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First layout:Kyushu

Posted: Tue Dec 24, 2019 9:32 am
by dvdouden
A recent visit to Miniworld Rotterdam inspired me to finally drive to the nearest store to get some sheets of XPS and start working on my first T layout. My layout board has been folded against the wall for nearly a year now, with a layout plan and flex track pinned to it with thumbtacks, kind of stuck in the "where do I start?" bit.

Decided to scratch 80% of what I had planned and just get on with it :)
The only thing that hasn't changed is the setting: Kyushu, Japan. I want to loosely base the layout on the Hisatsu line; mountains, tunnels, rivers, bridges and it has the only switchback and loop in Japan atOkoba station.

Here is the track plan and some flex track. I've intentionally kept lots of empty space because I planned to have a second track run there. The straight bit at the top would become a station eventually. I've parked the thought of a second track for now; decided not to bother with points at the moment, so it's kind of pointless (pun intended) to even think about building the switchback and loop.
kyushu-0.JPG (65.03 KiB) Viewed 2608 times
Added the base layer of XPS, using some smaller bits to raise the track. Decided to make a few changes to the initial plan here.
-the inner turn on the right has been flipped
-both inner turns now run under the outer turn, doubling the number of times the track crosses itself.
-the outer turn on the right has been raised more to add more variation in height
-less straight bits, more variation in radii
-moved the track away from the wall a bit
kyushu-1.JPG (73.05 KiB) Viewed 2608 times
Right now I'm in the process of replacing all the XPS blocks with proper layers, slowly building up the landscape while trying to figure out which features should go where. I'm just winging it to be honest. :lol:
kyushu-2.jpg (77.65 KiB) Viewed 2608 times
Also trying to make the track a bit more interesting to watch by obscuring parts of the track with landscape. My colleague made valid point when he said "oh look, another pretzel track". Having the train disappear from sight and emerge somewhere else should help with that I guess. I'm hesitant to add long tunnels. Electrical contact between the train and the track seems to be dodgy at times, keeping the track clean helps a lot, but that also means I should be able to reach every bit of track easily...
kyushu-3.jpg (62.15 KiB) Viewed 2608 times
Anyway, that's it for now, I will be working on landscaping for quite some time I guess. Currently pinning everything down with needles, not going to glue a thing until I'm completely happy with the entire layout. And at the end of the evening, the whole layout folds up against the wall and I get to enjoy some inspiration :D
kyushu-4.jpg (91.78 KiB) Viewed 2608 times

Re: First layout:Kyushu

Posted: Thu Jan 02, 2020 7:55 am
by dvdouden
Small update:
Been hacking away at XPS for a couple of evenings now, the landscape is slowly starting to take shape. It's not going as fast as I thought it would, I'd like to incorporate a river, some bridges and a small village or two, but figuring out where exactly to put those and how large they should be proves to be a challenge. Maybe I should just create a few houses and bridges out of XPS to trial fit them.
kyushu-5.jpg (79.8 KiB) Viewed 2535 times
I found an old PC power supply that fits the base of my layout perfectly. 200-ish Watt should be more than I need :geek:
power.jpg (89.2 KiB) Viewed 2535 times
That's all for now :)

Re: First layout:Kyushu

Posted: Fri Jan 10, 2020 3:19 pm
by dvdouden
Not much happening on the layout in the last week. Tried out the spray glue I bought for gluing down the XPS, seems to work fine without reacting with the polystyrene. Also tried using the Dremel with a sanding drum (grit 80), that works great but it's incredibly messy, really need to have the vacuum cleaner in one hand and the Dremel in the other. :lol:

I've been focusing more on the 3D printer. I learned that my printing problems are mostly caused by the temperature. Resin printing gives the best result at 25-30 degrees C and washing the print before curing is best done in hot water. There aren't that many options to make this work in the Dutch climate; I'm not going to heat my shed to 25C... So either I build a heated enclosure to put the printer in, or I heat the printer itself. Since space is a precious commodity, I opted for the latter. Ordered a small 12V 100W heater that fits inside the printer and a temperature controlled relay, that should work...

The other thing that got my attention this week was roofs. Japanese roofs to be precise. Those things are complex! Have a look at an example of a relatively simple one: ... 312!8i6656
Most houses in the region I'm modelling have roofs like that, so I want my houses to look like that as well. Theoretically the printer should be capable of printing the shape of individual tiles in a roof, but there's no way I'm going to tile 20-ish roofs by hand. So I've been working on a bit of software to do that for me. The program reads an STL file containing the model for a single tile. It determines the size and thickness of the tile and then calculates how the tiles can be laid out seamlessly with a small overlap. It can also cut the result with a given contour while still keeping a solid model as a result.
For example: a single tile, and the same tile repeated 6 by 4 times with a final diagonal cut.
rooftiles.png (59.26 KiB) Viewed 2473 times
The program can also read the model of a house, determine which surfaces of the model are the roof (those facing up, but not completely horizontal) and it can then lay these flat on the "ground". The next step is adding tiles to them, cutting the tiles in the shape of the roof's surfaces and putting them back in the original position.

For example: a roof model and its four surfaces laid out on the ground, ready for tiling (because doing that while the roof floats somewhere in 3D at an angle is complicated...)
roofsurfaces.png (54.45 KiB) Viewed 2473 times
It's still a work in progress, but when done it should completely tile the roof of a model, including ridges. There's a few hurdles left to take, but most of the complex stuff has been completed (it's been 15 years since I had Computer Graphics as a subject at school...)

Re: First layout:Kyushu

Posted: Mon Jan 13, 2020 3:50 pm
by MIHS85

Nice to see someone working on a Japanese-themed layout, so I will be following this with interest! I also admire your plans for 3D-printing your buildings, although I do imagine that you would need a printer with a very high resolution in order to bring out such fine structures as rooftiles and others at that scale.

If you want a short-cut (even a temporary) one or need some further desing inspiration, check out the following site: These are nice N-scale papercraft models of Japanese structures which can easily be scaled down to T-gauge size. The "Open" button will lead you to the models currently available for free downloading. "Next" will give you a preview of what will be up in the near future (and "Closed" will tell you what you've missed out on....).



Re: First layout:Kyushu

Posted: Tue Jan 14, 2020 8:13 am
by dvdouden
Hi Chris! Thanks for the link, that's some nice inspiration!

I have a resin printer with a 47 micron resolution (0.047 mm) and a 40 micron layer height, so in theory it _should_ be able to print those details if my math is right. If you look closely you can see the individual layers on this model:
pikalayers.jpg (31.11 KiB) Viewed 2344 times
This 1500 tile roof for example:
roof-tiled_low.png (30.16 KiB) Viewed 2344 times
Designed full scale: 12 x 8 meters. In T that's 17.7 by 26.6 mm. Individual tiles are 300mm wide, or 0.66mm in T, about 14 pixels on the printer. That should leave enough room for a bit of texture on the tile, like a small ridge. Any details will probably need to be more than a few pixels large (both in width and in layer height) to be even visible, but that's something I'll just have to experiment with.
It's not so much a question of whether the printer is capable of printing the details, but whether the details will even be visible :D
If they're not, then I can just update the tile model to accentuate/exaggerate some details, re-tile the roof and print it again until I'm happy

As for an update: as you can see, the tool is more or less doing its thing. Lots of things done already:
-loading tile model
-loading roof model
-extracting roof information (surfaces, shape, orientation)
-cutting lines through models
-filling the shape of the cuts with new geometry (so you don't get a hole in your model)
-calculating the angle of the tiles to get a correct overlap and the effective resulting length of the tile
-tiling a roof surface
-cutting away bits of tile that fall outside of the roof's shape
-reducing the amount of extra generated geometry due to cutting and gluing tiles (went from 11K triangles to 8K in one example)
-export resulting model to STL
-export individual roof surfaces to STL (may be useful for creating model kits in larger scales like N or H0)

Quite a few things still need to be done:
-proper alignment of tiles (now always starts in bottom left corner of roof surface)
-different tile models for edge tiles (for gable roofs) and bottom tiles
-fix a bug or two that sometimes results in gaps in the geometry (slicers don't like that)
-simplify geometry at the bottom of the roof (turn it into one solid)
-probably use a different file format than STL for input; it lacks the ability to add instructions for the tiling tool. Ideally you'd have one file containing models for multiple tiles and ridges.

Re: First layout:Kyushu

Posted: Thu Jan 23, 2020 9:52 am
by dvdouden
Weekly update no.5!

Not much going on on the layout, trying to make something out of the large flat area at the front. Caught a cold so there's not much energy left at the end of a working day to actually do something.
Spent most time on the tiling tool. And yes, by now I could've tiled a lot of houses by hand, but where's the fun in that? :geek:
Been working on getting tiles to merge properly, forming one solid model. The math and logic involved is more complicated than you'd initially imagine. It basically boils down to calculating if and where a line intersects a triangle, but having to deal with all sorts of edge cases is a pain.

Received the 100W heater for my 3D printer yesterday, still waiting for the controller to arrive. The heater and fan are pretty small, just 60x60mm and 40mm deep, it made me wonder whether the advertised 100W was just marketing wank, but hooking it up to a power supply nicely maxed out the ammeter (scale stops at 5A, needle went beyond 6A until it hit the end stop), so that looks okay. And it heats up nicely as well. Now to figure out how to attach it to the printer's cover...