TT-Tracks

Re: TT Trak

Postby ConducTTor » Thu Mar 03, 2011 10:43 am

You guys could use the AnyRail demo version. It has all up to date track, unlimited use (not like 30 days or something) - it just limits the amount of pieces you can use to 50. Using only flextrack and trunouts (to keep under 50) I've designed my whole layout using it.
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Re: TT Trak

Postby railtwister » Thu Mar 03, 2011 12:48 pm

Hi Terry,

I don't know much about computers myself, and even less about CAD programs. I've tried a couple of shareware CAD programs and been totally lost, only to give up and be glad I didn't spend any model train bucks on them. The only ones I've been able to figure out at all are the old Atlas Right Track (which understandably is limited to only Atlas product libraries) and now the Railmodeller which seems very similar to Atlas. I'll probably end up purchasing the full version of RM if I don't find any major learning curve problems as I progress with it.

As for the module in the photos, it is a 3x166mm module, and it's dimensions are: length-497mm (19-9/16"), width-304mm (just a tiny bit shy if 12" - Ooops, Not my fault!), and the front fascia height is 70mm (2-3/4"). The module itself is supposed to be 1mm less than the track length, so that the track can extend .5mm beyond either end of the module in order to make sure that the module doesn't interfere with the joining action of the railjoiners, which need to "click" into place in order to function properly. My module is built using 1/8" thick Poplar plywood from the R/C aircraft department at the LHS, plus a piece of scrap doorskin (for the fascia) left over from a previous project. It is reinforced with 3/8" hardwood square stock (Poplar, I think), and the 2-1/8" tall legs in each corner are made of 1" square stock. Holes are drilled all the way through the center of legs (and the plywood, too) to provide clearance for the 1/4"x20 tee nuts and 2-1/2" long Phillips flat head screws that provide level adjustment. The wood for the legs is cut short of the 2-1/2" of the screws to allow for clearance of a stop nut and vinyl anti skid/scratchpad glued on the head of the nut. Both sizes of square stock came in 3' lengths and were purchased at Home Depot in the molding department, although I have seen similar stock at Lowes. I cut the plywood using an Xacto knife guided by a 12" stainless steel ruler and a 6" machinist's square, and the square stock was cut on a powered miter saw. The plywood came from the LHS and was pre-sized at 12"x48" (although it was actually just under 11-7/8" wide, I didn't measure it's length). The width being shy by about an eighth of an inch was compensated by the fascia thickness, so it wasn't a big problem.

My first step was to cut the plywood deck to length, using the square and a sanding block to keep it as square and as close to the desired measurements as possible. Then the 3/8" square stock was added to the perimeter of the cut plywood using Titebond III glue, and a lot of little plastic spring clamps from Harbor Freight, being very careful to make sure that the 3/8" stock is glued on square and flush with the edges of the plywood. Be sure to wipe off any excess glue that oozes out of the joint with a wet towel, it won't sand off easily once it's cured. Check your measurements and use the machinist's square frequently during the process of gluing each piece on to be sure everything stays square. Once the perimeter strips were applied, the legs were glue into the corners of the plywood, tightly against the 3/8" strips. at the front of the module, I glued an additional 3/8" square strip to support the bottom of the fascia, flush with the bottom of the legs. I used a 35mm long pieces of the 3/8" square stock, glued flush with the out side edges of the legs on either side to help locate the fascia support stinger, and fill in the gap between the fascia and the legs. I like to use a similar strip of 3/8" square stock on the back legs of modules longer than 12", even though I don't use a rear fascia, just for added support. At the back, I cut three 35x50mm pieces of 3/8"x2" basswood sheet to act as vertical spacer/filler pieces for the rear stringer, similar to the 3/8" square pieces on the front legs. The third piece is glued between the top and bottom stringer, halfway between the legs, to provide extra support for the top of the module to help prevent sagging. These pieces are made 2" wide so that they can be drilled to accept tee nuts or attaching backdrop/skyboards to the module, if desired. I didn't install them during construction, but I think I may add an additional stringer down the middle of the underside of the module, or maybe two (one under the centerline of each mainline) for added support. One under each mainline would be best, especially if there are no turnouts on that module, since it would not only give added support against sag, it would also give any track nails or screws something to bite into. However, under a turnout, such a strip could get in the way of switch machine linkage.

After the basic module platform is built, I like to cover all surfaces with a coat of Minwax solvent based clear satin polyurethane varnish to seal the wood. On the top, I try to brush it on well so that it doesn't build up a thick layer that might impede the bonding of scenery materials, but will still prevent the wood from soaking up a lot of excess water during the scenery process, which could cause warping or separation of the plywood.

That's the basic rundown on my construction of my first T-Trak-TT module, using some of the techniques I have learned from build a few T-Trak-N modules. Hope it helps you get started on your module(s).

Regards,
Bill


view 3.jpg
T-Trak-TT module rear view showing rear stringer and tee nut mounting pads for optional skyboard.
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Re: TT Trak

Postby railtwister » Thu Mar 03, 2011 12:51 pm

I'm not sure if I've tried that one or not, do they have a version for the Mac? So far, I'm pretty pleased with the Railmodeller program.

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Re: TT Trak

Postby ConducTTor » Thu Mar 03, 2011 1:14 pm

I never thought about sealing the wood - thanks for the writeup! Just checked and AnyRail is not for Macs.
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Re: TT Trak

Postby dileTTante » Thu Mar 03, 2011 2:06 pm

Thanks very much for the information. The attached photos show my first attempt at a TT setup in my apartment which I began around Christmas. I'll have to figure out how to put loops at each end because I want to run passenger trains, not do shunting. Point is this 'module' is made from worn out bi-fold closet doors (not the shelves- they're from Ikea). They are a foot wide. I have a scrap piece I can cut to length for a TT Trak module, maybe get right thickness by adding styrofoam or something. If dimensions are the main criteria perhaps this would do but if construction is important, too, then I'll have to visit those strange home supply depots.

As far as software goes right now I just want something to put on a laptop screen for the trainshow, just thinking about it at least. But I'll be learning more about how to use it as well.
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Re: TT Trak

Postby ConducTTor » Thu Mar 03, 2011 2:34 pm

If you can add 28 * 28 inch shelves on the ends, you can do 353mm radius loops. I mean 28 * 28 from the floor up - that way you're creating useful shell space for other stuff.
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Re: TT Trak

Postby dileTTante » Thu Mar 03, 2011 2:52 pm

The plan is to add some panels to the fronts of the end shelves. The panels will have the end loops of tracks on the backside, they'll open down to horizontal to match up with the long stretch. I left space so the trains can run through the uprights. Problem has been lack of resources. I was broke for a few years, am now on pension and catching up on things. My toys are from years back when I had a decent job. The TT Trak modules look like a good way to learn what to do.
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Re: T-Trak-TT Modules update

Postby railtwister » Sat Mar 05, 2011 2:54 pm

Hi Terry,

The T-Trak-TT have a lot of potential, not the least of which is as a teaching/learning tool. Right now, it looks like the biggest hang-up is track availability. It will be hard enough to attract newcomers if they can't just pick up the tracks they need at their LHS or over the web. If the cost of shipping enough track for 1 module is 35 Euros, plus a delivery time of three months, it will be impossible. I think at best, all that we can hope for with T-Trak-TT is to have some fun for ourselves and maybe provide a moment's worth of amusement for a few casual viewers at a show. I don't think anyone will be beating down the doors to build modules.

A number of years ago, someone was trying to promote a TT revival in this country, and had a very impressive display at one of the NMRA National Train Shows (maybe Pittsburgh?). I believe they were based in Michigan, and must have spent many thousands of dollars doing this and had a booth that featured a large layout, as well as a full line of BTTB European trains plus a lot of out of production American items, including old Kemtron kits. It had a short life, I think the outfit was gone by the next year's show.

I have just ordered a couple of small pieces of the Tillig Bedding track so that I can judge it's quality and suitability first hand, rather than relying on info and pictures on the web. These won't be enough to do even a simple module but will at least allow me to evaluate the product and see if the quality compares favorably with Kato's track. My recent correspondence with George has revealed that the track is molded and painted to represent concrete ties (sleepers), a fairly modern prototype which some (especially steam fans) may find limiting. Some of the photos seen on the webpages for the bedding tracks clearly show dark, straight (non-contoured) ties with simulated wood grain, and I suspect these are actually photos of Kato N Uni-track which were substituted because the real TT track wasn't available when the webpage was created. Now comes the hardest part, waiting...

Bill
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Re: TT Trak

Postby dileTTante » Sat Mar 05, 2011 8:49 pm

Some thoughts--

First, I've been watching videos of German locomotives, and a lot of them are obsolete museum trains hauling railfans on modern track in a modern settings.

Second, the modules are for exhibition in N. America and no German track is going to look right with N. American trains.

Third, I don't pay much attention to N scale because I don't like it, and I don't know what's available for track. But I've never seen an N-scale layout where the track looked realistic. N-scale rail from the flex track rail is nearly the same size as TT.

Fourth, sitting next to Marquette at the train show and seeing his fine models, I almost want to give up. I'm old and will never be able to achieve that level of modeling. I'm just trying to run some trains and have fun. From this perspective I feel that track on the modules is not very important. Scenery isn't very important either because it is not unique to TT. The models are important because they are in TT scale, unlike anything else at the train show. Any connoisseur who sees one of Marquette's models, or the latest ready made from Roco or Gold Coast, will easily make allowances for the track used on a module.
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Re: TT Trak

Postby Bill Dixon » Sun Mar 06, 2011 1:45 am

It's been a while since I checked this topic.

It is good to see that there is some interest in smaller lighter modules. I already have several "hundred pounds" of HO modules and do not really want to duplicate them in TT. I was hoping to duplicate the light weight T Trak modules.

I saw a few comments about the bedding track joiners looking like kato Unitrak joiners. That is because they are Kato Unitrak joiners.

As I mentioned in my first post, I have ordered up some bedding track but of course it is on backorder. I missed a chance to get info from the Nurnberg Toy show by one day. A rep from a local importer went to the show and had I asked soon enough he would have picked up info for me. Oh well. Given that I have no idea when the product will show up I am toying with the idea of contacting Tillig direct from our store address to see what info I can get.

I had questions about the geometry of the turnouts that have been answered by posts here. You do have to trim the turnouts to make a crossover. Not a big problem. Once I build a module with a crossover I do not envision taking the track up to reuse it.

Does anybody have templates with part numbers for all the bedding track pieces?

About module size. I choose a length of three track sections because a length of two didn't give you room for anything. I do not see why you could not go to four or more lengths. I think that the specification for straight modules should be that they are a multiple of the basic 166mm straight sections less one mm. The setup coordinator may need a filler module or two to even the sides out but that should be no big deal.

About the corners, I added the short section to protect the curves from damage. I thought that it would be easier to replace a damaged short track section than a curved piece but did note how big it made the corners and what this would do regards fitting modules on tables. I have no problems dropping the straight section to make the corners smaller.

Broader curve modules are going to be bigger.

I should note here that what we are defining here is the minimum specification for TT Trak modules. There is no reason why you couldn't build a set of TT Trak modules that could be put on a tray on legs and used as part of a modular TT layout.

I haven't touched on DC or DCC although I have a full DCC system.

In the beginning I see the TT Trak layouts as donuts (easy to setup and wire) but if enough of us build modules I would like to progress to a 'point to point' (loop to loop, or loop to yard or yard to yard) setup. With end loops DCC would be a necessity here.

What we need now is track. I hope supplies show up soon while interest is hot.
It looks like I will not have track for this months show (Western Rails) so I will now aim for Trains 2011 (November 12 & 13).

Bill Dixon
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