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Building a new club layout?

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Posted by hon30critter on Thursday, January 04, 2018 10:27 PM

Colorado Ray
My only problem is that I've never had much luck with terrain meshes.  The only successful method I use is to connect contour planes between two contour lines.

Hi Ray:

Thanks for the suggestion. I don't need super detailed terrain diagrams. All I want is a rough picture of where the hills and hollows should be that I can hand to someone and say "do this", or at least "try to do this"Smile, Wink & GrinLaughYes.

Dave

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Posted by railandsail on Thursday, January 04, 2018 11:02 PM

This is where I first became aware of that terrain mapping / viewing capabilities of that software,...beginning on this page

http://www.modelrailroadforums.com/forum/showthread.php?38830-Help-Me-Plan-My-Layout/page7&highlight=3rd+PlanIt

 

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Posted by railandsail on Thursday, January 04, 2018 11:07 PM

Unsure as to whether images are showing up?

http://www.modelrailroadforums.com/forum/showthread.php?38830-Help-Me-Plan-My-Layout&p=419765#post419765

OK, so after spending some serious time with 3rdPlanit and getting some one on one coaching (Those curved section of benchwork were a bit of a challenge to lay out) I've come up with a very rough interpretation of what I think you've drawn

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Posted by hon30critter on Friday, January 05, 2018 12:10 AM

Brian, the links are working.

Dave

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Posted by rrinker on Friday, January 05, 2018 6:52 AM

 You can;t post pictures hosted by another forum, generally. They do not allow them to work, because you are effectively using thier bandwidth to display pictures in someone else's forum. They will work IF you are a member of the other forum and if you are signed in.

 If you expect them to work for everyone, the pictures need to be posted on a PUBLIC image hosting forum.

                                           --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by rrinker on Friday, January 05, 2018 6:57 AM

 It's easy to add terrain to 3PI, the hard part is making it look just right. The tutorial is a perfect place to start. Then you just have to experiment - first efforts usually look like you stuck a bunch of tent poles under a sheet of something. It's great that you can adjust it all in real time.

                                       --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by hon30critter on Friday, January 05, 2018 12:45 PM

rrinker
It's easy to add terrain to 3PI, the hard part is making it look just right.

Yup! I could get all sorts of terrain, just not what I wanted.

I started in on the tutorial last night.

Dave

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Posted by Colorado Ray on Friday, January 05, 2018 1:06 PM

hon30critter
 

Yup! I could get all sorts of terrain, just not what I wanted.

 

I've done the tutorial, and the mesh/terrain in the tutorial is much simpler than what's found in a more complex layout design.  I've tried modifying layer cut/fill slopes, used "conform to contours and objects", etc., and still can't get decent looking mesh terrain in many areas. Just not worth the effort IMHO.  I'm more interested in the track horizontal/vertical alignment and spacial relationships which are perfect in 3rd Planit.  

Ray

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Posted by railandsail on Friday, January 05, 2018 9:52 PM

I think a few of these illustrations are useful in planing...

 

These illustrations...
http://www.modelrailroadforums.com/forum/showthread.php?38830-Help-Me-Plan-My-Layout&p=420043#post420043

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Posted by hon30critter on Tuesday, January 09, 2018 12:12 AM

We had a Layout Committee meeting on Monday night and I have to say that it was rather productive (at least nobody lost any teethSmile, Wink & GrinLaugh)

Seriously, we addressed quite a few issues. Some were minor, like what type of switches to use to control the turnouts. We decided on plain simple DPST toggle switches as opposed to the fancier new offerings like illuminated touch switches. We can add in LEDs easily. (Before you jump on me to insist that Tortoises require DPDT switches, they do not! If we use a power supply with a +12v and a -12v with a common neutral the DPST switches will work just fine for powering the frogs and the wiring is actually a bit simpler.)

We decided to forego the use of edge connectors for the Tortoises. We will solder wires to the Tortoise connectors directly and use terminal strips to connect all the bits and pieces. We already have 31 used Tortoises with the wires already soldered on so we will simply do the same thing for the rest of them. The cost per Tortoise for using terminal strips and wires soldered directly to the Tortoise contacts is about 1/10 the cost of the Acculite edge connectors with screw terminals, and we are essentially getting the same thing. 

We decided to use velcro to attach the Tortoises to the underside of the benchwork. That method has been suggested several times on the forums and it allows for easy adjustment to get the Tortoises in the right position. If we need to make the mounting more solid we can simply run a couple of screws right through the velcro once things are adjusted properly.

We discussed what methods to use for making the landforms. That discussion was actually fairly quick because everyone agreed on using plaster cloth over pink or blue foam, with rock moldings and scultamold applied as appropriate. We decided not to use pure hard shell if for no other reason than the difficulty of getting trees to stand up straight.

We came back to the discussion of how to choose what industries will be on the layout. We have asked the club members a couple of times what industries they would like to see on the layout. We received some very general suggestions last summer but our requests for more detailed plans have gone unanswered. As a last resort we are going to ask the members to recommend what specific structures they want to see. In other words, give us a picture and a model # for the kit. If we get any responses to that the committee will then look at what suggested industries can work together in terms of operations, i.e. logging scene - saw mill - lumber yard for example. We can then use the primary structure, if approved, to develop a larger scene and to determine the footprint required when we are designing the terrain. If the members aren't forthcoming with detailed recommendations then it will fall back to the committee to design the industrial areas and town scenes.

I have also been charged with the task of designing the control panels (actually, I volunteered for that so I have nobody else to blame!).

The rest of the meeting involved a simple summary of what the next steps are in the construction of the layout. We identified which subroadbed and Homasote sections need to be cut, which roadbed sections require the track center lines and turnout locations to be drawn, and even a request from me that we get all our tools and bits organized in one place so we can find them when we want them. (Sounds simple, but you have no idea how much time we have wasted looking for errant glue bottles and jig saw blades! I swear that there is a poltergeist in the clubhouse!!!LaughLaugh).

Anyhow, sorry for running on!

Bottom line is that we are winning and we are having fun!!YesThumbs UpYeahSmile, Wink & Grin

Cheers guys!!

Dave

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Posted by richhotrain on Tuesday, January 09, 2018 3:57 AM

Dave, sounds like you are going in the right direction and experiencing a lot of success.

Good luck with those Tortoises and the velcro mounting concept. In my experience, and I have over 60 Tortoises, the best method for me is to simply use two screws, one in the front of the Tortoise and one on the back opposite side of the Tortoise. I start with a 5/8" circular hole and then align the Tortoise with the visible turnout ties above. Never have had a problem with that installation technique.

Rich

Alton Junction

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Posted by rrinker on Tuesday, January 09, 2018 7:23 AM

 One little trick is to apply a piece of tape across the hole before installing the Tortoise. the thin music wire will punch right through and make enough of a slot to move the points (as long as you don't use something like thick and heavy duty duct tape or something) and the tape will prevent an endless pit when ballasting. Someone, one of the Tortoise alternatives I think, supplies ballast-colord self adhesive dots to cover the hole. The larger hole makes it easier to install the Tortoise but really the smaller the whole the better it looks - these stickies let you do the larger hole for ease of installation without the drawbacks of the huge bottomless pit. 

 Velcro should work, but the adhesive may eventually let go on the part stuck to the benchwork after some time of temperature and humidity changes. I'd consider thin double sided tape to hold the machine in place while aligning it and then just running a couple of screws in each one.

 I think you mean SPDT toggles? Two positions, only one set of contacts. That's what is normally used with a +/- 12V supply for Tortoises. LEDs to reinfornce the switch handle indicating turnout alignment can just be put right in like with the motor wire coming from the toggle - the slight voltage drop below 12V will make the Tortoise quieter, too.

                                          --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by railandsail on Tuesday, January 09, 2018 7:47 AM

Marking (saving) a PARTICULAR posting on this subject thread / forum ??

How is it best done??

On another forum I participate it it is almost impossible (who wrote and/or selected that software for their forum?). On another RR forum it is very similar to several boating forums I participate in, and it is VERY much easier.

(I wanted to save these discussions on mounting Tortoise machines as I will need such suggestions sometime in the next 6 months)

Brian

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Posted by rrinker on Tuesday, January 09, 2018 8:51 AM

 Bookmarking the whole thread is about it, or else copying all the posts and pasting them in a document.

 Thus far, nothing really new has been mentioned. All these different options can likely be found just googling for tortoise mounting along with plenty of others that haven't been mentioned here.

 Frankly, simple is the best. Tehre are all sorts of methods that involve making fancy jigs, adding additional wood to mount the Tortoise to, etc. Simple, it's in the sheet that comes with the Tortoise - cut out the provided full size paper template and tape it to soemthing a bit more sturdy - thick plastic, or a piece of sheet metal, so you can use the same template 100's of times. Drill specified holes. Attach Tortoise with screws. The alignment is important but there's plenty of travel that you don't have to be accurate to the nearest 100th of an inch. About the only tiem the 'stanadrd' way doesn't work is if there is somethign in the way that can't be moved. 

 And if you are going multi-deck - I heartily recommend something like RC servos, at a fraction of the size of a Tortoise, they don't hang down much under the upper deck and are easy to hide with fascia (which also acts as a valance for the lower level).

                                  --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by railandsail on Tuesday, January 09, 2018 10:18 AM

rrinker
And if you are going multi-deck - I heartily recommend something like RC servos, at a fraction of the size of a Tortoise, they don't hang down much under the upper deck and are easy to hide with fascia (which also acts as a valance for the lower level).

                                  --Randy

 

Do you have a specific link for these 'RC servos' you recommend?

I also don't care for the size of those Tortoise machines. I inherited a few recently and will likely use them on those turnouts that can't be reached for manual operation.

On my last layout I used the old Atlas machines with capacitive discharge operation....worked fine. And I would think also with Peco type spring loaded turnouts.

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Posted by richhotrain on Tuesday, January 09, 2018 12:32 PM

Yep, Tortoises can be visually displeasing on upper deck layouts. Perhaps the only drawback. Not a problem for me since I have a single surface layout.

Rich

Alton Junction

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Posted by rrinker on Tuesday, January 09, 2018 1:27 PM

Tam Valley Depot has all sorts of servo controllers, for both DC and DCC. They have mounts and servos and all the other bits too. There are others. I used Tam Valley's controllers on my last layout, but this time I am making my own. I used Tam Valley controllers but I bought my servos on eBay, typically under $2 each - the SG90 type are fine for HO and smaller and have enough throw to probably work fine with O scale as well. 

                                        --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by hon30critter on Wednesday, January 10, 2018 2:25 AM

richhotrain
Good luck with those Tortoises and the velcro mounting concept. In my experience, and I have over 60 Tortoises, the best method for me is to simply use two screws, one in the front of the Tortoise and one on the back opposite side of the Tortoise.

Hi Rich:

Thanks for detailing your experience. Like I said, we can add screws if the Velcro doesn't hold the Tortoises securely enough. Most of our club members are approaching their senior years so I am trying to make the under layout work as easy as possible.

Dave

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Posted by hon30critter on Wednesday, January 10, 2018 2:32 AM

rrinker
I think you mean SPDT toggles?

Yes Randy, you are correct. Brain fart!

Dave

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Posted by hon30critter on Monday, January 15, 2018 12:16 AM

I spent Saturday morning at the clubhouse with two other members laying out track. I have spent a lot of time on the computer plotting track positions but we are having some difficulty actually getting some of the track to fit where the diagram says it should go. Much of the track has fit in exactly as planned but some of the turnout ladders have not been quite as cooperative. There doesn't seem to be any discrepencies between the CAD turnout drawings and the actual turnout sizes so I'm not sure what is happening. I'm very frustrated that all the track simply can't be placed at the plotted coordinates and have it all fit.Bang HeadAngry Anyhow, we have been able to make things fit so far but it is taking much longer than I expected to get it to fit properly without any kinks or tight radii.

The other thing we managed to accomplish on Saturday was to lay out the cutting patterns for several more sections of cookie cutter plywood sub roadbed and the Homasote to go with it. That, along with laying the cork for the track that we have plotted out successfully, will keep the guys busy on Tuesday night. We might even get some bus wire pulled too! Will wonders never cease?!?

Cheers guys! Thanks for your interest.

Dave

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Posted by rrinker on Monday, January 15, 2018 7:16 AM

 Print out a part of the ladder full size - you should be able to go at least a few turnouts in before it gets too wide for 8 1/2" paper. If you don't know how to do this in 3PI - once you set a printing scale it will cover the layout area in a grid of paper-size boxes. You cna unselect them all and then just select the ones you want to print. Maybe 3 pages worth, and use the registration marks to tape them end to end, and lay it over the problem area. There may be some kinks as the tolerances can be a bit loose with turnouts so if you forve them together such that there are no gaps, it's actually NOT lined up properly. Sight down the diverging side of the ladder, with all points set to the diverging route, it should looks smooth, not all kinds of wobbly.

 ANd as silly as this may sound - I know you went back and forth on what brand of turnouts to use, when you drew the final plan that you are working from, did you make sure all the turnouts were the correct brand? If the plan shows Peco and you are using Atlas, or vice-versa, even if they are both #6, this will throw things WAY off.

                                       --Randy


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by hon30critter on Monday, January 15, 2018 10:01 PM

rrinker
ANd as silly as this may sound - I know you went back and forth on what brand of turnouts to use, when you drew the final plan that you are working from, did you make sure all the turnouts were the correct brand? If the plan shows Peco and you are using Atlas, or vice-versa, even if they are both #6, this will throw things WAY off.

Hi Randy - Yes, I used the Atlas #6 drawings from the 3rd PlanIt library.

The only turnouts I had to fudge were the Peco Code 83 curved turnouts. They weren't in the library and Atlas had not released their curved turnouts when we placed the order (I believe Atlas is now shipping their curved turnouts).

rrinker
Print out a part of the ladder full size

Good idea. I'll give it a try.

Thanks,

Dave

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Posted by hon30critter on Monday, January 15, 2018 11:08 PM

hon30critter
rrinker Print out a part of the ladder full size.

Good idea. I'll give it a try.

Hi again:

I printed out all the pages that had turnouts on them in the service area and west end of the yard 1:1. These are the areas where we will be laying the track on cork sheet as opposed to roadbed strips. Even after deleting the unnecessary pages there were still 30 pages in the printout. At least the club is paying for the ink.Yes

When I started to assemble the sheets it quickly became obvious that getting them lined up perfectly would be very difficult. The slightest deviation from one sheet to the next would throw the track position off quite significantly several sheets later. Scrap that idea. I could see it working with larger sheets of paper but trying to do it with 8 1/2 x 11 printer paper is too prone to error IMHO.

We have the turnouts for the service area and the west end of the yard temporarily laid out and pinned in place on the Homasote. Now we have to install the cork sheets. Unfortunately the cork will hide all of our track position markings. I have printed the area at about 1:12 and we will record the turnout locations and track position on that diagram. That will allow us to lift the turnouts, install the cork sheets and then re-lay the turnouts in the same place. In hindsight we should have laid the cork sheets first and then plotted the track position on the cork, but apparently doing things the easy way isn't in our cards.DunceBang HeadLaughLaugh

The rest of the layout won't be quite as challenging because almost all the track will be laid on cork roadbed strips so it will be easy to follow the center lines already drawn on the Homasote.

Dave

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Posted by railandsail on Tuesday, January 16, 2018 6:29 AM

This fellow here had some intersting ideas about layout planning and track and turnout placements,

http://www.modelrailroadforums.com/forum/showthread.php?38830-Help-Me-Plan-My-Layout/page18

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Posted by rrinker on Tuesday, January 16, 2018 7:05 AM

I think my whole 8x12 layout, minus the blank pages for the donut hole in the middle, was only about 30 pages. It's not that hard to line them up, unless you use really heavy weight paper and can't see through it - like up the markes exactly on top of one another and it's aligned. I was thinking more on the lines of printing maybe 3-4 pages worth, all in a straight line (so 1 sheet x 4 sheet's worth) just to check alignment.

 I wouldn;t worry about the cork covering things up - if the cork was placed on the track center line then the middle of the cork is where the track goes. Same thing on my last layout. I printed out (but not full size) the most crticial area which was to the right side of the yard because that was just past a curve and also had the branch for the cement plant coming off it. I printed it to a scale I could read off directly with a ruler, and made some marks on the foam about where the track should go. Marked some straight lines between the turnouts, and also took my stick and traced the curves. Close enough, because I wasn't trying to squeeze the maximum track in the space so if it wasn;t pefectly centered on the benchwork or something, it didn;t matter.

                                                --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by GraniteRailroader on Tuesday, January 16, 2018 8:10 AM

Could you extend the center line that the straight edge of the turnouts follow, mark it on each end with a mail, and snap a chalk line once the cork is down so you can see where the go?

 

(Previous) 1:1 Scale railroader - N Scale Modeler

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Posted by rrinker on Tuesday, January 16, 2018 12:48 PM

 Oh yes, something else I did, when markign the center line before installing cork, I also drew lines across at the ends of each turnout. All three legs, plus where the throwbar was. While the center lines would be covered by the cork the start and end point of each turnout was still visible.

                              --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

  • Member since
    July, 2006
  • From: Bradford, Ontario
  • 7,839 posts
Posted by hon30critter on Tuesday, January 16, 2018 10:57 PM

Just to clarify, we are not having any problems laying the cork strips. The center line is easy to follow. We are marking all the turnout positions as suggested. The challenge was how to re-plot the turnout locations where we are using sheet cork for larger areas like the yard and the service facility. Once the sheets go down all the plotting points on the Homasote disappear.

One of our members found a very easy way to re-draw the plotting points on the cork sheets. He took a series of photographs of the turnout ladders while they were still on the Homasote. Then he measured the actual locations of each of the turnouts, and then he simply transferred the coordinates to the pictures. They aren't to scale but that doesn't matter. We can clearly see the location of each turnout and how the ladders are arranged so installing the track on the cork sheets will be pretty straight forward. As an added bonus, the whole service area and east yard ladder only required five sheets of paper.

We got a lot of cork laid on Tuesday night. We had a box of 500 stick pins and we had to stop laying cork because we ran out of pins. That's OK, it was time for coffee anyhow.

Dave

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Posted by rrinker on Wednesday, January 17, 2018 7:55 AM

 Whatever works. That's basically what I did but used the scaled down printouts from 3PI to transfer the measurements. 

                                                  --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by floridaflyer on Wednesday, January 17, 2018 9:41 AM

Used heavy duty velcro to attach 40 tortoise in 2006. Have had no ill effects so far. Agree screws are good but the velcro has worked for me.

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