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             Rating                           3D Printed Track and Turnouts
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161st message | this message only posted: 17 Aug 2017 23:57
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from:
Andrew Barrowman
USA

 

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Martin,

What would be a reasonable minimum thickness for the timbers?

I might also be able to reduce the cost by hollowing out some voids although that might not work because there is a charge for support material (I believe it's wax that is dissolved once the resin has cured.)

Andy
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162nd message | this message only posted: 18 Aug 2017 01:22
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from:
Martin Wynne
West Of The Severn, United Kingdom



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Andrew Barrowman wrote: What would be a reasonable minimum thickness for the timbers?Hi Andrew,

Which bullhead flexible track are you aiming to match?

The two common sizes use the technical terms "thick" and "thin".

1. "Thin" is the original design aiming to match traditional rivetted ply with a sleeper thickness of 1/32" (0.8mm). That applies to SMP Scaleway, Ratio EMtrack bases, C&L original (thin), and now also DCC Concepts.

The height to rail top is 0.8mm sleepers + 0.6mm chair base + 1.9mm code 75 rail = 3.3mm overall.

The 0.6mm chair base is of course the essential feature which provides the daylight under the rail above the ballast, in contradistinction to most flat-bottom track.

SMP Scaleway may be a bit thinner to match their soldered copper-clad pointwork kits:

 3/64" SRBP copper laminate (1.2mm) + 1.9mm rail = 3.1mm overall.

Ratio EMtrack bases had 1.0mm sleepers but with only 0.4mm chair base, so the end result was the same.

2. "Thick" matches the new Peco bullhead and the C&L/Exactoscale (thick) bases, originally matching 1/16" (1.6mm) plywood:

 1.6mm sleeper + 0.6mm chair base + 1.9mm code 75 rail = 4.1mm overall

which also matches Peco code 75 flat-bottom to rail top.

There are pros and cons. The "thin" is prone to curling and gauge variations if not carefully stuck down, but generally regarded as easier to ballast. Lots of layouts have used it successfully.

The "thick" is generally more robust, stable and accurate, but more difficult to ballast (Peco foam inlay anyone? :)).

If you decide on turnout bases in multiple sections you don't really have much choice. It would have to be the thick version, if allowing for a sub-base.

Say a sheet of 40 thou (1.0mm) plasticard as the sub-base, with 0.6mm timber sections stuck onto it (with what, he asks?)

Or maybe 30 thou (0.8mm) plasticard or 1/32" plywood sub-base, with 0.8mm timber sections stuck onto it.

I can see the Peco bullhead rapidly dominating the market. As they do.

Over to you. :)

p.s. If doing this commercially you should obviously ignore my figures and check actual products yourself.

Martin.

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163rd message | this message only posted: 18 Aug 2017 02:17
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from:
Andrew Barrowman
USA

 

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Thank you Martin.

I suspect if it's one it has to be thick, but it would take but a few clicks of the mouse to slice the model down to thin.

I think the difference in cost might be quite significant so perhaps the customer would get to decide.

There might even be an ultra-thin version for further savings. The timbers might be packed together requiring separation and gluing onto sub-timbers. The reason for packing them is because there is a cost for the overall volume "box" the part occupies on the print platter. It's not as significant as the resin volume, but it's still a cost.

Andy
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164th message | this message only posted: 27 Oct 2017 05:39
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from:
Andrew Barrowman
USA

 

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Jings! It will be snowing again here soon enough, and other than splitting a lot of logs for the shed's stove I don't seem to have accomplished very much at all. But I have been pondering:

I'd like to make it possible for anyone to obtain 3D printed turnout bases from Shapeways (or some similar service). Once I get everything set up, in theory anyway, it should be possible to order many different turnout designs in a lot of different gauges/track standards. However, the printing processes have certain limitations (see above).

At the moment the very best detail and accuracy can be achieved from UV cured resin. For the money I think the detail is pretty phenomenal. Unfortunately the resin is a bit fragile and I'm concerned that threading rails through resin chairs might lead to disappointment (not to mention a fair bit of hate-mail in my in-box :) )

Oddly enough it's really simple to print just about everything, including the rails, check rails, wing rails, Pandrol clips, (switch rails excluded) and that doesn't add much to the cost at all. Obviously, unless you happen to be a member of the "Dead Rail Society" that idea has about as much appeal as a chocolate teapot.

But hold on a minute. Who says the rail has to be metal all the way down to the chairs or baseplates? The only bit that really needs to be metallic is the rail's head (which is pretty much the same for bullhead and flat-bottom rails {ok, except for the tilt}).

I think it is possible to produce a metallic rail "head-cap" that snaps (or is glued) on to a printed rail's web.

A lot more mucking about is required!

ab



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165th message | this message only posted: 27 Oct 2017 08:12
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from:
Martin Wynne
West Of The Severn, United Kingdom



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Andrew Barrowman wrote:The only bit that really needs to be metallic is the rail's head (which is pretty much the same for bullhead and flat-bottom rails {ok, except for the tilt}).Hi Andy,

Flat-bottom is tilted too, at the same angle as bullhead (1:20 in UK, 1:40 in USA).

EXCEPT for flat-bottom pointwork in the UK renewed between about 1970 and 2000, which used vertical rails. But only for pointwork, plain track was still inclined.

If you could really design a clip-fit metal cap I think you could be on to a winner there. That might be a big if. And it is not going to work for the moving switch blades.

cheers,

Martin.

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166th message | this message only posted: 27 Oct 2017 17:32
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Andrew Barrowman
USA

 

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Good morning Martin,

Thanks for the information regarding tilt. It should be possible to include that in the designs but I'll probably defer that for a bit.

It might be possible to roll-form 8 thou nickel silver strip into a channel for the cap but I have not been able to find a source for the material yet. I'm going to experiment with brass and phosphor bronze first. I have some CRS too, but it is tin plated.

Yes, the switch rails will likely have to be solid metal.

This isn't a new idea. You can buy G track in the US which is nearly all plastic except for the rail head. It looks really horrible too, but it would probably look a lot better if it was painted.

Regards,
ab
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167th message | this message only posted: 27 Oct 2017 17:38
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from:
Andrew Barrowman
USA

 

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PS Do wheels in the US have a corresponding cone angle? And, did they have to reprofile wheels on UK equipment when it was running in the US?
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168th message | this message only posted: 28 Oct 2017 20:28
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mikewturner
 

 

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Hi Andy

I love this thread and where you are taking things but a word of caution re the metal rail cap idea, not sure of the resistance of nickel silver but the c.s.a. of the metal will be seriously reduced when compared to a normal rail and will likely compromise the overload protection of a dcc system without a large number of droppers. Attaching the latter may well be difficult too.

Edit: will not only be problematic with dcc but also analogue systems.
Regards

Mike

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169th message | this message only posted: 28 Oct 2017 21:20
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from:
Andrew Barrowman
USA

 

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mikewturner wrote: Hi Andy

I love this thread and where you are taking things but a word of caution re the metal rail cap idea, not sure of the resistance of nickel silver but the c.s.a. of the metal will be seriously reduced when compared to a normal rail and will likely compromise the overload protection of a dcc system without a large number of droppers. Attaching the latter may well be difficult too.

Edit: will not only be problematic with dcc but also analogue systems.
Regards

Mike
Hi Mike,

You are quite correct. Nickel-silver isn't a very good conductor, and the cap would have a small CSA. It definitely will require droppers.

I have some ideas about how best to attach them.

Regards,
ab

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170th message | this message only posted: 28 Oct 2017 21:44
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from:
d827kelly
Coventry, United Kingdom

 

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Andrew Barrowman wrote: mikewturner wrote: Hi Andy

I love this thread and where you are taking things but a word of caution re the metal rail cap idea, not sure of the resistance of nickel silver but the c.s.a. of the metal will be seriously reduced when compared to a normal rail and will likely compromise the overload protection of a dcc system without a large number of droppers. Attaching the latter may well be difficult too.

Edit: will not only be problematic with dcc but also analogue systems.
Regards

Mike
Hi Mike,

You are quite correct. Nickel-silver isn't a very good conductor, and the cap would have a small CSA. It definitely will require droppers.

I have some ideas about how best to attach them.

Regards,
ab

Vertical holes which the rail cap slots onto, with dropper rods going vertical to attach to dropper wires perhaps?

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171st message | this message only posted: 7 Nov 2017 05:53
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from:
Andrew Barrowman
USA

 

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Well, I'm not saying it's going to work, but it might.

This is a rather crude rail head "cap" channel. This sample was made from 8 thou phosphor bronze (annealed). The manufacturing process involved a box-cutter blade, aviation snips, and a small ball-peen hammer.



I'll try to make a better tool now.

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172nd message | this message only posted: 14 Nov 2017 01:13
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Andrew Barrowman
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These were stamped with a soft (brass) tool.



Looks like it might actually work but I'm not sure the caps will snap on to the resin rail web.

I have found a source for nickel-silver strip. It's on its way from Tucson and should arrive in a couple of days.

Gosh! Isn't this exciting :D

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173rd message | this message only posted: 14 Nov 2017 01:36
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from:
Martin Wynne
West Of The Severn, United Kingdom



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Andrew Barrowman wrote:Gosh! Isn't this exciting :DYes!

How easily does that channel curve? Or bend for the knuckle? How much of the turnout do you plan to use that channel for, and how much solid slide-in rail? Presumably the switch blades at least will have to be solid rail?

In stamping them, what did you use for the die? A proper tool or a block of rubber?

To fit onto the printed rail web, how about that brush-on hot-melt adhesive we used to use for mounting photographs? Is it still available for ironing designs onto fabric? Brush some of that in the channel, clip in place, run the soldering iron along it.

What are your plans for electrical connections?

That's quite enough question marks for one post. :)

cheers,

Martin.

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174th message | this message only posted: 14 Nov 2017 02:47
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from:
Andrew Barrowman
USA

 

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I was, of course, being facetious, but I suppose it could be quite exciting if it actually works. Those were the first two samples off the tool (it's brass, and only two inches long) but I might be able to use it to produce some decent lengths with step-and-repeat. I should probably create a complete 3D model for a turnout crossing now and get some test prints from Shapeways. That's probably the quickest way to find out what will happen when I try to install the rail head. Stay tuned for more exciting episodes of "What to do with your time when you are no longer gainfully employed". :cool:
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175th message | this message only posted: 14 Nov 2017 02:59
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from:
Martin Wynne
West Of The Severn, United Kingdom



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Andrew Barrowman wrote:Stay tuned for more exciting episodes of "What to do with your time when you are no longer gainfully employed". :cool:I've heard it said that some folks build model railways.

Martin.

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176th message | this message only posted: 17 Nov 2017 22:08
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from:
Andrew Barrowman
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Now available in nickel silver.



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