Extracting a timbering brick from a track plan

Martin Wynne

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As always, within minutes of releasing a new update, I notice something wrong. :(

This menu item is not displaying or clicking properly:

fdm_bricks6.png


It's intended to show the marker colour for the clicked brick template, in RGB format as on the brick label, and clicking it allows the marker colour to be changed. Will be fixed in 234b.

All is not lost, because the marker colour can be changed as before:

fdm_bricks7.png


cheers,

Martin.
 
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Paul Boyd

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Loughborough, UK
Hi Martin

I've had a quick play and I really like this. You intimated that it might be too complex, but I think it needs to be how it is. I found the add clip at notch function, that's really nice.

What I particularly like is the brick management, with the ability to hide brick templates, and show only brick templates etc. Being able to save all the brick templates as a separate file, then delete them all to keep the underlying plan "clean" is really nice, that gives another option for managing things if a user prefers. Showing/hiding brick templates would make it much easier to spot if an underlying template had been changed though.

One thing I did notice is that in the shapes window there's a rectangle/3D slab option. I assumed this is to create a slab the same thickness as the splint but couldn't work out how to get this to export to the STL file. The shape is set to be a solid, and the export has a colour assigned to solid background shapes. Of course, it may not have been implemented yet or more likely I've not set an option somewhere!

I'll now get on with sorting out real bricks for printing!

Cheers,
Paul
 
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Martin Wynne

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Showing/hiding brick templates would make it much easier to spot if an underlying template had been changed though.
@Paul Boyd

Thanks Paul.

Group one or more brick templates. Dab SHIFT+CTRL+HOME to show/hide a group of templates.

I will look at a specific show/hide brick templates if I can find a spare key on the keyboard.

The slab rectangle is mainly for resin-printing as a skate under the chair supports, it's not really intended to be part of the timbering bricks. But it should work for all DXF/STL exports if you wish. To make it work you have to set a non-zero thickness here:

slab_3d.png


I haven't actually tried it in 234a to see if it is still working -- I may have wrecked it with some other brick changes. :confused:

I was about to write a follow up to my previous posts, but got distracted by family stuff. I'll write again later.

cheers

Martin.
 
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Paul Boyd

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Hi Martin

It does still work in 234a! The only thing I found was that even if both the show on trackpad and show on output boxes were unticked, the shape would still export to the STL file. I'm guessing that's not intentional?

I wouldn't worry too much about a keyboard shortcut for show/hide brick templates, but maybe (yet another!) button at the top of the screen? Even then, I think the menu options are fine as they are.

Cheers,
Paul
 
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Martin Wynne

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It does still work in 234a! The only thing I found was that even if both the show on trackpad and show on output boxes were unticked, the shape would still export to the STL file. I'm guessing that's not intentional?
@Paul Boyd

Hi Paul,

So it does! :)

But note that if you tick the box for the chair support slab, the entered Z dimensions will be ignored, the rectangle will go below the track and gain a rebate all round, as a resin-printing skate.

Those show boxes on the background shapes dialog were mainly intended for background maps and picture shapes. I haven't yet given them any thought for the DXF/STL exports. But now that you have mentioned them, it's an obvious way to have a shape-specific option for the export -- currently it is all shapes or none. I will include the show on output option for the export in 234b. Thanks for the nudge. :)

cheers,

Martin.
 
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Martin Wynne

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I wouldn't worry too much about a keyboard shortcut for show/hide brick templates, but maybe (yet another!) button at the top of the screen? Even then, I think the menu options are fine as they are.
@Paul Boyd

Hi Paul,

Here you go:

fdm_bricks8.png


Dab ALT+HOME to show/hide the brick templates.

I'm always wary of using the Alt key in shortcuts because Windows has a lot of system functions on the Alt key which can interfere with things. But this seems to be working fine. Will be in 234b.

(There is also an annoying Windows menu function on the F10 key which I have to work around. Windows makes some of the Word shortcuts work in all applications, for reasons known only to Microsoft.)

cheers,

Martin.
 
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Paul Boyd

Member
Location
Loughborough, UK
Those show boxes on the background shapes dialog were mainly intended for background maps and picture shapes. I haven't yet given them any thought for the DXF/STL exports. But now that you have mentioned them, it's an obvious way to have a shape-specific option for the export -- currently it is all shapes or none. I will include the show on output option for the export in 234b. Thanks for the nudge. :)

cheers,

Martin.

That would be great! You must know by now that whatever something is intended for, someone like me will come along and try to use it in a completely different way 😀

In this case, I intended using the rectangle shapes to join the ends of three tracks at a wagon turntable, whilst providing a good base for said turntable. I know I could just use splints though!

Cheers,
Paul
 
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Martin Wynne

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@Paul Boyd

BUG WARNING

There is a bug in 234a -- the brick clips claws / tommy bar setting is not saved correctly in BGS3 files.

Sorry about that, I will get it fixed soon.

Martin.
 
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Paul Boyd

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Location
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My first real brick printed and in place! I had to do this now as dropper wires are about to be soldered on which will pass through the brick.

The label tab worked out well. I set it to 5mm width and the RGB code is perfectly legible. It’ll be cut off, but I really just wanted to see how it worked. I also used the new RG chairs, with 0.5mm depth, and they’re perfect! Although this particular brick and the rails were laid over a template, I found the web made it hard to see the sleeper ends on the template, although the sleeper centre was visible, but the RG chairs lining up with the template rails sorted that. Remaining bricks to the right won’t be laid over a template which is where the RG chairs will really come into their own.

Although the brick is printed in PLA, I’ve found that butanone works well as a solvent. I wouldn’t want to do anything structural with PLA and butanone but it’s fine for this. I buy butanone in bulk rather than the expensive, silly little bottles sold to modellers! I’m also conscious of having good ventilation.

Thanks very much for this feature, Martin!

Cheers,
Paul
 

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Martin Wynne

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@Paul Boyd

Hi Paul,

I have now implemented the rectangle shapes as another brick component -- slabs. They can be twisted to any angle and sized to whatever you want. By default the same thickness as the splints, but can be any thickness. They can be added anywhere you like (but if placed under the chair sockets the sockets will be reduced in depth and blinded). Unlike using splints, each slab can be a different size.

Various uses spring to mind, such as on bridge decks, or as platform spacers. Or a screw hole could be drilled in them as a fixing tab.

slabs.png


slabs1.png


n.b. when used as support skates, any twisting is ignored.

Will be in 234b shortly.

cheers,

Martin.
 
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Paul Boyd

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Location
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@Paul Boyd

Hi Paul,

I have now implemented the rectangle shapes as another brick component -- slabs. They can be twisted to any angle and sized to whatever you want. By default the same thickness as the splints, but can be any thickness. They can be added anywhere you like (but if placed under the chair sockets the sockets will be reduced in depth and blinded). Unlike using splints, each slab can be a different size.

Various uses spring to mind, such as on bridge decks, or as platform spacers. Or a screw hole could be drilled in them as a fixing tab.

View attachment 3642

View attachment 3643

n.b. when used as support skates, any twisting is ignored.

Will be in 234b shortly.

cheers,

Martin.

Gosh, that's brilliant, thank you! I really like the idea of using these as platform spacers. Signal bases could be another use. So many possibilities!
 
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Martin Wynne

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@Paul Boyd

Hi Paul,

234b now on the server. :)

I will write more after a break.

cheers,

Martin.
 
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Paul Boyd

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Just been having a play - this is working really nicely. I think I found a couple of "quirks" but nothing that stopped anything - I'll have another go tomorrow evening and make sure it wasn't me forgetting something or doing something silly. I understand why you find writing user guides - my own notes are out of date already!!

The brick in the screenshot is real, and will be printed at the weekend!

brick2.PNG
 
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Martin Wynne

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I think I found a couple of "quirks"
@Paul Boyd

Hi Paul,

Yes, since releasing 234b earlier I have already started on 234c to fix a couple of quirks. :)

There are several changes in 234b for the timbering bricks. After all these years I have finally kludged my way around the restrictions of the original BGS format, to allow additional functions to be added to the background shapes. It was obvious the slabs needed a twist function, but there was just no way the twist angle setting could be forced into the old format. It was a lot of work to fix, with dozens of changes scattered all through Templot, and I'm sure I have missed a few. But now that we have a new internal format, the background shapes can be expanded in future in several ways if needed. I should have done it years ago.

bricks_234b1.png


A shape can now be marked as a brick shape, so there is no need to swap the trackpad to view them.

If 1 is ticked, adding a shape will mark it as a brick shape. If 2 is ticked, it will be given that marker colour to match the current brick templates, otherwise it will be set initially to light grey.

Option box 3 is now honoured in the DXF/STL exports, so individual shapes can be switched on and off if needed.

The menus at 4 contain the additional functions and settings for brick shapes.

bricks_234b2.png


5 can be used to mark or unmark the selected shape as a brick shape.

If you have any BGS3 files with brick shapes from earlier versions, you will need to go through them and tick this box 5 for each one. Sorry about that, experimental stuff can be a nuisance at times.

There are new menu functions:

bricks_234b3.png


bricks_234b4.png


and bug fix from 234a:

bricks_234b5.png


and a shortcut for the brick track templates:

bricks_234b6.png


The slab thickness is set on this button, at least for now:

bricks_234b7.png


The slab rectangles can be twisted, moved, sized and corners dragged manually by mouse action.

N.B. to set a specific slab size, this must be done before any twisting by entering the original square-on dimensions:

bricks_234b9.png


bricks_234b8.png


After twisting, the corner co-ordinates are not available to see or edit.

I will try to get a video done showing these functions being used.

There are a few other changes -- I have improved the legibility of the 7-seg characters, and adjusted the default size of the timber webs for better slicing in Cura.

I'm hoping that the timbering can now be left for a while so that I can get back to the switch and crossing chairs. :)

But I shall have to come back to it, because at present none of the above is yet reflected in the printed paper templates or PDF or other outputs.

cheers,

Martin.
 
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Martin Wynne

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Tinkering continues in 234c: :)

bricks_234c.png


A new tickbox to restrict the flanges and webs to show on brick templates only. This makes the screen far less cluttered. Default is on.

I have also changed the default on the chair outlines to show the sockets only, which is all you normally need to see when working on the timbering. This makes for a much faster screen response when you have a large trackplan.

Will be in 234c before too long.

cheers,

Martin.
 
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Paul Boyd

Member
Location
Loughborough, UK
@Paul Boyd

Hi Paul,

Yes, since releasing 234b earlier I have already started on 234c to fix a couple of quirks. :)

There are several changes in 234b for the timbering bricks. After all these years I have finally kludged my way around the restrictions of the original BGS format, to allow additional functions to be added to the background shapes. It was obvious the slabs needed a twist function, but there was just no way the twist angle setting could be forced into the old format. It was a lot of work to fix, with dozens of changes scattered all through Templot, and I'm sure I have missed a few. But now that we have a new internal format, the background shapes can be expanded in future in several ways if needed. I should have done it years ago.

View attachment 3649

A shape can now be marked as a brick shape, so there is no need to swap the trackpad to view them.

If 1 is ticked, adding a shape will mark it as a brick shape. If 2 is ticked, it will be given that marker colour to match the current brick templates, otherwise it will be set initially to light grey.

Option box 3 is now honoured in the DXF/STL exports, so individual shapes can be switched on and off if needed.

The menus at 4 contain the additional functions and settings for brick shapes.

View attachment 3648

5 can be used to mark or unmark the selected shape as a brick shape.

If you have any BGS3 files with brick shapes from earlier versions, you will need to go through them and tick this box 5 for each one. Sorry about that, experimental stuff can be a nuisance at times.

There are new menu functions:

View attachment 3650

View attachment 3652

and bug fix from 234a:

View attachment 3651

and a shortcut for the brick track templates:

View attachment 3653

The slab thickness is set on this button, at least for now:

View attachment 3654

The slab rectangles can be twisted, moved, sized and corners dragged manually by mouse action.

N.B. to set a specific slab size, this must be done before any twisting by entering the original square-on dimensions:

View attachment 3655

View attachment 3656

After twisting, the corner co-ordinates are not available to see or edit.

I will try to get a video done showing these functions being used.

There are a few other changes -- I have improved the legibility of the 7-seg characters, and adjusted the default size of the timber webs for better slicing in Cura.

I'm hoping that the timbering can now be left for a while so that I can get back to the switch and crossing chairs. :)

But I shall have to come back to it, because at present none of the above is yet reflected in the printed paper templates or PDF or other outputs.

cheers,

Martin.

This is all really good, and I must admit that I was wondering when you'd be going back to chairs! The timbering functions as they are now are perfect for what I need.

One of the glitches was me - I'd forgotten to set a couple of templates as brick templates. The other was probably also me, where I'd added a target mark/brick clip then wondered why it looked like a target mark - I hadn't clicked the appropriate button!

I like the ability to turn off chair outlines, flanges and webs for non-brick templates in the next version - as you say, things can get a bit cluttered. (I'll now admit that I'd just been looking for it in 2.24b - it's been a long week!)

The icing on the cake, with jam on top, would be to have all the 3D export settings saved, with the ability to save a different settings file for different purposes. But I'll let you get back to chairs - I have a text file with a list of the settings to change!

Cheers,
Paul
 
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Paul Boyd

Member
Location
Loughborough, UK
Ah - I know what another quirk was! If I add clip at notch, it shows as a target mark. I then have to modify shape then untick and re-tick brick shape for 3D export. Was that one of the quirks you picked up?
 
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Martin Wynne

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Ah - I know what another quirk was! If I add clip at notch, it shows as a target mark. I then have to modify shape then untick and re-tick brick shape for 3D export. Was that one of the quirks you picked up?
@Paul Boyd

Hi Paul,

Yes. :) I thought I had tested everything, but there is always something!

The icing on the cake, with jam on top, would be to have all the 3D export settings saved,

Yes, they will be. The first priority was to make it all work. I can now go ahead to create a more comfortable user interface, and move all the scattered menu items into a single dialog.

p.s. I noticed on your screenshot "Estimated cost £61.84". What's that about? I doubt it will use 3 full rolls of filament?

cheers,

Martin.
 
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Paul Boyd

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Location
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p.s. I noticed on your screenshot "Estimated cost £61.84". What's that about? I doubt it will use 3 full rolls of filament?

Good grief, so it does! I've got no idea where it gets that figure from - it's just the default Windows STL viewer. According to PrusaSlicer, it'll actually use 8.46m of filament at a cost of 50p, and that figure comes from what I've told it filament costs! That particular one is a snug fit on the bed - the skirt takes it right to the edges of the print area.
 
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