3D printing Plug Track from 228a

Martin Wynne

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This topic is a continuation from:

https://85a.uk/templot/club/index.php?threads/3d-printed-track-from-templot.218/

now that version 228a is released and some of these new functions are available.

For more information about what this is all about, please refer to the link above.



New in 228a:

1. To get started with 3D exports, click this option:

exp_chairing1.png


This option is template-specific, like everything else in the real menu.

Note that it makes sense only for plain track at present, the special crossing chairs for pointwork will be available in a later version.

More to follow...

cheers,

Martin.
 
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Martin Wynne

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...

2. Resin printing some S1 chairs

1. first set your gauge/scale. Don't forget! I set EM.

2. real > chairing / 3-D > experimental chairing

3. set a custom plain track setting with close sleepers. real > plain track options > rail lengths and sleeper spacings... > custom settings... I set a rail length of 12" containing one sleeper at 6" from the rail end.

edit: having now printed these, I would make the spacing a bit wider than 12". It would make it easier to remove the chairs from the pyramids using Xuron snips.

4. reduce the track gauge. gauge > modify current settings > modify track gauge... I set 5mm.

5. create a straight plain track template. Set the template length to suit the build plate on your resin printer.

making_s1_chairs1.png


More to follow...
 
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Martin Wynne

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...

Store it as a background template, and maybe add some more templates:

making_s1_chairs2.png


(the DXF export ignores the control template).

I switched off the timber infill in the generator to make the screen clearer, but it's not necessary because the timbers will be ignored.

In the background shapes, draw a rectangle around the chairs (purple line above). This will be the support slab for printing the chairs, so don't waste resin by making it larger than necessary.

More to follow...
 
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Martin Wynne

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... However, that's over 100 chairs. Which means the STL file will be quite large (the chairs are about 250KB each in STL).

Which is not a problem in principle. But in this experimental 228 version we likely need to make use of an online mesh repair service, and such a file is very likely to exceed their limits. So for this testing it's wise to cut back to something more manageable:

making_s1_chairs3.png


24 chairs there. Most slicer software will allow you to clone/duplicate models on the build plate, if you want more chairs in one go.

Click the menu to export a file.

making_s1_chairs4.png


and click DXF/STL exports.

Which then shows all this stuff:

making_s1_chairs5.png


If you have not used the DXF exports before, there is a lot to take in. But for now:

1. click the 3-D option, and you also want a STL file.

2. choose the rail section which matches your rail. Note that these settings are my best information only, and may need revision. Your feedback welcome.

3. click chairs only. This is a shortcut button which simply changes a lot of the other settings for you.

There are lots of other settings 99 to come back to later and do trial and error adjustments. You can change the fit of the rail in the chair, make track-gauge corrections, change the dimensions of the support pyramids, thickness of the support slab, etc.

4. click the button to export the files. First you are likely to see this:

making_s1_chairs6.png


If the dimensions for your selected rail do not match those at real > rails > rail section data... , the templates must first be rebuilt with your dimensions. The files will then be created.

By default the files will go into your \DXF-FILES\ folder.

After they have been created,

5. click this button to go online to a mesh repair service. Upload the STL file which you just created. Wait your turn in the queue and for the file to be analysed and fixed. Download the fixed STL file when it appears. One fine day none of this will be necessary, and Templot will create perfect STL files straight off. Don't hold your breath. :)

The online link is also available in the utils menu.

If you have some CAD software, you might like to have a look at the DXF file while you are waiting. You should see something like this:

making_s1_chairs7.png

But it's not necessary -- only the fixed STL file is actually needed for 3D printing.

More to follow...
 
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Martin Wynne

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...

And then the fixed STL file can be opened in your slicing software. This is Chitubox (free):

making_s1_chairs8.png


which has a clone function to lay out multiple copies of the model on the build plate. In my case for the Elegoo Mars printer, there is room for 5 copies of the original file, so that's 120 chairs in total. It looks possible to pack on quite a few more, with some adjustment to the template length and support slab sizes.

The design is now ready for slicing and transfer to the printer. For finely detailed small models such as these, use the thinnest layers your printer will support. In my case that's 0.05mm per layer.

cheers,

Martin.
 
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Martin Wynne

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Having created the file for the screenshots, I thought I may as well print it. By changing the auto-arrange settings in Chitubox, I got 6 strips on the Elegoo build plate, so that's 144 S1 chairs -- and they all printed ok.

Still on the build plate, next step is UV cure:

more_s1_1.jpg


I used the UV machine, but in today's weather I could have simply left them in the sun for an hour or two. :)

more_s1_2.jpg


Having put a bottom taper on the chair plugs, I think they could now be a fraction deeper for a firm fit. Especially for use with through-hole sockets in 1.6mm timbers. The side flanges on these plain-track sleepers have much improved the strength of the sleeper alongside the socket. C&L nickel-silver rail:

more_s1_4.jpg


more_s1_3.jpg


Because they all printed, and therefore no bits left in the resin, I avoided the faff and mess of filtering the resin back into the bottle. Just covered the resin tray with aluminium foil until next time.

cheers,

Martin.
 
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Hayfield

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Location
Essex
Having created the file for the screenshots, I thought I may as well print it. By changing the auto-arrange settings in Chitubox, I got 6 strips on the Elegoo build plate, so that's 144 S1 chairs -- and they all printed ok.

Still on the build plate, next step is UV cure:

View attachment 1709

I used the UV machine, but in today's weather I could have simply left them in the sun for an hour or two. :)

View attachment 1708

Having put a bottom taper on the chair plugs, I think they could now be a fraction deeper for a firm fit. Especially for use with through-hole sockets in 1.6mm timbers. The side flanges on these plain-track sleepers have much improved the strength of the sleeper alongside the socket. C&L nickel-silver rail:

View attachment 1706

View attachment 1707

Because they all printed, and therefore no bits left in the resin, I avoided the faff and mess of filtering the resin back into the bottle. Just covered the resin tray with aluminium foil until next time.

cheers,

Martin.
Martin

The detail looks stunning, one now wonders how much longer injection moulded chairs will survive
 
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Martin Wynne

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I've floated the idea of a bottom flange on the timbers a couple of times, to be hidden under the ballast:

index.php


It hasn't been met with howls of outrage, so perhaps we can take it a bit further.

Given that my filament printer has a work area of only 8" square (some others are larger, but not by a lot) it's obvious that the timbering base for any significant chunk of pointwork will need to be assembled from several separate pieces. Which need to be aligned precisely for Plug Track, because the base provides the gauging and rail alignments. Resin printer work areas are even smaller, so for anyone planning to resin-print the bases there will be a great many pieces to assemble. Likewise for Plug Track in 7mm scale.

I had high hopes of creating a "3D template" on the Cameo cutter, which the base pieces would drop into. The Cameo has a work area which could easily cover a baseboard. Unfortunately it can't cut anything of the thickness needed for such an idea with sufficient accuracy, if at all. Or at least, I haven't been able to find a way of doing so.

So back to the timber flanges. Which could be extended in places to create a sort of "Lego" set of timbering bases for a layout, by adding locking connectors to the timber flange at strategic locations, which might look something like this:


timber_connector.png


All to be hidden under the ballast.

It's going to need some careful thought about dimensions and tolerances, because timbers can be at odd angles and spacings and not necessarily parallel. And some means to tell Templot where to split the 3-D export and add a connector.

Even for larger laser-cut plywood bases, some means to align the separate pieces would be desirable.

Much food for thought.

cheers,

Martin.
 
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Martin Wynne

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to create a sort of "Lego" set of timbering bases for a layout

Having introduced the Lego analogy, we may as well take it further. Just when you thought the DXF dialog was complex enough, here is another tickbox:

timbering_brick.png


A timbering "brick" is a single piece of timbering base (typically one that fits on a 3D printer work area) which will clip to other bricks to create the timbering base for a pointwork formation or an entire layout.

Ticking this box limits the DXF/STL timbering export to timbers wholly contained within the current export rectangle on the trackpad.

No effect on the rails, which would presumably be switched off when creating brick files.

Now we need a whole lot of functions to create numbered bricks on the trackpad, save and load them, and select which one is current for export, and add the clip connectors. Fortunately I'm wearing my programming shorts today...

Martin.
 
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Martin Wynne

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@murphaph

Hi Phil,

Welcome to Templot Club. :)

Always good to see 5ft-3in gauge here!

cheers,

Martin.
 
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Thanks for the warm welcome Martin. I look forward to following this thread in particular with great interest.

My long term plan is 21mm gauge but with EM tolerances to check rails rather than P4 ones. This is the "standard" described in Modelling Irish Railways.

I hope by the time I'm ready to start printing my track (still sounds like science fiction to me lol) that I'll be able to select these options in Templot though from what I understand you're leaning towards a configuration file rather than overloading the interface with check boxes, which probably makes sense given the number of combinations possible.
 
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Martin Wynne

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My long term plan is 21mm gauge but with EM tolerances to check rails rather than P4 ones. This is the "standard" described in Modelling Irish Railways.
@murphaph

Hi Phil,

There are some pre-sets in Templot for 5ft-3in gauge, although you can of course set any custom standard you wish:

em_5ft_3in.png


It doesn't include the standard you mentioned because I regard it as flawed, although I may add EM-SF(I) to take advantage of the Exactoscale 0.8mm check-rail chairs.

The golden rule is that to use an exact-scale track gauge you must also use exact-scale wheel profiles and flangeways, otherwise the wheels won't fit behind loco valve gear, inside splashers, behind axleboxes, etc. All H0 models are over scale width in the running gear for this reason. To use overscale wheel profiles, the track gauge must be reduced slightly if you want a scale-width model. Hence EM, 0-MF, etc.

As you probably know, there is about 20 years of my modelling life in the 21mm Adavoyle Junction layout -- although I recall spending most of my time working under the baseboards rather than on top: :)

2_050749_470000003.jpg


The pointwork was mostly built by Peter Taylor in 1983, with some contributions from the earliest beginnings of Templot. It's been in my thoughts recently because it was fully chaired riveted plywood -- we chaired it by injection moulding chairs in situ around the rivets using a hot-glue gun. I remember spending several evenings on the spark eroder making the injection tools. Joe Brook Smith was delighted when I showed him the chairing process at Scaleforum in 1986. I wonder what he would have made of the resin-printed chairs I made this week? The layout spent about 20 years on the exhibition circuit, and is now in the care of the South Dublin Model Railway Club.

More info and pics: https://85a.uk/GNRI/adavoyle.htm

cheers,

Martin.
 
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Paul Boyd

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Location
Loughborough, UK
@murphaph

Hi Phil,

There are some pre-sets in Templot for 5ft-3in gauge, although you can of course set any custom standard you wish:

View attachment 1732

It doesn't include the standard you mentioned because I regard it as flawed, although I may add EM-SF(I) to take advantage of the Exactoscale 0.8mm check-rail chairs.

The golden rule is that to use an exact-scale track gauge you must also use exact-scale wheel profiles and flangeways, otherwise the wheels won't fit behind loco valve gear, inside splashers, behind axleboxes, etc. All H0 models are over scale width in the running gear for this reason. To use overscale wheel profiles, the track gauge must be reduced slightly if you want a scale-width model. Hence EM, 0-MF, etc.

As you probably know, there is about 20 years of my modelling life in the 21mm Adavoyle Junction layout -- although I recall spending most of my time working under the baseboards rather than on top: :)

2_050749_470000003.jpg


The pointwork was mostly built by Peter Taylor in 1983, with some contributions from the earliest beginnings of Templot. It's been in my thoughts recently because it was fully chaired riveted plywood -- we chaired it by injection moulding chairs in situ around the rivets using a hot-glue gun. I remember spending several evenings on the spark eroder making the injection tools. Joe Brook Smith was delighted when I showed him the chairing process at Scaleforum in 1986. I wonder what he would have made of the resin-printed chairs I made this week? The layout spent about 20 years on the exhibition circuit, and is now in the care of the South Dublin Model railway Club.

More info and pics: https://85a.uk/GNRI/adavoyle.htm

cheers,

Martin.
Hi Martin

Adavoyle was one of those hugely inspirational layouts me for in the early to mid-1980s, and the late Tony Miles' series of articles on loco-building in Railway Modeller were probably the point at which I realised that we don't have to just stick RTR models on the rails and off you go. Definitely one of those very few layouts that has stuck in my mind, despite never having seen it in real life.

Cheers,
Paul
 
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Martin Wynne

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Adavoyle was one of those hugely inspirational layouts me for in the early to mid-1980s, and the late Tony Miles' series of articles on loco-building in Railway Modeller were probably the point at which I realised that we don't have to just stick RTR models on the rails and off you go. Definitely one of those very few layouts that has stuck in my mind, despite never having seen it in real life.
@Paul Boyd

Thanks Paul.

Unlike most 40-year-old layouts, you might still get to see it. Its actual 40th birthday will be next year, so maybe the club will be holding another open day:

http://sdmrc.ie/2019/06/

Of course it's difficult to pin down the exact birth date of a layout. But having decided to use domestic doors for the baseboards, the day Tony took the bathroom scales with him to the DIY store to weigh their entire stock of different doors sticks in the memory. :)

cheers,

Martin.
 
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Phil O

Member
Location
Plymouth.
I remember seeing Adavoyle a couple of times in the early eighties, but I don't remember which particular shows, one may have been Bristol or perhaps Kiddy. I certainly remember articles in the Modeller.
 
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