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About coaster

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    Brrrrp! Tunip!

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  1. Sure, I would allow that swap. Winners can just email me at and arrange for a comparable equivalent prize.
  2. See post from Friday back a page.
  3. Yes, they'll be sold in a pack similar to the LEGO switch track sets. It will consist of: 1x Left Switch, 1x Right Switch, 2x R104 Curves, 2x R104A Curves, 2x R104B Curves, 2x ST08 half straights. Will be somewhere around $40, might have to bump it to $42 if I run into any more issues, but really want to keep it as low as I can.
  4. We're in talks with one. We sent a sample pack of parts in March, but unfortunately still hasn't arrived. Same thing for Australia/NZ. Stupid coronavirus is holding things up.
  5. Figuring about $40 for a left and right pack. Would include the additional curves required and a couple half straights as well.
  6. It certainly hasn't helped, but unrelated to that, we've run into an issue requiring the bottom cores of a couple pieces need to be remade. Sucks, but it is what it is (the anti-studs would otherwise have been unusable). If all goes to plan from here forward (which with this project is a big assumption) we're eyeing a September release. @ivanlan9, @Ludo, I started making the PF tracks with the intention of using it as a springboard into 9V tracks. I'm personally all 9V still, so it kills me I can't even use my own tracks without further modification. But I cannot justify the expense associated with producing 9V tracks. I hope Michael is successful, because I need them too, but I really don't believe the market is sufficient anymore to warrant the tremendous tooling costs. I'm not exaggerating in the least when I say it would be a $250k minimum investment to produce even the basic curves and switches.
  7. coaster

    [MOC] 4-8-2 Mountain Type

    I was able to get a little more granularity at the expansion by coupling zephyr's headlight/bracket trick with sideways jumper plates. The headlights offset by 1.6mm, but a half-stud being 4mm allows for a difference of 0.8mm/step. Picture's not the best, but you can kinda see it here.
  8. coaster

    New update. Do we like it.

    I don't particularly care for this. Beyond the aesthetics of it, there are some fundamental problems. First, on the main forum page, the OP names are white on a white background. You have to hover over it to see who started the topic. Second, and a much bigger issue, is there are no date/timestamps on the threads. Am I replying to a new topic, or one that's several years old? If I've read a thread a few days before, how do I know where I left off?
  9. coaster

    FREE! 3d Printed Parts and FREE! Wide Radius Curves+Wheels

    SLA prints are good, but still only print in about .002" resolution, when sounds small, but is barely accurate to make functional studs. They also degrade over time; they aren't meant to be permanent. I made some of the track prototypes on an SLA, and it's badly warped, yellowed, and cracked. Polyjet printing is better, but you need some serious cash to own one of those. Even so, it requires a longer print time, several hours of post-process to dissolve the support material, and then some additional sanding to get it to look molded. Also, material alone would cost about $12 per track. I'd throw in the switches for sure, but ballasting all of that would cost 4 times that amount.
  10. coaster

    FREE! 3d Printed Parts and FREE! Wide Radius Curves+Wheels

    Ha, I'm not mad. A lot of people do this anyway, especially if they already have a printer at home. When home printers start printing injection molded quality, then I'll start to worry. Right now though, even quarter-million dollar machines can't match it (not that I've tried...). But MY wife would love you for it. I'd even cut you a deal, give you 10 full circles for that. Seriously, try telling your wife you want to spend $20k to make some LEGO train tracks. She still thinks we're all nuts.
  11. coaster

    4DBrix goes DIY

    Pictures alone would be sufficient, but often it's the simple idea itself that holds the real innovation. Regardless, we could argue till we're blue in the face whether they copied or not, but perception is reality, and Tom perceives that he was ripped off and therefore has no further motivation to continue. And while we can continue to discuss the merits and pitfalls of unfettered competition, if we do not show any loyalty or at least some respect to the innovators, then there is nothing stopping the Lepins of the world from stealing it all, molding it, and selling it for $1.
  12. coaster

    4DBrix goes DIY

    To clarify, in case this was a reply to me, I have no involvement in 4DBrix's operations, in fact we competed on a number of products. In response though, first, ME was an entirely flawed system, and the demand for wider radius curves was well established within the community. Even so, they were effectively defunct before any of the other companies came online. Regarding IP, is 4DBrix not entitled to their own IP? And yes, LEGO did sue Megabloks for copying the brick, however they lost the suit. The greater question though, is why should he contribute more to the community? Many of these products take a tremendous effort and capital to develop. Why should he make that investment for someone else to profiteer off his work? My point about the mirrored logo is that they couldn't even have bothered to correct it. They were so determined to be first to market they didn't take the time to address the details. Also, I posted prototypes of the R104 switches years ago, so perhaps they were working on it all along, but the timing was more than coincidental. I understand the differences in shipping cost and customs, but all of your arguments could equally be made in favor of Lepin over LEGO. I don't know why Tom chose to do it that way, but a single switch leaves a gap. It requires special curve pieces to correct. Correct, it doesn't take long to model, especially when you have one already done by someone else to use as a reference. But I suspect you overall underestimate the amount of time it takes to design, test, redesign, retest something from scratch. Let's consider the MOC angle for a moment. If I copied someone else's instructions and changed say six meaningless parts, would that be acceptable for me to sell? Sure I haven't photocopied the pages and had to do the work to redraw it all, but is it right for me to sell it? Again, I understand the arguments for competition and what they bring, but all of these arguments can be used in defense of Lepin or stealing MOC instructions from other community members. Those garner sufficient outrage, so why do we give those that copy special element designs a pass?
  13. coaster

    4DBrix goes DIY

    There's certainly nothing wrong with having bought unaware of what was going on. The issue Tom has (and me as well) is how many AFOLs didn't care, or dismissed the similarities as "obvious track geometries." All of the above make track compatible with LEGO track, but no one has copied LEGO's designs beyond the gauge and connection geometry; the track geometries themselves are all unique. There is a different thread where the situation is laid out in greater detail, but 4DBrix ran a kickstarter for their modular switch tracks, and within a few days of completion TrixBrix had their own version of the same system. Ok, perhaps they were working on it concurrently... ...but a pattern emerged. BrickTracks ran a kickstarter for the molded R104 switches, and less than a week into the kickstarter TrixBrix announced their own version. I got to see one of those first batch ones, and it was very clearly rushed, as their own logo was mirrored on the right-hand switch. 4DBrix created the R40 curve switch, which is really quite innovative in how it connects, and before they had even posted them for sale, TrixBrix had them for slightly less. Three rapid occurrences like this is not a coincidence. I'm not opposed to competition by any means, but given that we're all a community working to improve the hobby, we could afford the professional courtesy to at least wait a year before making our own version.
  14. coaster

    4DBrix goes DIY

    Yes. This discussion has come up before, and it really was disheartening how many AFOL members were indifferent to it. For all the moaning about Lepin and other LEGO knock-offs or about people stealing and selling MOC instructions, there definitely is some cognitive dissonance or at least ambivalence when it comes to 3rd party manufacturers. As long as they can get what they want for a buck less, they don't care and will happily turn a blind eye to copycats. It's frustrating to say the least. And this is exactly what happens then. What motivation does he have to make new things? I don't blame Tom at all for throwing in the towel. He's spent a tremendous amount of time developing his products, and for what? just to have them copied and sold for a couple dollars less before he even ships one? Sure, he could put this effort in to make something cool for himself, but these developments come at a tremendous expense, and it often requires being able to sell some to offset those costs. So why the hell should he work for free or even at a loss for someone else? This is what we get for it. I hope he keeps innovating, but we all now lose out on whatever new thing he might have created. He has every right to walk away from the community with two middle fingers in the air.
  15. Is that from their blog? Pretty sure that's my power pickup drawing. 1-wide sleepers don't actually work, unless you still go 2-wide at the connections. Given that, I'd rather keep the 2-wide sleepers.