Seeking advice - track laying

The place for general discussions and requests for help on all matters relating to T gauge.
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NeilM
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Seeking advice - track laying

Post by NeilM »

Now that Christmas is over I am hoping to make some progress with my plans for T gauge. I do plan to have a thread on my progress soon, but for now all I have is many questions, which I am hopeful somebody will be able to help with.

Just two questions for now.

Firstly, regarding set track. I have just placed an order for more track, including a power track and lead. However I do like more than one feed on a circuit to ensure continuity, and also want something less obvious for visible track. If I was working with N gauge set track then I would carefully remove the rail joiners from two pieces of track, solder wires to the underside of the joiners (away from the track so no chance of melting anything), and then replace the rail joiners. This would provide a very effective connection which was almost completely invisible. Has anyone tried this with T gauge set track? Does this sound feasible to do, or would I be likely to end up wrecking perfectly good track if I tried it?

Secondly, for my next planned layout I hope to use flexi track. For the planning stage of this I would like to know the radius which is feasible. I have seen more than one value quoted for this. Has anyone tried this track to see what is possible as a minimum radius? I am thinking both of the ability of the track to curve smoothly without risking any damage, and also the minimum radius that the power chassis and 20m coach chassis will operate reliably on.
Neil

T gauge items in my Shapeways shop http://www.shapeways.com/shops/t450

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dkightley
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Re: Seeking advice - track laying

Post by dkightley »

I'm not able to answer your second question.....but for the first question, there were two ways documented on the original forum.

The first way...which I'm not keen on...is to grind a groove in the underside of a track section that would reveal the underside of the rail...and then expertly solder a wire directly onto the base of the rail before the plastic of the track section melts!

The second way is to bend the little brass "tail" that you can see underneath a track connector so it points vertically down. Then solder a wire onto this "tail" and either leave as is and position over a hole on the track bed....or open out the underside of the area on the bottom of the track section to allow the "tail" to be returned to its original position, with the gouged out space allowing the wire to lie flat under the track section. Do this at each end of one shotr track section....and place in a suitable place.
Doug Kightley
Webmaster here and volunteer at the National Tramway Museum http://www.tramway.co.uk

mattd10
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Re: Seeking advice - track laying

Post by mattd10 »

I managed to remove one of the brass joiners, solder a wire on and then reconnect to one of my insulated bits of track. The other method (my preferred now) is to use an N gauge track joiner that's been squeezed with pliers a bit to grip T track. Simply because I have a shed load of them lying around and I feel that they're less valuable (if that makes any sense)

I've not done a test myself, but it can say that the flex is pretty tricky to keep level for any radius under about 200mm. You get a lot of twisting of the track bed below that. I'm sure if you have patience you could sort that out and get it flat. My only other point regarding minimum radius is regarding the speed you want to run trains. On the 120mm set track, they tend to fly off at full pelt, so the smaller the radius, the slower the speed. Bear in mind the old 103s (can't comment on newer stuff) had limiters on the axels so they could only twist so far giving a definitive minimum...maybe someone with a newer mech can see if the new ones do as well?


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NeilM
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Re: Seeking advice - general questions

Post by NeilM »

Thaks for the help so far. My latest orders arrived recently so I now have a loco body shell and some more track amongst other things, so hopefully my first layout (really just a circular or oval test track to which I will add scenery) should be under contstruction soon.

I have changed the title of the thread as I have several other questions which I would like help or guidance with from thoise who have already been there;

The question I have at the moment is Google Sketchup: I have this downloaded and have been trying it and looking at tutorials. What I am wanting to do is to be able to create, at least initially, some simple wagon bodies that I could send to Shapeways for printing. Is Google Sketchup capable of doing this, or will I need to download another (preferably free) drawing application? If it is usable, does anybody have any tips for creating models to the sizes and tolerances that we need to work to for T gauge rolling stock?

Again, thanks for any help that anyone can provide.
Neil

T gauge items in my Shapeways shop http://www.shapeways.com/shops/t450

mattd10
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Re: Seeking advice - track laying

Post by mattd10 »

I've done quite a bit in sketchup and quite like the software! There are others who use other programs, but a lot comes down to experience and personal taste!

It's completely possible to do this is sketchup (I have and have had lots of things successfully printed!) and there was even a brief tutorial on the shapeways website about which file formats to use etc.

The next thing to do is check the limits for frosted ultra detail on shapeways (found here https://www.shapeways.com/materials/fro ... guidelines) but remember these are the minimum. I'd recommend at least 0.5mm for walls, if not more if you can allow for it! Then I draw up the model at 10 or even 100 times the size I want (so if I want it 50mm long, I actually do it 5000mm) just to allow for some of the quirks on sketchup (there is a minimum circle radius which will restrict you somewhat unless you draw it a lot larger and scale down)

As for sizes, look at the real life sizes and scale it! I find the best way to do it is get the width first and scale from there. For example, if you need 5.4mm inside width for the motorised chassis and wall thicknesses of 0.8mm you need it to be 7mm wide overall. Then scale from there. In this scale, noone will notice if you are 1mm out here and there (which scales up 45cm in real life!)

Once it's drawn you will need to check the model for hidden faces and holes which would prevent it from being 3D printed. There was a tutorial on shapeways for this, if not let me know as I use an add-on in sketchup which does the job nicely...I can find what it's called and do a mini-tutorial for you.

Best advice I can give is to have a play! Start off basic and work up! You will make mistakes, get frustrated and think about giving up, but just stick with it because when you have your first model that has been 3D printed it's all worthwhile!

ivanf
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Re: Seeking advice - track laying

Post by ivanf »

I'll second the "you will get frustrated" point and also the stick with it as it's worth it.

When you're starting off don't spend ages making a perfect model - in T a lot of the detail will be invisible and it really makes it frustrating when the model gets rejected. Start basic to get the hang of the wall thicknesses, you can always add detail later. ( I know that's repeating what mattd10 said but it is a very important point. )

You may recieve bad prints from shapeways - if this happens contact customers services - they are very reasonable and will refund you or reprint the model if a bad one gets through.

There are a couple of newish tools on the shapeways site that help you with models - when you upload a model there is a little window on the edit details screen that you can zoom and scroll around in the check the model over. Sometimes very small details get lost - things like roof vents on coaches. If you make them bigger but embed most of them in the roof of the model they will show up.

There is also a basic wall thickness checker on the site - this is still in development and highlights things which aren't problems - like very small details but it is useful to point out which areas of the model you need to look at.

I use Blender for modelling - this is a pig to get started with but I like it.

There is also Netfabb for checking wall thicknesses - google shapeways and netfabb for a tutorial.

Last point - you can put multiple stl models into a single file - shapways have a startup charge of about 4 eu per model... so it soon gets expensive with a lot of little t-gauge models.

NeilM
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Re: Seeking advice - now on to painting

Post by NeilM »

Thanks for all your help so far.

The next thing I plan to do is to paint a shapeways loco body shell. I would like to finish this in Railmatch enamels, but first I need to ensure that I have a good base coat in place. I thought I remembered a thread which discussed techniques for getting a good base coat on shapeways products, but can not find this now. Could not find a thread with it in the title so assume that it must have been a sub discusion within a thread, but could not find thius either. Can anybody remeber where this is? Or alternatively have any advise they could pass on? Having had troubles in the past with acrylics that just flaked off 009 wagon body kits I want to make sure I do not get the same problems again.
Neil

T gauge items in my Shapeways shop http://www.shapeways.com/shops/t450

jesse6669
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Re: Seeking advice - track laying

Post by jesse6669 »

Having worked with many 3D printed shells, my advice is:
Prep the shells properly; Use a stiff artists brush and whisk the little bits of remaining 3D "stuff" out of crevices etc. I just wash them in warm/hot water with a little dish soap scrubbing with a stiff artists brush. I know one person who uses the brush attachment in a rotary tool with good results, but it can actually sand down the surface.

Prime with one of the following: Mr. Surfacer White, Tamiya Surfacing Primer White, or just plain white paint (Tamiya white rattle can). This also preps for my decal process which requires a white background in many cases.

Then you can paint with whatever you like, although I recommend acrylics. Actually the Shapeways material is an acrylic IIRC, so as long as it's clean, the paint will adhere just fine. I've painted directly with no issues.

Jesse

NeilM
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Re: Seeking advice - shapeways, level of detail

Post by NeilM »

Another question, asked of anyone who has experimented with body shells printed by Shapeways etc.

I am planning on trying a US 40' wooden boxcar which, if I can manage to get it to do what I want, I plan to create in Google sketch up.
My question is about the level of detail. The v groove siding on these boxcar is quite noticable in the larger scales (although it is possible that it may be over represented on N gauge etc), but would practically disappear in T. So, should I try and represent the planking - and if so would it just disappear under the first coat of paint - or would I be better to just admit that it would be pointless and create the boxcar with smooth sides?
Neil

T gauge items in my Shapeways shop http://www.shapeways.com/shops/t450

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