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 Some of the earlier pages of this topic are now out-of-date.

    Some pages of this topic 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.

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

Martin Wynne

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With 233a released, there is now an option to switch individual chairs on and off.

Which means you can get round my lamentable failure to get the special chairs done yet, by removing the sockets from the relevant timbers. Which could then have C&L/Exactoscale chairs used on them instead (use cyano superglue).

In other words, you can get this far in Plug Track now in 233a:
missing_chairs1.png

missing_chairs2.png



Which is quite a long way from where we started, but with still a long way to go. But a whole new year to do it in.

Happy Christmas Plug trackers. :)

Martin.
 
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Martin Wynne

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And some more buttons for flange control :)

Hi Steve,

We have 4 buttons for individual flange control:

flange_options.png


But none for the webs, which at present are linked to the end flanges. I have plenty of buttons for the webs, but no space for them on here. I have other ideas about what to do with them. :)

Martin.
 
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Martin Wynne

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Just to add for anyone using 233a for FDM printing, that I left the default shrinkage settings for my MINIBO printer (which actually needs a negative shrinkage correction, i.e. the uncorrected output is larger than the design size, probably due to stretching of the thin timing belts).

For a more usual FDM printer you will need to change the settings:

hot_fdm.png


Notice that since 233a I have now added another output option. I suspect the main difference in shrinkage factors will be caused by the build plate being heated or not (the MINIBO is cold), so it is now possible to keep some settings for both.

Another setting which will need some trial and error on your actual printer, is the fit tolerance for the brick connector clips:

connector_clip_clearance.png


You need a setting which allows the clips to fit closely together because they control the rail alignments and gauging across the brick boundaries. The claws can flex a fraction to ensure a close fit, but it should be only a fraction, so some trial and error is needed for the best results.

n.b. not all these settings are yet included in the saved custom data, at present you need to set them for each Templot session.

The BIBO printer was feeling neglected, so I have been tinkering with it again. I have changed the nozzle from 0.6mm back to 0.4mm so I can report my results with some expectation that they will match most other users' results, and also to match the MINIBO. The results from the two printers are now almost identical. I'm not sure what to make of that, bearing in mind that one cost about 6 times the other -- admittedly for a much larger build area and a proper robust cased construction.

cheers,

Martin.
 
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Hi, I have been watching this thread with interest over the past 6 months or so and have been experimenting with 3D printing and laser cutting, see latest results attached/below. I'm keen to create 3D CAD models of the various chairs so that I can resin print individual batches etc. I was wondering whether anyone had any 3D files of chairs they could share or dimensioned drawings from which I would create 3D models and then share in whatever format required?

I'm modelling 4mm with the intention of matching custom point work to Peco bullhead points and track.

Current process for timbers is to create plan within Templot, export 2D dxf timbers only, import dxf into AutoCAD, add positional sprues between timbers (to be removed later), send finished/block 2d dxf file to desktop laser cutter software and laser cut 1.6mm thick plywood.

templot post 02-01-2022.PNG


For Chairs I have managed to export 3D .stl files from Templot and successfully printed using Form3 resin printer but, I want to refine the chairs and create other chairs in a native 3D format. I can not modify .stl files and I have not been able to open/read any of the 3D dxf files out of Templot so, I was wondering whether another 3D format was available for the chairs e.g. step, .sat or .igs?

Terry
 
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Martin Wynne

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I'm keen to create 3D CAD models of the various chairs so that I can resin print individual batches etc. I was wondering whether anyone had any 3D files of chairs they could share or dimensioned drawings from which I would create 3D models and then share in whatever format required?
@Terry Downes

Hi Terry,

Welcome to Templot Club. :)

Drawings of the standard REA chairs can be downloaded from:

https://85a.uk/templot/club/index.php?resources/rea-bullhead-track-drawings.12/

Note that there are drawings for both 85lb and 95lb rail, don't get them mixed up. For code 75 bullhead you want the 95lb rail (BS-95R).

It's good to see the Templot exports being put to good use (p.s. in your photo you have the chairs in the timbers the wrong way round :) ).

I notice that you have provided your own printing supports for the chairs. Templot can do that for you, see:

https://85a.uk/templot/club/index.p...3d-printed-cnc-milled-laser-cut.229/post-2030

Timber webs under the rails can be difficult to remove without causing damage (the knife blade forces the timbers apart). Instead, Templot can add "sprues" to the ends of the timbers which are easily removed from track after laying, without damage (hold Xuron-type snips vertical):
sprues_2d.png


sprues_3d.png


To export the above, omit all the layers, and then switch back on just the 3 layers you want:

sprues_2d_settings.png


For the timber outlines and sockets Templot can set an allowance for the cutter kerf.

You should be able to open and edit the STL files in Fusion 360 (free for personal use). Or there are online converters to other formats.

The 3-D DXF files should open in any traditional CAD package -- I use TurboCAD.

For laser cutting use the 2-D DXF files, which can be opened in most CAD and drawing programs, such as Inkscape (free).

Sorry all this stuff is still extremely experimental in Templot and unfinished, and the docs have not yet been written (I'm not looking forward to doing that :( ). I'm currently working on the P slide chairs.

cheers,

Martin.
 
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What is the Flange Control for guys?

Awesome progress as usual Martin. Thanks so much for this herculean effort! I am a long way behind but following keenly...I'm tiling the floor of my model railway room at the moment lol!
 
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Martin Wynne

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@murphaph

Hi Phil,

Thanks.(y)

What is the Flange Control for guys?

Do you mean the timber flanges?

index.php


I added them to the FDM timbering bases mainly to stiffen the narrow plain track sleepers (10" wide) alongside the chair sockets (6" wide). It's arguable that they are not needed on the wider turnout crossing timbers (12" wide). But everything in Plug Track is optional so users can decide for themselves. The flanges can be switched on and off entirely via the layer settings in the DXF export, or on individual timbers via the shove timber settings:

index.php


Even on the crossing timbers there are some good reasons to keep the flanges:

1. some chairs are skewed on the turnout timbers, meaning the corners of the chair sockets come close to the edge of the timber.

2. the increased underside area of each timber gives a better grip on the FDM build plate.

3. the increased underside area of each timber is helpful in gluing the track to the trackbed.

4. instead of gluing, some users might prefer to spike the track to the trackbed, by engaging the head of the spike over the flange. The original 1950s Peco track spikes* are still available:

https://peco-uk.com/products/rail-spikes

This could be an attractive alternative means of tracklaying, or perhaps with small round-head screws instead of spikes. It would allow better control of track levelling, alignment and re-use than one-time gluing. It all gets lost under the ballast in the end.

5. where timbers are interlaced, the side flanges can replace the webs as a means of linking adjacent timbers. This is important where the webs would break into the sockets in the STL file:

web_conflicts.png


And instead:

web_conflicts1.png


6. By printing only the flanges, and not the timbers, you can create a timbering fret, or "3D template":
index.php

This would allow individual timbers to be placed with greater accuracy than a printed paper template. The fret could be removed from the underside afterwards in the same way as a paper templated, if desired.

*let's hope the spikes are still in production, and Peco are not simply using up the last binful they had delivered in 1957. :)

cheers,

Martin.
 
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Martin Wynne

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Thanks Martin. What do the flange prefixes mean, TS, MS etc?

Hi Phil,

Try clicking them to see? :)

Timber End flanges:
MS=Main Side of template​
TS=Turnout Side of template​

Timber Side flanges:
N=Near to CTRL-0 end of template​
F=Far from CTRL-0 end of template​

This terminology is used throughout Templot.

startup_pad.png


(That diagram has been on the web site for 20 years -- it could do with an update for Windows10.)

cheers,

Martin.
 
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Martin Wynne

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p.s. Phil,

They do explain themselves if you hover over them:

shove_flange_mouseover.png


I do try to add such hover-hints on anything which I think might not be self-explanatory, although I'm sure there are many places where I have never got round to it.

Martin.
 
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richard_t

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Location
nr Spalding
Hi, I have been watching this thread with interest over the past 6 months or so and have been experimenting with 3D printing and laser cutting, see latest results attached/below. I'm keen to create 3D CAD models of the various chairs so that I can resin print individual batches etc. I was wondering whether anyone had any 3D files of chairs they could share or dimensioned drawings from which I would create 3D models and then share in whatever format required?

I'm modelling 4mm with the intention of matching custom point work to Peco bullhead points and track.

Current process for timbers is to create plan within Templot, export 2D dxf timbers only, import dxf into AutoCAD, add positional sprues between timbers (to be removed later), send finished/block 2d dxf file to desktop laser cutter software and laser cut 1.6mm thick plywood.

View attachment 2923

For Chairs I have managed to export 3D .stl files from Templot and successfully printed using Form3 resin printer but, I want to refine the chairs and create other chairs in a native 3D format. I can not modify .stl files and I have not been able to open/read any of the 3D dxf files out of Templot so, I was wondering whether another 3D format was available for the chairs e.g. step, .sat or .igs?

Terry

I've got chair files for most types of chairs (based on the LNER permanent way book). But these are for 7mm, and I don't have access to the software used to create them (Autodesk Inventor) anymore to scale them. The files are massive as there are fillets/etc everywhere - they look pretty on screen, but as to how much practical use they are when it comes to 3D printing I'll find out in April when my Phrozen Sonic 8K Mini should have turned up ... perhaps it will be May/June before I take it out of it's box :confused:

A posted about them here.
 
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Martin Wynne

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@richard_t

Hi Richard,

Which has reminded me that you sent me those files, and I promised to have a go at 3D printing them on the Elegoo Mars. I'm very sorry that I forgot all about it, you should have reminded me. :(

I can't do any 3D printing today, but I will do them as soon as I can, or at least have a go.

cheers,

Martin.
 
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I've got chair files for most types of chairs (based on the LNER permanent way book). But these are for 7mm, and I don't have access to the software used to create them (Autodesk Inventor) anymore to scale them. The files are massive as there are fillets/etc everywhere - they look pretty on screen, but as to how much practical use they are when it comes to 3D printing I'll find out in April when my Phrozen Sonic 8K Mini should have turned up ... perhaps it will be May/June before I take it out of it's box :confused:

A posted about them here.
Hi Richard,
Your chairs look ideal. I was just about to start modelling these chairs from scratch but, would prefer to get a head start and import your models.

I'm a Mechanical Designer with Autodesk Inventor so, I can quickly import these, rescale and export in whatever format you require pretty quickly. If you could email me the native Inventor files .ipt or .iam then I'll get cracking. I also have a Form3 resin printer so, I can also test print a couple as well for you.

Terry. (terry at kosmik dot co dot uk)
 
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richard_t

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Location
nr Spalding
Hi

I'll try to email an L1 chair today (it's an assembly of the chair/key/bolt I think) - just to see if it works your end. As I've said they aren't "scaled" versions of the real thing, but more designed around the C&L 7mm rail, so I'm not sure how well they would directly scale from 7mm to 4mm. Also I was going to use separate keys for the special chairs around the crossing and switches as I don't think it's possible to assemble the crossing if the keys are present due to the various angles. For 4mm this would be shear folly, and I'd follow Exactoscale's approach (I think - I'd need to check), and have the chairs for these locations in 2 or more parts.

Finally the file was created in Inventor 2016 (I think), and it struggled at times with the variable fillets.

And this is what it should look like:

l1-chair-v3+key+bolts.png


Richard
 
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Martin Wynne

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@richard_t

Hi Richard,

That looks good. :)

This is Templot's programmatic model Plug Track equivalent L1 bridge chair (for C&L/EMGS code75 rail):

l1_chair_prog1.png


l1_chair_prog2.png


As you can see, the key has to be distorted to fit in the over-scale web thickness of the rail.

For easier threading there is a taper on the key to a central pressure-pad area. At present this is central on the key, but I'm hoping eventually to move it so that it is closer to being directly opposite the inner jaw when the key has a large offset (the offset is randomised, no two chairs are ever exactly the same).

That's easier said than done -- it means moving the key from the 3D data into the 2D data. It will have to stay as it is for now. If it causes problems there is a setting to limit the maximum key offset.

cheers,

Martin.
 
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@Terry Downes

Hi Terry,

Welcome to Templot Club. :)

Drawings of the standard REA chairs can be downloaded from:

https://85a.uk/templot/club/index.php?resources/rea-bullhead-track-drawings.12/

Note that there are drawings for both 85lb and 95lb rail, don't get them mixed up. For code 75 bullhead you want the 95lb rail (BS-95R).

It's good to see the Templot exports being put to good use (p.s. in your photo you have the chairs in the timbers the wrong way round :) ).

I notice that you have provided your own printing supports for the chairs. Templot can do that for you, see:

https://85a.uk/templot/club/index.p...3d-printed-cnc-milled-laser-cut.229/post-2030

Timber webs under the rails can be difficult to remove without causing damage (the knife blade forces the timbers apart). Instead, Templot can add "sprues" to the ends of the timbers which are easily removed from track after laying, without damage (hold Xuron-type snips vertical):
View attachment 2927

View attachment 2928

To export the above, omit all the layers, and then switch back on just the 3 layers you want:

View attachment 2926

For the timber outlines and sockets Templot can set an allowance for the cutter kerf.

You should be able to open and edit the STL files in Fusion 360 (free for personal use). Or there are online converters to other formats.

The 3-D DXF files should open in any traditional CAD package -- I use TurboCAD.

For laser cutting use the 2-D DXF files, which can be opened in most CAD and drawing programs, such as Inkscape (free).

Sorry all this stuff is still extremely experimental in Templot and unfinished, and the docs have not yet been written (I'm not looking forward to doing that :( ). I'm currently working on the P slide chairs.

cheers,

Martin.

Hi Martin, Thanks for the detailed sprue advise/suggestion. I'm happy with my latest test cut of 1.6mm thick plywood and just need to play around with the socket kerf and laser speed/power a little to get a snug fit with the resin chairs. Then I'm onto adjusting and printing Richard T's 3D chair files etc.

timber and sprue test.PNG


Terry
 
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Martin Wynne

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@Terry Downes

Hi Terry,

Looking good. (y)

Don't use the 2-D cutter kerf... setting to adjust the socket fit, otherwise you will get the wrong timber sizes. Adjust the kerf to get the correct timber outline size, and then use the chair/socket fit... button to set the socket clearance for a close fit on your plugs. The clearance can be negative if needed:

socket_fit.png


cheers,

Martin.
 
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Martin Wynne

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Sorry there was no update for a while, I've been busy with some electronics work.

But back on Templot today, working on the P chair (slide chair).

I've decided to go with the PJ version of the REA chair:

index.php


because it's a bit beefier and stronger on model rail sections. Maybe I could do the older P type later as an option.

p_chair1.png

Outer jaw still to do (you noticed :) ) but I've got the slide table and stock rail bolt and boss done. The bolt is at 1:20 to match the prototype, even though the model rail will be vertical.

The slide table is 7" wide, which means for REA switches the switch blade tip should align exactly with the edge of the table. Which will be a convenient guide when track building. The length of the chair and slide table is increased from the prototype to suit the model gauge/scale in use where needing an over-scale switch opening (for 00, EM, etc.).

The nut rotation on the stock rail bolt is part-randomised in 15-degree steps (the chair-screw heads are infinitely randomised).

I'm omitting the spring washer under the nut, the screw-thread on the exposed end of the bolt, and the domed end of it -- I have to draw a sensible line somewhere. Otherwise it will take forever and the STL file size will go through the roof.


p_chair2.png


p_chair3.png

Now to get the jaw done.

cheers,

Martin.
 
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Martin Wynne

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Some progress with the P slide chair.
p_chair5.png

p_chair4.png


In close-up the missing fillet radii and blends are very obvious, but not so much at normal viewing. They would take the STL file size through the roof -- I do want all the chairs for a timbering brick to be in a single STL file if possible. In any event the resin prints need a good scoosh of paint for UV protection, so it's pointless adding too much fine detail in the smaller scales.

p_chair6.png


p_chair7.png


You should be able to see the random nut rotations.

The missing sole plate is very obvious. I haven't yet decided whether to include that in the timber for FDM printing and CNC milling, or as a one-piece resin-printed insert comprising both chairs. The latter would look better and be doable in laser-cut timbers (provided the timber can drop lower into a slot in the trackbed), but it would need an accurate shrinkage adjustment to maintain the gauging.

Also the switch front chairs are often S1J joint chairs (likewise at joints in the closure rails) so they might be next on the list. The wider S1J sockets are another reason for the timber side flanges.

cheers,

Martin.
 
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