2023 Construction Blog

 3D Design

One of my goals for 2023 is to become proficient at creating 3D models to feed my printer. I will start with TinkerCAD and progress from there.

The first design is a model of the DODX 38860 well car. The cars is in the second series  used to carry nuclear components from the manufacturer to the shipyards. The first series were Babcock & Wilcox cars BAWX 104 & 105, that later became DODX well cars.. Never had any mechanical drawing classes, but in looking at this car, it is made up of many rectangular shapes that are added along with some place where they are removed. After the first print, looked more closely at the pictures and decided to add more details along with the load mounts.  

Searching for more info as to what the marking are on the car sides beside the reporting marks and weight info, in order to make custom decals.


Model in TinkerCAD

Model sliced ready for the printer

Printed model


Second model wih more details   

Second model wih more details

Ready for handrails

Ready for the first shippment

GEGX depressed flat improvement

The initial GEGX depressed flat car was deliverd with control and personal cabs. Both have since been removed.Since I model that time frame, need to upgrade the Concept Model cars. Each cab made up of the platform, body and roof. All separaate, to make them easier to print. On the platform holes (both square and round) were added for the hand rails and stantions, no more drilling into the cured resin model. Sleds were used to support the cabs and they were printed horizontal to the build plate.

This work has extended to rebuilding to all three pairs of bolsters.

CAD models

Early print - more work needed

Jig for repeatable handrails

Early results


21154 with a gas turbine

21155 with a gas turbine

White Train

The White Train was used to transport nuclear weapons for the Department of Energy. The trains originated at the Pantex plant in Texas, and was made up of two types of cars: guard cars, and safe secure cars. The safe secure cars were basically covered hoppers. There were two different series of the safe secure cars: ATMX 500 and ATMX 600. The original guard cars were rebuilt WWII kitchen cars. Video of an early white train. I first got interested in these cars when I saw the article “ATMX Covered Hoopers” in the August 2001 Mainline modeler by Thorton Waite. Models were made for both of these cars, and have been printed. The ATMX 500 series car is 60' long and fits on a Roundhouse 60' flatcar.

That third photo shows what happens when the models are left way too long in the IPA wash.

ATMX 520

Early print - more work needed

Left in IPA wash too long

First two ready for decals



ready for the first shippment

Trident 2 missile and insert loads

The Department of Defense has five - six axle flat cars for carrying Trident 2 Missile to the sub bases. These cars and loads are available in N scale, but not in HO scale.   When Spring Mills Depot announced that they were going to run these cars, it was time to create the missile load. Spring Mills is doing a second run of these DODX flatcars with orders due in October 2023.

Micro Trains N scale cars

Initial printing

Completed - Ready for service

Saw a couple of cars in the background with interesting loads on DODX flat cars on photo posted to TrainsOrders.com. Reached out to the poster, and he provided a link to a video on youtube titled Switching Garbage Cars With Military Explosives. Believe that these loads are inserts that are placed into the missile tubes when the tubes are empty.

Trident missile inserts

Initial printing

Completed - ready for service


Steam reheater header load 

Saved two images from EBay years ago of an interesting well car load. Newspaper clipping says this is a steam reheater header for a nuclear power plant. The original design was created in TinkerCAC. As show, the design is simple with shapes added along with "hole" added that removes 3/4 of the donut. But can not get a smooth curved shape with the built in devices.

Original image

Oringal design in TinkerCad  

GEX 711 rebuild and load

Went to redo the Concept Engineering resin model of the GEX 711 expandable flat car with a 3D printed cradle. Both the car and the load sat too high. But when trying to remove the cradle from the resin car, I broke the car. So decide to model and print the reset of the car. While doing the modeling took into account the inserts that need to be painted black. These were a pain to paint on the original resin model. Modeled, printed and paint them separately. Those inserts were sides so that they would slip in. Should have made them a little smaller, paint adds more space that what I accounted for.

Original model

car with unpainted load

Sliding in the painted insert

Car with its first load

Other DoD and DOE nuclear loads 

Liked the Department of Energy IDOX flat cars with cask loads. This is a NuPac 125-B cask. Believe that these cars and casks were first used to transport some of the damaged fuel assemblies from Three Mile Island nuclear plant. The flat car is made from a cut down Athean Heavy Weight flat car, with end platforms added. Custom decals complete the loads.

Number 5

Fireless loco

Ready for service

Remembered an article in the September 1996 Mainline Modeler, titled DODX Flat Car, by Thorton Waite was the inspiration for this load. This article showed a DODX 8 axle flat car with a 125-B spent nuclear fuel cask car. The flat car is made from a cut down Athean Heavy Weight flat car.

Horizontal cask

Initial printing

Completed - ready for service

Finished the first of three DODX vertical cask well cars. This model was created by Barry Clements, and it is available on his Shapeways shop. It is a very well designed model, with space to add weights in both the body or the cask. Custom decals were created - there are 28 of them on each model!

Completed well car with cask