Eurobricks Knights
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About Phoxtane

  • Birthday 05/06/96

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  • Location
    Laramie, Wyoming
  • Interests
    - 'fun' RC car with 42009 crane wheels, small black wheel hub bits, white panels and beams as main color with red highlights
    - Railgun tank based on the 52041 pieces in orange
    - A better Gundam

    Current Project: Sorting and catologing my collection


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  1. Adventures into 3D printing train bits

    I got myself the Monoprice Maker Select V2 - it has a build volume of 200x200x180mm (X, Y, Z respectively), has a heated build plate, and can handle either PLA or ABS. I've never used ABS as it can be tricky to print, especially when you tend to have strong drafts in the area (like my space). I've added a Z-brace to the tower to eliminate back-and-forth motion on the Z axis, which would decrease the quality of prints I can get out of it: My print material of choice is PLA, as it's easier to print and less prone to warping than ABS. In my slicer I have my printer set to 200C and 55C for the extruder and heated bed, respectively. I also use a .2mm layer height with a .3mm initial layer (this helps to take up any uneven spots in the print surface). After I've loaded the output from Cura onto a microSD, I wiped down the print bed with a paper towel to get rid of any dust that may have settled since I last used the printer. After a short preheat for both the heated bed and the extruder, we're off to the races. Here's an in-progress shot: Turns out it's somewhat difficult to get a good shot because the subject is moving back and forth! I let the print bed cool for a bit before I attempt to remove the part. Usually for small pieces I can remove them immediately, but large parts cool slower and I don't want to remove them too early for fear of warping. I managed to coax the part off the bed and leave behind just about all of the supports. The last one that stuck to the part popped off without any tools whatsoever. Then we have the final product! In the second image you can clearly see the difference in surface finish between portions of the model that sat directly on the print bed, and portions that were built on top of supports. I've also got some sort of lighter gray splotches on the bottom, which I've not seen before - maybe it's because I didn't wait long enough for the part to cool? I'm not sure. The next step for this model is to add studs, the clip-on connectors, the rail end cutouts, and the empty spaces on the underside of the ties to allow for connecting this to real Lego parts.
  2. This summer I acquired a 3D printer, and it only just recently crossed my mind that I could make parts that I've been wanting - even those that don't exist yet. This will be the thread I throw all that into. For the first post, here's my first version of the standard straight track: First, I started off by drawing the track profile, using the dimensions I found on the L-gauge wiki: I used Autodesk Fusion 360 for the modelling portion (it's free to students, makers, hobbyists, and businesses making less than 100k USD a year!). Then, I extrude the profile out by 128mm to get the 'blank' for a piece of straight track: I then make another drawing on the top of the base which represents the ties present on the Lego track: Finally, I take every other section of the blank and extrude them downwards to the bottom of the blank, this time using a 'cut' operation instead of a 'new body' operation: I now have something that looks quite a bit like a piece of Lego track! It's obviously missing studs, the snap-together connectors, and the cutouts on the ends of the rails. However, it will do for a first print test. I then export from Fusion 360 as a .STL and load that into my slicing program of choice, Cura. I'm looking at the model in the layer view after applying my 'strong' settings - this lets me see the model layer-by-layer and I can see how it should look. I can also see a cross-section by using the slider in the upper right: Here we're seeing the interior of the rails, but not the ties. Here we can see inside the ties, as well as the supports - these are temporary structures that will be removed once the print is completed. They hold up the overhangs in the model that may otherwise sag or distort excessively - I'll need to change the support orientation before I commit to a print for better results. Unfortunately, it's too late at night for me to kick off a print - I know the time estimate given is somewhat of an underestimate, so one of these very basic track pieces will actually take a bit over three hours instead of the two and a half that's given by my slicer. I'll be doing that tomorrow.
  3. If they were to re-release the Santa Fe, I'd like to see it reworked to be more in line with the more recent trains. I've seen it in person, and it's actually quite huge. I've also never really been a fan of how they attempted the nose on it.
  4. LEGO makes a non-ABS prototype brick

    I'm sure there's various complex processes that take an input of carbon feedstock (wheat, in this example) and can turn them into simple hydrocarbons. If the process is fancy enough, I bet you can get all of the component materials for ABS plastic from wheat! I'd think that using an algae-based process would be cheaper and easier though, since the algae do a good portion of the work for you by producing an oil straightaway, as opposed to synthesizing the oil from a carbon feedstock (wheat).
  5. Long Term Modular Layout, Phase 1

    I've got my workspace cleaned off and have the long straight for this layout mostly completed. I'm just missing an abundance of 1x2 tiles to finish off the ties for this section of track. It's seven baseplates long - however, the actual layout will add two more baseplates to either end from the curves. I've had to give up the table for Easter dinner, unfortunately!
  6. Maybe you could attach metal foil to the magnets on the trains themselves - you could at least do automatic power connections between cars that way, assuming you left enough loose wire to let the magnets swing freely. There's also pogo pins - fill up a 1x1 Technic brick with some hot glue to locate them, and you could have matching contacts on the other coupler that the pointy bit fits into.
  7. Speed Champions inspired F1 cars

    The stickers are what really sets these apart from the rest. Nice work.
  8. Well, good luck with the Kickstarter! I suppose there's a reason college students don't go into business ventures such as this nearly as often as other age groups.
  9. Documenting my trains project

    Cable management will be of great importance for this setup. I can't recommend anything specifically, but McMaster-Carr has a wide selection of sleeving for you to choose from. Personally, I'd probably go with some abrasion-resistant (braided) stuff since you're presumably going to moving stuff around until you get everything just right. Also, keep in mind that the Arduino used here can only handle 200mA maximum being drawn or sunk on the digital IO pins. I found this information here: . If you're driving more than a few of those signals at any given time you'll need to give them their own power supply so you don't cause damage to the controller. Looks good otherwise!
  10. At this point in Trains I wouldn't bother getting into 9V if you haven't already got some. It's ridiculously expensive and parts are only going to get rarer - think $40 for a working used 9V train motor and double that for a NIB one!
  11. I have had this exact problem - same pump, same set too. From that set as well my large hand pump has developed issues to the point of squealing horribly when depressed and taking a very long time to return to the neutral position. I've not had issues with any of the other parts from the Education pneumatics set!
  12. Well, I never said it'd be reliable, to be fair. Nice PCB as well. For my purposes I'll probably stick with some sort of servo shield or breakout, but I was planning to do that anyway.
  13. I don't know as much as you, since you're teaching on the subject, but it is very possible, apparently: It may not be very efficient but certainly doable!
  14. It's what the library can handle on the Uno - and apparently the Mega can do 48! As for the reset, that's why you'd use a servo shield or breakout board with its own separate power supply. I'd go for a maximum of two driven off the Uno directly, personally.
  15. Apparently I am - so then you could easily run 10+ switch tracks from the one controller, if you aren't using any sensors. The cost would only be another $8 added on from the four servo motors left over in the previous example. At that point it'd be prudent to use a separate power supply, but I know you can get servo breakout boards that handle that for you.