Unboxing a delivery from Shapeways

There is nothing quite like getting home and finding out that there is a package waiting for you, it’s like Christmas Day for Model Railroaders, especially when the delivery is from Shapeways of your latest 3D printed creation.  You really do have no idea whats in the box.  It could have printed perfectly as you’d intended, or something could have gone wrong.  The Shapeways technicians don’t know exactly what your model should look like, so you really are waiting blind on it arriving.  With that in mind, when my most recent creation arrived, i actually took pictures to do an “unboxing” post here about it.

The model is a 3D print of the Dominion Atlantic Railway (later CPR) private car “Nova Scotia”.  This car was built in 1896 by the Pullman Car Company for the Dominion Atlantic Railway as “Sanspareil”

800px-sanspareil_aPullman Builders Photo of Sanspareil from DAR Wiki

The car was rebuilt several times and was heavily modified over the years.  The car was renamed “Nova Scotia” in 1912, and is famous as it was a survivor of the 1917 Halifax Explosion in World War 1 which levelled much of the City (The Toronto Railway Museum recently had a display on this car and the explosion prepared by the University of Toronto’s Museum Studies Masters Students as a class project, I’m not going to give the entire history here, but if you are in the GTA and want to learn more, visit the museum!).   The car saved the lives of the DAR General Manager and his family while the station around it was levelled.  He was able to go up the line and telegraph for help after the explosion.

Dominion Atlantic “Nova Scotia” in 1953 in Kentville Nova Scotia (Canadian Science and Technology Museum Collection)

The Nova Scotia remained in DAR service until 1958, when it was transferred to the Quebec Region as a district superintendents car, and renumbered as “7”.  In 1963, the car was retired by the CPR and sold to the Upper Canada Railway Society, who used the car as their private lounge on the end of steam excursions in Ontario until 1969 (The TRM also has the car which followed Nova Scotia in this role, CPR Cape Race, both of which will eventually be restored to their full splendour).  After this, the wood framed car was permanently retired from rail service.  From 1972 the car was a part of a dining car restaurant called Ossawippi Express in Orillia Ontario.  The restaurant closed in 2010, and the car was facing scrapping.  Fortunately, the car was offered to the Toronto Railway Museum who saved it and paid the costs of moving the car 200km from Orillia to downtown Toronto by road.

8318315066_4715a48898_oNova Scotia arrives at her new/old home at the CPR John Street Roundhouse on a snowy December 27, 2012.

So, with some history of the car, back to the 3D printed model.  Being a volunteer with the Toronto Railway Historical Association which operates the Toronto Railway Museum has its benefits, one of which is ready access to the car for measuring.  As previously discussed, the process of getting to a 3D print is a long one, but being able to measure the car as it is, gave me a great leg up in backdating the car to its circa 1950’s appearance as the DAR “Nova Scotia”.  Having placed the order, the seemingly endless wait on it making its way from New York City to Toronto, via Montreal and customs inspection, the package finally arrived.  It’s a big box for the size of the HO Scale parts within!

A big brown box with the Shapeways logo on the side, is opened to reveal lots of bubble wrap!
IMGP1459RawConvInside the large bubble wrap, are three packages of the three different parts of the kid, the Roof in WSF Nylon, the body and frame in FUD Resin, and the observation railings in FXD Resin.
IMGP1461RawConvThe parts out of the bags, showing the underbody/frame, roof, and car body, with examples of the observation railings and gates.

All the parts came out looking great, a few little bits of cleanup here and there, but effectively, ready to paint and detail.  One thing i don’t know yet, is how well the detail on the car body of the vertical wood boards printed, it looks like its there, but even after cleaning, the part is too translucent to see if they are there.  I find fine detail only really shows up on FUD prints once they have been given a coat of primer.  I use Tamiya Fine Grey surface primer, but i haven’t had a chance to primer the car yet.

In terms of cleaning, there are all kinds of advice out there on cleaning the FUD resins of the remaining support material.  I keep it as simple as i can.  I wash the parts in lukewarm water with a gentle dish soap.  If the parts get too hot, they can warp and lose the shape you want.  I will gently brush the parts with an old toothbrush or a microbrush if there are fiddly spots to try and get the rest of the support material out.  The parts tend to lose some transparency, and the slightly slippy surface feel which is a pretty good sign they are clean.  I’ve also had people suggest exposing the parts to a UV light for a few hours to finish the curing of the resin.  This probably isn’t a bad idea, i wouldn’t leave them out in the sun in case they melt, but I’d want to watch any additional curing on parts you want to drill.  The material is already brittle at times, and with drilling for grab irons, couplers and the like, i wouldn’t want to risk making the parts more brittle.

I’ve done some preliminary work on the underframe and roof to get them ready to prime.  I’ve put in a 0.040 Styrene filler in the frame to give it some rigidity, and been installing hand grabs and other details to the roof.  Now i just need a couple of hours at home to prime and let it set.

Preliminary work on bracing the frame and detailing the roof before priming.

I’ve ordered most of the detail parts i need for the car, particularly the underbody details where it didn’t make sense to re-invent the wheel by drawing and 3D printing brake parts, battery boxes and air/water tanks that can be bought from existing suppliers.  Once i have all these parts, i can get the underbody laid out and assembled.  Until then, the next step will just be to get some primer on the parts and continue on with the assembly of the parts i do have in hand.

3 thoughts on “Unboxing a delivery from Shapeways

  1. Do you plan on offering this car for sale on your shapeways store? I’d love to use this as a base for a freelance model

  2. Hi Matt, Yes, I do plan on making the car available on my Shapeways store. Doing so had actually slipped through the cracks on my to-do list. I’d been waiting to see how the car settled for a bit, really the biggest thing i need to do is finish a brief write up for the store on what detail parts are needed for things like the end steps and the brake system underneath. I will try to get that done and have it in the store by the end of July. I’ll reply here again when it becomes available.



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