Monday, November 2, 2015

A Little Bit of Architecture

OK, not architecture in terms of whole buildings but a few bits I have been working on.

A while back I was in need of distraction to keep my mind from other things and I find that the problem solving that is required for drawing up 3D items is just the thing to keep the mind occupied.

I decided that I would have a go at drawing up some corrugated iron, firstly to see if it could be done effectively and also out of interest to see how much it might cost to have printed.

I managed to track down some cross-section drawings of  'standard' corrugated iron and using this as a starting point I imported the line drawing into Sketchup as a JPG image. I then traced the cross-section and proceeded to turn it into a 3D representation within the limits of Shapeways Frosted Ultra Detail material. I had decided that the White Strong and Flexible material wouldn't give a nice smooth surface and anyway the wall thickness design minimum precluded it from the project.

Here is a picture of a print that I have had done. I had this printed to see what it looked like and to get an idea of the price, unfortunately nice as it is the price is expensive compared to available HO corrugated iron. The sheets are 10 feet long and 22 1/2 inches wide which is the visible size of a sheet of iron that has a one and a half corrugation overlap. The idea is that each sheet will but against the next on a suitable modelled timber framework or sheet of plastic and the edges of the sheets will be seen as the joint between sheets. The printed sheets are only 0.42mm thick.

I have since added more supporting sprue instead of the single sprue down the centre. This is to ensure that nothing will be broken off in the cleaning process after printing. The problem is that Shapeways staff don't know what a particular print is so if something breaks off, the print is rejected even if it doesn't matter to the modeller. Of course some printed bits left loose after the cleaning can't readily be identified with a particular print order.

Since the print was acceptable I then moved onto something that I had been thinking about for years, bull nose corrugated iron. Bull nose is a challenge due to the difficulty of rolling the curve to the right radius and to do so without putting a kink in the corrugations. It was also a challenge to draw, here is the result.

Now, where to from here? I was telling a friend about what I had been up to when he asked, "What about decent guttering?" I promised that I would give it a go and send him some, so this was next. Back to find a  suitable gutter cross-section from years ago (1930's, 40's, 50's, 60's, 70's, etc.). I knew that wall studs and roof rafters were spaced at 18 inches (450mm) in older houses and that gutter support brackets were usually placed on every second rafter end so this is what I drew up.


 And I then added sprues to give 4 x 30 foot lengths for printing.

Here is a photo of the printed gutter which I have darkened in an attempt to make the support bracket detail, etc. show better. The guttering print price looks good.

I am currently waiting on a print of a corrugated water tank which price wise at least is viable, here is a computer render of the tank and it has the correct corrugation cross-section.
Well, that is about where I am at with these items and I have decided that I will put them all on my Shapeways Signals Branch shop, someone might be rich enough to want to use the corrugated iron sheets, who knows. I am also making them available with the long term hope that the cost of printing will come down so that I can reduce the price.

Now I just have to find a nice building to make so that I can use these bits.


Nick Sheridan said...

Ray, thanks - I am awaiting a parcel of signal bits, due in the next day or so! If doing requests, some decent cast-iron lattice panels for terraces would be really useful. What comes with laser cut buildings is pretty much bin-able, and etch looks too flat. Most country towns and pubs would have at least a few panels left going into the 60s.

Ray P said...


Items along those lines are already on my list and I do have some artwork to start with.

My next post will show what I have been up to on similar lines.