Unitrack and Layout Planning Software

  1. Powersteamguy1790
    Years ago, most people used the Kato template to plan and design their layout along with some paper, a pencil and ruler. Todays track planning software makes this all obsolete.

    Most of your Layout Planning Software have extensive Unitrack Libraries that make the whole process of Layout Planning and Design easy.

    The cost for these programs range from no cost at all like the XTRA-Cad layout design package to software packages such as 3rd Plan It .

    I used XTRA-Cad a when I designed the track plan for the new JJJ&E. I found it easy to use once I carefully read through all the tutorials.

    What are your thoughts about using Layout Design Software, when planning your Unitrack layout?

    Would you ever consider using Layout Planning Software?

    Stay cool and run steam.....
  2. RBrodzinsky
    I started using AnyRail. Found it more intuitive than XTRA-Cad, though the latter seems to have more features. Haven't really explored either to their fullest, and wish I could get track to "nudge" more.

  3. Powersteamguy1790

    XTRA-Cad has the ability to move track slightly but I haven't been able to make that feature work.

    All I want from the software Layout design package is the track plan. I found XTRA-Cad lacking in building foot prints for a layout. N scale Architect laser cut buildings don't exist. The same can be said for American Model Builders.

    All Kato structures as well as foot prints for some Atlas and a few Walthers structures are available.

    Stay cool and run steam.............
  4. UPchayne
    where did you download that XTRA-Cad? i searched and could not find anything.
  5. TaeOH
    Here you go...

    The XTrkCAD Wiki: About XTrkCAD

    It is great software, but not intuitive, it is recommended you run all the tutorials that are built in. That page also has links to good guides.

    I can lay track in it pretty well now, but I still struggle with elevation.
  6. Powersteamguy1790
    The tutorials are a most to learn if you want to use the software. There is also a Yahoo group for XTRA-CAD.

    Stay cool and run steam.......
  7. hetek
    I use a program called "3D Railroad - Concept and Design". It also has a full Kato track library, along with most structures.

    I did have to tweak a couple of sections. What I remember is that I broke apart the group of tracks for the #4 turnout, into the individual pieces, and reloaded them back into the library. I named it something like "#4 turnout w/o extra pieces", so I can find it easily.

    I also edit the track to a rail spacing of 1". Why? It represents the width of the Unitrack roadbed. The track sections "snap" together just the same as before but now I have a better visualization of how the roadbed will fit around structures. Passenger station platforms, for instance.

    I print full size (no reduction) on 45" x 36" engineering size paper (actually my local Staples does it for me). Two sheets taped together gets me a HCD full size template.

    I'm sure other programs can do much of the same just as well, if not better, but 3DRR works for me just fine.
  8. RBrodzinsky
    The thread about using the Kato template has led me to "bump" this thread, as well. AnyRail has a demo version, which allows either 40 or 50 pieces to be placed on a layout. Has all the Unitrack sections in the library, and very easy to use.

    The recent layout I posted in the group album is done with AnyRail. It also helped me find a stress point in my main layout. I knew something wasn't right (I had laid it out "eyeball method"), but couldn't quite figure out what was needed and where. I started plotting it with AnyRail, and quickly found where the tracks really didn't "line up" (even though I could connect the Unitrack). Put in a 29.5mm piece to eliminate the stress, and everything laid flat, and the cars ran smoother.

  9. Powersteamguy1790

    Most Layout Planning Software have extensive Unitrack libraries in their demonstartion packages.

    Before I settled on using XtraCad, I tried 3rd Plan-It Software and was impressed with their Unitrack library in their demonstration package. Most software packages have demos that allow you to place 100 pieces of Unitrack on a sample layout. It's a good way to analyse how each Track Planning Software work as well as the ease of use of each of these programs.

    Stay cool and run steam....
  10. timhar47
    I had purchased RR Track software several years ago when in HO. I since have added seveal track libraries, including N Unitrack. Its a real nice planner system, but I dont like how every layout can only be a rectangle. If you are doing an around the walls in a 10x12 room, you have to make the initial layout 10'x12'. the problem with that is the track icon size becomes very small.
    I also notice that in real life, the track can have more 'give' to it then found on the program. In using the program with any track that has severe limitations on sizes available, its possible to never be able to join up the loop if the loop has some additional curves, switches and such. But in the real working, one can move things around a bit, checking carefully that you didnt go too far out of line, and fit in a piece of standard track to complete the loop
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