Below you can find our current product lines, these are categories that we have available products for. We are constantly developing new products and new product lines based on our product development strategy, customer requests, layout needs and group commissioned product lines. We have a clear eight step process from concept to release, which you can find explained here.
Product Category Indexes:
- Railwayside Terrace
- Cable Trunking
- Building Accessories
- Point Machines
- Lineside Accessories
- Track Accessories
- Station Platforms
- Viaducts and Bridges
- CAD / Print - Proof of Concept
- CAD / Print - Prototype Development
- CAD / Print - Release Version
- QA Test Prints
- QA Production Print
Our design process starts with a concept. Concepts typically originate from our product development strategy, customer requests, solving a problem on our layout or a commissioned project. Concepts move on to the research stage once they have been evaluated for 3D printing.
Once a concept has been approved for development, the research phase begins. The type of research and length of time needed depends on the concept. Railway infrastructure that is specific to a location, such as stations, signal boxes, platforms, bridges and so on, can be quickly researched if it still exists. For infrastructure that is disused and long gone, we rely on old diagrams, technical drawings and photographs to create a 3D model. For concepts that are readily available, we can use manufacturer specifications, technical drawings and photographs to generate an accurate model scaled to 1:76.2. For infrastructure that still exists today, we use various tools including Google Maps and Google Earth to virtually visit the location and get a feel for the design. Once we have gathered enough information to build a proof of concept CAD model, we move on to the next stage. The research stage can take anywhere from a few hours to several weeks, depending on the availability of information.
The first stage of our CAD process is Proof of Concept. Using the information gathered from our research phase, diagrams, photographs and other information is overlayed with OO scale converted measurements. The proof of concept phase involves creating a base model of the object we are developing. The model is dimensionally correct but will lack details and maybe constructed from basic shapes. This stage of CAD development takes less than a few hours and depending on the size of the model, a few hours to test print. During this stage we determine if a design can be printed as a solid object or if it needs to be broken down into kit form. Testing on the amount and cost for support material is also considered.
The next stage of our CAD process is Prototype Development. This stage involves a cycle of updating the object developed during the proof of concept stage, adding details, refining the design, optimizing it for 3D printing and test printing. During this stage we will experiment with the object on our layout, identify issues and develop innovative new concepts. We often discover new innovations through this development process. A good example is our cable trunking system. During the development process we noticed that most of the cable troughs could accommodate 22 ga wire but using dimensionally correct lids would limit the use. By tweaking the design of the lids, we were able to turn a cosmetic product (cable trunking) into a functional product (working cable trunking) by offering a modified version of the lids. This in turn led to the development of cable trunking with holes for routing cables to signals, point motors etc, making it easier for railway modellers to route cabling along the surface of their layouts.
The final stage in our design process is to produce a production prototype from the finalized design. This process involves assigning a product code to the design, saving the design files to our design repository, performing a high quality production 3D print, testing the product on our layout and finishing the product as needed (paint, texture sheets, other post-print processes). The finished production print is then compared to the real-world prototype for final verification. Any problems encountered or failures will send the product back to the Prototype phase. Once successful, the product is passed on to our Quality Assurance process.
QA Test Prints
Our QA test prints are designed to test the design with a number of different filament types, print settings and different 3D printers. The purpose of the QA test prints are to assess the quality and success of a print with certain filament types, and to provide the best possible settings for Cura and other slicing software. During the test phase, we also test filament usage and print times. The QA process often involves rotating and changing support settings, to find the optimum setting for a particular model. Once this phase is complete, the results are documented and evaluated. Some cases we may not recommend certain filaments or printers, in other cases the design will be returned to the design phase for additional tweaking. Once we are satisifed with a design, the settings are documented, and updated on this site. The design then moves into the final QA stage.
QA Production Print
The final QA stage is the production print run. During this phase, we will use the recommended settings from our documentation, the open source Cura slicer and produce a production ready g-code file for the JG Aurora A5 printer for PLA (unless PLA is unsuitable for the design -- very rare). The number of objects needed for our test layout is determined, and a production print run is done. Once the production run is complete, some of the objects are finished and some are left unfinished. The final products are then handed off to our video production team to create a YouTube video.
Every Trackside 3D product is made available for early release to our paid Trackside 3D subscribers. Trackside 3D subscribers will gain access to the product about 5-7 days before it is generally available to the public. While our video production team are filming and editing the YouTube video, our release team are packaging and finalizing the documentation for the product. Our YouTube videos are scheduled for publication, and we make the design available to our paid Trackside 3D subscribers the same day the video is released. The product is delivered via e-mail. About 5-7 days later, the product is made available via our store to everyone. We typically make the designs available on our Shapeways store at the same time as the download is available, although in some circumstances, there maybe some delay with Shapeways.
Feedback received from our subscribers and customers, from enhancement requests to difficulties with certain 3D printers, can sometimes result in an update to the design. Updates are provided for FREE to existing customers who elected to receive product updates. Paid Trackside 3D subscribers who are subscribed at the time of any updates, will also receive the update for FREE. Updated designs will replace previous designs on both our store and our shapeways store. Products printed via shapeways will need to be purchased again if you want an updated print.
Trackside 3D has optimized its design process so that it can develop multiple products and product lines at once. We currently have six 3D printers on-site and are constantly expanding capacity. Our design team is constantly improving and reducing development time with each product release. Allowing us to bring more innovative products to market faster. Our product strategy is designed to give good value to our paid Trackside 3D subscribers without flooding the market and overwhelming our customer base. Our approach enables us to release products while reserving some capacity for advanced projects and commissions.