TT Free-mo

TT Free-mo

Postby Bill Dixon » Thu Jul 10, 2014 3:26 am

I have not been doing much TT-Scale model railroading or even any model railroading recently.
Way TOO Much Life happening over the last few months.
Hopefully things are calming down and I can get back to normal - whatever that is.

One thing I did manage to do was participate in an HO Scale Free-mo setup.
To participate I had to build a Free-mo compliant module.
It took two tries to get something that was presentable. It was the first module that I had built from scratch. On every other HO-Scale module I have, someone else built the basic carcass for me and I did the scenery and track work.
I am happy to say that I did Not have to use the First Aid kit during construction.<G>
It was not a very big module, a 15 degree 48" radius curve module, but it worked well and was fully compliant.

I had a great time during that Free-mo weekend and have been convinced of one thing:
When we get a critical mass of participants for a modular display, Free-mo is the way to go.

To be able to do this we need to set our own Free-mo standards:

Some ideas:

Module end piece dimensions - 24" wide by 6" high. Could be narrower - maybe 18" but 24" gives a lot of scenic space and would be more stable.

Track location - Single track - centered on end. Double track centered on end separated by 1 1/2". I understand why HO Free-mo specifies that double track modules are 2" wider but I don't know if we need to do that. Maybe do a 22" Single track width, a 23.5" double track width.

Rail height - Code 70 if we can find a good source. Code 70 should run most everything.

Minimum Radius - as large as we can handle but not less than 30". Maybe 24" on branch lines. This is a case where bigger is much better scenically and operationally. The drawback to a large radius is more modules are needed if you want an end loop.

Minimum Turnout number - As large as possible but no less that a #6.If we can get a source for them #8s would be better.

Control - DCC

Power connections - Anderson power pole. The current Free-mo Cinch Jones/Trailer plug setup is too clunky.

Layout height - If it is for public viewing - 42". If it is just for us then 50". Or you could do like several groups do and have convertible legs.

Colours and scenery will be up to the individual but a coordinated fascia colour would be good. Flat black seems to work well.

Any thoughts on this?
Regards
Bill Dixon
TT-Tracks
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Re: TT Free-mo

Postby j p » Thu Jul 10, 2014 6:03 pm

Very good input Bill.
Also the limits you defined are wisely chosen.
Don't let people to talk you away from them at the cost of lost compatibility.

Maybe you could explain the limits more in detail.
Example:
Minimum turnout size 6. Used typically for depots and industrial sidings.
Recommended size 8 or higher.
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Re: TT Free-mo

Postby Bill Dixon » Fri Jul 11, 2014 3:33 am

For those of you who don't know what Free-mo is here is a bit of history.

The concept of Free-mo is developed from the European 'Fremo'. In both cases their names can be considered to be short for: "Free-form modular".
http://www.fremo-net.eu/index.php?id=23&L=6
In Europe Fremo setup are huge! They often fill a gymnasium and are non-public affairs.
Modules are designed to be run from both sides (no backdrop) in either orientation in a display and to basic track work standards. DCC operation was designed in from the start and the large setups tax the capabilities of the most powerful DCC systems. The largest layouts often include HOm or HOe branchlines.

Free-mo took the basic European Fremo idea and modified it.

Fremo modules use plugs (left rail) and sockets (right rail) to connect the electrical bus between modules. Free-mo uses a male/Female pair of Cinch Jones plugs on each end.

Fremo modules use one of a selection of module end profiles (level scenery, small embankment, hill side, etc.). Free-mo settled on level scenery at the ends.

Fremo runs the rails to the edge of the modules and uses bolts in standard locations to join modules. Free-mo uses 2" fitter rails and clamps to join modules.

Fremo has a standard height. Free-mo settled on a 50" rail height although an alternate 42" height has appeared in some areas.

Both standards only specify how the end of the modules are made so that they can join together properly.
Both standards specify the minimum requirements for the mainline track through the modules - rail size, curve radius and switch number.

Other than the ends neither standard cares how long or what shape a module is. They can be curved, zig-zag, skewed, or whatever you feel like building that you can transport.

It is a very nice concept with a few wrinkles. Since to my current knowledge nobody in North America is building TT-Scale Free-mo modules we have a chance to set our own standard that works for us.

In subsequent post I will put forth my suggestions and the reasons for them.
Regards
Bill Dixon
TT-Tracks
North Vancouver, BC
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Re: TT Free-mo

Postby LVG1 » Fri Jul 11, 2014 8:03 am

By the way European FREMO means "Freundeskreis Europäischer Modellbahner" (circle of friends of European model railroaders) a includes even standards for TT scale modules.

But if you want to create standards for modules, how about being geared to Swiss MAS60 system for geometry? It's a simple honeycomb structure for a maximum of flexibility.
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Re: TT Free-mo

Postby gerhard_k » Fri Jul 11, 2014 10:59 am

LVG1 wrote:if you want to create standards for modules, how about being geared to Swiss MAS60 system for geometry? It's a simple honeycomb structure for a maximum of flexibility.


One fundamental feature of MAS60 is that the module end faces are not precisely aligned by pins, but are intended to have small vertical and horizontal adjustment capability by 8mm screws in 10mm holes.
Having never participated in a module meet, what is the practical experience of MAS60's in-the-field "adjustment" (sloppiness?) versus certain and precise alignment, as in FKTT? (Looks like I'm revealing my personal (totally theoretical) preference :whistle: )
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Re: TT Free-mo

Postby Tom Dempsey » Fri Jul 11, 2014 12:08 pm

So Bill, should I pitch my TT-Tracks module? Also in response to the above, I've done NTrak and a few others over the years. Slop creates problems which grow geometrically in relation to the amount of slop allowed to introduce itself into the system. I'm really big on positive alignment pins, it allows folks to travel significant distances and know with some certainty that the modules will work on the big day without spending half the show trying to get the display functioning.
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Re: TT Free-mo

Postby MacG » Fri Jul 11, 2014 2:31 pm

gerhard_k wrote:... One fundamental feature of MAS60 is that the module end faces are not precisely aligned by pins, but are intended to have small vertical and horizontal adjustment capability by 8mm screws in 10mm holes.
...


Also at the FKTT-modules are the 10mm holes and for connection the 8mm screws (M8). It works fine and you may be compensated some minor differences. Also in use at Fremo-H0.
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Re: TT Free-mo

Postby krokodil » Sat Jul 12, 2014 2:20 am

MacG wrote:
gerhard_k wrote:... One fundamental feature of MAS60 is that the module end faces are not precisely aligned by pins, but are intended to have small vertical and horizontal adjustment capability by 8mm screws in 10mm holes.
...


Also at the FKTT-modules are the 10mm holes and for connection the 8mm screws (M8). It works fine and you may be compensated some minor differences. Also in use at Fremo-H0.



Correct, and you cannot avoid little differences on the modules from many modellers. Also the wood is working in time so a little adjustment is always required in any scale. Few weeks ago we had also a module meeting. The setup required about 6-7 hours.

For TT the most frequently used standard is the FKTT, however there are heavy discussions about the heigth. The original dimension (~130 cm = 50") is too much for public presentations.
Some groups uses two set of legs with different length.

Here is a short video:

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Re: TT Free-mo

Postby LVG1 » Sat Jul 12, 2014 11:40 am

gerhard_k wrote:
LVG1 wrote:if you want to create standards for modules, how about being geared to Swiss MAS60 system for geometry? It's a simple honeycomb structure for a maximum of flexibility.


One fundamental feature of MAS60 is that the module end faces are not precisely aligned by pins, but are intended to have small vertical and horizontal adjustment capability by 8mm screws in 10mm holes.


Actually, I referred to the geometry of the modules themselves because that's the most striking attribute of this system. I hardly considered the module faces. I think, both can be independently defined.

Sorry for my mistakable formulation! :oops:
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Re: TT Free-mo

Postby Tom Dempsey » Sat Jul 12, 2014 5:19 pm

You create a drilling jig that is used as a standard, your module ends MUST be built using the drilling jig, and use table alignment pins to ensure interoperability. The drilling jig moves around through the mail, so all modules are built with the same jig. Most modular groups in North America have moved to this method, it works well, and you can even eliminate those pesky connector runs that never worked right anyway and run your rail right to the edge.
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