This video is brought to you with support from my patrons on patreon. Hey, everybody, it’s Jimmy. From the DIY and digital and today we’re talking 3d printing and model railroading. And why I think it’s changing the hobby for the better. Welcome back! Everybody, first of all. If you haven’t already go and hit that subscribe button, so that you don’t miss any updates like this video. Today we are talking about 3d printers in model railroading. You have seen me use 3d printers a lot on this channel. It is something that I’ve really grown to love as kind of a sub hobby of model railroading, But the one thing I really haven’t done is talk to you guys about why I do 3d printing. Well, what you need to know about 3d printing? If you know absolutely nothing and give you some basics to get started in 3d printing because I know that there’s a lot of you that want to try this with model railroading, but are a little intimidated, so we’re going to break down the two main types of printers, the three things that you need to know as part of the process of 3d printing, and we’re also going to talk about why I think it’s completely changing model railroading and it’s going to have a big impact on the future of the hobby, so let’s go ahead and get started. So the first thing you need to know is that there are two main types of 3d printers. There are a few other, slightly different varieties of 3d printers, but there’s two main types there is the filament printer or FDM printer, and there is the resin printer, And you have seen me use both of these types on my channel. Let’s talk about the printer that you’ve probably seen the most of if you’ve been browsing on Amazon for them, and that is the filament printer or fd’m printer. Now the way these work is that they have spools of plastic filament that come down and are heated to a temperature where they can be used out in kind of a liquid state, and they use that to draw out and form the layers via a nozzle. Now the filament comes in spools like this. This particular printer uses PLA and it can only use PLA and I will say that I’ll tell you that reason later, and basically what it does is. It has a 1.75 millimeter diameter filament that it uses, which is what this is. There are a few other different diameters, and this goes into what is called an extruder, which is basically a stepper motor driving a toothed wheel that pushes the filament in to through this tube into the hot end and the hot end heats it up the settings I use keep it at about 200 degrees Celsius, so something you don’t want to touch while it is printing, and it goes down through a nozzle That has in this case, a 0.4 millimeter opening and it basically will draw out the layers one at a time and then until the shape is complete now the way it controls itself is it has four different motors. It has an x-axi’s motor. It has a y-axi’s motor and then it has a z-axi’s motor, which raises this up and down. It also has an extruder motor right here. So of the two printers. This is the mechanically more complicated printer now. Some of the perks of the FDM printer is they have gotten so ridiculously cheap. Now I mean, unbelievably cheap. This one! I actually picked up on sale for a hundred and forty dollars. If you can believe that this isn’t any cubic mega zero, it’s been performing very, very well, and it’s got a nice, large build surface, which is another big perk of the FDM printers. You’re going to have larger build volumes that you can make versus a resin printer. Resin printers are catching up, but they’re not there yet, and I’m feeling these things just going to keep on getting bigger and bigger and bigger. Some of the other perks is the post that you have to do to. These is less stressful if that makes sense, though that’ll make more sense when I talk about these, and it’s going to be more akin to something that you would do as a scratch builder, There’s sanding. There’s filing stuff like that. So that is one of some of the perks of having an FDM printer. The hot end does get hot and I mean hot. I print these at about 200 degrees Celsius for PLA. There are materials that require higher print temperatures. And that is one reason why you have to be careful. With these types of printers, there is a rare phenomenon called thermal runaway. Where your sensor, your thermistor that is attached to the hot end cannot tell the hotend to stop heating and it’ll just keep heating and heating and heating and in a rare occurrence, it can actually cause a fire, So you don’t want to leave these things unattended, especially if it’s a lower end 3d printer, which may not have all the safety mechanisms that a higher end one does so like, for instance. I don’t leave this running when I’m not here and I don’t leave this running. When I am asleep at night, I’ve got a smoke detector up above it. So you just have to be careful with that going to go ahead and get that out of the way. Some of the drawbacks of an FDM printer are it’s really harder to get detail that you can pull supports away from successfully and an FDM printer versus a resin printer. And that’s just the nature of the beast, and that’s one thing for model railroading that may push you a little bit more towards the resin. If you’re just going to buy one a couple other things is that this is a very mechanically complicated printer compared to a resin printer, which only has one moving part. And, of course, there is the heating issue that I said I spoke about earlier, but overall, if you’re looking for a way to start into 3d printing, that’s not going to be too intimidating and is going to be really simple to start off with an FDM printer is a way that I recommend to go. I started off with an FDM printer. There’s fdm printed buildings on my layout. Just know that you’re not going to get the detail out of an FDM printer that you will get out of a resin printer. Okay, let’s talk about the resin 3d printer. The first thing you’re going to notice is that it is a lot smaller than the FDM printer. Now this is an elgoo Mars. I also have an any cubic photon back there. They’re six one half dozen, the other. They even use the same LCD screen. The way that these work is, basically, they use UV curing resin that has a UV light below it that is projected through an LCD screen that has a little pattern that pops up that represents each layer. It cures for about anywhere between five and ten seconds, typically about eight seconds, and then the print bed raises up. Let’s resin come in and goes back down and prints the next layer and it just keeps going and going and going until it has the shape done. All right, so I’ve removed the acrylic cover, which is a UV protective cover because we do use UV resin and you don’t want any errant UV light to get into the vat by accident and be able to start causing curing issues, so some of the big perks of the resin 3d printer is it only has one moving part, And that is just one Stepper motor and a z-axis and it just raises it up and down the build plates typically come off very easily, and they’re very easy to move around and take somewhere to be able to remove your model and the other big thing is. You can get crazy detail with these things this is. This is the detail machine if you need. If you’re getting a 3d printer to make details for your layouts to make trash cans, road signs. Those kind of things don’t get this get a resin printer. This is exactly what you need. If you’re an inscaler, I would probably also go for one of these as well because you can get a lot printed off of one of these in in scale. HM Scale, I would definitely maybe have one of each of these, and if you’re o scale, I’d probably go with one of these, and maybe one of these if you want to do details, so the big perks of these simple mechanically and it can get detailed like crazy. Now, let’s talk about some of the drawbacks because there are some drawbacks that want to give you some pause on this thing. So, of course, it says in the name resin 3d printer. This thing uses resin and everyone knows that resin is not fun to touch. You do not want to touch this resin or get it on you accidentally, or anything like that I have. I have been definitely had some skin breakouts from having resin accidentally. Touch my hands and it’s not fun. It is not fun whatsoever. That is one big drawback, a resin 3d printer. So you typically want to wear gloves. Disposable gloves, nitride gloves. If you can find them right now, I’ve been using vinyl gloves, and that works really, really. Well, so the other big drawback is the build plate size. I’m going to take this back off and show you guys again and this is a pretty standard build plate size, and you can just see it’s not that big compared to this. This is less than I could probably say you could probably get four of these build plates on the, uh, build plate right here of the FTM printer. Now they are coming out with larger build plates and build volumes. Bigger printers are coming out from both elgu and any cubic. So you’ll definitely want to be on the lookout for that, Especially if you’re an ho scaler. But this is the detail machine. This is the resin 3d printer, And this is the big build machine. The FDM printer both are great options for model railroading now when we’re talking about getting a model ready and getting a model through the process of being printed. There’s a few things that you need to know. One is that you can’t just take a model that you’ve made in tinkercad like you’ve seen me do or take one from a website like thingiverse you can’t just take it and slap it on a flash drive or a micro SD card and pop in one of these. It’s going to print you have to use software that’s called slicers and what that is basically is just slicing it into the levels that we talk about into the different layers, and it tells the printers what to print on each layer. A great slicer for a resin printer is called chitu box. It is totally free. It is actually the slicer of choice for elgu and a great slicer for FDM printers is cura. It is also free. It’s got a lot of pre-loaded. Uh, printer presets. And you can probably find the one that you have especially. If you’re getting a really popular one like an Ender 3 so those are the two things you need to know before. Now afterwards you’re gonna have to do some post-processing. This isn’t like the old star Trek Replicators where it’s like. Pow, it’s ready, you’re gonna have support material most likely on your prints here. You’re really going to be slowly removing those supports using tools and you’re going to be doing some filing and sanding to really get them smooth and nice with the resin 3d printer. It gets a little bit more complicated because you have to remove excess resin. So what you have to do? First of all is clean off the resin. This can be done with isopropyl alcohol, or if you can’t find isopropyl alcohol right now. I’ve actually been using cleaners like mean green, clean or arm and hammer degreaser cleaners. And those have actually been working a lot better for me. Now you can manually Slosh these around in a pickle strainer or you can use a toothbrush. What I have been using? Most recently is an elec or ultrasonic cleaner and what this does is basically uses Ultrasonic sound waves to knock all of the excess resin off, and it works really, really well. I know that there are people that worry about the ultrasonic waves, damaging their models. I have not experienced this yet, so I can’t really speak to that. And then the next thing you’ll need to do is dry it off, Still wearing gloves. Let it sit, let it dry and then you put it into a UV curing chamber, or you set it out in the sun to let it cure. Now you have to you can’t. Let it cure for too long because resin can warp and shrink up a little bit if it’s over cured, so you got to pay attention to that. But that’s the post process for this. It is more complicated than doing an FDM printer. Now let’s talk about why 3d printing is growing so fast. In the world of Model Railroading 3d printing is something that is really changing the hobby fundamentally, and that is because it is allowing for a level of customization that has not been available before except to a select. Few who had the skills I personally am terrible at straight up scratch building with styrene and materials like this, but I can design in a cad software, so 3d printing has allowed me to custom design buildings for my layout and even begin to sell them on Etsy now. Why is this so important is because there are only a certain number of buildings that are available from manufacturers. Manufacturers have done a great job at giving us a wide variety of time tested model kits that can be built kit bashed and put in any way that we want on our layout, but there’s only so many, and if you want to model a specific industry in a specific area doing a prototype railroad and you can’t find exactly what you want from a manufacturer, you’re pretty much used to be limited to scratch building from styrene and kit bashing. Now you can get into some CAD software and custom design your parts and print them out and be able to have a fully customized industry on your layout. The other big thing that you can also do is print out loads and loads of details. Details sometimes can be hard to find, especially if you’re looking for those exact details and for me, it’s a little bit harder to find modern details versus details and products from the 1930s 40s and 50s the golden age of model of railroading that is so being able to design and print a lot of little detail parts in a resin printer. Or if you have a larger scale, you can do them. In FDM printer, That’s another thing that is really making it a lot easier to do model railroading now. Another great thing about this is that this adds another sub hobby into our hobby, which is known as the world’s greatest hobby. So you have electrical work. You have carpentry? You’ve got art. You’ve got artistic work. You’ve got all sorts of things, and now you can add 3d printing into part of it, so our hobby is growing in ways that we may not think is traditional, but our hobby is getting bigger because it’s starting to incorporate more things. The last thing I want to talk about is what 3d printing is doing to the cost of model railroading. Now before I get into this, I want to talk about what companies do and why sometimes their stuff costs a little bit more than we would like the bottom line is these companies employ hundreds of people to design and manufacture these products, they also use industrial production methods, which are quite expensive but extremely efficient. If you’re doing the scales of productions that they are doing. So that’s one thing to understand about the way these companies work, and unless you have a lot of 3d printers and I mean, a lot, you are not going to be able to match the manufacturing power of an industrial setup, so that’s part of the reason why these companies have to charge what they do because they do have to pay all these employees and they do have to make a profit now. What 3d printing is good for is for the home hobbyist like me, so they don’t have to go out and spend a couple hundred dollars on something that they don’t want to spend their money on such as little detailing parts and buying tons of them for your layout, especially if you have a larger layout when you can just print them, buy a liter of resin for about 30 bucks and go ahead and make them so that is where model railroading is really driving down the cost and the ability to make scenery and that kind of stuff. There are other things that it’s doing, especially into custom things, but that’s where it’s really driving down the cost and what that’s allowing us to do is be able to save our money for things that we really want to buy for our model railroad like new locomotives and things like that and rolling stock. What, I’m basically saying here is if I have 200 and I have a choice of spending it on a new locomotive or some scenery detailing materials. I’m going to want to buy the locomotive, and that’s one thing that really opens up our hobby to people who don’t have the budget to build these ten thousand dollar basement empires. This is how you get into it and this is how you do it affordably. You do it with a mix of 3d printing and buying off the shelf products. That is how the future of model railroading is starting to look. This video is brought to you with support from my patrons on Patreon. You can join my patreon community For exclusive content. You can join for a monthly contribution of one dollar two dollar and the all new five dollar engineer level, which includes an exclusive digital model of the month That you can download and print yourself. A link to my patreon page is in the description below. Well, thank you guys so much for watching if you’ve been on the fence about buying a 3d printer from model railroading. I hope this video helps you in your decision. If you’re already been 3d printing for your model railroading, tell me what you’ve been printing, leave it in a comment below and while you’re at it, go ahead and hit that like button, hit that subscribe button and hit that bell icon. So you don’t miss any updates like this video until next time I’m Jimmy. From the DIY in digital, stay safe and happy railroading Coleman, the most common bad, bad, bad, bad, bad, bad bad. I can’t say words that you’ll be able to successfully remove supports from and stuff from a resin or from a you’re already A 3d printer. I hope that this there’s a bird outside really loud. [music] you!