Lowa

Modular Track Switch System for LEGO® Trains - KICKSTARTER Project

46 posts in this topic

On 3/31/2017 at 1:00 PM, supertruper1988 said:

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!

 

Thanks, this is indeed helpful!  I just don't think a 2.667 stud adapter is on optimal solution, there is no space between the ballast and will give 5 studs of 'solid' ballast.  I think it makes more sense to make a 'diverging track' with the exact length we need for a rail yard.  I merged the shortest 2.667 stud adapter with an 8 stud long track to be able to have better spacing between the ballast.  I made the 3D models and it would look like this:  (The dark gray models are the new tracks not included in the Kickstarter)

4dbrix-rail-yard.png

4dbrix-rail-yard-iso.png

 

On 3/31/2017 at 3:18 PM, HiFish said:

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!

 

Thanks for the complements!

We don't have any flexibility with Kickstarter, we cannot chose which payment methods are support so we cannot do anything about the Credit Only situation.  Once we supplied all our backers (Thank you!) the tracks will be available in our European store where you can pay with a European bank transfer.  

As the request for a 9V version comes up regularly so we decided to start looking into that...  we're trying to find an approach that only relies on 'digital production machines' (no molds, stamps, etc.) so we don't have any constraint in term of expanding the range of tracks / switches we could make.  As I said, we're looking into it.

In terms of automation, the switches are fully compatible with our track switch motors.  You just have to click them on and you're done!

 

 

On 3/31/2017 at 6:43 PM, knotian said:

Just entered my pledge. Looks great!

Thank you!

On 3/31/2017 at 8:35 PM, Duq said:

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.

Thanks for letting us know.  We're going the make other radii in the (near) future and are looking at the feasibility of making 9V variants.

On 4/1/2017 at 2:29 AM, Q3671 said:

ok, i backed 2 crossover, succes.

Thank you!

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On 4/1/2017 at 11:17 PM, ALCO said:

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.

There are indeed no studs there.  Thank you for pointing out this potential problem, we'll look into it.  The main reason there are no studs there is because the curved track is blocking you from adding anything, but maybe there is a work around... If possible we'll add studs to the final version.

On 3/31/2017 at 3:09 PM, Jeffinslaw said:

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

Thank you!

I need to study the HO code 100 track before I can answer this.  How easy/difficult do you think it would be to bend this tracks to the right curvature ?

13 hours ago, Stefaneris said:

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:

Thank you for supporting our project!  Yes, we'll do other radii in the (near) future...

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Hi Lowa,

I'm losing track at the moment. :sick:

again someone starting with custom LEGO compatible train track & switches.

we have now:

  • ME Models
  • Bricktrax
  • 4DBRIX

did i forget someone else?

why don't you all join forces to create one single product?

We all know that molds are verry expensive, creating everytime similar molds (straight track & R56,R72, ...) is in my opinion a waste of money that could be better used.

Just my remark.

correct me if i'm wrong.

Ludo 

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14 hours ago, Lowa said:

I need to study the HO code 100 track before I can answer this.  How easy/difficult do you think it would be to bend this tracks to the right curvature ?

ME Models currently uses code 100 track for their curves and rail joiners. They have to use straight pieces of rail which does provide a little bit of issues on tight radius curves I believe. That's all I know.

-Jeffinslaw

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1 hour ago, Ludo said:

Hi Lowa,

I'm losing track at the moment. :sick:

again someone starting with custom LEGO compatible train track & switches.

we have now:

  • ME Models
  • BrickTracks
  • 4DBRIX

did i forget someone else?

why don't you all join forces to create one single product?

We all know that molds are verry expensive, creating everytime similar molds (straight track & R56,R72, ...) is in my opinion a waste of money that could be better used.

Just my remark.

correct me if i'm wrong.

Ludo 

Hi Ludo, You're missing Trixbrix too!

ME Models has established tooling already, but the consensus is we'd rather see single piece designs that don't come apart on you while running.  Before starting BrickTracks, I considered proposing a joint effort with them to make the single piece tracks, but other than some name recognition, they really didn't have anything to bring to the table.  They didn't have any engineering experience, their customer service is questionable at best, and it certainly doesn't appear they have any working capital.  I still floated the idea to them, but never got a response. 

Lowa can correct me if I'm wrong, but as far as I'm aware, 4DBrix and Trixbrix are only 3D printing their tracks, not molding them.  However, I'm not opposed to unifying - or at least coordinating - with one or both of them.  It is a rather niche market to compete in, and it does appear we are on a collision course for the switches.  I will say, if we do all end up competing with each other, additional molded tracks are unlikely to happen, and molded parts will always be cheaper, smoother, and more durable than printed ones.  Tom, shoot me a message if you want to discuss off-line.

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Posted (edited)

1 hour ago, Ludo said:

We have now:

  • ME Models
  • Bricktrax
  • 4DBRIX

Did i forget someone else?

why don't you all join forces to create one single product?

...

Just my remark.

correct me if i'm wrong.

Ludo 

I think one European-based and one North American-based third party track supplier would be easiest because of shipping, etc.

So, BrickTracks for NA, 4DBrix for Europe, and ME goes out of business! Trixbrix merges with whoever they're based in the same region of.

Edited by BurkusCircus

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2 hours ago, BurkusCircus said:

So, BrickTracks for NA, 4DBrix for Europe, ...

I'm in Germany and I really want BrickTracks to succeed. I also like most of the 4DBrix designs and I wish them well but I don't think that 3D printing is the way to go. Imo, they should start with getting a mold for straight monorail tracks made and reinvest the profits from those sales in more molds.

As the old saying goes: Buy nice or buy twice.

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21 hours ago, Lowa said:

Thanks, this is indeed helpful!  I just don't think a 2.667 stud adapter is on optimal solution, there is no space between the ballast and will give 5 studs of 'solid' ballast.  I think it makes more sense to make a 'diverging track' with the exact length we need for a rail yard.  I merged the shortest 2.667 stud adapter with an 8 stud long track to be able to have better spacing between the ballast.  I made the 3D models and it would look like this:  (The dark gray models are the new tracks not included in the Kickstarter)

4dbrix-rail-yard.png

4dbrix-rail-yard-iso.png

I'm thinking it might be better to have only the shorter of the two straights (the 8+2.67). On the next spur (and ever 3rd there after), we could simply use two of the 10.67. And it looks like that would also remove the need for the half straight. But however it happens, this yard piece is something I'm interested in!

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1 hour ago, davidzq said:

I'm thinking it might be better to have only the shorter of the two straights (the 8+2.67). On the next spur (and ever 3rd there after), we could simply use two of the 10.67. And it looks like that would also remove the need for the half straight. But however it happens, this yard piece is something I'm interested in!

Indeed, excellent point!  This works out great because on average you need the same number of '8+2.67 adapters' as 'rail yard diverging track'.  Thanks for pointing that out!  

I guess now we can / should add them to the Kickstarter as additional option: 1 rail yard diverging track + 10.67 adapter.  

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9 hours ago, Lowa said:

Indeed, excellent point!  This works out great because on average you need the same number of '8+2.67 adapters' as 'rail yard diverging track'.  Thanks for pointing that out!  

I guess now we can / should add them to the Kickstarter as additional option: 1 rail yard diverging track + 10.67 adapter.  

Uh oh, now I have to give you more money!

It will be great to see the yard adapters available, especially if we don't have to wait for your next product expansion. 

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21 hours ago, coaster said:

Hi Ludo, You're missing Trixbrix too!

ME Models has established tooling already, but the consensus is we'd rather see single piece designs that don't come apart on you while running.  Before starting BrickTracks, I considered proposing a joint effort with them to make the single piece tracks, but other than some name recognition, they really didn't have anything to bring to the table.  They didn't have any engineering experience, their customer service is questionable at best, and it certainly doesn't appear they have any working capital.  I still floated the idea to them, but never got a response. 

Lowa can correct me if I'm wrong, but as far as I'm aware, 4DBrix and Trixbrix are only 3D printing their tracks, not molding them.  However, I'm not opposed to unifying - or at least coordinating - with one or both of them.  It is a rather niche market to compete in, and it does appear we are on a collision course for the switches.  I will say, if we do all end up competing with each other, additional molded tracks are unlikely to happen, and molded parts will always be cheaper, smoother, and more durable than printed ones.  Tom, shoot me a message if you want to discuss off-line.

Thanks Coaster to clarify this issue.

I wish everyone a lot of succes, and prefer molded track (9V :sweet:), larger radius but also the larger points like your prototype. Like it a lot. :wink:

Don't forget the European market too.

Import from out of Europe is expensive (import taxes, VAT + administration cost + shipping), molding in Europe & USA could  be a solution for this issue.

With too high import tax on an expensive item, the interested European AFOL's in those tracks will be much less than at an afordable / reasonable price.

Something to keep in mind, especially in this niche market.

Being an old bloke (58 years ) i think that those great ideas will come a bit late for me. :sick:

Ludo

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If I didn't build exclusively with 9V track (since that's what our club uses and since so many of the trains we run are 9V rather than battery) I would be all over this project. The Continuous Curve switch parts look very useful.

 

If I didn't build exclusively with 9V track (since that's what our club uses and since so many of the trains we run are 9V rather than battery) I would be all over this project. The Continuous Curve switch parts look very useful.

 

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@Lowa It didn't occur to me before, but is it possible to do this: Attach a left-handed "track coupling" section to a right-handed "split track" section? Or vice-versa?

Not sure what could be accomplished by doing this, but it would be interesting if it were possible...!

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22 hours ago, M_slug357 said:

@Lowa It didn't occur to me before, but is it possible to do this: Attach a left-handed "track coupling" section to a right-handed "split track" section? Or vice-versa?

Not sure what could be accomplished by doing this, but it would be interesting if it were possible...!

No, that's not possible...  

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2 hours ago, Lowa said:

No, that's not possible...  

But???

Anyway, will we have the option to add extra track on after if we decide we want more?

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39 minutes ago, Feuer Zug said:

But???

Anyway, will we have the option to add extra track on after if we decide we want more?

Yes, of course!  You can add as many tracks / switches as you want.  Both the connectors and geometry of all the switches are fully compatible with the LEGO RC/PF track system.

The question was about connecting a right-turn 'diverging track' to a left turn 'split track', as illustrated below.  The tracks of those two parts don't line up and to make sure you don't do it by mistake we designed the connectors in such a way that you cannot connect the parts.  It's actually a safety feature...  We also put numbers at the back of the tracks so it's easy to tell them apart.

4dbrix-switch-mix.png

 

 

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2 hours ago, M_slug357 said:

@Lowa Aww, that's too bad! It would've been interesting if that was able to line up...

Well, if you have a specific application in mind it's always possible to make an additional 'diverging track' for that.  That's the advantage of having a modular system.

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@Lowa From the pic that you posted, it does look like it would be possible if it weren't for the connectors...

Have you thought about doing the connectors between these segments in a way that would differentiate them from the regular track-to-track connections? It might lower confusion as to what goes where (for younger builders). Also, if done in a more abidextrous style, it would extend the amount of possible configurations available right out of the box-- A few potential uses might be:

~A pair of small ovals (lengthened by one straight segment) joined together by a double crossover, but all four "track coupling" bits are reversed (rightys on the left & vice versa)

~A pair of pseudo wye switches could be made by swaping the "diverging track" sections

and that's what I came up with just now.

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@davidzq, @supertruper1988, and everybody else that is interested in building rail yards:

We just added the new track segments needed to build rail yards to our kickstarter campaign.  You can find the info on this Eurobricks post: 

 

 

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