JopieK

BrickTracks: different curves, PF/9V compatible

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Or Coaster, what you could (and imho should) do is get the ball rolling outside of Europe like Canada, the US, Australia, Japan, etc and then expand to European countries like the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and France in one of the above-mentioned ways. Also you can access Swiss and British customers right away as well due to the fact that neither is in the EU. I realize that this will cut out a large number of potential buyers, but I don’t really see a (legal) way to do access them without having the price skyrocket...

Apologies if this in anyway offends our European friends!

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54 minutes ago, BurkusCircus said:

Or Coaster, what you could (and imho should) do is get the ball rolling outside of Europe like Canada, the US, Australia, Japan, etc and then expand to European countries...

Coaster's based in the US of A, last time I checked...?

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I am indeed based in the USA.  I ship and sell already all over the world; US, Canada, Australia, UK, the EU.  It's not a matter of excluding anyone; the reality is not just that shipping is more expensive (I actually eat some of the shipping costs overseas to help out), but the EU taxes the daylights out of it as well.  We can all discuss various ideas of how to avoid those taxes, but come the end of the day, it's simply more expensive for our European friends. 

The best solution I've found is to find an EU store that's willing to buy in bulk at a discount and let them sell it locally.  VAT would still have to be paid, but shipping costs would be reduced, albeit at the additional cost of adding a middleman.

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9 hours ago, coaster said:

The best solution I've found is to find an EU store that's willing to buy in bulk at a discount and let them sell it locally.  VAT would still have to be paid, but shipping costs would be reduced, albeit at the additional cost of adding a middleman.

Yeah, I too think that would be the best solution. Even if you have additional costs by adding a middleman, the sheer volume (if someone is going to play that role and buy enough track to distribute) might make up for it. Anyhow, I'm looking forward to it, whether it might be buying from you directly or not, as long as it's 9V :laugh::thumbup:

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4 hours ago, Capparezza said:

...as long as it's 9V :laugh::thumbup:

In the next few days, I’ll be investigating a temporary solution to 9V: Tinned copper conductive tape! Supposedly the tin increases durability, reduces oxidation, and is aesthetically silver in color. Also, the tape has .005 ohms of resistance- hopefully that doesn’t add up too much?

Can’t wait to throw it on my r104 switches & curves! Will post results&pics when possible.

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Hey Coaster, just wondering on what your current timeline is for R56, R72, and R88?

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Working right now with the mold maker on the R56s and 1/2 and 1/4 length straights.  R72s and R88s will be a little later this year.  Both have been slightly delayed, but for a good reason: I've figured out how to do 9V, and need to work both PF and 9V rail inserts into the tooling.  Also working on reworking the R104 and R120 tooling to accommodate 9V.  This a fairly lengthy process, so it will probably be April/May/June before you'll see any more progress, but there's some great stuff in the works.

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6 hours ago, M_slug357 said:

In the next few days, I’ll be investigating a temporary solution to 9V: Tinned copper conductive tape! Supposedly the tin increases durability, reduces oxidation, and is aesthetically silver in color. Also, the tape has .005 ohms of resistance- hopefully that doesn’t add up too much?

Can’t wait to throw it on my r104 switches & curves! Will post results&pics when possible.

It would be great to see this working.  I used copper tape as an experiment one year, and it worked great until it wore through.  The wheels contact the track right at the edge, and since it's squared off, that hard edge just cuts through the tape after having been run on for a while.  Hoping tin works better.

4 hours ago, coaster said:

Working right now with the mold maker on the R56s and 1/2 and 1/4 length straights.  R72s and R88s will be a little later this year.  Both have been slightly delayed, but for a good reason: I've figured out how to do 9V, and need to work both PF and 9V rail inserts into the tooling.  Also working on reworking the R104 and R120 tooling to accommodate 9V.  This a fairly lengthy process, so it will probably be April/May/June before you'll see any more progress, but there's some great stuff in the works.

Couldn't you do something like this part:

4166.png

That was made to take the HO rail (similar to what ME tried, but you'd only need the one generic piece).  Then people could buy flex track, take the rail and make their own LEGO flex track.

Frankly, while ME may have failed, using standard model train rail and rail joiners worked really well for conductivity.

Edited by fred67

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For conductive rails, try layers: A layer of copper tape, followed by a layer of stainless steel tape. The Cu tape will provide a fast track for the electric current, while the SS tape will provide the needed durability.

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8 hours ago, splatman said:

For conductive rails, try layers: A layer of copper tape, followed by a layer of stainless steel tape. The Cu tape will provide a fast track for the electric current, while the SS tape will provide the needed durability.

The only problem with this approach is that you need to make sure the adhesive itself is able to also conduct electricity...!

 

10 hours ago, fred67 said:

It would be great to see this working.  I used copper tape as an experiment one year, and it worked great until it wore through.  The wheels contact the track right at the edge, and since it's squared off, that hard edge just cuts through the tape after having been run on for a while.  Hoping tin works better.

I originally tried just regular copper tape a few years back, and now when I look at those few bits of experimental track I see that they're all bluish and jagged.

With the particular type of tape that I'm using, in theory I should be able to layer it as well-- possibly up to 3 layers? I'm hoping this tin works better too!

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Still working on the EU distribution, have a few discussions in process, but I have established a LUGbulk/distributor pricing structure.  Email or message me if you need a big pile of track.

 

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@coaster

Found an interesting article on this website with the 9V ME track problems.

Hope you find it interesting, as you work also on a 9V solution.

Better to avoid the same problem.

Best regards,

Ludo

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I saw that.  Certainly not going to be a problem for me.  The curve formation is part of the manufacturing process.

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1 minute ago, coaster said:

I saw that.  Certainly not going to be a problem for me.  The curve formation is part of the manufacturing process.

Glad to read it. :sweet:

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40 minutes ago, coaster said:

I saw that.  Certainly not going to be a problem for me.  The curve formation is part of the manufacturing process.

:thumbup:

I have to say that the recurring remarks about the quality (or the absence there of) of the ME rails gave me headache. I am really looking forward to your solution. Even I have stocked up on 9V rails lately, wider curves and smoother turnouts are still amiss.

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Too bad I don't have the space for a layout big enough yet to accommodate the wider curve pieces. If all works out, I may move to a house that has a huge backyard and then I should be able to lay a good 1/4 Mile of LEGO track. My trains will not be able to run on standard LEGO R40 curves due to me designing the couplers onto the frame of the locomotive or rolling stock instead of the way LEGO solves it by putting the couplers onto the bogies.

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Finally got that copper tape I had mentioned earlier onto some rails this weekend, and here are the results:

A short video of a train on a circle r104 curves

26196742368_3e175c3feb_n.jpgLive Rail! (2) by Nick Jackson, on Flickr

An overview of a prototype r104 switch

39171234015_07f741a0b1_n.jpgr104 Switch Detail (1) by Nick Jackson, on Flickr

A close-up of electrical connections at the frog

40070146301_328234e945_n.jpgr104 Switch Detail (2) by Nick Jackson, on Flickr

 

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BrickTracks has a 14% Valentine's Day promo code. Valid until the 18th. Can't believe this hasn't been posted, yet.

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5 hours ago, 3797 said:

BrickTracks has a 14% Valentine's Day promo code. Valid until the 18th. Can't believe this hasn't been posted, yet.

Good timing. The 104's and 120's take up so much more room than stock curves, haha. 

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Received my R104 Test Track recently. As far as I'm a 9V guy I need no RC-only tracks, but I consider to buy a full loop of R120 to carry out hight speed test for my trains.

As others in this topic and in LEGO Train Fan Club Facebook-group, I'm totally satisfied with this single item. I showed it to my LUG members and they also find it really similar to LEGO-product tracks, the color match is really nice (don't you sacrifice cheap DBG bricks to get material? :D ), and the clutch power is just as good as LEGO's. There is no noticeable difference in the clutch power when connecting tracks to each other compared to LEGO-only, but the top studs have a little weaker clutch power. Bottom part is just as fine as LEGO's.

Despite I'm a 9V guy (however with the exception of two locomotives all my trains are PF/SBrick, I want to keep backward compatibility with my tracks) I consider to buy a full loop of R120 to carry out high speed test for my trains. Hope it will help the buisness and 9V long radius curves will appear. I'm a patient guy, I'm waiting for such a product since 2012. :) 

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On 11.1.2018 at 9:11 AM, Aaron said:

Is the quality of those any decent though? Last time I bought Chinese knockoff tracks they were warped like hot dogs to hell and back again. The only use I could think of for them was for inclines, but I ended up just giving them away to my nephew since he's still a toddler and wouldn't give a shit either way.

I bought 5 packs of straight tracks from that seller and found the quality to be remarkably good. The only differences to LEGO track I observed was a slightly different color (barely noticable) and a somewhat lower clutch power between the track segments. The latter is no problem at all, the track is just not as tightly connected as the LEGO ones.

Some customers on Aliexpress complained about bad packaging and broken or warped pieces being delivered. I had no problem at all. All pieces were intact and perfectly flat.

 

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still waiting for the metal track of BT, speed up^^

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4 hours ago, 112123 said:

still waiting for the metal track of BT, speed up^^

Yeah, same here.  Thought I had it figured out, and it ended up getting into ridiculous tooling costs again.  Trying to pin down some metalformers for some solutions.  Have some ideas though, but worried it may get into expensive tooling again.

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Well, expensive tooling is surely not the least reason why LEGO dropped the 9V system... However, I will buy bigger curves if they are done right. Still looking forward to the results. I've got plenty of time :)

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Haven't had an update for a while, so figured I should let everyone know our project statuses:

  • The 9V rails had some more set backs.  The way I was confident would work (and was initially told would work) only sort of works.  To get it working properly, once again, requires about $100k in die tooling.  Have a couple more ideas to try though, but they'll take a little while to realize.
  • R56 tooling should be done in the next few weeks.  We'll start taking pre-orders sometime in May.  Hope to have these released in time for Brickworld Chicago.
  • I will have an announcement shortly regarding a Kickstarter for the R104 switches, so stay tuned on that.
  • We are holding off on the R72 and R88 tooling pending the outcome of switch Kickstarter.  It's not a question of IF we will do this tooling, it's just a matter of when.  If the Kickstarter is successful, we want to make sure we have some cash on hand in case something should go sideways.  No ME-type excuses for us.
  • We've had a number of people ask about train axles.  Yes, we do make them for BMR for their kits.  They are specially ground to be .0005" (.01mm) smaller than the current LEGO ones (the old version from LEGO was this size) to work with off-the-shelf ball bearings, but they do still work just fine in the normal wheelsets, too.  We've refined our process, and are currently waiting on material to come in, but we will start selling these as well.  So if you are in the market for a lot of axles, please keep an eye on here and our site.
  • The Coupler and Wheelsets projects are still active, just haven't had time to work on them.  So much to do!

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