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Fx Bricks (Michael Gale) announces Fx Track system

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21 hours ago, supertruper1988 said:

There are definitely valid points to both sides but to Jeff's point, he did say December and its now *not* December and at some point saying "We are having some delays in the supply chain will update again soon" builds the idea that they are, in fact, coming. Currently its all the idea that its coming but nothing outside of a few test samples.

Oh yes, I don't disagree with either of you that updates would be better. But for me at least it is not critical. Especially since a lot of things are taking way too long to ship from China right now. I loved it when I went to a bike shop last summer (a respectable national brand), they got me all excited about one of the bikes and then said that if I wanted a bike I'd have to pay for it now and there was no guarantee that it would be available within 12 months.

I have also learned (e.g., via ME models and their semi-frequent updates) not to count on anything until it is actually ready for distribution. Unlike ME, FX did not take pre-order money. There might be some folks who either started investing in 9v or are really anxious to do so based on the FX announcement and for them an update is critical. For those of us with legacy 9v, I'm just tickled that someone is even contemplating wide radius 9v curves. If they make it to market I'll buy some and if they don't, well, I have survived with R40 so far.

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Guys, I hear you!  I wish we better at making more frequent updates and regular blog posts etc.  It's something we're going to work on.  It just seems that every precious hour/day/week is consumed by getting our products manufactured and getting them to market.  There are so many challenges and obstacles behind the scenes (especially in these turbulent times) which we'd rather spare you guys the details of.

When we post an update, I want to ensure I've got something meaningful to show and say.  Fx Track has taken longer than I would have liked, but it is happening.  We're getting manufactured S32 straight tracks arriving by the carton load at our offices in Hong Kong.  Folks are busy inspecting them and putting them into lovely retail boxes.  I'm busy getting ecommerce and distribution sorted out. Other folks are analyzing our P40 switch CAD models for manufacturing readiness.

In any case, I've recently blogged a status update on our website here:  https://www.fxbricks.com/fxblog/?post_id=43&title=happy-new-year

I appreciate the kind words from you folks and from the messages we get.  I also appreciate the patience and support offered over the past few years towards Fx Bricks--it really motivates us.

We'll get those tracks to market very very soon--we'll keep you posted (maybe!)

Michael

Fx Bricks

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@michaelgale will PFx brick ever get a proper Android app like the one for iPhone? Or will I have to buy an old iPhone to get the most out of my bricks?

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@Duq A bit off topic mate!  :)  But you're not wrong about our Android app.  I probably shouldn't mention, but I have toyed around with Flutter a few months ago as a proof of concept to build cross-platform Android / iOS apps.  I did get a working prototype to do basic discovery over Bluetooth but no further.  I think it has promise for future mobile apps.  Our idea for future mobile apps is not to have just one, but perhaps a family of "applets" for specific functions.  For example, there could be an app just for lighting control, another for driving a diesel locomotive, another for a steam loco, another for a RC car/truck, etc. etc.  

I should probably put out a "bounty" to the community to write a cross-platform PFx Brick app--we have more than enough developer docs and sample code to get someone started.  The prize/reward:  "Lifetime supply of PFx Bricks!!!"

 

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7 hours ago, michaelgale said:

Guys, I hear you!  I wish we better at making more frequent updates and regular blog posts etc.  It's something we're going to work on.  It just seems that every precious hour/day/week is consumed by getting our products manufactured and getting them to market.  There are so many challenges and obstacles behind the scenes (especially in these turbulent times) which we'd rather spare you guys the details of.

When we post an update, I want to ensure I've got something meaningful to show and say.  Fx Track has taken longer than I would have liked, but it is happening.  We're getting manufactured S32 straight tracks arriving by the carton load at our offices in Hong Kong.  Folks are busy inspecting them and putting them into lovely retail boxes.  I'm busy getting ecommerce and distribution sorted out. Other folks are analyzing our P40 switch CAD models for manufacturing readiness.

In any case, I've recently blogged a status update on our website here:  https://www.fxbricks.com/fxblog/?post_id=43&title=happy-new-year

I appreciate the kind words from you folks and from the messages we get.  I also appreciate the patience and support offered over the past few years towards Fx Bricks--it really motivates us.

We'll get those tracks to market very very soon--we'll keep you posted (maybe!)

Michael

Fx Bricks

Great and exciting news, Michael :thumbup:

But you need to move on that EU distributor fast imo.

I think there are a lot more 9v holdouts here in Europe (especially Germany) than in North America with the potential to be the biggest market for FX Bricks.

We also have more well-established 3rd party track competitors with access to large scaled Chinese manufacturering.

Edited by dtomsen

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I would highly recommend having a look at Brick Automation Project

I know that the project is open source now, I've been looking at porting it to web (through wasm), and that way for any device with access to a browser, to be able to control any type of device. 

3 hours ago, michaelgale said:

@Duq A bit off topic mate!  :)  But you're not wrong about our Android app.  I probably shouldn't mention, but I have toyed around with Flutter a few months ago as a proof of concept to build cross-platform Android / iOS apps.  I did get a working prototype to do basic discovery over Bluetooth but no further.  I think it has promise for future mobile apps.  Our idea for future mobile apps is not to have just one, but perhaps a family of "applets" for specific functions.  For example, there could be an app just for lighting control, another for driving a diesel locomotive, another for a steam loco, another for a RC car/truck, etc. etc.  

I should probably put out a "bounty" to the community to write a cross-platform PFx Brick app--we have more than enough developer docs and sample code to get someone started.  The prize/reward:  "Lifetime supply of PFx Bricks!!!"

 

I would highly recommend having a look at Brick Automation Project

I know that the project is open source now, I've been looking at porting it to web (through wasm), and that way for any device with access to a browser, to be able to control any type of device. 

That said, I see the reason why you would make small templates, if you're just running a single train with PFX. 

I'm not sure if it's something specific related to PFX, but I feel like BAP should be cleaned up and ported by the community.

More and more types of devices like it will be added over time, and there's no reason why we as consumers need to use 10 different apps to control them all at once. 

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11 hours ago, michaelgale said:

@Duq A bit off topic mate!  :)  But you're not wrong about our Android app.  I probably shouldn't mention, but I have toyed around with Flutter a few months ago as a proof of concept to build cross-platform Android / iOS apps.  I did get a working prototype to do basic discovery over Bluetooth but no further.  I think it has promise for future mobile apps.  Our idea for future mobile apps is not to have just one, but perhaps a family of "applets" for specific functions.  For example, there could be an app just for lighting control, another for driving a diesel locomotive, another for a steam loco, another for a RC car/truck, etc. etc.  

I should probably put out a "bounty" to the community to write a cross-platform PFx Brick app--we have more than enough developer docs and sample code to get someone started.  The prize/reward:  "Lifetime supply of PFx Bricks!!!"

 

I know it's a bit cheeky and off-topic but I got your attention ;-)

For a lifetime supply of PFx Bricks maybe I should refresh my coding skills. I don't think I can bribe one of my colleagues with that. We use Xamarin in work, similar concept to Flutter: single code-base, cross-platform delivery.

My idea would be a single app that can connect to multiple Bricks. Have a page/ screen per brick that you can customise; add buttons for lights, a slider for motor speed etc. Then let the user swipe between screens. I think for running multiple trains at a show that would work nicely.

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BAP already has support for the PFx Brick. I helped out Vince (the original author of BAP) with the integration.  The BAP implementation is not complete, but is functional for key operations.  I know some other folks are trying to expand its support for more PFx Brick features.

@Duq Ha ha, yeah, go refresh those skills!  I must admit Flutter's docs are pretty good.  I have a very flimsy skeleton of dart package for the PFx Brick which I started.  I should probably put it in our GitHub repo and basically make all future mobile apps for the PFx Brick totally open source.  We could probably open source some or all of our iOS app if that would help seriously interesting developers.

And now back to our program!  I just received this from my colleagues in HK...  I'm already thinking about some new layouts to build :)

ErnqGxpXcAIpAJG?format=jpg&name=large

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18 hours ago, michaelgale said:

Other folks are analyzing our P40 switch CAD models for manufacturing readiness.

50024337707_a837f2fe63_k.jpg

"The resulting track switch is an item of beauty and mechanical elegance!" (from the blog post)

Indeed! (pardon my drooling)

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The image above is the only reason I haven't upgraded my own layout with BT or TB R104 tracks, however on our club layout a nice amount of TB points appeared.

I waited around 10 years for large radius 9V points, I think one or two more years won't make difference.

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@michaelgale, one of the really nice features of Bricktrack’s R104 switch is the new rotational “turntable” style mechanism for operating the switch.  What mechanism do you have planned for the P40 switch?  The “turntable” style allows for some more realistic switch stand modeling, compared to LEGO’s lever style.

Very excited for all of your track and motor priducts.

Sal

WFB, Wi

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@legoboy3998 Thanks Sal for your comments!   We did think a lot about the switch mechanism and in the end we went for the simplest solution and one that is common with many model train switches in different scales:  a latching tie bar.

We decided that making a latching tie bar without any attached mechanisms was the best approach. This lets builders decide which method is best for them. Also, it allows the actuator to be placed on either side of the switch. Most of the time, our switches will be actuated manually and our simple latching tie bar is a easy to operate with your fingers (we have tested many 3D printed prototypes).  

We can imagine mechanisms which use "rods" and "cams" to actuate the switch as well as electrical actuators with motors.  I'm sure once the switch is in use by you folks, there will be all kinds of clever solutions for remote control!

The tie bar mechanism is terminated on each side with a technic hole (1.6 mm deep / half plate). The tie bar travels 5 mm between each switch position. Each position is "latched" with an over-centre spring. This ensures each route is "locked" like a real railway switch. The force required to overcome the spring tension is quite mild (much less than a Lego switch) and therefore, it will be easy to make a mechanism to operate it.

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@michaelgale That is the next best solution.  Perhaps @coaster can offer his switch stand piece separately so it can be used with your switches as well.  It looks like both use similar attachment styles.  

Sal
WFB, WI 

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On 1/16/2021 at 9:18 PM, Ashi Valkoinen said:

I waited around 10 years for large radius 9V points, I think one or two more years won't make difference.

So true, so true... :pir-laugh: Thanks @michaelgale and everyone else at Fx Bricks for making it finally happen!

 

So, a decision regarding a distributor for Europe will not be made until the sales numbers via Canada and HK are run through your "bean counters"? Probably, you will be one of those I guess? I hope you don't let us wait for too long. *wink wink*

Edited by Capparezza

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20 hours ago, Capparezza said:

 

 

So, a decision regarding a distributor for Europe will not be made until the sales numbers via Canada and HK are run through your "bean counters"? Probably, you will be one of those I guess? I hope you don't let us wait for too long. *wink wink*

So do I.

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Selling products globally is not easy.  We have more than enough work with design, production, support, etc. that you'll have give us time to roll out these products.  We can't be the amazon of the Lego train hobby on the first day.  First, we'll start selling and distributing out of our existing shop and then we'll build our distribution/reseller partner network.  We're already talking to folks in the EU to help us, so please stay tuned!

 

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@michaelgale Back in the initial announcement there'd been mention the P40Y, the X40L/R and X90 crossings, and S4 straight but there hasn't been any mention if them since. There has been one mention of the S1.6 and S3.2 on a post detailing yard ladders but none of this is listed in the current product catalog. Would it be safe to assume that at least the short track pieces will be released in parallel to the P40L/R switches? Are the crossings and P40Y still planned?

Also, on a side note, could the track library be updated to the latest version of BlueBrick as the current download is incompatible.

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On 6/14/2020 at 6:40 PM, JaBaCaDaBra said:

Ow come on
Is there really anybody that believes this guy with all his promisses, his non working app and his zero support.

Yes, we do believe.

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Are we continuing the Fx tracks discussions in here ?...

I just want to make sure ?...

Thanks ! 

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13 hours ago, Wimmer said:

Are we continuing the Fx tracks discussions in here ?...

Yes!

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img_2775_text_sm.png


Ballasted my S32 straights received two weeks ago. They look nice, elegant, and just like TLC's original tracks. I highly approve the work put into this product, especially that it looks exactly the same as TLC's track.

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2 hours ago, Ashi Valkoinen said:

it looks exactly the same as TLC's track

In principle - the little embossed letters are different though - which renders the FX version so much more valuable. As in: They are in production.

Best
Thorsten

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