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

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  • 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 1 of 26 , Dec 1, 2003
      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 2 of 26 , Dec 1, 2003
        --- 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 3 of 26 , Dec 1, 2003
          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 4 of 26 , Dec 1, 2003
            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 5 of 26 , Dec 2, 2003
              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 6 of 26 , Dec 2, 2003
                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 7 of 26 , Dec 2, 2003
                  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 8 of 26 , Dec 2, 2003
                    --- 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 9 of 26 , Dec 2, 2003
                      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 10 of 26 , Dec 2, 2003
                        --- 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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