Lowa

Monorail - Extended Track System

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We're currently working on a number of additional track types for the monorail system.  Over the last few months we had a few requests for a 'monorail track tile': a tile with a monorail rail on it.  Integrating monorail track into the pavement of a city layout is be one the potential applications.  

The tile itself is pretty straightforward, getting that tile connected with the standard monorail track is not.  You can see a first prototype of these tracks below.  On the right you have a prototype of a 4x8 prototype tile; on the left you see an adapter to connect that tile to the standard monorail track.  It works but the ramp is too short and it's rather bumpy when the train goes over it.  We're going to redesign the connector as a 4x16 ramp.  The final ramp would also be printed at a higher resolution to have a smoother surface.

Making curves with this system would not be straightforward either, the main issue here is that different sections along the curve all would require different connectors to match the stud pattern below.   But that's not unfeasible to make, but it would be a bit of a puzzle to assemble the track.  Another idea that I had was to add a 'narrow gauge train track style connector' to the tiles, as such you could assemble them without needing a base plate; that might be handy for the curves.

These are just prototypes to explore the possibilities of this system.

What do think ?

 

4dbrix-monorail-tiles.jpg

 

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How about a non-sloping adapter piece?

The idea is, a raised monorail track that transitions from stanchions to, say, a hilltop, would benefit from this, using your monorail tiles on the higher ground, and connected to LEGO monorail track on either end.

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15 minutes ago, splatman said:

How about a non-sloping adapter piece?

The idea is, a raised monorail track that transitions from stanchions to, say, a hilltop, would benefit from this, using your monorail tiles on the higher ground, and connected to LEGO monorail track on either end.

Ok, do you mean something like this ?

4dbrix-monorail-tiles-3.jpg4dbrix-monorail-tiles-2.jpg

 

 

 

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This is genius.

I also wouldn't mind the puzzle aspect of putting together the tile curves. In fact, this might be better than the normal monorail curves in some areas as they seem to have a tendency to warp. Not really a significant warping, but enough to disrupt placement.

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9 hours ago, Lowa said:

We're currently working on a number of additional track types for the monorail system.  Over the last few months we had a few requests for a 'monorail track tile': a tile with a monorail rail on it.  Integrating monorail track into the pavement of a city layout is be one the potential applications.  

Making curves with this system would not be straightforward either, the main issue here is that different sections along the curve all would require different connectors to match the stud pattern below.

What do think ?

I would say: loose the tile. Just a monorail rail would do the job fine.

Take  12v rails as example for the straights and curves.
At the bottom you'll have 16 places to connect the rail.
Connect it to a jumper plate and place it anywhere.

It would have even more potential I think.

I hope you get my point.

2BRail.jpg

Edited by FreeBee
Added picture

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7 hours ago, tnmears said:

This is genius.

I also wouldn't mind the puzzle aspect of putting together the tile curves. In fact, this might be better than the normal monorail curves in some areas as they seem to have a tendency to warp. Not really a significant warping, but enough to disrupt placement.

Ok , good to know.  Thanks for the feedback!

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6 hours ago, FreeBee said:

I would say: loose the tile. Just a monorail rail would do the job fine.

Take  12v rails as example for the straights and curves.
At the bottom you'll have 16 places to connect the rail.
Connect it to a jumper plate and place it anywhere.

It would have even more potential I think.

I hope you get my point.

I see what you mean, but studs are wider than the inner width of the monorail rail...

4dbrix-monorail-tiles-4.jpg4dbrix-monorail-tiles-5.jpg

 

 

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18 hours ago, Lowa said:

Ok, do you mean something like this ?

4dbrix-monorail-tiles-3.jpg4dbrix-monorail-tiles-2.jpg

 

 

 

Exactly!

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19 hours ago, Lowa said:

I see what you mean, but studs are wider than the inner width of the monorail rail...

4dbrix-monorail-tiles-4.jpg4dbrix-monorail-tiles-5.jpg

 

 

Bummer

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Could the rails be made with clips on the bottom that snap into the grooves of 1x2 Grill Tiles? When said tiles are attached to studs, there is probably not much for any clips to grip.

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On 1/18/2017 at 6:25 AM, Lowa said:

I see what you mean, but studs are wider than the inner width of the monorail rail...

4dbrix-monorail-tiles-4.jpg4dbrix-monorail-tiles-5.jpg

 

 

Instead of putting the stud receptacles into the notched rail portion itself, wouldn't it make more sense to just attach the rail to a 1xn long tile section? Just like how the older 12v and 4.5v rails are situated on 2x8 plates, albeit permanently attached. You'd increase the overall height, yet expand the overall versatility...

just my 2c...

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21 minutes ago, splatman said:

Could the rails be made with clips on the bottom that snap into the grooves of 1x2 Grill Tiles? When said tiles are attached to studs, there is probably not much for any clips to grip.

That might work with injection molded parts but I'm very skeptical with 3D printed parts.  Those clips would have a very small 'contact surface' with the rail and when you pull them out of the grills they would most likely break off because you would stress the layer interfaces.  They might even break when you try to put them in the grills.  The use of grills is a clever approach, but I'm afraid it's not compatible with 3D printing...

 

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43 minutes ago, M_slug357 said:

Instead of putting the stud receptacles into the notched rail portion itself, wouldn't it make more sense to just attach the rail to a 1xn long tile section? Just like how the older 12v and 4.5v rails are situated on 2x8 plates, albeit permanently attached. You'd increase the overall height, yet expand the overall versatility...

just my 2c...

Yes, that should work, but you need to center the rail in between 2 studs so you would need to use a 1x2 with a central stud.  But unlike with the normal trains the monorail train does not ride on the rail itself so you need to add plates around it.  Those plates would not touch the rail but leave a 1/2 stud gap.  I'm not sure if that would look good...  To close that gap we would have to put the rail on a 2 stud wide tile, but then you're getting very close to the original 4 stud wide monorail tile design.

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Maybe you can do something link this.

monorail.jpg

The bottom plate is a tile plate (2 studs width)

Maybe someone wrote the same think before...

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An idea I have had about the curved (4-stud-wide) monorail tiles, is they can be made such that they will fit between the rails of LEGO's curved train tracks. It will be like having dual-gauge track. Likewise, they would have stud sockets positioned such that they will snap onto the sleepers. Also, make longer-radius monorail tiles to go with ME curve track. Question: How to have the monorail enter and leave the track? Or transition through points?

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On 1/20/2017 at 4:47 AM, freestorm said:

Maybe you can do something link this.

monorail.jpg

The bottom plate is a tile plate (2 studs width)

Maybe someone wrote the same think before...

That would be possible, but I don't really see the advantage of this one over the 4 stud wide one...

On 1/20/2017 at 6:30 PM, splatman said:

An idea I have had about the curved (4-stud-wide) monorail tiles, is they can be made such that they will fit between the rails of LEGO's curved train tracks. It will be like having dual-gauge track. Likewise, they would have stud sockets positioned such that they will snap onto the sleepers. Also, make longer-radius monorail tiles to go with ME curve track. Question: How to have the monorail enter and leave the track? Or transition through points?

That's indeed an intriguing idea!  I did a quick test and put my tile on a train track and it works... trains can pass over it without any problems.  

Leaving the track is indeed the main issue.  The only solution I see would be a 'monorail style' switch = a switch with a sliding piece of track.  Or if the train track is raised, the monorail could dive and leave the loop...

 

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On 1/21/2017 at 9:22 PM, Lowa said:

That would be possible, but I don't really see the advantage of this one over the 4 stud wide one...

The advantage of putting the rail on a 2 stud tile (or 1s, like I originally suggested) is that you'd be giving the customers more freedom in how & where they utilize the products. What if I want my monorail lines to be color-coded, or use some old gray to add a weathered look? What if I want to use the rails to make like a freight elevator, or something else that isn't monorail? What if I wanted to use these rails to add greebles to my spaceships & star cruisers?

If you look at all of the extremely large lego elements available today-- most notably the airplane tail section element-- they're difficult to use anywhere, or as anything else.

Another couple of advantages would be:

  • less printing time per element
  • less material used per element
  • lower cost per element (to the consumer)

Basically, you should try and leave the door open to as many possibilities that people can come up with!

Hope this helps,

~M_slug

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On ‎18‎-‎1‎-‎2017 at 8:12 AM, FreeBee said:

I would say: loose the tile. Just a monorail rail would do the job fine.

Take  12v rails as example for the straights and curves. At the bottom you'll have 16 places to connect the rail.
Connect it to a jumper plate and place it anywhere. It would have even more potential I think.

I hope you get my point.

2BRail.jpg

I couldn't let it go. The sixteen connections on the underside won't work. I see

Maybe it's possible to put (during printing) Part 4073 Plate, Round 1 x 1 Straight Side on either side of the underside. 

Edited by FreeBee
Added tekst (during pinting)

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I suggest you (1) to keep 4 brick width plate and (2) use rectangular grove-tongue of the original Lego monorail track on your plate.
(1) If you use 2 brick width plate, we will need a lot of expensive plate to make the path of the wheels. And all the connections of the tiles will increase the resistance of the track. The longer track elements cause less joint and it is increase efficiency. If you print 4 with plate you can print longer track elements (without deffects).
(2) If you use rectangular grove-tongue on the end of your track you can connect it with the Lego track without extra connecting ramp or any other stuff. The distance between the grove and the tongue is 2 bricks, so it is fully Lego compatible.

 

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On 1/27/2017 at 8:39 AM, ZorkZ said:

I suggest you (1) to keep 4 brick width plate and (2) use rectangular grove-tongue of the original Lego monorail track on your plate.

Indeed, adding the tongue and groove connection to the tiles is an interesting idea...

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