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Re: STEP/CNC for Creating Low-Demand, High-Quality Z Gauge Items

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  • Bill Hoshiko
    ... that will ... . You really ... cost just ... My old bookkeeper training told me that the final retail price of any product should be 5 times the
    Message 1 of 26 , Dec 1, 2003
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      --- In z_scale@yahoogroups.com, "Robert Allbritton" <robert@p...>
      wrote:
      > Hi Jim & Group,
      >
      > <snip>

      > But in the big picture, you are still talking about Locomotives
      that will
      > cost in the AZL price range when you get done -

      <snip>
      . You really
      > need to sell a product for at least 50% more than your production
      cost just
      > to break even with all of the other cost built in.


      My old bookkeeper training told me that the final retail price of
      any product should be 5 times the cost to manufactur. The retailer
      generaly marks everything up 100% over his wholesale cost. The
      wholesaler also makes a profit. If it is not sold within a
      reasonable time, the retailer is lucky if he nets 20%

      As for this step/cnc stuff please take it to:

      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/traintools/

      It is interesting but not really specific to Z.

      All those interested in this subject can subscribe to the traintools
      group and continue to follow this thread.

      Bill
      El Toro, CA
    • Reynard Wellman
      Hello Rob, Glad to see your notes. I, too, have used this equipment. These small lathes and mills are time consuming to setup so I use them solely for
      Message 2 of 26 , Dec 1, 2003
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        Hello Rob,

        Glad to see your notes. I, too, have used this equipment.
        These small lathes and mills are time consuming to setup
        so I use them solely for prototyping. But building your own
        "one of a kind" locomotives can be a real pleasure
        and I would recommend the Sherline for anyone who is motivated
        to do this.

        For locomotive consumer production, many surfaces need to be
        CNC milled on heavier spindle & way bed machines after casting
        or molding. This must be done at a fast rate per hour to provide
        cost effective products. But prototyping, testing, marketing
        research and advertising consume most of the product budget.

        BTW, we have revised some of our product line items and are
        adding free US retail shipping for December, 2003.

        Best regards,
        Reynard
        http://www.micronart.com/

        On Monday, December 1, 2003, at 08:29 AM, Robert Allbritton wrote:

        > Hi Jim & Group,
        >
        <edited for length>
        >
        > People forget that it takes more than just time and materials to
        > produce a
        > product. There is a TON of your own time spent on design, marketing,
        > distribution, support, repair, and a hundred other little things. You
        > really
        > need to sell a product for at least 50% more than your production cost
        > just
        > to break even with all of the other cost built in.
        >
        <edited for length>
        >
        > Best,
        > -Rob
        >
        <edited for length>


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Reynard Wellman
        Hello Bill, I would like to disagree. What provoked this discussion was all the buzz about Yuji Kuwabara s Union Pacific Big Boy in Z scale. Naturally that led
        Message 3 of 26 , Dec 1, 2003
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          Hello Bill,

          I would like to disagree. What provoked this discussion was all
          the buzz about Yuji Kuwabara's Union Pacific Big Boy in Z scale.
          Naturally that led to discussions about building Z scale locomotives
          and to the machinery involved in doing just that.

          I believe that as we refine and focus our desires in this scale we
          will continue to have discussions like this about equipment and
          techniques. Many items, not just locomotives, need some rework
          in order to operate properly. It is a natural outgrowth of this
          "jeweler's" scale requirements that these debates be engaged.

          Best regards,
          Reynard

          On Monday, December 1, 2003, at 09:38 AM, Bill Hoshiko wrote:
          >
          <edited for length>
          > As for this step/cnc stuff please take it to: 
          >
          > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/traintools/
          >
          > It is interesting but not really specific to Z.
          >
          > All those interested in this subject can subscribe to the traintools
          > group and continue to follow this thread.
          >
          > Bill
          > El Toro, CA


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Bill Hoshiko
          ... locomotives ... Reynard, Like I said, it is interesting and I did read through 50% of the original post, but there is a point where those of us, who will
          Message 4 of 26 , Dec 1, 2003
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            --- In z_scale@yahoogroups.com, Reynard Wellman <micron@m...> wrote:
            > Hello Bill,
            >
            > I would like to disagree. What provoked this discussion was all
            > the buzz about Yuji Kuwabara's Union Pacific Big Boy in Z scale.
            > Naturally that led to discussions about building Z scale
            locomotives
            > and to the machinery involved in doing just that.


            Reynard,

            Like I said, it is interesting and I did read through 50% of the
            original post, but there is a point where those of us, who will
            never consider purchasing a mill or a lath or even a Dremel Tool,
            will only skip any further postings.

            Perhaps, if highlights of this process are continualy posted here,
            we can all be excited about it. When the posts become a little
            technical, then I will become disinterested. There are only so many
            hours in the day.

            I have been involved with handlaying track for over 55 years. I
            occasionaly post some thoughts about handlaying track to the Z_scale
            groups but I don't think that this group is very interested. They
            may like the idea, but they are not planning to get involved.

            I post most of my handlaying track ideas to the Nn3 group or to the
            handlaid track group. These two groups are more active in
            handlaying track. With these two groups I may get some feedback.
            The only communications that I have had about handlaid track from
            the Z-scale group has been from Ole and Svein-Martin Holt . (Ole,
            if your are reading this, we think of you often.)

            When I reach a point that my work is Z scale specific, then I shall
            make some posts to this group but untill then I will make only
            occasional remarks.

            I, for one, do respect your remarks, Reynard. You are involved in
            metal fabricating, manufacturing and marketing. Your efforts are
            instrumental in the advancement of Z scale. Someday I wish that our
            paths will cross and I can shake your hand. It will make my day.

            Bill
            El Toro, Ca
          • Reynard Wellman
            Hello Bill, I admire your restraint. Sometimes this stuff is not as interesting to all of us unless we are directly involved. Yes, I miss Ole Rosted as well.
            Message 5 of 26 , Dec 1, 2003
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              Hello Bill,

              I admire your restraint. Sometimes this stuff is not as interesting
              to all of us unless we are directly involved. Yes, I miss Ole Rosted
              as well. He was excoriatingly critical of inaccurate track
              and turnouts. He is an advocate for code 40 in Z scale and I believe
              he is right. Also, handlaid track can be very beautiful in any scale.

              I respect your remarks as well but want leave open ended the
              various traces we follow as we blunder through this technology.
              Z scale needs criticism as much as it needs as advocacy.

              We (Micron Art) will have booth #450 at the Seattle NMRA 2004
              show in July. If you are there, please stop by. We can exchange
              war stories on the railroading front. All of us can agree
              that it is railroads that we want to promote as the alternative to
              the millions of acres that are continually squashed under concrete
              every day.

              Best regards,
              Reynard

              On Monday, December 1, 2003, at 10:51 AM, Bill Hoshiko wrote:

              > --- In z_scale@yahoogroups.com, Reynard Wellman <micron@m...> wrote:
              > > Hello Bill,
              > >
              > > I would like to disagree. What provoked this discussion was all
              > > the buzz about Yuji Kuwabara's Union Pacific Big Boy in Z scale.
              >
              <edited for length>
              >
              > Reynard,
              >
              <edited for length>
              >
              > I have been involved with handlaying track for over 55 years.  I
              > occasionaly post some thoughts about handlaying track to the Z_scale
              > groups but I don't think that this group is very interested.  They
              > may like the idea, but they are not planning to get involved. 
              >
              > I post most of my handlaying track ideas to the Nn3 group or to the
              > handlaid track group.  These two groups are more active in
              > handlaying track.  With these two groups I may get some feedback. 
              > The only communications that I have had about handlaid track from
              > the Z-scale group has been from Ole and Svein-Martin Holt .  (Ole,
              > if your are reading this, we think of you often.)
              >
              > When I reach a point that my work is Z scale specific, then I shall
              > make some posts to this group but untill then I will make only
              > occasional remarks.
              >
              > I, for one, do respect your remarks, Reynard.  You are involved in
              > metal fabricating, manufacturing and marketing.  Your efforts are
              > instrumental in the advancement of Z scale.  Someday I wish that our
              > paths will cross and I can shake your hand.  It will make my day.
              >
              > Bill
              > El Toro, Ca
              >
              >
              <image.tiff>
              >
              >
              > "Z" WARNING! HANDLE WITH CARE!  Highly addictive in Small
              > DoseZ!
              >
              >
              > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of Service.

              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • jmac_han
              Hi Gang, You may notice that I have changed the tag line for this posting. This is a good way to let the membership know that I am not about to give an opinion
              Message 6 of 26 , Dec 1, 2003
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                Hi Gang,

                You may notice that I have changed the tag line for this posting.
                This is a good way to let the membership know that I am not about to
                give an opinion on CNCs, milling, lathing or whathaveyou. I would
                like to comment on one of the reasons that this forum exists i.e. to
                promote the free exchange of information related to the world of Z-
                scale model railroading. To that end, there have been thousands of
                posts covering hundreds of topics presenting every facet of the
                practice of, passion for and future of Z-scale model railroading.

                There are so many incredibly talented and knowledgeable people who
                are members of this group and who have taken the time to share with
                the rest of us. I learn from practically every post here. That is
                not to say that I am promoting the idea that everyone should read
                everything, no, not at all. We all have our particular interests.
                But the great thing about an internet-based forum is that one can
                chose to read the messages one wants, skipping the subjects or themes
                that are of less interest.

                As a general-delivery style forum, Z_Scale can and has played a
                significant role in bringing like-minded people together to form
                groups, create new products, promote the hobby, meet face-to-face and
                find so many ways to enjoy the hobby.

                This is why any posting of relevance to Z-scale model railroading,
                including many topics that may be of limited appeal, is welcome
                here.

                Thank you to everyone who has posted to Z_Scale. You have broadened
                my horizons.

                Cheers,
                Jeffrey MacHan
                Moderator

                --- In z_scale@yahoogroups.com, "Bill Hoshiko" <billhko@y...> wrote:

                >
                >
                > Reynard,
                >
                > Like I said, it is interesting and I did read through 50% of the
                > original post, but there is a point where those of us, who will
                > never consider purchasing a mill or a lath or even a Dremel Tool,
                > will only skip any further postings.
              • jim_manley_alpha_six
                GreetingZ FriendZ, RomanZ, and PlanetperZonZ (yes, I m still eating Turkey/Tofurkey/TurDuckEn Day leftovers :) Thanks for everyone s comments thus far on this
                Message 7 of 26 , Dec 2, 2003
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                  GreetingZ FriendZ, RomanZ, and PlanetperZonZ (yes, I'm still
                  eating Turkey/Tofurkey/TurDuckEn Day leftovers :)

                  Thanks for everyone's comments thus far on this topic. I was
                  hoping to stir the pot, and I'm really glad to hear everyone's
                  comments (especially yours, Bill - now I know where to look for
                  more tool-oriented stuff! :) I don't have time to "track" (PFI - Pun
                  Fully Intended) much more than this list, and if I can help just
                  one other member of this list learn something, then I've achieved
                  my purpose.

                  Reynard "gets it", along with Jeffrey, Steve, the Johns, Lajos and
                  Randy (but they're really smart, handsome, all-around good
                  guys, so that's what we would expect! :) Several are also
                  experienced with the kinds of tools I've been describing, so it's
                  probably easier for them to grasp what I'm talking about. If we're
                  able to produce some really detailed operating models that none
                  of the mainstream manufacturers have addressed, at
                  reasonable prices or otherwise, then I'm sure Bill will "get it" too.
                  He's already a really smart, handsome, all-around good guy, too,
                  so it's just a matter of time before we win him over, and I need to
                  better explain how this idea applies to Z, in particular.

                  The whole purpose of my concept is to help solve the
                  chicken-and-egg situation where we have a very limited
                  selection of locomotives, rolling stock, track, structures, etc., at
                  affordable prices, in reasonable quality, and in appropriate
                  quantities. Not to pick on any of our highly-respected
                  manufacturers, but just as an example, while the selection from
                  AZL is getting better, the numbers produced and the prices are
                  not. Only eight of a given road number in a particular road name
                  for a specific model is ridiculous, regardless of the price, which
                  could come down significantly if enough volume were produced.
                  I think my idea may positively impact this problem, and I would
                  love to discuss this with the folks at AZL and in Korea (my
                  company is doing a lot of new business with manufacturers
                  there, and although it's in the consumer electronics space, I
                  believe there are useful parallels).

                  I believe that some of the more basic parts can be produced at a
                  reasonable level of quality, fairly quickly, in the number needed
                  for everyone on this list, using the mid-level CNC equipment
                  we've discussed. This would include locomotive and rolling
                  stock metal frames; sheet metal shells that are typically now
                  etched (and parts produced via CNC can be finished using more
                  limited etching, sintering, sandblasting, etc.); wheels, axles and
                  trucks (especially those for locomotives beyond F7s and SDs);
                  and masters for non-injection-molded objects (e.g., shells and
                  their accessory details like horns and bells, body and structure
                  details, etc.). Over time, I think that very detailed injection molds
                  can be produced using my idea, but they are a whole level of
                  complexity above what I think we can for now (my brother-in-law
                  is a foreman for Hitachi multi-ton injection molders, so I've been
                  learning a whole lot about what it takes to generate molds, and
                  set up, operate and maintain the molders).

                  I think that final finishing, such as painting, printing, etc., can be
                  accommodated if the right materials and techniques can be
                  identified to use in CNC machines. This is probably going to be
                  the trickiest thing to get any level of quality established, and may
                  take years to achieve. However, I'm already waiting for a lot of
                  new models, so I've got nothing but time (except for my
                  day/evening job, family, maintaining my health, keeping up with
                  this job, I mean hobby ... :)


                  Here's what I AM proposing:

                  - Customers and manufacturers could generate the .stl (STEP),
                  .dxf (AutoCAD Data Exchange Format), G&M code, or other files
                  containing 3-D part/product description data. They could be
                  generated by (auto)tracing photos and edited to 3-D, or via stylus
                  (many CNC systems have an option for producing 3-D data from
                  physical objects by running a stylus over the objects' surfaces in
                  a raster-type path). An abundant source of surfaces could be HO
                  or larger scale locomotives and rolling stock (assuming they're
                  accurate to begin with). The files could represent something as
                  simple as a brass bell, or as complex as Yuji's entire Big Boy.
                  Data files for models could be built up from contributions from
                  multiple manufacturers and customers, perhaps from parts
                  libraries built up by everyone.

                  - I think it would be fantastic if everyone on this list with access to
                  a computer (I hope that includes everyone on the list, except
                  perhaps former neighbors of the Unibomber) generated some
                  portion of a 3-D model for a particular locomotive, piece of rolling
                  stock, or structure that everyone would want to have (it could
                  become our signature icon - in the physical, not computer
                  graphics, sense - to be proudly shown at model railroad events
                  - can you spell NTS 2004 Seattle? - and that new members of
                  the list could obtain as a welcome-aboard gift at cost, if they
                  weren't capable of producing it themselves). We would need to
                  work out the intellectual property issues, but I would suggest
                  something like the GNU Public License (GPL) Copyleft, where
                  the data files are copyrighted and placed in the public domain so
                  that everyone can benefit from them, and no one can control
                  dissemination of them except those who produce them.

                  - Customers who have CNC-compatible equipment (lathes and
                  milling machines are both necessary to produce all parts) could
                  experiment with manufacturing parts from shared data files at
                  whatever level of accuracy/detail/quality their equipment is
                  capable of producing. They could do this for themselves and
                  other customers.

                  - Manufacturers who have CNC-compatible equipment could
                  generate parts at higher levels of accuracy/detail/quality for
                  whatever prices the market will bear, perhaps on a sliding scale
                  according to how much time/effort is required.

                  - Any part/product/tooling could be data-modeled and produced,
                  for locomotives, rolling stock, track, ties, turnouts,
                  people/animals, structures, injection and resin masters/molds,
                  lost-wax/plastic/wood/metal masters for metal castings ... Can
                  you hear me now? Good!


                  And here's what I AM NOT proposing:

                  - Putting anyone out of business - in fact, I'm trying to come up
                  with a way to expand our market, to the benefit of manufacturers
                  (especially those producing smaller numbers of higher-quality
                  products) and customers.

                  - Forcing anyone to go out and buy any equipment - there are
                  probably already enough of us with access to the appropriate
                  computer and fabrication equipment/software to produce more
                  parts than everyone on the list could assemble over our
                  lifetimes, especially if this becomes a primarily automated
                  process.

                  - Excessively raising the hopes and expectations of anyone - I
                  will be the first to admit that I spend a lot of time thinking outside
                  of the box, and sometimes the box is a 12-dimensional
                  hypercube that, in an earlier age, would have gotten me tossed
                  into a well-padded cell for treatment of psychoses, or a dungeon
                  for heresy. However, it was once thought that the world was flat,
                  blood-letting was the best way to treat diseases, electric lights
                  were an impractical curiosity (it took Edison decades to get
                  electric power generation and distribution to become
                  widespread in New York alone), the speed of sound couldn't be
                  exceeded (many scientists were genuinely concerned it would
                  result in certain death to the pilot, in the unlikely event the aircraft
                  could survive structurally), and that no one could ever walk on the
                  Moon, much less return to Earth to talk about it. My idea is
                  probably on the order of the pet rock, but hey, a lot of people
                  thought those were a good idea!


                  So, what should our signature model be, and who is interested
                  in generating data model files that we can assemble into a
                  complete digital representation that can then be transformed into
                  the constituent physical parts? How about the very first
                  locomotive to be used in service, or the largest locomotive ever
                  built (my favorite is the
                  completely-impractical-to-operate-on-a-Z-layout 1969 era Union
                  Pacific DD40XA Centennial, which is over 98 feet in prototype
                  length, and over five inches long in Z)?

                  OK, enough babbling, as I've been up working all night, and it's
                  now after 5:30 AM here (Beginning of ad: and I'm happy to report
                  we've now got over a million TiVos to support - the more you buy,
                  the sooner I can retire and make this dopey CNC idea work! End
                  of ad. :)

                  All the BeZt,
                  Jim


                  --- In z_scale@yahoogroups.com, Reynard Wellman
                  <micron@m...> wrote:
                  > I believe that as we refine and focus our desires in this scale
                  > we will continue to have discussions like this about equipment
                  > and techniques. Many items, not just locomotives, need some
                  > rework in order to operate properly. It is a natural outgrowth of
                  > this "jeweler's" scale requirements that these debates be
                  > engaged.
                  >
                  > Best regards,
                  > Reynard
                  >
                  > On Monday, December 1, 2003, at 09:38 AM, Bill Hoshiko
                  wrote:
                  > >
                  > > As for this step/cnc stuff please take it to: 
                  > > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/traintools/
                  > > It is interesting but not really specific to Z.
                  > > All those interested in this subject can subscribe to the
                  > > traintools group and continue to follow this thread.
                • ztrack@aol.com
                  ... Why would this locomotive be impractical to operate on a Z layout? Z is the perfect scale to operate such a large locomotive. HO and above is impractical.
                  Message 8 of 26 , Dec 2, 2003
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                    In a message dated 12/2/03 8:38:47 AM, jim_manley@... writes:


                    > How about the very first
                    > locomotive to be used in service, or the largest locomotive ever
                    > built (my favorite is the
                    > completely 1969 era Union
                    > Pacific DD40XA Centennial, which is over 98 feet in prototype
                    > length, and over five inches long in Z)?
                    >

                    Why would this locomotive be impractical to operate on a Z layout? Z is the
                    perfect scale to operate such a large locomotive. HO and above is impractical.
                    One of the benefits of Z scale is that we can model large locomotives and cars
                    with zero compression. We can have completely prototypical curves that can be
                    broad enough to handle a 5 inch loco with no problem. The only limitation is
                    ones own space for a layout, but again, that is where Z scale has it's
                    advantages. Though we work small, it is time to think big.

                    Rob Kluz
                    Ztrack Magazine Ltd.
                    6142 Northcliff Blvd.
                    Dublin OH 43016
                    www.ztrack.com


                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • kimvellore
                    Jim, I don t want to bring your enthusiasm down but I feel what we currently lack in building Z scale anything is either casting or injection molding. Some
                    Message 9 of 26 , Dec 2, 2003
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                      Jim,
                      I don't want to bring your enthusiasm down but I feel what we
                      currently lack in building Z scale anything is either casting or
                      injection molding. Some level of detail can be obtained by Photo
                      etching, but none of the lathe and end mills can get to the level of
                      detail that casting or injection molding gets. For Z you need all the
                      tiny details. For example take a Z-scale loco from Marklin and
                      observe the details from the rivets to the trucks, no mechanical
                      machine can do that. I own a 4 axis CNC Mill and CNC Lathe and access
                      to most CAD software. The only things I can build for Z loco are some
                      parts for the drive mechanism, even making the gears right is
                      extremely time consuming, so I use Marklin gears and drive mechanism.

                      If we could find an artist like Yuji who could make a master
                      mould in styrene or wax or resin then it could be reproduced in
                      Brass, add some PE details and use some CNC for making the chassis
                      and drive mechanism parts and you have a working loco.

                      So in order of priority I would say Casting, Photo Etch, CNC
                      machining, decal making and painting. The CNC parts could also be
                      eventually cast.
                      It is a great effort that you making for Z scale community,
                      but concentrating on CNC alone will not be able to achieve what you
                      are trying to do.

                      Regards,
                      Kim
                    • themohican2003
                      ... Everyone: As I recall when Yuji described what his model consisted of I believe he mentioned that the drive gears he used were from Marklin, I presume he
                      Message 10 of 26 , Dec 2, 2003
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                        --- In z_scale@yahoogroups.com, "kimvellore" <kim@b...> wrote:

                        > If we could find an artist like Yuji who could make a master
                        > mould in styrene or wax or resin then it could be reproduced in
                        > Brass, add some PE details and use some CNC for making the chassis
                        > and drive mechanism parts and you have a working loco.
                        >
                        > So in order of priority I would say Casting, Photo Etch, CNC
                        > machining, decal making and painting. The CNC parts could also be
                        > eventually cast.
                        > It is a great effort that you making for Z scale community,
                        > but concentrating on CNC alone will not be able to achieve what you
                        > are trying to do.
                        >
                        > Regards,
                        > Kim
                        Everyone:
                        As I recall when Yuji described what his model consisted of I believe
                        he mentioned that the drive gears he used were from Marklin, I
                        presume he used those to save time and effort since his model is a
                        one time project.
                        I myself am planning to use a combination of resin castings for
                        bodies and chemically etched metal detail parts like the end frames,
                        roof walks and hopper hatches.
                        I almost considered making metal bodies from etched sheet metal, but
                        I didn't care to solder all those cars, plus I would still have to
                        cast the frame for mounting the coupler/truck assemblies.
                        Hoppers Away!!!
                        Allan Borg
                      • michael
                        What about 3D (Stereo) Lithography? Is this technology too far out of reach, or is there another obstacle preventing it s use for Z? Viewed from my distance,
                        Message 11 of 26 , Dec 2, 2003
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                          What about 3D (Stereo) Lithography? Is this technology too far out
                          of reach, or is there another obstacle preventing it's use for Z?
                          Viewed from my distance, it appears to offer the best of both
                          worlds: the qualities of casting with CNC repeatability. I have
                          seen some machines going at online auction for a *fraction of their
                          original prices. There must be companies out there that rent time
                          on these things. Or maybe a club with a big enough local nucleus
                          could set up a non-profit testing ground where interested parties
                          can pool money for the cause. ...just throwing out ideas here,
                          folks.

                          This is a wonderful discussion on a subject which I have been very
                          interested in.

                          Also, as a side note, I have direct access to a couple of pieces of
                          CNC-type machinery. I own a small CNC milling machine which was
                          designed for printed circuit board fabrication (Brand-LPKF, Model-
                          C60). I also have access to one of the MaxCNC machines which Jim
                          pointed to in his first posting.


                          Cheers,

                          Michael

                          --- In z_scale@yahoogroups.com, "kimvellore" <kim@b...> wrote:
                          > Jim,
                          > I don't want to bring your enthusiasm down but I feel what we
                          > currently lack in building Z scale anything is either casting or
                          > injection molding. Some level of detail can be obtained by Photo
                          > etching, but none of the lathe and end mills can get to the level
                          of
                          > detail that casting or injection molding gets. For Z you need all
                          the
                          > tiny details. For example take a Z-scale loco from Marklin and
                          > observe the details from the rivets to the trucks, no mechanical
                          > machine can do that. I own a 4 axis CNC Mill and CNC Lathe and
                          access
                          > to most CAD software. The only things I can build for Z loco are
                          some
                          > parts for the drive mechanism, even making the gears right is
                          > extremely time consuming, so I use Marklin gears and drive
                          mechanism.
                          >
                          > If we could find an artist like Yuji who could make a master
                          > mould in styrene or wax or resin then it could be reproduced in
                          > Brass, add some PE details and use some CNC for making the chassis
                          > and drive mechanism parts and you have a working loco.
                          >
                          > So in order of priority I would say Casting, Photo Etch, CNC
                          > machining, decal making and painting. The CNC parts could also be
                          > eventually cast.
                          > It is a great effort that you making for Z scale community,
                          > but concentrating on CNC alone will not be able to achieve what
                          you
                          > are trying to do.
                          >
                          > Regards,
                          > Kim
                        • Lajos Thek
                          ... To build an injection mold for a well detaled product you need to use mill and lathe. The trick is knowing how to design and make the necessary tooling. To
                          Message 12 of 26 , Dec 2, 2003
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                            --- In z_scale@yahoogroups.com, "kimvellore" <kim@b...> wrote:
                            >
                            >...none of the lathe and end mills can get to the level of
                            > detail that casting or injection molding gets.

                            To build an injection mold for a well detaled product you
                            need to use mill and lathe. The trick is knowing how to design
                            and make the necessary tooling. To design something in 3D is
                            the least expensive part of the process. To convert the program
                            to a working product requires many expensive steps. On the basic
                            three or four axis CNC machine you need to figure out the correct
                            holding of the already machined surfaces (special tools made
                            strictly for the product), a more sophisticated shape requires
                            many tool changes, and even the production of a simple gear
                            requires a "fifth" axis. To make the proper tooling is the
                            biggest cost factor. Requires the "know how", what is rarely
                            "public domain". I wish we'll see CNC machines capable to make
                            the necessary tooling prior production of the parts, using the
                            product's design and machining information. Then position the
                            necessary cutters into the automatic tool changers, set-up
                            the part holders, insert the material and go...
                            Anyway, if someone with a small CNC machine is interested to
                            manufacture small numbers (few hundred?) of parts, I have a
                            nice, long wish list.
                            Lajos
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