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  • Malcolm Kent Cleaveland
    Folks, On Wed June 12, 2013 BAZ sj baz man wrote: Aluminum is generally $5K a pair . That s more than the Chinese are asking for a steel mold for my Z scale
    Message 1 of 7 , Jun 13, 2013
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      Folks,

      On Wed June 12, 2013 "BAZ" sj baz man wrote:
      "Aluminum is generally $5K a pair".

      That's more than the Chinese are asking for a steel mold for my Z scale containers. If that's true, I'll have to go with the Chinese. More and more, I get the impression that the Chinese are eating our lunch because some of them really care about each customer, even the small ones.

      What about pad printing? Who in the U.S. does pad printing for hire? I know Micro-Trains does special runs, but I guess it's quite pricey.

      CheerZ,
      -- Malcolm Z
      MCZ Models




      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Rick Saviano
      Not to get political, but it s more like they want to run the non-Chinese mold makers out of business. That s what happened to the U.S. clothing industry. -
      Message 2 of 7 , Jun 14, 2013
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        Not to get political, but it's more like they want to run the
        non-Chinese mold makers out of business. That's what happened to the
        U.S. clothing industry.

        - Rick Saviano

        On 6/13/2013 5:50 PM, Malcolm Kent Cleaveland wrote:
        > More and more, I get the impression that the Chinese are eating our lunch because some of them really care about each customer, even the small ones.
        >
      • Alan Cox
        On Fri, 14 Jun 2013 07:39:41 -0500 ... It s simply a matter of their wage bills being much much lower than very expensive US labour. That is changing rapidly
        Message 3 of 7 , Jun 14, 2013
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          On Fri, 14 Jun 2013 07:39:41 -0500
          Rick Saviano <saviano@...> wrote:

          >
          > Not to get political, but it's more like they want to run the
          > non-Chinese mold makers out of business. That's what happened to the
          > U.S. clothing industry.

          It's simply a matter of their wage bills being much much lower than very
          expensive US labour. That is changing rapidly because China is rapidly
          building a middle class of its own and they also want flat screen
          televison, nice cars and the rest of it.

          Quite a lot of clothing has been moving back the other way. Some of our
          model companies in the UK are doing more of their work here as well, and
          Hornby (our biggest model brand) is moving about 10% more of its
          production back to the UK.

          Plus you need to remember that in some cases (eg Bachmann) it's a Chinese
          company in the first place - they merely outsource some business to the
          USA ;-)

          Europe does have a fair number of people doing tooling and moulding work,
          or you can do your own. There is nothing intrinsically "magic" about
          plastic moulding that requires massive production lines. In fact I know
          people who cut plastic kit tooling and run them in their shed. They are
          CNC cutting rather electro-eroding so the quality is a tiny shade lower
          but its rare that matters.

          Pad printing is also widely available because it's not a 'speciality' -
          there are people pad printing everything imaginable all over the world.
          Again it's not a speciality art - the machinery is not that cheap but it
          is available off the shelf, and Europe is full of people who will run pad
          print jobs.

          3D print is also beginning to change the rules. although we are not quite
          at the critical point (which is going to be a $10K printer with
          acceptable media costs at Shapeways FUD range of quality). It'll get
          there and that plus home CNC kit will change the world. Z is also ideal
          for such technology because the costs are heavily based on material
          volume. Z is big enough the features are printable, small enough to be
          cheap, N likewise. By the time you hit HO it's incredibly expensive 8)

          I mostly do N these days but a lot of my recent stock is stuff I designed
          and built from a mix of 3D print, cut vinyl, etching and other
          technologies. Much more fun than buying little boxes from shops.

          You don't need to buy pre-assembled little plastic trains from China, you
          have a choice.

          Alan
        • Brian
          ... Deluxe Innovations. Some years ago, I recall reading/hearing something about DI s willingness to pad print cars not their own. I don t know if that applies
          Message 4 of 7 , Jun 14, 2013
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            > What about pad printing? Who in the U.S. does pad printing for hire? - Malcolm Z <

            Deluxe Innovations. Some years ago, I recall reading/hearing something about DI's willingness to pad print cars not their own. I don't know if that applies to other scales, or if it's still accurate information.

            Would you mind posting if you find a good source?

            -Brian Chapman
            Evansdale, Iowa
          • Jonathon
            ... This assumes that the 3D design plans will be easily obtain. It also assumes that the non-printable parts will be easily obtainable. ... For the layout I m
            Message 5 of 7 , Jun 14, 2013
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              On 06/14/2013 01:00 PM, Alan Cox wrote:

              > for such technology because the costs are heavily based on material
              > volume. Z is big enough the features are printable, small enough to be cheap, N likewise.

              This assumes that the 3D design plans will be easily obtain.
              It also assumes that the non-printable parts will be easily obtainable.

              > I mostly do N these days but a lot of my recent stock is stuff I designed and built from a mix of 3D print, cut vinyl, etching and other technologies. Much more fun than buying little boxes from shops.

              For the layout I'm working on, all of the rolling stock will have to be
              either scratch-built, or printed from 3D plans I create.

              jonathon
              --
              Email with a status of other than "junk", "bulk", or "list" is forwarded
              to Dave Null, unread.
            • Alan Cox
              On Sat, 15 Jun 2013 03:15:08 +0000 ... 3D models take some time to learn to construct but its a skill you can learn which does not require access to expensive
              Message 6 of 7 , Jun 15, 2013
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                On Sat, 15 Jun 2013 03:15:08 +0000
                Jonathon <jonathon.blake@...> wrote:

                > On 06/14/2013 01:00 PM, Alan Cox wrote:
                >
                > > for such technology because the costs are heavily based on material
                > > volume. Z is big enough the features are printable, small enough to be cheap, N likewise.
                >
                > This assumes that the 3D design plans will be easily obtain.
                > It also assumes that the non-printable parts will be easily obtainable.

                3D models take some time to learn to construct but its a skill you can
                learn which does not require access to expensive machinery and in fact
                the design side can be done with software that's either free software or
                zero cost proprietary software. It's also (at least this side of the
                pond) a skill that is now taught in schools as part of technical
                education - so kids are coming out of college having done 3D printing
                work, 3D CAD and the like.

                For non printable parts American Z is well served with trucks, wheels and
                couplers easily available.

                For things like weights or small parts that are too fragile when printed
                you can also do white metal drop casting at home without anything major
                (except maybe permission from the household authorities to use the
                kitchen as a metalworks ;) )

                There isn't a fundamental barrier to doing this stuff yourself, likewise
                CNC machining and tool making. You can get hand plastic moulding machines
                for peanuts second hand. Not something you'd want to run a major
                production run on but perfectly good for very low volume work, and much
                easier to cut tools for as you don't need ejector pins and other
                complexities.

                The key to bringing production back home wherever you are is to go do it.

                Alan
              • Greg Elmassian
                Yes, NOT to get political... Please tread carefully gentlemen, facts good, political aspersions or rants will result in things disappearing. Thank you in
                Message 7 of 7 , Jun 19, 2013
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                  Yes, NOT to get political...

                  Please tread carefully gentlemen, facts good, political aspersions or rants will result in things disappearing.

                  Thank you in advance for keeping "on track" with trains.

                  The moderators.

                  --- In z_scale@yahoogroups.com, Alan Cox <alan@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > On Fri, 14 Jun 2013 07:39:41 -0500
                  > Rick Saviano <saviano@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > >
                  > > Not to get political, but it's more like they want to run the
                  > > non-Chinese mold makers out of business. That's what happened to the
                  > > U.S. clothing industry.
                  >
                  > It's simply a matter of their wage bills being much much lower than very
                  > expensive US labour. That is changing rapidly because China is rapidly
                  > building a middle class of its own and they also want flat screen
                  > televison, nice cars and the rest of it.
                  >
                  > Quite a lot of clothing has been moving back the other way. Some of our
                  > model companies in the UK are doing more of their work here as well, and
                  > Hornby (our biggest model brand) is moving about 10% more of its
                  > production back to the UK.
                  >
                  > Plus you need to remember that in some cases (eg Bachmann) it's a Chinese
                  > company in the first place - they merely outsource some business to the
                  > USA ;-)
                  >
                  > Europe does have a fair number of people doing tooling and moulding work,
                  > or you can do your own. There is nothing intrinsically "magic" about
                  > plastic moulding that requires massive production lines. In fact I know
                  > people who cut plastic kit tooling and run them in their shed. They are
                  > CNC cutting rather electro-eroding so the quality is a tiny shade lower
                  > but its rare that matters.
                  >
                  > Pad printing is also widely available because it's not a 'speciality' -
                  > there are people pad printing everything imaginable all over the world.
                  > Again it's not a speciality art - the machinery is not that cheap but it
                  > is available off the shelf, and Europe is full of people who will run pad
                  > print jobs.
                  >
                  > 3D print is also beginning to change the rules. although we are not quite
                  > at the critical point (which is going to be a $10K printer with
                  > acceptable media costs at Shapeways FUD range of quality). It'll get
                  > there and that plus home CNC kit will change the world. Z is also ideal
                  > for such technology because the costs are heavily based on material
                  > volume. Z is big enough the features are printable, small enough to be
                  > cheap, N likewise. By the time you hit HO it's incredibly expensive 8)
                  >
                  > I mostly do N these days but a lot of my recent stock is stuff I designed
                  > and built from a mix of 3D print, cut vinyl, etching and other
                  > technologies. Much more fun than buying little boxes from shops.
                  >
                  > You don't need to buy pre-assembled little plastic trains from China, you
                  > have a choice.
                  >
                  > Alan
                  >
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