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             Rating                           3D Printed Track and Turnouts
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561st message | this message only posted: 8 Jul 2018 18:15
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from:
Andrew Barrowman
USA

 

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Hayfield wrote: I have tested the chairs with C&L HiNi rail. I can only get C, E & F to thread, E being the easiest but in reality still far too stiff, I also tried some old PSM rail which wasmuch the same.
I tried a switch rail (one side filed away) it was still stiff, looking closely at the rail one side of the foot of the rail is higher than the other, though that might be an optical illusion, but if the slide rail is still still its the height of the foot not the width of the foot thats an issue

I thought the chairs would be more brittle, but I tried not to force the issue too much. So quite happy they are strong enough, just need to be freed up a tad

On the whole far better than I feared, and they do look good. Also seem compatible with their plastic counterparts 

Andrew would you like a short length of C&L rail ?

John
Andrew Barrowman wrote: Here's a map of the chairs.


I've labeled the six "sticks" A through F. I suggest you use some means to be able to identify which stick a chair came from. Keep them in envelopes perhaps, or even paint them different colours? We will get into a terrible pickle if we get our wires crossed :)

Hi John,

Yes please. A sample of C&L rail could be useful. Maybe several short lengths (an inch is plenty) from different batches.

The nominal dimensions of the jaw apertures are (foot width/web thickness) in mm

A  0.8, 0.3
B  0.8, 0.4
C  0.8, 0.5
D  0.9, 0.3
E  0.9, 0.4
F  0.9, 0.5

I had to guess the foot height. They are are all the same at 0.4 mm.

Here's what they should look like side on. A is on the left.




From here A, B and perhaps C seem to be a good fit on SMP rail. B is probably best.

The material will actually flex a bit but if you go too far it snaps.

Cheers!
Andy

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562nd message | this message only posted: 8 Jul 2018 18:27
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from:
Martin Wynne
West Of The Severn, United Kingdom



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

Post your questions on the forum where everyone can see them and add helpful replies.
Andrew Barrowman wrote:I do not know to what extent any of them, other than STL, would help. I can post examples if you think any of them would be better. I'm not too optimistic but it's worth a shot.Hi Andy,

Is that a yes or a no? :?

I seem to have a hole in my brain where the 3D printing should be. I suspect that as with so many things the only way I am going to understand it is to buy one and take it to bits.

In a previous life I machined complex turbine blade forms for aerospace components, using my own language and coding on a CNC milling machine which we designed and built ourselves. So this stuff ought to be second-nature to me. But on the other hand no G-codes ever came near it, and I certainly didn't convert everything into triangles.

The state of play is:

Templot can export 3D solid DXF files in ASCII text format. They are much simplified, but only because at the time I was writing the code 15+ years ago I decided that it was more important to spend time on other things. 3D printing was out of reach for the majority and the only function of the solid rendering was to look nice in 3D walk-throughs and similar presentations.

Having exported such a DXF file I find that it opens just fine into TurboCAD Deluxe 20.

I can then save it from there in STL format.

The STL file then opens just fine in another CAD program, eDrawings 2016. It looks like this:



From which I assume that it is a bog-standard STL file, and from what you say, I'm assuming that a 3D printer would be able to use this STL file?

Which means that I can go ahead and add chair detail to this DXF export in the same way as the rails and timbers are implemented. The file size will be massively increased, but nowadays file sizes don't seem to matter. Every time I press the shutter on my camera it creates a file double the size of Templot.

And so can anyone else, now that I have made the code open-source.

I have been compiling the dimensions of the common chairs from the prototype drawings, and also from an actual BR(W) chair which I have here.

But I don't want to do that if you have already done it. Or would you prefer that I go ahead and do my own thing with this?

cheers,

Martin. 

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563rd message | this message only posted: 8 Jul 2018 18:45
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Trevor Walling
United Kingdom

 

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Hello,
      Would something like this be of use?
https://extensions.sketchup.com/sv/content/sketchup-stl
Regards :)

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564th message | this message only posted: 8 Jul 2018 19:27
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from:
Andrew Barrowman
USA

 

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Martin Wynne wrote: Andrew Barrowman wrote:I do not know to what extent any of them, other than STL, would help. I can post examples if you think any of them would be better. I'm not too optimistic but it's worth a shot.Hi Andy,

Is that a yes or a no? :?

I seem to have a hole in my brain where the 3D printing should be. I suspect that as with so many things the only way I am going to understand it is to buy one and take it to bits.

In a previous life I machined complex turbine blade forms for aerospace components, using my own language and coding on a CNC milling machine which we designed and built ourselves. So this stuff ought to be second-nature to me. But on the other hand no G-codes ever came near it, and I certainly didn't convert everything into triangles.

The state of play is:

Templot can export 3D solid DXF files in ASCII text format. They are much simplified, but only because at the time I was writing the code 15+ years ago I decided that it was more important to spend time on other things. 3D printing was out of reach for the majority and the only function of the solid rendering was to look nice in 3D walk-throughs and similar presentations.

Having exported such a DXF file I find that it opens just fine into TurboCAD Deluxe 20.

I can then save it from there in STL format.

The STL file then opens just fine in another CAD program, eDrawings 2016. It looks like this:



From which I assume that it is a bog-standard STL file, and from what you say, I'm assuming that a 3D printer would be able to use this STL file?

Which means that I can go ahead and add chair detail to this DXF export in the same way as the rails and timbers are implemented. The file size will be massively increased, but nowadays file sizes don't seem to matter. Every time I press the shutter on my camera it creates a file double the size of Templot.

And so can anyone else, now that I have made the code open-source.

I have been compiling the dimensions of the common chairs from the prototype drawings, and also from an actual BR(W) chair which I have here.

But I don't want to do that if you have already done it. Or would you prefer that I go ahead and do my own thing with this?

cheers,

Martin. 
Hi Martin,

It's a 'yes', but I'm not optimistic it will get us to where we would like to be :)

What I'm fairly sure about is that ultimately we need to create an STL file of the final model. That's what I give to Shapeways and it's what I use to drive my own printer. I can give it to anyone else and they'll be able to run it through a slicer program that will generate the G-code for their particular printer, including the vast array of variables associated with their particular configuration. You definitely do not want to try generating G-code in Templot.

That STL file you generated will print (they sometimes need a bit of "clean-up" but that's not something you need to worry about. There are plenty of tools available that can do that.

So here's the question: Does Templot add the chairs, are they added later in some CAD program (e.g. Turbocad), or is there a third way?

My preference is for a third way which is:

Templot puts "chairs" (or perhaps the components of chairs) on the timbers. These are not the final chairs, but they do identify the type of chair at that position and they are oriented and gauged correctly. All these chairs or components are actually "blocks". Templot generates a DXF that includes these blocks.

The DXF is imported into a CAD program - probably TurboCAD because we know that seems to work.
TurboCAD has a library of blocks (chairs etc) generated by people like me. By simply substituting a different block (it's very easy) for the blocks laid-down in Templot, the TurboCAD user can create a model that meets their requirements in terms of printed material, detail, region, rail type/dimensions etc, etc.

User saves the design/model as a STL and ships it off to the printer of their choice.

I'm glossing over some potentially thorny issues here, but I think it would be great if something like this could be made to work.

However, I've been banging on about printed track for quite a while now (EDIT: three years) and I've made all my ideas and experience very public both here and on RMweb. I was hoping others might have grabbed the baton and started running with it by now. As far as I know, nobody has.

I don't want to discourage you from incorporating more into Templot, but I don't want to see you put a lot of energy into something that's not going to go anywhere. Anyone with a little CAD expertise can easily import a 2D turnout DXF from Templot today and add chairs etc to make a 3D model for printing. Personally I think you should hold-off doing anything until there is some obvious demand.

Cheers!
Andy

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565th message | this message only posted: 8 Jul 2018 20:37
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from:
Martin Wynne
West Of The Severn, United Kingdom



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

Post your questions on the forum where everyone can see them and add helpful replies.
Andrew Barrowman wrote:That STL file you generated will print (they sometimes need a bit of "clean-up" but that's not something you need to worry about. There are plenty of tools available that can do that.

So here's the question: Does Templot add the chairs, are they added later in some CAD program (e.g. Turbocad), or is there a third way?
...
...
user can create a model that meets their requirements in terms of printed material, detail, region, rail type/dimensions etc, etc.

User saves the design/model as a STL and ships it off to the printer of their choice.

I'm glossing over some potentially thorny issues here, but I think it would be great if something like this could be made to work.
Hi Andy,

What I'm aiming for, at least for ordinary turnouts and diamonds, is that the user enters details such as prototype (REA, GWR, NER pre-group, etc.) in Templot, which then adds the appropriate chairs into the DXF file. Optionally omitting the rail if the intent is a base into which metal rail can be threaded.

Initially this is likely to be REA or GWR chairs only, because the prototype data is clear-cut and available. For other prototypes the user would need to enter their own custom chair data.

Templot then produces the DXF export file including all the chairs (which is likely to be a massive file -- if it's a complete track plan, rather than a single turnout, the file will be enormous.)

User then opens the DXF in their CAD program, and saves it as an STL file for the 3D printer.

No doubt we can establish which CAD programs produce good conversion results. For example TurboCAD Deluxe appears to work, although we don't know that for sure until an actual 3D print has been made. That currently costs £70 for the 2017 version:

 http://lp.avanquest.com/UK/FULL/2018/SUMMERSALE_0618/lp.cfm?rs2=AQ_UK_MERCH_LAY_SUMMERSALE_0618

but earlier versions are often available at much lower prices and special offers.

However, I've been banging on about printed track for quite a while now and I've made all my ideas and experience very public both here and on RMweb. I was hoping others might have grabbed the baton and started running with it by now. As far as I know, nobody has.

I don't want to discourage you from incorporating more into Templot, but I don't want to see you put a lot of energy into something that's not going to go anywhere. Anyone with a little CAD expertise can easily import a 2D turnout DXF from Templot today and add chairs etc to make a 3D model for printing. Personally I think you should hold-off doing anything until there is some obvious demand.

Demand doesn't make any difference to me, Templot is free to use and I enjoy coding. But I do like to feel that what I'm doing would be useful to someone somewhere.

I think most folks are simply waiting to see finished track created with 3D printing. Or better still, a video showing models running over it on a layout.

It is also very obvious from the web stats that the new Peco track has satisfied a good chunk of the potential user base -- the modellers who find Templot and trackbuilding either a black art or just too much trouble. Which is one reason I feel I can now spend a bit more time on coding and a bit less on support.

cheers,

Martin.

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566th message | this message only posted: 9 Jul 2018 00:14
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from:
Andrew Barrowman
USA

 

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Hi Martin,

If you're up for it I'll do what I can to help. There might be a free CAD program that will import DXF and output STL. I've not had any luck finding one so far but I would not call it an exhaustive search.

I thought Fusion360 (there is a free version) might do it, but it blew-up when I tried it. Might be worth another shot.

Obviously you'll need some method of sectioning the model into printable chunks, but that shouldn't be a major problem.

BTW, re. the conductive rail, I was wondering if a modified rail section might also work. It would be a 'T' section - bullhead and web but without the foot. The foot would be part of the print. Might be easier to manufacture and it would have less resistance than a cap.

Cheers!
Andy
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567th message | this message only posted: 9 Jul 2018 05:34
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Andrew Barrowman
USA

 

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Hi Martin,

There seem to be any number of DXF to STL converters. Some are downloads and some are online. Because I've only ever used DXF to import into CAD I've had no reason to try any of them.

Andy
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568th message | this message only posted: 9 Jul 2018 07:44
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from:
Hayfield
United Kingdom

 

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Stephen Freeman wrote: Unfortunately all of them seem to be malformed on mine. Down to Shapeways probably.I cannot really say on first sight they look malformed, but being transparent its hard to see them clearly, 
Here are a couple of photos and the key definition seems to be missing. The keys with rail threaded on are the E type along with an Exactoscale chair for comparison. As Stephen has reported they seem not to have been fully printed certainly on the key side, but possibly on both sides, Andy please confirm

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569th message | this message only posted: 9 Jul 2018 18:11
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from:
Andrew Barrowman
USA

 

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Hayfield wrote: Stephen Freeman wrote: Unfortunately all of them seem to be malformed on mine. Down to Shapeways probably.I cannot really say on first sight they look malformed, but being transparent its hard to see them clearly, 
Here are a couple of photos and the key definition seems to be missing. The keys with rail threaded on are the E type along with an Exactoscale chair for comparison. As Stephen has reported they seem not to have been fully printed certainly on the key side, but possibly on both sides, Andy please confirm
Hi John,

It's very difficult to tell without paint but it looks like they might not be quite right.

Here are a couple of shots of mine for comparison.





They definitely were not printed on the same printer. Yours were printed in Holland, mine in the US.

(Sorry the paint has been chipped off a bit on mine. Too much handling.)

Best,
Andy

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570th message | this message only posted: 9 Jul 2018 21:49
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from:
Andrew Barrowman
USA

 

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Hi John,

I took another look and your chairs seem to be distinctly "dog eared". The tops of the chairs are rounded far more than they should be. They don't look much like Shapeway's own rendering.

I suggest you get your money back. You can use my pix if they give you any aggravation.

Andy
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571st message | this message only posted: 15 Jul 2018 07:41
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from:
Hayfield
United Kingdom

 

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Andy

I emailed them yesterday, outside the 10 days but the print is definitely faulty, will wait and see what they come up with
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572nd message | this message only posted: 15 Jul 2018 08:25
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from:
Stephen Freeman
Sandbach, United Kingdom



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The problem with mine was different, couldn't get any rail in the foot was semi-solid, split in half will be usable. Think I might have to get my own printer to go forward on this.
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573rd message | this message only posted: 15 Jul 2018 11:27
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Hayfield
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3 out of the 6 sets of chairs would accept C&L HiNi but all were very stiff, but as you can see all were deformed at the top
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574th message | this message only posted: 15 Jul 2018 16:24
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Andrew Barrowman
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Hayfield wrote: 3 out of the 6 sets of chairs would accept C&L HiNi but all were very stiff, but as you can see all were deformed at the topHi John,

That would be D, E and F.

They could be tight because the rail's foot is a little too wide for the chairs and/or the foot is a little too tall for the chairs. I think the web gap is OK.

You could take a file to a piece of scrap rail until you get a good fit. Measure the rail before and after so we know how much you took off.

Cheers!
Andy

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575th message | this message only posted: 15 Jul 2018 19:32
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Hayfield
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I am not too good at measuring, but earlier thought it was the height of the foot rather than the width, I have rubbed the bottom of the rail with some emery paper, made a slight difference, think its both the height and width which is an issue

John
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576th message | this message only posted: 15 Jul 2018 20:17
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Rob Manchester
Manchester



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John,
Try putting a small length of rail in the freezer overnight. Try the chairs tomorrow when the rail has shrunk a little :D It may give a go/no-go on some more of the chairs on the panel.

Rob


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577th message | this message only posted: 15 Jul 2018 20:20
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Andrew Barrowman
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Try filing down a chair to remove all the jaw overhang. If the rail is still a tight fit between what's left of the jaws the gap isn't wide enough. It will be easier if you glue the chair on to a piece of laminate or something first.
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