- On Sat, 15 Jun 2013 03:15:08 +0000
Jonathon <jonathon.blake@...> wrote:
> On 06/14/2013 01:00 PM, Alan Cox wrote:3D models take some time to learn to construct but its a skill you can
> > 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.
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
The key to bringing production back home wherever you are is to go do it.
- 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.
--- In email@example.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.