Wholestick trucks

My layout will be set around the 1930s and in those days the sugar cane was still being moved from the nearby fields to the Koala Creek Sugar Mill in little wholestick cane trucks, which were small four wheeled flat wagons with posts on each corner. The wholestick (cane that is cut off at the butt and topped) was just stacked on these small wooden trucks and winched down with a chain to keep the wholestick in place during the ride to the mill. Empty trucks were also used to transport cane cutters from the hotels in Koala Creek to the cane fields.

Wholestick trucks in Mossman

It will not be possible to create a sugar cane layout without these wholestick trucks and looking at the amount of trucks that are needed, I will probably have to set-up a small production line.

Fortunately Greg Stephenson already modelled a couple of wholestick trucks in HOn30. He started out with a small 4 wheel Roco or Minitrains wagon as a basis and fabricated a new body from Evergreen styrene strips … quite a lot of work for one truck and almost unimaginable if you need a couple of dozen.
In my previous post I already mentioned 3D-printing as an option for the Shay, so why not test it with the body for the wholestick trucks. So I bought a couple of Roco wagons to start with.

The base of our cane trucks

And of course I started looking for 3D CAD software and found a great one for free. It’s called CoCreate Modelling Personal Edition and has been designed explicitly for 3D modelling. Casual users and hobbyists seem to be able to use it for home projects, with the help of the Quickstart guides, online help and user forums.
I also went looking for 3D printing services and found 2 that stand out.

  • Shapeways: probably one of the best known and cheapest 3D printing services. Prices of the materials that could be used for modelling vary from $1.50 to $2.90 per cubic centimetre. The main disadvantage is the level of detail. The best material has a minimum wallthickness of  1 mm and details can not be smaller than 0.2 mm.
  • Printapart.com: less known and more expensive, but probably great to create master models for resin casting. They only offer one material, but the level of detail is astonishing. The minimum wallthickness is 0.25 mm and there is no mention of a minimum detail size …

The coming days I will be playing around with the 3D software a bit … hope it is easy to use and that I will be able to show my first 3D model in one of the next posts.