I wanted a blog title as big as I felt when Taylor Main stopped by my house last week to show off something so very amazing: the resin castings based on the HO scale MLW sideframes I drew and 3D printed. In short, you take a set of them and just clip them onto a set of Kato trucks and within minutes you are here:

assembled truck

Taylor Main photo and model.

Which is one heck of a big step toward building a model of classic Canadian branchline diesel like RSC14 #1762:


Taylor Main photo.

Of course, with one of those you can just as easily build a second and then…

The castings were created by Barry MacLelland of Railway Recollections (http://www.railway-recollections.com/). I am so very impressed with the quality of every single one of these castings (Taylor ordered a lot). No flash. None. Every casting was as good or better than anything I’ve ever seen from an injection mould. This is work to be very proud of.

I’m so proud of this accomplishment. I started drawing parts to 3D print at Shapeways just to fill a void I felt existed in the model railway market and to return to my own roots as a draftsman. Creating these parts, in the very first place, was so good for my soul and has repaid so many times over just in the simple act of drawing again. I never expected anyone would buy the parts and since then I’ve seen photos of models made using these parts. I’ve seen N scale Tempo diesels and HO scale RSC13’s just to start. Of course, 3D printing is still a premium means of expanding the reach of the workbench. As soon as I saw the first parts I was curious to know if we could use this technology to create masters from which we could make moulds, and ultimately, resin cast models. I’m so excited to feel like that time is here. Stay tuned for the rest of the kit.

It’s a week later and I still smile every time I see these parts. This could not have worked out better. None of this would be possible without:

  • Taylor Main. Thank you for your support and enthusiasm for this project. Furthermore, thank you for heading up the production of the cast parts and coordinating their production;
  • Barry McLelland. You do good work. Very good work. I’ve been looking forward to working with you and grateful that, that time is here;
  • Krista. Nothing good or worthwhile gets done without your gift of being able to inspire good work. Thank you for investing this passion in this project and the ones like it.

I’ve had a lot of chances to speak about 3D printing to fellow modellers and I look forward to having more of these conversations in the future. We get lost in the idea of the models but there’s a much, much bigger story here in the way 3D printing changes the way we relate to manufacturing. Parts like these casting are a showcase of this change. They are great for the way they take the best talent from the best people and harness their passion for just that one part of the production process. Each of us looked at a project like this and thought we had a way to help. This is just one real example of the power of a good group.

Categories: PEIR models

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16 replies

  1. This kind of thing is a major contribution to the hobby. Nicely done!

  2. Chris,

    That is amazing.

    “I was curious to know if we could use this technology to create masters from which we could make moulds, and ultimately, resin cast models.”

    That’s where 3D printing originated: to test ideas, and often to then produce masters (often with a degree of hand-finishing) for casting.

    Should work very well, therefore.


    • It’s been terrific fun exploring this medium in terms of learning to design for the process. I’m keen to continue to explore its use in this capacity as opposed to using the output alone as the finished model.



  3. They look very nice! Did you use Shapeways to print the masters, or do you have access to an even better 3D printer?

    • I used Shapeways to print the masters and their Frosted Ultra Detail material.

      The big challenge is controlling the “artifact” from the printer and where it appears. I lucked out and they printed them flat so any artifact is at the edge. For what it’s worth we didn’t clean the parts at all so what we cast is what came out of the printer.

      Thanks for the comment.


  4. That is a fine piece of work. This is the future for those willing to explore it.

    • Thank you Mike,

      In creating these parts and the others I’ve worked on, I’ve been treated to a real learning experience that has taught me one heck of a lot about the real thing, the way we should represent them in miniature, and the effort required to scale this all for production. In this regard, it’s been a terrific use of time for the experience I’ve gained.


  5. These are fantastic, and the price is right, too. I love the idea of using 3D printing for exactly what it was designed for – prototyping. The casting is excellent and it really opens up some opportunities for great detail at a reasonable price.

    Good on you and Taylor and Barry and Krista!

  6. They look awesome, Chris – congrats!

  7. Excellent, Chris! As we’ve discussed before…blogging, 3D printing, publishing, online content – still need a middle step to enter production but that does not include glowering gatekeepers like webmasters, publishers, or assembly-line manufacturers.

    Creativity takes centre stage instead of taking a number.

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