A Matter of Proportions: (thoughts on the 3D printed switcher)

  1. 3D Print Project Update
  2. A Matter of Proportions: (thoughts on the 3D printed switcher)

You all remember the 3D printed switcher I started working on this time last year, right? And, you’ve probably been wondering where that project has been going, right? Well, guys and gals, I’m here to give a little update. Not much of an update, but an update nonetheless.

When we last saw the little switcher, it looked like this. Cute and spunky. But, there was something that just wasn’t sitting right with me, and I’ve been pondering it for the last year! Talk about analysis paralysis! Well, the other day while preparing for a Zoom meetup with some other model rails, it hit me: Too tall, Jones! Too tall!”
Even with sideframes that don’t appear to be lifting the model to the heavens, it still looks out of proportion to this Bachmann boxcar, which resembles a typical eastern US 3-foot gauge boxcar, standing at least 6 scale inches taller than the car.
When compared to this early 2-foot gauge sized car, the supposedly diminutive switcher towers above the roof of the car. The first thought I had was that I should lower the shell on the chassis, which came from the Bachmann On30 United Traction trolley car. Unfortunately, there’s not enough width to drop the body down any further without making the hoods disproportionally wide. And, simply shortening the cab wouldn’t do, either, as they’re be no room for an O-scale person to fit properly.

During the process of scaling the body up from the original OO9 design by Tom Bell, I’d run a couple of other test prints that ended up being too long to use with the trolley chassis. I dug them out, and at the same time, discovered that I’d squirrelled away a chassis from a 2nd-generation Bachmann HO GE 44-ton switcher. I’d probably picked it up to use with a Boulder Valley Models conversion that I no longer have.

With a little bit of adjustment, I found that one of the older bodies fit the 44-ton chassis perfectly! And, not only are the proportions of the little critter better both by itself, but also when staged next to a standard Bachmann On30 boxcar. And …
… it also looks better alongside the early Maine 2-foot car.

Obviously, this version is missing the side doors and window frames I’d added to the original. And, there are some other internal modifications that need to be made, like removing some flanges that followed from the original OO9 model for mounting to body to the Kato N gauge power chassis, beefing up the floor a little bit, and adding some some panels between the trucks where the fuel tank is. I may also shorten the body by about 1 scale foot. But, I think this is definitely the basis for a nice little critter. What’s more, there’s plenty of room for installing battery power without cluttering up the cab with electronics.

I still have a plan for at least one of the two trolleys I bought for this project: they’ll be perfect for making a pair of 3/8n20 boxcabs.

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