Toy Train Set

by sconine, published

Toy Train Set by sconine Aug 28, 2011

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What started off as a section of straight train track has turned into a large train set. To be honest this was a great project during Hurricane Irene weekend. Was also my birthday when I did this, so something fun to do on my birthday. My kids have gotten a kick out of them. The ones in the photos are straight off the printer, no cleanup needed, some tips on that below. This stuff all pretty much snaps together, so not much in the way of post printing work required. These train works great without tracks. I was excited that the body design worked as well as it did and suprised that the Makerbot did so well printing the tall axle towers. Would be fun to modify the wheels for more of a monster truck look. Maybe during the next hurricane...

I drew this stuff in Sketchup and then exported to the stl file. If it is useful to anyone I happy to post the Sketchup files. The curve track was tricky to draw, for some reason it tends to warp up a bit on one end when printed. I think probably due to by build platform being sort of warped (need to replace the belt on my ABP...).

Update 9/24/2011:I just replaced a large number of the stl files with new versions that are a lot cleaner, and should print a lot better. I also removed earlier versions that I didn't think were worth printing because the new versions were much better. All the files I've loaded here have been tested and should print well on a Makerbot.


There are a variety of parts here. You can print as many as you want to build quite a big set. One overall comment is that these print best when centered on the platform. In Skeinforge click move option and then center to assure they are centered.

Train Track Sections and Train Car Body

I print these using raftless printing configured basically how they describe on the makerbot wiki (http://wiki.makerbot.com/thingomatic-doc:raftless). The modifications I made are: 1) I changed the Object First Layer Feed Rate Infill Multiplier (ratio) to be 0.5 2) I change the Object First Layer Feed Rate Permieter Multiplier (ratio) to 0.5 3) I changed the Object First Layer Flow Rate Multiplier (ratio) to 0.9 4) I disabled the Outline feature and generally delete the lines of gCode that do the warm up extrusion.

These changes make the first layer go down slower and a little wider/thicker so that it adheres to the platform very well. I was noticing that the outline and warm-up extrusion generally left buggers or lines of plastic that then caused the early layers to peal off. The changes above fixed that.

Update 9/2/2011: I just uploaded a 1/2 length straight track section. You'll need this if you have any 45 degree runs. I'll try to post a photo of this at some point.

Update 9/10/2011: You can mirror the curved track around X axis to curve the other way.

Update 9/24/2011: Car body is the version with a long hitch so it works well with both types of wheels. Curved track is a new stl file that actually prints like the drawing.

Train Wheels

I print these using a raft (believe me I've tried raftless a lot for these and it just ends in frustration). I found that the standard raft configuration has a gap between the raft lines which I found allowed the axle to flex too much in the X direction as it got tall. To remedy this I changed the Base infill density to .65 in skeinforge. This makes the raft lines closer together so that they actually touch and form a raft that is more solid in both the X and Y directions. I do also get rid of the interface layer, by setting the interface layers to 0 in the raft config in skeinforge. Once the wheels are printed I trimmed around the edge with scissors, leaving the raft attached (it makes a nice smooth outside, so rather than fight it, join it). You can then insert the axle in the wheel with the hole, it should fit snug and require a little pressure to fully seat it.

Update 9/24/2011: There are 2 wheel versions, one that is small (labeld small) and one that is large. The larger wheels have a larger outside flange that does help the train stay on the tracks better, the inside wheel is still the same diameter so you can run both versions on the track in the same train just fine. I still find that the train doesn't stay on the track that well, my kids don't seem to care, 99% of the fun seems to be building and clipping stuff together, the actual train running is minimal... These trains have the flange reversed from a normal train (which has the flange on the inside of the wheel), would be tough to print this configuraiton with the axle attached.

I've also made both wheels up here now stronger, by making the axle go all the way through the wheel, so that when it prints is it not just fused to the surface of the top layer of the wheel, but goes all the way through.


There are 4 different style car tops. I printed them all with the same raft configuration that the Train Wheels are printed with. They snap into place on top of the Train Body (there are two holes in the body and 2 pins on the top part). Mine fit firmly enough that again no glue was needed, but if you want to make them rugged it wouldn't hurt.

Update 9/5/2011: I just posted 2 new cars a grain car and a coal car. See new photo for examples.

Update 9/10/2011: I just uploaded 3 new car tops: A Passenger Car; A "Cage" Car; A Tender Car (hold coal and water for the engine). The Tender car is the most finiky of the car tops I've made when it comes to printing. I think its all the movment when it gets tall that tends to throw it off (snaps the raft free of the ABP), you might want to set the raft a big bigger to print this. I set my Raft Additional Margin over Length(%) to 1.3 and my Raft Margin (mm) to 6.0, which seemed to help.

Update 9/24/2011: All car tops still are the same, however I've cleaned up the STL files (removed reversed faces, holes, etc... at least NetFabb doesn't complain). They don't really print any differently for me, but figured while I was cleaning things up I'd fix these too.

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Thanks, just what I was looking for as a gift to a fellow railroader.

Thanks, just what I was looking for as a gift to a fellow railroader.

Thanks, just what I was looking for as a gift to a fellow railroader.

it is sick BRO!

Would you be willing to post the SketchUp files? We'd love to see 'em!

I am trying to print the body, but every time it comes off of my bed and it warps. What temperature should i use for the extruder and the bed?

It would be nice if you coul'd make crossing tracks or if you could post the sources so we could derivate :p

This is super. My 2yr old nephew is a big fan. Ever consider uploading a zip files with all the train stuff in it?

Fantastic set! I would love to print them but there are so many issues with the models, mainly flipped triangles but also holes, self intersections etc. At first I wondered if only I had the problems but I see the same errors in all the pictures. (like the 5 holes in the curved track file but only four in the print) All my repair attempts (Netfabb
amp; manual) fail unfortunately... What did you use to model these? Do you have original files?

Ok, just loaded versions that I think are a lot cleaner. I never noticed in sketchup that the different surface colors mean anything... purple indicates the face is the inside, white the outside. Right click and reverse face to switch this. These trains are more art projects than angineering projects, but nice to get that cleaned up. I've also found you need to be really precise when using follow-me tool to create curves or you can end up with small holes.

Hello Sconine, thanks for the follow up. Yes sketchup can be a hell when using it for these purposes. I don't know if you can regulate this in Sketchup STL export, but I found that most of the models have a poly count that is overkill for the detail level they have. This makes it also hard to fix them manually. I did manual cleanup on some of the parts that I printed but not yet on the tracks because they proved almost impossible because the triangles are very small. Will try the tracks right away!

Tracks are super now!

Yea there's no real settings in the export to STL tool in sketchup to specify level of detail. If anyone figures out a better way to export from Sketchup, I'd love to hear about it. I find that if I can'c clean these up using the auto-repair features in NetFabb, it is pretty much impossible to do manually. I thought it might just be because I was a nofice CAD person, so glad to know it's more a result of the high poly count.

Thanks for the feedback, I've wondered about this. I drew these in sketchup, which I'm figuring out as I go... so my later stuff seems cleaner when I open it in Netfabb. I do have the originals. Let me poke around with it and see if I can get some cleaner versions up. These print great for me (I just lived with the odd gaps on the curved track) despite the issues, so I sort of just ignored them (might be my Skeinforge for the makerbot is more forgiving). Curious if you've tried printing them and they just get all wacked or if they work. I'll post what I figure out.

Just thought I'd let you know that my son loves these trains. He even takes one of them to bed with him.

That's great! My kids like them a lot too. They get so excited about this printer now it is a race to see who can catch stuff when the automated build platform kicks in.

Awesome! Keep going!

This is awesome. Nice work!