In addition to spending a fair amount of time working on my Reading Company Crossline layout (one of these days I'll have to put a photo album together), I've been continuing to tinker with some emerging technology and its model railroading applications:
1. Last Christmas my family gave me a Cricut Explore as a gift, after I saw a video review on TrainMasters TV that showed how this gizmo could be used not just for cutesy scrapbooking projects, but also for model railroading as it can cut wood up to 1/16" thick. I haven't had the chance to really play with it, but I'm planning to now - I have some ideas for model railroading goodies that could be made from cardstock or chipboard, so it's time to get serious about opening up my Christmas gift and putting it through its paces.
2. I have pre-ordered a Glowforge 3D laser cutter/engraver. Their crowdfunding effort offered an opportunity to acquire what appears to be a solid machine at a significant discount. At this point, laser cutting is a much more "mature" technology that is readily available to the average hobbyist. An internet search will easily show that there are MANY more craftsman structure manufacturers than there were just a few years ago. This technology for kits is moving much more into the mainstream, so my hope is that this investment will allow me to not only create the structures I need for my own layout, but to create stuff that would be of use to other Reading modelers. Stay tuned to the site for updates, and please be patient as the printer won't arrive until sometime in 2016 (the downside of crowdfunded technology...).
3. A few months ago I purchased an M3D 3D-printer as an experiment. And, immediately after it arrived my "real job" went into overdrive and so I haven't had MUCH chance to play with it, though my initial results seem to validate the principle that "you get what you pay for." This printer is touted as a low-cost consumer model, and so far it appears a fair amount of tweaking is needed to get optimal results. I will try to continue to provide updates as experiments continue.
The good news is that Shapeways is still out there for reliable 3D print-on-demand work, so I've continued to work on designs, and I'm pleased to announce that before too long, the Reading Modeler will be offering some STRUCTURE KITS! My approach at this point will be to either create kits that use solely 3D printed parts, or to use 3D printed parts as masters for resin casting.
Our first offerings will be some small MOW structures - preproduction Google SketchUp models are shown here:
There are a few other structures that I'm going to be working on, but these three are presently complete, and I'm working out the production details. For those of you following along at home, I'm basing these on the Reading MOW structure article that appeared in the December, 1983 Model Railroader. Further details and prices TBD, but my goal is to have SOMETHING available by end of November, just in time for your holiday shopping!
I just wanted to take a couple minutes to make everyone aware of what I've been up to, in the hopes of offering an explanation for why there haven't been too many updates to the site, or any new decal sets produced (though I've got some stuff in the pipeline there too). All of this is in addition to finding time to construct the benchwork on my layout so that we can start laying track by Thanksgiving. So stay tuned, and thanks for your patience and continued support of The Reading Modeler!
As we gradually (emphasis on gradually!) work to improve and update The Reading Modeler, we're happy to announce that we've successfully completed one project. We've updated the 1970 Freight Schedules to add hyperlinks to the "Connection From" and "Connection With" trains where applicable. This enhancement will allow users to get a better understanding of the traffic patterns on the Reading (and also plan operations on your layout) with a few clicks of the mouse. Where a train is not hyperlinked, it's simply because information for that particular train are not included in the 1970 Freight Schedule in our possession. As always, click here to go there - Happy Researching!
In response to several inquiries, we have re-activated the "original" Reading Modeler Company Store so that individuals can order any items that they desire. Unfortunately, updating the Company Store has taken significantly longer than anticipated due to family and work commitments, along with working on the layout. We are still planning to update the store to a better user interface and some new products that we've got in the works, but for now, the original store is back up and available - and as a further bit of good news, we've restocked our entire inventory, so anything you might want should be available! As always, click here to go there, and thanks for your patience!