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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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201st message | this message only posted: 20 Jan 2018 00:50
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from:
Martin Wynne
West Of The Severn, United Kingdom



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Thanks Andy.

Do the heads clip on, or glued in place? With what adhesive?

I reckon you could get a neat electrical connection via the fishplates*. Leave a notch in the rail head at the rail joint positions. Have a fold-over etched fishplate which fits into the notch. A smear with SMT paste**, clip on the rail head, touch with the soldering iron, and it's done. :)

The fishplates would have a thin tail which goes down into the ballast for a wire connection. With a small notch in the side of the rail foot to accommodate it.

*dummy cosmetic fishplates at the prototype rail joints. Not model rail joiners.

**For those not into electronics, SMT paste is 179deg solder cream (2% silver).

cheers,

Martin.

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202nd message | this message only posted: 20 Jan 2018 01:01
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from:
Martin Wynne
West Of The Severn, United Kingdom



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p.s. Andy,

I have taken the liberty of posting a couple of your pics on the Scalefour (P4) forum:

 https://www.scalefour.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=5697

which I expect will raise considerable interest. Hope you don't mind. :)

If you are not a member you can reply via the Guest Book section.

Martin.

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203rd message | this message only posted: 20 Jan 2018 01:20
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from:
Andrew Barrowman
USA

 

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Martin Wynne wrote: Hi Andy,

That's looking so promising I'd like to clarify where it might lead, in addition to supplying the finished pointwork. :)

e.g.

1. user designs turnout in Templot. Up to what size?

2. user exports a file from Templot. In DXF? Some other format?

3. user opens file in your software, chair library, etc. User specifies type of chair needed at each timber? (I have already some experimental stuff for that in Templot.)

4. user creates 3D file from your software.

5. user sends file to Shapeways for 3D printing.

6. user buys capping section and special glue from Andy's Patent Track Supplies Inc.

cheers,

Martin.
1. No real upper limit. The length of that B 7.5 is slightly too long for Shapeways' "bounding box" but I think I can fit both parts into the box. If it was a really long turnout it might have to be two discrete prints.

2. Yes, DXF most likely.

3. User opens file, probably in TurboCAD. I'm using the Pro version, but I think it can be made to work with the less expensive Deluxe version. It might also be possible for the user to use an entirely different CAD product. Not sure if the web based versions will work because of the file sizes involved.

User imports my chair library (they are all "blocks") and plonks the chairs on to the import from Templot. After plonking, user has to orient chairs in the required direction. User then "sweeps" a rail profile to make the rail. Lastly user has to extrude the timbers down vertically to make them 3D.

(It's a bit more complicated than that, but not much.)

(A word of caution - I don't intend to make models for all the possible chairs. I'm only a year younger than you so it's likely I'll never finish :)  I make the complicated chairs that differ according to the crossing angle from sub-components in-situ on the template. The sub-components are things like jaws, seat, in-buttress, out-buttress, base-plate, bolts, bolts-wide etc, etc. They all have to be oriented and trimmed to make the final chair. It would be quite simple for users to make their own sub-components once they get the hang of it.

I've deliberately left a lot of "smoothing" like fillets out of the models. They look really nice in renderings, but in 00 scale all they do is make the model files much bigger. My models are actually quite crude but you'd never know from the printed article.)

4. User saves 3D modle file in native CAD format for subsequent editing  (BTW, none of this is my software.)

5. User saves 3D model file in .STL format and sends that to Shapeways for a quote
  (user may now fall over when user gets quote, but time is money.)

6. User buys capping supplies from some unknown outfit in the UK. I don't think it makes any sense to make them in the US and ship them to the UK. We need to find someone in the UK with experience in these matters. I wonder who that might be?

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204th message | this message only posted: 20 Jan 2018 01:48
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from:
Martin Wynne
West Of The Severn, United Kingdom



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Thanks Andy.

How far did you get with this on your own 3D printer?

We need to find someone in the UK with experience in these matters. I wonder who that might be?Sorry, my experience is all with injection moulding tools, I know nothing about press tools. However, there are plenty of firms in this part of the world who can do that. For example these folks are only about 45 minutes away:

 https://www.multiforms.co.uk/index.php/capabilities1/precision-metal-pressings/

On the other hand, a drawn section may be the way to go. See what comes up in the animation on Winterbottom Wire's site: :)

 http://www.wintwire.co.uk/profile-wire-manufacturers.htm

cheers,

Martin.

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205th message | this message only posted: 20 Jan 2018 18:35
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from:
Andrew Barrowman
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Hi Martin,

Thanks for those links.

The prints I've made on my home printer use metal rail, but the process is very similar and most of the chair models will work with either method. The jaws do have to be altered to accommodate the metal rail's dimensions. The Shapeways cured resin printing process allows unsupported overhangs which makes it possible to print rails.

I have not attempted printing that model on my home printer. I might give it a shot but I'll have to add some removable supports for the rails first.

Cheers,
Andy

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206th message | this message only posted: 20 Jan 2018 19:04
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from:
Rob Manchester
Manchester



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Hi Andy,

If I can ask, and apologies if similar has been asked before, roughly how much does Shapeways charge for a 'print' like the one you painted with the camo paint ?

Martin's idea for electrical connection via a fishplate sounds good but what about drilling a hole (vertical) in the printed rail section and soldering a wire to the underside of the cap to form a dropper. You would need a countersink or rebate in the top of the hole so the cap could sit down correctly once the wire has been soldered on.

Keep up the good work.

Rob


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207th message | this message only posted: 20 Jan 2018 23:03
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from:
Andrew Barrowman
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Hi Rob,

Probably of more interest would be the cost of the entire turnout. (I was going to say "turnout base" but I realized that's not quite right.)

By skewing the entire turnout model I was able to fit all of it into the Shapeways bounding box so they can print it in one piece in FUD (frosted ultra detail resin)

If you were to submit that model it would cost you something like $18.86 (US dollars). You might have to pay more if I added a markup and put it for sale on Shapeways.

It's not cheap but it doesn't strike me as too expensive compared to the alternatives.

The model still needs a couple of changes, then I have to add fishplates and Martin's blinking bolts :) but if anyone is interested in "playing along with Andy" I can make it available at cost through Shapeways.

Show of hands please.

Re: the connections. Yes, I was thinking of trying something along those lines. I really need to do a bit of experimenting but that requires more samples. At this point I'm confident enough with the whole cap concept to order more up.

I've also come up with a way to put a thin layer of hot-melt glue on the top of the printed rails. That should make it possible to iron-on the rail caps (and remove them again too if necessary).

Cheers!

Andy

Here's a pic from a lower angle.



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208th message | this message only posted: 20 Jan 2018 23:37
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from:
Rob Manchester
Manchester



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Andy,

Thanks for the info. Yes, the price is quite reasonable. Mind you this original one has cost a fortune with all the work you have put in. Glad to see somebody take the lead on this.

Hot melt glue sounds interesting for the caps.

Rob


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209th message | this message only posted: 21 Jan 2018 09:09
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JFS
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I really hope this project is a great success, but I confess to a considerable degree of doubt. As an engineer, it is painfully obvious to me that the concept of a separate metal cap to a printed plastic base has so many practical pitfalls which even at this quite late stage seem not to have been proven in basic form. But one thing I simply do not comprehend - if the metallic surface must be added as a postscript, why not use electro-deposition?
Ultimately, getting a completely level, aligned and accurately positioned "top" is what track building - real or model - is exclusively about. Using small bits of bashed metal seems the worst possible approach. I am conscious that above must come across as very negative, and I really do wish the whole initiative well, but I feel it is currently in need of a dose of hard cynicism - something all projects need in their early days:(

Best wishes,

Howard

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210th message | this message only posted: 21 Jan 2018 09:32
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JFS
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Martin Wynne wrote: On the other hand, a drawn section may be the way to go.Hmm, dose of realism time again - minimum order, say 500kg?

Best wishes,

Howard.

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211th message | this message only posted: 21 Jan 2018 12:08
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from:
Martin Wynne
West Of The Severn, United Kingdom



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JFS wrote:the concept of a separate metal cap to a printed plastic base has so many practical pitfalls which even at this quite late stageHi Howard,

At this late stage???

Andy is only at the beginning of this idea and is no further forward than proof of concept.

Bear in mind also that he is modelling in 00, so not necessarily looking for P4 levels of precision.

I think it is an imaginative and innovative idea which is worth seeing where it will go.

There are many modellers who like the idea of bespoke flowing custom pointwork, but recoil from the idea of building it from scratch themselves. Trimming lengths of capping to length and fitting them on a pre-moulded base seems to me to be a fairly straightforward process if the alignment, angles and flangeway gaps have all been done for you. Granted it needs to be done carefully and no doubt there are some skills to learn, but we are talking about modellers here.

Yes, minimum orders will be a problem, however the capping is sourced. But the hobby seems able to support many different rail sections, so there is no reason to suppose it couldn't support one more.

Let's stay positive about this idea of Andy's. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. :)

regards,

Martin.

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212th message | this message only posted: 21 Jan 2018 13:23
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from:
JFS
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Martin Wynne wrote: JFS
Let's stay positive about this idea of Andy's. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. :)
Hello Martin,

Indeed so, and I hope my suggestion of electro deposition is a positive way forward. It seem to me that putting the inverting the bases to put the rail head through an electrotype process would provide a  route to creating the equivalent of the N/S caps regardless of the rail radius / shape etc.  I still see plenty of difficulties - some of which have already been raised by others - but ED might be one issue simplified.

Over many decades of involvement in some pretty big development projects, my experience is that the ones which ultimately succeed are the ones which identify and tackle the difficult questions upfront, whereas the ones which adopt a "cross that bridge..." approach simply die a longer death.

As for "late stage", I note that the first post in the thread is dated 9th Aug 2015 and that a lot of very hard work had clearly been done before that stage.  Ultimately, model trackwork, regardless of scale/gauge is a "system", and therefore it would be shame to invest massive effort in one aspect, if insurmountable difficulties appear in another aspect right at the end.

I hope Andy will recognise that my challenges are intended to spur thought, rather than spread doom.

For my part, I am feeling very guilty that I composed pretty much this text on the 9th August 2015, but never posted it as I did not want to appear "negative".

Best wishes,

Howard

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213th message | this message only posted: 21 Jan 2018 13:45
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from:
Martin Wynne
West Of The Severn, United Kingdom



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JFS wrote:As for "late stage", I note that the first post in the thread is dated 9th Aug 2015But that's less than 3 years ago!

What timescale are you on? This is the Templot forum. Here is our clock:



:)

Also, at that stage Andy was threading rails into home-printed bases. His separate capping idea is much more recent.

cheers,

Martin.

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214th message | this message only posted: 21 Jan 2018 14:08
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from:
JFS
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Maybe I should just have kept quiet...

Howard
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215th message | this message only posted: 21 Jan 2018 14:48
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Andrew Barrowman
USA

 

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Where to start?

Not today though. I'm going skiing 😀 😀
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216th message | this message only posted: 21 Jan 2018 17:45
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Martin Wynne
West Of The Severn, United Kingdom



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Hi Andy,

You mentioned adhesive for attaching the rail cap. Have you found one?

It occurred to me that if a successful adhesive is available, it may not need a channel section?

A flat strip would be much easier to source (and trim to length). It would need some sort of pronged guide tool to assist in attaching it to the rail properly aligned.

You could maybe mould a slot or v-groove along the top of the rail? That would make it easier to brush in the adhesive and then scrape flush.

A 2-part adhesive may be the way to go? Adhesive on the rail top, activator applied to the underside of the strip. Maybe something like:

 https://www.tool-net.co.uk/p-310738/everbuild-hazard-3-mitre-fast.html?gclid=Cj0KCQiAkZHTBRCBARIsAMbXLhHCooMFHLzyF4z-76xn_xxmVwgGM4ioLU--l56g9pXHveSYZHEouUoaAs5BEALw_wcB

cheers,

Martin.

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217th message | this message only posted: 21 Jan 2018 18:53
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from:
Martin Wynne
West Of The Severn, United Kingdom



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Hi Andy,

Andy Reichert has asked me to pass on this link to his Proto87 Stores web site:

 http://www.proto87.com/

He can provide etched rail-top components for crossings, switch blades, tie-bars, etc.:



There could be some useful ideas there, although being USA-based everything is dead straight.

The great advantage of your idea is that it applies equally to UK-based practice, where track tends to be mostly curved:



cheers,

Martin.

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218th message | this message only posted: 22 Jan 2018 06:05
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from:
Andrew Barrowman
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Hi Martin,

I missed your post about Scalefour Forum. Seems to have caused quite a stir :)

I'm most interested in exploring the possibility of getting from a Templot template to a reliable working turnout with minimal aggravation and cost. Exactly how best to electrify the rails is probably a very open question, and I claim no monopoly on the concept. I'm just happy that such a radical idea is even being taken seriously :D

I'm going to plod on with the cap idea because I can make it work and I think many people in the UK could too. Just about anyone with access to a milling machine and a cheapo hydraulic press could make the cap tool, and I'll be happy to share the "design" with anyone who wants to give it a shot.

That's not to say there might be much better ways of electrifying printed rails. Anyone who wants to investigate other options should do that. I think the most important point we should focus on is that printing most of the rail along with the chairs, clips, etc., allows anyone to make custom turnouts with more detail than is possible even with injection molding.

Skiing was great btw, except for the bit when a young lady on a snowboard plowed into me and knocked me over :(

Cheers!
Andy

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219th message | this message only posted: 22 Jan 2018 07:32
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from:
Martin Wynne
West Of The Severn, United Kingdom



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Andrew Barrowman wrote:Skiing was great btw, except for the bit when a young lady on a snowboard plowed into me and knocked me over :(Hi Andy,

There's too much of that going on around here.

Only yesterday somebody was running me over with a bus. :)

Hope you're ok?

Martin.

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220th message | this message only posted: 23 Jan 2018 03:06
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Andrew Barrowman
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Martin Wynne wrote: Only yesterday somebody was running me over with a bus. :)

Hope you're ok?
I'm fine thanks Martin

I'd rather get run over by one of these than a bus :)

When it's this nice, you gotta go! This is a shot from the top of the hill. The BNSF line to Montana crosses the lake.

Andy



Hi-res: http://85a.co.uk/forum/gallery/2983/original/2983_222258_400000000.jpg

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221st message | this message only posted: 23 Jan 2018 04:02
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Martin Wynne
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Andrew Barrowman wrote:When it's this nice, you gotta go! This is a shot from the top of the hill. The BNSF line to Montana crosses the lake.Looks great!

We never get snow like that here, just a sort of muddy slush.

But it's nice when the sun shines. This was Boxing Day:



Hi-res: http://85a.co.uk/forum/gallery/2/original/2_222354_430000000.jpg

cheers,

Martin.

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222nd message | this message only posted: 23 Jan 2018 22:59
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Trevor Walling
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Only yesterday somebody was running me over with a bus. :)You don't mean me do you? :D
Regards
Trevor:)


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223rd message | this message only posted: 28 Jan 2018 07:01
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from:
Andrew Barrowman
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At one point I considered turning the printed turnout bases into a commercial venture but then I realized I'd have to be completely off my rocker to do that. It's far too much like hard work! :)

Instead I will make my 3D chair models available for anyone who wants to use them, even for commercial purposes. With Martin's permission I will also create a "how to" thread here that will include details of the tooling I used to make the rail caps, and I'll also reveal a method for applying the caps so that they are "dead flat".

The complete turnout base is almost complete and when it is I'll make it available on Shapeways (at cost) for anyone who wants to experiment/evaluate the concept.

There is a single-slip design in the works. Currently it's 4-SF, but I'm thinking of converting it to P4. My thinking is that if this system (is it a system?) works for P4, it has some legs.

Andy.

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224th message | this message only posted: 6 Feb 2018 06:33
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Andrew Barrowman
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Yet another sample, except that this one was printed on my 3D printer. The rail is SMP.



The printed material is a blend of PLA and something called PHA. It's a lot tougher than pure PLA which makes it ideal for the chairs. I had to apply a lot of force to break them.

Frosted Ultra Detail resin (from Shapeways) has a bit more definition, but not all that much more definition. (Bear in mind that the above image is equivalent to holding the sample about three inches from the end of your nose.)

I'm printing plain track here to evaluate the chairs. There are two versions of the chair "jaws". One accepts metal rail and the other uses printed rail. The point is that anyone can print perfectly good turnouts on a home 3D printer, or they could get a "Hi-Fi" version from Shapeways for a premium if they can source the rail cap.

Andy


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225th message | this message only posted: 6 Feb 2018 08:51
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JFS
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Hello Andrew,

Looks nice! I wonder if you could put a vernier over the guage faces in three or four places and let us know how close the gauge came out to the target dimension please? Also, perhaps repeat the measurements over the next few weeks to give us a guide to stability.

Best wishes,

Howard
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226th message | this message only posted: 7 Feb 2018 04:03
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Andrew Barrowman
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JFS wrote: Hello Andrew,

Looks nice! I wonder if you could put a vernier over the guage faces in three or four places and let us know how close the gauge came out to the target dimension please? Also, perhaps repeat the measurements over the next few weeks to give us a guide to stability.

Best wishes,

Howard
Hi Howard,

Here you go :)



The rails were a bit wobbly on the previous sample. I've adjusted the chairs to grip the rail properly on this (unpainted) version.

The nominal gauge is 16.2 mm. Due to the small amount of compliance in the plastic it's not so simple to measure the gauge precisely. I've used go/no-go tests with a vernier gauge checked against a micrometer. When I insert the vernier between the rail heads and there is enough interference to lift the sample it's considered a "no-go".

From the top the go/no-go values are:

16.26/16.28
16.24/16.26
16.26/16.28
16.24/16.26

I can easily nudge the chair model's reference point to get closer to the nominal 16.2, but we can use this sample to evaluate the plastic's stability.

Regards,
Andy

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227th message | this message only posted: 7 Feb 2018 05:02
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Martin Wynne
West Of The Severn, United Kingdom



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Hi Andy,

I believe you are using SMP Scaleway rail?

It is often under scale width, which will affect the measured gauge assuming the rail is gripped centrally within the chairs.

Scale width for BS-95R bullhead rail is 0.92mm as most C&L rail and others (EMGS, S4, etc.).

SMP rail is or was around 0.8mm wide.

Your measurements would be nearer to 16.20mm using C&L rail.

Unfortunately suppliers have been known to help each other out with stocks of rail, so it's not always clear cut.

This also affects the rail fit in track gauge tools.

regards,

Martin.

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Andrew Barrowman
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Martin Wynne wrote: Hi Andy,

I believe you are using SMP Scaleway rail?

It is often under scale width, which will affect the measured gauge assuming the rail is gripped centrally within the chairs.

Scale width for BS-95R bullhead rail is 0.92mm as most C&L rail and others (EMGS, S4, etc.).

SMP rail is or was around 0.8mm wide.

Your measurements would be nearer to 16.20mm using C&L rail.

Unfortunately suppliers have been known to help each other out with stocks of rail, so it's not always clear cut.

This also affects the rail fit in track gauge tools.

regards,

Martin.
Hi Martin,

Yes, SMP rail is a bit skinny, but the chairs take that into account.

With this type of additive filament printing the chair design and precise positioning is highly empirical. The chairs are not symmetrical and the overhang to grip the chairs is determined to a greater extent by the slicer software than by my 3-D model. This requires a lot of "suck it and see"  printing.

For this new filament I reduced the layer thickness from 0.18 to 0.15 mm which threw everything off slightly.

BTW, I'm running my printer with a 0.2 mm extruder and high res. X-Y positioning. A single stepper-motor step creates a 0.005 mm displacement (in theory at least.)

Cheers,
Andy

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Andrew Barrowman
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Sometimes it takes a minute or two for the penny to drop, or in my case it sometimes takes a few years.

One of the problems with any kind of plastic track/turnout base is gripping the rail "just right". I'm sure it's difficult enough with injection molded bases, but it's really tricky with 3D printed bases. If you make the chairs too loose, the rail flops around, tilts, and won't hold gauge, and if you make them too tight they tend to break.

I've often thought the solution is to introduce some compliance into the chairs (a bit like the spring-steel keys) but so far that has defeated me completely. Then I finally realized there is a "springy" component - the rail!

Here's a test piece I cooked up this evening. The rails are truly vertical and the gauge came out right on the money first time :D



Keen observers will have already noticed that half the "chairs" seem to be missing. Here's a drawing of the 3D model.



The pads are 0.6 mm high with a lip that projects 0.1 mm over the base of the BH rail. They are positioned so that each pad applies a small amount of lateral pressure on the rail.

The rail is threaded by "weaving" it between the pads, but the insertion force is so small it feels like the rail is threading in a straight line.

So, I think the solution is to add the cosmetic bits while maintaining sufficient clearances to allow for the weaving effect.

Happy weaving!



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from:
Rob Manchester
Manchester



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Andy,

So we have gone full circle. The rails are secured in the right place like we used to do by soldering to rivets and the chairs are basically cosmetic. A good bit of thinking there, I like that idea as it should avoid the too loose/too tight chairs of your previous one. Keep up the thinking.

Rob


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Andrew Barrowman
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It also seems to work with the offsets on the same side rather than opposed.

With the opposed version the sleepers are alternately in compression and tension which produces a fair amount of lateral force between the pads and the rail. The sleepers are quite thin on this version and the forces tend to bow the sleepers slightly. It wouldn't be a problem if the sleepers were glued on to a substrate.

With the offsets on the same sides the compression/tension is removed and the retention force is created by the webs between the sleepers. There is no bowing, but the retention force is reduced although it seems to be quite adequate.
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232nd message | this message only posted: 14 Feb 2018 04:11
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from:
Andrew Barrowman
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This might be a bit long winded. You might want to put on some soothing background music before reading any further :)

I'm trying to put together a "kit of bits" (free BTW) that anyone can use to assemble 3-D printable models of turnouts/slips/what-have-you from a Templot template by simply plonking the various chairs on to the timbers. The idea is to make it as medium independent as possible - in other words you could create a model in no time and send a file of the complete model to a service like Shapeways, or you could print it on your own 3-D printer. I'd also like it to be "rail neutral" so you could insert your favorite rail through the chairs/clips, or even print most of the rail and cap it with a conducting layer (probably the best option for FB turnouts).

Achieving this is mostly straightforward, but there are a couple of wrinkles. The first wrinkle is the requirement to make the dimensions of the jaws/clips compatible with the actual rail. In 76.2:1 scale alone there are quite a few interpretations of scale rail sections.

In CAD that's not such a big problem. For example, in the case of bullhead chairs it's not difficult to construct the chairs from multiple "blocks", and the blocks can be nested. There can be blocks for the screw heads, the baseplate, the buttresses that reinforce the jaws, and the jaws themselves. Any change to the block that constitutes the jaws will automatically propagate to all instances of the jaws in the final turnout model. That makes it fairly easy to create models that can use different types of rail.

Except that (second wrinkle now) some of the jaws and the seats that support the bottom of the rail are rotated and end-sliced relative to the base of the chair. As far as I can tell this applies to the crossing chairs, Y X A B C D etc., and the switch chairs 1P 2P 3P 4P etc.

At first I thought the answer was to provide some components that would let the user rotate and slice the chairs to create their own library of switch and crossing chairs but then it occurred to me that would probably put most people off the whole idea altogether.

Instead I think it would be better to provide chair models for 1P 2P 3P and 4P for both B and C switches. If I have it right that's only eight chair models.

For the crossings I'm thinking of including jaws displaced at 3, 3.5 and 4 degrees relative to the chair normal (center-line). They will be combined with baseplate blocks that incorporate all the other features in the final model. These angles are not precisely correct for all the possible crossing RAM values, but I believe they are quite close enough for 00 scale and below.

All correspondence on a postcard to:

Martin Wynne, somewhere West of Greenwich

Andrew, who might be up a mountain in Wyoming :)




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from:
Martin Wynne
West Of The Severn, United Kingdom



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Hi Andy,

When you say "plonking the chairs on the timbers", presumably you mean in a CAD program?

I think you are going to need a tutorial on that for many/most potential users.

I'm also wondering to what extent the chairs could be "ready-plonked" in the DXF export from Templot?

For the special switch and crossing chairs, I still feel that John's idea of moulding only half of the chair on the base, and adding the other half chair during assembly is worth trying.

Waiting for the postman,

Martin.

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from:
Andrew Barrowman
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Martin Wynne wrote: Hi Andy,

When you say "plonking the chairs on the timbers", presumably you mean in a CAD program?

I think you are going to need a tutorial on that for many/most potential users.

I'm also wondering to what extent the chairs could be "ready-plonked" in the DXF export from Templot?

For the special switch and crossing chairs, I still feel that John's idea of moulding only half of the chair on the base, and adding the other half chair during assembly is worth trying.

Waiting for the postman,

Martin.
Hi Martin,

You are correct. The "plonking" will take a little bit of instruction, but it's trivial, and it's not expensive. It's also extremely fast once you get the hang of it. It consists dragging the desired chair "block" on to the imported Templot template so that it "snaps" to the intersection of the rail and the timber's center line. You then rotate it so that it snaps to align with the rail. In the case of common chairs like S1 you can "rubber stamp" all of them in their positions.

I'm creating the models for TurboCAD Deluxe. It's not free, but older versions will work fine, and they are quite inexpensive. I'll also make DXF's available. They might well work with other CAD but I don't plan to test them.

Well, yes, you can always glue things together to achieve similar results. This is just another option. Some people might prefer it. If you think I'm wasting my time I'll bag the whole idea.

Andy

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Andrew Barrowman
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Hi Martin,

Is it possible for you to allow the extension .tcw to posted files?

I just spent a couple of hours composing (though I say it myself) an absolutely brilliant tutorial on how to plonk 3-D chairs on to a 2-D Templot design, but when I hit send it told me to ***censored***

Andrew
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Martin Wynne
West Of The Severn, United Kingdom



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Andrew Barrowman wrote: Is it possible for you to allow the extension .tcw to posted files?Hi Andy,

Try now. :)

Martin.

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Andrew Barrowman
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Martin Wynne wrote: Andrew Barrowman wrote: Is it possible for you to allow the extension .tcw to posted files?Hi Andy,

Try now. :)

Martin.
Thanks Martin.

Trying again, this time with two versions of the file in two posts. The .tcw is native TurboCAD Deluxe format and the other is .dxf  - Drawing Exchange Format.

I have not had any luck finding a free CAD program with the rather limited functions necessary to assemble turnouts for 3-D printing, but I'm including the .dxf version in case someone wants to take a shot with another CAD program. I will try to support anyone using TurboCAD Deluxe (TC from now on) but I make no guarantees for any other CAD programs.

I will attempt to explain how to go about the "chair plonking" in a subsequent post. It will take me a little while to compose that.

Andy

First the native TC file.

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Andrew Barrowman
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And now the .dxf version.

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Andrew Barrowman
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You might have deciphered from the the cryptic file name that this is a left hand B switch 7.5 RAM crossing turnout. If you have any luck getting opening it in TC it should look a bit like this:



The rail and timber outlines were imported from Templot (as a .dxf file) and there are three S1 chairs positioned on some timbers. We can come back to the details on how to do that later. On the right is a "pallet" with three tabs. The "blocks" tab is showing the various models that can be positioned on the template. Many of them are not ready for use, but the S1 chair is ready. (I'm still in the process of converting them from TurboCAD Pro). The other tab you will have to use is the "tools". Click back and forth between blocks and tools by hitting the tabs. Pay no attention to the "design director" tab. You should not need to use that.

Notice that the timbers are only two dimensional. It's best to leave them like that until all the chairs are in place. It's much simpler to position 3-D objects on to a 2-D drawing than on to another 3-D object.

You should be able to zoom in and out by rolling your cursor wheel and you can change the focus at the same time by moving the mouse around. Right-click brings up an object selector and view change popup that's very handy.

I'm going to post this now and take the dogs for a walk. More to follow (I already posted the screenshots in the gallery if you want to look ahead.)

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Andrew Barrowman
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Zooming in on one of the chairs should like like this.



This one is rendered to make it look nice and solid but you really want to turn that off because all it does is slow down the program. Note that the edges are sharp. In 00 scale it's not a god idea to fillet them to make it look like a casting. Doing that only makes the files very large and slows down rendering. The 3-D printing process rounds the edges without you having to do anything.

Right click and select a teacup to change the rendering. While you are at it right click again and change to the plan view.

Now to position a chair.

Right click then left click on the selector (big arrow top LH corner).

Select the "tools" tab and make sure the snap to "intersection" is selected in "snap modes". It's also a good idea to enable "show magnetic point" (looks like a magnet).

Click the "blocks" tab and find the S1 chair block. (The blocks can be displayed as icons or by name.)

Left click on S1 and drag it to the intersection of the center line of a timber timber with the rail.

Should look like this



then eventually this



Now for a short intermission.

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