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TEMPLOT 3D PLUG TRACK - To get up to speed with this experimental project click here.   To watch an introductory video click here.   See the User Guide at Bexhill West.

  • The Plug Track functions are experimental and still being developed. Some of the earlier pages of this topic are now out-of-date.

    For an updated overview of this project see this topic.   For some practical modelling aspects of using Plug Track see Building 3D Track.

    The assumption is that you have your own machines on which to experiment, or helpful friends with machines. Please do not send Templot files to commercial laser cutting or 3D printing firms while this project is still experimental, because the results are unpredictable and possibly wasteful.

    Some pages of this and other topics include contributions from members who are creating and posting their own CAD designs for 3D printing and laser-cutting. Do not confuse them with Templot's own exported CAD files. All files derived from Templot are © Martin Wynne.
  • The Plug Track functions are experimental and still being developed.

    For an updated overview of this project see this topic.   For some practical modelling aspects of using Plug Track see Building 3D Track.

    The assumption is that you have your own machines on which to experiment, or helpful friends with machines. Please do not send Templot files to commercial laser cutting or 3D printing firms while this project is still experimental, because the results are unpredictable and possibly wasteful.

    Some pages of this and other topics include contributions from members who are creating and posting their own CAD designs for 3D printing and laser-cutting. Do not confuse them with Templot's own exported CAD files. All files derived from Templot are © Martin Wynne.

3D plug track - version 244c and beyond

Quick reply >
The above is based on the rea drawing that Martin posted a few days ago. The bolts are a bit of a guess at the moment. I have been looking at the bolt arrangement from the stations I hope to model these then formed the basis for the model.

Can anyone tell me what is the scaling ratio i need for reducing from 12ins to the foot to 4mm scale for 3D printing.

Keith
 
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message ref: 11671
The above is based on the rea drawing that Martin posted a few days ago. The bolts are a bit of a guess at the moment. I have been looking at the bolt arrangement from the stations I hope to model these then formed the basis for the model.

Can anyone tell me what is the scaling ratio i need for reducing from 12ins to the foot to 4mm scale for 3D printing.

Keith
Keith,

I apologise! I was sure Martin had put up a drawing but didn't look far enough back to see it!

I use a ratio of 0.01312336 to reduce from 12"/1ft to 4mm.

Cheers,

Paul
 
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message ref: 11672
The bolts are a bit of a guess at the moment.
@KHC1 @Cransford

Hi Keith, Paul,

Here is the fishbolt. I did post the bolt dimensions in the previous post. :)

index.php


This one is the dome-headed version for the forged fishplates with pear-shaped holes.

cheers,

Martin.
 
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message ref: 11673
The above is based on the rea drawing that Martin posted a few days ago. The bolts are a bit of a guess at the moment. I have been looking at the bolt arrangement from the stations I hope to model these then formed the basis for the model.

Can anyone tell me what is the scaling ratio i need for reducing from 12ins to the foot to 4mm scale for 3D printing.

Keith
Keith,

I think I'm de-humbled!

Martin's drawing shows a Pan/Pear/Square fishbolt, so had a dig back to look at the fishplate drawing he put up. It shows the plates to have pear shaped holes. You have to be careful as the upper section of the drawing shows the rail drilling but the plate is below. A current drawing is attached that gives an option on head of bolt for you.

Paul
 

Attachments

  • Repw500b.pdf
    395.7 KB · Views: 33
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message ref: 11674
@KHC1 @Cransford @Matt Harris

Just to add that most model rail section is significantly over-scale in web thickness. This means that fishplates need to be thinned down accordingly, otherwise they can look too prominent. Some of the H-section fishplates from the trade do not fit too well for this reason.

Likewise the fish angle on most model rail sections is poorly defined, and likely to be steeper than the prototype 1:2.75 angle. It's difficult to measure so I tend to assume 1:1.5 unless I know otherwise. This means that the top and bottom angles on the fishplates need to be steeper.

All of which means that model fishplates need to be quite a bit skinnier than exact scale.

That's why I'm intending eventually to include them (and other track furniture such as the switch anchors) integrated in plug track so that they can match the user's choice of rail section (the V-crossing spacer blocks are already done).

cheers,

Martin.
 
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message ref: 11677
Thanks to all for the information. I will go back and try a few changes to the fishplate profile and slim them down. If anyone wants them I will put up the Designspark files.

Many thanks
Keith
 
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message ref: 11678
@KHC1 @Cransford @Matt Harris

Just to add that most model rail section is significantly over-scale in web thickness. This means that fishplates need to be thinned down accordingly, otherwise they can look too prominent. Some of the H-section fishplates from the trade do not fit too well for this reason.

Likewise the fish angle on most model rail sections is poorly defined, and likely to be steeper than the prototype 1:2.75 angle. It's difficult to measure so I tend to assume 1:1.5 unless I know otherwise. This means that the top and bottom angles on the fishplates need to be steeper.

All of which means that model fishplates need to be quite a bit skinnier than exact scale.

That's why I'm intending eventually to include them (and other track furniture such as the switch anchors) integrated in plug track so that they can match the user's choice of rail section (the V-crossing spacer blocks are already done).

cheers,

Martin.
I have always thought that. At least with the etched brass ones (like mine) you don't have that problem, though of little use when you need insulation.

Should add these are for 7mm scale. Otrher sources for 4mm scale are available even for 2mm FS ( I have some but not sure my eyesight/soldering iron control is quite up to it).
fishplate.jpg
 
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Last edited:
I have found for years the Exactoscale functional (H shaped) plastic and cast fishplates to be very user friendly and looks terrific than any other design. The only issue is the cost of the cast brass versions

Certainly no reason why Plug Track could not design its own version. Or simply use commercially available products
 
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I have found for years the Exactoscale functional (H shaped) plastic and cast fishplates to be very user friendly and looks terrific than any other design. The only issue is the cost of the cast brass versions

Certainly no reason why Plug Track could not design its own version. Or simply use commercially available products
@Hayfield

Hi John,

Plug track's own fishplates will not be the slide-on H-type. They will be individual glue-on cosmetic fishplates for each side. Reasons for that:

1. for complex formations it is important that rails can drop in vertically between other existing rails without needing to slide sideways.

2. with loose outer jaws the rail can have a prototypical flat square end without chamfers -- which would be needed when sliding anything onto them.

3. the fishplates can be applied after the track is laid and working, and do not need to be part of the assembly process.

The fishplates will optionally have a small tab on the back to fit between the rails ends where insulation is needed. Unlike injection-moulded fishplates, the fishbolt nuts will have random rotations, like the chair screws and slide-chair bolts. Can hardly be seen in 4mm scale, but the rotations are visible when you get up to Gauge 1.

Of course folks can use any fishplates they wish, and I haven't done the plug track ones yet. :)

cheers,

Martin.
 
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message ref: 11681
Help I gained some chairs.

I've got a turnout with at least one omitted timber in the crossing area. When I hide all of the timbers ready to export the chairs for printing it adds in the railchairs that belong to the omitted timbers. It's my fault because I've added timbers up to S20 in my custom switch.
 

Attachments

  • extra railchairs for omitted timber.box
    1.4 MB · Views: 17
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@Penrhos1920

Hi Richard,

omit_not_hide.png


Hiding the outline leaves the chairs, which can be captured by any other timber which is extended under them.

If you don't want the chairs, omit the timber.

If you want the timber but not the chairs, switch off the ones you don't want -- click the heave chairs button.

cheers,

Martin.
 
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Hi Richard, unless I have misunderstood your post, you don't need to  hide timbers to print chairs, you jest need to click on the chairs only button kn the export options panel.
Steve
 
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Martin & Steve,

I was following James' video and he individually hides each outline before exporting a group to print. I used Hide All and I suspect that Hide All does not look to see if any sleeper has been Omitted and some how turns of the Omitted flag?

I've tried not hiding chairs and when you've created 3 templates for a v-crossing to reduce the size of the raft there are a lot of sleepers which hide chairs on other partial templates.

Thanks
Richard
 
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I suspect that Hide All does not look to see if any sleeper has been Omitted and some how turns of the Omitted flag?
@Penrhos1920 @James Walters

Hi Richard,

Yes. That may or may not be a bug. I need to look at that.

However, to get what you want, hide all first, and then omit any timbers not wanted.

Bear in mind that James's videos were made several weeks or months ago. In this experimental project, things are constantly changing. To make the chairs for a V-crossing, use the isolate V-crossing button:


isolate_v_chairs.png


You can then draw a raft around them.

Or create a larger raft, and then move several isolated V-crossings over it. Such as one with the loose jaws for it, alongside each corresponding chair

If you put V-crossings from different templates on the same raft, make sure you have made some notes about it, and write the details on the back of the raft as soon as it is cured. The chairs and loose jaws for a V-crossing are all unique. Each loose jaw matches only one chair, and each chair matches only one socket, and only the right way round in it. The differences are small and difficult to see. A selection of coloured fine-tip markers are very handy to colour-code the main-side end of the plugs while they are still on the raft.

At the very least, write the date and time on the back of each raft. You will then have a chance to identify it weeks later by referencing the dates on your STL or CTB files. There is an option to add label text to a raft, but it uses valuable raft space, and is time-consuming to arrange. I will try to make it easier.

So much stuff to write about before this project is done. :)

cheers,

Martin.
 
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For the GWR and BR(W) on plain track they are bolted from below, with square nuts on top. When used in pointwork they are screwed from above, using square-head coach screws. The holes are parallel.

(For all REA chairs as above the holes are tapered and fitted with deep tapered ferrules for the chair screws. This makes them much more prominent than GWR.)

This photo (at extreme bottom-left) shows a skirted bullhead fishplate with nuts. On the left of it is an REA S1 chair with ferrule and chair screw in a tapered hole. On the right of it are GWR / BR(W) chairs with plain square-head coach-screws in parallel holes. It's very evident that the latter are much less prominent than the REA design:

https://www.rmweb.co.uk/forums/topi...f-the-railway/?do=findComment&comment=5549492

Martin.
 
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We need to get as much strength into this tiny component as possible -- the top of the jaw can be raised a bit to that effect (red lines).

The T-shaped dotted outline in the drawing is the prototype fouling bar. We don't need to be concerned with clearing that in a model, but we do need to bear in mind the deeper 00/EM wheel flanges. The above is roughly what I had in mind.
@James Walters

Hi James,

I have added some typical wheel profiles to the above drawing:


rea_inner_wheel_flanges_templot_plug.png



The blue outline is a typical "kit-wheel" profile in 4mm/ft scale which most users of plug track will be using in 00/EM. In P4 the wheel flanges are smaller than this and clear the chair easily.

The pink outline is the worst-case situation for some older RTR models. Although the flanges are deeper they tend to be thicker, so spacing them further away from the chair. Most modern RTR wheels are finer than this, somewhere between the two profiles shown.

The green lines show the current Templot plug track REA chairs. As you can see I tried to add a little extra strength to the lower part of the jaw and rib, but keeping the height down to clear wheel flanges (and without departing too far from the prototype).

A lot of current model rail sections have a sharper top corner radius than shown. Which looks wrong, but does have the advantage of pushing the flange a little further away from the chair.

cheers,

Martin.
 
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@James Walters

Many thanks James.

Yes I can do edge detection on those images. Perhaps we need a few more, say at 1/4" layer spacing?

The ribs need to run out just before they reach the top of the stand, otherwise it makes it much trickier to insert the calculated grip part (green) behind the stand part (pink):


View attachment 9824

We need to get as much strength into this tiny component as possible -- the top of the jaw can be raised a bit to that effect (red lines).

The T-shaped dotted outline in the drawing is the prototype fouling bar. We don't need to be concerned with clearing that in a model, but we do need to bear in mind the deeper 00/EM wheel flanges. The above is roughly what I had in mind.

cheers,

Martin.
Hi Martin,
That's very helpful, thank you. I have modified the drawing I sent you , I actually did it a week ago, but simply have not had the time to slice it and send it over. So my apologies for being somewhat absent over the past week - life has been quite hectic.
To cut a long story short, we put our place on the market (looking for somewhere with a garden), got an offer from someone who wants to move fast, and then needed to find a place. Found one, negotiated etc, offer accepted etc, only to find out today that we've been gazumped. :( So the past week has been a bit of a panic of tidying, viewings, searching etc.
I will check my version against your drawing above for wheel clearances etc. My apologies for not seeing your post sooner.

In other (good) news. You'd suggested to Steve in a previous post (which I missed at the time) that he might send some buttons.
Well, like the great man he is - he did just that. I have his 'care package' in front of me now. :) I'm pleased to report that he's not gone cheap either, and has sent a rather premium package of chocolate buttons which I am looking forward to consuming very much indeed. :)
Steve, I haven't sent a 'thank you' yet as I only discovered them yesterday. I thought the package was for my daughter who has gone on holiday so had put the box on her desk. Karen discovered they were addressed to me yesterday - I think she has a good nose for chocolate.
Anyway, with all that said and done, I'll sort the drawings and get them over to you tomorrow afternoon - viewing yet another property in the morning. I can't do it this evening as my brain is fried and sick of the screen, so I'm going to compose myself and re-claibrate whilst making a little more progress with a white metal Ruston Bucyrus 19-RB which I've got on the go.

Sorry for the long-winded excuse, I'll send tangible progress for you (and Steve) tomorrow.

James :)

p.s. Steve - you're the best. :)
 
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message ref: 11715
@James Walters @Steve_Cornford

Hi James,

Thanks for the reply. Please don't rush to do the chairs -- I have dropped off plug track for a while to sort out Templot5 -- the open-source version of Templot. It will be a week or two before I can get back to the plug track, and hopefully then working fully open-source.

I released the "as-is" files from Delphi5 a week or two ago, and I originally intended to leave it at that. But having realised that I'm going to need some help to progress Templot much further, I have decided to shift everything to open-source Templot5 immediately for future developments. Which means producing an initial oven-ready set of files for anyone interested to get started in Lazarus. There will be one final release of Templot2 shortly, which will be needed to get existing Templot files into Templot5.

So if you are in the middle of house hunting and moving, please just ignore Templot for a while. There are only so many hours in a day. I hope it works out well for you.

Yes, Steve has been great with supplies of buttons -- as you can see from recent Templot updates. :)

cheers,

Martin.
 
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message ref: 11716
Hi James,
Hope the buttons help with the house hunting.
I know that experience as we ours and spent 5 months in a winter let before finding a replacement!
I would not repeat that experience as lots of drawbacks, not least all the changing of address details twice with all that entails.
Good luck
Steve
 
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message ref: 11717
I did wonder what the buttons reference was. I don't think you can get them here. Another one of the strange quirks of NZ. Anyway now I understand the refence, its sounds like a good inside Joke:) Could it be the Templot equivalent of bit coin for example. Is there a value scale anywhere? I.E. how many packs of buttons = an Item.
cheers
phil,
 
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message ref: 11718
Hi Martin,
That's very helpful, thank you. I have modified the drawing I sent you , I actually did it a week ago, but simply have not had the time to slice it and send it over. So my apologies for being somewhat absent over the past week - life has been quite hectic.
To cut a long story short, we put our place on the market (looking for somewhere with a garden), got an offer from someone who wants to move fast, and then needed to find a place. Found one, negotiated etc, offer accepted etc, only to find out today that we've been gazumped. :( So the past week has been a bit of a panic of tidying, viewings, searching etc.
I will check my version against your drawing above for wheel clearances etc. My apologies for not seeing your post sooner.

In other (good) news. You'd suggested to Steve in a previous post (which I missed at the time) that he might send some buttons.
Well, like the great man he is - he did just that. I have his 'care package' in front of me now. :) I'm pleased to report that he's not gone cheap either, and has sent a rather premium package of chocolate buttons which I am looking forward to consuming very much indeed. :)
Steve, I haven't sent a 'thank you' yet as I only discovered them yesterday. I thought the package was for my daughter who has gone on holiday so had put the box on her desk. Karen discovered they were addressed to me yesterday - I think she has a good nose for chocolate.
Anyway, with all that said and done, I'll sort the drawings and get them over to you tomorrow afternoon - viewing yet another property in the morning. I can't do it this evening as my brain is fried and sick of the screen, so I'm going to compose myself and re-claibrate whilst making a little more progress with a white metal Ruston Bucyrus 19-RB which I've got on the go.

Sorry for the long-winded excuse, I'll send tangible progress for you (and Steve) tomorrow.

James :)

p.s. Steve - you're the best. :)

James

Good luck with the house move, reminds me of our whirlwind sale just over 8 years ago, We had an open house viewing day the first week in Feb, got an acceptable offer on the Monday and finally moved in on the 28th of March. Only one hiccup when the buyer misunderstood the survey, apparently we had 3 loose tiles ? turns out roof was in the best condition of all the houses in the road

Hate to move your workshop though !!!
 
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message ref: 11719
Or create a larger raft, and then move several isolated V-crossings over it. Such as one with the loose jaws for it, alongside each corresponding chair

If you put V-crossings from different templates on the same raft, make sure you have made some notes about it, and write the details on the back of the raft as soon as it is cured. The chairs and loose jaws for a V-crossing are all unique. Each loose jaw matches only one chair, and each chair matches only one socket, and only the right way round in it. The differences are small and difficult to see. A selection of coloured fine-tip markers are very handy to colour-code the main-side end of the plugs while they are still on the raft.

At the very least, write the date and time on the back of each raft. You will then have a chance to identify it weeks later by referencing the dates on your STL or CTB files. There is an option to add label text to a raft, but it uses valuable raft space, and is time-consuming to arrange. I will try to make it easier.

So much stuff to write about before this project is done. :)

cheers,

Martin.
I've been using the Emboss function in 3DBuilder to write on every raft of chairs I've produced. I did try combining the loose jaws and chairs by overlaying the STLs in Chitubox but found that it doesn't leave enough space for the cutters.
IMG_2882.JPG


I've tried to include S1 chairs at each end so that I don't have to refer to Templot to check when I'm putting the chairs into the sleepers and I know that all chairs not on the labelled rafts are S1 chairs. That won't work for a C switch as it's too long to fit on my printers bed.

Don't worry about needing to write all of the instructions. I'm happy to learn by making my own mistakes (that way I learn better).
 
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message ref: 11721
@nickom @NoIdea @Rusty @Alistair Ward @graeme @Steve_Cornford @James Walters @Phil G

Templot update version 245a is now on the server.

Your copy of Templot2 should update automatically if you restart it and follow the instructions. There is no need to uninstall your existing copy of Templot.



With this update I am signing off as the sole provider and originator of Templot.

And signing on as a member of the open-source team developing Templot going forwards.

The next update after this will include some code for transitioning to an open-source version of Templot, provisionally called Templot5, and compiled in the Lazarus compiler after 25 years of using Delphi5.

The actual mechanism and timescale for the changeover is not yet decided, but I'm hoping we can make it as transparent as possible for users.

The main change in 245a is a new file format when BOX files are saved, making them future-compatible with Templot5.

I have done a lot of testing on this, but I just know that within 5 minutes of this update someone will report some quirk or flaw in the new format. :( Please test saving and reloading BOX files, both new ones and old ones and report any oddities you find. Thanks. But please don't announce to the world on other forums that Templot has a major flaw in the latest version -- everything will get fixed. Eventually. :)

Martin.
 
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@Hayfield

Hi John,

Plug track's own fishplates will not be the slide-on H-type. They will be individual glue-on cosmetic fishplates for each side. Reasons for that:

1. for complex formations it is important that rails can drop in vertically between other existing rails without needing to slide sideways.

2. with loose outer jaws the rail can have a prototypical flat square end without chamfers -- which would be needed when sliding anything onto them.

3. the fishplates can be applied after the track is laid and working, and do not need to be part of the assembly process.

The fishplates will optionally have a small tab on the back to fit between the rails ends where insulation is needed. Unlike injection-moulded fishplates, the fishbolt nuts will have random rotations, like the chair screws and slide-chair bolts. Can hardly be seen in 4mm scale, but the rotations are visible when you get up to Gauge 1.

Of course folks can use any fishplates they wish, and I haven't done the plug track ones yet. :)

cheers,

Martin.

I know track-building materials are getting very expensive, but 28p each for a stamped metal rail joiner seems excessive (pack of 24):

https://peco-uk.com/products/bullhead-rail-joiners?_pos=2&_sid=e9002fa38

Martin.
 
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message ref: 11826
I know track-building materials are getting very expensive, but 28p each for a stamped metal rail joiner seems excessive (pack of 24):

https://peco-uk.com/products/bullhead-rail-joiners?_pos=2&_sid=e9002fa38

Martin.
Well they do come with simulated bolt detail, are easier to put on than the H type and cheaper than the lost wax version, so probably as cheap as you going to get them, it isn't just the material cost or production cost involved. I like them.
 
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message ref: 11836
Just shows how gullible most railway modelers are

Produce a new locomotive and its scrutinized to the nth degree, until you get below the wheels

Most of the Peco range is 3.5mm scale and whilst a large part of the buyers model the big 4 or earlier, most sales are for flatbottom track. Then look at the geometry its very wrong and a high proportion still use code 100

I think they are far too cheap, there should be super tax of incorrect RTR track
 
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Stephen

usually I agree with your thoughts or bow to your superior knowledge. BUT "easier to put on than the H type" when was the last time you used any ?, firstly the limited times I have used them (rail joiners), I ended up stabbing, myself when they failed to slide on, recently I wanted to join 3 x 0 gauge lengths quickly to test a loco, I had to open the joiners up first. Simerly we did a Christmas tree layout using 009,00(code 75) and 0-16.5 (code 100) using Peco metal rail joiners, we had the same issue when using new metal rail joiners. They are a safety hazard

In contrast Exactoscale 4 & 7 mm scale plastic and metal fishplates are both easy and a joy to use

Cost Plastic £6 for 48, cheaper !!! Whenever I built a turnout or crossing I used these for joining the switch rails to the common crossing. They are very easy to fit, once the chairs have set (seconds) a very strong joint is achieved but most of all visually superb. Downside is you need drippers on every rail, which is usually advised anyway as electrical connectivity can degrade over time. Rail Joiners are un-prototypical in most cases and look downright awful.

For slips with short switch rails, brass H section fishplates are a real blessing and no resistance when switches are moved, especially on double slips !!! May cost but it works

For joining flexitrack I still use the plastic H section fishplates, easy to use and looks better than any rail joiner

Granted Brass chairs and fishplates are expensive, but then quality costs. But you never end up with stab wounds using these items

For 7mm scale Exactoscale plastic fishplates are £8 for 48 metal £10 for 12

C&L do sell 4mm fishplates £10 for 48 plastic, and £16 for 12 metal. 7mm scale £12 for 24 plastic, price not on website for metal

In my opinion there is no excuse for poor track building, when there is a superior method easily available.
 
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Unfortunately you are not comparing like with like. I never use ordinary rail joiners, they are just bad news on all fronts. The Peco rail joiners being discussed are specifically for code 75 bullhead, short - similar size to fishplates and have bolt detail - just the job for connecting point blades to the crossing rails, especially where loose heels are needed, easily slipped on too. Pity they don't do them in 7mm scale really, where I either use lost wax or etched. Of course where insulation is required, the plastic H ones are just the job.

For running track I just use the etched brass ones, either from such as EMGS in 4mm or my own in 7mm.
 
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message ref: 11850
Unfortunately you are not comparing like with like. I never use ordinary rail joiners, they are just bad news on all fronts. The Peco rail joiners being discussed are specifically for code 75 bullhead, short - similar size to fishplates and have bolt detail - just the job for connecting point blades to the crossing rails, especially where loose heels are needed, easily slipped on too. Pity they don't do them in 7mm scale really, where I either use lost wax or etched. Of course where insulation is required, the plastic H ones are just the job.

For running track I just use the etched brass ones, either from such as EMGS in 4mm or my own in 7mm.

Stephen

I think I am, and I especially mentioned that with slips (especially double slips) I believe using the brass cast functional (H) fishplates are the best option for freely operating short switch rails. I solder one end that attaches to the center part of the slip rail, initially squeeze the other end to the switch blade, operating the switch blade will open the fishplate slightly, but it still holds the rails in line (its held in place by the switch actuator. This produces a freely operating pair of switch blades (with double slips this is especially important as you have 4 switch blades, potentially causing resistance to movement)

The Issue with rail joiners, is that the joiner part in my opinion creates too much stiffness in short blade movement. Perhaps more importantly the actual (the base/foot part) joiner is visually un-prototypical and harks back to the days of train sets

What I have described could be equally achieved with etched fishplates being soldered to one rail only.

I am sorry but to me it looks as wrong as using the incorrect chairs which have been butchered, when there are perfectly acceptable/suitable alternatives available.

As I said for me rail joiners are fine for use on temporary installations (test tracks etc) but stick out like a sore thumb when used with well crafted finescale track
 
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