Community highlight: 3D printed Cable Car scale model

On Tuesday we previewed Angelo D’angelo’s work, a early 20th century cable car model (or “Tram”) from Milan, Italy.
Today we take a look at how he did it.

The original article is available in Italian on Angelo’s Blog.

The return of the iconic Tram23, thanks to 3D Printing

Last year, when we sampled the Orange PLA material, the first thing that struck imagination was the very close color match with Milan’ “1500 Series” Cable cars. Still running because its historical value: foreigners who come to the city will be able to spot it, despite many cable cars have been updated with more modern versions.

Some of these ended up on 6000 miles west of Milan, in San Francisco , a city famous for his international cable cars.

Without any 3D model available Angelo started getting all the original drawings for a particular version of the tram, the 3- door variant still running to this day in Milan.
Considering the printable volume on the FABtotum personal fabricator, the max scale reacheable was 1:32, for a total legnth of 61cm splitted in 2 smaller parts.

With loads of pictures (some taken from the streets) and reference material, he started working on Autodesk Fusion 360, his preferred design software used for many other projects (including some of the 3Dprintravel series or buildings).
To keep the parts togheter metal pins were used.

With all the parts ready to be exported 3D printing could begin.
Overall it took 50 hours and a few tries, 5 different materials and over 45 parts were printed.
The model has also interiors: the interior paneling was made in wood so Woodfill PLA was used to simulate that.
Metal parts were printed with Silver PLA, and so on.

Assembly took a good amount of time as well (especially to find the time and patience to assemble it all).
Small clamps were used to fix parts together while instant glue cured.
In this phase transparent Acetate was used to simulate windows as well, a tecnique used in architectural models as well.

After all the work was done Angelo finally was able to contemplate his unique model.
There is another catch. The version of this cable car was in service up to 10 yars ago on the “Line 23” connecting the city centre to his university.
We are sure this 3D printed model will be a nice reminder of his student years and commuting in Milan.

Thanks to Angelo D’Angelo for sharing his project with us.