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 Some of the earlier pages of this topic are now out-of-date.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

Quick reply >
Is it as good as laser cut ply or better than FDM as is?
@James Walters

Hi James,

I'm very happy with FDM as-is. I think when carefully painted and ballasted the lack of wood grain is hardly noticeable at any normal viewing distance for running lines. For old distressed track in sidings and yards some splits and cracks can be done with chisels and scrapers and maybe a knife blade attached to a soldering iron.

All I'm looking for is an inexpensive solution to offer folks when they complain that FDM doesn't have wood grain.

I have been experimenting with some gcode to scratch random marks into the timbers using the FDM nozzle at around 140 degsC. It's not there yet but it might develop into something, if I had a bit more time to tinker with it. But the chair heaving calls ...

cheers,

Martin.
 
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A quick and cheap way of applying wood grain is to use a small wire brush. I've got some of these:

98ea1097-7198-4895-b4bf-d8d622a3bdca.09673d52b92e6df58121fd14463c0b98.jpeg


You can easily trim the brush heads down if you need.

If you want the grain effect a little more pronounced, apply a bit of paint on the top of the sleepers, when nearly-dry it is even easier to scratch marks into than the plastic.

Ross.
 
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Last edited:
@Phil G

Another day, yet more boxes: :)

slider_ribs_timbers.png


slider_ribs_timbers1.png


And the result is slider ribs between switch timbers S1 and S2, and between S3 and S4:

slider_ribs_timbers2.png


You can have up to 5 sets of switch slider ribs, for long switches which need more than one drive (tie-bars and/or prototype stretcher bars/rods).

Enter the first timber number in the boxes, and the ribs will appear between that timber and the next one. Leave blank if not wanted.

You could add the ribs to any timbers, not only switch timbers -- but I can't see any likely need for that.

Switch timbers count S1, S2, ... from the toe timber (the one with the blade tips and soleplate). To see all the timber numbers, start the shove timbers function.

More about the switch slider ribs at:

https://85a.uk/templot/club/index.php?threads/experimental-plug-track-continued.673/post-7628

Will be in 244a shortly.

cheers,

Martin.
 
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@Phil G

Another day, yet more boxes: :)

View attachment 8498

View attachment 8497

And the result is slider ribs between switch timbers S1 and S2, and between S3 and S4:

View attachment 8496

You can have up to 5 sets of switch slider ribs, for long switches which need more than one drive (tie-bar).

Enter the first timber number in the boxes, and the ribs will appear between that timber and the next one. Leave blank if not wanted.

You could add the ribs to any timbers, not only switch timbers -- but I can't see any likely need for that.

Switch timbers count S1, S2, ... from the toe timber (the one with the blade tips and soleplate). To see all the timber numbers, start the shove timbers function.

More about the switch slider ribs at:

https://85a.uk/templot/club/index.php?threads/experimental-plug-track-continued.673/post-7628

Will be in 244a shortly.

cheers,

Martin.
Martin that is really helpful particularly across two pairs of Timbers.......not rushing - just enquiring will any chair shoving be available in 244a?
 
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Martin that is really helpful particularly across two pairs of Timbers.......not rushing - just enquiring will any chair shoving be available in 244a?
@Michael Woods

Hi Michael,

That's a good question. At present the chair heaving works only to omit individual chairs. I'm hoping to get more than that working, but it's not there yet and I know several folks are waiting for 244a for some of the other new features, so I don't want to delay it too long.

This is where I have got to, but there is a lot more still to do to make it all work, and save in the BOX file:


heaving_in_progress.png



Whatever happens, there won't be any new chairs in 244a. They will have to wait until the heaving is done.

cheers,

Martin.
 
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@Phil G

Another day, yet more boxes: :)

View attachment 8498

View attachment 8497

And the result is slider ribs between switch timbers S1 and S2, and between S3 and S4:

View attachment 8496

You can have up to 5 sets of switch slider ribs, for long switches which need more than one drive (tie-bars and/or prototype stretcher bars/rods).

Enter the first timber number in the boxes, and the ribs will appear between that timber and the next one. Leave blank if not wanted.

You could add the ribs to any timbers, not only switch timbers -- but I can't see any likely need for that.

Switch timbers count S1, S2, ... from the toe timber (the one with the blade tips and soleplate). To see all the timber numbers, start the shove timbers function.

More about the switch slider ribs at:

https://85a.uk/templot/club/index.php?threads/experimental-plug-track-continued.673/post-7628

Will be in 244a shortly.

cheers,

Martin.
Excellent work Martin,
I have been holding off doing anything more with the sliders as I recall you mentioned you were going to mod the slider rib values slightly. its great that there will be provision for all stretcher bars.
cheers
Phil
 
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@Michael Woods

Hi Michael,

That's a good question. At present the chair heaving works only to omit individual chairs. I'm hoping to get more than that working, but it's not there yet and I know several folks are waiting for 244a for some of the other new features, so I don't want to delay it too long.

This is where I have got to, but there is a lot more still to do to make it all work, and save in the BOX file:


View attachment 8502


Whatever happens, there won't be any new chairs in 244a. They will have to wait until the heaving is done.

cheers,

Martin.
Martin - removing chairs is what I need for my catch points so I am happy.
 
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Martin - I have done something wrong here. I was not thinking and increased the gauge widening on the checkrails through the flangeway adjustments on gauge "modify settings" and not on the 3D adjustments. I set the flangeway from 0.7mm to 1mm. Effectively I now have a V crossing flangeway of 1mm not 0.7mm but I suspect that this error may have impacted more than just the flangeway crossing chairs.

1mm is ok with the check rails but it was only when I put the V together did I notice that I had done something wrong.

I want to reprint as little as possible. Can you please suggest the chairs would have been impacted by the error? I can then look to see what I can keep and what I reprint.

I should add that it is a curved turnout hence the widening.

Thank you in advance.

Screenshot 2024-01-30 212253.png
 
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Hi Michael,
You can already omit chairs in the current version, for the purposes of making a catch point.
g to real shove timber sand the chair heaving
cheers
Phil,
 
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message ref: 10173
Martin - I have done something wrong here. I was not thinking and increased the gauge widening on the checkrails through the flangeway adjustments on gauge "modify settings" and not on the 3D adjustments. I set the flangeway from 0.7mm to 1mm. Effectively I now have a V crossing flangeway of 1mm not 0.7mm but I suspect that this error may have impacted more than just the flangeway crossing chairs.

1mm is ok with the check rails but it was only when I put the V together did I notice that I had done something wrong.

I want to reprint as little as possible. Can you please suggest the chairs would have been impacted by the error? I can then look to see what I can keep and what I reprint.

I should add that it is a curved turnout hence the widening.

Thank you in advance.

View attachment 8504

Wow. That stopped me in my tracks. I think I made a big mistake when starting on the 3D chairing experiments in assuming that everyone likely to be following them would be well-versed in Templot and track building. Putting that right all through Templot could be a lot of work.

I'm making an emergency change to the wording, and will get the next update out as soon as possible:


modified_cf_gap.png



This is a wording change only -- no change to the actual functions.


@Michael Woods

Hi Michael,

I'm sorry you have a problem. You will need to re-make these 3 chairs:


michael_xing_flangeway.jpg


using the original 0.71mm flangeway setting for S scale.

The new chairs will be shorter, which means the existing sockets will be too long. However you may be able to use the existing base if you fix the chairs with a gap-filling adhesive such as epoxy, carefully ensuring the chairs are centralized in the socket.

Reducing the crossing-flangeway gap will also move the position of the knuckle bend, needing the wing rails to be re-made. This will also likely cause the right-most chair above to change from XN to ZY type which is narrower, and will therefore need some filler in the sides of the socket too.

If instead you prefer to make a new timbering base and this V-crossing is a regular type, making a new base from a new template with a reduced flangeway gap will cause it to be slightly longer than the previous template. To avoid disrupting your track plan, you could get it to match the length of the previous one by increasing the crossing entry straight using the SHIFT+F11 mouse action.

I hope this problem isn't too much of a setback for you.

Martin.
 
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message ref: 10174
Wow. That stopped me in my tracks. I think I made a big mistake when starting on the 3D chairing experiments in assuming that everyone likely to be following them would be well-versed in Templot and track building. Putting that right all through Templot could be a lot of work.

I'm making an emergency change to the wording, and will get the next update out as soon as possible:


View attachment 8506


This is a wording change only -- no change to the actual functions.


@Michael Woods

Hi Michael,

I'm sorry you have a problem. You will need to re-make these 3 chairs:


View attachment 8507

using the original 0.71mm flangeway setting for S scale.

The new chairs will be shorter, which means the existing sockets will be too long. However you may be able to use the existing base if you fix the chairs with a gap-filling adhesive such as epoxy, carefully ensuring the chairs are centralized in the socket.

Reducing the crossing-flangeway gap will also move the position of the knuckle bend, needing the wing rails to be re-made. This will also likely cause the right-most chair to change from XN to ZY type which is narrower, and will therefore need some filler in the sides of the socket too.

If instead you prefer to make a new timbering base and this V-crossing is a regular type, making a new base from a new template with a reduced flangeway gap will cause it to be slightly longer than the previous one. To avoid disrupting your track plan, you could get it to match the length of the previous one by increasing the crossing entry straight using the SHIFT+F11 mouse action.

I hope this problem isn't too much of a setback for you.

Martin.
Martin - thank you - no it is not a significant problem nor a set back. My workshop is full of test pieces :) I was simply interested in what the changes would be. I think that the best course of action is to remake not adopt. Turnout length is fortunately not a problem as the track is a constant radius so I just reduce one of the curves.

As always thank you for your help!
 
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Making progress....I have 10 baseboard joints to navigate. I think that the chairs will be strong enough to simply support cutting the rail with no additional support - I may just add a bit of epoxy resin to strengthen the chair join with the timbers either side of the joins - should not need it as they are a tight fit but just in case.

1707000544103.png
 
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Hi Michael,
I see from your photo your using what look like laser cut baseboards. Do they have any sort of dowel location for each baseboard joint?
cheers
Phil
 
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message ref: 10183
.
Just a reminder about the reminders function. :)

reminders can be set to any colour, which would make them very handy for keeping notes about the templates in a timbering brick, and which chairs are on which raft. Info about reminders at this old topic from 2017:

https://85a.uk/templot/archive/topics/topic_3124.php#p22792


At present I used the symbols function to show the current chair jaw settings, but I think that might be better done using reminders.


2_162149_180000001.png



2_171626_220000000.png


Martin.
 
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message ref: 10187
Hi Martin,
I know how crazy busy you are on Templot, and the last thing I want to do is put any pressure on, but I am curious; do you have any sort of schedule in mind for implementing the missing chairs to make plug track diamonds and slips work?

Cheers,

Ross.
 
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message ref: 10193
Hi Martin,
I know how crazy busy you are on Templot, and the last thing I want to do is put any pressure on, but I am curious; do you have any sort of schedule in mind for implementing the missing chairs to make plug track diamonds and slips work?

Cheers,

Ross.
@RBTKraisee

Hi Ross,

Templot is my hobby. I do it for fun. I don't do schedules. :)

But I'm hoping that I shall have the chairs for fixed K-crossings done in the next few months, ideally in good time for Scaleforum in September -- but see also:

https://85a.uk/templot/club/index.php?threads/open-source-again.839/post-10191

Fixed K-crossings mean that diamonds 1:8 and shorter will be possible, and with the half-bolted chairs also most outside-slips (and tandems).

Inside-slips require some additional special chairs, and the requirement for over-scale flangeways (in 00/EM/0-MF, etc.) turns them into a minefield. Some significant departures from the prototype may be necessary. Don't expect them any time soon, and perhaps only in P4/S/S7 etc. initially.

However, quite soon in 244a I'm hoping to have the chair heaving done:


sc_chairs.png



It will then be possible to swap any chair to the SC fictional type. Which is fully customizable for size, and can be exported with the chair jaws missing. So that other scratch-modified jaws can be assembled and glued around the rails as necessary. Exactly what this will allow remains to be discovered, but typically inside slips should be possible done that way in the short term. But I'm not going to spend hours and hours explaining it -- folks will have to know what they want and work it out for themselves.

cheers,

Martin.
 
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message ref: 10194
Martin - I think the answer to this question is no - but want to check. If I alter the radius of a turnout from 53 inches to 55 inches will the chairs change. Clearly I will have to reprint the timbers but want to check on the chairs.

Many thanks in advance.
 
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@Michael Woods

Hi Michael,

The answer is no. All the chair sizes are calculated before any curving is applied to the template.

Likewise prototype chairs are not changed when used in curved track.

For plain track don't forget the flexi-track option which allows you to make adjustments to the radius when laying the track. Or you can just snip out some of the webs.

cheers,

Martin.
 
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message ref: 10314
Martin - Thank you - I will definately be using the flexi track.....but i need to get to the end of the circle when I may need some artistic licence with flexi track to complete the loop. For some reason a rouge radius slipped in somewhere so some reprinting is going to be required. Doing too many things at once....need to just focus on the track building and tripple check everything as I go along.

Thank you too Steve.
 
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Hi Martin, I trying to establish if we still have the 'fill below key' option anywhere in the latest plug track options? I would like to print some chairs with this area filled to avoid the rail tipping over e.g keep the rail absolutely vertical. (Below post 11th Feb 2022).

1708069112988.png
 
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Hi Martin, I trying to establish if we still have the 'fill below key' option anywhere in the latest plug track options? I would like to print some chairs with this area filled to avoid the rail tipping over e.g keep the rail absolutely vertical.
@Terry Downes

Hi Terry,

The function is still available. But it's not recommended because it prevents the loose-jaw option from working as intended -- you can't simply drop the rail into position:


filler_chunk.png
(check rail chair)

Which means it makes sense only with the solid-jaw slide-on chairs.

It shouldn't be necessary. To hold the rail vertical the rail is gripped only by the key in the prototype manner, and stands upright on the rail seat. If it's not doing that you probably need to adjust the rail section or rail-fit settings.

It is also non-prototypical -- there is no such fill in prototype chairs for the same reason, to allow the rail to be dropped into place. Prototype chairs have daylight showing below the key.

Switching this function on is done in two stages:

1.
filler_chunk3.png


2. then tick the option:
filler_chunk4.png



I haven't tried or tested it for many months, so it may no longer work properly for some of the chair types.

cheers,

Martin.
 
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message ref: 10359
Terry - I have found that with solid jaws each individual chair can be a little lose (I have sized my rail profile accordingly) but even on a relatively short length of track the combined effect of the individual chairs holds the rail very well....rail moving in the chairs is not something I have found to be an issue at all.....complete opposite once I put everything together it is very nice and solid.
 
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Martin - I am building the attached passing loop. On the two turnouts should I reverse the point and splice rails in the V to reflect that one of the turnouts will typically take traffic on the up and the other on the down, keeping the point rail on the direction of the traffic and the splice on the direction of the return. Or would you keep them both the same?

Screenshot 2024-02-20 143505.png
 
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message ref: 10376
Martin - I am building the attached passing loop. On the two turnouts should I reverse the point and splice rails in the V to reflect that one of the turnouts will typically take traffic on the up and the other on the down, keeping the point rail on the direction of the traffic and the splice on the direction of the return. Or would you keep them both the same?

View attachment 8685
@Michael Woods

Hi Michael,

You can't simply swap the point and splice rails because the plug track crossing chairs are handed left and right (unlike the prototype). They will only accept the corresponding vee rails.

Sorry I can't tell you which way is correct because prototypes vary.

Normally signal box diagrams show the lie of the points as the lever stands Normal in the frame.

This means you have 1 right-hand turnout and 1 left-hand turnout, with correspondingly handed V-crossings. Normally the point rails will be in the main road in each case, i.e. in the upper line in the diagram, with the splice rails in the loop line, the lower line in the diagram. You will need to make matching crossing chairs for each turnout.

That's the usual arrangement. Some prototype companies do it other ways, with the point rail always for the heaviest traffic, or always for facing traffic. In order to model the latter you would need to customize the turnout on the right in the diagram with a right-hand V-crossing and left-hand switch, and make the crossing chairs accordingly.

Note that whether a crossing is called "left" or "right" hand also varies with different companies. This is just the naming, and doesn't affect the design of the rails as above. In Templot a V-crossing is called the same hand as the turnout it is part of. Looking from the nose of the vee, a left-hand V-crossing has the splice rail on the left. A right-hand V-crossing has the splice rail on the right.

cheers,

Martin.
 
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Hi Michael,
That's a very interesting question you have posed to Martin, and as always a very thought out answer from Martin.
The only question I would have, purely for my understanding is, even in S scale is it quite obvious from your viewing angle, which way the vee rails are actually spliced?
I would have though, well in 4 mm anyway. And with my eyes, with a well spliced Vee, it's quite had to see exactly which rail is which. (especially if you solder the splice) and then view from a normal distance.
phil
 
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message ref: 10380
Hi Michael,
That's a very interesting question you have posed to Martin, and as always a very thought out answer from Martin.
The only question I would have, purely for my understanding is, even in S scale is it quite obvious from your viewing angle, which way the vee rails are actually spliced?
I would have though, well in 4 mm anyway. And with my eyes, with a well spliced Vee, it's quite had to see exactly which rail is which. (especially if you solder the splice) and then view from a normal distance.
phil
Hi Phil - What i was trying to achieve is to give my locos the smoothest possible journey through the turnout and I agree that whilst the stock / point joint can hardly be seen it is still there.

I agree Martin's answer is excellent and given me some things to think about.

(its not often I ask a sensible question so I will savour the moment :))
 
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