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                 3D again?
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1st message | this message only posted: 14 Dec 2019 22:31
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Martin Wynne
West Of The Severn, United Kingdom



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A rainy day, so I spent an hour or two staring out of the window and pondering. :)

On the West Midlands Metro in Birmingham, trams have just this month started running on the extension from New Street to the Town Hall. For that section they run on battery power, to avoid the need for overhead wires between civic buildings and important architectural heritage:



Trams are likewise running on battery power in many other places around the world.

Now if a full-size tram can run on LiPo battery power, not to mention electric cars, and even milk floats (remember them) -- for a model train it ought to be dead easy, surely?

Which means in turn that quite soon model trains will no longer need metal rails.

You can guess where this is going, and Andy got there a long time before me:

 http://85a.co.uk/forum/view_topic.php?id=2734&forum_id=6&page=5#p23411



My experiments with 3D printing are stalled because of the difficulty of finding consistent settings which allow model rail to be threaded through the chairs easily, without breaking. Model rail sections vary a lot, even between batches, and they all have significantly over-scale web thickness. It is a minefield of trial and error and broken chairs. And that is just for plain track -- threading rails into pointwork is a whole order of magnitude trickier, and of course requires the metalworking skills to make the rails in the first place.

But if the rails are 3D printed, that problem is entirely eliminated -- to be replaced by the skills needed to install batteries and radio-control into locomotives. Or maybe not -- step forward the trade to do that, and 3D printing to create complex track formations, and such layouts are within anyone's reach -- no more requests on RMweb for help with filing switch blades and using track gauges and which track standard to use.

Now what we need is a computer program which can produce the 3D printer files for your common-or-garden slip crossover or curved double junction -- anyone have any ideas where to find such a thing? :)



Freed from the need to fiddle about with sore fingers and bits of rail and broken chairs,

   

(two sleepers is a long way from a working layout) I think I could rediscover my enthusiasm for the 3D-printed track -- but this time the whole thing, with all the complex rail parts printed-in too. It just need some thought about separately printed switch blades and maybe a return to loose-heel switches.

For filament printing it is going to need water-sol supports below the rails -- but I have a dual-nozzle printer... :)

Or maybe not -- if the rails were printed as a separate drop-in module with chair infill in the web where needed, the main part of the chair jaws could have the existing 0.2mm nozzle detail... :)

Just Googling radio control for model railways as we speak. A membership of MERG might be called for...

cheers,

Martin.

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2nd message | this message only posted: 14 Dec 2019 23:19
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Rob Manchester
Manchester, United Kingdom



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Hi Martin,
I have talked with a chap at 4mm narrow gauge shows who runs a demo layout on batteries with remote control. If it can be done with some of those tiny locos then standard gauge stuff should be a breeze.

Here are some links ( in case you didn't find them ) :

Micron Radio Control

Hobbytronics - for LiPo batteries etc

Radio Control in Australia

Deltang Remote control

Rob


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3rd message | this message only posted: 14 Dec 2019 23:33
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from:
Martin Wynne
West Of The Severn, United Kingdom



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Hi Rob,

Thanks for the links.

We do have a member on here supplying an RC/battery system:

 https://www.protocab.com/welcome

cheers,

Martin.

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4th message | this message only posted: 15 Dec 2019 09:24
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Phil O
Plymouth, United Kingdom



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5th message | this message only posted: 15 Dec 2019 10:05
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from:
Martin Wynne
West Of The Severn, United Kingdom



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Hi Phil,

Thanks for the links.

I did notice in passing that RC is being discussed on the Scalefour forum, but I haven't yet studied those topics.

My main interest at present is not the RC, but to create 3D printed track, test its durability, wear resistance under traffic, ease of assembly, ease of printing, user interface in Templot, etc. You have probably noticed in the current Templot versions that the DXF export dialog is now a work-in-progress again after remaining unchanged for years.

I just need to be sure that RC/battery is a practical way to run a working indoor model railway, rather than just an interesting workbench exercise. Otherwise a 3D printed track project will be a waste of my time.

So some links to working RC layouts would be welcome. :)

My own interest initially would probably be in 7mm scale. I know there is a long history of RC for 0 gauge garden railways, pre-dating the current digital systems.

cheers,

Martin.

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6th message | this message only posted: 15 Dec 2019 11:09
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Phil O
Plymouth, United Kingdom



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Martin,

Much more space in 7mm than 4mm so I think it would come down to a 4 or 5 volt motor to provide the oomph to move a loco and suitable train.

I have just googled filament types and I see that there's a metal one which might be a bit more durable and wooden one as well for the timbering, if it's possible to combine the two.

Phil
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7th message | this message only posted: 15 Dec 2019 11:31
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from:
Martin Wynne
West Of The Severn, United Kingdom



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Hi Phil,

Yes, I've looked at the metal-filled and wood-filled polymers.

They are very wearing on extrusion nozzles and extruder gears, they need hardened and carbide components. Also I don't know how well they can provide fine detail.

After an abrasive rub to remove the polymer skin on the particles, the metal-filled polymer may even be sufficiently conductive to provide a pickup, or at least a DCC control signal.

Andy was looking at adding a metal cap. I'm wondering if a top layer of conductive polymer would be feasible.

There are dozens of ideas to try. No doubt most of them will prove unsuccessful, but the only way to find out is to have a go. :)

cheers,

Martin.

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8th message | this message only posted: 15 Dec 2019 14:37
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from:
d827kelly
Coventry, United Kingdom

 

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It is certainly an interesting topic and some debate as noted has gone on on the Scalefour Society forum, as well as on the MERG forum where a number of people have looked into it.

The only pitfall I can find with the idea of 3D printing the track work would be if you were wanting to use it in the garden or where a lot of UV/sun light would fall on the track formation. The reason being that a number of 3D printed materials can weaken under exposure to UV light (indeed, many plastics can), unless you go for the higher cost resin printers which use UV to cure the finished prints.

Certainly worthy of experimentation and I look forward to seeing what others come up with.

As mobile phones continue to shrink in thinness, battery tech is going to continue to evolve at a fast rate, so even n gauge might be possible in a few years or maybe even less.

There are exciting technical breakthroughs in battery technology that are meant to be on the horizon for both mobile computing, mobile phones and cars. One of those being solid state battery tech, which is said to offer much faster recharge rates, and much smaller, less weighty sizes of battery for a given output. Will be a little while still before that trickles beyond cars and high end phones though, but it certainly gives some hope that things could improve going forward. Remember, DCC is really a 1970s technology itself, so a new tech revolution for model trains might not be far off - whether it is a commercial success is an entirely different matter of course!
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9th message | this message only posted: 15 Dec 2019 18:28
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Andrew Barrowman
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Oddly enough...



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10th message | this message only posted: 15 Dec 2019 20:31
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Martin Wynne
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Andrew Barrowman wrote: Oddly enough...Hi Andy,

Very oddly. :)

A few words of explanation?

You are printing the wing and check rails in situ? Are they filled in below, between the timbers? How does that look ballasted?

What about the vee nose?

Those look more like FB baseplates than BH chairs? Does that means the rails can be dropped in rather than threaded in? And glued? clipped? spiked?

cheers,

Martin.

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11th message | this message only posted: 15 Dec 2019 23:11
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Andrew Barrowman
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Martin Wynne wrote: Andrew Barrowman wrote: Oddly enough...Hi Andy,

Very oddly. :)

A few words of explanation?

You are printing the wing and check rails in situ? Are they filled in below, between the timbers? How does that look ballasted?

What about the vee nose?

Those look more like FB baseplates than BH chairs? Does that means the rails can be dropped in rather than threaded in? And glued? clipped? spiked?

cheers,

Martin.
Hi Martin,

Yes, FB rail. Not sure how it will be attached yet. Perhaps it will snap in. Check rails go all the way down - they will require some clever ballasting. The frogs will be sort of non-conductive, but I plan to do some experimenting there.

It's basically an experiment to see how quickly I can "bash 'em out". FB is a lot simpler than BH and I happen to have a lot of it whereas I have to import BH. We'll have to wait and see how it goes.

Resin printers seem to be quite affordable now although the print areas are a bit on the small side. I'm not sure how well the resin would wear. Some of the plastics for filament printers are quite hard and they might do better.

I bought a Deltang transmitter and receiver well over a year ago but I have yet to build it. Any day now!

I'm considering a sort of hybrid approach. RC with batteries (possibly non-rechargeable) running on energized track but with non-energized turnouts. The receiver will only draw power from the battery while traversing turnouts. It should be possible to recharge a battery from "live" track but good charger circuits are fairly complex. On the other hand it's simple to bypass the battery when track power is available.

I'll post pics of the diamond when it's complete.

Cheers,
Andy



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12th message | this message only posted: 16 Dec 2019 07:42
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from:
Martin Wynne
West Of The Severn, United Kingdom



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Andrew Barrowman wrote:Yes, FB rail. Not sure how it will be attached yet. Perhaps it will snap in. Check rails go all the way down - they will require some clever ballasting.Hi Andy,

Thanks for the details.

Yes, FB fill-in will be easier to disguise than BH. The chairs lift the BH rail 1.3/4" above the timbers and there is no way that could be hidden in ballast. Daylight below the rail is one of the defining features of bullhead track.

I seem to have 3 options there:

a. A water-sol washout support below the rails. That uses one nozzle, so the other one would have to do the whole thing. That makes it very slow if I use a nozzle small enough to get the full chair detail.

b. Some other means of support filled in manually between the timbers after printing up to rail level. Not sure what that might be. ("not sure" = code for haven't the faintest idea.) 

c. Print the rails separately, with the chair jaws and keys attached, to drop onto the chair bases. That could be fiddly, although it would make it a lot easier to deal with the panel joins. The logical joins in the timbering base likely won't match the best place for a join in the rails (which would ideally be made on a prototype fishplate, or failing that on a chair centre). I'm limited to about 8" sq. max for the bed area, which means a lot of joins in 7mm scale.

It might be possible to print a spigot on the chair base, and a recess in the bottom of the rail to locate on it. That would reduce the fiddle-factor for assembly.

Lots of ideas to try.

I'm not looking at resin for now -- I suspect it would be too brittle for running rails. The PLA+ filament appears to be surprisingly tough and durable after some preliminary testing.

It's about 50 years since I last messed with RC (gliders), so that's a whole new digital world to discover. But the track comes first. :)

cheers,

Martin.       

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13th message | this message only posted: 16 Dec 2019 16:50
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Trevor Walling
United Kingdom

 

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Hello Martin,
You might find Bob Gledhill's efforts on the MERG 3D Wiki page of interest. There are some quite usable parts that have been printed that Bob has developed.
Regards
Trevor.:)
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14th message | this message only posted: 18 Dec 2019 03:06
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from:
Andrew Barrowman
USA

 

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It might be a bit easier to see what's going on here with this image. (Webs between timbers omitted for clarity)






The model was produced in TurboCAD from a 2D template imported fom Templot. The plates are 3D "blocks" positioned at the intersections of the rail gauge face and the timber center lines. The plates that have slots angled to accept the rail base are "milled" in situ with a 3D subtract in CAD.

The check rails are simply profiles that are "extruded" along the path of the Templot check rails. The only slightly tricky bit is to "machine" the ends with a 3D subtract.

Now to find out if I can remember how to run the 3D printer :)

EDIT: Looking at this I just realized there might be a faster and more general way to do this. Unslotted plates could be positioned on all the timbers. "Rails" would be extruded through them (TurboCAD calls it a "sweep") and all the slots would be "milled" with a series of 3D subtracts. This would make it simpler to modify the slot dimensions and test various rail holding methods.

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15th message | this message only posted: 26 Jan 2020 17:01
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Andy Reichert
 

 

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Andrew Barrowman wrote:
EDIT: Looking at this I just realized there might be a faster and more general way to do this. Unslotted plates could be positioned on all the timbers. "Rails" would be extruded through them (TurboCAD calls it a "sweep") and all the slots would be "milled" with a series of 3D subtracts. This would make it simpler to modify the slot dimensions and test various rail holding methods. I'm not sure what economics analysis has been done for all plastic printed track?



FWIW, An example of 00/HO Slotted Rail base produced at a tiny fraction of the cost and time of 3D printing. I haven't had any reason to do a sleepers flush with ballast effect yet, but it's a pretty simple update.

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16th message | this message only posted: 26 Jan 2020 17:52
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Martin Wynne
West Of The Severn, United Kingdom



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Andy Reichert wrote:I'm not sure what economics analysis has been done for all plastic printed track?Hi Andy,

You have lost me there. Economics analysis? This is a hobby project, I'm doing it for fun.

The object is to create model custom pointwork formations such as this:



but without needing metalwork or trackbuilding skills to prepare and fit the rails. No filing, soldering, threading chairs, gauging. And also with radio control, no track wiring.

Just make a 3D print and lay it in place. The direct cost is minimal, just the cost of the polymer filament. Probably around 50p for a single turnout, at 4mm/ft scale. Far less than the cost of conventional materials. Save your money for the radio control stuff. :)

Many folks have hobby access to a 3D printer nowadays -- either themselves or via friends or a local club. And many of them use Templot. If Templot creates the files for 3D printing directly it opens up a whole new range of layout possibilities.

But still a long way to go.

cheers,

Martin.

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17th message | this message only posted: 27 Jan 2020 21:18
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Andy Reichert
 

 

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I was responding to the "faster way" part of the post. The presumption that a newer technology automatically has greater benefit than exiting methods, is not always 100% correct. It's usually worthwhile to do a more in depth comparison as to which ways provide the most desirable results. In hobbies as well as in industry.

Andy
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18th message | this message only posted: 27 Jan 2020 22:07
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Martin Wynne
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Andy Reichert wrote: I was responding to the "faster way" part of the post. The presumption that a newer technology automatically has greater benefit than exiting methods, is not always 100% correct. It's usually worthwhile to do a more in-depth comparison as to which ways provide the most desirable results. In hobbies as well as in industry.Hi Andy,

Maybe. Some folks just like making things. No in-depth analysis needed. :)

cheers,

Martin.

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19th message | this message only posted: 28 Jan 2020 03:50
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Andrew Barrowman
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Andy Reichert wrote: I was responding to the "faster way" part of the post. The presumption that a newer technology automatically has greater benefit than exiting methods, is not always 100% correct. It's usually worthwhile to do a more in depth comparison as to which ways provide the most desirable results. In hobbies as well as in industry.
It's a hobby!

Hobbyists are driven by all sorts of variables that are likely impossible to quantify.

I am genetically programmed to never spend more than $5 on a turnout. In reality I could probably spend ten times that much without a problem but that would be no fun at all. Printing one for $2 is great fun even if it takes hours of my time.

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20th message | this message only posted: 28 Jan 2020 17:18
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Andy Reichert
 

 

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Re: The $2.00 Turnout.

That triggered a memory of the original misleading "Fast Tracks" marketing campaign.

First buy the 3D printing system. Add the cost of the SW if not free. Then divide that cost by the number of turnouts made. Then add $2.00 per turnout. Ignore the cost of a well lighted, well ventilated workspace that can run a 3D printer overnight.

Many of us may be already all tooled up, but a lot of hobbyists just starting out may not be so fortunate.
Andy



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21st message | this message only posted: 28 Jan 2020 18:38
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Martin Wynne
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Andy Reichert wrote: Re: The $2.00 Turnout.

That triggered a memory of the original misleading "Fast Tracks" marketing campaign.

First buy the 3D printing system. Add the cost of the SW if not free. Then divide that cost by the number of turnouts made. Then add $2.00 per turnout. Ignore the cost of a well lighted, well ventilated workspace that can run a 3D printer overnight.

Many of us may be already all tooled up, but a lot of hobbyists just starting out may not be so fortunate.
Hi Andy,

But Andy B isn't trading as a manufacturer or running a marketing campaign!

He is simply reporting that the direct cost to him of printing a turnout is $2. It's a hobby, everyone's circumstances are always going to be different. If you were lucky enough to live next door to him I'm sure he'd be happy to run off a turnout for you, and charge you only $2 for it. Or maybe nothing at all. :)

p.s. I would prefer this topic to remain on the practical aspects of 3D printed track. If you want to discuss cost analysis for manufacturers in the model hobby sector, please start a separate topic about it. Thanks.

cheers,

Martin.

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Martin Wynne
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Trevor Walling wrote: Hello Martin,
You might find Bob Gledhill's efforts on the MERG 3D Wiki page of interest. There are some quite usable parts that have been printed that Bob has developed.
Hi Trevor,

Thanks. Having now joined MERG (something I have been meaning to do for years) I can now follow up on this. I can see there is plenty to read on their site.

cheers,

Martin.

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from:
Hayfield
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I like others are interested in 3D prints as end users rather than someone who uses their own machine. 3D prints are here to stay and I guess many will gain the skills to use programs from which can be made. Far fewer will find the need to buy their own machine.

The cost of a turnout base costing between $2 & $5 to produce seems attractive, however at the moment retail prices for ready printed items seem still to be quite high and rising

I guess over time production costs will reduce when cheaper and more efficient machines/ better programming come on line. Until then I guess the majority of us will carry on as before with old technology
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Martin Wynne
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Time for an update.

After several days messing about with the printer I think I've finally made at least a start on this daft project. :)

I can now at last print a reasonable match to Code 75 bullhead rail:



Reasonable being the operative word. Given the resolution available on my filament printer (0.1mm on X and Y, 0.05mm on Z) it's unlikely it can ever be a closer match than this. (Short of changing to fragile and expensive resin printing.) But I think it will look the part at normal viewing distances (unlike this cruel close-up), and be accurate enough at least for 00 and EM. Whether we can hold P4 tolerances remains to be seen.

I tried to get a thinner web section (it is about double the scale web thickness, and the Exactoscale rail isn't far behind), but it was unstable with visible holes through the web in places.

But I have managed to get a reasonable top corner radius on the rail, for smooth running. Much better in fact than a lot of recent metal rail.

It appears to be strong enough in this toughened PLA+ polymer. When supported at the usual timber centres it will easily support normal 4mm/ft rolling-stock wheel loads, without any visible deflection.

The next task will be to add what I'm calling the "wedge" part of the keys, and the "grip" part of the inner chair jaws, into the web at the appropriate places along the rail. The rails should then drop into the 3D-printed partial chairs (not threaded in).

Also the fishplates.

Just to clarify, I gave up on any attempt to slice a CAD design for the rails, the results were hopeless. The above was done by generating the Gcode file for the printer directly from Templot.

For the switch blades the rail is easily flexible enough to build flexible switches, but there is no way it will be possible to print all the way to a knife edge. Working with files on the tough plastic is not very successful, but I have found that final fettling can be done with cheap disposable emery boards:

 https://www.amazon.co.uk/Manicare-10G11282-Lasting-Emery-Boards/dp/B078BC3TDW





Next job is to order some silver-grey polymer for the running rails (keeping this brown for sidings and check rails).

All this would have been a lot easier in 7mm/ft scale, but I wanted to discover the limits of the process. Also having only an 8" square work-bed on the printer means doing pointwork in 7mm scale will be a major jig-saw puzzle.

But if anyone is looking for 2mm, I think it would have to be done in resin. :?

cheers,

Martin.

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madscientist
 

 

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I cant see plastic track replacing metal in any future scenario , aside from the fact that its prototypical, you still need occupancy detection etc , which, while there are non rail based solutions , is easily added by simply current detection strategies.

It is possible to increase the resolution of FDM printers , micro stepping etc and reduce the nozzle diameter , but it needs significant expenditure at that stage and is in the realm of professional machines
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Martin Wynne
West Of The Severn, United Kingdom



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madscientist wrote: I can't see plastic track replacing metal in any future scenario, aside from the fact that it's prototypical, you still need occupancy detection etc, which, while there are non rail based solutions, is easily added by simply current-detection strategies.Hi Dave,

There's no intention to replace metal rail. The idea is to provide an alternative for those who don't like trackbuilding and/or layout wiring, and are happy to use radio control with battery power (or live steam, or clockwork).

It is possible to increase the resolution of FDM printers, micro stepping etc and reduce the nozzle diameter, but it needs significant expenditure at that stage and is in the realm of professional machinesThat was done using a 0.6mm nozzle. The detailed rail parts (vee nose, switch blades, K-crossings) will be done with the 0.2mm nozzle, but it's extremely slow, so not feasible to do the entire rail with it. I know most home users have a single-nozzle machine with usually a 0.4mm nozzle, which would probably improve the rail section, but possibly not by much.

I don't want to change to a 0.4mm nozzle right now if I can help it, because nozzle changing* is a lot of faff, and I need the 0.6mm nozzle on the machine for reasonably rapid printing of the timbers. But I shall have to change to 0.4mm and test it before releasing the Templot update with this, because most users will be using that size.

I realise a lot more would be possible on industrial FDM printers, but that's not where we are -- the idea is for Templot users to be able to make their track on a home 3D printer.

*extra faff on a machine such as the BIBO with dual fixed nozzles. Because the nozzles must be exactly level with each other -- and you can't do that simply by adjusting the bed. Unless both nozzles are new and unused, there is a no easy way to measure them, because there is always a small drip of extruded polymer remaining at the tip, which can't be removed without damaging the tip.

cheers,

Martin.

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Andrew Barrowman
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Martin Wynne wrote:There's no intention to replace metal rail. The idea is to provide an alternative for those who don't like trackbuilding and/or layout wiring, and are happy to use radio control with battery power (or live steam, or clockwork).Hi Martin,

"All" you need to do is persuade someone in the UK to produce a U section cap that fits over the rail to make it conduct current. If I was still in the UK I would pursue that idea but I doubt if there is any market for it here.

Best regards,
Andy

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from:
Martin Wynne
West Of The Severn, United Kingdom



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Andrew Barrowman wrote: "All" you need to do is persuade someone in the UK to produce a U section cap that fits over the rail to make it conduct current. If I was still in the UK I would pursue that idea but I doubt if there is any market for it here.Hi Andy,

There would be quite a few issues to sort out -- how to fix it in place, how to make the switch blades, vee and K-crossing noses, how to add dropper connections, how to make sideways bends in such a shallow U-section for wing-rail knuckles.

But I'm not really interested in whether it's feasible or whether there is or isn't a market. My hobby interest is in the programming and printing, I'm not getting into selling anything. And especially not discussing the commercial economics of it. Others might want to go there -- they could start by showing some interest in Templot3, which appears to have died the death yet again. They would need to modify the code to make the rail top fit their metal cap.

I shall be well chuffed if/when the 3D files are included in the Templot export options, and someone posts photos showing the track they have printed from them, with radio-controlled stock running over it. That much is still a long way off as it is. :)

cheers,

Martin.

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Trevor Walling
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Hello Martin,
         Hidden fiddle/storage yards for rolling stock with printed track and radio controlled motive power would save cleaning issues. One of those battery powered vacuum wagons would just need running round once in a while. Would avoid all the electrical complexity as well. Just a quick shunt to the electrical part of ones layout. Being able to store rolling stock in a covered area on rails would keep it clean and avoid handling it as much as well.
Regards.
Trevor. :)


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Andrew Barrowman
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Martin Wynne wrote: Andrew Barrowman wrote: "All" you need to do is persuade someone in the UK to produce a U section cap that fits over the rail to make it conduct current. If I was still in the UK I would pursue that idea but I doubt if there is any market for it here.Hi Andy,

There would be quite a few issues to sort out -- how to fix it in place, how to make the switch blades, vee and K-crossing noses, how to add dropper connections, how to make sideways bends in such a shallow U-section for wing-rail knuckles.

But I'm not really interested in whether it's feasible or whether there is or isn't a market. My hobby interest is in the programming and printing, I'm not getting into selling anything. And especially not discussing the commercial economics of it. Others might want to go there -- they could start by showing some interest in Templot3, which appears to have died the death yet again. They would need to modify the code to make the rail top fit their metal cap.

I shall be well chuffed if/when the 3D files are included in the Templot export options, and someone posts photos showing the track they have printed from them, with radio-controlled stock running over it. That much is still a long way off as it is. :)

cheers,

Martin.
Hi Martin,

My tongue was planted firmly in my cheek!

I'm really not interested in any commercial exploitation either. I'm too old and I don't need any more tax problems, but, like you, I was slightly disappointed that nobody wanted copies of that resin printed crossing I made, if only to examine the chairs in detail. Nor was anyone sufficiently interested to ask how I did it. I was quite happy to share the files with anyone, free, gratis, and for nuthin'.

"You can take a horse to water but you can't make it drink."

But that's OK. I got a lot of enjoyment from the exercise. Isn't that what hobbies are for?

Cheers!
Andy

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Rob Manchester
Manchester, United Kingdom



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Andrew Barrowman wrote:You can take a horse to water but you can't make it drink."

Cheers!
Andy
Hi Andy,

...maybe you need to offer something better than water :D

I thought about getting a 3D printer a while back along with many other things but the truth is I struggle to make progress with all the layout ideas, unmade kits and ongoing projects. Even when retired you can't do everything and it only takes Martin's bus to take a diversion and everything is out of the window:(

Talking of which must take the wife out  - it is her birthday.

Rob


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Andrew Barrowman
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Rob Manchester wrote: it only takes Martin's bus to take a diversion and everything is out of the window
Martin has a bus?? Bet it's magic, like the Who's.

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from:
Hayfield
United Kingdom

 

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Andrew Barrowman wrote: Martin Wynne wrote: Andrew Barrowman wrote: "All" you need to do is persuade someone in the UK to produce a U section cap that fits over the rail to make it conduct current. If I was still in the UK I would pursue that idea but I doubt if there is any market for it here.Hi Andy,

There would be quite a few issues to sort out -- how to fix it in place, how to make the switch blades, vee and K-crossing noses, how to add dropper connections, how to make sideways bends in such a shallow U-section for wing-rail knuckles.

But I'm not really interested in whether it's feasible or whether there is or isn't a market. My hobby interest is in the programming and printing, I'm not getting into selling anything. And especially not discussing the commercial economics of it. Others might want to go there -- they could start by showing some interest in Templot3, which appears to have died the death yet again. They would need to modify the code to make the rail top fit their metal cap.

I shall be well chuffed if/when the 3D files are included in the Templot export options, and someone posts photos showing the track they have printed from them, with radio-controlled stock running over it. That much is still a long way off as it is. :)

cheers,

Martin.
Hi Martin,

My tongue was planted firmly in my cheek!

I'm really not interested in any commercial exploitation either. I'm too old and I don't need any more tax problems, but, like you, I was slightly disappointed that nobody wanted copies of that resin printed crossing I made, if only to examine the chairs in detail. Nor was anyone sufficiently interested to ask how I did it. I was quite happy to share the files with anyone, free, gratis, and for nuthin'.

"You can take a horse to water but you can't make it drink."

But that's OK. I got a lot of enjoyment from the exercise. Isn't that what hobbies are for?

Cheers!
Andy
Andy
There is little interest in track in railway modelling. This is even catching on with some of the finer scales, as RTR items arrive. The quest for better and better models tend to stop below the wheels. There are exceptions of course but those who do care are either interested in doing it themselves or require bespoke items

As the Peco range expands (this month they are asking for suggestions for further additions to the market) it may encourage more interest in the subject

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Andrew Barrowman
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Hi John,

I know where you are coming from but on certain forums you only have to mention that 16.5 mm represents a gauge of 49.5 inches in 1:76.2 scale for a squadron of harpies to descend from a great height. And gawd forbid you even mention 16.2 mm :D

It's not clear to me why this is but it suggests that a lot of people do care about their track and they might prefer something more appropriate if it was available.

Me, I'm from Switzerland (or close, Idaho is a bit like Switzerland)

Cheers,
Andy



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Hayfield wrote: I like others are interested in 3D prints as end users rather than someone who uses their own machine. 3D prints are here to stay and I guess many will gain the skills to use programs from which can be made. Far fewer will find the need to buy their own machine.

The cost of a turnout base costing between $2 & $5 to produce seems attractive, however at the moment retail prices for ready printed items seem still to be quite high and rising

I guess over time production costs will reduce when cheaper and more efficient machines/ better programming come on line. Until then I guess the majority of us will carry on as before with old technology
John , the future is definitely in owning a 3D printer , a good clone like the ender 3 csn be had for $150, and is capable of amazing work. It can be upgraded , mine has microstepping , 0.2 nozzle etc. 
Railway modelers are increasing acquiring such machines , two years ago , nobody in our club ( of 48 members ) had one, today there are four FDMs and a Resin printer 

I predict home 3D will come to be major force in the railway modelling kit bag 


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One 
Martin Wynne wrote: madscientist wrote: I can't see plastic track replacing metal in any future scenario, aside from the fact that it's prototypical, you still need occupancy detection etc, which, while there are non rail based solutions, is easily added by simply current-detection strategies.Hi Dave,

There's no intention to replace metal rail. The idea is to provide an alternative for those who don't like trackbuilding and/or layout wiring, and are happy to use radio control with battery power (or live steam, or clockwork).

It is possible to increase the resolution of FDM printers, micro stepping etc and reduce the nozzle diameter, but it needs significant expenditure at that stage and is in the realm of professional machinesThat was done using a 0.6mm nozzle. The detailed rail parts (vee nose, switch blades, K-crossings) will be done with the 0.2mm nozzle, but it's extremely slow, so not feasible to do the entire rail with it. I know most home users have a single-nozzle machine with usually a 0.4mm nozzle, which would probably improve the rail section, but possibly not by much.

I don't want to change to a 0.4mm nozzle right now if I can help it, because nozzle changing* is a lot of faff, and I need the 0.6mm nozzle on the machine for reasonably rapid printing of the timbers. But I shall have to change to 0.4mm and test it before releasing the Templot update with this, because most users will be using that size.

I realise a lot more would be possible on industrial FDM printers, but that's not where we are -- the idea is for Templot users to be able to make their track on a home 3D printer.

*extra faff on a machine such as the BIBO with dual fixed nozzles. Because the nozzles must be exactly level with each other -- and you can't do that simply by adjusting the bed. Unless both nozzles are new and unused, there is a no easy way to measure them, because there is always a small drip of extruded polymer remaining at the tip, which can't be removed without damaging the tip.

cheers,

Martin.
One of the reasons I went up the learning curve with low cost 3D printers , is my view that you need a couple , preferably three ! , one with a fine nozzle and micro stepping , one for mainstream with a 0.4 ( the most common ) and one with dual nozzles for PVA style support printing 
I’m currently building my ender Cr10 pro as my second machine 

My trials with dual nozzles has shown it’s quite difficukt to keep the second head out of the way of the structure and small filament buildups ( on the cold head ) cause it to hit the structures often dislodging them. My CR10 solution is to place the second head some distance away , while this limits overall print size , it means the second head is away from the structure normally 

The issue is less of a problem with the situation where the second head is heated and used frequently in the build process , direct drive heads also help as less oozing occurs. I’ve yet to see a fully comprehensive solution at a reasonable cost 

I also have a 2into1 head , so must see if that’s any use in this regard 



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Nick Evans
 

 

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Sorry, bit of a thread resurrection, but I've got a couple of resin printers, and interested in the logistics of printing N gauge FB turnout bases. I don't think accuracy would the be the issue so much as strength. Size of build area is also a concern, with most turnouts needing splitting, even in N, although printers with larger print volumes are becoming more commonplace.

I would definitely welcome the return of the 3D options to mess about with.
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from:
Martin Wynne
West Of The Severn, United Kingdom



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Nick Evans wrote: I would definitely welcome the return of the 3D options to mess about with.Hi Nick,

Welcome to Templot Club. :)

Sorry the DXF 3D options are currently in a mess.

If you want to try the original 20-year-old DXF 3D functions, go to this old 2018 post:

 http://85a.co.uk/forum/view_topic.php?id=3239&forum_id=20&jump_to=24340#p24340

There is a downloadable attachment there for old Templot version 219.z which has the old DXF functions. Follow the instructions there for what to do with it. Save a backup of your current Templot files first.

However, I suspect the old DXF output will fall short of what you want. But you should be able to get the template timbers in 3D.

cheers,

Martin.

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Andrew Barrowman
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Nick Evans wrote: Sorry, bit of a thread resurrection, but I've got a couple of resin printers, and interested in the logistics of printing N gauge FB turnout bases. I don't think accuracy would the be the issue so much as strength. Size of build area is also a concern, with most turnouts needing splitting, even in N, although printers with larger print volumes are becoming more commonplace.

I would definitely welcome the return of the 3D options to mess about with.
Hi Nick,
Do you use TurboCAD or similar? If you do I can  also send you some models you might be able to adapt if you want to try some prints.

Regards,
Andy

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Andrew Barrowman
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Hi Nick (again),

I was thinking a bit about what you might want to do and it struck me that you might not have a lot of joy if you try to insert rail into resin chairs (or clips). Even at 00 scale resin chairs are very fragile (although that was a couple of years ago.) Perhaps there are more appropriate resins available now.

An alternative for FB rail might be to print plates on the timbers with recesses to locate the bottom of the rail without attempting to hold it in place. The rail could then be placed in the recesses and attached with adhesive of some sort.

I'd try heating the rail and running a holt-melt glue stick along its underside. The rails could then be "ironed on" to the turnout base by inverting them on a flat heated plate.

Regards,
Andy
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