Mar.2, 2014

One of the largest and perhaps most famous steam locomotives ever built, Union Pacific's articulated 4-8-8-4 "Big Boy" No. 4014, was rescaled and recreated using 3D printing.

This 6 foot (1.83m) long 3D printed huge model was created and assembled by Paul Fischer of Maryland, USA who spent between 700 and 800 hours drafting and another 1,000 hours 3D printing the locomotive on a MakerBot Replicator 2 Desktop 3D Printer.

Paul Fischer, who recreated the King Tiger and other German tanks from World War II, wanted to create something bigger and more complicated. So he ordered the original blueprints of the 4-8-8-4 Big Boy used by Union Pacific Railroad from 1941 into the 1960s.

Fischer reconstructed an entire Big Boy engine in SolidWorks 3D modeling software and then sent the files to a MakerBot Replicator 2. "From what it looks like on the outside, I made it as close to the original as possible," says Fischer.

In the last months, Fischer went through 16 rolls of MakerBot True Black PLA Filament and two 2-oz. tubes of Zap Super Glue to create the Big Boy. "In the middle of the night I would hear the printer stop, and I would get up and start a new build." said Fisher.

The 3D printed Big Boy is now displayed at MakerBot headquarters in Brooklyn, NY. "It was a tough journey," says Fischer, "But when I got to the end and saw the look on Bre's face, it made it all worth it."

During the late 1930s, the Union Pacific often used helpers to move trains from Ogden to Wahsatch. The UP wanted to simplify this move so they asked their "Department of Research and Mechanical Standards" to design a locomotive that could pull a 3600 ton train unassisted.

Big Boy No. 4014 photo courtesy Union Pacific

Twenty-five Big Boys were built exclusively for Union Pacific by the American Locomotive Company (Alco) between 1941 and 1944, all burned coal. The Big Boys were 132 feet long and weighed 1.2 million pounds (engine and tender) in working order. The Big Boy 4014 had the longest engine body of any reciprocating steam locomotive. She was retired in December 1961, having traveled 1,031,205 miles in 20 years of service.

Want to make your own Big Boy? You can download a complete set of files on Thingiverse and start printing now.

Posted in 3D Printing Applications


Maybe you also like:


Leave a comment:

Your Name:


Subscribe us to Feeds twitter facebook   

About provides the latest news about 3D printing technology and 3D printers. We are now seven years old and have around 1.5 million unique visitors per month.

News Archive