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  1. To all LEGO train automation enthusiasts, This is a short clip of the final version of our LEGO compatible track switch motor. It has a digital servo embedded in a 3D printed housing. This is a 'plug & play' solution: the motor is strong enough that it doesn't require any modification of the switch (you don't need to open the switch and remove the notch to reduce the force needed to flip it). I also added a picture of the back side so you can see how it can fit onto a LEGO® switch. The housing is made in a custom dark bluish gray ABS filament that matches the LEGO® tracks. The motor has a 6 by 6 stud footprint and it's 2 bricks + 2 plates high. We'll be making controllers for these motors as well, so you can connect them to your PC. However, the motors are fully Arduino compatible, so you can integrate them in you own DIY control system. What do you think ? We're working on a full range of automation gadgets for LEGO trains. What other automation challenges would you like to see solved ?
  2. This was an experiment of automation of a tramway line with an old LEGO RCX brick: All sensors and cables are 100% LEGO. There are 8 light sensor, 4 (two couples, one couple for station and one for switch zone) on input 1 and 4 on input 2. 3 output, output A (station 1 - switch), output B (station 2 - switch) and output C (switch zone). Everything is handled by NQC program
  3. We just added the new track segments needed to build rail yards to our Modular Track Switch system kickstarter campaign. There are 3 new 3D printed segments: rail yard diverging track (left or right turn): designed to put the tracks of the ladder at a distance of exactly 8 studs apart. rail yard adapter: designed to make sure all the track align nicely at the end or connecting the track of a bidirectional rail yard. bumper track: to have an elegant way to end the tracks of a one way rail yard. The system work for both one way and bidirectional rail yards: You can find all the info on our kickstarter campaign:
  4. Anyone looking forward to getting their hands on the new Nintendo Switch? I'd say it's a very ingenious device with detachable controllers!
  5. I finally have good pictures of the demonstrator model for my take on a cheap no-modification-required switch track motor. Have a look! The key that makes this work is that the servo acts on a slider, which pushes on the little spring-loaded switch point piece, rather than forcing the lever mechanism back and forth. As such, it takes very little force to change the switch from open to closed and vice versa. I'm using two of the 1x1x1 corner panels to trap the servo horn so that it pushes the slider back and forth, while a 2x2 corner tile pushes the point piece backwards and forwards. The actual switch lever needs to be in the 'open' position to allow the point piece to move back and forth properly; otherwise, the switch will stay closed even when the servo releases the point piece. I'm using an Arduino Uno, but you could use any Arduino or compatible clone as long as you get the pins hooked up right. It's a lucky coincidence that the servo is the size it is; two of the 1x2x3 panels form a nice enclosure that keeps it from moving about too much. It's important to get the older style that don't have the reinforcing ridges on the edges, as otherwise it won't fit. I used a small piece of paper folded on itself a couple of times to keep the servo wedged in tightly. I imagine you could use some of those 1x2 bricks with the vertical groove in them to help hide the servo cabling, but I didn't bother since this is only a demonstrator. Here's a better view of the setup without the track in the way. My servos came with a pack of three differently-shaped horns to put on them - I'm using the shortest one available to me (mine was 19.5mm long with six small holes in it and was the only one with one 'arm' on it). I also have not permanently attached it with the screws that also came in the package, mainly for the purposes of testing. Lastly, here's a picture of the support structure I built up to keep everything in place. I also made an LDD file of the structure as well as the slider mechanism and servo holder so that you can build your own! The hard part of this built is not the mechanism, but setting up the servo as well as the Arduino controller. If anyone is interested, I can do a more in-depth post on how these servos work and how to use them, but the basics go something like this: Attach the servo to the Arduino using the diagram on this page: Test your servo to make sure it's working using the example code on that page (the servo should slowly move back and forth between its endpoints) Center the servo at 90 degrees - - this puts the servo at a known position for use in our mechanism Place the small one-arm servo horn onto the servo spline so that it's pointing across the servo body, not away from it. This allows the servo to reach the little pocket we've built and actuate the slider. This is the tricky part; you have to play around with the Arduino code to calibrate your servo for its switch track. These servos are mass-produced as cheaply as possible, so the actual physical position of the horn at the 0 and 180 degree endpoints will vary somewhat from unit to unit. For my servo, the two positions the servo should move to for a closed and an open switch are about 83 degrees and 113 degrees, respectively. The corner tile should barely touch the point piece when open, and should keep the point piece tight against the outside track piece without the servo struggling or forcing itself out of position. I made some minor improvements to this code for my demonstrator - the servo doesn't sweep between positions, but jumps between them, so it's faster to actuate. I also have the Arduino disconnecting the servo in between movements so it doesn't 'hum' while waiting to move to the next position. General improvements to this model would include building the mechanism out of DBG and black for the servo holder, as well as tidying up the wiring to the servo. The servo horns stand out quite a bit color-wise, but since they're nylon, they could easily be dyed black to match the servo housing, and the silver-colored screws that come with the servo horns could be touched up with some paint or nail polish to turn them black as well. The only downside to this mechanism is that you can't run a train backwards through the straight part of the switch when it's closed, since the point piece can't move out of the way. Since this is already being controlled by a microcontroller, it wouldn't be difficult at all to add some sort of sensor that would open the switch when a train is approaching it from the wrong side. As for overall cost, beyond the price for the pieces needed to build this barebones mechanism (I had all of the pieces in my collection): I bought a ten-pack of these servos for $2 apiece, and if you don't already have one, a small Arduino starter kit can be found online for $25. The Arduino Uno has six analog pins, so it can potentially control up to six servos at once. If you're starting out from scratch, the total cost for six motorized switches would end up being around $37 - which is much cheaper than the ~$125 it would take to build this out of genuine Lego parts (one battery box, six M-motors, three IR receivers, three IR remotes), and it doesn't take any PF channels.
  6. In this topic you can ask help if you don't find a piece in LDD. You can also ask here about any doubt regarding part IDs, duplicate parts and the use of a specific part present in LDD. Before asking, try the hints listed below. Ensure that the Extended Mode is active The extended mode allow access to all the bricks included in LDD in each colour. To activate Extended Mode go to: Menu -> View -> Theme -> Extended Mode . . . [Image] Use the Search Field The search field is the textfield above the Bricks Palette. . . . [Image] Enter there the ID of the brick you are looking for, or any plausible word that could identify the brick you are looking for. Note that the IDs and the descriptions in LDD are the official LEGO ones, and could differ from those you can find consulting other sources such as Bricklink, Peeron, etc... Check the work of other users As last resource, check the index of the Official LEGO Sets made in LDD topic looking for the sets that uses the part you need. If you find it you can select it and read its Design ID in the bottom bar, then easily find it using the LDD integrated search function. Other Useful Tools LDD Part Finder (beta) Could be you can find useful this little software developed by the user DrFalken. You can find more informations here. Bricklink and LDD Manager If you know a set that uses the brick you are looking for, you can: - Obtain the part ID from Bricklink - Use the "Brick Finder" function in LDD Manager to convert the Bricklink ID to the LEGO Element ID Otherwise you can use LDD manager function "Search for attributes". Old related topics: Where to find these pieces in LDD Finding a dinghy in LDD CMF Decorations in LDD 4.3.6, Series 1-9 ...
  7. Brickshelf user "lukasz7792" has just posted an interesting comparison picture of an older & newer PF Polarity Switch. The one on the left has a black reversing switch and the one on the right does not. Does anyone know why it was omitted?
  8. Hi all, I've been playing with some ideas for remotely switching my tracks. Here's a link to the 'proof of concept' mockup I've made of my progress to date. It's very much cobbled together, but I think it will work on my layout, to give me remote access to distant points. Its not a 'pure' lego solution, but it's unobtrusive and relatively cheap. This requires modification of: - The point (to remove the 'click' when the track gets switched - there's too much resistance for a small servo to overcome). - The lego 'cupboard' (to fit a small servo inside, and cut a hole in the door.) I tried modifying a small brick, but the servo was just a fraction too wide. The cupboard seems to work well. The only wiring visible in the final layout will be three very small wires running from the cupboard. I'll put together something more detailed once I have a version installed and running, if anyone is interested.
  9. Hi all, Just made a LDD file of my design of a M-motor track switch. Some inspiration from around the net, but for people looking, here is a solution. LDD File. M Motor switch track design Switch track goes between the red tiles and the rest. This is for a left-side switch track, mirror for right side. Have fun.
  10. Hi, I have a very special problem: For an exhibition (the day after tomorrow) I will use 12V-lights at my train station. I tried this function with a gray 12V transformator and the switch with the train crossing pattern: (set 5083). Everythings worked and I was happy. Right button turn the lights on, left button turn the lights off. Everything is fine. But: Now I need this remote Control switch to use the train crossing, but I had another set 5081 - remote control witch SIGNAL pattern. I opened (because it was sealed (ovp)) and I tried to use ist. But it doesn't works. I think, it isn't broken. I think the reason is to find into the different between these both switch. The signal one stayed "down", after I pressed the button, and when I press the other button (red or green), the first button comes up. The switch witch train crossing pattern works so: If I pressed any button, the button comes up immediately. Also the train crossing has 2x three holes and the backside, the signal switch has 1x five holes and 1x three holes. Could someone help me to understand the function. And: Why I couldn't connect normal light bricks with the signal switch. Does set 5080 works (Remote control for switch). Or does the switch in set 7862 works? Please help me. Michael
  11. Hi all, I have designed a modular switch drive. The powering can be either by a PF motor, a Mindstorms NXT, a Mindstorms EV3 L motor or Mindstorms EV3 M motor. To overcome the friction of the 'click' in the switch, I have to confess that the switched need to be adapted to remove the 'click'. If you're interested, please let me know (I can send you the LDD file). Best /Hans
  12. Please note: this build was inspired by Whoward69's signal tower, (link: ) this enlarged version features two modular-style removable sections (the roof and second floor) and a staircase to the upper floor. This model was designed to go along with my 7997-style yellow train station (Topic here: ) to go on my Lego layout. The rear of the tower is not decorated, save for some blue grill bricks and 1 x 6 arches. The name "TOWER 22" will go on the exposed studs on both sides. The signal gantry splits at the same level as the building's second floor, and is held onto it's base by a black 2x2 jumper. The tower has a computer on the second floor for train signal / switch direction control. This floor also features a clock, rotary dial telephone and a table lamp. Please note: The signal gantry was inspired by the one at L's instructions section. LDD file: Here is the tower with the station, which I already have built. Comments, Questions & Complaints welcome!
  13. Someone have seen something like that?, it works very very well and you can easy put a pump and be an autovalve.
  14. Hey! I just worked up my first Lego layout with Blue Brick, and I was hoping to get some comments and suggestions from some of you. I have a little free time on my hands here presently while we move back to the U.S., so I'm trying to use the time constructively. I'm not real sure of the exact dimensions of the space we'll have, but this layout should more-or-less fit into a medium-sized home's basement, don't you think? What do you think of the size of the layout, does it look too big or small? I think it strikes a good balance between being a decent-sized layout that's big enough to hold what I've got (plus a little room for expansion) without being grounds for divorce. Our son is only three, so I've tried to keep it as accessible as possible from all angles. I'm thinking of making the tables modular, so I can always add in another table in the future when/if we run out of room with this design. I mostly used the 3" x 3" tables in Blue Brick (and added on 1" x 3" tables for the harbor which was something of an afterthought). The table size isn't set into stone. One of my main questions is about the two crossovers between the two main lines. Is there a prettier way to do it? Do I need to get my hacksaw out and cut the switches they presently sell? I'm using PF track so I won't be using the 9V switch tracks with the shorter diverging track, unfortunately. Also, I won't be spending the crazy money that 7996 (Train Rail Crossing) is getting. It's a pity that Lego doesn't sell 7996 any longer as it's a very elegant solution, and I'm also more than a little bummed about the way they package the road baseplates. I won't be purchasing them unfortunately. Guess I'll have to find the time to build my own. Ok, well, thanks in advance for your input. Feel free to post graphics of your layout in this thread as I'd love to see what others have come up with. Oh, for the record; this is the parts list: 4x Right Switches 9x Left Switches 192x Straight Track 43x Curve Track 60x 48x48 Grey Baseplates 13x 32x32 Blue Baseplates and a handful of Flex-track Joe