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Found 1 result

  1. Adam Badura

    Duplo Trains discussion

    After spending lots of time playing LEGO Duplo (mostly trains) with my kids and also building some larger layouts myself I got few questions regarding (mostly) design of Duplo tracks. I asked them at Polish LUGPol forum but some were not answered (it seems LEGO Duplo is not popular enough) so I’m reposting them here hoping for larger audience and thus better answers. I believe that LEGO parts (which includes Duplo tracks...) are done carefully and decisions are unlikely taken without evaluating many issues. So the radius used for curved tracks must have some reasons behind it. I don’t know which and I would very much like to know. Since I already know much of troubles caused by that choice. Read further. (1) Curved Tracks Radius A single Duplo curved track spans on a 30° angle. Three such tracks make a right angle. But the simple staff ends here. Ever tried to connect the ends of such right angle with Duplo bricks? It failed, didn’t it? You could actually make it but that would require to strain those tracks a bit (they are significantly flexible so it doesn’t require any strength nor does it seem to make any breaking risks). If you would do that with a hole circle of 12 curved tracks you would not get a circle but an ellipse with short radius of 17 Duplo studs and long radius of 18 Duplo studs. The actual radius of a circle is somewhere around 17.5 Duplo studs. It might be aligned with LEGO studs, I haven’t checked that but I doubt it. This might seem insignificant especially that the tracks are strained so little that it is not visible to someone who “doesn’t know”. But still this is some disadvantage that shows when you try to build something bigger or mount everything on a single solid base (possibly done with plates). Since the strains add up and things start to fall apart easily. (2) Curved Tracks Alignment to Straight Tracks So I looked further wondering to what the curved tracks align well. Sadly without success. Another failed example is when you connect two curved tracks in opposite direction. That way the lines entering and leaving the two tracks are parallel. Its tempting to see if you can mount it on a plate. But as it shows again it is not possible. Such a connection of tracks does not align well with Duplo studs (and thus also straight tracks...). (3) Long Trains In my experience a train having two or three railcars significantly slows down on longer curves. The cars are long and wheels don’t turn around in no way which means that the do no align well with curved track and cause some friction. With more railcars you can see how the train slows down and sometimes even hear that. With four or more railcars its nearly sure the train will stop on a longer curve. Would the curve track have a larger radius this issue would be (somewhat) smaller. Now knowing the drawbacks of current curved track design we might wonder what are its advantages so that the trade off goes well. Anyone? And this is still not end to the questions. (4) Move Direction Why current locomotives do move in only one direction? Would changing the button to a three state switch (forward, stop, backward) make it much more expensive? Or would it be much more difficult for kids? Current sets with locomotives are from 2 years. How it was with the old “smart locomotive”? As I think it was far more “difficult” and “complex”. (5) Locomotive Anchors I find it rather odd that (current) Duplo locomotives don’t have anchors on both sides as all railcars do. This way making the locomotive push the train rather than pull is rather difficult and likely to cause derailment when using more complex layouts (like ups and downs or junctions). (6) Corrugation (I’m not sure if this is the correct word for it) Tracks and the engine wheels of the locomotive are corrugated. Why is this needed? As it seems LEGO trains don’t use it. So why Duplo trains need it? Any “rational” for those? And as a final question. (7) Does LEGO provide precise specification of their “bricks”? Like exact dimensions and sizes or power of motors and so on?