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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 Some of the earlier pages of this topic are now out-of-date.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.

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

Quick reply >
Hi Martin,
I am hoping that you will retain the option to print chairs and timbers separately, as my preference is to be able to paint the chairs and timbers with different colours and it makes life easier if that is done before assembly.

As far as bed fltness is concerned is that really an issue? Do we worry about the flatness of the trackbed to those tolerances?
How flat are the components of out trackbed, plywood, layer of glue, cork, then another layer of glue for the timbers?
Just being a devils advocate here!

What you have produced so far has been very practical, and relatively easy to assemble, even the separate jaws. I am really looking forward to being able to print some check chairs the design of which you have appeared to crack.

As for the crossing chairs for a simple turnout, are there any particular designs problems that you are facing?
Appart from the reams of coding required that is!

Resin printing
I have been wondering about the possibility of speeding up the after print draining process.
After rpinting \i might try replacing the build plate knob with a suitable piece of studding, then inserting the end of the studding into an electric drill and then slowly spinning the build plate in a round plastic bowl as a home made centrifuge and let centripetal force do the rest. All this talk of marbles and cheese cutters have made my mid race.

All this written because my eggs were scrambled this morning!
Steve
@Steve_Cornford

Hi Steve,

No option will be abandoned, apart from the ones which don't work!

I still see FDM-printed or laser-cut bases as the standard approach, because those are the only options where the build area is large enough to be practical in affordable machines. Whether you choose to print whole timbers or individual chairs is all down to the tick-boxes. The whole-timbers approach is only feasible with loose jaws, and I can see some users will prefer the original bash-fit slide-on solid chairs option. Also you are not going to get very many whole timbers on the build plate of the little Mars printers, compared with doing a couple of hundred chairs in one go.

The delay to the crossing chairs is just down to me not getting on with it, there is no specific problem that I'm aware of (yet). I had to back-track a bit to do the fictional SC chairs to create the parts needed, but I just need to eliminate distractions now and get on with it. I used up a day of computer time editing the Zoom recording for last week, for example.

The question of how flat does track need to be depends on the wheel standards. In RTR 00 you can even lay track on the carpet! But in P4 a flat baseboard is essential. The overall height of finished track does depend on various factors, glue thickness, etc., but it needs to be consistent and repeatable. I still remember Tony Miles measuring the thickness of Sundeala sheets at all 4 corners with a micrometer, to the surprise of the shop assistant. :)

I used the power drill in a bucket centrifuge method when degreasing injection-moulded parts to remove the release agent from the moulding process. It works quite well, but does need to be fast. I can see you retrieving resin chairs from the far corners of the workshop! For drying after IPA washing I use my air blaster through an open window:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dusters-EG-1000-UK-Electric-Air-Duster/dp/B073F9NY1X/

A hair-dryer should work too.

cheers,

Martin.
 
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@Terry Downes

p.s. Terry,

Looking at your STL rendering, did you miss out the mesh fix? STL files from Templot need to be fixed via this free online service before 3D printing:

https://www.formware.co/onlinestlrepair

There is a link on the export dialog:

View attachment 5110

I also have a paid-for local copy of the Formware fixer. If your file(s) are too large and time out on the online tool, I'm happy to fix them for you. Just post your STL in this topic and I will post the fixed version back.

Everything is in a bit of a tangle because some users such as yourself are eager to start using the plug track designs while I am still developing them and they are unfinished. I'm happy for you to do that, but you must understand that some bits are still only stuck on with blue-tack and might drop off at any moment. :)

cheers,

Martin.
Hi Martin,
Yes you are correct I had not bothered about the stl repair as I was just checking processes and import functions into my CAD etc. I've just had a play around with dxf import into SolidWorks and 'Bingo' I had some template assembly file issues which I've fixed and here is the result. Templot 3d dxf imported into SolidWorks which gives me the ability to alter the 3d model, turn chairs, loose jaws on/off and add custom chairs. Now to try and resin print a sample with random chairs and/or jaws missing (as circled) with a few separate printed jaws etc. Now to see if I can remember how to fire up the Formlabs Form3 printer.

1676915128435.png
 

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@Terry Downes

Hi Terry,

That's looking good! :)

You seem to have imported a Templot 3D DXF into SolidWorks, after previously saying that wasn't possible.

Can I tell users that Templot DXFs can be imported into a bog-standard copy of SolidWorks, or did that require some add-on or other extra function or package?

You wouldn't believe how difficult it is to get definitive information about anything at all which I can pass on to Templot users, without actually buying myself every printer, scanner, software and ball of string.

I see that SolidWorks have a cloud-based version for hobbyists ("makers") at the same cost as DSM Creator (£10 per month):

https://www.solidworks.com/solution/3dexperience-solidworks-makers

With the restriction that files are in the cloud and watermarked, and can only be used for private and non-commercial purposes (similar to Fusion360, which is free).

Whereas DSM is an ordinary local Windows exe, files are stored on your own computer, and can be used for any purpose including full commercial use.



P.S. JUST TO EXPLAIN for everyone to avoid confusion -- YOU DON'T NEED any of the above for Plug Track, the files from Templot are ready to use for 3D printing. You don't need any CAD programs or CAD skills.

Misinformation will spread across the internet and forums out of control if I don't try to keep a lid on it by repeating this stuff over and over again. :(



The options you mention, to edit individual chairs and use custom chair designs will eventually be in Templot too. There is already an option to omit individual chairs on a specific timber, and change the direction and randomness of the keys:

omit_a_chair.png


cheers,

Martin.
 
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Bed of nails:

bed_of_nails1.png


bed_of_nails.png


The idea is that you can place a collection of timbers on there, or any flat object, in any position. And they will then be supported for printing. The size of the raft is set by adding a rectangle in the background shapes.

That's enough digressions. I must get back to the chairs. :)

cheers,

Martin.
 
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When conducting an experiment you have to be ready for unwelcome results. :(

It's now several months since I first started bash-fitting the chairs into FDM-printed timbers. Today I have noticed that some of the first ones I did are now loose enough to be pulled out quite easily from the timbers, or pushed out easily from below. Despite having been originally a tight bash fit needing a tap from a pin hammer.

I have measured the plugs and I can't find any significant shrinkage, nor changes in the dimensions of unused sockets. Chairs which have been removed are just as tight-fitting in unused sockets as they were originally.

The conclusion has to be that the looseness is caused by plastic flow of the PLA bases. Bash-fitting deforms the socket slightly, and as might have been expected with a thermoplastic material, it will flow over time under stress.

One of my main motivations in developing the plug track was to find a means of chaired bullhead track building which didn't involve the dreadful pong of butanone and the other common modelling solvents. Chairs which would press-fit firmly into position without adhesive seemed an ideal solution, much quicker and cleaner to use.

But if they come loose after 6 months, what might they be like after 6 years?

It might be possible to make them a clip-fit rather than a bash-fit, with a ridge and groove recessed locking design of some sort. But I'm not sure FDM printing is doable for that at 0.05mm resolution, although it would be worth some experiments. The disadvantage I see there is that if you accidentally clip a chair into the wrong socket, getting it back out would be very difficult. At least with a bash fit it can be pulled out with pliers, even if it does scrap the chair in the process.

So slowly but inexorably I think I have to accept a glued assembly.

But which glue, and how applied? There doesn't seem to be any common solvent for the UV resin or PLA materials, so it probably needs a solidifying sealant of some kind. It doesn't need to be quick-set, if we retain the bash-fit initial assembly. The easiest and cleanest to apply would be a sealant such as low-viscosity cyano superglue, or nail varnish, or similar?, applied into the sockets around the underside of the plugs after assembly. The lower part of the plug could have a groove around it to assist in creating a locking seal. Maybe ordinary enamel paint would do? Or maybe:

https://howesmodels.co.uk/product/humbrol-precision-poly-30ml/

which wouldn't have any significant solvent affect, it would just set as a solid cement, but is easy to apply cleanly in small amounts and thin enough to penetrate small gaps.

Whereas applying something into the sockets in advance, or dipping the plugs into something, makes the initial assembly process much messier. It might also clog the slots for the loose jaw pins. But in order to apply something to the underside after assembly, the track must be assembled on the bench, rather than in situ on the baseboard. That's fine by me, but I know some folks prefer to build track in situ.

Lots to think about, more experiments to conduct, and Amazon won't mind. :)

cheers,

Martin.
 
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Martin,

How about a drop of Loctite 6**, I can't remember the last numbers as used to secure Alan Gibson Wheels and crank pins? The joint can be broken, with some effort, or so I'm led to believe.
 
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Martin,

How about a drop of Loctite 6**, I can't remember the last numbers as used to secure Alan Gibson Wheels and crank pins? The joint can be broken, with some effort, or so I'm led to believe.
Hi Phil,

You’re probably thinking of 601 or 603, both of which I believe need a ferrous substrate to cure.

Cheers,
Paul
 
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Hi Martin,

If you are using both UV resin and thermo plastic a slow acting two part epoxy would be best.
Finding a poly glue which bonds different types of plastics is very hard to do.

PLA has some issues with deforming over time due to moisture, heat and internal stresses.

Matt M.
 
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Hi Martin,

Have you tried Plastic Magic? In the past I have used this on PLA with some success but never tried it on PLA and resin so I don't know if it would work.

Ralph
@ralphrobertson

Hi Ralph,

That sounds like dichloromethane, or some equally smelly solvent? I'm hoping to avoid such things, at least for my own use, because I find them so unpleasant to have open in front of me for long periods. Isopropanol (IPA), acetone, and butyl acetate (Humbrol Poly), i.e. the pear drops smells, are not too bad, but the chlorinated solvents do affect me badly. I think it's a hangover from my chain-making days 50 years ago, when we used them quite freely to degrease chain before welding and to extinguish small fires around the welding machines. Not much H&S in those days -- one colleague was badly burned when an hydraulic line burst on a welding machine. There was a mad rush to convert all the welders to a water-based hydraulic fluid after that.

I think maybe I was over-thinking the chair fixing problem. The chairs don't need any adhesive to fix them initially, they are a firm bash-fit in the FDM timbering base. We just need a sealant of some sort to penetrate around the tapered plug to prevent them coming loose months later.

Yesterday I found an unopened Humbrol tinlet of white enamel paint which must be at least 25 years old. It had completely settled in the tin, so I stirred it clockwise for a fortnight, and then anticlockwise for a week, until it looked usable again. I found the loosest chairs of those I had been testing -- almost loose enough to fall out of the timber if turned upside down. I added a drop of the white enamel using a cocktail stick into the underside of the sockets around the plugs, and left it for 6 months to see what happened. Well actually I left it overnight in a warm place. :)

The result this morning is that I can't budge them with any normal level of force. Maybe I could with more Weetabix and a 2-pound hammer.

This is how the tapered plugs fit the sockets in the timbers:

plug_socket_fit_space.png


You can see that there is plenty of void space for a penetrating sealant applied from below to grip around the plug, and it can also help to seal the loose jaw pin in place. I had in mind to put a groove in the lower side of the plug to assist the process, but based on the results from the white enamel it's not needed (other colours are available).

So maybe the problem is solved? I've been hearing that Humbrol enamels have been withdrawn for H&S reasons and replaced with water-based acrylics, but no doubt there is plenty left in stock at the back of model shops and modellers cupboards. Easily applied with a disposable cocktail stick.

cheers,

Martin.
 
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think I had some Plastic Magic but it went "off". I don't remember any smell in particular. I have a tube of something similar called Perfect Putty by Deluxe, which says it is suitable for all plastics and resins. It does say low odour and I cannot smell anything, mind you, post-covid I continue to be challanged in that respect and it's sometime since I had it.
May be worth a try.
 
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I have now tried this stuff as a plug/socket sealant:
Humbrol-Precision-Poly-Cement.jpg

As supplied it is useless. It is too thick to penetrate gaps, and the bore of the needle dispenser is too small -- it clogs up within seconds.

However, after diluting it with Humbrol Liquid Poly (ratio about 2 parts thick to 1 part liquid, for which there is space in the bottle), and discarding the metal needle, it works ok. The hole in the cap after removing the needle will deliver just about the right sized drop, which will flash down into the socket around the plug. The needle can act as a bottle stopper to prevent the hole clogging up, and its sleeve seals over it.

After a couple of hours in a warm place, chairs which were very loose require some force to remove, and no doubt if left longer would get stronger. There appears to be a very slight solvent effect on the PLA base, but nothing that I can detect on the resin chair.

But the result doesn't seem to be any better than my 25-year-old tin of Humbrol enamel, which cost nothing (now), can be applied with more precision using a cocktail stick, can be left with the lid off for an hour or two, and most importantly DOESN'T SMELL. I now have a workshop smelling very strongly of butyl acetate (pear drops) from the short time the Humbrol stuff was exposed.

That's definitely enough distractions -- for the rest of this evening I'm working on the chairs! I have had a boiled egg. :)

cheers,

Martin.
 
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Some feedback regarding resin bases. Some months ago I stuck some resin bases onto a cork trackbed with Gorilla wood glue. They are still firmly attached.
I also glued some plywood sleepers down with a sparse application of Gorilla wood glue using locator plugs that were removed after about 20 minutes.
The locator plugs were pulled out with the aid of pliers.
The next day I then bash fitted some resin chairs that had been threaded onto rail, and these are still firmly in place.
I suppose if we were doing an accurate experiment we ought to devise a method of measuring the force required to un-plug the chairs!

I am also wondering whether during the course of ballasting some portion of whatever diluted adhesive is used would find its way by capillary action into the interstices between chairs and timbers?

I reported on Wednesday evening that Lidl was out of eggs :(, but I did manage to purchase a set of the electrostatic tweezers that you recommended :)

Today we managed to buy half a dozen eggs in the village of Firle along with some sweet pea seedlings:)
 
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Some feedback regarding resin bases. Some months ago I stuck some resin bases onto a cork trackbed with Gorilla wood glue. They are still firmly attached.
I also glued some plywood sleepers down with a sparse application of Gorilla wood glue using locator plugs that were removed after about 20 minutes.
The locator plugs were pulled out with the aid of pliers.
The next day I then bash fitted some resin chairs that had been threaded onto rail, and these are still firmly in place.
I suppose if we were doing an accurate experiment we ought to devise a method of measuring the force required to un-plug the chairs!

I am also wondering whether during the course of ballasting some portion of whatever diluted adhesive is used would find its way by capillary action into the interstices between chairs and timbers?

I reported on Wednesday evening that Lidl was out of eggs :(, but I did manage to purchase a set of the electrostatic tweezers that you recommended :)

Today we managed to buy half a dozen eggs in the village of Firle along with some sweet pea seedlings:)
@Steve_Cornford

Hi Steve,

Thanks for the info. I would think that if the chairs start off a tight fit in plywood, they would likely stay that way unless the plywood got wet for long periods. It might then warp and distort, but it doesn't "flow" like plastic materials and change dimensions under stress. It's very possible that the ballasting adhesive would help to lock the chairs in place too.

With the milled MDF timbers, I found that I could brush some water-based sanding sealer around the chairs in situ, in a similar manner to using a solvent on plastic parts. The sanding sealer soaked from view into the MDF to harden it and seal the chairs in place. They are still there. If you did find the chairs coming loose in plywood you might be able to do the same, see:

https://85a.uk/templot/club/index.php?threads/cnc-milled-timbers-instead-of-laser-cut.276/post-2720

I've also remembered this stuff, which seems to work well as an adhesive when fitting chairs which are a loose fit to start with, but I think it's too thick to have a penetrating action as a sealant afterwards:

https://85a.uk/templot/club/index.php?threads/building-3d-track.520/post-4755

I also now suspect it's a very expensive way of buying ordinary waterproof wood glue!

Glad you got some eggs -- I've got mine under lock and key. :)

cheers,

Martin.
 
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Back to the chairs. :)

I mentioned that in order to fit loose jaws in the switch block chairs they would need to be in one piece, instead of the previous 2 separate half-chairs. This is the new 3P chair:

new_3p_chair.png


The blue outers -- A on the switch rail and B on the stock rail, are the loose jaws+keys. Everything else is in one piece.

You will have noticed a gap in the middle where solid cast iron should be. :(

There's a reason for that. I've tried a few ideas to get round it, but none worked. As the loose jaw A is inserted in its slot, it must flex outwards to allow the key to pass the rail head and clip back into the rail web. Without a gap in the middle, in so doing the jaw would collide with the opposite fixed inner jaw on the stock rail, preventing it from going fully down into position.

You can't see the pin slot in this view, but it is parallel with the switch rail to allow the pin to flex away from the rail without twisting.

The solution is to leave a gap, and print a small filler piece to be inserted in the gap afterwards. It's not critical, the trains will run without it, and hardly anyone will notice. But you and I will know it's missing, and be unable to sleep at night until we have done something about it. It would have the advantage of locking the loose jaw firmly in place, and if a close fit not need any glue.

The gap is 7/8th inch wide (0.3mm at 4mm/ft) -- more tweezers needed!

All the jaws 3P to 11P will be the same, with A getting progressively wider as the opposite jaw and the gap remain constant.

There is no loose jaw A on the 1P and 2P chairs, it is a fixed support without a key. But there is no jaw on the other side of the rail on those chairs*, which allows the model rail to be flexed into position.

The loose jaw B is interchangeable on all other 4-screw chairs, including the fictional SC chair.

The loose jaw A however will be unique to this chair and not usable on any other. Some careful recording of the contents of the 3D raft will need to be kept.

The filler piece will be one fixed size for all the switch chairs.

If you don't like loose jaws and prefer solid chairs, it will be necessary to have both rails in the chair at the same time, for vertical bash-fitting. But for most single turnouts, it would be possible to slide the switch rail into place afterwards. With the loose jaw option switched off, there will be no gap in the middle of the chair.

If I can make a bit more progress in the next day or two, we can perhaps have a chat about this stuff in the Zoom meeting on Wednesday.

*except on the very long E and F switches, which are inside-keyed on those chairs. They can be loose -jawed when I get to them, but some thought will be needed to ensure they clear model wheel flanges.

cheers,

Martin.
 
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.
Just to add to that, as you might have guessed there are some more tick-boxes. I can't remember how many of these were in 236d:

new_3p_chair2.png


The above combination does this:

new_3p_chair1.png


Solid jaws (and no middle gap) for the switch rail, loose jaws on the stock rail. Everything above would be a one-piece chair, the colours are just for clarity.

For those who might find inserting loose jaws between the rails too fiddly. But if you do this, for vertical plugging you would need to install the switch rail before the stock rail. Or slide the switch rail in afterwards instead of vertical plugging.

It's getting to be an increasingly complex set of options. I will add some buttons to set up the most frequently required combinations in one go.

There looks to be some tweaking needed to get the middle jaws to blend nicely at the centre. I might leave that until I have got the crossing chairs done. It's likely there will be lots of such final tweaking to do. It will barely notice in 4mm scale, but might do in the larger scales.

cheers,

Martin.
 
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@Terry Downes

Hi Terry,

That's looking good! :)

You seem to have imported a Templot 3D DXF into SolidWorks, after previously saying that wasn't possible.

Can I tell users that Templot DXFs can be imported into a bog-standard copy of SolidWorks, or did that require some add-on or other extra function or package?

You wouldn't believe how difficult it is to get definitive information about anything at all which I can pass on to Templot users, without actually buying myself every printer, scanner, software and ball of string.

I see that SolidWorks have a cloud-based version for hobbyists ("makers") at the same cost as DSM Creator (£10 per month):

https://www.solidworks.com/solution/3dexperience-solidworks-makers

With the restriction that files are in the cloud and watermarked, and can only be used for private and non-commercial purposes (similar to Fusion360, which is free).

Whereas DSM is an ordinary local Windows exe, files are stored on your own computer, and can be used for any purpose including full commercial use.



P.S. JUST TO EXPLAIN for everyone to avoid confusion -- YOU DON'T NEED any of the above for Plug Track, the files from Templot are ready to use for 3D printing. You don't need any CAD programs or CAD skills.

Misinformation will spread across the internet and forums out of control if I don't try to keep a lid on it by repeating this stuff over and over again. :(



The options you mention, to edit individual chairs and use custom chair designs will eventually be in Templot too. There is already an option to omit individual chairs on a specific timber, and change the direction and randomness of the keys:

View attachment 5116

cheers,

Martin.
Hi Martin,
I'm currently using SolidWorks 2022 'standard' so, I think you can safely state that Templot 3d DXF's and STL files can be imported into SolidWorks.
I'm also using Fusion 360 (free) so, I will have a play around with Fusion templates and see if I can import into that as well.
 
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@Terry Downes

Hi Terry,

That's looking good! :)

You seem to have imported a Templot 3D DXF into SolidWorks, after previously saying that wasn't possible.

Can I tell users that Templot DXFs can be imported into a bog-standard copy of SolidWorks, or did that require some add-on or other extra function or package?

You wouldn't believe how difficult it is to get definitive information about anything at all which I can pass on to Templot users, without actually buying myself every printer, scanner, software and ball of string.

I see that SolidWorks have a cloud-based version for hobbyists ("makers") at the same cost as DSM Creator (£10 per month):

https://www.solidworks.com/solution/3dexperience-solidworks-makers

With the restriction that files are in the cloud and watermarked, and can only be used for private and non-commercial purposes (similar to Fusion360, which is free).

Whereas DSM is an ordinary local Windows exe, files are stored on your own computer, and can be used for any purpose including full commercial use.



P.S. JUST TO EXPLAIN for everyone to avoid confusion -- YOU DON'T NEED any of the above for Plug Track, the files from Templot are ready to use for 3D printing. You don't need any CAD programs or CAD skills.

Misinformation will spread across the internet and forums out of control if I don't try to keep a lid on it by repeating this stuff over and over again. :(



The options you mention, to edit individual chairs and use custom chair designs will eventually be in Templot too. There is already an option to omit individual chairs on a specific timber, and change the direction and randomness of the keys:

View attachment 5116

cheers,

Martin.
Hi Martin, maybe another useful tickbox/function here would be the ability to show/omit loose keys for each chair. This would facilitate loose key holes being selectable/printed for some difficult to thread chairs rather than all chairs.
 
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Hi Martin, maybe another useful tickbox/function here would be the ability to show/omit loose keys for each chair. This would facilitate loose key holes being selectable/printed for some difficult to thread chairs rather than all chairs.
@Terry Downes

Hi Terry,

Yes, that is already planned. That's what this details... button is for:

chair_details_button.png


At present it doesn't do anything. When it works you will be able to select a timber in the shove timbers dialog, and change all the details of each individual chair. Change the type of chair, use your own custom chairs, change the 3D export options, loose jaws, edit the dimensions, change to flat-bottom baseplates and fixings, everything.

But as I may have mentioned, the whole thing is still experimental and being developed. :)

I don't even know yet whether those details will be saved in the BOX file or in a separate file format. I have provisionally called this function "heaving" chairs, but I may yet think of something better.

There is a maximum of 4 native chairs on each timber. If you want more they will have to be captured using the timbering brick functions from a different template. In which case you would have to swap to that template to make the above adjustments. It might be a dummy template just for the purpose. The hide outline buttons are for timbers which have had their chairs captured by a different template. I seem to remember making a video about captured chairs some time ago.

cheers,

Martin.
 
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This is the new 1P and 2P one-piece switch chair:

new_1p_chair.png


This means that I have finished going backwards, and can get back to the crossing chairs. :)

All of the chairs done so far can now have a loose-jaw option if desired.

cheers,

Martin.
 
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@James Walters @Charles Orr

Hi James, Charles,

Good to chat last night -- many thanks. I think I have decided to get myself a laser cutter, although I shall be looking for some advice on which one! Thanks Charles.

Thanks for the better photo. I've been thinking about your ideas. The pip gap on the end of the timber is easy to do -- IF applied to the Templot kerf line. You could set the kerf width to zero if it is important to use the actual timber outline. We need names for this stuff so that it can be dimensioned in the dialogs. I have provisionally called the pip a "nib". *

Your gapped semi-circles are trickier. I have provisionally called this device a "gate". How does this look? Dimension a can be consistent and set as narrow as required to break easily. Two breaks, so could be narrower than the nibs? Dimension b is difficult to control because it is affected by the timber spacing. b would be variable:

nib_gate.png


Also straight cut lines are much easier than curved.

Just a first stab at the idea. :)

*p.s. -- I had the word "pip" in mind for something else:

2_091641_110000000.png

(3D-printed bases for Exactoscale/C&L chairs)

cheers,

Martin.
 
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Martin,
I think you've come-up up with a typically practical arrangement there. An option to de-select the gate feature such that the waste drops out at the cutting stage might also be of benefit.
In my own case, I wanted to retain the waste during the building phase as it offered somewhere to place the chair labels. I suspect that for many they wouldn't be necessary. At the time I was thinking about something which might be a stepping stone to help a new-comer to turnout building - I still think there is a use case for some, because I still am a newcomer! :)

Also, second the motion of the 'nib' naming.
 
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@James Walters

Hi James,

The easy way for identification of timber numbers, chairs, etc., is the same as for 3D printing and CNC milling, and the same as we have been doing since the beginning of Templot for riveted plywood rivet centres and general trackbuilding -- print a paper template on school tracing paper and lay it on top of the work. Inkjet printers work fine on tracing paper provided you feed single sheets at a time:


rivet_centres_tracing.png


More info: https://85a.uk/templot/archive/topics/topic_283.php

Since writing the above 15 years ago, we now also have the option of adding the symbols to the printed templates:
index.php


More info: https://85a.uk/templot/club/index.php?threads/tip-of-the-day-construction-symbols.451/

With the benefit of a boiled egg for breakfast, there is an easier solution for the "gates" which is independent of timber length in addition to the timber spacing (easier to program):

nib_gate1.png


The "gates" gaps could be set to any required width, and/or omitted if not wanted (or only one of them omitted).

cheers,

Martin.
 
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That's a great solution. There should be more boiled eggs in the world.

Agreed re. the annotations native within Templot. In my case above I'd removed only the timber vectors from Templot and was adding my own annotations to aid my personal naivety whilst experimenting.
That being the case the gates could be done away with, and the scrap pieces left behind during the cutting process.
However, there is still a valid use case for gates retaining the scrap, in that it prevents the waste dropping out onto the laser bed which can be a faff, especially when small bits drop into the voids on a honeycomb machine bed.
I routinely include 'nibs' on lasered parts for this very reason - it's much easier to pop scrap into the bin directly from the fret and it helps to keep the machine tidy.
 
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@James Walters

Hi James,

Another day, another tick-box. :)

The "gate" gaps are now called "snibs" (a window latch):

nibs_snibs1.png


nibs_snibs2.png


Set any/all of the 4 snib spaces to zero if not wanted. Nib length is the distance away from the timber.

Defaults are my best guess?

All ignored in 3-D files.

cheers,

Martin.
 
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@James Walters

Hi James,

First try in the DXF:
nibs_snibs3.png


nibs_snibs4.png


Trying to replicate the cutter kerf with line thickness in CAD.

It needs more thought where timbers are significantly shoved. I will look to add some additional controls on the shove timbers dialog, but some manual editing might be unavoidable for complex timber-shoved formations.

I will post some DXFs for you to try later. :)

cheers,

Martin.
 
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Just a first stab at the idea. :)

*p.s. -- I had the word "pip" in mind for something else:

2_091641_110000000.png

(3D-printed bases for Exactoscale/C&L chairs)

cheers,

Martin.

Being one of the few who see the existing Exactoscale P4 Turnout (& Crossing ) bases as a terrific building aid, which both saves a lots of time, possibly a bit of money but more importantly builds a far more sturdy turnout or crossing. Using the range of standard and special chairs to compliment this terrific advancement in railway modelling

As a stop gap this could be a a viable system for those wishing to get some building done

This system works equally well with turnouts in EM gauge, and with minor adjustments crossings and slips. As for 00 gauge it certainly opens up a whole new building option

Martin made a comment that I will have a go at building anything, If anyone could print me a base with or without pips to try out the idea I am happy to oblige
 
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Martin made a comment that I will have a go at building anything, If anyone could print me a base with or without pips to try out the idea I am happy to oblige

Hi John,

Unfortunately the "exactopips" option isn't currently available in Templot. It was something I had a look at before I got the resin printer, when I was trying to do the whole thing using FDM printing.

I'm intending to resurrect the idea at some stage. The difficulty is that the Exactoscale/C&L chairs hold the rail canted at 1:20, whereas the plug track chairs hold the rail vertical. So any form of hybrid construction is going to be difficult. It needs to be one or the other all-through.

My objection to canted model rail is that it's an utterly daft idea which doesn't work -- plus the difficulty it causes in gauging during model construction. To hold the rail at 1:20 through the various bends and twists in pointwork would require heavy cast iron chairs, not flimsy bits of plastic.

Even typical sharp model plain track curves are difficult with loose plastic chairs. If the rail is canted round a curve, the head of the rail will be running along a different radius from the foot of the rail. That means one of them will need to be longer or shorter than the other. Not by much, but deforming metal rail so that the head is stretched longer than the foot demands far more force than can be applied by small plastic chairs. What happens in practice is that the rail refuses to be canted and springs back vertical on all but the gentlest of model curves. The prototype gets round this problem by gripping the rail tight in heavy cast iron chairs weighing around 50 pounds each, held down with several large screws or bolts. Plastic model chairs don't stand a chance. Which is why Templot plug track uses vertical rail throughout, and will continue to do so.

What makes the Exactoscale/C&L thing even more irritating, is that no-one has ever been able to look at a 4mm or 7mm model railway from any normal viewing distance and detect whether the rail is canted or vertical. You might think that you could look at the ends of the check rails -- but on the prototype check rails are always vertical, not canted.

Long-term readers will have detected a bee in my bonnet. :)

cheers,

Martin.
 
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Martin

To backup your irritation is that most roller gauges and all 3 point gauges I come across hold the rail too tight (vertically) and when the chairs have relaxed back into their orientation the gauge has narrowed. Early C&L and the latest ones allow for head rotation

1362.jpeg


The light brown sprue is an Exactoscale sprue, the dark brown with square holes is a new style C&L sprue

I guess the design of a square hole is to aid production rather than hide a rivet, I must try one on an Exactoscale track base

By the next zoom meeting I will try sticking a few chairs to one of the track bases you have produced and report back
 
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To backup your irritation is that most roller gauges and all 3 point gauges I come across hold the rail too tight (vertically) and when the chairs have relaxed back into their orientation the gauge has narrowed.

On that point, when I was building P4 track using Exactoscale and "old" C&L chairs it took me ages to find/work out why the gauge seemed to keep narrowing. It was probably Martin that put me right...
 
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@James Walters

Hi James,

First try in the DXF:
View attachment 5158

View attachment 5159

Trying to replicate the cutter kerf with line thickness in CAD.

It needs more thought where timbers are significantly shoved. I will look to add some additional controls on the shove timbers dialog, but some manual editing might be unavoidable for complex timber-shoved formations.

I will post some DXFs for you to try later. :)

cheers,

Martin.
@James Walters

Hi James,

Looking at that again it is fine for single turnouts, but is going to be a minefield for complex formations. Even ordinary double track is going to fall to bits:

nibs_snibs5.png



I think we possibly need a range of options for this function (more tick-boxes!):

nibs_snibs_options.png


The question is -- which one should be the default setting for cutting a kerf line? Or something else? Do we need an option to change the setting individually for each end of each timber?

Also, if it is undesirable for loose bits to remain on the laser bed, presumably something similar will be needed for the sockets? Without affecting the bash fit.

Is it reasonable to assume that everyone with a laser-cutter will have some CAD software and an ability to use it, to edit the Templot DXFs? It's my firm intention that it should be possible to make plug track using the files from Templot without needing any CAD software or skills. I'm confident I can achieve that for FDM printing, and hopefully also for CNC milling.

But I'm beginning to wonder for laser-cutting. The output at present can put a kerf-adjusted line around every timber and socket. But if it is laser-cut as-is, it's going to fall apart on the cutter bed and how will you know which timber goes where? Is there any backing sheet which the plywood can be attached to, which is unaffected by the laser beam?

I know some users of plywood bases put a linking web somewhere between the timbers. I put the sprues option on the timber ends so that they could be easily trimmed off after tracklaying without distorting the timbers. But they have similar problems to the above in complex formations. Some users put a web under the rails, where it is very difficult to remove after tracklaying without distorting the track, but if not removed it makes ballasting very difficult and destroys the realism of bullhead track -- no webs between the timbers here:


daylight_ballast.jpg


A noticeable detail in that photo is the clean square end on the check rail. One of the advantages of the loose-jaws option is that you can have such neat flat rail ends, because the chairs never get threaded onto the rail.

cheers,

Martin.
 
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On that point, when I was building P4 track using Exactoscale and "old" C&L chairs it took me ages to find/work out why the gauge seemed to keep narrowing. It was probably Martin that put me right...

Paul

My own take on things which I have concluded by talking to both the designer and 3 of C&L owners, plus buying products including gauges of various age and design, is that at the beginning, tools were made available to accurately build trackwork

Then a commercial decision to expand the use of EM specification common crossings to include 00 (DOGA fine) without explaining the downside/need of this gauge in having to re-gauge back to back measurements. Failure to state the exact gauge or rather calling it an 00 gauge roller gauge

Then a large order for roller gauges (00,EM &P4) with deeper slots which is fine for copperclad construction, not for chairs with a cant.

Full marks to Phil, he bit the bullet, all roller gauges (OO, EM & P4) now allow the rail to rotate and the 00 roller gauges have 1,25mm flangeways. My plea for roller gauges not to have inbuilt check gauge has fallen on deaf ears, they have flats milled on now and check rail gauges are available (not promoted) as they are part of the 00SF range

In short I believe track builders are short changed by the trade
 
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I also think part of the problem is educating modellers new to track building how a set of track gauges should be used. The dimension most modellers are familiar with is the nominal track gauge. The wheel / rail relationship is, or should be part of a complete set of standards if reliable results are to be achieved.
Regards
Tony.
 
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I also think part of the problem is educating modellers new to track building how a set of track gauges should be used. The dimension most modellers are familiar with is the nominal track gauge. The wheel / rail relationship is, or should be part of a complete set of standards if reliable results are to be achieved.
Regards
Tony.

Tony

Modellers have an excuse

Retailers don't
 
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