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Hello. Is it possible for anyone to 3D print letters? I want to put them on my Tomix overhead Station. It would be something like in the picture.The JR sign, and a station name (which one I haven't decided yet!!If possible. It should be about 1.5 cm in height, and 2-3mm in depth. If that is to small, 2.5cm would be acceptable. If its not possible, are there Japanese letters I can buy? I want a more 3D feeling, and not just a flat sign.

takasaki_station_3.jpg

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One of our club members had a custom layout constructed by custom model railroads and they both laser cut and I think 3d printed some signs like this on his layout.

 

i kind of doubt there are any precut stuff out there unless a garage biz does this in japan, there are some crazy details done out there but sold in very few places unfortunately!

 

to laser cut you can do Japanese character set then in something like illustrator (there are cheap and free alternatives) you turn the characters from postscript to just vector outlines that can then be used to create the cut file or print file. Some cad will take post script or true type fonts in files with extrusion added for depth as well. Trick is to get that converted to a good cut or print file.

 

I would contact toni and see if it's a custom thing he could do with his 3d print business on shapeways. There are some firms out there that do custom lasercutting like shapeways does 3d printing just not slick websites and they may be a bit more challenged doing Japanese characters.

 

cheers

 

jeff

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Thanks for the advice Jeff. I’ll look into it.

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I've done a little bit of this using both 3D printing and laser cutting.

 

This first picture is sign for a high rise parking tower that I did with 3D printing.  I designed it with TinkerCAD (free web based), print the pieces with Shapeways, cleaned, sanded and painted them.  It turned out pretty well.  The picture shows the pieces as printed and then the final sign.  The ruler scale is in millimeters.  TinkerCAD has Roman letters built in that were a good font for this, so I used them.  You would have to find another way to get Kanji or other fonts into TinkerCAD or use another 3D modeling tool.

ParkingLotSign3D.jpg.661a6c15ce43b6b9f471bc0ac4fed26a.jpg

 

The next one was was something I did just as an experiment.  I had designed a structure to be laser cut and had some spare space left on the sheet of card stock so I threw some signs on as test. Here is your JR logo.  I got the file just by Googling "JR logo svg file".  svg is a vector graphics file format.  Laser cutters want vector files.  I used Inkscape (free again) for the design and then Ponoko for the laser cutting.  Since this was card stock, you don't get the nice smooth glossy finish - well maybe you could if you primed the card stock with the right primer.  Ponoko has plastics in their library of materials that would look better.  I cut some of these much smaller and they came out as well.

JRSignLaser.jpg.ba27962b41b59e8fe3778404c37688e1.jpg

 

Edited by maihama eki
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Excellent Maihema!

 

how did you like Ponoko? looks like someone doing shapeways for lasercutting. most of the sites i had seen were rather industrial or oriented to engraving stuff. obnoxious you have to do an account in order to get the info on stuff like materials and the new style of site of lots of scrolling pictures and little content up front, but googling gets you in the back door and nav from there!

 

https://www.ponoko.com/make-and-sell/show-material/260-cardboard-natural

 

lots of detail cutting looks to eat up a lot of cutting time though. what did you do and how much did it cost?

 

yes priming would help. matte board may also have a better surface to prime than the plain brown craftboard. lots of priming options to try that cardstock modelers use like diluted pva glue (dipping or brushing), water color paint sealer, spray varnishes, etc. really need to experiment for the material and your parts.

 

man do i want a laser cutter! some day here when there is more time to play! at least there are more of them now and cheaper! want to cut greeting cards out as well.

 

cheers

 

jeff

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Oh those signs look great! Certainly adds on to the overall look of the layout!

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I did get in contact with Toni, and he will make me some, and he will put them on his Shapeways site so that I can order them . I'm curious how it'll turn out.

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Does anyone know what font JR uses on its stations? Kanji and Romanji?

 

Cheers,

 

Todd

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On 10/9/2017 at 8:00 PM, cteno4 said:

 

how did you like Ponoko? looks like someone doing shapeways for lasercutting. most of the sites i had seen were rather industrial or oriented to engraving stuff. obnoxious you have to do an account in order to get the info on stuff like materials and the new style of site of lots of scrolling pictures and little content up front, but googling gets you in the back door and nav from there!

 

https://www.ponoko.com/make-and-sell/show-material/260-cardboard-natural

 

lots of detail cutting looks to eat up a lot of cutting time though. what did you do and how much did it cost?

 

 

I like Ponoko a lot.  I've ordered from them 3 times now.  They are very geared toward the hobbyist/maker and not industrial/commercial.

 

My first order was a P2 sheet (~15 x 15 inches) that was pretty much full with a medium density of cuts and engraved lines.  The cutting was $21.73 and the material was $8.00.

 

The order with the signs and some other stuff was a P1 sheet (7 x 7 inches), again pretty full with a medium density of cuts and engraved lines.  The cutting was $6.60 and the material was $2.50.

 

Shipping for the large sheets is a little expensive since they ship them flat.

 

They usually ship in less than a week - you can pay more for faster service - as quick as next day, or less if you're patient.  I like that idea.

 

I had an error in the first file I created.  It was a large and complicated design.  I was just learning, and I couldn't find the error.  I emailed it to Ponoko customer service and they fixed the bug and sent it back to me - in about 1 day.

 

This is the card stock I use:

 

https://www.ponoko.com/make-and-sell/show-material/387-cardstock-ivory

 

It is .012 inch thick (~0.3 mm) and it comes in ivory, black, or red.

 

As cool as it would be to have a laser cutter, I am happy to let someone else own what could be a pretty expensive machine, develop the process for the different materials, fix it when it's broken, buy a new one 2 years from now when a better one comes along, etc.  I want to spend my time designing and making train things and not working on a laser cutter.  This is coming from a guy that loves tools and owns way too many.

 

I promise more pictures of what I have made later.

 

 

 

Edited by maihama eki

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4 hours ago, tossedman said:

Does anyone know what font JR uses on its stations? Kanji and Romanji?

 

Cheers,

 

Todd

 

The example in the original post is the station name in Kanji followed by Romaji (TAKASAKI) and English (STATION) in Roman/Latin characters.

 

I think I have seen station names using Katakana and Hiragana as well.

 

There are different styles (or fonts if you will) for all of these Japanese characters - some more free-hand looking and others very block-like such as in the original post.

 

Probably one of our Japanese friends can give more details.

Edited by maihama eki

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Maihama, 

 

thanks, that does not look bad as one of their examples just dong 4 gear coasters, which had concerned me.

 

looks like their chipboard yellows a bit on the cut lines so I guess it's not super resin impregnated to prevent this, but it allows the engraving to stand out.

 

yep wise choice to focus on the cad work first. I tried this with a friend out in California on his laser cutter but it just got too complicated trying to work out all the details. Ponoko looks more set up for this! 

 

Looking forward to seeing what you create!

 

jeff

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