Class 43 : ready

The class 43 redesign is finished and ready for the 3D printer.


It’s the right time to test the brand new printer at home, let’s print the cabin in white resin, with the highest precision available. Just started… it will take three hours, it will be ready after lunch 😉 .


Class 43 IC: the cabin upper part

upper_cabin_filThe cabin basic design, still upper_cabinneeds to be rounded on the spiky side edge and smoothed on the top, before proceeding to the fine filing. It is easier to re-build the shape of only the upper part of the cabin inside FreeCAD: with just one simple “fillet” action on the side edge, the basic rounded shape is there.

Smoothing the ridge on the top is a little bit more tricky:ridge applying a fillet to any short edge doesn’t work well, as the segments composing the ridge are oriented in different angles. Then the solution is to cut away the spiky part of the ridge, leaving a smoother surface instead.

I created a profile which was cutting out the ridge, but at the same time including the whole upper cabin. The solid generated revolving it around the longitudinal axis includes the cabin, cutting out just the thin part of the ridge to be removed. The boolean difference of the two shapes does the rest of the job: the result is the original cabin, with a smooth surface instead of the ridge.


This shape is now ready to have the windows cut out, before being exported in stl format to be finely adjusted inside Blender.

Class 43 IC: the cabin redesign

The lower valance Lorenzo designed with OpenSCAD shows a significant improvement compared to the original basic model I valancecreated with FreeCAD.

Nevertheless it remains too spiky and irregular in the inside profile. Here comes into play my skills as a new Blender user: I had lower_val_blenda lot of fun learning the basics of meshes manipulation to adjust, recreate and smoothen it.

Now it’s time to adjust the other profiles to this new refined lower valance and re-create the upper part of the cabin.

Class 43 IC 125: the redesign

The redesign

After exploiting all the available features of FreeCAD, facing its limits for my project and getting the first prototype, time has come for the redesign. There are a few changes in the concept (basically how to split the locomotive into parts and which details to provide) and a new workflow, including openSCAD to design 3D solid shapes which are not simple extrusions of 2D faces, while keeping FreeCAD for some easy geometrical sketches, to extrude simple shapes and to put the basic blocks together at the end.  Blender is also of great help to work with the mesh format both for some fine adjusting and handling of curved surfaces to be exchanged among different software tools.

As first step we (my model partner Lorenzo and I) decided to split the design of the cabin with a horizontal plane cutting at the level of the spiky edge on the front, just below the lights housing: he wanted to redesign the lower valance with OpenSCAD.

We started again from the drawings with Inkscape, traced over the blueprint and shrunk to the 1:87 scale dimension.

The valance (the lower part of the cabin) required (and openSCAD allowed it 😉 ) more work: Lorenzo recreated the basic solid inside OpenSCAD , valancethen he could create the valance as intersection of ellipsoids, shaped as he needed, matching the section of the upper part: this hand definition of the shapes would not have been possible in FreeCAD.

Class 43 IC 125: the protoptype

mail 2015-12-01 10.59.43

The prototype

Finally I received the first 3D printed prototype: the white one. In the pictures it is next to a 1:76 class 43 shell from Lima (the turquoise one) for comparison. Here below you can see the side details I added: the inset for the grid, the window cuts.  mail 2015-12-01 10.53.24

The longitudinal cutouts where the roof starts are meant to host the roof grids: either created with  photo-etched metal, or the grid blocks to plug in I will print in the next version.

All the roof details are still to be done, while on the back I made the proper shape and the window cuts are done.

I’m already back to work on the “to do” list for the next version. I’ll keep you posted.

Class 43 IC125: the cabin


The cabin 3D model

After three months of absence during summer (while I didn’t go on holiday, I worked as microelectronic engineer)  I’m finally again with my hands on the Class 43 project, with the new version of FreeCAD (the 0.16).

Using the Inkscape shapes traced from on the blueprint as reference, I drew the profile sketches (top, side and front) of the cabin with FreeCAD.



cabin_3d_sketches  half_cabin Once the three profiles were ready and oriented on the three orthogonal planes in the 3D space, I extruded them orthogonally.

The intersection of the three extrusions is the rough spiky geometry of half of the cabin.

With some chamfering of the spiky edges, the basic cabin shape is ready to be worked on for the fine filing.

Class 43 IC125: the body


Class 43 IC125: the body

Tracing the locomotive body profile with Inkscape trimmed_arcs and creating a unique path with it was fun and quite an easy job. The tricky part started when I imported the drawing inside FreeCAD:  the path created inside Inkscape was not straightforward to be converted into FreeCAD objects. After some trials I found the workaround (I used my experience  as software CAD engineer 😉 ): body_profile_face to make the created objects completely compatible with the FreeCAD version I currently use. Now the locomotive section is ready and extruded through the whole length of the body.
I’m ready for the new 3D geometry challenge: the cabin.