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Katten Koffietafel Spoorweg

Started by webmartians, December 13, 2018, 07:29:55 pm

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...finishing what I started 30 years ago ... maybe.

Attached is the .ANY file for my Cats', Coffee Table Railroad.

  • Coffee Table -  Sure, it IS a Z gauge, after all

  • Cats' - More like, somehow, prevent the cats from playing "Godzilla Wrecks Tokyo" (Plexiglas is your friend!)

The layout is inspired by the David Mitchell KidmorZ Mountain Railway (https://kidmorengauge.weebly.com/kydmorz-mountain---z-gauge.html), but with so many modifications that any lineage is nebulous, at best (How did he maintain clearances and 3% slopes?). The name is Nederlands (Dutch) because ... well ... why not?

The work space is 110cm (43") by 60cm (23") by 18cm (7"); inside of a glass-topped, coffee table. I'm going to see what happens with a 3D printing of the base with an AnyRail produced .STL file and a subsequent cap to effect tunnels (stay tuned for tales of glee and sorrow).

There are three sections:

  • Main Run - Three loops a la KidmorZ but with a lot of rearrangements to obtain the 3% maximum slope

  • Reversing Loop - "Hours of mindless fun" with the loops requires some novelty to reach the "fun"

  • Switching Yard - While the main and reversing sections will be automated, hands on folk can use a small switching yard to assemble and disassemble trains

Opinions, even  :P, are solicited.

That IS my picture! All others are imposters ... or stunt doubles.

Tom Springer

Interesting layout.

Do all of those S-curves cause any operational problems?  Not a Z-scaler, so I don't know if the problems with S-curves in other scales applies to Z-scale. And the 4.4% grade at the top of the layout on the 'green' straight track is meant to be there?
Tom Springer

(Unintentional Pyromaniac)

Tom Springer

So the switching yard is styled similar to a US "hump yard" with the entering track raised slightly and a small downward slope for cars to roll along. Putting a single-car-length track at the end that is sloped back up a little will help somewhat with the problem of cars running back to the bumper area; that's what I saw on the one hump yard I studied years ago.

Are you using roadbeds underneath your track?  If yes, what type and width? Would you need a sub-roadbed for support?  Would these impact any of the overlaying/underlying track areas?  Or possibly impact with those turnout motors (squares in row 1, columns 4-5)?   Think about how you would place roadbed/sub-roadbed for supporting track (if needed), width of any needed support structures for these, and where they might encroach on any tracks below - if you think of these support structures being very similar in form to wooden tunnel portals and then visualize putting them on your layout to hold up the overcrossing trackage, then you can ask yourself how do thinks look and work.

The closest I've come to anything Z-scale, other than looking at a few layouts, is having a piece of Z-scale track as a "mine" track to give visual perspective in a background setting.  I'm looking forward to the pictures of the layout when finished to get new ideas on someday perhaps making another visual perspective of a track line running on a mountain ridge as a background if I ever rebuild an area. Hoping I can learn new things from your efforts.
Tom Springer

(Unintentional Pyromaniac)

Tom Springer

I asked about the roadbed, because all track needs something to rest on, whether wood, plastic or any other rigid material, so it doesn't sag and has the support to stay in place.  Generally another material is placed on that support surface to dampen sounds - cork roadbed or foam is usually the choice as either help with the noise a running train generates.

In particular, regarding supports, is the area with 3 levels of track in row 1, grid square 4; the yellow upper track will need support, and so will the light turquoise track above it; the 3 levels may make support structures "interesting". Add in that the tracks are above a turnout with a switch machine attached, and complications regarding placement of the support structures may arise. Hence why I asked about roadbed and supports.  The track arrangement there may be very hard to construct.

Questions are easy; answers often aren't.  I tend to put out the questions so folks know what to think about; I don't know what the answers should be, that's up to each builder.  If it works for you, then it works.
Tom Springer

(Unintentional Pyromaniac)

Tom Springer

Not sure about an .STL export working, so I tried it just to see if you could get just a "roadbed" printed for the tracks.  (I do a lot of 3D designing and printing these days; "a lot" is probably an understatement, as I'm now using 3 different machines... no real time for layout work anymore...)

I exported your layout (track only) as an .STL file, then put it into Cura, the 3D slicer I generally use, and what I got was pretty bad.  The .STL file may have representation issues with dimensions/sizes.  My Cura configuration was for a Monoprice Select Mini that uses a 120mmx120mm bed size; the bed shows as a series of squares in a grid pattern, each square being 10mmx10mm.  When the .STL file was imported into Cura, it occupied less that 5percent of a grid square (as a very small structure), and was rotated so that it stood vertically on one side, not flat as I expected.

Once I rotated it to lay it flat on the bed. the size was so small, Cura would only see it as a single layer, meaning 0.2mm in height - the normal layer height I use for the Mini with a 0.4mm (standard size) nozzle.

So I tried importing the .STL file into other 3D programs, and I got pretty much the same result - something so small it initially couldn't be seen on the screen.

If you want to pursue this effort of exporting as a .STL file, I think David may have to look at the export parameters.  What I got couldn't be done on a 3D printer.

Even if you get an export the right size, 3D printing with the necessary supports is probably only going to get you a mess that isn't usable.

You'd probably be better off adding an AnyRail 'trace' with the appropriate width (not an AnyRail 'roadbed'), switch to just the 'centerline' for the track, no sleepers, and printing that 1:1 on a stiff cardboard sheet (having to segment the printing, probably), and cutting that result so you have the base for the track, then use the proper supports underneath the raised parts.  With the 3 levels of track you have, you probably would have to place each level (color) into it's own AnyRail layer, so you could isolate each and print each independently.

You may want to find other z-scalers and ask them for ideas.  I know ModelTrainForum.com and RailServe.com have z-scale forums.
Tom Springer

(Unintentional Pyromaniac)

Tom Springer

Other than the S-curves in the blue and pink track sections, there's not much else I would worry about at this point, given your limitations on space.

The cork roadbed for Z-scale that I'm familiar with comes from Itty Bitty Lines and is 18mm wide; even if you don't plan to use that type of roadbed, you might set the trace option to 18mm and see what the tracks look like where they are close together and if there are any clearance issues between them.

If you need to put a .stl file in the forum, just add the .txt filetype id at the end (file.stl.txt) when posting it and that can be removed after downloading to view the file.
Tom Springer

(Unintentional Pyromaniac)


Maybe not do hump yard and keep it flat? Might make for better operation and storage? Just a thought.