Experimental Plug Track: 3D-printed, CNC-milled, laser-cut

Paul Boyd

Member
Location
Loughborough, UK
@Steve_Cornford @Paul Boyd @Charles Orr @timbersgalore @ralphrobertson @Stephen Freeman @David Catton @AndyB @Phil O
@Hayfield @Guinea_Pig_Tester

I have created a new Club forum section specifically for Plug Track, and started a topic about using 229z:

https://85a.uk/templot/club/index.php?threads/extracting-a-timbering-brick-from-a-track-plan.295/

This is a new forum section, so if you want to receive emails from it, you will need to update your Watch settings accordingly. For how to do that, go to:

https://85a.uk/templot/archive/topics/topic_3839.php#p31676

I shall move this topic, and other relevant ones, to the new section in due course.

cheers,

Martin.
Thanks! I also need to investigate why I’ve not been getting Templot emails for a couple of weeks (I do check my junk folders regularly) until I got one for your post above just now!

In fact, looking back I’ve missed a lot! I’ve just unwatched and watched the thread again, making sure the email box is ticked, but I’ll have a proper check of all the forums when I get home.

Cheers,
Paul
 
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Martin Wynne

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Thanks! I also need to investigate why I’ve not been getting Templot emails for a couple of weeks (I do check my junk folders regularly) until I got one for your post above just now!
@Paul Boyd

Hi Paul,

No need to investigate, I can tell you.

A recent upgrade to the forum software undid some mods I made, without telling me. I found out only today, and restored them. I'm not best pleased about it, and XenForo will be getting a stroppy email from me. :)

cheers,

Martin.
 
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Paul Boyd

Member
Location
Loughborough, UK
@Paul Boyd

Hi Paul,

No need to investigate, I can tell you.

A recent upgrade to the forum software undid some mods I made, without telling me. I found out only today, and restored them. I'm not best pleased about it, and XenForo will be getting a stroppy email from me. :)

cheers,

Martin.
Ah, our letters crossed in the post! Thanks for that info, I won’t investigate!
 
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Martin Wynne

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Please do not send requests for help direct to me via email.

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@Paul Boyd

Hi Paul,

Sorry you missed stuff.

Most forum softwares are extremely insistent that you must visit the forum regularly and not rely on emails alone to keep up to date. It only recently dawned on me why -- most forum owners are heavily reliant on advertising and get paid for each click and page impression. In selling the forum software, a big sales point is how much more advertising revenue it can bring you than other forum softwares.

None of that is relevant to Templot Club -- I made a mod to send an email for every post in watched forums, regardless of whether you visit the web site or not. There is no actual admin option for that, I had to modify the core code. I need to be more vigilant in future that upgrades are not undoing my mods.

cheers,

Martin.
 
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Martin Wynne

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Martin Wynne

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Martin Wynne

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Hi Martin,
Now that my installed version of Templot is 229b, when I switch on experimental chairing the banner heading behind the buttons does not change colour to indicate experimental mode which was quite a good indicator.
Steve
 
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Martin Wynne

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Now that my installed version of Templot is 229b, when I switch on experimental chairing the banner heading behind the buttons does not change colour to indicate experimental mode which was quite a good indicator.
@Steve_Cornford

Hi Steve,

I've abandoned experimental mode, and reverted to normal updates for everyone.

I went for a walk and came back feeling less control-freakish. :)

I'm confident that Templot is working ok. But there is still a splash message when you export a 3-D file for the first time.

cheers,

Martin.
 
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Location
Sydney
Gday! Wow, I have just found this and with a large track plan and lots of hand built track to do plug track sounds amazing.
is the post no: 74 'get started in 3d' still relevant?
I got the curved B6 turnout that you start with to work once, but cant get anything on my track plan to work/export for the life of me.

Cheers!
Ben
 
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Martin Wynne

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Gday! Wow, I have just found this and with a large track plan and lots of hand built track to do plug track sounds amazing.
is the post no: 74 'get started in 3d' still relevant?
I got the curved B6 turnout that you start with to work once, but cant get anything on my track plan to work/export for the life of me.

Cheers!
Ben
@Captain_Mumbles

Hi Ben,

The whole Plug Track thing is still experimental and in development. It's been that way for several years and there is still a long way to go.

Yes, post #74 is still relevant. If you have a 3D resin printer you can use that method to make some REA S1 ordinary chairs:

https://85a.uk/templot/club/index.p...3d-printed-cnc-milled-laser-cut.229/post-2028

However, the only thing you can do with them is to build plain track. There is no point in trying to do a B-6 turnout, or any other turnout, because as yet none of the special chairs needed are available. If you try to print them they will just be broken and wrong, and leave bits of broken chair in your printer resin.

But today I have finally got back to working on the chairs, after spending the last few months on the timbering. Today I am working to finish the L1 bridge chairs.

You can if you wish experiment with creating the timbering base for a turnout, but bear in mind that the sockets will be wrong and a mess for anything other than the S1 and L1 chair positions. Timbering bases can be created using FDM (filament) printing, or CNC milling, or laser cutting. Or any other method you have access to. These separate topics are about creating timbering bases for Plug Track:

https://85a.uk/templot/club/index.php?threads/extracting-a-timbering-brick-from-a-track-plan.295/

https://85a.uk/templot/club/index.php?threads/cnc-miller-instead-of-laser-cutter.276/

If you make both S1 chairs and timbering bases you can experiment with the plug and socket sizes on your machines to get the desired fit -- and please report back here with your results. :) It makes sense to do that only for plain track if you want a result which can actually be used on your layout.

cheers,

Martin.
 
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Hi Ben,
I have been reading your RMWEB postings and can see that you have been making progress with soldered track construction.
When you say you cant get it to work/export what exactly are you trying to export?
You do know that this is all Experimental and only one type of chair is available, so not really a practical proposition for producing turnouts.
To export any of the stuff Martin has been Exprimenting with, you need to:-
Real > Chairing / 3D > then change the option from "no chairing" to "experimental chairing"
But do not do this with your master track plan without making sure you have a BCAKUP first, as at the moment any chnages you make after this are not supported by Martin as it is all experimental.
Once you have finished experimenting, exit Templot and restart Templot before you do any "real" amendments!
Once you have switche don experimental chairing, you should be able to export a vriety of either 2-D or 3-D files, depending upon whta you are trying to achieve.
Can you tell us what it is you want to achieve, bearing in mind it is only experimental at this stage, and I will try and help.
Steve
 
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Martin Wynne

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I have been giving more thought to the design of the plugs. With the present tapered design it is too easy to get the plug jammed at a cocked angle when pressing it home. A deeper bottom inset section makes it much easier to locate and loosely engage the chair over the socket when spacing the chairs along the rail, and provides a better lead-in when pressing it home:

inset_plugs.png

The snag is that it needs deeper sockets and consequently thicker timbers. These plugs are 7" deep overall (scale) needing timbers at least 8" thick to be sure of a bottom clearance for the 3D printing supports. That means FDM timbers 2.7mm thick in 4mm scale, and through sockets in 3mm MDF for CNC milling. That seems ok to me, but for laser-cutting it is likely to need a separate socketed trackbed sub-layer.

All the dimensions are adjustable for those who prefer thinner timbers and have nimble fingers to get the chairs level in the sockets. Or prefer a looser fit in shallow sockets with adhesive.

Notice also on the left that the L1 bridge chairs now have inner jaws. At long last I've been able to get back to working on the chairs. :)

These drawings may be of interest. I have overlaid the REA S1 (red) and L1 (blue) chairs to see where they differ:

s1_l1_overlaid1.png


s1_l1_overlaid2.png


(The "T" shaped component in fresh air is the outline of a locking bar in the depressed position.)

cheers,

Martin.
 
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Location
Sydney
Gday!!
@Martin Wynne, @Steve_Cornford
To be honest I selfishly just wanted to export one of my B7 or 9 just to see how it came out on our gear at work, (filament for timbers and resin for chairs) and see if I could use some of the parts on some turnouts I am making. Fill in the gaps. Or, even take out what cant be used and fill it in with the hand made stuff. I really am enjoying the building of turnouts, even find it quite tranquil but it is good to try new things too.

I also just wondered if I could add any data to make the Peco code 75 option available, as I have a lot of it, (and others might too?) I saw that I can adjust parameters to work with it.

I am on the other side of the planet (Aus, HO, non bullhead land) and although really happy with the service of the UK shops, it can take time waiting for parts. (20 something quid, 40-50aud shipping starts to hurt a bit after a while too!) So being able just to print chair parts (even if they are not completely correct) is still a head start in some ways and probably doesnt effect the overall look of it too much. It beats cutting chairs off my stash of sprare Peco code 75 sleepers so I can carry on while I wait for mail.

Apologies for the slight hijack of the thread. Will simply go to the post 74, start there. I must have just been having finger trouble.

Thanks!
Ben
 
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Martin Wynne

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@Captain_Mumbles

Hi Ben,

I'm afraid you are jumping ahead of me. I doubt you will have any joy attempting to create a usable turnout at present. :(

I released the experimental stuff I'm working on simply so that folks could see what I'm doing, and tinker about with their own machines to see what can be achieved with them, and provide some feedback about the results. There is no way any of it is yet ready to be put to any actual use -- even for what I have done so far there is still much trial and error needed just to arrive at some usable default settings. I tried to make this clear from the start, but I find explaining such things a constant battle of wits.

If you try again in say 12 months time, it may then be possible to create a B-7 turnout from 3D printed parts with just a few clicks, and also print the rail filing and bending jigs needed. But not yet.

cheers,

Martin.
 
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Hayfield

Member
Location
Essex
Okay @Martin Wynne, all noted.
Love your work all the same. Its amazing what you do.
Cheers!

Why not join the EMGS, you will have access to the stores where the rail timbers (plastic or wood) and chairs are available at reasonable prices. There are also some 4mm scale bullhead chairs available on Shapeways, they came out fine from the USE printers but the Dutch printers were not printed very well
 
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Martin Wynne

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Martin Wynne

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Are slide chairs going to be relatively easy with only one jaw?
@Steve_Cornford

Hi Steve,

They shouldn't be more difficult than any other type of slide chairs. The usual method is to fix the stock rail with an adhesive. Just which adhesive works best for nickel-siver to 3D-resin is yet to be discovered. :)

I imagine one of high-strength industrial Loctites will be best, but which one is still unknown (at least by me).

Unlike the other chairs, the slide chairs can be plugged in in advance, separately from the rail.

For the switch block chairs, and other chairs which carry two rails, my plan at present is make the chairs in two halves, plugging separately into a single socket. This idea is more feasible with chairs having a solid plug than it would be for existing moulded chairs. The entire aim is to construct pointwork by dropping rails in vertically as on the prototype, without ever needing to slide rail sideways through fixed chairs. There is no other way of building complex pointwork with bent knuckle rails or rails linking between multiple crossings.

An adhesive will also be needed for some of the pointwork furniture I'm hoping to 3D-print -- spacer blocks, switch anchors, bolt-heads, fishplates. For the soleplates I'm planning to include them in the FDM print. For laser-cut and CNC milled timbers they might be resin printed to fit in a large aperture in the toe timber, with the chairs plugging through them.

As I may have mentioned, there is still a long way to go. :)

cheers,

Martin.
 
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