• 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 Some of the earlier pages of this topic are now out-of-date.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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I would like to create/export an stl of the chairs in the timbers 'without' the rails. is this possible within the current version by switching buttons on/off?
@Terry Downes

Hi Terry,

Sure. Just export a 3-D file and don't switch off what you don't want switched off. :)

But, but, but.

The only reason to do that is if you want plain track with REA chairs and wooden keys. In which case it works just fine, you can create plain track panels with proper rail lengths and sleeper spacings, wider joint timbers, special joint chairs. Keying direction can be changed, the driven key offset can be randomised, the chair screw head angles will be randomised.

It looks great. If resin-printed. (FDM printing of chair detail would be very poor, and probably won't fit the rails.)

But as I keep saying, for pointwork this whole Plug Track thing is still extremely experimental and unfinished. You are jumping ahead of me. :(

Even if the project was finished, it is a daft idea to print chairs and timbers combined for pointwork because you can't use it to build proper pointwork. You cannot thread bent rails through the chairs without damaging the chairs. The only way to assemble such pointwork is to cut the rails where the prototype isn't cut and/or split the base into smaller pieces, such as a separate switch front section.

That's the whole reason for using separate chairs and threading them onto the rail before plugging in place.

And while that isn't finished, you will currently get a complete mess anyway, through the switch heel, V-crossing and check rails:

3d_export1.png


Because only these chairs are currently done:
sample_chairs.png


If you don't want the rails, just switch them off:

3d_export4.png


But you won't be able to thread the rails through that, because the diverging stock rail has a set bend in it at the switch front (red mark), which would damage the first two chairs as you try to pass the rail through them:


3d_export2.png


Even worse for the knuckle bend in the wing rails, and bent check rail flares -- I can't illustrate that because as I say it is unfinished.

At that stage the STL file will be extremely messy because it will include the sockets through the timbers, the chair plugs, and the chair supports:

3d_export3.png


So you need to switch them off too:

3d_export5.png


Without the sockets you probably don't want the stiffener side flanges on the timbers, and you may prefer trimmable sprues on the end of the timbers instead of webs between them:

3d_export6.png


Also without sockets the timbers don't need to be so thick, so you will probably want to change the timber sizes.

Finally you need to check that you have entered your correct shrinkage setting for your resin, otherwise the track gauge will be wrong. It is not too critical to set the exact shrinkage if you are printing only the chairs (the default in Templot is 1.5%), but if you are resin-printing chaired or socketed timbers you need to get it just right for an accurate track gauge.

Here is all the stuff to untick or set:

3d_export7.png


Clear the drop-down combos by right-clicking on them. Ignore the colours because they don't apply for STL files. The online STL mesh fix will probably fail due to the file size and timeout. In which case you can attach it here and I can fix it for you, see:

https://85a.uk/templot/club/index.php?threads/online-3d-mesh-fix-repair.519/

p.s. There is a bug in 234d which means your entered DXF/STL file name won't be honoured and you get the default file name regardless. Sorry about that, I have fixed it for the next update release. You can of course rename the file afterwards as you wish.

cheers,

Martin.
 
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Hi Martin,
That works perfectly. I will play around with print/shrinkage settings and check the resultant gauge etc.

I presume the shrinkage settings for '3D for CAD' is zero so I will start with this as an initial test.

I use Formlabs PreForm to view stl files and slice for my Form3 resin printer.
Terry
templot in preform.PNG
 
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Martin Wynne

Admin
Thread starter
Location
West of the Severn UK
Info
.
Enjoy using Templot?
Thanks.

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

Post your questions on the forum where everyone can see them and add
helpful replies.
I presume the shrinkage settings for '3D for CAD' is zero so I will start with this as an initial test.

Hi Terry,

Yes, that option is exported at actual size.

(I assume I have tested it at some stage, but I don't remember doing so. It would be wise to check. :) Do not regard any part of the Plug Track as finalised and tested software.)

Unless you have set some scaling elsewhere in Templot.

If exporting a DXF, you can choose inch or mm units. STL is mm only.

cheers,

Martin.
 
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