Introduction: 3D Printed Old Time Cider Mill in HO Scale
As a kid I was fascinated (and still am) with the things that were here before I was. It was natural, then, that I was drawn to model railroading as a way to recreate the past, and, in particular to the modeling of the late E.L. Moore. Mr. Moore was a prolific author in the model railroad press from the 1950’s into the 70’s and was well known not only for his folksy writing style and gentle humor, but particularly for his ability to create wonderful old time rural scenes.
Back in the mid 1960’s, Railroad Model Craftsman magazine was regularly running construction articles by E.L. Moore. Although I enjoyed many of E.L.’s projects, I was particularly taken with an article in the September 1966 RMC featuring the construction of an old time cider mill.
When E.L. built and wrote about this little structure, CAD, rapid prototyping, and, for that matter, even the PC, were the stuff of science fiction. More than forty years later, still posessing the yellowed and much worn magazine, I decided to build this structure using the rapid prototyping process instead of the basswood, balsa, and other materials that E.L. Moore used in 1966. To avoid any grey areas with respect to copyright, I contacted Carstens Publications, the publisher of Railroad Model Craftsman magazine. Mr. Henry Carstens, who was quite interested in seeing a model built by this process, has graciously given his permission to post the CAD files I created for this project.
Step 1: CAD Files and Other Items
I began by building a CAD model following the drawings furnished in the magazine article and exported 29 STL files, not including extras such as the drill jig, apple crates, etc. They are listed in the bills of materials and also below along with notes on the orientation I used with each one for best results. They are also available for download by anyone who would like to try this project. Additionally, there are three shafts made from .032” music wire, a support post for the boiler house roof made from scale 4”X4” square styrene and a3/16” wood dowel for the smokestack. It should be noted that, rather than the 4” shown in the bill of materials, I later shortened this to 2-1/2", closer to the length of E.L.’S original stack. I also chucked it in the lathe and drilled a 1/8” hole about ¼” into the upper end, but that’s not really necessary. The original wasn’t drilled and it’s not really noticeable in the photos. I tried to stay true to the dilapidated condition of the original structure, including a missing chunk of siding and the swaybacked condition of the roof (had to resort to a lofting operation to get that right).
Step 2: TOOLS AND SUPPLIES YOU WILL NEED FOR ASSEMBLY AND FINISHING
The tools and supplies you will need for assembly and finishing are mostly shown in the photo. The Weld-On 3 solvent cement bonds acrylic, butyrate, and styrene and provides very good strength. I used it for all the assembly except where CA is specified. The CA (super glue) I used was Gorilla brand but any will work, although I prefer something relatively slow setting and gap filling if possible.
Other tools include scissors, a pin vise and drills, a hobby knife, jeweler's pliers, tweezers, a small file (an inexpensive set of diemakers' files is useful but not necessary), a couple of small paintbrushes- one for cement and one for painting, and a 6" machinist's rule or caliper. A grinder of some sort is useful for working with the parts made from music wire.
You will also need paints of your choice. As explained in later steps, I used a combination of spray cans from the hardware store and a set of artist's acrylics, along with a final overspray of Testor's dullcote.
Step 3: Rapid Prototyping Operstions
The RPT machine I had available is a fused deposition type with breakaway support material and a 7”x7”x7” work envelope, so in many respects, I designed the model around the capabilities of this machine. Even so, there were places where I had difficulty removing the support material and in a couple of cases had to repair the model afterward. A machine with support material is a must for this project as it is designed, but a newer machine utilizing soluble support material would make this project considerably easier.
While there are many parts, most of them are small and readily packed in groups. The relationship of the parts in assembly and the material or STL file used is shown in a set of four assembly drawings, which I have spread out between several steps. I apologise for any inconvenience this may cause, but it allows each drawing to appear as the main image.
Step 4: STL Files and RPT Notes With Assembly Sheet 2
LIST OF STL FILES
DETAIL 1 FLOOR.STL BUILT STANDING ON EDGE
DETAIL 2 CIDER MILL WALLS.STL BUILT STANDING UPRIGHT
DETAIL 3 SMALL ROOF.STL STAND ON END TO BUILD
DETAIL 4 OUTER PLATFORM.STL STAND ON EDGE TO BUILD
DETAIL 5 STEPS.STL BUILT STANDING UPRIGHT
DETAIL 6 BENT.STL LAY ON SIDE TO BUILD
DETAIL 7 END BENT.STL LAY ON SIDE TO BUILD
DETAIL 8 INNER PLATFORM.STL STAND ON EDGE TO BUILD
DETAIL 10 TRUSS.STL BUILD ON SIDE
DETAIL 13 CONVEYOR.STL STAND ON SIDE TO BUILD
DETAIL 14 CONVEYOR SUPPORT.STL LAY ON SIDE TO BUILD
DETAIL 16 RAMP.STL STAND ON EDGE TO BUILD
DETAIL 17 FRAME WIDE.STL LAY ON SIDE TO BUILD
DETAIL 18 WIDE PLATFORM.STL STAND ON EDGE TO BUILD
DETAIL 20 DOOR1RH.STL BUILT STANDING UPRIGHT
DETAIL 21 DOOR1LH.STL BUILT STANDING UPRIGHT
DETAIL 22 DOOR2RH.STL BUILT STANDING UPRIGHT
DETAIL 23 DOOR2LH.STL BUILT STANDING UPRIGHT
NOT NUMBERED ROOF.STL STAND ON END TO BUILD
DETAILS 11A, 11B,12E SEE PULLEYS
DETAIL 12A CIDER PRESS BASE.STL BUILT STANDING UPRIGHT
DETAIL 12B GRINDER.STL BUILD WITH LEGS UP
DETAIL 12C CIDER PRESS.STL BUILD WITH LEGS UP
DETAIL 15A BOILER FOUNDATION.STL BUILT STANDING UPRIGHT
DETAIL 15B BOILER.STL BUILD STANDING ON FIREBOX END
DETAIL 15C CONROD.STL LAY ON SIDE TO BUILD
DETAIL 15D FLYWHEEL.STL BUILD WITH SHAFT END UP
FILE NAMES REFER TO HO SCALE DIMENSIONS.
ORIENT ON SIDE TO BUILD.
24X4.STL DETAIL 11A
24X9.5.STL DETAIL 11B
36X4.STL DETAIL 12E
PULLEY JIG.STL JIG FOR DRILLING CENTER HOLES IN 24” AND 36” PULLEYS
BUSHEL BASKETS, CRATES, AND BARRELS
ORIENT STANDING ON BASE
*STACK OF EMPTY BASKETS. DRILL FLAT BOTTOM HOLE IN TOP TO DEPTH OF ONE BASKET OR USE UPSIDE DOWN.
NOTE: ORIENTATION OF ALL STL’S WAS DETERMINED ACCORDING TO THE FOLLOWING PRIORITIES-(1) BEST SURFACE QUALITY (2) EASE OF REMOVING SUPPORT MATERIAL (3) BUILD TIME- IN THAT ORDER. YOUR CONDITONS MAY REQUIRE SOME ADJUSTMENT.
See the set of assembly drawings for the location of each component of the model.
Step 5: Preparing the Belt Drive Hardware
Before assmbling the structure, I attended to the parts of the belt drive hardware. I started the shafting by nipping the three pieces of 032" music wire to rough length (See details 12F, 12D, and 11C, assembly sheet 4, shown in the next step) on a grinding wheel, leaving considerable excess length. I then ground them to the lengths shown in the bill of materials, measuring them with a pair of calipers. Then I set them aside until later.
The pulleys required a hole for the shaft, located at least visually close to the center. I considered using the lathe for this, but ended up using the RPT machine to build a drilling jig. I built the CAD model with a concentric .030" hole, which I enlarged with the same #62 drill I would use for the rest of the parts. The jig has counterbored ends corresponding to the two diameters of pulleys used in this project, allowing the pulley to be inserted in the end of the jig and drilled concentric. After the drilling process, I inserted a piece of .032" wire through the holes to hold the pulleys for painting. They received a coat of primer followed by a coat of Krylon Brown Boots.
Note that there are STL files for several different sizes of pulleys. These represent a two piece type wooden wooden pulley that was commonly used in the past and may be useful for other projects requiring belt drive hardware. Again, consult the bill of materials in sheet 4 of the assembly drawings so you are sure to select the correct ones for this project.
I followed the lead of the original project in not incorporating certain details into the drive system. I elected not to detail the lineshaft with pillow blocks on each end, a hanger in the center, etc.
Step 6: The Cider Press and Grinder
I began by cementing the cider press and grinder to their base and then primed and painted with KrylonHunter Green, allowing the paint to dry before proceeding to the next step in the assembly.
The STL files for the cider press and the grinder include 030" holes where the shafts are to be located. I enlarged these with a #62 drill in a pin vise. Next, I positioned the pulley for the grinder as shown in the drawings and pushed the correct shaft (detail 12D , drawing sheet 4) in until it entered the pulley. Then I applied a drop of CA to the ouside end of the shaft and pushed it in the rest of the way.
The shaft for the cider press (detail12F) received a drop of CA and was then pushed into the hole, leaving adequate length sticking out for installing the pulley. Another drop of CA was then applied to the end and the pulley installed. The assembly was then set aside for later attachment to the floor.
Step 7: Finishing and Assembly of Engine/Boiler
The drawing below shows the assembly of parts for the engine and boiler. Before assembling, the boiler foundation was given a coat of gray primer, then brush painted with a an orange/brown mix of artists' acrylics, followed by a thin wash of dark gray artists' acrylics that settled in the mortar lines quite nicely. The boiler was shot with a generic flat black and lightly rusted with a thin wash of artists' acrylics, dark red mixed with orange and burt sienna until a satisfactory dull rust color was obtained. The center of the flywheel was sprayed red and the unpainted metal parts of the engine (the connecting rod and the rim of the flywheel) brush painted with Model Master Steel. The parts were then cemented together as shown with the exception of the smokestack, which was left loose for easy installation and removal of the roof. Although I did not do so, the engine could be detailed with steam piping, throttle valve, and safety valve. I may add these details in the future. The completed engine assembly can be set aside until installation in step 8.
Step 8: Finishing and Assembly
The two photos back at the intro show the finished model ready to put in place on the layout and detail. Assembly and finishing are all important to making this project a standout. As it comes from the RPT machine, it will be very plastic looking and also very bright and shiny.
Prior to the assembly, I began painting the structure. I used spray cans from the hardware store and the material showed no ill effects. Except for the outside walls, the parts received a coat of Miracal Gray Primer. I left the outside of the roof in primer, but shot the building's interior, doors, and "wooden" pulleys (after drilling) with a Krylon color called Brown Boots. The first photo in this step shows the machinery ready to assemble to the floor/platform/ramp assembly and the next shows the finished assembly ready for the walls, with the exception of the conveyor being left loose until after the installation of the walls. The last photo in this step shows the floor test fitted to the walls. I used a small diemaker's file to enlarge the notches in the floor until it was a good fit into the wall framing before assembling the machinery to the floor. Next, the platforms were assembled to the walls per the drawings. For assembling the plastic parts, I used Weld-On 3, applying it with a small paintbrush.
Once the machinery was assembled to the floor and pulleys installed, I turned my attention to finishing the outside of the structure. I masked all the openings in the building from the inside and applied a coat of primer, followed by spot applications of Krylon Brown Boots and then with Rustoleum Dark Brown,lettingsome of the lighter color show through in places. Once this was thoroughly dry, I applied a thin wash of dark red artist's acrylic, repeating as needed to obtain the appearance of old, weathered red barn paint. I finished up by applying a spray of Testor's dullcoat to everything. Once that dried, I installed the floor and applied a liberal coat of cement to the joint from the underside. Finally, the roof received a wash of dark gray artist's acrylic, repeated until I was satisfied with its appearance.
Step 9: Adding the Lineshaft and Belts
The lineshaft, which stretches across the building and is driven by the engine, carries the drive pulleys for the cider press and grinder. I placed the pulleys on the shaft but did not secure them at this point. I used a drop of CA on each end of the shaft to secure it to the walls 2-5/8" from the end wall as shown in the photo. Next I aligned the pulleys with the engine and the other machinery, securing each of them with a drop of CA.
I made the belts from copy paper, using a hobby knife and a straightedge, and colored them with a black marker. The drive belts for the cider press and grinder are 3/64"(.045") wide and the main belt to the engine is 7/64"(.110") wide.
I left them a bit long (3/8" to 5/8"), secured them first to one pulley with CA, wrapped them around the other, added a drop of CA to the ends, and overlapped them. This works fairly well, but it is fussy and I'm not entirely pleased with the results, so I'm still looking for a better way to make belts.
Step 10: Final Details
I modeled, and included on the list of STL files, an assortment of bushel baskets, crates, and barrels to be placed on the platforms of the model along with appropriate placement of figures and vehicles. One thing I have not yet decided on is a way to model the apple pomace, or pulp that would be found on the conveyor and accumulating in a pile at the end of it. E.L used the contents of a spent tea bag, but I am leaning toward appropriately colored ground foam.
This structure will be mounted on its own base and will be present on my scrolling era model railroad from 1908 until its disappearance (Yep. That's progess for ya.) sometime between 1936 and 1940. However, it would certainly not look out of place into the 1950's or perhaps even later, especially if powered by a gasoline engine or by belt from a tractor instead of the steam engine.
In conclusion, I know I enjoyed this visit to the past and hope some of you might be interested in giving this project a try.
Originally, I intended to post the STL files on 123D, but found that some technical issues prevented me from doing so. I will, however, send the STL files to anyone interested. Just drop me an email at email@example.com.