The lone cyberbloke

Are 3d printed wheels any good?

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Posted (edited)

As you can probably see from the title, I just want to to know if 3d printed wheels are any good. I've heard that they can be very brittle and don't fit technic axles very well, is this true? Thanks in advance for your help. 

9 minutes ago, The lone cyberbloke said:

 

10 minutes ago, The lone cyberbloke said:

As you can probably see from the title, I just want to to know if 3d printed wheels are any good. I've heard that they can be very brittle and don't fit technic axles very well, is this true? Thanks in advance for your help. 

 

Sorry, I'm new here so I'm not quite sure how this happened. 

Edited by The lone cyberbloke

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So far I have been using wheels from BigBenBricks and Bricks-on-Rails, and both are great. BigBenBricks are of a higher quality but at least for me are more expensive due to the shipping to Germany, so I will most likely stick to BoR for future projects. Their wheels are a little bit rougher, but after a tiny amount of sanding, everythings just as smooth. Color is almost the same as the real deal, you'll hardly notice a difference from a little distance if any. Fit might be a bit tight, but far away from what I'd consider too tight.

Of course, these wheels are not cheap - I paid around 90 Euros for the wheels I needed for my current project, 12 wheels in total but it's totally worth it. You get a model that's much, much closer to the prototype, especially when building something bigger and more complex. Then again, the Lego train hobby on the level most of us on here pursue is at least in my book the most costly one to begin with.

I can recommend both brands of wheels 100%, don't expect a perfect product though - the product is great and I would not want to build without them, but at the end of the day, it's a printed part and that might show a little. I'd say, if you're considering buying wheels, start with a little prototype and give it a shot!

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Thanks for that information, I was considering buying from bricks on rails as being in the UK the postage cost is considerably cheaper and I think I definitely will now. I may post some pictures of the model when I have built it. 

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I printed some wheels in ABS and PLA plastic.  They seem to hold up after running at a few train show events.  I didn't bother removing the 3d print layer lines. I don't think anyone notice them as the train flies by.  With ABS, you can use acetone vapour to smooth out the layer lines.  Be careful though as the vapours are flammable.  PLA is easier to print but very stiff, ABS has a bit more give.  One thing with PLA, don't leave inside your car on a very hot day if you drive your trains around to different train show events.  They can deform/melt.

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Posted (edited)

  I suggest down loading the wheel chart from Brick Train Depot.  This will give you an idea of what sizes and styles of wheels are available.  For spoked drivers, Big Bens Bricks are very good, injection molded wheels.  Brick Train Depot wheels are 3D printed but look like they are injection molded, the finish and fit are that good.  They are pricy but the selection is very good as far as size, style( spoked, boxpoc, or  plate) and counter weight sizes (sm, med, large, very large).  Shupp's Train wheels are 3D printed and the designs are great.   Unfortunately, the company that printed them, Shapeways, did such an indifferent job that I  stopped buying them.  These are the wheels that would not fit Lego axles without extensive reworking and refinishing.  Hope this helps.  

Edited by Karle

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On 6/15/2021 at 4:16 PM, zephyr1934 said:

A small point of clarification, Big Ben's wheels are injection molded.

Wrong on my end then, thanks for clearing that up! 

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On 6/15/2021 at 12:26 PM, Karle said:

Shupp's Train wheels are 3D printed and the designs are great.   Unfortunately, the company that printed them, Shapeways, did such an indifferent job that I  stopped buying them.

I believe BTD's wheels are the same design as Shupp's wheels at shapeways, except they are cheaper at BTD, BTD does much better quality control (as you noted), and unlike shapeways, he gets a percentage of the sales. He did zero markup for shapeways

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