Wednesday, March 4, 2015

LNWR D6 3D Print from Shapeways

At the end of 2013, I was asked if I would be willing to teach a Technical Drawing class in 2014.  Now as someone who did it to Senior, I wasn’t especially fazed and agreed to teach 8 Graphics to help out.  The biggest issue I faced was time had moved on and more of the course was now done with a CAD program than it was back in the late 80s/early 90s of my school days.

Nevertheless, I sallied forth and had AutoDesk Inventor 2013 (which was what we had at the time at work – we’ve since upgraded to 2015 for the students, but not me!) put on my computer.  I attempted some bits and pieces on my own, using a couple of YouTube video tutorials but it wasn’t really until I sat down with Phil Badger of Gopher and Ixion (along with BadgerBits) at the Toowoomba Model Train Exhibition last year that it all started to click.

By June, I had developed enough skills and insights to have a go at drawing a wagon.  I settled on the LNWR D6 2 plank open as my first attempt as it wasn’t too big, I had a decent set of drawings in LNWR Wagons Vol 1 and, importantly, some pictures as well.

After a few nights work, it looked like this:


I designed it in a similar way to putting together a plastic kit – one end, one side and a floor then assembled it all – two sides, two ends and a floor.  The assembly was the easiest part as it happens.

I was pretty pleased with it and uploaded it to Shapeways and got a print sent out (along with a bunch of other stuff – so the postage was defrayed).   I wasn’t disappointed with the initial print, but I was not surprised that there were a couple of areas which needed tweaking – principally the buffer hole spacing.  Since then I have received two more prints (which have gone slightly banana shaped since arriving but flex back under pressure.  I presume once I build the chassis and fit, this won’t be a problem.  Not sure if it is climatic or something else) and had a few people buy the model.

I know that the cost of the model is far greater than the price of the materials for scratch building or even the time involved (by the time you allow for the time drawing).  However, the time drawing was useful as it was learning and any new skill takes time.  Further, if I want more than 3 of them, I can get more which will be identical – something I doubt my scratch building skills will allow for at this time!

D6 was chosen as it had the right brakes for me to model it.  Only 60 odd D6 wagons were built but they were upgraded D2s – of which 14000 were built to a 15’6” length before another 4700 were built to 16’ length.  At least 400 D2s passed to the LMS in 1923.  I must work out how to model the brake rigging for a D2 at which point, this body becomes much more useful.


The picture shows the post Beta print.  I hope to have it on a chassis and painted (Humbrol 79 apparently is a reasonable match for LNWR grey – prior to weathering!).  Transfers – well, typically this is yet another kit where there isn’t any!  However, I am learning how to fix that problem as well.

I have started on another LNWR wagon – the D15 Beer Van.  As it happens, I can tweak that drawing to become the Grain conversion without too much hassle.  Those of you with LNWR Wagons Vol 2 can check it out.  The ends were the work of an hour – which I doubt I could scratch build in that time to be honest.

I am considering putting it up as a 3 or 5 body option which should bring the price down – if you are interested in getting more than 1, please get in touch and I’ll see what I can do.


  1. Sithlord have you gone any further with the LMS lettering?

  2. Making slow but steady progress in learning the program. Hopefully I'll have a test print done to collect at the end of May. Part of the issue is filling an A4 sheet with N gauge/2mm lettering!

  3. Hi, just found this post and as Shapeways are offering free postage at the moment I'd thought I'd give them a try. Look forward to getting them.

  4. Hi Adrian, I took the same opportunity - in my case to try FED for the first time. Hopefully you like the wagon body. I'm trying to find useful photos of the roof of the LNWR Beer Van to finish the drawing for that but sadly too late for the current offer. Cheers, Kevin.