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Thank you Martijn, you are too kind. To be honest had I known the amount of research and time it would take I may have thought twice about it!

Now that they are all drawn up I am so happy with the results, it feels completely worth it.


I got around to transferring the drawings for the Shinkansen bridges into a 3D model to check the tolerances before I order the etch. Here are the two bridges that sit side by side on the north end of Phase 1. The smaller bridge goes over the road, while the deeper bridge sits over several restaurants. 



The smaller road bridge top and bottom



The larger bridge was really tricky to work out because of the buildings underneath. I was going to use the same design until I stumbled on a video walking through the passage that runs under the tracks between the Shinkansen and Tokaido line. Pausing at key points I was able to work out the most of the structure. I have left off the track bed here. It's a chance to soak up the girdery goodness, once on the layout it will never be seen again.



Finally I only showed one of the bridges for the Tokaido Line. They are very different. The bridge on the south then has tall side walls however the on the north bridge they have been cut to just above the height of the ballast. I believe this is for clearance as the tracks begin to curve on the bridge so they leave one end off centre.



My favourite detail is the metal flap on one side of the north bridge. There is a gap between this and the adjacent bridge. The flap hangs out and connects to a hand rail for one of the catwalks, I assume this is to stop workers falling to the road below.



Well I have had enough of bridges for now, the next challenge will be to build these critters!










Edited by Kamome442
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Time to make some restaurants!

To be honest, I have been trying to avoid this for sometime now however they need to be in place before I can fix the bridges down. The good news, it is half term in the UK so I have a week off teaching to get this done. This is what I am working on right now, it is below the second bridge for the Shinkansen tracks. 


Source: Google Streetview


As there are so many signs, billboards and awnings, it can be quite difficult to work out the basic structure of each building. I always start with basic shapes, taking a cube stretching it, altering it until it looks about right. I then add another cube at a time making tweaks and adjustments as I go. 



Once I have the basic shape I then slowly build up details, checking against reference photos and I use a cylinder scaled to the height of a person that I can move around the scene to get a better idea of how it will look in real life. I try to find objects in photographs that will help to align finer details, for this building the ribs on the bridge were a good reference point for lining up windows and doors. 



The next step is to finish the bridge support (highlighted in the picture below), it is partially inside the building so will probably not be very accurate. I made the basic structure from the parts that I could see in pictures, the rest will be made up using other supports nearby as a guide. To the left there is an ally filled with more restaurants, I normally wouldn't bother modelling this as it will never be visible. In this case I will roughly model a small section that will clip on the corner of the wooden arches as this will help ensure the bridge support is located precisely.



The basic shell will be 3D printed, windows, doors, signs etc will be made up in styrene. The majority of this building is facing away from the viewing side so I don't want to spend too much time detailing. Still, nice to know it's there.



There are a few bits still to finish up so as long as it all goes to plan I should get this building printed on Monday, while I am drawing up the other buildings that live under the bridges. 


Edited by Kamome442
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An update on my progress as a restaurateur.


The next step for my building was working out how to 3D print it, at the very least it needed internal bracing to help keep its shape. Perhaps more importantly at around 19 cm, it's bigger than the print bed of my printer. Finding a place to split the building was really straightforward, the cladding switches from clapboard to corrugated sheet half way along the building. Thank you to the buildings designer for having modellers in mind when planning their restaurant.🤔



I decided to start with the smaller back section (shown in red above), mainly because it doesn't have a pair of concrete legs sticking out of its roof.

I am fairly new to printing with resin and still learning the ropes. In order to work out the bracing I had to decide the orientation for printing the building. As the printer builds up in layers, the weakest points are where each layer joins to the next. With so many openings for doors any orientation would have its problems so I settled for printing from the ground up. This helps to ensure the bottom of the building perfectly flat and won't warp during printing. This does mean I had to leave the roof off otherwise resin be trapped in the building and cause the roof to sag and bulge with the extra weight on it. I added a lip around the roofline for a piece of styrene sheet.


I also removed the floor, this could have been a solid piece of resin however in the past I have had prints break while trying to remove them from the printer. The first layer is fused to the print bed and can put stress on the model when pulling it away so I figured a lattice would give less resistance. It does mean I need to add a styrene floor as well. To keep the walls straight I added internal columns, I tried to make them at least look as if they were part of the structure. To connect each of the sections I created a male/female connector disguised as a doorway. The image below shows the side that faces the alley between the tracks. I made a base for the path, this will push up against the opposite side of the alley. The stepped shape will be mirrored and work like a jigsaw puzzle to align each building accurately. At least that is the plan!🥺



For the first attempt at printing I used the printers software to create supports around the doors and windows however some of these broke and tops of the doorways deformed. For the second attempt I filled in the openings manually with a 0.4mm wall. This was strong enough to keep the structure stable while printing and thin enough to break off later.


Anyway enough talk lets see the print already!

Here are the results from the front (which is the back for the viewer (the side facing out into the street)). 🙄



And rear (facing into the alley), some of the windows decided to break themselves while cleaning off uncured resin, after printing (it was jolly decent of them!).



A close up, showing the corrugated wall shows just how much detail a resin printer can achieve, each corrugation is 0.3mm. It always amazes me what they can do.



There are a few more details I have been working on but I will make this a two-parter as this post is already pretty long.


Edited by Kamome442
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Martijn Meerts

Looking good. I'm still quite amazed at what a resin printer can do detail wise, and equally amazed at how badly they fail if you go just ever so slightly lower than recommended thickness of things 😄


I really should experiment more with my 3D printer as well. It's been far too hot on the attic to do so during summer, but now it's nice and cool again.




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Thanks Martijn, you are so right, resin does seem to fight back hard if you don't get it just right. I also can't quite believe how much time I spend cleaning resin off things, I have just learned to accept there is a 'sticky corner' where I do the printing. 


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Part 2 of my 3D printing odyssey, I guess it may come as no surprise I am a fan of little details and I really don't seem to have an off switch. If I had good and bad voice in my head the conversation would probably go something like this: Bad- "I have a great idea, you could spend ages detailing this thing that only the operator can see.", Good- "Yeah, the math seems to check out, go for it."


That said the model looks this:



While it's real life counterpart looks like this:


Source Google Streetview


A few styrene details definitely does add some character:



I have however always tried to up my game with every new project. The brick arches came out better than I could ever have expected and the same goes for the bridges. I also have a thing for streets lit with paper lanterns so I am going to model those too!😶



I have ordered 5m of fibre optics (which should arrive tomorrow) I will 3D print the lanterns in clear resin then put an optic in the back of the lantern, running the cable along the roof. I probably need to fling some crates out front too.


I will print some lanterns tomorrow and post results of my lighting tests later this week.


Edited by Kamome442
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I decided it was time to take a moment and set up all the baseboards today. Its not something I do too often due to the amount of space it takes up. 

I did snap a couple of photos on my mobile phone so apologies in advance for the quality of these pictures. 


A shot taken from each end of the layout. This all of phase 1 plus the smaller square board from phase two (seen at the top of the second picture). The I used bits of wood to span the gaps so the track bed was a little lumpy in places. The trains are: E235 Yamanote line (11 car), E531 Joban line (15 car) and a 700 Series Shinkansen (16 car)

168245091_Screenshot2020-10-28at12_54_41.thumb.png.46070f39ab421b8bf7851415665f8a3f.png             824686897_Screenshot2020-10-28at12_56_36.thumb.png.1590ee88afe3786b6e0e6cd0d0f6bab7.png


A view of the arches with brick work nearing completion. I have left the arches on board joins incomplete because they still need to be aligned accurately. 



For comparison here is a picture from March taken at the Swindon Show.



I will try to get some better shots once all the track is down.



Edited by Kamome442
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This is going to be such an impressive model. I love the gentle sweep of the curves, and it's nice to see a full length Shinkansen not overpowering a layout.

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Hi Claude,

Thank you for the kind words.


It does feel like it is starting to become something now. To be honest, I spend so much time focused on one little piece and don't often think about the layout as a whole. It was actually quite surreal to see all the boards pushed together. I was surprised how nicely the Shinkansen sits in the space four boards was definitely the way to go.

I am glad you like the curve it is my favourite part of the layout. It wasn't clear in the pictures but I am really happy with incline on the curve too, it should be good seeing them pass each other as they glide up and down the slope.


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Thank you Keith. 


So It has been a productive week of designing and printing with the four of buildings needed to align the Shinkansen bridges complete. The next section to draw up has the legs to support  the span that sits above these buildings. This will attach to right of the building in the foreground. 



I also had enough time to draw up the supports for the other side of the road. 



I decided to test the limits of the printer a little. To the left of the unbelievably creepy figure with no face is my first attempt at printed bricks. I added them in a little corner out of sight just in case it didn't work. It will be interesting to how well they show up after a coat of paint.



There were a few failed prints along the way, mostly due to a lack of support and one because I forgot to top up the resin between prints. These will not go to waste, I can practice painting and weathering before putting a brush to the real thing.



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Really impressed.  I just wish I could be bothered to learn solidworks 🤣


As for that guy that’s stood on the corner, call the police.

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The Marunouch Arch


Throughout this project I have been continually searching for images, blueprints and any other information I can find to help get the dimensions as accurate as I can. Early on I found a reference photo taken in 1910 and one detail instantly jumped off the screen. At some point in the last 110 year two arches have gone missing. They are not down the back of the sofa, I checked.


On my plans they have just listed as missing arch. The last part to 3D print for my bridge supports is the first of these missing arches. I decided it would be interesting to see if I could find out any information on what happened to this arch.


I found the answer on warpal.sakura.ne.jp, a website with an incredible amount of detail on the construction of the Yamanote Line. The arch lasted until 1957 when it was removed to make way for the Marunouch Line extension from Nishi-Ginza (now Ginza) to Kasumigaseki. The line passed directly under this arch and shallow depth of the tunnel sealed the fate of a brick arch with wooden pile foundations.


Source: warpal.sakura.ne.jp


The arch was replaced with reinforced concrete pillars built upon the tunnel below.

The structure can be seen here, in 2018, undergoing refurbishment.


Source: Google Streetview


As it looks today with its new facade replicating the other arches.


Source: Google Streetview


This is my progress so far recreating it for the layout:

The internal concrete structure. As this is at the front of the layout I may include an interior for this restaurant.



Some early work on the new facade.



It will need to be printed in 2 or 3 pieces and bonded together, I still need to work where I am going to put the joins.


Edited by Kamome442
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On 11/2/2020 at 12:32 PM, Kanpai Keith said:

Really impressed.  I just wish I could be bothered to learn solidworks 🤣


As for that guy that’s stood on the corner, call the police.


Thank you Keith, I am with you on soildworks, the same goes for blender, maya, fusion and all those types of software. I just get completely overwhelmed with all the different functions. I currently use 123Design, it was Autodesk's software for beginners and a real shame that they stopped supporting it. All you have are the very basic functions. 

Below is an image from drawing up the arch above. The buttons along the top are all you get.



As for the guy, he is safely back in his box, I may get him out for next years Halloween!

Edited by Kamome442
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This is incredibly impressive, I may have to get my printer out of the closet and start practicing CAD modeling again! 

Edited by Kiha66
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Thank you Kiha66, It can be quite addictive to print something you have designed. I find the tedious part is the time it takes drawing things to print.

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Martijn Meerts

Drawing definitely takes a lot of time, as does the printing really. Especially when you have to do several test prints to see if things fit. Still, a lot of the detail you can achieve with 3D printing are otherwise nearly impossible to do, or take far more time.


Would be cool seeing some screenshots of how you do the supports, I still haven't quite figured that out to the point where I'm happy with them. Most of the videos on adding supports also focus on creature models rather than architectural stuff.

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Hi Martijn,


That it is great idea for a post, I was thinking of doing one on failed prints. Maybe I could combine the two and show how it fails if the supports are wrong. I don't have a full grasp on using resin printers yet so it is still just guess work mostly until I get something that works.


You are totally right about the possibilities, even though printing is so slow (each of the little buildings took about 3 hours) to get that level of detail in styrene would take me weeks.

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Ok, this weekend I will have a go at printing the arch I have been drawing up. It has some interesting overhangs and openings that will need supporting. I will print 3 versions, one without any supports so we can see where and how it deforms, one with supports recommended by the printers software and one with support I have manually added. I will try to talk through how and why I have placed my supports.


In the mean time a little guessing game. Below are the 3D printed parts for my next two jigs, it just needs sticking together. Little metal strips with a serrated edge fit into slots as seen in the piece at the front. My question: What is it going to do? (perhaps more importantly will it work 🥺).



I will reveal the answer once I have given it a test.


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3D Printing Buildings How to Get it Wrong


Ok, so this is a recount of my experience of printing buildings and walls in resin. I have largely taught myself and have had my fair share of failed prints from not really understanding resin printers.I was going to print arch without supports as a baseline however all I ending up printing was not much more than a splat. Essentially the print fell off the plate on stuck to the bottom of the tank. More on that later.


Firstly I will do my best to describe how a resin printer works as I understand it. If you are already familiar with them please jump to the next post about successful prints.

Unlike a filament printer that builds up layers from a print bed most resin printers have the print bed upside-down above a vat of resin. The print bed moves on the z-axis starting at the bottom of the vat and will lift up a little with each layer. The bottom of the vat is transparent with a light source below the vat that emits a particular wavelength of light to cure the resin being used. Here are two problems I have encountered.


Losing the print completely.


As I said before I tried to print the arch without supports. After each layer is cured at the bottom of the vat, the printer will lift the print bed to pull the print off the bottom of the vat. This will also suck more resin between the print and the bottom of the vat, then the print bed will drop down leaving a gap the thickness of the next layer to be printed. Each time the print bed lifts it pits stress on the original layer that is attached to print bed. If there is not enough surface area on the print bed eventually the bond will break and the print will fail.


Deformed prints.


Openings in walls can deform without supports. When the first layer of an overhang is lifted it will not be stiff enough to pull away with the rest of the model. It is likely to stretch or tear off and be left on the bottom of the tank.



The window below is what happens when you don’t have enough support. turned upright the window appears to curl up.



Next up, how I learnt to get better prints.

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3D Printing Buildings How to Get it Right


Give your building a strong base


I always make sure the surface area at the bottom of the print is greater than rest of the building. This will prevent the building separating from the print bed as more layers are added. This could be making the walls thicker on the first floor. I usually add beams or a solid floor for taller buildings.

For the arch, as it is a single wall, I just added a small lip at the back where it cannot be seen.




Supporting openings


I have never had much success with auto supports in 3D printing software. Below is what happened when I used auto support in my printers software. I didn’t even bother trying to print this as it was pretty clear it would fail. That is not to say the software is not good at supports, for most models it is great, it just seems to struggle with walls.





The simplest way to support windows and doors is just to fill them in. For the buildings under the bridges I filled the gaps with a 0.5mm thick wall. Once printed I could just push them through and clean up the edges with file. Example below.



The arch is a little more complex as there are windows and doors however the arch is itself an overhang. As the arch shallows near the top it become more likely to deform.This time I decided to try a tree style support. Basically thin columns (in case 1mm diameter) build up around the model and intersect it wherever it is likely to deform. I spaced them 5mm apart. Each branch diverges at 40 degrees. These supports are very fragile to prevent them from snapping during building they are joined together to form a lattice.


I created a simple set of branches that could be stacked and rotated as needed.



A set of supports were used for the windows



An additional set of supports sat in front of these to support the arch. I tried to make at least one support join each stone in the arch.



The finished print with its supports. These will need to be cut away and any marks left on the print filed carefully.



As I have said this has largely been trial and error, I am sure there are others with more experience,  would love to know how you support buildings to get the perfect print.



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