coaster

Custom 9V tracks

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SEND MONEY! :grin:

Just kidding. Unfortunately, there's not a lot of work I can outsource at the moment. However, once I start the kickstarter, it would be great help if you guys could spread the word amongst your LUGS and at shows. Even voicing your support here will help build traction.

If you can get it to the point where you can launch a Kickstarter, I will be happy to shake down every one I meet for money to support it.

Cale

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SEND MONEY! :grin:

Just kidding. Unfortunately, there's not a lot of work I can outsource at the moment. However, once I start the kickstarter, it would be great help if you guys could spread the word amongst your LUGS and at shows. Even voicing your support here will help build traction.

I'm not part of a LUG yet, but hope to join NILTC soon. Since I like building large North American steam, large radii switches would be fantastic! I'm looking forward to the kickstarter!

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I dont need any specialized tracks for shallow turns. I use an 'illegal' lego tactic and use straight tracks to make turns that look just fine

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I like the way you designed these. I'd definitely support this on kickstarter, and if it's ever possible for you to make custom switches and/or curves with radii of 200+ or 300+, I'd gladly buy them even if they could only be 3D printed since the minimum radius I need is like 210ish for functionality, but preferably around 240+ for aesthetics. I'm not too picky about how they're made, or how much they cost, since this takes a lot of time, effort, and money on your part.

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I like the way you designed these. I'd definitely support this on kickstarter, and if it's ever possible for you to make custom switches and/or curves with radii of 200+ or 300+, I'd gladly buy them even if they could only be 3D printed since the minimum radius I need is like 210ish for functionality, but preferably around 240+ for aesthetics. I'm not too picky about how they're made, or how much they cost, since this takes a lot of time, effort, and money on your part.

Why such large radii? (is that studs, in, or cm?)

I'm curious as to what kinda operation you've got planned there...!

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I like the way you designed these. I'd definitely support this on kickstarter, and if it's ever possible for you to make custom switches and/or curves with radii of 200+ or 300+, I'd gladly buy them even if they could only be 3D printed since the minimum radius I need is like 210ish for functionality, but preferably around 240+ for aesthetics. I'm not too picky about how they're made, or how much they cost, since this takes a lot of time, effort, and money on your part.

I had plans at one point to do R200 curves and switches, but those will likely need to be printed only, as I doubt there'd be enough demand to justify tooling. However, because of the predefined grid we're working with, the switches are limited to certain radii, otherwise you can't blend them smoothly. For instance, an R200 crossover between parallel rails @ 16 stud spacing is a nice even 112 studs long, but an R216 (the next theoretical size up) would be 116.482 studs, which becomes super awkward. Crunching the numbers, we don't hit another even number until R328.

So your theoretically possible switch options are:

R8 (no)

R40

R104

R200

R328

R488

Note that these last 2 are probably going to be a bit unwieldy. The R328 switch itself would be 7.5 straight tracks long, so we'd have to break it up into 3 sections, each of which is as long as the R104 I've made above.

I'm likewise curious what you're planning. Would this be a backyard display?

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Hey Coaster, I was wondering if you were planning to attend BrickFair Virginia or BrickFair New Jersey this year? I would love to see these wonderful creations in person! If not, I can just keep trying to throw money through my screen until it is Kickstarter time. But please keep us informed, and thanks for all yourr hard work on this exciting 9v train stuff!

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Hey Coaster,

Any chance you could add your switch and extra rails to a custom blue brick library? If you dont want to take the time then could you render a few front on shots of the long switch and the two auxiliary tracks to make it parallel or a curve? I would be happy to generate the xml data to make the blue brick parts.

I am interested to see how this works on my layout!

I am thinking it would be 6 files:

Left Switch with direction change on the outside

Left Switch with direction change on the intside

Right Switch with direction change on the outside

Right Switch with direction change on the inside

Aux piece for parallel tracks

Aux piece for curve

I would also be happy to make these for any of the other parts you are working on as well. Just PM me if you have questions.

Thanks,

Cam

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Sadly, no, I don't plan on attending any more shows this year. They just don't seem to align nicely with my calendar.

I don't know anything about Blue Bricks, but I have no issues making the tracks available for it. Just need to figure out how to do it. Cam, I might take you up on helping me with that.

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I had plans at one point to do R200 curves and switches, but those will likely need to be printed only, as I doubt there'd be enough demand to justify tooling. However, because of the predefined grid we're working with, the switches are limited to certain radii, otherwise you can't blend them smoothly. For instance, an R200 crossover between parallel rails @ 16 stud spacing is a nice even 112 studs long, but an R216 (the next theoretical size up) would be 116.482 studs, which becomes super awkward. Crunching the numbers, we don't hit another even number until R328.

So your theoretically possible switch options are:

R8 (no)

R40

R104

R200

R328

R488

Note that these last 2 are probably going to be a bit unwieldy. The R328 switch itself would be 7.5 straight tracks long, so we'd have to break it up into 3 sections, each of which is as long as the R104 I've made above.

I'm likewise curious what you're planning. Would this be a backyard display?

R200 or R328 would probably be the best. I'm making an indoor 1:38 scale modular layout with 10-wide trains, so some of the coaches are 85 studs long. Since I want them to be as realistic as possible, the underbody details are fixed and the couplers are not attached to the bogies like they are on most lego trains, so I need very large curves and switches in order for everything to function. Whatever switches are used on my layout are going to be single and double crossovers, or lead into parallel sidings. I don't intend to have any switches leading directly into curves.

The distance between my parallel tracks is the standard 16 studs between the centerpoints, or 8 studs between the edges of the ties. I'm adding 1x1 and 1x4 tiles as ties, in the same fashion as PennLUG and others do. Everything is fairly standard, and similar to most LUG displays. I'll provide pictures and more specific details as soon as I can.

Edited by Aaron

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Hi Aaron, well, at 1:38 scale, the R328 is almost exactly equivalent to a 100m curve, which I think would be the most realistic. I'll sketch out a switch layout, but just printing a switch of that size will probably run $300+ off Shapeways. Just wanted to give you a heads up.

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Hi Aaron, well, at 1:38 scale, the R328 is almost exactly equivalent to a 100m curve, which I think would be the most realistic. I'll sketch out a switch layout, but just printing a switch of that size will probably run $300+ off Shapeways. Just wanted to give you a heads up.

It does seem like it would be the most realistic, given the 7.5 track length figure you gave me. I visualized the length and number of ties it would have in my head, then compared it to HO scale #8 and #10 switches made my Atlas and Walthers:

http://i.ebayimg.com/images/g/bh0AAOxyuR5TbSgF/s-l500.jpg

Having it in 3 sections is fine, since my layout is modular and built on pretty sturdy bases. Again, I'll take pictures of some of the modules as soon as I can. I'm just tweaking a few things and waiting on BrickLink orders to make some slight design changes. I guess we could start with a left hand switch, similar to the one I linked above, since there's one on the Norfolk Southern line that runs through my town and it would be neat to model it. The price you mentioned is very fair and reasonable, and if it comes in a color such as white I'll paint it to match the rest of my track. If you can add metal to the surface for an extra cost, that's a plus for me (since I like the aesthetics of rails with shiny surfaces) and I say go for it, but if not I'll buy it regardless since I use power functions anyway. I fully endorse what you're doing, and will demonstrate its functionality to the best of my ability. Eventually I'll probably be looking to buy more from you, and then I may be ready for single/double crossovers since I plan to do a full double mainline in the future.

Edit: I'm also curious about another thing. What are the possibilities that an R328 switch could be made in a more skeletal form, similar to the old 4.5v switches?

http://img.brickowl.com/files/image_cache/larger/lego-light-gray-train-track-4-5v-switch-point-right-with-dkgray-ties-25-717263-66.jpg

It seems like this design would cut down on printing/manufacturing costs by quite a bit. Since I'll be mounting these down to rock solid modular foundations built from multiple 16 x 16 plates with layers of bricks sandwiched between, initial flimsyness isn't a problem, as long as they clutch nice and tight to the foundation in the end. I can just build the ballast and ties using standard lego parts. Another possibility would be to have the ties built into the rails, in a more linear configuration similar to the Walthers switch, assuming we can go with the me models/4.5v profile. This would leave a height of 1 plate sticking above the ties, which is how it would end up if I added tiles as ties. I could just add support plates, me models universal connectors, and whatever else is needed beneath the rails and ties.

Edited by Aaron

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Here's roughly what your R328 single crossover would look like. Note that all this is is an R328 curve over some straights. Actually modeling the switch would take some significant time.

28432998064_345c95a5a7_c.jpg

It's about 45" long. We'd probably break it down into 3 pieces, Left-A, Left-B, and Left-C, such that a crossover would require 2x of each of these.

28436193803_72b09a637a_c.jpg

For the double crossover, it's much the same:

28436193963_85eea12c65_c.jpg

However, and this sort of plays nicely for us, we can use the same "A" and "B" segments, and simply create a special "D" segment for the double switch. So a double crossover would consist of 2x Left-A, 2x Left-B, 2x Right-A, 2x Right-B, and 2x D segments.

28432998034_8292231423_c.jpg

I think this makes the most sense. Powering it though introduces a bunch more issues, but not insurmountable. It just becomes cost. I probably won't be able to take this on for a bit though, as I'm trying to get the rest of the project online. There are a lot of cost options with how to tool these that I'm trying to work out. I want to make these as economically as possible for everyone.

I don't know enough about the old 4.5V switches to say one way or another. I suspect with the printed material though it'd be pretty flimsy. If nothing else, I have the 9V/PF design down pat, so it'd be easier for me to stick with that if it's alright.

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Here's roughly what your R328 single crossover would look like. Note that all this is is an R328 curve over some straights. Actually modeling the switch would take some significant time.

28432998064_345c95a5a7_c.jpg

It's about 45" long. We'd probably break it down into 3 pieces, Left-A, Left-B, and Left-C, such that a crossover would require 2x of each of these.

28436193803_72b09a637a_c.jpg

For the double crossover, it's much the same:

28436193963_85eea12c65_c.jpg

However, and this sort of plays nicely for us, we can use the same "A" and "B" segments, and simply create a special "D" segment for the double switch. So a double crossover would consist of 2x Left-A, 2x Left-B, 2x Right-A, 2x Right-B, and 2x D segments.

28432998034_8292231423_c.jpg

I think this makes the most sense. Powering it though introduces a bunch more issues, but not insurmountable. It just becomes cost. I probably won't be able to take this on for a bit though, as I'm trying to get the rest of the project online. There are a lot of cost options with how to tool these that I'm trying to work out. I want to make these as economically as possible for everyone.

I don't know enough about the old 4.5V switches to say one way or another. I suspect with the printed material though it'd be pretty flimsy. If nothing else, I have the 9V/PF design down pat, so it'd be easier for me to stick with that if it's alright.

Actually that looks like it would work perfectly. So from the way it looks the single crossover can be split into two switches? I really like that. I think I could make very good use of what you're showing me there, and I'd say the versatility of the single crossover would work for many different applications if I buy multiple units. I could just resolve the flimsiness of the 3d-printed track by gluing it down to the base.

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Hi Everyone!

It's been a bit, but I have some news! I'm still working on the figuring out the tooling for everything, and that's taken quite a bit of time. As I've said before, I'm not going to Kickstarter until I'm ready to start cutting checks to suppliers. However, there is still a way you can help support this project and get something out of it. Several of you have asked me for it, and so I've gone ahead and uploaded the PF versions of the curves for sale onto Shapeways. The tracks aren't cheap, but that's mostly Shapeways; there's not much I can do there (the parts are already designed to minimize material). I've only marked them up a couple bucks, but that mark-up will go towards further funding this project. The less money we have to donate to Kickstarter, the better. This also is a good opportunity for you to provide feedback on the design. If I've overlooked something, best to find it now before we go into production with it. Here's the link:

https://www.shapeway...m/shops/ltracks

A couple reminders though: 1) 3D printed parts will not have that nice smooth finish of molded parts. My goal is to match the Lego tracks as closely as possible in fit & finish. 2) 3D printed parts also are not nearly as dimensionally accurate. I've modified things like the stud diameter and track connection features a number of times to try to find the best fit, so while I've done my best here, the clutch power of the 3D printed parts may vary. I know the dimensions for the molded part, this will not be an issue in production. 3) Shapeways does not offer a gray material, so you will need to either live with the black or order the white and paint it yourself. 4) While I've printed several of these before over many iterations, I would suggest getting just one piece first and seeing how you like it before you drop a few hundred bucks getting full rounds. I want your feedback, and I won't be offended if you find something wrong with it.

I'm still also working out a few bugs for the switches with regards to the 3D printing, as well as figure out a way to effectively print the spring into the movable point. If I can get that, I'll then upload the PF switches as well.

Thanks for all your support everyone. Every bit of even moral support helps.

EDIT: Aaron, I threw your R328 curves up there too, just in case. :wink:

Edited by coaster

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Hi Coaster,

So how many curve pieces do we need to order to get a 1/4, 1/2 or full loop? I specifically looking at the R200 and R328 versions.

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bah, my 3d printer at work can only print 6x6x6". I'll buy a couple of pieces of the R200 just to play with. Any chance of getting a version with a groove for the HO upside down rail?

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Realized I forgot to put the 1/2 and 1/4 straights up on Shapeways. Those have been added now too.

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@coaster, there are successful experiments using Acetone and/or Chloroform: one puts the 3D printed object in a pan with a lit, puts a bowl of acetone next to the object in the pan, puts the lit on and waits a few hours. Too long will melt the plastic entirely though.

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I'm trying to decide if I want to order my first piece to test in black or white. Does anyone know if it's difficult to spray paint black parts to the desired color? I picked up some cans of spray paint today, but I only have experience painting lighter elements. I feel that if any paint chips at some point, having black showing would be less distracting than white. I just hope it's as easy to paint.

Edited by Aaron

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I must admit I haven't tried the black yet, but the spray paint I bought did adhere nicely to the white and even after leaving out in the sun for a couple days (and rain one night) it still looked good. However, the white does show any places you miss.

@JopieK, I haven't tried the acetone vapor trick yet, but I know people that have with good success. The key though is not to go too long, otherwise you can remove too much material.

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I must admit I haven't tried the black yet, but the spray paint I bought did adhere nicely to the white and even after leaving out in the sun for a couple days (and rain one night) it still looked good. However, the white does show any places you miss.

@JopieK, I haven't tried the acetone vapor trick yet, but I know people that have with good success. The key though is not to go too long, otherwise you can remove too much material.

I'm painting the rails with rust colored spray paint. I'll get a black one for now since leaving the top surface unfinished would look best that way, and if it doesn't work out I'll go with white for the next ones. I'll probably do an in-depth video review when I receive the rail.

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Great, look forward to it Aaron! By all means, let me know if you see anything I've overlooked. Now is the time to catch that stuff.

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