "tutorials" having to research multiple oddities like "Inventor Navigate" mode or whatever the default was (or wasn't) and having to also learn to "use" the Add-on manager after finding out "oh you need this add-on to do that.."

Yeah I know "can't beat the price" but wouldn't it be nice to have it work without a secret decoding ring and secret handshakes??

So- any good documentation or good step by steps to follow to do a simple Railroad drawing?? BTW, I can even provide examples of stuff I've done. like depot drawings, sides of rolling stock etc. (Right now in Inventor I'm doing the side of a coach... need a query whether FreeCad has what Inventor calls "replicate" where I can take a "window" and replicate (duplicate it) at a set offset a certain number of times?? (Result 20 windows along a car side with the proper spacing....

OK where is that darn egg-nog--- maybe three glasses to start.

And if anyone wants to go off forum I'll be glad to do tht too!!

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Re: Garden Railway Coach O&K -multiple ways to help the less fortunate?

Postby herbk » Sun Dec 23, 2018 9:46 pm

mp77Bushnell wrote:
Sun Dec 23, 2018 8:58 pm
I REALLY want to find a way to learn FreeCAD...
if you want to learn skiing, why you put still the inliners at your feets...?

The most done foult at trying a new software is to expect that the things will work at the same way as at the bevore used.
You know Inventor so you are fast using it, you don't know how to use FC, so it seams cumbersome to you. - I'm sure, for me it would be reversed.

So: If you REALLY want to find a way to learn FreeCAD, try it and if you have questions, ask it. And if you came in mind that inventor works better for you, stay at it...
Gruß Herbert