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Author Topic: W1 Hush Hush  (Read 7990 times)

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Offline Dorsetmike

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Re: W1 Hush Hush
« Reply #45 on: September 04, 2017, 04:17:55 pm »
I suspect Colin's wheels are metal; pick up is from the axle on one side, the other side there is a plastic bush to insulate.

My idea using Colin's wheels, or similar, is for a  grooved metal keeper plate which would have an electrical connection; the UM loco bodies are white metal so are connected to one rail, the tender to the other rail, the drawbar is plastic. The wire from the tender is connected to the body; with a 3D printed body it presumably would not conduct, hence using metal keeper plate with some form of connector.

Would a resin cast body be cheaper to produce? The design work would be the same, is casting a cheaper process than 3D print?

Cheers MIKE


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Online Dr Al

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Re: W1 Hush Hush
« Reply #46 on: September 04, 2017, 04:21:20 pm »
The only wheels that were produced by a small supplier were the old Beaver wheels that you use Mike. As you know they've not be produced for years now but (other than the oversize flange) hold their own quite well against modern offerings in looks.

Have many people ever really successfully used these though? Quartering them wasn't straightforward, and the axles I saw gripped the wheel so hard that getting it off again to adjust quartering was nigh on impossible without damaging their centres.

They used to be on my C12 as it was originally unearthed, but the wobbles it had were incurable for just this reason, meaning they were ultimately scrapped and replaced with Farish 3MT wheels.

Therefore, using RTR wheels for me is still the only real option.

Cheers,
Alan
Quote from: Roy L S
If Dr Al is online he may be able to provide a more comprehensive answer.

Online Dr Al

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Re: W1 Hush Hush
« Reply #47 on: September 04, 2017, 04:34:38 pm »
In theory a 3D printed chassis or bogie is possible in some of the finer materials (to get the tolerances) but I wouldn't want to even begin guessing what the lifespan of said chassis would be (other than very short!).

In terms of lifespan, it's something overlooked when looking at UM. Their soft material does appear to wear very badly in some cases - I've seen some relatively new ones that are badly worn. For slow plodding freight locos I have less concerns as the wear should take longer; but for larger express locos I've steered clear of using them for this reason.

If you assume that the total N gauge market is around 10,000 modellers (twice the size of the NGS)

Mentioning NGS is worth picking up on - they too have erred more and more toward pushing their RTR products rather than their own kits. Nice as many of the RTR are, it does feel like the kits are no longer the Society's star/unique products.

But maybe that's today's natural climate - while they seem to have sold plenty of their recent kits, e.g. Gresley fullbrake, which has been out of stock for a long time, one wonders how many of them have ever been made - I've only seen 2 made, and I made them! I read recently (somewhere I forget) that as few as 10% of kits sold are actually ever completed.

Cheers,
Alan
Quote from: Roy L S
If Dr Al is online he may be able to provide a more comprehensive answer.

Online Atso

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Re: W1 Hush Hush
« Reply #48 on: September 04, 2017, 05:22:54 pm »
I suspect Colin's wheels are metal; pick up is from the axle on one side, the other side there is a plastic bush to insulate.

That's exactly how Colin makes his wheels Mike.  :)

Would a resin cast body be cheaper to produce? The design work would be the same, is casting a cheaper process than 3D print?

My own experience would suggest that this is a case of swings and roundabouts. Casting wise, on an upfront cost basis, it depends if you are going to cast in house or sub the casting out to a firm. Obviously the more reputable firms will produce the better castings but usually at a higher price. You've then got to consider that, if you are not a regular customer, you'll have to put all the money forward first and then wait until you get a slot - and you'll likely be bumped down several times as bigger/better orders come through.

To do it in house is cheaper at the first glance but you'll still need to acquire the mould making materials, resin and equipment to produce a good quality bubble free casting; as good as you can get anyway. However, offsetting this is learning skills required and the time taken to mix, pour, degas/vacuum/pressure the liquid resin to get the best results. Also, there are many things you can produce as a single piece as a print that cannot be easily cast (if at all), this increases the time take at the design, production (and number) of masters, the mould making and casting phases (this effects using a professional company as well). You've also got the time taken to count out the various bits and pieces and package them (still required if using a casting firm) before being able to send them off (if you're lucky enough to sell anything!  :P ) either direct to the customer or to a reseller (who would also want their own markup). All of this takes time which needs to be factored in and have a cost associated with it, all of which would affect the final price - and not forgetting the time taken writing and producing instructions!

The beauty of 3D printing via a third party such as Shapeways is that they handle the printing and postage direct to the customer for a fixed costs - how they make their business model work, I don't know but it obvious does. However, given that my own experience is that 3D prints sell very slowly (if at all), is this really such an advantage?

White metal casting is completely different animal to resin castings if you are looking for consistent professional results. To get these you are looking at a centrifuge casting machine and vulcanised rubber moulds. Simple gravity casting is possible (i.e. 'tin' soldiers) but with the fine detail expected in N gauge my own limited attempts at this would suggest a high reject rate without using more advanced equipment - although at least you can reuse the metal.

Etching is something I wouldn't recommend doing at home for any serious production - that's something that I would personally always sub out to a company geared up to do it and I've never achieved any results that could be compared to those of a professional company. Again, there is the design time, setup and recurring costs to take into account (as well as any revisions which will require the setup costs to be paid again) plus the time to separate the various etch frets from each other (you have to etch a minimum size and therefore join various frets of bits together for this process) and package them.

The final thing to consider is can a living be made from this? The national average wage is around 27k at the moment or 519.23 a week. If you assume that a loco kit can sell for 40 and half of that price is taken up by material costs (it's unfortunately usually much more than that depending on the complexity!), that would mean that to make selling kits a worthwhile exercise you'd need to guarantee selling at least 26 locomotive kits per week (realistically more like 50+). Obviously rolling stock could help but the price acceptable to the market is more often than not less than that of a loco - despite the cost in materials and time being the same or sometimes more. If you're expecting the minimum run life of a kit to be 50 units, that'll mean that you're looking to increase your range by at least one new kit every two weeks (doable but difficult if you're not spending time producing as well as designing) and hoping that you've managed to pick a prototype that'll sell well.

I'm not saying from the above that it can't be done, others have proven it can (although I wonder what their returns and wages are). However, to become established and make the effort of casting worthwhile takes time to achieve and that'll be where my question mark is at the moment regarding viability. Sadly some of the best white metal kits (in my opinion anyway) Foxhunter, ABS/Beaver(?) and Graham Hughes are no longer available and it would appear that no-one else was willing to take up the production. I do wonder why this is as they were exceptionally good kits.
« Last Edit: September 04, 2017, 05:40:15 pm by Atso »

Online Atso

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Re: W1 Hush Hush
« Reply #49 on: September 04, 2017, 05:24:03 pm »
The only wheels that were produced by a small supplier were the old Beaver wheels that you use Mike. As you know they've not be produced for years now but (other than the oversize flange) hold their own quite well against modern offerings in looks.

Have many people ever really successfully used these though? Quartering them wasn't straightforward, and the axles I saw gripped the wheel so hard that getting it off again to adjust quartering was nigh on impossible without damaging their centres.

They used to be on my C12 as it was originally unearthed, but the wobbles it had were incurable for just this reason, meaning they were ultimately scrapped and replaced with Farish 3MT wheels.

Therefore, using RTR wheels for me is still the only real option.

Cheers,
Alan

I'll admit to having several sets squirrelled away but I've not tried using any of them yet...

Online Atso

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Re: W1 Hush Hush
« Reply #50 on: September 04, 2017, 05:33:28 pm »
In terms of lifespan, it's something overlooked when looking at UM. Their soft material does appear to wear very badly in some cases - I've seen some relatively new ones that are badly worn. For slow plodding freight locos I have less concerns as the wear should take longer; but for larger express locos I've steered clear of using them for this reason.

I'll have to agree with you here Alan as I've got my first UM locomotive that is exhibiting signs of wears and the method of production effectively means that both the chassis and loco will have to be replaced if I cannot bodge some kind of repair. However, any material used for moving/working parts will eventually wear out it is just a matter of how long the material used will last - eventually all those Dapol/Farish locomotives will wear out as well (but hopefully not for a long while!).

Mentioning NGS is worth picking up on - they too have erred more and more toward pushing their RTR products rather than their own kits. Nice as many of the RTR are, it does feel like the kits are no longer the Society's star/unique products.

But maybe that's today's natural climate - while they seem to have sold plenty of their recent kits, e.g. Gresley fullbrake, which has been out of stock for a long time, one wonders how many of them have ever been made - I've only seen 2 made, and I made them! I read recently (somewhere I forget) that as few as 10% of kits sold are actually ever completed.

Yes, I find it interesting that the NGS has made a move towards rtr in (apparent) preference to kits. I personally think that this is a shame as there are many prototypes that could (in theory) be more cheaply covered as kits - the irony of my statement here when considering my posts above isn't lost on me!  :smiley-laughing:

I wonder if this is representative of the NGS understanding that there has been a fundamental shift away from kit building and, while more expensive to product, rtr is more likely to generate returns quicker to allow investment into other projects.

I've seen two more Gresley Full Brakes built so that makes at least four! Sadly this doesn't include my own which is still sitting half built.  :(

Sorry to the original poster as this thread has wandered way off topic!  :sorrysign:
« Last Edit: September 04, 2017, 05:38:06 pm by Atso »

Offline joe cassidy

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Re: W1 Hush Hush
« Reply #51 on: September 04, 2017, 06:34:27 pm »
My NGS Gresley full brake is built and may be one of the few in LNER "teak" livery.

I also built the Andy Calvert memorial BR horse kit.

I was disappointed that the NGS did not follow these up with more coach kits, catering vehicles in particular.

Going back to loco kits, surely the Poole Farish locos that have been superceded by new versions must be affordable ?

My "obselete" Duchess, Jinty and 4F will all be converted into something else "one day".

Best regards,


Joe

Online Jim Martin

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Re: W1 Hush Hush
« Reply #52 on: September 23, 2017, 03:50:14 pm »
Mentioning NGS is worth picking up on - they too have erred more and more toward pushing their RTR products rather than their own kits. Nice as many of the RTR are, it does feel like the kits are no longer the Society's star/unique products.

But maybe that's today's natural climate - while they seem to have sold plenty of their recent kits, e.g. Gresley fullbrake, which has been out of stock for a long time, one wonders how many of them have ever been made - I've only seen 2 made, and I made them! I read recently (somewhere I forget) that as few as 10% of kits sold are actually ever completed.

Judging from the regular accounts in the Newsletter of the difficulties faced by the guys who are trying to get the NGS kit range packed, I'd guess that RTR is a lot easier from an administrative point of view than kits are. If you commission an RTR model, you're presumably dealing with one supplier (I'm not speaking from experience here) whereas with a kit you have to deal with one supplier for the moulding, another for any etched bits, another for the decals etc, and then have to get all those delivered at the same time and put them together into an actual kit.

No doubt Ben A has vastly more insight into this than I do (not that high a bar), but it certainly seems possible from what I've seen reported.

Jim
Believe me. These things always have a logical explanation usually

 

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