Milan Branch of the Iowa Interstate RR

Category: Scenery (page 1 of 3)

3D printing to the rescue

3D printing is a godsend when one needs a custom design produced. 

Recently, I needed a faceplate to mount an Arduino module for my reversing unit as I’m getting very close to completing all track work on the layout. I asked my friend, Michael P., if he would print me a faceplate that I designed in Tinkercad and he obliged. Thanks, Michael! Below is a photo of the finished plate sitting on top of the module along with another 3D printed IR sensor holder from Iowa Scaled Engineering. Both components will work perfectly for installing the reversing system. Since I don’t have a continuous run, it’s going to be fun to work on the layout as a train moves back and forth.

Michael also sent me several different sizes of drainage pipes. Perfect timing as I start to work on my river scene. 🙂 Below is a photo with an HO figure for scale.

Progress on the Rock River bridge 2

Here is an update on the Rock River scene: the riverbed is painted; work is progressing with the abutments and pier color and weathering; the final trusses are being assembled; and foam landforms are starting to take shape.

Below are some images with captions…

Here is one of the prototype abutments. My goal is to mimic the general feel of the concrete structures and not try and reproduce their look exactly.
After the initial coloring, I went back and added additional PanPastel coloring, sealed each layer, and added a final non-sealed pastel layer (see image below).
Once I glued the abutments in place I added distressed ties, ballast, and also attached a tin registration plate. Magnets were then glued in precise position on the two girder spans. I took this approach so that I could remove both spans, if necessary, and then reposition them exactly as originally set up.
Finally, I needed larger bridge shoes which will eventually be placed once the trusses are attached. I found a shoe design at Thingiverse, modified it using Tinkercad, and sent the final .stl file to my friend Michael P. who 3D printed the shoes. Worked great! You can see a comparison in the photo between the original Micro Engineering cast shoe and the larger 3D printed shoes.

Progress on the Rock River bridge

I’ve started to paint the Rock River bridge components and base for the river. I painted the bridge decking and shoes a dark brown and will be applying rust via Pan Pastels. Below are some images of the progress.

Here is a closeup of the bridge shoes. I’m very happy with how the pastels recreate rust and dirt.
Here you can see the before-and-after between the brown base paint (on the right) and after applying pastel “rust” (on the left).
The abutments and pier will be scratch coated with spackle compound so that I can create chips and cracks. After the distressing, weathering will be applied to give them an aged concrete look. I’ll also be mapping out the river bed and start the painting process. I’ll be trying to achieve a brown/green look to the water in the foreground that will transition to reflective blue — just like one would see as they look off into the distance with the sky reflecting on the water. The blue transition will hopefully blend in well with the backdrop colors as well.
Another view of the same area.
I painted the bridge ties a medium gray. Once they are weathered they’ll look more realistic. You may notice that there are two different styles of bridge ties shown. The 4-spike ties were made by Micro Engineering and the 2-spike ties by Central Valley. I had them available to use, and even though they don’t match it will make for an interesting variation.

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