You can see what I wall call “Intake Grilles” on all locomotives. You see something like a screened opening behind which is some kind of filtration system to supply air to the engines. On many scale locomotives this is simply a cross-hatched casting that with a bit of dark wash looks like screen. Some of the higher end models may actually have a screen. I wanted to experiment to see how well I could replicate such a thing myself.

Grille Frame V1

My first design – pushing the limits of the printer. I have an “Inner Frame” with a recess (colored pink) for a projection on the “Outer Frame” to align them, a further recess (colored cyan) in the “Inner Frame” for the 0.010″/0.254 mm brass screen. The idea is that the screen would basically ‘float’ between the two frames.

Creating a design is relatively easy .. but getting it to print is another story altogether.

I was a bit surprised at how well they printed. One of the problems I foresaw was keeping them from warping during curing. I picked up a 8″ x 10″ Acrylic sheet at Lowes. I cut two smaller shares from that to sandwich the prints while curing.

Assembled. The biggest problem I ran into was getting the mesh to fit into the pocket. The screen is 0.010″ / 0.254 mm and the pocket 0.3 mm .. worked but wasn’t easy to do. I used a Gel super glue to glue everything up.

I was pretty happy to how it came out.

Grille Frame V2

I increased the width of the bars from 0.5 mm to 1 mm .. while the V1 frame with .5 mm worked .. those things were darn delicate .. like juggling jello. I also spaced the frames out a bit for p;printing.

In addition to thickening the bars I increased the depth to the inside frame to strengthen that. I completely forgot to address the “depth problem” with the pocket for the mesh.

Here’s a look at how the parts were cured using the acrylic sheet. This worked very well and the frames came out nice and flat.

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