Lowa

Modular Track Switch System for LEGO® Trains - KICKSTARTER Project

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We created a modular system to build track switches for LEGO® Trains.  There are 9 different parts that allow you to create up to 16 different types of switches.  You can find all the details on our Kickstarter page which we just launched.  Make a pledge if you want to support this project and everything we do!

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/4dbrix/modular-switch-track-system-for-lego-trains 

Train%20Track%20Switch%20System%20Set%20

Here are some pictures of our switches:

Continuous curve switch: fits in a perfect circle.
continuous-curve-switch_sm.jpg

 

Parallel track switch: you have the option to put the ground throw on the outside so it doesn't block over-sized cars.

parallel-track-switch_sm.jpg
 

Single crossover: create smooth single crossovers with a 8 stud space in between the parallel tracks.

single-crossover_sm.jpg
 

Double crossover: with 4 independent switches allowing you to run the train parallel.

double-crossover_sm.jpg

 

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This is epic! I would totally donate if I had any lego trains or interest in buying one. Good luck!

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1 hour ago, BrickByBrick Official said:

This is epic! I would totally donate if I had any lego trains or interest in buying one. Good luck!

Thank you!  

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This is a great idea, particularly because it saves us from having to cut apart standard Lego turnouts to get these geometries! Just to confirm, will these geometries will allow for proper switch ladders with tracks at standard spacing? 

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Posted (edited)

1 hour ago, CrispyBassist said:

This is a great idea, particularly because it saves us from having to cut apart standard Lego turnouts to get these geometries! Just to confirm, will these geometries will allow for proper switch ladders with tracks at standard spacing? 

This doesn't look like it will. It would require another turnout "Split Track" section (part after the switch mechanism) that makes a total length of 24 studs for the turnout. Then it will require an odd ball 2-2/3 stud straight to make the ladder tracks work.

You can see here how it would work here. The spaces are 2-2/3 long and the farthest space to the right is 2 of those together for 5-1/3:
8U75pWQ.png

I hope that makes sense. 

@Lowa, would this be something that could be added to the kickstarter or as a product after the kickstarter? Its one new "Split Track" piece and a yard ladder straight that is 2-2/3 studs long.

Another option would be to have all of the "Split Track" sections be shortened by 8 studs and then use a half or full length straight to make traditional geometries. It would also open up to more geometries because the straight section of the track is 24 studs instead of the traditional 32. 

I really like these and I will definitely be backing the kickstarter. 

Edited by supertruper1988
updated terminology

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Only a few minutes from introducing this project is almost ready. Great, I#ve been among the first supporters and watched this rising and rising. tomorrow it will reach the goal. WOW!!

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What radi are these switches?  Looks like R40.

 

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2 hours ago, supertruper1988 said:

Would this be something that could be added to the kickstarter or as a product after the kickstarter? Its one new "Split Track" piece and a yard ladder straight that is 2-2/3 studs long.

@supertruper1988, @CrispyBassist

We chose not to include that in the Kickstarter because the pledge system is quite rigid and this was going to make it way too complex.  But we'll definitely make the specialty tracks to do all those things; that's the whole point of making the switches modular!   

  • We'll make a diverging track that is 4 studs shorter (straight section).  
  • We'll make diverging tracks and connectors with the exact length required to make layouts like on your drawing. 

The first approach has the advantage that the switch itself remains compatible with the LEGO geometry and you can use if for other things as well, but the tracks of the rail yard will not be exactly 8 studs apart.  The second approach gives you a perfect rail yard but that's the only thing you can do with those tracks.  We'll provide both options!   All our tracks have numbers at the back, so it's fairly easy to tell the specialty connector tracks apart.

3 hours ago, supertruper1988 said:

I really like these and I will definitely be backing the kickstarter. 

Great, thank you!

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15 minutes ago, Lowa said:

@supertruper1988, @CrispyBassist

We chose not to include that in the Kickstarter because the pledge system is quite rigid and this was going to make it way too complex.  But we'll definitely make the specialty tracks to do all those things; that's the whole point of making the switches modular!   

  • We'll make a diverging track that is 4 studs shorter (straight section).  
  • We'll make diverging tracks and connectors with the exact length required to make layouts like on your drawing. 

The first approach has the advantage that the switch itself remains compatible with the LEGO geometry and you can use if for other things as well, but the tracks of the rail yard will not be exactly 8 studs apart.  The second approach gives you a perfect rail yard but that's the only thing you can do with those tracks.  We'll provide both options!   All our tracks have numbers at the back, so it's fairly easy to tell the specialty connector tracks apart.

Great, thank you!

Thanks for the response! I really do think that the Yard switches should just be 8 studs shorter with a 2-2/3 straight to make up the grid difference. This will give the most flexibility and the 8 studs fits nice in the grid with everything else so you could re-purpose them for different geometry. 

I can make a couple more drawings if you need to show what I mean. 

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5 hours ago, Feuer Zug said:

And this is what I've been waiting for. Backed.

Thank you!

17 minutes ago, supertruper1988 said:

Thanks for the response! I really do think that the Yard switches should just be 8 studs shorter with a 2-2/3 straight to make up the grid difference. This will give the most flexibility and the 8 studs fits nice in the grid with everything else so you could re-purpose them for different geometry. 

I can make a couple more drawings if you need to show what I mean. 

Yes, drawing are always helpful!  A system with maximal flexibility is what we should aim for.

1 hour ago, pirzyk said:

What radi are these switches?  Looks like R40.

 

Indeed, the curved parts of the switches are R40.

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@Lowa hmmm, I'm not sold on this just yet...

While I think the idea for making a modular switch system is FanTasTic!! I think you may've missed the mark on this....

I'm talkin

-double curved switches

-double straight switches

-higher radii switches!!!

-3way switches

-Wye/ Y switches

 

Because I appreciate variety.

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39 minutes ago, Lowa said:

Yes, drawing are always helpful!  A system with maximal flexibility is what we should aim for.

Does this help visualize better what I mean?
a8UHyV0.png

The 24 stud makes so much more sense and the standard switch can still be created by adding an 8 stud straight.

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12 minutes ago, M_slug357 said:

@Lowa hmmm, I'm not sold on this just yet...

While I think the idea for making a modular switch system is FanTasTic!! I think you may've missed the mark on this....

I'm talkin

-double curved switches

-double straight switches

-higher radii switches!!!

-3way switches

-Wye/ Y switches

 

Because I appreciate variety.

This campaign is indeed a starting point!  We're planning to extend the selection to all the types you mentioned.  The pace at which we can do that will depend on the success of the kickstarter... 

24 minutes ago, supertruper1988 said:

Does this help visualize better what I mean?
a8UHyV0.png

The 24 stud makes so much more sense and the standard switch can still be created by adding an 8 stud straight.

Thanks!  This certainly helps.  I will study it the coming days...

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Posted (edited)

11 hours ago, supertruper1988 said:

Does this help visualize better what I mean?
a8UHyV0.png

The 24 stud makes so much more sense and the standard switch can still be created by adding an 8 stud straight.

I think the more obvious solution to this may be a 2 2/3 stud long straight.....

You also have to take the switch levers into account. By the looks of it above, they'll get in the way...

Edited by BurkusCircus

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Posted (edited)

Quote

You also have to take the switch levers into account. By the looks of it above, they'll get in the way...

 

You get the switches that have the lever on the outside/straight side.  The only one that would be a problem is the crossover switch where you get the one on the inside/curved side.

Edited by pirzyk
forgot to quote the statement I was commenting on

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Posted (edited)

15 hours ago, Lowa said:

Thanks!  This certainly helps.  I will study it the coming days...

 

3 hours ago, BurkusCircus said:

I think the more obvious solution to this may be a 2 2/3 stud long straight.....

You also have to take the switch levers into account. By the looks of it above, they'll get in the way...

That is what I am saying that the "split track" could be 8 studs shorter on the straight side to allow for more geometries. Then if the traditional 32 stud straight, you just add a half (8 stud long) straight. 

The yard ladder is going to need a custom piece no matter what and a 2-2/3 straight makes more sense to me that an entire set of custom parts. 

Edited by supertruper1988

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Here is an updated diagram showing that the Siding Curve works with the same 2-2/3 stud spacer to complete the yard ladder. 

I hope this is helpful! I really want to get a versatile solution to get the most support possible!

LA5ILLS.png

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This looks exciting! Since it is 3-D printed, can you design the switches to have groves cut out to fit HO code 100 track? 

-Jeffinslaw

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Very nice, i am seriously considering backing this. Some hurdles though:

- 33% shipping cost to germany is quite painful. on top of that the unlucky recipient might get hit with an additional 19% VAT(on everything including shipping costs), if it gets picked up by customs. Ist there a way to do Bulk-shipping to the EU ? I volunteer, but im sure you'd want someone in a country with less VAT ;)
- At the end of the Process it asks me for a Credit Card. I dont have one, and i dont plan to get one just for this. Around here people commonly use bank cards. Isn't there supposed to be a way to back Kickstarter projects with my amazon account or Paypal or something?

Is there any chance you will expand this to metal Rails? You know, for us "you have to claw that 9v-engine out of my cold dead hands"-people...
Oh, one more question, are the Switches made in a way that you can automate them reliably without modding? 

Greetings from Saxony :)

PS: the Monorail Stuff you guys are doing looks great!

 

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It's clever, but not interesting enough for me right now. The best bit for me is the outside position of the lever. A crossover is nice, but I can make one with two normal switches and a dremel. I'm lucky enough to already own a double crossover.

What I would really like to see is R72 metal switches with a crossover option.

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On Thursday, March 30, 2017 at 10:37 AM, Lowa said:

 

continuous-curve-switch_sm.jpg

 

parallel-track-switch_sm.jpg
 

single-crossover_sm.jpg
 

double-crossover_sm.jpg

 

It looks like the sleepers on the side of the the track opposite the throw does not have any studs... That might be a bit of a problem to those who are interested in ballasting these into their layouts.

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I supported this project. I hope that you will be able to do other radii of the switches in the future. My trains would look a lot better on them:grin:

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