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                                       progress report - chairs in the output
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1st message | this message only posted: 16 Jul 2018 20:34
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from:
Martin Wynne
West Of The Severn, United Kingdom



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As I mentioned, the reports of folks using 3D printing to create bullhead chairs has spurred me to move chairing in Templot from the NOD* list to the to-do list. :)

I started some experimental work a couple of years ago, and I have now returned to it.

It seemed that if the output was to be of any use in 3D printing, the chair outlines would need to have the proper corner radii. It's a lot of extra calculation with 4 chairs on most crossing timbers, but it hasn't impacted too much on the screen response for full track plans. Obviously you would switch the chairs on only for the final printed templates, they are not needed while track planning.

It's fiendishly complex. For example the REA bridge chairs (L1) have a larger corner radius (1.3/4") than ordinary S1 chairs (which have 1" corner radius): 



And GWR slide chairs have a full semi-circular end on the inside, for example.

Templot does all the positioning and rotating of the chairs, and calculates where bridge chairs are needed to fit the space.

For 3D printing it needs to be in the DXF file. So this is where I've got to:



Just the chair bases so far. The next job is to change the rails to a proper bullhead section. Then add the keys, and the chair jaws. And the chair screws.

There is a lot still to do. I may be gone for some time. :)

Just to be clear, the above wasn't drawn in a CAD program, it is the DXF export from Templot. The CAD program is used simply to view it, and then save it as an STL file for 3D printing. All the dimensions and fits will be entered in Templot. No CAD knowledge will be needed -- at least, that's the plan.

This is in Templot2. When I have got it finished and working I will make the code open-source, but I will probably leave it to others to incorporate it into OpenTemplot.

*Nice One Day

cheers,

Martin.

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2nd message | this message only posted: 16 Jul 2018 20:48
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Rob Manchester
Manchester



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Hi Martin,

Nice work with the chairing :)

If it isn't too much to ask can you add some code to aggregate all the chairs used on templates in the storage box ( like the timber/sleeper length one which is great ). It would need to be broken down into quantities of S1, L1 types etc. This would make ordering/stock checking a breeze. I am looking at the 'old fashioned' route of using injection moulded chairs and actually glueing them on.......

Rob


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3rd message | this message only posted: 16 Jul 2018 23:59
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from:
d827kelly
Coventry, United Kingdom

 

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A great addition to templot!
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4th message | this message only posted: 17 Jul 2018 08:12
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richard_t
Nr. Spalding, South Holland, United Kingdom



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I've been doing similar, in 2D, using my cad program - I think I'd go slightly crazy doing a full plan, even though the chairs are blocks so they just need putting in the correct place.



Attached is a simple A6 turnout, without the crossing chairs - it's a PDF, as the PNG I generated looked awful.




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Attachment: a6-chairs-test-Model.pdf (Downloaded 76 times)
 
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5th message | this message only posted: 17 Jul 2018 18:31
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Andrew Barrowman
USA

 

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richard_t wrote: I've been doing similar, in 2D, using my cad program - I think I'd go slightly crazy doing a full plan, even though the chairs are blocks so they just need putting in the correct place.



Attached is a simple A6 turnout, without the crossing chairs - it's a PDF, as the PNG I generated looked awful.



Hi Richard,

Did you draw it all in CAD or did you import a DXF from Templot?

Andy

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6th message | this message only posted: 17 Jul 2018 18:38
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richard_t
Nr. Spalding, South Holland, United Kingdom



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Everything bar the chair outlines is from Templot. I'm not that loopy (yet) :-)
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7th message | this message only posted: 18 Jul 2018 05:35
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from:
Andrew Barrowman
USA

 

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richard_t wrote: Everything bar the chair outlines is from Templot. I'm not that loopy (yet) :-)Correct answer! You get ten points (points, not turnouts :) )

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8th message | this message only posted: 30 Jul 2018 17:14
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from:
Martin Wynne
West Of The Severn, United Kingdom



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Rob Manchester wrote: Nice work with the chairing :)

If it isn't too much to ask can you add some code to aggregate all the chairs used on templates in the storage box ( like the timber/sleeper length one which is great ). It would need to be broken down into quantities of S1, L1 types etc. This would make ordering/stock checking a breeze.
Thanks Rob.

Yes, that's on my list. Also splitting the timbering into separate counts for sleepers and turnout timbers.

I'm making some progress, as discussed on the 3D printing topic. Chairing works for equalized timbers or square-on, and the chairs remain on the rails when timbers are shoved*:




For 3D printing, the chairs go into the exported DXF files:




As you can see, there is a long way still to go. The chair jaws and keys to add, and then all the special switch and crossing chairs.




Of course this level of detail won't survive 3D printing in 4mm scale, but it might in 7mm, and should do in the larger scales. The screw heads are all at random angles.

The bright colours in the screenshots are simply to make the details more visible.

*not when crabbed.

cheers,

Martin.

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9th message | this message only posted: 30 Jul 2018 17:34
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from:
Rob Manchester
Manchester



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Martin Wynne wrote:

I'm making some progress, as discussed on the 3D printing topic. Chairing works for equalized timbers or square-on, and the chairs remain on the rails when timbers are shoved:

cheers,

Martin.
Hi Martin,

Thanks.

Yes you are making great progress, interesting to watch the the development of this even if much is way over my head :(

Rob

PS...Ha Ha, Surely you need to take the chair screws out of the chairs before you can shove the timbers otherwise the rail will get slewed over? :D

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10th message | this message only posted: 30 Jul 2018 18:01
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from:
Martin Wynne
West Of The Severn, United Kingdom



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Thanks Rob.

The 3D printing stuff is going over my head too. I'm still writing DXF code the same way I did in the 1980s. :)

That's why I started this separate topic to cover the track design aspects.

Here is something that will be possible. If you omit a timber when shoving, its chairs go too, as you can see. However, if instead you set its length to zero, making it invisible, its chairs remain unsupported on the rails. Adjacent long timbers can then be extended under them:



With the timbers invisible, shoving them along will be a way to slide the chairs along the rails to any desired position.




UPDATE:

We now have the keys, and outer jaws on the S1 chairs. Gold-plated: :)



Notice the random key positions (and screw heads).

There should be a corner radius around the top of the jaw, but I think I'm going to draw a line at this. I've used as much of the REA drawing as seems reasonable. I'm hoping that the 3D printer will smooth out some of the sharp angles:



Now for the inner jaws, L1 chairs, slide chairs, slab & brackets ...

Don't hold your breath.

cheers,

Martin.

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11th message | this message only posted: 19 Nov 2018 20:29
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Martin Wynne
West Of The Severn, United Kingdom



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After a break I'm now working on this project again. :)

Dave asked about the chairing parameters. Here is a list of the settings for the S1 ordinary chairs.

All the settings are in full-size prototype inches (as most else in Templot):

    seat_thick:single;           // full-size inches chair seating thickness   1.75"
    chair_plinth_thick:single;   // chair plinth is a nominal area inside the
                                 // outline perimeter (rectangle on corner rad centres)
    chair_edge_thick:single;

    outer_jaw_face:single;   // outer jaw from gauge-face  (3.15/16" for vertical rail)

    boss_height:single;         // inches full-size up from base of chair...
    ferrule_height:single;
    bolt_head_height:single;

    boss_dia:single;
    hole_dia:single;            // ferrule dia

    key_length:single;
    key_pad_length:single;
    key_pad_taper:single;

    key_max_offset:single;


       // rail section (overall height, head width, foot width as .box file) ...

    rail_corner_rad:single;    // inches full-size  top corner rad on rail  221a
    rail_head_depth:single;    // inches full-size, from rail top down to ...
    rail_web_top:single;
    rail_web_bottom:single;
    rail_foot_depth:single;
    rail_web_thick:single;

      // S1 ordinary chairs   Standard Railway Equipment 1926  S1 ordinary chairs ...

    S1_chair_outlong:single;        // from gauge-face
    S1_chair_inlong:single;         // chair total length 14.1/2"
    S1_chair_halfwide:single;       // chair width 8" /2

    S1_seat_top_halfwide:single;    // almost full width  7.7/8"  /2

    S1_chair_crad_inner:single;     // corner rad 1"
    S1_chair_crad_outer:single;

      // bolt centres ...

    S1_inbolt_1x:single;      // y always 1.75" from end of chair
    S1_inbolt_2x:single;

    S1_outbolt_1x:single;
    S1_outbolt_2x:single;

    //-------------------

      // S1 outer jaw (2 ribs) ...

    S1_outjaw_height_top:single;       // from base


      // top x-section...

    S1_outjaw_half_rib_space_top:single;    // half-width between ribs

    S1_outjaw_rib_depth_top:single;
    S1_outjaw_rib_width_top:single;
    S1_outjaw_rib_rad_top:single;
    S1_outjaw_fillet_rad_top:single;
    S1_outjaw_depth_top:single;        // behind ribs


      // middle x-section ...

    S1_outjaw_height_mid:single;       // from base

    S1_outjaw_half_rib_space_mid:single;    // half-width between ribs

    S1_outjaw_rib_depth_mid:single;
    S1_outjaw_rib_width_mid:single;
    S1_outjaw_rib_rad_mid:single;
    S1_outjaw_fillet_rad_mid:single;

    S1_outjaw_depth_mid:single;     // behind ribs


      // seat x-section...

    S1_outjaw_height_seat:single;            // from base

    S1_outjaw_half_rib_space_seat:single;    // half-width between ribs

    S1_outjaw_rib_depth_seat:single;
    S1_outjaw_rib_width_seat:single;
    S1_outjaw_rib_rad_seat:single;
    S1_outjaw_fillet_rad_seat:single;

    S1_outjaw_depth_seat:single;     // behind ribs


      // plinth x-section ...

    S1_outjaw_depth_plinth:single;     // behind ribs

    S1_outjaw_half_rib_space_plinth:single; // half-width between ribs
    S1_outjaw_rib_depth_plinth:single;
    S1_outjaw_rib_width_plinth:single;
    S1_outjaw_rib_rad_plinth:single;
    S1_outjaw_fillet_rad_plinth:single;

    //-------------------

      // S1 inner jaw (1 rib) ...

    S1_injaw_height_top:single;       // from base


      // top x-section...

    S1_injaw_rib_depth_top:single;
    S1_injaw_rib_width_top:single;
    S1_injaw_rib_rad_top:single;
    S1_injaw_fillet_rad_top:single;
    S1_injaw_depth_top:single;        // behind rib


      // flange clearance x-section...

    S1_injaw_rib_depth_flange:single;
    S1_injaw_rib_width_flange:single;
    S1_injaw_rib_rad_flange:single;
    S1_injaw_fillet_rad_flange:single;
    S1_injaw_depth_flange:single;        // behind rib


      // upper middle x-section (top of rib) ...

    S1_injaw_height_upmid:single;       // from base
    S1_injaw_rib_depth_upmid:single;
    S1_injaw_rib_width_upmid:single;
    S1_injaw_rib_rad_upmid:single;
    S1_injaw_fillet_rad_upmid:single;
    S1_injaw_depth_upmid:single;     // behind rib


      // middle x-section ...

    S1_injaw_height_mid:single;       // from base
    S1_injaw_rib_depth_mid:single;
    S1_injaw_rib_width_mid:single;
    S1_injaw_rib_rad_mid:single;
    S1_injaw_fillet_rad_mid:single;
    S1_injaw_depth_mid:single;     // behind rib


      // seat x-section ...

    S1_injaw_height_seat:single;            // from base
    S1_injaw_rib_depth_seat:single;
    S1_injaw_rib_width_seat:single;
    S1_injaw_rib_rad_seat:single;
    S1_injaw_fillet_rad_seat:single;
    S1_injaw_depth_seat:single;     // behind rib


      // plinth x-section ...

    S1_injaw_depth_plinth:single;     // behind rib
    S1_injaw_rib_depth_plinth:single;
    S1_injaw_rib_width_plinth:single;
    S1_injaw_rib_rad_plinth:single;
    S1_injaw_fillet_rad_plinth:single;


Many of these can be left on the defaults. For customising I'm intending to use easily editable text files -- it would be a massive task to create a conventional user interface to enter so many values.

Ditto and likewise for all the other types of chair ...

cheers,

Martin.

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12th message | this message only posted: 20 Nov 2018 01:13
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DaveJ61
Northampton, United Kingdom

 

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Hi Martin,

Thanks for this. This is absolutely jaw-dropping. What have I let myself in for? :-)
I'm working some strange shift patterns this week, covering for other people but I hope to look at all this in closer detail at the weekend.

Dave
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13th message | this message only posted: 24 Nov 2018 18:00
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from:
Martin Wynne
West Of The Severn, United Kingdom



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Some progress today on the S1 inner jaw.

For dimensioning purposes I have split the inner jaw into two components. This part I have called the "stand":



It sets the gauge-face of the rail by locating the foot of the rail*. This assumes of course that the rail foot is the same width as the head. If not there will be a gauge_tweak setting to make final adjustments to the chair position.

*vertical rail. I'm not getting into the madness of inclined rail, which in my view is unbuildable in small scale models.

Behind the stand there will be an "web insert" component in the rail web, which will be dimensioned to match the rail section, in the same way as the key on the other side. The two parts of the jaw will blend together in the final render.

The central rib on the REA drawing is more difficult to replicate simply than the ribs on the outer jaw. I think I have got somewhere near without getting too involved in 3D blends which would require dozens of additional facets. An important consideration for models is to keep it below the wheel flanges.

I'm still undecided about how to blend the side of the jaw into the chair base and rail seat. I have removed the silly angled socket in the rail seat which I had previously. On the prototype it is a spherical fillet radius, but that would involve a silly amount of code. On the outer jaw I used a few simple facets instead, although I'm not convinced it looks right. It is easier to see without the rail in place:



This view also shows the tapered ends of the key, to ease rail threading and reduce stress on the chair.

Time for a boiled egg. :)

Martin.

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14th message | this message only posted: 24 Nov 2018 19:17
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Andrew Barrowman
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Hi Martin,

I'm assuming we'll be able to randomize the rotation of the screw heads :D.

Seriously, looks good. Before you go too much further, if you can generate a complete model we can easily find out file size etc. Obviously a lot of the detail you are adding won't be visible at small scales but it will be visible in the larger scales. Striking a reasonable compromise might take a bit of testing.

I think it might be possible to use Meshlab to simplify/reduce facets on a model. That might allow you to put lots of detail into your models and use Meshlab to post process the file according to the scale, but I'm probably talking rubbish. Every time I try to use Meshlab it gives me a sore head :)

Cheers,
Andy

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Martin Wynne
West Of The Severn, United Kingdom



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Andrew Barrowman wrote: Hi Martin,

I'm assuming we'll be able to randomize the rotation of the screw heads :D.

Seriously, looks good. Before you go too much further, if you can generate a complete model we can easily find out file size etc.

I think it might be possible to use Meshlab to simplify/reduce facets on a model. That might allow you to put lots of detail into your models and use Meshlab to post process the file according to the scale, but I'm probably talking rubbish. Every time I try to use Meshlab it gives me a sore head :)
Hi Andy,

Yes, the screw heads are randomized in the file. You don't have to do anything. :)

Likewise the driven position of the keys.

Yes, I'm hoping to post a file for a plain track panel in a day or two -- can you remind me of the section dimensions of your rail?

Meshlab gave me a sore head too. In fact the whole 3D modelling/printing business gives me a sore head. That's why I'm still using the methods and geometry which I used back in the 1980s.

Any joy with your printer?

cheers,

Martin.

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16th message | this message only posted: 24 Nov 2018 19:50
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Andrew Barrowman
USA

 

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Martin Wynne wrote: Andrew Barrowman wrote: Hi Martin,

I'm assuming we'll be able to randomize the rotation of the screw heads :D.

Seriously, looks good. Before you go too much further, if you can generate a complete model we can easily find out file size etc.

I think it might be possible to use Meshlab to simplify/reduce facets on a model. That might allow you to put lots of detail into your models and use Meshlab to post process the file according to the scale, but I'm probably talking rubbish. Every time I try to use Meshlab it gives me a sore head :)
Hi Andy,

Yes, the screw heads are randomized in the file. You don't have to do anything. :)

Likewise the driven position of the keys.

Yes, I'm hoping to post a file for a plain track panel in a day or two -- can you remind me of the section dimensions of your rail?

Meshlab gave me a sore head too. In fact the whole 3D modelling/printing business gives me a sore head. That's why I'm still using the methods and geometry which I used back in the 1980s.

Any joy with your printer?

cheers,

Martin.
Hi Martin,

I was actually joking about the screws, but if you can do that, why not?

SMP rail nominal dimensions :

Height 1.92
Width (head and foot) 0.80
Web thickness 0.32
Foot depth 0.32
Head depth 0.60

The last two are a bit sketchy because of the radii where the head and foot meet the web but I think they are pretty close.

The replacement microcontroller board for the printer is supposed to arrive here tomorrow.

Cheers,
Andy

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17th message | this message only posted: 24 Nov 2018 20:26
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Martin Wynne
West Of The Severn, United Kingdom



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Andrew Barrowman wrote:Height 1.92
Width (head and foot) 0.80
Web thickness 0.32
Foot depth 0.32
Head depth 0.60

The last two are a bit sketchy because of the radii where the head and foot meet the web but I think they are pretty close.
Hi Andy,

Thanks. I will use those for a test file.

I've included the prototype 1:2.75 (20deg) fishing angle (as you can see on the keys) which should hopefully allow for the internal rads on the model rail. It could be increased if nec.

At present there is no location against the outer edge of the rail foot -- as on the prototype, otherwise it wouldn't be possible to drop the rail into the chair. That means location relies entirely on the key, I'm not sure how well that will work for a model. Plenty of trialling and errorring awaits. :)

cheers,

Martin.

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Andrew Barrowman
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Martin Wynne wrote: Andrew Barrowman wrote:Hi Andy,

Thanks. I will use those for a test file.

I've included the prototype 1:2.75 (20deg) fishing angle (as you can see on the keys) which should hopefully allow for the internal rads on the model rail. It could be increased if nec.

At present there is no location against the outer edge of the rail foot -- as on the prototype, otherwise it wouldn't be possible to drop the rail into the chair. That means location relies entirely on the key, I'm not sure how well that will work for a model. Plenty of trialling and errorring awaits. :)

cheers,

Martin.
Hi Martin,

I think the keys should print OK in Shapeways hi-res resin but I suspect you'll need to include a locator on the outside of the foot. I tried to do it without that, but it didn't work (for me).

Things are a bit different with a filament printer like the one I have. Unless you add some sort of support columns that will be removed later, it's not possible to have overhangs that exceed about 40% of the extruder nozzle's diameter. The slicer will build the overhang out gradually with each layer which means that the keys won't be too much like the real thing.

For home printing I've completely abandoned any suggestion of keys. The outside jaw just presents a vertical surface that contacts both the foot and head of the rail. The inside jaw presses on the rail's web to jamb the rail against the outside "jaw" while providing enough vertical force to keep the rail in the jaws. None of this resembles prototype practice in the slightest, but seems to work quite well :)

Cheers,
Andy

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Martin Wynne
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Andrew Barrowman wrote:For home printing I've completely abandoned any suggestion of keys. The outside jaw just presents a vertical surface that contacts both the foot and head of the rail. The inside jaw presses on the rail's web to jamb the rail against the outside "jaw" while providing enough vertical force to keep the rail in the jaws.Hi Andy,

Yes, I realised you are doing that. I'm trying to create something that will scale up to the larger scales. If it produces a reasonable looking chair in 7mm scale resin I shall be well chuffed. I know it may have to be drastically downgraded for 4mm scale and/or filament printing, but I will cross that bridge when I get there. It would be easy enough to fill in under the outer half of the key.

What is the nozzle diameter on your printer? I'm just measuring the chimney to see if Father Christmas could get a 3D printer down it. :)

cheers,

Martin.

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Andrew Barrowman
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Martin Wynne wrote:
What is the nozzle diameter on your printer? I'm just measuring the chimney to see if Father Christmas could get a 3D printer down it. :)
According to my information he's pretty good at extruding himself and his kit into tight places. 0.2 mm should not be a problem.

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Martin Wynne
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Andrew Barrowman wrote:According to my information he's pretty good at extruding himself and his kit into tight places. 0.2 mm should not be a problem.Hi Andy,

From what I'm reading a 0.2mm nozzle is needed for fine detail, but significantly slows the printing process. Do you find that the case? By how much?

I'm assuming that with a double-extruder printer, if not using the other nozzle for water sols, you could have 0.4mm or 0.6mm on one nozzle to print the timbers fairly quickly, and then use a 0.2mm nozzle on the other to print the chairs onto them? Is that a sensible idea, or have you just fallen off your chair laughing? :)

Some progress with the coding, we now have the inner jaw finished with the insert in the rail web:

1. prototype rail dimensions:




2. SMP rail to your dims:



Notice that the inner jaw insert is much less robust because of the thicker rail web, and the key is significantly deformed because of the excessive head depth.

You can see that better on the end views:





The SMP rail is significantly under scale width, the head is too deep, and the web is too thick. The deformed key which results and the weaker inner jaw is evident. It can't be beefed up much because of the need to clear wheel flanges.

I assumed a fishing angle of 1:1.5 for the SMP rail, that's just a guess, but I doubt it matches the prototype 1:2.75 fishing angle.

I suspect other model rail will be similarly compromised.

What all this means is that I think I'm ready to create a test file. I just need to add the webbing between the timbers.

cheers,

Martin.

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Martin Wynne wrote: Andrew Barrowman wrote:According to my information he's pretty good at extruding himself and his kit into tight places. 0.2 mm should not be a problem.Hi Andy,

From what I'm reading a 0.2mm nozzle is needed for fine detail, but significantly slows the printing process. Do you find that the case? By how much?

I'm assuming that with a double-extruder printer, if not using the other nozzle for water sols, you could have 0.4mm or 0.6mm on one nozzle to print the timbers fairly quickly, and then use a 0.2mm nozzle on the other to print the chairs onto them? Is that a sensible idea, or have you just fallen off your chair laughing? :)

Some progress with the coding, we now have the inner jaw finished with the insert in the rail web:

1. prototype rail dimensions:




2. SMP rail to your dims:



Notice that the inner jaw insert is much less robust because of the thicker rail web, and the key is significantly deformed because of the excessive head depth.

You can see that better on the end views:





The SMP rail is significantly under scale width, the head is too deep, and the web is too thick. The deformed key which results and the weaker inner jaw is evident. It can't be beefed up much because of the need to clear wheel flanges.

I assumed a fishing angle of 1:1.5 for the SMP rail, that's just a guess, but I doubt it matches the prototype 1:2.75 fishing angle.

I suspect other model rail will be similarly compromised.

What all this means is that I think I'm ready to create a test file. I just need to add the webbing between the timbers.

cheers,

Martin.
Hi Martin,

I needed some light relief. I spent most of the day dorking around with my printer but despite making some progress, it's still not working. There is at least a theory now, but that will have to wait until the cold light of dawn.

No, I don't think there is anything wrong with your two nozzle idea. I was thinking along similar lines but I noticed recently that, even with 0.2 mm nozzles, most of the time (I have not quantified the amount precisely) goes into printing the chairs rather than the timbers. I concluded two nozzles were not worth the effort and decided it's better to focus on things that would make the printing process as repeatable as possible.

With filament printing it's always going to take a fair bit of time and there really isn't a way to get around that. It's a serial process that requires the acceleration of massive objects. If the process is very reliable/repeatable the best way to increase productivity is probably to add another printer.

Cheers,
Andy

(And now to bed, perchance to dream.)

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Martin Wynne
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Here's a 30ft track panel in EM with 12" joint sleepers:



I have tried a diagonal webbing between the sleepers. Several reasons for that, probably all invalid: :)

1. when cutting the web rib from the sleeper, the thickness of the knife blade will bend the rib instead of forcing the sleepers apart (as happens with the usual under-rail webs).

2. the panel is flexible for curving, and will hold the sleepers square to the curve.

3. the intersection of the web ribs makes it easy to follow a drawn centre-line when tracklaying,

4. it is easier to ballast over the webbing if desired than when it is under the rail.

This scheme is unlikely to work for more complex track formations having partial templates and shoved timbers. For those I think I shall implement a means to draw the required webbing on the screen manually.




Here it is without rails, ready for printing: :)



Some companies which used the wider 12" joint sleepers also used wider joint chairs on them. But not all, the ordinary S1 chairs look ok on them (as above). So I think I will leave joint chairs for another day. The L1 bridge chairs are calling me.

cheers,

Martin.

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Hi Martin,

Excellent design. All 4 reasons for the 'odd' webbing sound valid to me but not sure about the curving bit. Surely it depends on the material having some flexibility as the angles between the webs and the sleepers ( and the 'cross' in the middle ) will need to change as the panel is curved. Having tried a few products from shapeways there doesn't seem to be much flexibility to tweak things. It needs a test I think ( and somebody with SMP rail to fit in it :D ). Gauge widening needs to be considered too at some point.

Keep up the good work.

Rob

P.S. If the material flexibility is as issue it may be good to have a jig for rail threading that engages the ends of the sleepers to prevent the them being forced apart.

P.P.S If Santa is bringing you a printer you better get your order in quick as I am having a new workbench and that will take up a lot of room on the sleigh :)


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Thanks Rob.

Printer ordered. I'm just hoping the reindeer aren't too exhausted after "black friday", especially if you are expecting them to bring a workbench at the same time. :)

I'm trying to get my head round the conversion to G-code for the printer -- it's hurting.

Andy was asking about some file sizes:

DXF file from Templot: 476 KB

Slic3r set to 0.05mm layers, 0.2mm nozzle, 50% fill.
______________

Using TurboCAD Deluxe I get:

STL file: 2033 KB

Slic3r GCODE file: 3109 KB -- 106,000 lines, filament usage (1.7mm dia): 1277mm. File usable?
____________

Using free software -- 3D Crafter + MeshLab, see: http://85a.co.uk/forum/view_topic.php?id=2734&forum_id=6&page=15#p25268

I get:

3DS file : 907 KB
STL file: 2031 KB, so same as TurboCAD, but

Slic3r GCODE file: failed (8KB empty file, 290 lines, filament usage 3.4mm), I need to investigate. :(

Here's the STL file from 3D Crafter/MeshLab viewed in TurboCAD Deluxe:



Here's some info from Slic3r:

                       TurboCad    3D Crafter + MeshLaB 


facets total            49,896        49,844

errors, auto-repaired   14,365        78,081

comprising:
       facets removed       52            78
       facets added      8,320         8,346
       facets reversed   5,993        69,657

I don't know what to make of all that. Over to Andy. :)

cheers,

Martin.

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Trevor Walling
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Hello Martin,
As a matter of interest what printer are you getting?
Regards.
Trevor.:)
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Martin,

Santa has out-sourced some deliveries this year - he is using Parcelforce now :) Last year he had too many mince pies and couldn't manage some of the chimneys.....

Are you keeping the 'brand' of your new printer a secret ? I have thought once or twice about getting one but get the feeling it could take over my leisure time and divert me away from other modelling activities. Once you and Andy get into production it may be different though......I will just watch the two of you for now.

Rob


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Martin Wynne
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Rob Manchester wrote: Are you keeping the 'brand' of your new printer a secret ? I have thought once or twice about getting one but get the feeling it could take over my leisure time and divert me away from other modelling activities. Once you and Andy get into production it may be different though......I will just watch the two of you for now.Hi Trevor, Rob,

I'm reluctant to say any more about the printer just yet because I don't want anyone here to regard my choice as any sort of recommendation. My knowledge of 3D printers is absolutely nil at present.

When it has arrived and I can report actual facts about what I find in the box, I will be able to say more about it.

It's news to me that I'm going into production. :)  This will just be a new toy to tinker with, and also to confirm that the DXF files from Templot can be used successfully to create 3D-printed track. I don't like to claim a new feature for Templot until I have actually proved it myself.

cheers,

Martin.

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Martin,

Comments in green, changes in Orange...



Martin Wynne wrote: Rob Manchester wrote: Are you keeping the 'brand' of your new printer a secret ? I have thought once or twice about getting one but get the feeling it could take over my leisure time and divert me away from other modelling activities. Once you and Andy get into testing your theories it may be different though......I will just watch the two of you for now.Hi Trevor, Rob,

I'm reluctant to say any more about the printer just yet because I don't want anyone here to regard my choice as any sort of recommendation. My knowledge of 3D printers is absolutely nil at present. But I bet your knowledge is 100 times what is was not long ago and with your work ethic and attention to detail I am sure you made a good choice..

When it has arrived and I can report actual facts about what I find in the box, I will be able to say more about it. Hopefully all the bits will be there. I gather there may be some initial setting up and such like with most of them - assuming you haven't gone for one made of Meccano or such like.

It's news to me that I'm going into production. :)  This will just be a new toy to tinker with, and also to confirm that the DXF files from Templot can be used successfully to create 3D-printed track. I don't like to claim a new feature for Templot until I have actually proved it myself. I was trying to suggest you would want to test your new features.....rather than starting up in production ( again )...think you have done quite enough of that in the past :)

Just keep us all up to date with your progress as usual  :thumb:

Rob


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Hi Martin,

If you can create Gcode, that's great.

I typically use Netfabb Basic to repair the STL for Slic3r. Slic3r does have a repair option but it doesn't always work for me. BTW, there's a good chance your printer will run under Repetier-Host. You can download it now and see how the printer will lay down the filament, like this:




The file sizes seem about right. For my 7 inch track panel:

STL from TCpro 1.4 MB
STL After Nefabb repair 1.4 MB
Gcode from Slic3r 1.37 MB
Filament required 621 mm

I believe your STL files are larger because of the number of facets, but that's not really a problem if the STL compiles to Gcode. The major difference in filament length is probably because my sleepers are only 0.9 mm thick and they not very dense.

Repetier-Host tells me my panels will print in 23 minutes but the estimation is way off. They actually take about twice that, and the major chunk of time is printing the chairs.

I noticed your layer thickness is 0.05 mm. That will increase the print time, a lot. There is an option in Slic3r that lets you specify different thickness layers, so you might use greater values for the sleepers and reduce it when you print the chairs. If your nozzle is 0.2 mm you should be able to use up to 0.15 mm layers (see pic above). I have not used the variable layer option for a long time and I can't remember exactly how to turn it on :)

Meanwhile I await ANOTHER micro-controller for my printer. The replacement bricked exactly the same way as the original. It must be the driver card. I will replace it too before my next attempt.

Cheers, from a very wet Pacific Northwet. At the moment we are on the wrong end of what they refer to as a "Pineapple Express".

Andy

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Andrew Barrowman
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Hi Martin,

Another thought:

The triangulation webs between the sleepers will add a lot of lateral stiffness. That's really good for turnouts and the like but probably not so good for flexible plain track.

Cheers,

Andy
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Martin Wynne
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Hi Andy,

This is what Repetier-Host is displaying. This is using the highest precision settings which the printer is claimed to support.

Chairs from Templot in 4mm/ft and 7mm/ft scales.

I don't yet know how closely these screen previews match the finished result -- obviously a circular nozzle can never create such sharp edges. :?





There are some strange artifacts in the rendering there. Presumably the choice of slicing software can make a big difference to the final results at this level of detail?

Also noticeable is the dominating effect of the key in the overall design. This perhaps explains why the plastic flexi-tracks (which because of the practicalities of injection moulding can have only a minimal key) never look quite "knobbly" enough to properly represent bullhead track having wooden keys.

cheers,

Martin.

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Trevor Walling
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Hello Andy and Martin,
This is beginning to look really exciting.I hope newer printers can manage to reduce the layers effect on the surface which is an unfortunate effect on earlier types.
Some of the results I have seen on Youtube lately look really smooth on surfaces of items being produced.I think 0.2mm nozzles could be a factor and if they are readily available a further improvement.
Regards.:)
Trevor
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I’m sort of half following this thread, and wondering why you don’t use someone like Shapeways to get stuff printed using the SLS (Selective Laser Sintering) process? At work we have lots of low volume plastics made which suits us wonderfully, and the finish is a lot better than anything I’ve seen using extruded plastic. Although I use a “professional” printing company for most stuff, I’ll also use Shapeways - they’re mainly a hobbyist company. It’s got to be cheaper than buying a printer if you just want track bases for a layout or two!
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Martin Wynne wrote: Hi Andy,

This is what Repetier-Host is displaying. This is using the highest precision settings which the printer is claimed to support.

Chairs from Templot in 4mm/ft and 7mm/ft scales.

I don't yet know how closely these screen previews match the finished result -- obviously a circular nozzle can never create such sharp edges. :?





There are some strange artifacts in the rendering there. Presumably the choice of slicing software can make a big difference to the final results at this level of detail?

Also noticeable is the dominating effect of the key in the overall design. This perhaps explains why the plastic flexi-tracks (which because of the practicalities of injection moulding can have only a minimal key) never look quite "knobbly" enough to properly represent bullhead track having wooden keys.

cheers,

Martin.
Hi Martin,

I don't know what's going on there. I've seen some similar effects and it usually means there will be a problem with the print. I seem to remember Meshlab had something to do with it, but that could be nonsense. You should be able to see if those protrusions are real if you examine the individual layers in plan view.

BTW1, forget what I said about the webs. I was having a Señor moment.

BTW2, have you got your can of hairspray at the ready?

Cheers,
Andy



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Paul Boyd wrote: I’m sort of half following this thread, and wondering why you don’t use someone like Shapeways to get stuff printed using the SLS (Selective Laser Sintering) process? At work we have lots of low volume plastics made which suits us wonderfully, and the finish is a lot better than anything I’ve seen using extruded plastic. Although I use a “professional” printing company for most stuff, I’ll also use Shapeways - they’re mainly a hobbyist company. It’s got to be cheaper than buying a printer if you just want track bases for a layout or two!Hi Paul,

I have used Shapeways. The SLS samples I have are not detailed enough. I can do better with my $230 filament printer. To get better resolution you have to use Shapeways resin but it is fragile and quite expensive. There are examples in the "3D Printed Track and Turnouts" thread.

Then there's the turnaround time. If you have to make some adjustments to a model it can take several weeks to get to the final article.

Cheers,
Andy

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Martin Wynne
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Christmas has come early at Templot Towers. 3D Printer safely arrived. :)

The box arrived covered in "Fragile" stickers and no sign of any rough shunts on its journey from Lapland, so full marks to Santa. Everything was well packed inside.

It's the BIBO dual-extruder model which also has a laser engraving option, which could be very handy for modelling.

First impressions very favourable -- apart from the docs which are all on an SD card found in the bottom of the box after removing everything else, clearly labelled "Please read the user manual on the SD card BEFORE UNPACKING". :roll:

(I can't help feeling a USB stick would have made more sense. My Windows10 system doesn't have an SD card slot, so the first job was to fire up my old Windows7 system and copy the contents of the SD card to the Windows10 system.)

I will write some more when I have got it assembled.

cheers,

Martin.

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Hello Paul,

Can you advise what level of resolution your professional printer achieves? I`m getting 16 microns from my one.

Many thanks,

Bernard

PS Is it possible to get even better than 16 microns presently?
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Paul Boyd wrote: I’m sort of half following this thread, and wondering why you don’t use someone like Shapeways to get stuff printed using the SLS (Selective Laser Sintering) process? ...

... they’re mainly a hobbyist company. It’s got to be cheaper than buying a printer if you just want track bases for a layout or two!
Hi Paul,

Well the object is not for me to get anything. I'm looking to add functions to Templot which will be helpful to Templot users in creating 3D-printed track bases. Quite a few modellers now have filament printers, and those who don't may want to send Templot-derived files to friends or to Shapeways, etc.

I long ago discovered that the only way to create a function in Templot is to try it working myself. It's just not possible to get enough sensible information from data sheets, web pages, or by asking other users on web forums, etc.

So I've obtained a 3D filament printer to tinker with. :)

cheers,

Martin.

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Rob Manchester wrote: Are you keeping the 'brand' of your new printer a secret ? I have thought once or twice about getting one but get the feeling it could take over my leisure time and divert me away from other modelling activities. Once you and Andy get into production it may be different though......I will just watch the two of you for now.Hi Rob,

Andy warned me that I had a lot to learn about 3D printing, and he wasn't wrong. :(

I went for the BIBO dual-extruder printer:

http://ourbibo.com/

It has turned out to be a bit of a curate's egg. The case and axis drives seem to be well made, but the extruder head is a very agricultural thing. Likewise the work bed. I haven't tried the laser cutter/engraver attachment yet.

On the whole I feel a bit disappointed, especially with the dual extruder option. I was expecting more for my money.

In my ignorance I assumed that a dual-extruder machine would cause the not-in-use nozzle to be retracted clear of the work while the other one is in use. It doesn't.

Failing that, it is obviously essential that if the nozzles are fixed they must be on exactly the same level to within a thou or so. Otherwise one or other of them will bump into the work being laid down by the other.

As supplied one nozzle was about 12 thou lower than the other.

So there needs to be a screw adjustment to get them level. There isn't. The extruder shafts are held in the head block with allen grub screws, but to get access to them requires the extruder head to be dismantled, with no easy means to set them level, and little chance that they will still be so after re-assembly. I see one user has printed a support block to assist:

 https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2305856

The only sensible method I can see will be to clock over them (or use feeler gauges off the bed), and then skim the required amount off the back of the longer nozzle in the lathe. The two nozzles then to be kept as a matched pair. Which is doable, but a lot more faff than I had in mind. Changing a nozzle is no quick task -- it has to be done hot, and the heater block needs to be held with one spanner while unscrewing the nozzle with another, otherwise there is a danger of breaking the heater connections.

All that having been done, the fixed dual-nozzle design still precludes any Z-moves while laying down a model. The entire model has to built up simultaneously one layer at a time.

In our case that means hopping from one timber or chair to the next, laying a single layer on it, and then hopping to the next timber, and then the next. And finally back to the first one for the next layer. Very time inefficient, and requiring the extrusion to be frequently stopped and started, and risking leaving whiskers of polymer between the timbers. It would be so much better to finish one timber or chair at a time, before moving on to the next (assuming sufficient clearance is available under the head, which is just about the case up to 7mm track bases). 

So for the present I have removed one nozzle and will regard this as a single-nozzle printer for now while I develop some code.

All this meant it took me a couple of evenings to get everything assembled and ready to work as I wanted. If anyone is looking for a plug-and-play 3D printer, this is not it. For that you need to look at models such as the Dremel Digilab range (and pay more).

All that having been said, I'm confident that I will eventually get some successful results from the BIBO, using code from Templot.

cheers,

Martin.

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