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Hayfields 3D printed track workshop


hayfield
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Having been into track building for many years and a constant user of Templot I have been watching the development of 3D built track. For some time I was hesitant about this method first coming across some early work via Shapeways, then some Excellent work by Off the Rails in 7mm and Modelu in 4mm. Finally building a British Finescale EM gauge turnout

 

Last year around the time of scale forum (2022) Martin Wynn sent me some early prototype prints (These are test prints from an old (then) unfinished piece of work)

 

1.jpeg.1d08c44558c9cc6b6874251a58d30bc6.jpeg  These are test prints for both plain and turnout bases, very much under development

 

The sleepers and timbers have rectangular holes which the chairs fit into

 

2.jpeg.08a61d6eecffd654b645647b9fade71a.jpeg  A close up of the plain track and ballast will cover the raft which holds the sleepers and Timbers

 

3.jpeg.72982d16965c00c5480b89f58e23d5c5.jpeg  A selection of both standard and bridge chairs and their plugs

 

4.jpeg.fcb7ca1337932cf65ed4eeb8fcaa0256.jpeg Not quite the best photo but it shows the detail 

 

5.jpeg.d0792c49107116c9cb18855a70eff1b9.jpeg  Slide chairs

 

6.jpeg.c1c0946d66e3bf1d7b2e6f86faa6e531.jpeg  This is me playing with some test pieces as at the time not all of the turnout chairs had been designed

 

However it is useful to show the concept. plus if required how easy it is to build double track.

 

7.jpeg.747811451e7f3cda60b0b38cee8f5d37.jpeg  This photo shows chairs threaded on to rail, but the system has moved on.

 

Now you can fit the chairs first, then lay the rail in place and clip it in

 

8.jpeg.f40ddca3ddfe9671c4f21b819171e318.jpeg A closer view

 

image7.jpeg.42cf54b467695338e3d26bb3a7a2149e.jpeg  A different view

 

Now there has been a short video produced by James Walters (Bexhill West) showing how the latest version works, at Scaleforum (2023) it was a show stopper

 

https://85a.uk/templot/club/index.php?threads/plug-track-video-series.771/#post-8839

 

As for me I have a shopping list of items I need to get up and running

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17 minutes ago, hayfield said:

Now there has been a short video produced by James Walters (Bexhill West) showing how the latest version works, at Scaleforum (2023) it was a show stopper

 

Thanks John. Here is James's video:

 

 

 

 

Martin.

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In the short term no, as I have had offers of assisting me by supplying the chairs

 

After seeing both James's video and the latest Chanel 4 program plus water soluble resin and the cheapness of resin printers I will be getting a resin printer sooner rather than later

 

What surprised me at Scaleforum was the number of people who either had or have access to 3D printers, soon I expect some enterprising traders will be offering to print these designs

 

At the moment we have a small but growing bunch of enthusiasts having a go and I am really surprised how many new developments are coming along.  Many larger model railway clubs  already have the latest technology, and or their members have it 

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I am in a similar position I have a 3D FDM printer(Ender 3pro) but also want to add a resin one as well. Also I am following the thread on Templot forum with a lot of interest. For me it is the fact that the chairs are better to handle than the likes of C and L etc. For my future plans I can see a combination of Finetrax kits and 3D printed areas as well. Maybe either Wayne or Phil might taken up the idea of producing the Templot style of chairs so that those of us with one printer could get started.

 

Keith

 

 

 

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19 minutes ago, hayfield said:

In the short term no, as I have had offers of assisting me by supplying the chairs

 

After seeing both James's video and the latest Chanel 4 program plus water soluble resin and the cheapness of resin printers I will be getting a resin printer sooner rather than later

 

What surprised me at Scaleforum was the number of people who either had or have access to 3D printers, soon I expect some enterprising traders will be offering to print these designs

 

At the moment we have a small but growing bunch of enthusiasts having a go and I am really surprised how many new developments are coming along.  Many larger model railway clubs  already have the latest technology, and or their members have it 

I have had a Elegoo Saturn for 12 months. I went for water-washable resin as it seems so much easier. 

My experience is that it is the exact opposite of "plug and play".  I have had endless trouble getting decent prints and have tried everything. My success rate is around 50%...or worse.  The only thing I have yet to try is standard resin in place of the water washable. Good luck!

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2 hours ago, KeithHC said:

I am in a similar position I have a 3D FDM printer(Ender 3pro) but also want to add a resin one as well. Also I am following the thread on Templot forum with a lot of interest. For me it is the fact that the chairs are better to handle than the likes of C and L etc. For my future plans I can see a combination of Finetrax kits and 3D printed areas as well. Maybe either Wayne or Phil might taken up the idea of producing the Templot style of chairs so that those of us with one printer could get started.

 

Keith

 

 

 

 

2 hours ago, ikcdab said:

I have had a Elegoo Saturn for 12 months. I went for water-washable resin as it seems so much easier. 

My experience is that it is the exact opposite of "plug and play".  I have had endless trouble getting decent prints and have tried everything. My success rate is around 50%...or worse.  The only thing I have yet to try is standard resin in place of the water washable. Good luck!

Have you tried printing Plug Track files? I've had no problems, excepting occasions whereby I've done something wrong myself.  The support raft and chair supports directly exported from Templot should produce excellent results.

My preference is for standard ABS+ resin, although others are achieving great results with the new water washable ABS resin.

A failure rate of 50% or worse suggests there may be something wrong with your set-up.

If you can post further details, I'll do my best to suggest possible solutions. 

 

Best wishes,

James

 

 

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2 hours ago, KeithHC said:

I am in a similar position I have a 3D FDM printer(Ender 3pro) but also want to add a resin one as well. Also I am following the thread on Templot forum with a lot of interest. For me it is the fact that the chairs are better to handle than the likes of C and L etc. For my future plans I can see a combination of Finetrax kits and 3D printed areas as well. Maybe either Wayne or Phil might taken up the idea of producing the Templot style of chairs so that those of us with one printer could get started.

 

Keith

 

 

 

HI Keith, There isn't really such a thing as a standard Plug Track chair.  Each is programmatically generated to suit a particular application.  So for example, chairs for a B8 straight turnout, wont necessarily fit a B8 on a radius.  Some chairs are common, but check chairs and crossing chairs for example will be 'computed' to suit the specific turnout and how the timbers have been placed.

Additionally, Templot includes controls to make fine adjustments to compensate for factors such as shrinkage and sleeper depth, enabling chairs to be tailored to offer a perfect-fit in every application.  Just something to consider.

The Loose Outer Jaw chairs are really brilliant to use, such a clever idea.

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6 hours ago, KeithHC said:

I am in a similar position I have a 3D FDM printer(Ender 3pro) but also want to add a resin one as well. Also I am following the thread on Templot forum with a lot of interest. For me it is the fact that the chairs are better to handle than the likes of C and L etc. For my future plans I can see a combination of Finetrax kits and 3D printed areas as well. Maybe either Wayne or Phil might taken up the idea of producing the Templot style of chairs so that those of us with one printer could get started.

 

Keith

 

 

 

 

I think there will be some who spot a gap in the market where they can provide a service for payment, a bit like those who design etches and send them off for printing, but firstly there has to be a market

 

Thankfully Martin and a few other members are going to assist me to get going, as far as this technology I am a complete numpty. Thankfully Templot sorts out the files required to print the components, but there is a process to learnt.

 

My plan is initially to learn how to set up and use a FDM printer, then progress to a resin printer. The fact is I will spend less than one of the top of the range locos to buy both printers.

 

In fact a cheap resin printer is not much more than a Peco bullhead double slip. Building even a small layout with Peco trackwork these days is expensive, so is building hand built track using existing methods, Financially its much the same

 

If you are going to build a medium to large layout, then it would be cheaper, plus you have machines to make many other items cheaply

 

However its not about costs !! Its about build scale trackwork far more detailed than is currently available either in ready to run or kit/scratch built. The added benefits are plug track is easy to build, few soldering skills are required other than is used by all, no need for expensive track gauges or jigs and the cost of either resin or filament used is in pence not £'s. Easy to use bespoke filing jigs cost a £ or two and can be reused

 

Find a modelling partner(s) and share the cost

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18 hours ago, Penrhos1920 said:

 

 

Does that list include 2 3D printers and a wash/cure station?  

 

Richard

 

Like all things as you become more interested in a subject, who would think buying a pair of 00 gauge roller gauges, would lead me to having various gauges (0ver50 different ones) in N gauge, TT gauge, 00, 00SF, DOGA fine, EM 18mm & 18.2mm, P4 Scalefour, 0 32mm & 0 33mm, not to mention Filing jigs various and tools for ply and rived building method and a rolling bars for rail. Not all brought at once in fact collected over 50 years many acquired cheaply or for free

 

And to answer your question yes once I have mastered the FDM printer, which will be of use for many other applications

 

I see from your shop you seem very talented in the design field, I assume you may have asked Santa for one 😀

 

 

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I’ve been watching this with interest since the beginning, but as someone who models FB trackwork in N it’s not really entirely relevant for me yet!

 

On printing I started with resin and then bought FDM - there’s no ‘progression’ as such IMO, they’re just different, neither is easier or harder, both have their challenges. Very little transferable skill. 
 

I’d urge people to stay away from water washable resins. They’re markedly less stable, and it’s not really any easier. It’s just as unpleasant as the normal stuff, so after washing you’re left with contaminated water you can’t dispose of. IPA or acetone on the other hand will evaporate quickly. I’m sure people pour it down the drain; but that’s grossly irresponsible. I wonder if the same people would pour used engine oil down the drain in the same way. 

 

On resins Sunlu ABS-like is well priced and yields nice results. It’s markedly less brittle than a lot of other resins. Siraya Fast is great as well, but a chunk more expensive.    

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The first of Amazon deliveries arrived, I now have both a kilo of filament and a pack of glue sticks. Yet to be informed exactly when the printer will arrive Wednesday/Thursday stated. I guess I will know more this afternoon once its been packed for delivery

 

This is a link to James reviewing a cheap resin printer

 

 

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43 minutes ago, Roger.s said:

Has anyone tried making 2mm finescale track using this method and if so was the result favourable?  I would be most interested to receive your comments as I have a new la.yout to build.

 

Regards Roger

 

Roger

 

As far as I can remember its no.  Firstly only 4 & 7mm bullhead rail data has been added to the chair program, the thought being is the chairs would be too small to use 

 

In theory I guess you can print the bases to 2mm scale and possibly the chairs, but whether the chairs would be usable is another matter, I have seen 2mm scale chairs in one kit which available commercially

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9 hours ago, hayfield said:

The first of Amazon deliveries arrived, I now have both a kilo of filament and a pack of glue sticks. Yet to be informed exactly when the printer will arrive Wednesday/Thursday stated. I guess I will know more this afternoon once its been packed for delivery

 

This is a link to James reviewing a cheap resin printer

 

 

 

 

James 

 

What a great watch and how informative the video is, I see Geetech also do a washing and curing machine which is again not too expensive and actually removes some of my concerns

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I’ve had a wash and cure machine for several years, but don’t find it overly useful. Wash in two ice cream tubs of acetone (or just in a small ziplock bag for small bits) and cure outside or with a handheld UV light. I personally wouldn’t bother with one now YMMV.  

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2 minutes ago, njee20 said:

I’ve had a wash and cure machine for several years, but don’t find it overly useful. Wash in two ice cream tubs of acetone (or just in a small ziplock bag for small bits) and cure outside or with a handheld UV light. I personally wouldn’t bother with one now YMMV.  

curing outside can be hit and miss and probably precludes printing during the winter!

you can buy UV LED strip pretty cheaply - it hasd to be the right wavelength. Then i made up a square box from spare white-faced hardboard and stuck the LED strip inside. My own very relaible curing box for about £5.

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Curing outside is fine year round, but yes not ideal in the dark/very overcast days. Hence saying i just use a handheld UV light for those circumstances. The curing station is ok for parts that fit. But lots don’t. stock bodies for example don’t, you have to balance them on end. This will be a problem with turnout bases, and chairs will be so small it won’t be ideal. 
 

apologies - wasn’t wishing to steer the thread into the nuances of 3D printing ‘stuff’, but a lot of people are put off resin printing by a lot of complexity that simply doesn’t actually exist. 

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9 hours ago, njee20 said:

Curing outside is fine year round, but yes not ideal in the dark/very overcast days. Hence saying i just use a handheld UV light for those circumstances. The curing station is ok for parts that fit. But lots don’t. stock bodies for example don’t, you have to balance them on end. This will be a problem with turnout bases, and chairs will be so small it won’t be ideal. 
 

apologies - wasn’t wishing to steer the thread into the nuances of 3D printing ‘stuff’, but a lot of people are put off resin printing by a lot of complexity that simply doesn’t actually exist. 

 

No need to apologise especially as you are adding to the knowledge bank which for most modellers is a completely new field in the past time

 

Like paper printers which now are common place, 3D printers will become more and more common as time goes by

 

12 months ago I thought 3D printing was for a small minority within the hobby. I am dipping my toe in the water simply because the turnouts which Templot produces cannot be bettered any other way for its detail and simplicity, now having seen what's possible I am certainly into FDM printing and 95% of the way into resin printing. 

 

A whole lot of things have fallen into place at at once. Firstly the developments between Scaleforum 22 and 23 has been a massive leap forward. Secondly the availability and cost of printers is reducing, thirdly Templot software is getting so much easier for the novice to use

 

The elephant in the room for me is resin printing, and many of my concerns may simple bee through lack of either knowledge or understanding 

 

With model railway track building there is a great reluctance to change, especially regarding building methods. plus far too many modellers accept standards which are based on what was available 40 + years ago in quality and detail

 

Simply thanks for adding to our understanding

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On 04/11/2023 at 09:03, hayfield said:

The sleepers and timbers have rectangular holes which the chairs fit into

This is all mighty impressive stuff. The ability to design and build (3D print) your own bearers (sleepers) and baseplates (chairs) is a great idea.

 

What I can't understand, however, is why you (and/or @martin_wynne) decided to use a rectangular plug/socket for the baseplates. I'd have thought that a circular one would have been better. That way the holes in the bearers would not need to be 'rotated' for the diverging track. It would also obviate any need for LH & RH versions of some baseplates.

 

Or have I missed something?

 

Ian

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24 minutes ago, ISW said:

This is all mighty impressive stuff. The ability to design and build (3D print) your own bearers (sleepers) and baseplates (chairs) is a great idea.

 

What I can't understand, however, is why you (and/or @martin_wynne) decided to use a rectangular plug/socket for the baseplates. I'd have thought that a circular one would have been better. That way the holes in the bearers would not need to be 'rotated' for the diverging track. It would also obviate any need for LH & RH versions of some baseplates.

 

Or have I missed something?

 

Ian

 

Ian

 

Thanks for the posting, Martin is off line for a few days but in the absence of more knowledgeable folk I will try and answer. Please note this is way above my paygrade and if Martin was available I would let him answer. What I can say the result is far better than I could build even using Exactoscale's special chairs

 

Martin had designed a system which hopefully is easy to use and needs few if any specialist equipment like various track gauges to build either plain track, turnouts or crossings, looking at a turnout the position of chairs is quite straight forward and having rectangular holes makes life very much easier when fitting the rails, as for the curved stock rails each chair is bespoke and has its own position, so that when the rail is fitted in place it is accurate to the chosen gauge. Having a rotating chair I assume could bring in inconsistences and gauge widening/narrowing. Finescale standards are far more exacting

 

The initial test pieces highlighted this as the chairs for the curved stock rail had not been designed. Resulting in stepping of the rail

 

The design principal is that an average modeller should be easily able to make a turnout or crossing with the minimum of tools to the gauge/scale of their choice. Plus bespoke filing jigs can be printed for both Vee and switch rails, which are both cheap to print and if required reusable. 

 

Sorry if its not as detailed as you may require

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2 minutes ago, Stanley Melrose said:

Surely the use of rectangular "holes" is to avoid the possibility of the chairs being inserted at an angle that would make the whole concept of "gauge-free" track building and ease of assembly a lottery?

 

Me thinks not, although I'm open to being proved wrong.

 

With round posts (instead of rectangular), if you imagine all the baseplates on a curved diverging rail installed, they'd be at any-old-angle. That's until the rail is threaded through the baseplates ##. At this point the rail would simply take up a curve that goes through all the baseplates (assuming the holes are in the right place, of course) and the baseplates would automatically rotate to be at right-angles to the rail (they being a close fit on the rail foot).

 

## I gather you slide the baseplates onto the rail, and then install into the bearers. I've detailed as above to to explain my point 

 

Ian

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