HO Scale Trailers

rch Dec 5, 2021

  1. rch

    rch TrainBoard Member

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    I've been working on several 3D printed trailers and intermodal accessories for the past few months. I have a few printed examples of the designs to show.

    First, here's a Trailmobile bullnose pup trailer. Pacific Intermountain Express (P-I-E) was a big user of these, but some variations of this design could be found in other carrier's fleets including Consolidated Freightways and Transcon.

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    Here's one of the recent resin prints (left) next to the original print I made at Shapeways (right). I corrected a few errors on the model between the two prints.

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    Originally I designed the model to use wheels and tires from A-line (foreground), but I decided to print these details myself (background).

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    These trailers aren't intended for piggyback use, so they're more "scenery" items for a model railroad. But this container chassis is something that can be used on a flatcar. The prototype for this model is a 70s chassis built by Gindy. I like the American Limited container chassis kits when I can find them, and the Athearn chassis are nice too, but I wanted something that's inexpensive and readily available. It also helps if it fits the 70s through the 80s so with that in mind I drew this model. It's in the foreground and the American Limited model is in the background (there's also some spare tires in the photo):

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    Here's an Athearn 20' chassis that I repainted and swapped out the wheels for some new printed wheels/tires. The detail and depth you can achieve with a printer is pretty amazing. I can't wait to see what it will be like in a couple years:

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    Here's an undermount genset and fuel tank for reefer containers. The genset suffered from some sagging during the printing process due to inadequate interior supports of the hollow model, but that's been corrected and another round of test prints is underway.

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    Another way to supply power to the reefer container's refrigeration unit is a clip-on genset. You can even find these mounted to reefer containers on spine or well cars, not just mounted to containers on chassis:

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    These test prints turned out really nice, but upon closer inspection revealed a lot of revisions to be made! Fortunately that's done and soon it will be time to run the next batch of test prints.
     
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  2. Mr. Trainiac

    Mr. Trainiac TrainBoard Member

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    The nose-mount genset is pretty killer. I haven't seen many of them in HO scale, I think it's the one thing missing from the modern intermodal scene. Now we just need Atlas to make their reefer containers cheaper.

    What printer did you use to make these? Were they done on a personal printer like a Photon? The spoke wheels are by far the best looking. I don't even see any print artifacts or layer lines. Did you use a filler primer on them, or did they just turn out that nice?
     
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  3. rch

    rch TrainBoard Member

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    I'm using a local N scale modeler to print these for me (https://mpscalemodels.com/), but I'll ask what printer he's using Edit: Epax X10, Anycubic Photon and Phrozen Sonic Mini 4k. I've got some personal issues that prevent me from making major purchases like 3D printers right now, but once the dust settles there I'll supplement the printing Marshall is doing with my own... hopefully early next year.

    As far as the quality of the prints is concerned, the man is very skilled! I try to keep the paint as thin as possible because he's able to achieve all the details I include in the CAD files. Do you see the spacer bands behind the spokes in those wheels? I drew it in the file because it's there, but the fact that it shows up blew my mind.

    I sprayed thinned Testors enamel on the blue wheels and clip-on genset without any primer. The enamel sticks to the resin without any problems. The container chassis was originally sprayed with Badger Stynlrez primer, then sprayed with enamel, but that was before I realized I could skip the primer. The pup trailer was also sprayed with thinned enamels with no primer.

    Since the wheels and tires are a single piece and I don't have an easy way to mask them, I spray the wheels the desired color and let it cure a few days then I use a brush to apply a thinned mixture of gray Stynlrez primer and black acrylic paint. If I used thinned enamels to paint the tires it would begin to dissolve the wheel color underneath, so using acrylic paint prevents that. I suppose I could just paint the wheels with acrylic, but I have loads of enamels on hand.

    Here are some of the aluminum wheels and tires:

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    Some of them appear to have dark hand holes and bolt holes compared to the others. On the dark ones I've drilled out the hand holes and bolt holes. I go all the way through on the spare tires and just deep enough to cut the paint and make a shadow on the others. Tamiya Panel Line Accent can also accomplish the same goal, but it can attack the aluminum enamel paint so I tend to avoid using it. If I acquire some aluminum color acrylic paint that problem will be solved.
     
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  4. Kurt Moose

    Kurt Moose TrainBoard Member

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    Oh my gosh, as I guy who replaces tires on most of these in the 1:1 scale and see them almost everyday, you nailed it with the details, look, and feel of most of your trailers.

    Well done!!(y)
     
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  5. rch

    rch TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks, Kurt! That's some pretty high praise.

    I measured a wide variety of various wheels and tires awhile back and measured them every way I could think of. The duplex/super single tires were made from measurements, as were the low-profile tires. I messed up on my aluminum spare tire though: I lined up the lug holes with the hand holes. I got it right on the others, so I don't know what I was thinking. The spoke wheels on the container chassis here have different rims than the spoke wheels on the RoadRailer in the weekend modeling accomplishment thread. I'm sure you'll spot the difference right away.(y)
     
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  6. Kurt Moose

    Kurt Moose TrainBoard Member

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    Only reason for the off-set holes is to reduce stress cracks from the lug holes to the hand holes, other than that-you nailed it!

    The intermodal or "California Style" 5 spoke wheels look great, even the detail of the ring in between the wheels is perfect! There are two styles, just like the one you modeled, and it's pretty common to see them both on a chassis as they go thru a shop for service.
    (y)

    If you wanna' get real detail crazy-add to them brass valve stems, (tube type only), opposite from each other, and facing toward each other. ;)
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2021
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  7. rch

    rch TrainBoard Member

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    Only if you do it in Z scale first, Kurt! :ROFLMAO:
     
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  8. Kurt Moose

    Kurt Moose TrainBoard Member

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    I'll just use a couple of my hair strands, lol!:ROFLMAO::D
     
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  9. rch

    rch TrainBoard Member

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    Of course the minute I print some pup trailers that's when I find photos of the rear of a Trailmobile pup. So I revised the rear taillights to match a Trailmobile design and added a pintle hook while I was at it.

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    I came up with a variation on the landing gear that matches some Transcon trailers I've seen.

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    I had some old Rail Power Products decals for a pup trailer that I decided to use on this model. Those decals aren't widely available anymore so I'm working up my own decals to use in the future. But the RPP decals were close enough to use for this model.

    At first I thought I'd not bother painting the side stakes silver, but I had a change of heart after seeing how plain it looked. I used some Microscale trim film cut into thin strips to "paint" the side stakes silver. Here's a before and after. I'm glad I used the trim film!

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    There's an Athearn RTR model in the background of these photos.

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    Earlier this week I worked up another variation on this trailer, the smooth side version used by ANR/Garrett/Graves. I don't have any decals for that version yet, but I'm working on it.

    If anyone remembers other trucking companies that used these bullnose trailers, especially if you have photos, please get in touch with me!
     
  10. Kurt Moose

    Kurt Moose TrainBoard Member

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    Those Are Beautiful!!

    WOW!!(y)(y)(y)
     
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  11. gjslsffan

    gjslsffan Staff Member

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    Holy Smokes Ryan!!!
    You Rock!!
    Those trailers are realism personified.
     
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  12. rch

    rch TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks guys! I've also been developing some Fruehauf flatbed trailers. All my paints are put away so please forgive the Krylon bomb finish. These are printed with voids for the wood deck which is cut and scribed 0.030" styrene, though 0.032" thick basswood or balsa would work, too. The white one is kind of a kludge since it has an early suspension and a late bumper, but for a test print it doesn't matter. The oxide trailer has a sliding tandem suspension (it's removable and positionable, it doesn't actually slide). I attached the deck parts with tacky glue so I can remove them and weather them when I get my stuff unpacked again. Having them be separate pieces definitely makes it easy to paint the "wood" and "metal" parts.

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  13. SLSF Freak

    SLSF Freak Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Man those outdoor shots almost look like prototype shots. With everything painted and decal'd you could fool some folks! Are you doing anything special to hinder warping on those longer pieces?

    Cheers -Mike
     
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  14. rch

    rch TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks for the comments, Mike. The parts just have to be braced properly to avoid warping during the printing and curing process. Once they're cured enough that the flexibility is gone they are trimmed from the supports. At that point they tend to stay in shape.
     
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  15. rch

    rch TrainBoard Member

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    Once those Fruehauf flatbed trailers were designed it wasn't much of a leap to add a body to the flatbed frame. The result is a ragtop trailer, which could be found on the Rock Island and Santa Fe rosters (along with private owners).

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    I didn't get a better shot of it with the tarp added, so here it is behind the latest batch of bullnose pup trailers which had just been painted:

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    Since I printed the Consolidated Freightways trailer a few posts up I decided to revise the file and make the signboards part of the trailer. While I was at it I did both versions of the signboard. I also drew the fiberglass reinforced plywood smoothside version and printed two examples with different doors (one for PIE Nationwide and one for ANR). With all these variations drawn it was high time I worked up some decals for them. I used Inkscape to create the artwork and Bill at pdc.ca printed them for me. Yesterday I finally got started adding the decals. I didn't get far but I was able to make some progress:

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    PIE Nationwide and Ryder/PIE:

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    ANR/Garrett:

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    These decals are a little more sensitive than Microscale decals, so I've made some mistakes as I've been getting used to working with them. You can see on the exterior braced trailer where the striping has cracked as it was forced down onto the model. Had I been more patient Micro-Sol would have done the job without cracking. And the Y in SYSTEM on the ANR trailer shows some distortion where a drop of Micro-Sol was allowed to linger too long. But the film really disappears and sinks into the details when I take my time.

    In the first post on this thread I showed some ThermoKing clip-on gensets. The most common comment or question I got on those was, "what about decals?" Here's the answer:

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    Again, PDC to the rescue with the decals. I created the various logos in Inkscape and followed Bill's instructions to format the file and set it up for printing. He fixed it up and in about a week I had the decals. He printed those Chiquita container decals for me, too. In fact, I went a little crazy and drew a lot of decal artwork. I now have several railcar projects to work on when I finally get some free time.
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2022
  16. rch

    rch TrainBoard Member

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    Trailmobile and Evans Monon bullnose pup trailers:

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    Super Hopper conversion of Lonestar Wilson Pacesetter and Timpte grain pup:

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  17. gjslsffan

    gjslsffan Staff Member

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    Ryan, You are some kind of modeling Guru (not Gruu). I am so impressed by your modeling chops, skills and knowledge. Very impressive Sir, please carry on hoghead.
     
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  18. rch

    rch TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks, Tom. As you well know a little passion mixed with tenacity goes a long way! You're an inspiration yourself!
     
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  19. Todd Hackett

    Todd Hackett TrainBoard Member

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    Ima little late to the party. Good job on the sled and trailers. Some of the newer refer type containers have the refer built in vs a clip on thingie. We used the following container for hauling Vax pieces; refer maintained -65C. Note that there are 2 refer units, as also 2 gensets under the sled - out of sight in this case. This was for the J&J vax, suspect the other two were pretty much the same. FYI - the J&j vax once completed was hauled in a refer capable of -35C ( 2nd pix ).

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  20. Tropicalstorm

    Tropicalstorm New Member

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    I came across this thread yesterday while searching for PIE decals on google. Your trailers look amazing!! I actually had to create an account here just to compliment you and follow the thread. I assume that the bullnose trailer that has been on Shapeways site for a few years is your design? Excellent work, I’ll be watching for more updates. I believe Gateway trucking also had those trailers. I have a picture somewhere of one. I’ll post it if I can find it. I’ve been out of the hobby for years but now that my kids are getting older I’m slowly trying to get back into it.

    Andy.
     
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