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 Some of the earlier pages of this topic are now out-of-date.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

More plug track software developments

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Martin Wynne

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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.
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Time to start yet another topic I think. 1000+ posts is plenty enough for one topic.

This one is a continuation from:

https://85a.uk/templot/club/index.php?threads/experimental-plug-track-continued.673/latest/

This time the word experimental is missing from the title -- but that doesn't mean it is missing from the project. :)

There is still a lot to explain, for FDM settings, resin shrinkage, laser kerfs, mesh-fixing, timbering bricks, chair options, and all the rest. See for example today's topic on parallel wing crossovers.

cheers,

Martin.
 
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i have managed to get back to the coding this morning.

it's been obvious in recent zoom meetings that we need an easier access to the blanking function than remembering the keyboard shortcut or hunting in the menus.

there isn't space in the top beginner buttons for another one without a lot of rearranging, so i have put a button here:


blanking_button.png



you are not supposed to design a user interface on the basis of what can be fitted in where! but this is Templot after all. :)

martin.
 
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i have finally got the first baby steps in the chair heaving function done.

the omit chair tick-boxes are working. please note this is the only part of the dialog working yet. so this is not new functionality, it simply maintains what is possible already:


heaving_dialog1.png



the new dialog is essentially an extension to the shove timber dialog. with a timber selected (T3 here), you can click the heave chairs... button to show the new dialog.

it uses rather too much screen space, but it can be dragged over the first one if you don't want to do any actual timber shoving.

if any changes from the defaults are made, the relevant rail panel shows yellow-ish as a reminder.

will be in 242a, hopefully very shortly.

cheers,

martin.
 
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bug: mis-positioned chairs on twisted exit sleepers

it's not often that i give up, but i have spent many painful hours trying to find this bug, without success. it's a mystery, because identical code is used for the approach track, which is working fine.

given that there is a simple workaround -- split the exit track as a separate plain track template if you need to twist any of the sleepers -- i'm going to leave this for now so that i can get 242a out, hopefully later today.

i just know that 5 minutes after releasing 242a i shall spot the bug, which will be blindingly obvious. :(

242a contains some changed format in the BOX files, so please make sure you have your existing BOX files safely saved, and don't overwrite them with files from 242a. i've tested it as much as i can and it looks good, but let's not tempt fate.

cheers,

martin.
 
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@James Walters

i have extended the store and shift multi function to allow single timbers at the switch front to be used as the source, in addition to plain track sleepers.

this makes it possible to create rafts of P slide chairs,

and a raft containing a row of CC check rail chairs on one side (extend the MS check rail back through the switch onto the J1 timber), with S1 chairs on the other side:

P slide chairs:

p_slide_raft.png



CC check chairs and S1 chairs:

cc_s1_raft.png


in 242a shortly.

martin.
 
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242a is now on the server.

restart Templot to update.

Zoom meeting at 8pm UK time tonight (Tuesday) to discuss any issues arising.

cheers,

martin.
 
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@James Walters

Blind sockets

The bind sockets tick-box accidentally got left behind on the layers tab:


blind_sockets2.png



It will be moved to where it belongs in the next update:

blind_sockets1.png



The purpose of the blind sockets option is to allow glue to be applied to the underside of the timbering base, or squidging it down in a layer of glue, without getting any glue in the sockets -- which would prevent later insertion of the chairs:


blind_sockets3.png


blind_sockets4.png



Normally chairs are inserted before installing the timbering base on the baseboard. But if that's not possible for some reason, such as the chairs not yet printed or available, the base can be made with blind sockets so that it can be glued down in advance if required.

Note when using blind sockets that it is important to cut the plug from the raft support as close as possible to the plug, and possibly give it a rub on abrasive paper, to ensure the plug can be inserted fully home without bottoming in the socket.

Martin.
 
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@James Walters

Coming in 243a:


fixed_ccl.png



At present the only option is variable.

The new default will be fixed, meaning that CCL and CCR (fixed) chairs will be interchangeable, and able to be produced in bulk using the store and shift multi function (as the CC chairs can be in 242a).

This means that in most cases the preparation of rafts for the crossing chairs will be simplified -- it will no longer be necessary to include the check rail chairs with them. It will only be necessary to use (and include) the variable CCL and CCR chairs where the check end flare has been specifically modified to fit partial templates.

Will be in 243a, but maybe not for a few days.

At some stage I should have mentioned this function (part of the tandem turnout functions) which is handy when creating crossing chairing rafts:


isolate_xing1.png



Martin.
 
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Hi James
In you latest video on the first part of turnouts which is again excellent, you mention that S1 and S1J chairs would not be common in the case of gauge widening at the turnout.
Implying in such cases special S1 and or S1 J would be required. Is that the case?
As my understanding was gauge widening if required, occurred by means of the socket in the timber moving over to accommodate whatever gauge widening was being used. I.e. the chairs are still the same its just the socket that moves.
Cheers,
Phil
 
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Hi James
In you latest video on the first part of turnouts which is again excellent, you mention that S1 and S1J chairs would not be common in the case of gauge widening at the turnout.
Implying in such cases special S1 and or S1 J would be required. Is that the case?
As my understanding was gauge widening if required, occurred by means of the socket in the timber moving over to accommodate whatever gauge widening was being used. I.e. the chairs are still the same its just the socket that moves.
Cheers,
Phil
@Phil G @James Walters

Some water being muddied here.

The video is wrong. The S1 and S1J chairs are not affected by gauge widening.

The only chairs affected by gauge widening are the CCL, CC, CCR chairs -- where the flangeway gap is increased by the same amount as the widening of the gauge.

🌳 In the case of non-functional check rails (i.e. in the model, not needed for model running, purely cosmetic continuous check rails), it is a good idea to increase the flangeway by a little bit more than the gauge widening.

The actual widening of the gauge is done by modifying the track gauge, and no other chairs are affected.

Gauge widening can get quite complicated because a transition zone is needed at each end where the gauge changes progressively from normal to widened. I posted an explanation of how to do that quite recently, somewhere or other. Maybe in one of the Zoom meetings.

It would be better not to confuse beginners to Templot and plug track by mentioning gauge widening until they are more familiar with the basics.

p.s. Phil -- you tagged the wrong Martin.

cheers,

Martin.
 
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@Phil G @James Walters

Some water being muddied here.

The video is wrong. The S1 and S1J chairs are not affected by gauge widening.

The only chairs affected by gauge widening are the CCL, CC, CCR chairs -- where the flangeway gap is increased by the same amount as the widening of the gauge.

🌳 In the case of non-functional check rails (i.e. in the model, not needed for model running, purely cosmetic continuous check rails), it is a good idea to increase the flangeway by a little bit more than the gauge widening.

The actual widening of the gauge is done by modifying the track gauge, and no other chairs are affected.

Gauge widening can get quite complicated because a transition zone is needed at each end where the gauge changes progressively from normal to widened. I posted an explanation of how to do that quite recently, somewhere or other. Maybe in one of the Zoom meetings.

It would be better not to confuse beginners to Templot and plug track by mentioning gauge widening until they are more familiar with the basics.

p.s. Phil -- you tagged the wrong Martin.

cheers,

Martin.
OK, I stand corrected. Sorry Martin, I will make a note in the video description to that effect.
 
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@Martin Wynne
A useful development for laser cutting would be the ability to view the nibs and snibs on the trackpad, and if possible adjust them for each timber possibly via the shove timbers box. I'm guessing that might be too tricky, but I mention it as food for thought. :)
@James Walters

Hi James,

You can view them:


nibs_on_pad.png



Tick 2 boxes and untick 2 boxes.

Adjusting them for specific timbers is a whole new function. At present they are not even template-specific, let alone timber-specific.

I will get round to it, but don't hold your breath -- there is so much else still needed. Feeling a bit low about the whole thing today, wondering what I have let myself in for.

cheers,

Martin.
 
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@James Walters

Hi James,

You can view them:


View attachment 7880


Tick 2 boxes and untick 2 boxes.

Adjusting them for specific timbers is a whole new function. At present they are not even template-specific, let alone timber-specific.

I will get round to it, but don't hold your breath -- there is so much else still needed. Feeling a bit low about the whole thing today, wondering what I have let myself in for.

cheers,

Martin.
Hi Martin, did not realise you could even view the nibs and snibs. another day and another learning.
sorry your feeling a bit low today. You should not, what we have so far is so much better than anything we have ever had before.

I do fully understand where James is coming from, however if your into laser your also very likely into lightburn. which can also do exactly what James is looking for, its just a bit more long winded.
Given Templot can do so much more for trackwork then lightburn ever can. Your right to focuses on the more important aspect's of Templot. I would encourage you to focus on your priority list, and just go at your own pace there is no rush really.
cheers
Phil,
 
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Hi Martin,
Although it might feel like 1 step forward and 2 steps backward sometimes, it is incredibly le that you have taken us so far on this journey and given awfull lot of enjoyment to all of us on here.
So thank you, and I am hoping that you receive some positive waves from me to aid your recovery and hope you start enjoying the programming again.
Regards steve
 
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Hi Martin,
Although it might feel like 1 step forward and 2 steps backward sometimes, it is incredibly le that you have taken us so far on this journey and given awfull lot of enjoyment to all of us on here.
So thank you, and I am hoping that you receive some positive waves from me to aid your recovery and hope you start enjoying the programming again.
Regards steve
Plug track is great - even when I am struggling this is so good I just keep perservering..it is amazing...James video is the way to increase adoption.....I am determined to build a plug track layout....baseboards have arrived so I really have no excuses now..
 
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Egg on face time.

Today it's 5 years to the day since I obtained my first FDM printer -- the BIBO:


bibo.jpg



And I now have a total of five assorted FDM printers.

I thought by now I would have a good idea of what I'm doing with them. But it seems every day is still a schoolday.

The best plug track results so far have been from the Neptune 2S -- but only after I modified it a lot. So I assumed copying the settings from there would give the best results on the other printers. And so it seemed for the little Kingroon printer.

But not for the Neptune 3 Plus, and I think perhaps I have been unfairly unkind about it.

I've been using a very aggressive retraction setting of 6mm at 60mm/sec. After a bit more reading, it seems that the retraction amount has to be matched to the volume of molten polymer in the nozzle. To much retraction can introduce air pockets into the nozzle, resulting in spitting and blobs on the model -- which is what I've been getting on the Neptune 3 Plus.

So I thought I would try going from one extreme to the other and see what happened with only 1mm of retraction at 25mm/sec. That's less than the diameter of the filament, and I know for sure that on the BIBO that would produce excessive stringing.

But on the Neptune 3 Plus -- bingo! I've produced the best results of any on there so far.

Which makes me wonder if I need to re-think my suggested settings for the other direct-drive printers. I need to do a lot more trial and error to be sure.

There is always more to think about in plug track. :confused:

Martin.
 
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I have moved the multi settings from the wrong menu to where they should have been in the first place:

multi_settings.png


Will be in 243a.

Martin.
 
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Martin,
So I thought I would try going from one extreme to the other and see what happened with only 1mm of retraction at 25mm/sec. That's less than the diameter of the filament, and I know for sure that on the BIBO that would produce excessive stringing.

But on the Neptune 3 Plus -- bingo! I've produced the best results of any on there so far.
In case it helps you, I have just had a Elegoo Neptune 4 Pro FDM printer delivered following a Black Friday deal. In all honestly, its probably going to be a week or so before I get chance to set up up and start learning how to use it, but once I have, if there's anything you want testing I'd be happy to give it a go for you.
Richie
 
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Last edited:
Hi Martin,
just a question, is it possible with the current chair plug settings, (Clip fit) to increase the depth of the plug and the lower the tang so it starts at 1.60 mm deep? the idea being if I use 1.6 mm ply for the sleepers/timber and a 3mm cork layer below I can cut the chair socket to be a good slid fit on the chair, then cut a bigger socket hole in the cork, for assembly push the chair right the the 1.6 mm ply with it engaging on the bottom the cork would have enough clearance to accommodate the tang.
Attached is a very crude drawing and photo of both the idea for 1.6 mm and 3 mm cork cutting a socket hole right though cork is messy but certainly possible

sketch of chair plug.jpg


ply and cork.jpg


20231129_211027.jpg


clipfit adjusted 1 mm.jpg
 
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Hi Phil,
Yes it is possible.
Martin has provided parameters for evrything.
1701249387033.png


1701249442821.png


Try changing these one at a time & previewing the result.

The bureau I used some time ago for some test timbers advised that cork cuts cleanly.
It is used quite a lot for architectural model landscaping.

But just like there is ply and then there is laser cutting ply, I suspect that there are different grades of cork sheet, and it has to be the flat cork sheet variety.

Steve
 
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Hi Steve,
Yes I now about the screen you have shown, in fact the last photo is me making changes using exactly that screen, but I have not been able to find any setting that drops the tang start and end point.

Re the cork I have now doubt with an industrial machine its possible however with a low power (10w output laser) its messy. Please see the attached photo of ply and cork, but the theory looks sound.
cheers
Phil,
 
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