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Hi Andy,

 

But I haven't said Templot is "3D Ready". Certainly not suddenly.

 

I posted this info about what I'm working on in response to your comment that an expensive CAD program is needed. If I can get this working, it wouldn't be. That might be a big if, but we won't know until I've tried it.

 

I've been working on Templot one way or another for 40 years, so folks know full well that "suddenly" isn't the word you are looking for. smile.gif

 

cheers,

 

Martin.

 

Hi Martin,

 

I didn't say anything about expensive CAD here. There is nothing wrong with Templot for 2D designs. Actually, it's brilliant.

 

But, Templot is not ready for 3D printing yet. It will be after it's been tested on a variety of platforms using a variety of print media. I think you'd be daft to sign-up to support anything like that, but it's up to you.

 

Andy

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Hi Martin,

 

I didn't say anything about expensive CAD here. There is nothing wrong with Templot for 2D designs. Actually, it's brilliant.

 

But, Templot is not ready for 3D printing yet. It will be after it's been tested on a variety of platforms using a variety of print media. I think you'd be daft to sign-up to support anything like that, but it's up to you.

 

Hi Andy,

 

You have lost me.

 

a) you definitely said somewhere that to create your STL files it is necessary to have a paid-for CAD program capable of handling blocks, that you haven't found any free CAD programs that can do that, and you mentioned buying TurboCAD Deluxe.

 

b) I have not and will not be saying that Templot is ready for 3D printing, if you mean driving a 3D printer directly from Templot. What I said is that it will export DXF files which already contain chairs, and I posted an illustration of such a file. What folks do with those files is up to them, but I have indicated a means by which they could be converted to STL files for 3D printing using free software.

 

c) Templot is free to use and nowadays also open-source. I have not signed up to support it in any shape or form. I do that only when and if I choose to. I certainly won't be telling anyone how to use a 3D printer, because at present I haven't got one. Initially I'm assuming Templot-derived STL files would be sent to Shapeways or similar services.

 

p.s. at your request the DXF files will also include insert markers for your blocks. I sent you a sample of that, and you said it worked fine.

 

Martin.

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Hi Andy,

 

You have lost me.

 

a) you definitely said somewhere that to create your STL files it is necessary to have a paid-for CAD program capable of handling blocks, that you haven't found any free CAD programs that can do that, and you mentioned buying TurboCAD Deluxe.

 

b) I have not and will not be saying that Templot is ready for 3D printing, if you mean driving a 3D printer directly from Templot. What I said is that it will export DXF files which already contain chairs, and I posted an illustration of such a file. What folks do with those files is up to them, but I have indicated a means by which they could be converted to STL files for 3D printing using free software.

 

c) Templot is free to use and nowadays also open-source. I have not signed up to support it in any shape or form. I do that only when and if I choose to. I certainly won't be telling anyone how to use a 3D printer, because at present I haven't got one. Initially I'm assuming Templot-derived STL files would be sent to Shapeways or similar services.

 

p.s. at your request the DXF files will also include insert markers for your blocks. I sent you a sample of that, and you said it worked fine.

 

Martin.

 

Hi Martin,

 

On another forum I did say that I have not been able to identify a free CAD program that was capable of handling blocks, but I definitely did not do that on this forum. Despite that, I might have found a CAD program that can do that, and it might allow users to edit my chair models to accommodate different rail profiles, scales, etc., but I'll need to put a lot more effort into learning how to use it before I can be sure.

 

My major concern is that we do not "oversell" 3-D printed track. As I rather forcefully implied, it's not all that difficult to generate fantastic renderings of track models, but translating those models into useful physical objects takes considerable effort, either that or I've wasting my time for quite a few years.

 

Anyway, what's with all the silly a), b), c) stuff? That sounds like someone who is desperately trying to make a point. I'm just not sure what that point is. I'm only sharing what I happen to do as a hobby, which I freely admit might be a very strange hobby, but if others can use that as some sort of launching pad, more power to them.

 

If you want to take this up off-line, please PM me.

 

Cheers,

Andy

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I’m using Delux. I’m guessing I have a cut down version.

 

Frank

 

Hi Frank,

 

You should be able to open the attached file in Turbocad Deluxe. You will need to rename the file extension from .txt to .dwg after you download it. (It should open with a lot of other CAD programs too.)

 

The conversion to DWG makes the model look a bit messy and it generates a block for every 3D object in the model, but it will give you an idea of the structure. You should be able to edit it too. Open the Blocks palette to see and edit the blocks. (Those with sequential numbers preceded by an 'x' were generated during the conversion to the DWG file format.)

 

Cheers,

Andy

CrossingsV4no7dot5revL.txt

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Anyway, what's with all the silly a), b), c) stuff? That sounds like someone who is desperately trying to make a point. I'm just not sure what that point is. I'm only sharing what I happen to do as a hobby, which I freely admit might be a very strange hobby, but if others can use that as some sort of launching pad, more power to them.

 

 

 

 

My interpretation (please correct me if I'm wrong Martin) is that Martin is stressing that all his (very) hard work is aimed at Templot being a computer program that generates model railway track construction templates.  If anyone is able to output the files to assist in the generation of 3d work (and that's way, way above my head....) then all well and good; however my interpretation is that Martin has more than enough work progressing the Templot project as it stands, without further complexity of adding 3d capability/support (unless at some point Martin decides otherwise). 

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Anyway, what's with all the silly a), b), c) stuff?

 

Hi Andy,

 

A forum reply is not the same thing as a personal letter. It will be read by hundreds of others, and indexed on Google and the Wayback Machine for 100 years. I try to bear that in mind when writing replies on RMweb, and if a list format or series of bullet points can aid clarity I use them.

 

You have been dismissive of 3D renderings from Templot, but the primary purpose of Templot is to create trackwork designs. A 3D rendering is just one representation of the design output. It is for the user of Templot to utilise its output in any way they choose. Track plans can be published online or in magazine articles; printed templates can be used for model track construction; DXF export files can be used in CAD programs for laser-cut track bases, for 3D printing, to create tools for injection moulding; PDF export files can be used to create full-size layout plans; exported image files can be used to create control panels and signal box diagrams; etc. (I used semi-colons there instead of bullet points, just for you. smile.gif)

 

Templot has for many years been able to export 3D DXF files, and I am now in the process of adding chair detail to them. Not specifically for 4mm/ft scale, Templot can create output in any scale. I want to add the chairing in sufficient detail to work equally well in the larger scales. If I myself get into 3D printing and post physical examples of 3D prints from Templot designs, it will likely be in one of the larger scales.

 

cheers,

 

Martin.

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Martin and Polybear,

 

First of all I should make it clear that I admire Martin's work enormously and his 3-D renderings are fantastic. Also, when I say "3-D ready" I don't expect Templot to drive a 3D printer without significant file post-processing using third-party applications. If Templot exports DXF files that should be quite sufficient.

 

My concern is that people might get the impression that they'll be able to take a 3-D DFX file from Templot and run it through some post-processing steps to print a 3-D model of, for example, an 00 turnout. I could be wrong (I have been known to be wrong, occasionally :) ) but as things stand, I don't understand how that can work.

 

There are a couple of issues: The chairs are beautiful models of the real thing, but they will have to be modified to function properly depending on the type of model rail and the print medium/process. I'd like to be able to use them, but I don't know how I'd be able to modify them to make them functional.

 

They are beautiful models with all sorts of detail, and that's a problem. With that level of detail each chair has a large number of facets and when you multiply the number of chairs in a turnout by a large number of facets you get an enormous number of facets. In my experience the post processing time to generate the printer files will be impractically long, and that's assuming an application doesn't blow-up before it finishes processing a file.

 

To recap, it's a magnificent piece of work. I just don't know how people will be able to make use of it to print functional 3-D track and turnouts without a lot of additional effort. Assuming that's true and people understand it then there isn't a problem.

 

Hopefully that clarifies my position.

 

Cheers and regards,

Andy

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The chairs are beautiful models of the real thing, but they will have to be modified to function properly depending on the type of model rail and the print medium/process. I'd like to be able to use them, but I don't know how I'd be able to modify them to make them functional.

 

Hi Andy,

 

As I keep saying, everything in Templot is a setting. For example, the current default is to step round radii in 15-degree steps. For 4mm/ft scale you may want to change that setting to say 45-degree steps. (For Gauge 3 you may want to make it 5 degrees.) You may want to change the option setting from "detailed screw tops" to "simple blobs" or whatever. You may want to change the chair base from "radiused corners" to "square corners". You may want to switch off the keys and set a thicker outer jaw instead.

 

There are so many settings, especially for customised prototype chairs and all the special switch and crossing chairs, that doubt I can write a normal user interface to input all the settings. Instead I'm thinking of simple text-editable parameter files -- which could be shared among users.

 

3D printing and computing has advanced rapidly in the last 10 years. In the next 10 years stuff which now takes a long time to process may be much faster. It may take me that long to get it finished. smile.gif

 

What's more, Templot is a hobby program -- it doesn't matter how long it takes to process, go and build a wagon kit or something while you are waiting.

 

Remember also that the DXF export isn't solely for 3D printing. It's also an end in itself. And someone somewhere may want to use the CAD to tool up for injection moulding, in which case the full detail would be wanted.

 

cheers,

 

Martin.

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They are beautiful models with all sorts of detail, and that's a problem. With that level of detail each chair has a large number of facets and when you multiply the number of chairs in a turnout by a large number of facets you get an enormous number of facets. In my experience the post processing time to generate the printer files will be impractically long, and that's assuming an application doesn't blow-up before it finishes processing a file.

 

p.s. Andy,

 

Your concern didn't really match my experience, so I thought I would compare your chair posted earlier, with the Templot-generated chair:

 

Your chair:

 

post-1103-0-01489600-1542313110.png

 

Templot-generated chair (unfinished, no inner jaw) (ignore the blue lines, which are the rail):

 

post-1103-0-19654900-1542313161.png

 

I'm not going to attempt to count the number of facets, but at a glance there doesn't seem to be a massive difference. If your chairs work on a full turnout, I would think the Templot chairs will also work.

 

What I notice is that you are stepping round radii (e.g. the chair screws) in much finer steps than Templot. Are you saying that your 3D printer can replicate such smooth curves?

 

cheers,

 

Martin.

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Hi Andy,

 

As I keep saying, everything in Templot is a setting. For example, the current default is to step round radii in 15-degree steps. For 4mm/ft scale you may want to change that setting to say 45-degree steps. (For Gauge 3 you may want to make it 5 degrees.) You may want to change the option setting from "detailed screw tops" to "simple blobs" or whatever. You may want to change the chair base from "radiused corners" to "square corners". You may want to switch off the keys and set a thicker outer jaw instead.

 

There are so many settings, especially for customised prototype chairs and all the special switch and crossing chairs, that doubt I can write a normal user interface to input all the settings. Instead I'm thinking of simple text-editable parameter files -- which could be shared among users.

 

3D printing and computing has advanced rapidly in the last 10 years. In the next 10 years stuff which now takes a long time to process may be much faster. It may take me that long to get it finished. smile.gif

 

What's more, Templot is a hobby program -- it doesn't matter how long it takes to process, go and build a wagon kit or something while you are waiting.

 

Remember also that the DXF export isn't solely for 3D printing. It's also an end in itself. And someone somewhere may want to use the CAD to tool up for injection moulding, in which case the full detail would be wanted.

 

cheers,

 

Martin.

 

Hi Martin,

 

Without knowing what all the settings are it's hard for me to know if it's going to work or not, but I'll take your word for it. When do you think we might get a sample model that we can push through the tool-chain?

 

Cheers,

Andy

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p.s. Andy,

 

Your concern didn't really match my experience, so I thought I would compare your chair posted earlier, with the Templot-generated chair:

 

Your chair:

 

attachicon.gifandy_s1_wireframe.png

 

Templot-generated chair (unfinished, no inner jaw) (ignore the blue lines, which are the rail):

 

attachicon.giftemplot_s1_wireframe.png

 

I'm not going to attempt to count the number of facets, but at a glance there doesn't seem to be a massive difference. If your chairs work on a full turnout, I would think the Templot chairs will also work.

 

What I notice is that you are stepping round radii (e.g. the chair screws) in much finer steps than Templot. Are you saying that your 3D printer can replicate such smooth curves?

 

cheers,

 

Martin.

 

Hi Martin,

 

I think a lot of the stepping on that model is a consequence of the conversion from native Turbocadpro to DWG. The printer can replicate very smooth curves in the horizontal plane (I more than doubled the X-Y resolution on mine), but at 00 scale it's hard to see. I do radius the corners of the chair baseplates to scale, but I'm not sure it's really worth it in 00 but if definitely would be in larger scales.

 

At one point I did a lovely job of filleting all the sharp edges and corners to produce beautiful representations of castings. IIRC, when I tried to process the STL file the slicer program blew-up :) Your models don't look that detailed so there might not be a problem.

 

Cheers,

Andy

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Hi Martin,

 

Without knowing what all the settings are it's hard for me to know if it's going to work or not, but I'll take your word for it.

 

Hi Andy,

 

Well I haven't actually said that it is definitely going to work. However I don't see any reason why it won't.

 

When do you think we might get a sample model that we can push through the tool-chain?

 

I'm hoping to have a plain track panel possible in a week or so. Turnouts are going to take a lot longer to have a full complement of chairs.

 

cheers,

 

Martin.

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I think a lot of the stepping on that model is a consequence of the conversion from native Turbocadpro to DWG.

 

 

That does create a problem. When I generate the STL from TC Deluxe via the DWG file the STL file is three times the size of the STL generated directly from TC Pro. When i run the Deluxe version through Netfabb to plug holes etc it leaves out most of the rail seats in the chairs. The STL produced by TC Deluxe looks OK, but that doesn't mean it is.

 

BTW, the CAD program I mentioned earlier is Fusion 360. Startup businesses and hobby users can get a free license. I still do not know if it will do the job, but I can export a .stp chair model file from TC Pro (unfortunately not supported by TC Deluxe) and import it into Fusion and the components of the chair (sub-blocks) are preserved and editable. The problem is Fusion's user interface was developed by aliens on the planet Zippy and it's taking time to get my head around it.

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  • 2 years later...

How time flies when you are having fun :)

 

I bought a resin printer recently so I had to upgrade my 3-D models a bit. In the process I realized it's really not necessary to create different models for every conceivable crossing (frog) angle. The great majority can be generated from a few basic components. It finally dawned on me that the difference in the angles of the jaws is really quite small.

 

The following were produced from four models. Two for the jaws and two for the bases and those same four models can be used to create a wide range of crossing angles.

 

The underlying plan was produced by Templot.

 

(The keys are missing because I still have to make some test prints to get a good fit on the rail - SMP Code 75 in my case.)

 

 

282323470_Screenshot(2).png.a415fb420eb28046397dbbbcbda339ef.png

 

 

Same thing with fancy rendering

200384959_Screenshot(3).png.81029102ae9945893fa20e92c3a688ae.png

 

 

Plan view showing the alignment.

 

1303855984_Screenshot(7).png.6d5314c102da049bedd3e7acf7f1f11c.png

 

 

This pic reveals some of the compromises.

1719243998_Screenshot(4).png.9217b33d02aaa3edcdc9c4c5700cb315.png

 

 

One of the jaws and one of the bases. The jaws are aligned with the rail and the base is aligned perpendicular to the line that bisects the crossing which in this case happens to be the center-lines of the timbers.

 

I'm pretty sure this is not what the pattern makers did for the real things but it does not seem to be a problem at small scales, particularly 1:76.2

1100039447_Screenshot(5).png.3cbbe8dc386c236b0880a0b6c1683f24.png

 

1034771580_Screenshot(6).png.00810b7a750adfb5c69b10683193e51b.png

 

 

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  • 3 weeks later...
5 hours ago, drduncan said:

Very impressive! What flangeway gaps are you using?

Duncan

 

I presume they are set by the gauge you have selected for the template.

 

Martin, does templot allow you to specify gauge widening for use in creating the 3D dxf file?  Maybe different for different curve radii?

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8 minutes ago, Penrhos1920 said:

Martin, does templot allow you to specify gauge widening for use in creating the 3D dxf file?  Maybe different for different curve radii?

@Penrhos1920

 

Hi,

 

There is no gauge-widening option in Templot. It is normally done using the track gauges when constructing the track.

 

For the 3D Plug Track, there is a gauge adjustment option on the chairs. You could therefore print a set of chairs for a widened gauge, and substitute them for the ones created with the turnout.

 

However, the above question was not about Templot's chairs, it was about Andy's chair files. Two different things. Normally you would not want gauge-widening for the special crossing chairs, but you might do for the check rail chairs.

 

cheers,

 

Martin.

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18 minutes ago, Penrhos1920 said:

 

I presume they are set by the gauge you have selected for the template.

 

That was my hope but there is the possibility  the files are not linked to templot settings - I wouldn’t want to assume as if it were me I might not have bothered if I’d done this rather clever work for my own project especially as While I’m getting good at cad and probably could do chairs from a drawing integrating it with software is another matter!

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6 hours ago, drduncan said:

Very impressive! What flangeway gaps are you using?

Duncan

 

Thanks Duncan,

 

The DXF models are drawn full size and the flangeway is 3 inches. Scaled down to 00 that's 1mm but the method of use to create them could be used for any flangeway.

 

The Templot template under the chairs was produced for 00-SF then scaled-up to full size. The chairs might need to be altered a bit for EM or other gauges to position them correctly on the timbers.

 

My main point was it's fairly easy to generate the typical crossing chairs for any angle "on the fly" in CAD from a few basic components. I can explain how to do that in more detail if anyone wants to use that method.

 

Cheers,

Andy

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  • 2 weeks later...

And we end up with this. Not sure how it will print but this is reasonably close to the real thing. The CAD model is drawn full-size.

 

1258736276_Screenshot(23).png.dda29af9529c03917235060501414752.png

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And here's a clip to go with it :)

 

1583842411_Screenshot(22).png.a6336fc88331c18ebd35f9476d49344b.png

 

PR402 or PR304?

 

On second thoughts if it is going in a V baseplate it should not be a PR304.

 

Edited by Trog
Second thoughts.
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