Tapping into the collective knowledge here - has anyone experience of how 3D printed smokebox numberplates and headboards fare during use on live steam models? Ordered a Prusa printer to do some longer term work on a freight train in 3 1/2" gauge but wondering if I can produce a few bits for Britannia to make it look a little more realistic. Having seen these services offered I wondered what sort of filaments were used to make the prints.
I don't think any material you can print on a Prusa will withstand the sort of heat of a smokebox. You could use the 3D printed part for display only and remove before steaming the loco or maybe use them to as patterns for castings. I have recently been experimenting with acid etching brass plates using digitally cut vinyl as the etch resist. A really easy process and everything you need is readily available with plenty of videos on YouTube to follow.
Member of Southampton Society and Fareham Society. Running a Super Simplex, commissioned a new build B1, A3 and Pansy yet to be rebuilt.
I'm with Chris Dan. I'm not sure any filaments the Prusa will print maintaining their shape in use on the smokebox, unfortunately.
The highest temperature filament a consumer printer is going to print with would likely be PEEK, which melts at around the 140C mark. Something like silicone adhesive mounting the part to the smoke could act as a heatsoak to some extent, but it may not be be enough? Running board and tender details should be fair game for 3d-printing on a working engine though.
I have a FLIR thermal video camera tucked away in the study which I've been meaning to try on my 3 1/2" gauge loco at some point to see what temperatures different parts reach on it. Here's a video I took of a gauge one loco a while ago, post-run.
Edit - i just remembered I also took some temperature readings for interests sake. Admittedly it's a gas-fired Gauge One, but still fairly interesting so see the different heat soaks..
Thanks Darren, that FLIR imagery is impressive. Looks like the 3D printed headboard and smokebox numberplate plus shedcode won't fly but having looked at Chris' results with the etching I'm tempted to try that instead.