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The San Diego Model Railroad Museum Thinks 3D Printing Can Revive the Model Railroading Hobby

by • June 30, 2016 • No Comments

A 3D printed assembling of the SDMRM's Centennial Railway Garden installation.

A 3D printed assembling of the SDMRM’s Centennial Railway Garden installation.

Model railroading has always had a reputation for being a hobby for old men, but i’m not really certain which is precisely true. I pretty don’t have any statistics to back it up other than my own experiences, but I ponder which as with any versionling hobby the range of ages of hobbyists is going to be far additional varied than most folks realize. Years ago I utilized to work at a hobby keep which sold version railroad parts and supplies, and while there were pretty additional older men who loved it, for the most part hobbyists tended to come in all ages. There were in fact several women who turn it intod version railroads, granted they weren’t as common, but there were adequate to dispel the notion which it was a thing only old men loved.

My grandfather had a pretty extensive version railroad set up in his garage for most of my childhood. He had turn it intod the railroad to weave itself through his garage, around things like the water heater, his work bench and a storage space area, with several dimensionsable areas with version assemblings, hills and trees and in fact an industrial area. As an adult I can appear back and admit which his setup, while excellent, was most likely pretty tame compared to a few of the amazing version railroads which I’ve seen since. But as a child I utilized to spend hours watching his trains manufacture their way through his elaborate set up, mesmerized by the complexity and more detail.

A 3D printed assembling facade of the SDMRM's Centennial Railway Garden installation.

A 3D printed assembling facade of the SDMRM’s Centennial Railway Garden installation.

Curiously, and contradictory to the theory which only old men loved version railroads, my grandfather started the hobby when he was relatively young, and in fact gave it up as he got older. By the time I was around to see what he had turn it intod in his garage he had long stopped adding to it and only really fired it up at my request. Most of his versionling was done as a much younger man, and almost all of the assemblings and bridges were turn it intod of scratch. When I asked him why he stopped he said which he had less time to devote to the hobby, and it had become too time consuming to go on to add on to his miniature town. Whilst my grandfather passed away additional than a decade ago I yet remember the sadness which he seemed to feel over no longer having the time to spend on his hobby, and I wonder what he may have turn it intod of 3D printing innovation.

A 3D printed assembling of the SDMRM's Centennial Railway Garden installation.

A 3D printed assembling of the SDMRM’s Centennial Railway Garden installation.

As most fans of version railroads note the decline in the popularity of their hobby, a few of them wonder if 3D printing innovation can in fact assist save it. As with most versionling hobbies like role playing games or tabletop battle games, 3D printing devices contribute a immense amount of freedom to hobbyists. Recently the San Diego Model Railroad Museum (SDMRM) brought in a 3D developer and 3D printing enthusiast Clayton McIntyre to assist them turn it into a new installation via 3D printed assemblings. The new exhibit is the Centennial Railway Garden, and it comes with scale versions of several historic assemblings of Balboa Park, really a few of them which are no longer standing. The installation was so good resultsful which Museum Director Anthony Ridenhour got funding to purchase a 3D printing device and to commence a series 3D printing classes. The SDMRM ended up delivering McIntyre back to teach the 3D create and 3D printing classes with a focus on version railroads.

The class started with students learning the basics of CAD software via a cloud-based program Onshape. The robust software platform was turn it intod by a group of former Solidworks team participants, and the program shares a lot of the ease of use and flexibility, createing it an perfect training program for folks new to CAD. McIntyre in addition walks students through the use of pro 3D printing software Simplify3D, and assists them 3D print their initially versions. According to McIntyre, one of his students ended up going out and purchasing his own 3D printing device to use after the class has ended.

Crates createed in Onshape. Crates createed in Onshape.Crates createed and 3D printed in SDMRM's 3D printing classes. Crates createed and 3D printed in SDMRM’s 3D printing classes.

The goal of the class is to show existing version railroad enthusiasts how they can use 3D printing to create and 3D print their own scale versions, but it is in addition an take on to draw younger, additional tech savvy folks into the hobby. The beauty of 3D printing is the aptitude to scale up as your ability level increases. New users can start tiny, focvia on things like road signs, benches, tiny more details and effortless formations and work their way up to full assemblings and in fact more detailed railroad car versions themselves. The only limits of via a 3D printing device to create scale versions are really only the dimensions of the print envelope and the ability of the user. Some of the versions which McIntyre’s students turn it intod during the class were barrels, shipping crates and water towers.

A water tower createed in Onshape. A water tower createed in Onshape.A water tower and assemblings createed and 3D printed in SDMRM's 3D printing class. A water tower and assemblings createed and 3D printed in SDMRM’s 3D printing class.

McIntyre’s initially round of classes took place back in April, and based on their good results the SDMRM expects new classes to start shortly. Originally the classes were restricted to adults, but the museum is planning on growing the classes to include younger students interested in learning how to 3D version and 3D print. You can check out a few of McIntyre’s 3D printing projects on his very own website, and you can learn additional of the San Diego Model Railroad Museum and find out when new classes start on their website. Discuss additional in the San Diego Model Railroad Museum & 3D Printing forum over at 3DPB.com.

Here is a few video of the Centennial Railway Garden and a few of its most 3D printed assemblings: