JopieK

BrickTracks: different curves, PF/9V compatible

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11 hours ago, cptkent said:

I wonder if a 'double straight' can be done as just a single rail, and we provide sleepers / ballast etc ourselves?

I think this would be useful ... Also do the curves (similar to the old grey/blue tracks but with the new style rail profile.

It could be used for putting rail in pavement

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, Roadmonkeytj said:

I think this would be useful ... Also do the curves (similar to the old grey/blue tracks but with the new style rail profile.

It could be used for putting rail in pavement

That sounds an awefull lot like how ME-models did their track, and to be honest: that wasn't handy at all. Not for proper layouts (the only moment it's useful is when you have bridges and in maintenance sheds) but definately not as a standalone toy (that's also part of the hobby, remember) since it just falls apart all the time when the floor is just a little bit uneven and an engine runs over it.

There is a reason why Lego switched to pre-molded sleepers after the 12V age ;)

Edited by raised

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@raised

I was more thinking as an accessory

The joiners on each end of the track but no sleepers between.

But yes i had inpection pits and street trollies in mind 

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Just straight only was all I thought.

With straight you only need one piece / one mold.

With curves you need inner and outer lengths, you have to pick a radius, etc.

I tried ME Models too, so I’m aware of the problems with curved tracks in multiple parts, and I’d rather not go there again. (Although I’m sure if ME had a product the quality of the Bricktracks parts, ½ of my issues could have been avoided.)

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On 6/15/2019 at 2:18 AM, coaster said:

There is more coming than just the shorties.  The R104 switches are in progress.  ETA this November.

That are great news. Can't wait for the switches. 

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Since the cat's out of the bag on the switches, I don't mind sharing more frequent updates.  We're in the downtime as tooling commences, but here's a peak behind the scenes at what goes into making a switch track:

Switch Print

 

 

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5 minutes ago, coaster said:

Since the cat's out of the bag on the switches, I don't mind sharing more frequent updates.  We're in the downtime as tooling commences, but here's a peak behind the scenes at what goes into making a switch track:

Switch Print

 

 

Y5Cdpht.gif

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1 hour ago, coaster said:

Since the cat's out of the bag on the switches, I don't mind sharing more frequent updates.  We're in the downtime as tooling commences, but here's a peak behind the scenes at what goes into making a switch track:

Switch Print

 

 

Its oddly refreshing when you look at blueprints all day to come across lego prints! Lol 

I don't know the headaches involved with injection molding but im familiar with forged metals and machining lol so trust me when I say I appreciate the work you put into your product.

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Can we get that CAD art as an art print? There's something... "pleasing" about it...

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16 hours ago, CSW652 said:

Did the Short Straights start shipping yet?

They'll start going out this Friday, the 19th.

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Short straights finally came in, after getting held up in customs.  Unfortunately, the supplier went through the trouble of individually wrapping each piece, so, now I get to unwrap and repackage each one.  Hurray!  I've got a few long nights ahead of me...

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8 minutes ago, coaster said:

...the supplier went through the trouble of individually wrapping each piece, so, now I get to unwrap and repackage each one...

On the bright side, the supplier wanted to ensure that each piece arrived safely...!

Although I’m sure there was a slight uptick in S&H...

:wacko:

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Posted (edited)

Hi everyone, just an update on where we stand.  Moldflow analysis showed that we were going to have some issues with deformation in the cooling process.  LEGO might have just run with it, but since we'd all prefer our tracks to lay flat, I wasn't going to just leave it alone.  We made a few tweaks that helped a little, but ultimately the best solution was to split the parts into two:

R104 Left Switch with split (separate)

This does add some cost as it requires another mold, but ultimately it's the right decision.  This will also help facilitate the double cross overs when we do those.  This has added some time to when we'll start seeing parts, but I don't expect too much of a delay.  Like I will always say though, I'd rather it be late than substandard.

Edited by coaster

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@coaster That's actually not surprising. In fact, I'd prefer 2 sub-assemblies - it means then no super-duper long boxes for shipping!

Looks like a 16 (toe) + 24 (heel) stud configuration? So a 8 stud piece to make a 3 standard track panel length?

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2 hours ago, Matt Dawson said:


Looks like a 16 (toe) + 24 (heel) stud configuration? So a 8 stud piece to make a 3 standard track panel length?

Correct.

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On 8/17/2019 at 7:58 PM, coaster said:

This does add some cost as it requires another mold

Is there no way to modify the existing mold? Maybe block off the narrow end with a piece that makes the mold function as a wide-end-only mold, so only a narrow-end mold need be made.

I'm thinking, mill a slot across where the 2 meet, press in a solid block of metal, then mill said block to make the new mold configuration. Ignore the narrow end, as you will need a new mold for that, anyway.

Or, cut the mold in half, screw metal blocks onto the cut ends, and mill said blocks to function as part of the now 2 molds for the 2 halves. Certainly, this would be way cheaper than making 2 new molds.

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7 hours ago, splatman said:

Is there no way to modify the existing mold? Maybe block off the narrow end with a piece that makes the mold function as a wide-end-only mold, so only a narrow-end mold need be made.

I'm thinking, mill a slot across where the 2 meet, press in a solid block of metal, then mill said block to make the new mold configuration. Ignore the narrow end, as you will need a new mold for that, anyway.

Or, cut the mold in half, screw metal blocks onto the cut ends, and mill said blocks to function as part of the now 2 molds for the 2 halves. Certainly, this would be way cheaper than making 2 new molds.

To clarify, we hadn't gotten to the point of making that first mold; we found the issues during the mold design process.  Instead we've pivoted from 1 larger mold to 2 smaller ones, but that's still a more expensive option.  It's more important to get it right.

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5 hours ago, coaster said:

...Instead we've pivoted from 1 larger mold to 2 smaller ones, but that's still a more expensive option...

How much more...?

ouch

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I need to start making room for new things, and I have too many R120s in the way, so I've put them on sale if you were on the fence about getting some!

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Today I've used the BrickTracks I've bought a few months ago for the first time and noticed a strange issue with the geometry. When putting no stress on the tracks, there is almost a gap of one piece. Is this by design, e.g. for superelevated tracks? I've not tested the tracks after purchase, so it might also be possible that they deformed over time.

DSC_5854.jpg

I think that is has not been shown yet that there is a noticable color difference between BrickTracks and Lego tracks. The BrickTracks (on the left) are brighter and have a less polished surface.

DSC_5858.jpg

 

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The deformation is something we've battled with on and off.  We initially had issues with them coming deformed out of the mold, but that's been fixed, and we do spot checks of circles with each batch.  We do get comments on this occasionally, and seems to come up most in summertime.

The best thing to do is pin them to shape with some 2x4 plates and leave them that way for a while.  If needed, add a little bit of heat with either a hair dryer or put them in hot water.  They should relax and return to shape.

For finish, unfortunately, those are as good as we can get them.  The first tracks we made were done in aluminum molds, and it is much more difficult to hold a high polish in the aluminum.  The short straights and everything moving forward are all steel tools though, so they have a much higher shine like the LEGO ones.  We are also starting to  rebuild the curve tracks in the steel to improve the polish and implement a few changes which will solve the deformation issues for good.

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On 9/10/2019 at 7:50 PM, coaster said:

We do get comments on this occasionally, and seems to come up most in summertime.

Is this due to heat at the factory or due to shipping in hot trucks you think?

Im not sure a hair dryer puts out enough heat (unless I'm over speaking here as ive not had to heat tracks) a heat gun on low would be much easier imho

Just dont hold it in place too long or it will melt abs and deform your parts.

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