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page trail:  Templot Club > Forums > Trackbuilding topics > 3D Printed Track and Turnouts
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             Rating                           3D Printed Track and Turnouts
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681st message | this message only posted: 27 Aug 2018 05:13
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from:
Andrew Barrowman
USA

 

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Hayfield wrote:  how are you going to overcome things like threading the acute bends and soldering the vee tipHi John,

This stuff is strong enough that the rail can be threaded round the bends without damaging the chairs. I'll probably notch the rail foot slightly to encourage it to focus the bend at the knuckle. Similar approach for the check rails.

For the vee I'll lock the rails in place mechanically with CA and bond them electrically with dropper wires well back from the vee. It's not impossible to solder the vee after the rails are inserted, but you need to be really quick with a hot iron to avoid chair damage. (This plastic does not have a high melting point.) It should also be possible to do something with a fancy heat-sink, but that might be going a bit overboard.

Cheers,
Andy

PS - It's actually raining here. Yippee!

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682nd message | this message only posted: 27 Aug 2018 08:26
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from:
Hayfield
United Kingdom

 

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Perhaps low melt solder is the answer, also the wing rail knuckle could be made in 2 parts, again soldering with low melt solder

What size crossing is it please
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683rd message | this message only posted: 27 Aug 2018 19:37
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from:
Andrew Barrowman
USA

 

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Low melt might work too.

It's 7.5 RAM.
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684th message | this message only posted: 27 Aug 2018 19:42
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from:
Hayfield
United Kingdom

 

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Thanks
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685th message | this message only posted: 1 Sep 2018 15:15
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from:
Stephen Freeman
Sandbach, United Kingdom



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Not 3D printing but an idea inspired by it. I was reading the book previously mentioned when the author likened a 3D printer to a sophisticated hot glue gun. Now sometime ago I toyed with the idea of making some cosmetic parts with polyurethene resin.

I went as far as making some masters and molds but the results left something to be desired, so I decided not to pursue it further.

After reading the said book, I had what might be described as a Eureka moment. I have a hot glue gun and some molds, what if it worked?

Upshot is that the results were encouraging. 2 main drawbacks at the moment, definition and colour. I think I can improve on the definition (which isn't that bad) and I have ordered some brown and black sticks (the glue doesn't take paint well).

Watch this space!
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686th message | this message only posted: 4 Nov 2018 04:44
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from:
Andrew Barrowman
USA

 

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Right, well, no more mucking around.

There will be three grandchildren here between Christmas and New Year. If they don't see some action on grandpa's railway there might be a little disappointment. Not on their part I hasten to add. That will be mine, for failing to get them away from their Internet devices and into the wonderful world of model railways :)

So I have settled on this format. Still a bit of work to do but it's aimed at my home printer. My printer does not have fantastic resolution, but I think it's sufficient and it's also incredibly cheap economical, just like me.



The only slightly tricky bits are around the knuckle and the vee but I'll probably fudge them a bit to get something working soon.
 

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687th message | this message only posted: 4 Nov 2018 09:13
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from:
Hayfield
United Kingdom

 

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Andrew

Looks very good to me, and the common crossing just needs a few chairs/half chairs to finish it off

My suggestion is to solder up the vee and form the wing rails.

Cut the switch rails half way between the X chairs and the ones before

Print a couple of check rail chairs, 3 pairs of standard chairs and a slab and bracket chair

Fit the vee first and support the nose of the vee between it and the timber, then chop some half chairs up and fit where the C & D positions are

Chop one half of each check rail chair off and fit on the wing rail in the B timber position this will anchor the wing rail in position, then fit the X & A chairs

A second thought is to print the centre Parts of the X,Y,A, B,C & D chairs and just thread the Vee on then fit the outer half chairs
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688th message | this message only posted: 4 Nov 2018 21:08
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from:
Andrew Barrowman
USA

 

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Hi John,

I'll be printing them with my home printer. The plastic is quite tough and it's flexible enough that I'll be able to slide the rails in without cutting them. I'm going to try soldering the wings and nose to a brass or copper laminate slab. Not sure if that will work or not, but I think it's worth a shot.

Cheers,
Andy
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689th message | this message only posted: 10 Nov 2018 04:57
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from:
Andrew Barrowman
USA

 

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and here it is.



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690th message | this message only posted: 10 Nov 2018 07:50
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from:
Hayfield
United Kingdom

 

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Andy

Looking very good
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691st message | this message only posted: 10 Nov 2018 19:11
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from:
Andrew Duncan
Reigate, United Kingdom



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Hello Andy

That is really impressive. Having dipped in and out fro time to time over the last couple of years please forgive this question, but is the switch end of the design developed and working well  already?

Great work.

Andrew

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692nd message | this message only posted: 11 Nov 2018 01:22
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from:
Andrew Barrowman
USA

 

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Hi Duncan,

That's up next. The crossing is actually the difficult part (with respect to 3D printing). Getting all the frog/check dimensions right is a bit tricky. I'm glad to say modern 00 equipment glides through this crossing without any clicks or bumps.

By comparison the switch end is fairly straight-forward.

I should really take a better pic. This does not show the detail on the chairs as well as it might. They are definitely not as good as injection molded chairs but they are PDG without a lot of magnification.

They are also dirt cheap and you simply thread the rails in. I do notch the bottom of the rail slightly to focus the bend. It took me about thirty minutes to insert the rails into that crossing after I printed the base. The base takes about an hour to print.

(I should point out that it's to my rather weird scale.)

Cheers,
Andy
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693rd message | this message only posted: 11 Nov 2018 08:28
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from:
Hayfield
United Kingdom

 

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As for the extra fine detail, its only a year that Peco have been making track with bullhead rail and chairs without keys, then there is the thought which those who make track using the copperclad construction method who subscribe to the fact that once ballasted and painted, from distance it looks passable

I have no idea of the cost per item, which you describe as cheap as chips. But from a normal viewing distance once ballasted and painted they look the job and give you the variety of size and type/style not available it RTR at a fraction of the cost
It looks as if you have cracked it, well done

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694th message | this message only posted: 11 Nov 2018 19:30
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from:
Andrew Barrowman
USA

 

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Hi John,

It would look a bit better if I remove the "flash" around the bottom of the timbers. It's there to encourage the timbers to stay firmly attached to the printer bed during the printing process. I might be able to print without it, but it's best to start off using it. There's nothing worse than having a print start to detach itself half way through.

Re the cost: A 0.75 kg spool of that type of filament costs about 30 GB Pounds. You can print a lot of turnout bases with one spool. The timbers are not solid plastic. They are filled with a honeycomb matrix.

The real "expense" is all the time it takes learning how to get the best out of the printer and there's a lot of machine minding time too. That crossing base takes about an hour to print, although once it gets going you can do a lot of other things but it's best to be in the same room.

Cheers,
Andy
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695th message | this message only posted: 11 Nov 2018 22:18
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from:
Trevor Walling
United Kingdom

 

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Hello Andy,
               Looks great.
Learning to design the thing to be actually printed is a pretty big learning curve as well.
Choosing the software and learning how to use it can take quite a while.
Regards.

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696th message | this message only posted: 11 Nov 2018 23:40
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from:
Andrew Barrowman
USA

 

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Trevor Walling wrote: Hello Andy,
               Looks great.
Learning to design the thing to be actually printed is a pretty big learning curve as well.
Choosing the software and learning how to use it can take quite a while.
Regards.
Hi Trevor,

It was for me but I hope to "short-circuit" that for other people. The biggest obstacle seems to be finding a suitable CAD program. Anyone who has TurboCAD Pro could use Templot with my chair models to create a 3D turnout model now. It takes less than an hour to assemble a turnout in CAD using a small subset of the CAD features. It basically consists of dragging the chair blocks, snapping them to two intersecting lines then rotating them to align the jaws with the rail.

The big snag is TurboCAD Pro is not cheap and I've had no luck finding a free CAD program that does the job. The critical requirement is that the program must support "blocks". That's because each different type of chair is stored as a block or a set of nested blocks. For example, if I want to alter the bolts on my chairs I edit the bolt block and every instance of the bolt in the turnout model immediately changes too.

I'm probably over-simplifying a bit, but it's really not difficult.

Cheers,
Andy

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697th message | this message only posted: 11 Nov 2018 23:50
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from:
Andrew Barrowman
USA

 

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It was overcast today, so I took advantage of the diffuse light to get some better shots.



I don't know who planed the rails for the vee, but they did a really poor job.

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698th message | this message only posted: 12 Nov 2018 00:04
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from:
Martin Wynne
West Of The Severn, United Kingdom



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

Post your questions on the forum where everyone can see them and add helpful replies.
Andrew Barrowman wrote:The big snag is TurboCAD Pro is not cheap and I've had no luck finding a free CAD program that does the job.Hi Andy,

If I make some progress with this, a paid-for CAD program won't be needed, nor CAD skills:



The DXF will come from Templot ready chaired.

I haven't looked at it for a few months, but with the darker winter days here again it is time I did.

I can probably get the plain track finished in a week or two, so that the idea can at least be be tested.

More info for those seeing this for the first time here:

 http://85a.co.uk/forum/view_topic.php?id=3307&forum_id=1

More about how the DXF from Templot gets to a 3D printer, using only free software, and no CAD skills needed:

 http://85a.co.uk/forum/view_topic.php?id=2734&forum_id=6&page=15#p25268

cheers,

Martin.

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699th message | this message only posted: 12 Nov 2018 01:00
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from:
Andrew Barrowman
USA

 

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Martin Wynne wrote: Andrew Barrowman wrote:The big snag is TurboCAD Pro is not cheap and I've had no luck finding a free CAD program that does the job.Hi Andy,

If I make some progress with this, a CAD program won't be needed:



The DXF will come from Templot ready chaired.

I haven't looked at it for a few months, but with the darker winter days here again it is time I did.

I can probably get the plain track finished in a week or two, so that the idea can at least be be tested.

More info for those seeing this for the first time here:

 http://85a.co.uk/forum/view_topic.php?id=3307&forum_id=1

cheers,

Martin.
Hi Martin,

That looks really great!

But I'm concerned it's not going to work too well when it comes to printing model track and turnouts, and I don't want to see you wasting a lot of your time if that's what you intend it to do.

I've found that the chairs have to be designed to accommodate the limitations of the printing process. I know mine look a bit crude, but there are a lot of reasons why they are. There are also limitations on file size, and models with lots of facets can easily exceed those limits. (Don't ask me how I know.)

For example, if you look at the chairs in my recent model you'll see that where the outer jaw contacts the rail it's just a vertical plane. Not only that but the vertical plane is actually designed to contact both the foot and head of the rail in a highly unprototypical fashion. There's a good reason for that. It's the only way to keep model bullhead rail vertical and maintain gauge with 3D printed chairs. (I tried countless experiments to try to avoid this, but none of them worked.)

You might have a bit more luck if your models are only printed in Shapeways hi-fi resin, but it's quite brittle (not to mention expensive) and the chair jaws tend to snap when you try to thread the rail through them, which is why I ended up printing the rail integral with the jaws and adding a conductive cap.

Before you go much further please create a test piece, even if the chairs are a bit nonsensical, and submit it to Shapeways. You'll be able to see how it will print  but unless you order an actual part it won't cost you anything. Also generate an STL file of that model and run it through Repetier-Host to see how it will come out on a filament printer after slicing. I can do that for you if you like.

Cheers,
Andy

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