Module Standard Poll

Module standard to use for TT scale.

Current NMRA standard with small updates as defined in "Hmmm.." topic.
2
13%
Single main standard of the AKTT type (refer to "LINKS" for AKTT).
5
33%
New "TT Nut" standard defined by us here.
8
53%
 
Total votes : 15

The Problem(s) with Most Modules

Postby railtwister » Fri Nov 20, 2009 1:03 pm

Most modular standards, while well-intentioned, tend to be rubber-stamped from the early N-trak concept, which for it's day, was pretty revolutionary, but today has been diluted by all the copy cat standards in various scales and gauges. When the word "Module" is mentioned, most groups default to the same concepts with the same problems, ie. typical module is a 2' x4' rectangle, usually framed with 1x4 lumber under a plywood top, resting on legs approximately 40" high, with the tables arranged in a large oval for operation as a continuous loop, usually featuring two, three, or four track mainlines. Unfortunately, this results in modular layouts that for the most part look alike, operate alike, and are really pretty boring to watch once you've seen the first one or two. The flat table tops are usually way overbuilt, resulting in modules that are too heavy and back-breaking to transport, and because of their large size (2'x4' and bigger) can be cumbersome to store. Their scenery almost inevitably looks like what it is, a flat plywood table. Additional support equipment like legs, backdrops, curtains, clamps etc. add to the amount of "stuff" that must be dealt with for a setup. Because the modules are usually set up with a track plan that is nothing more than an oval a.k.a. the "dreaded donut" configuration, the routes and operation are too obvious and predictable to be very interesting to anyone but the first-time viewers. Another drawback of the "dreaded donut" configuration is that it requires a specific number of modules to close the loop, if one member should be out of town or sick on set-up day, the only way to close the loop is to leave out one or more modules, usually on the other side of the loop. The "dreaded donut" also means that the operators must find their way into the center to run the layout, usually accomplished by crawling on their hands and knees, which can be a problem for older members. The end result of all of these drawbacks are that the builders quickly get bored with setting them up and running trains in circles, and just as quickly tire of lugging them around to shows. There are some exceptions to all this, such as module standards used by FreeMo, East Penn Traction, oNe-trak, and T-trak. Of these three, T-trak (see: <www.t-trak.org>) is the most portable because the modules are much smaller and don't require leg assemblies since they are designed to be set up on banquet style folding tables, usually provided by the sponsors of the show or event where the modules are being set up. One of the keys to the simplicity and success of the T-trak modules is the use of Kato UniTrack, which has robust & replaceable joiners that can do double-duty by also holding the modules together, replacing C-clamps or nuts and bolts with washers, but I see no good reason a similar idea wouldn't work in TT with some extra thought given to methods of joining the modules together (perhaps magnetic cabinet latches?). With this type of module, construction could be much lighter in weight, and make use of more modern materials such as GatorBoard or possibly even FoamCore. The T-trak concept is still somewhat burdened with the "donut" type of track configuration, but this drawback has been partly overcome by the use of some special, unique, "junction" modules, and also the fact that the operators aren't required to be located in the center of the "donut".

I'm not aware of any modular groups currently building modules in the USA using TT scale, nor do I even know what most American TT modelers are using for their track (snap type, flex type or handlaid), but the point of all this diatribe is to point out that TT modular standards don't have to rubber-stamp all the drawbacks of previous module standards, because it would be relatively easy to start from a clean sheet of paper. Please think seriously about this before deciding to go down the same path so many other modular groups have gone before. While these are just my own opinions formed from personal experiences, I have been building modules in several different scales for over 25 years now, so I feel my points are valid.

Regards,
Bill
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Re: The Problem(s) with Most Modules

Postby ConducTTor » Fri Nov 20, 2009 1:15 pm

Well, dang man! You raise good points but I think it may be too late. Some of the guys have already started building their modules.....
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Re: The Problem(s) with Most Modules

Postby ConducTTor » Fri Nov 20, 2009 1:44 pm

P.S.

However, I think we should keep an open mind to changes when and where they are appropriate. I don't think it would be healthy to write everything down in stone and call it a day.
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Re: The Problem(s) with Most Modules

Postby railtwister » Fri Nov 20, 2009 2:39 pm

ConducTTor wrote:Well, dang man! You raise good points but I think it may be too late. Some of the guys have already started building their modules.....



True, I'm afraid I did discover the discussions on the modules subject a bit late, but other distractions (including some structural repairs to the house) have diverted my attention for the past month. Not that my attention span is all that good, even without various distractions...

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Re: The Problem(s) with Most Modules

Postby AstroGoat760 » Fri Nov 20, 2009 3:22 pm

It is possible to make "intermediate" modules as needed. Some modules on a HO scale layout that was at a train show I went to last weekend had about 4 different types of mainline modules, and there was connecting sections that allowed modules with different numbers of through tracks to be coupled up to make one big "donut".

It just takes a lot more planning.
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Re: Module Standard Poll

Postby ConducTTor » Fri Nov 20, 2009 3:38 pm

I think these posts are relevant to this discussion. Therefore I've moved them here :)
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Re: Module Standard Poll

Postby ConducTTor » Fri Nov 20, 2009 3:41 pm

In addition to what Sailor is saying, I think in general we are not nearly as constrained by our standards as it initially seems. The only 'real' constraints are track spacing and height if you are creative. I'll put together some examples of what I mean and posts them.
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Re: Module Standard Poll

Postby CSD » Fri Nov 20, 2009 4:17 pm

I agree with many of railtwisters comments, however; believe that the solutions we have come up with lend themselves to more flexibility. Although we have a minimum 2'x2' module size, the actual size and construction method is at the individuals discretion (so if you want to build a brick Haggis house, you carry it). The only conformity is that it align and attach to the adjacent section (method of attachment should be resolved soon). The requirement to supply a staging section behind the scenic module also loosens the restrictions on sizing. Although the current goal is to get our trains to run in a circle, that need not be the case in future. For example: the modules can be placed end to end with staging modules at either end for a point to point configuration. I have also considered the addition of junction and alternate modules. It would allow us to join to different standard modules, enhance operations and should be considered. At this point, however; there is, what, less than 10 of us actually coming together for this? How often are we going to do this? Really? I hope that we can, in time, generate enough interest to expand beyond our basic concept and implement the more interesting suggestions... And drink.
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Re: Module Standard Poll

Postby AstroGoat760 » Fri Nov 20, 2009 4:18 pm

Here are some photos of the aforementioned layout at last weekend's train show. I wish the focus was not screwy on some of the photos that showed joiner modules between modules that have between 2 and 4 main lines. Some used switches, some used dead ends.

Image
Image
Image

And here is an example of a barrier rope used for layout protection:
Image
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Re: Module Standard Poll

Postby CSD » Fri Nov 20, 2009 4:28 pm

AngrySailor302 wrote:
And here is an example of a barrier rope used for layout protection:


You reminded me of a thought on the subject. Use a clamp on the front of the module and tie rope to the end of it as shown below. It would be easier than carrying some kind of stands.
PB200003.jpg
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