1. rray

    rray Staff Member

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    For char reduction, I had to change my pulses per inch from 400 (where I normally cut) down to 100. This gives 1/4 of the pulse burns normally used, but since there is more time between each pulse, they laser pulses are hotter so burn through deeper. It still had a lot of charring on my cuts too, but still quite usable. I used a 1.5" focus lens (engraving lens) because I don't think I have enough power for my 2" cutting lens to cut all the way through.

    I too was surprised I could find the wood on Amazon, but B/BB grade was there for $2.65 a square foot delivered to my door, and having it available in a size that fits my laser was a bonus.






    So I sanded the module with 40 then 220, and sealed it with Spar varnish so it will stay stable. This module was made from 6mm Baltic Birch plywood, laser cut to the specs of a single wide module 220mm wide, 270mm deep (including the skyboard) and 70mm high (178mm including skyboard). I cut .165" holes just above the leg levelers so I could drop an allen wrench down to adjust the height.

    [​IMG]


    Something I did different in my 15 minutes of design work, is since the specs require a skyboard on all straight modules, I just incorporated the skyboard as part of the module to save both setup time, wood and weight. I don't have the measurements for the electrical panels, so I didn't cut any mounting holes yet. This is just a test case module.
    [​IMG]


    Underneath is 6mm threaded inserts, threaded for 1/4-20 threads. I used 2 inch long 1/4-20 set screws, and have 5mm ID rubber caps on order to make them soft feet. The good thing about having a permanent skyboard is when I set the module on it's side for access underneath, the skyboard prevents the module from tipping over. What do you guys think?
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2019
  2. JoshMurrah

    JoshMurrah TrainBoard Member

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    Looks great! Looks very very close to what you get commercially currently.

    As you progress, you may want to consider selecting a few of your modules and making some backboards removable on them, for use when you need to make a two-sided viewing situation where you don't have back to back... so far I'm finding that cases where I am not going back to back, I'm usually against a wall tho, so the backboard is still a good thing. I keep a small minimal bridge module, and my yard has removable backboards, but also some of my smaller ones like the Goldtree station and industrial singles, have permanent backdrops just like yours, so I mix and match for flexibility sake.

    Typically I don't put power drops on singles, and I only have a couple of singles since they're so dang small... they are good to have to make odd geometries work/etc. but generally I'd think more people would go or doubles or maybe larger as a general rule for scenery room. if you did have a lot of singles, you'd have to break down and add some feeders to some of them eventually.
     
  3. JoshMurrah

    JoshMurrah TrainBoard Member

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    The knockout for the Anderson Powerpole snap-in receptacle is 1.25" wide by 1" tall, for future reference.
     
  4. poppy2201

    poppy2201 TrainBoard Member

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    I ordered (4) 245/270mm corners from this supplier and they have shipped and should be here by Monday 12.16.19.
     
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  5. poppy2201

    poppy2201 TrainBoard Member

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    Here is the track plan and the modules I will be using.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. rray

    rray Staff Member

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    So, tell me about how the modules actually connect to adjacent modules? What holds them together? Is there a gap between modules? Has anyone ruined their track pieces at the module ends? Does the plastic tabs on the Rokuhan track stick out over the ends of your modules or do you remove them at show teardown time? Does anyone use MTL, Marklin, Peco, or Atlas track? How forgiving is track spacing at the module ends? What are my options if using Atlas track?
     
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  7. husafreak

    husafreak TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks for posting your layout Charles, I would really like to see more pictures of modules or layouts to help me decide which to purchase/make.
    I read somewhere that whatever track you use the standard is still Rokuhan for the connections. I would also like to see pictures of the area where the tracks/modules connect.
     
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  8. poppy2201

    poppy2201 TrainBoard Member

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    Everything is disassembled right now but here is a shot of the double module that serves as my Power Control Module. Keep in mind this is a 270mm depth module but I am going to migrate to a 320mm depth (not the standard but that's my preference). To the left side you can partially see that it is connected to a corner module which happens to be a 220/245mm radius corner module (again my preference and not the standard and I will be building 245/270 corner modules to eventually use)

    Hope this helps some.

    [​IMG]
     
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  9. rray

    rray Staff Member

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    Thanks Charles, it looks like you are using turn radius closer to Z Bend Tracks 9" and 10". I like that ideas better because 84' passenger cars look goofy if they manage to navigate tight radius curves. Even the 270 radius turns allow the car to overhang the rails on the inside of the corners quite a bit. Your take on the format allows more a realistic presentation

    I hope I'm not mis-enterpting the point of TTZ. It's hopefully not intended to present only the bling and sparkle toy aspect of Z by highlighting only high speed Rokuhan Shorty bullets, painted in bright fuscha colors?

    I want to do realistic scale modeling in Z, but in a format that my aging body can actually carry and setup at shows, and sit down and enjoy instead of struggling to setup heavy ZBT modules, crawling on the floor to adjust the feet height and wiring, fiddling with Marklin accordian tracks, and standing on the concrete long hours. ZBT is a young mans game.
     
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  10. JoshMurrah

    JoshMurrah TrainBoard Member

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    The standard calls for three corner sizes, the largest being 245/270mm radius, so the corners Charles are posting, are in spec, and I welcome anyone that wants to build corners at that size.

    The depth of the straight modules are not adherent to the standard. I posted on this already in this forum thread regarding my reasoning for this limit, and for the reasoning on why I run the smallest corners.

    A really great example of this is that Charles is local to me, but once he rebuilds to 320mm deep modules, he won't be able to come and join in my frequent showings in the area... I have the larger library of corners and junctions, and use them to great effect, but they are all the smallest corner size and his modules wouldn't fit, or I'd have to configure the layout in a way that would let his modules fit. As layouts grow larger, the back to back configs are more space efficient, but I wouldn't be able to run his modules back to back with the corners I'm working with.
     
  11. JoshMurrah

    JoshMurrah TrainBoard Member

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    Here's a few recent photos...

    One of the photos shows the Pensacola show setup... I chose to run in a "dogbone" config, with return loops folding the two lines into one large line, along with a small center isle where two junctions in the rear, introduce a separate inner loop, which I ran Shortys on. The dogbone style works great when you want to stretch out a reallly small layout, like my single-participant, against-the-wall layout here. On a more typical larger T-TRAK layout, this would be away from the wall, and viewable from all sides, meaning the modules would be back to back on the tables, and just corners without return loops.

    There's a photo showing what my layout looks like all packed up... the very small modules with their short backdrop, and small size corners, all pack into ten gallon bins.

    And one final photo just showing the modules unpacked at home, unassembled. I'm fortunate to have a home area where I have built in desks and cabinets, so I can set my layout up at home in a dogbone config, and sit in the middle of the "C" area, and also have additional area to do projects.
    IMG_5788.jpg IMG_5822.jpg IMG_5836.jpg
     
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  12. JoshMurrah

    JoshMurrah TrainBoard Member

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    And one more batch of photos - last ones for a while.

    Some photos of the yard area, which is my best scenic'd area... I'm more of a design guy versus scenery.

    The show scene is from Tallahassee, where I combined with another club member local to that area to make a L shape. Charles was also going to display at this show which would have made a larger C shape, but he had a non-train-related issue and was a no-show that weekend. I haven't managed to show with Charles yet, and doesn't seem like I'll be able to for a long while, at least until his corner and junction library grow and personalities align once more.

    The show photo, also shows the height and display style of all T-TRAK formats. Some don't like it, some do, it's a preference. I enjoy it, because you can assemble the layout in a seated orientation and you can use whatever folding tables, you or the show can provide. Most importantly in my mind tho, it's much more kid and handicap friendly, no wobbly stools for kids. If you use smallest corners, there's several inches of set back on a standard banquet table and you don't need to run ropes or plexiglass in my experience, just keep a watchful eye.

    I did also throw in one photo of the 3D printed alignment tool that helps nail down where your track spacing/setback is... it's available for free on thingiverse to self-print, or I can print and mail you a set for $10.

    IMG_5854.JPG IMG_5855.JPG IMG_5856.JPG IMG_5857.JPG IMG_5853.JPG
     
  13. rray

    rray Staff Member

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    I built 1 standard small module, but I am going to use it for the NMRA PCR spring meet's 10" x 10" x 10" diorama challenge.

    I am going to draw up the double wide modules next. I think I can do much more with the 440mm modules than the 220's because of the interface space. Also, I am going to make a 3 of the 440mm modules as permanent, always gets connected in an 1,2,3 order so I can make the scene I want.

    You know those leg adjuster inserts? I bought a bag of 100 5mmblack rubber caps to fit over the set screws to make them soft feet. Look at this photo:
    [​IMG]

    So, I measured those inserts inside, and discovered they have a 6mm wide x 6mm deep recess where you use a 6mm allen wrench to install them. Since I am using a laser to make the modules, I can precisely and repeatably place a hole in the side for those inserts. So, what I am going to try, is to place a single hole in each side of the modules, so I can drive in one of those inserts.

    I have also ordered 6mm x 10mm dowel pins after testing those inserts with a 6mm drill bit for fit. So I will glue in a dowel into the insert on one side of each modules, centered exactly between the module legs, and leave the other side insert empty. This will make an alignment pin for my set of 3 modules that will be able to pivot for leveling in the Y axis (front to back) only.

    Also, I ordered suppermagnets with screw holes and striker plates. The plan is to screw and glue the supermagnet on the inside of one side of the modules, and use a forstner bit to countersink flat the striker plate to the outside of the other side of the modules. The magnets I orderd are 1.26" cup magnets with 90 pounds pull. Hopefully, the pull through 6mm of plywood will still be strong enough to pull the module sides together tight with a few pounds of pull. This should yield a precise repeatable module alignment for my 3 modules that I can use butt joint track connections without needing rail joiners, allowing me to use Atlas flextrack on those modules.

    At the ends of the #1 and #3 modules, I will revert back to the standard TTZ format of 2mm gap between modules and Rokuhan track interface connectors.

    Hopefully I will have them built by next weekend, cause all the hardware won't be here till Friday.
     
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  14. rray

    rray Staff Member

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    Your yard modules look great, you did an excellent job with the ballasting of the track. It really hides the plastic look of Rokuhan's steep ballast. Nice job on the REA building too! Looks fantastic! See this is what I'm talking about, lights, painted backdrop, finescale structure modeling, realistic scenery! Excellent, thanks for sharing!
     
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  15. JoshMurrah

    JoshMurrah TrainBoard Member

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    Robert, a lot of the N scale guys who do T-TRAK, do adjustments from top, and I believe Charles uses these as well. I prefer hex bolts and a small batt/electric driver from underneath, but both methods have merit... as long as your modules can do the adjustment range, it doesn't matter how you handle it... I've seen people use toilet shims hahaha.

    I'm interested in seeing how your magnetic attachment goes... my experience in larger scales, is that clamp or magnetic, either way, still needs an alignment pin along with a metal receiver for that pin, as the magnet or other alignment method just isn't precise enough otherwise. The alignment pin and clamping is how my club's large N scale floor modular (N-TRAK) functions, along with expansion track or various length inserts. You have your heart in the right place, in that you can join a set of your own in this way, but at the end of your module sets, provide the standard Rokuhan/joiner attachment.

    I will say, that if there's one thing I don't like about this format's implementation in Z scale, is that the Rokuhan joiners are just not as good as the N scale Kato joiners... Kato's metal joiners are deeply embedded into a large plastic joiner, and functions as one tight clickable piece. in Z scale, the plastic is almost not attached to the metal part, and the joiner has a chance to slide back further into the rail/bed rather than joining, and I do spend some time during setup fighting these. I'm quick to throw out any joiner giving me issue and grabbing a new one, Rokuhan sells them in a pack fortunately.
     
  16. JoeS

    JoeS TrainBoard Member

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    Yeah that REA building model caught my eye. Very well implemented. It’s very impressive!
     
  17. rray

    rray Staff Member

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    So I am waiting on computer stuff before I can make my S2 Switcher decals, and had this project on one of the back burners. I had drawn up a 440mm x 300mm double size T-Trak Z Module, the largest I can fit in my laser.

    I cut and assembled 3 of these modules today. They are sitting on the garage floor with heavy boxes on them waiting for the glue to set. I included my new TTZ club logo, "55 Z" for Idaho highway 55, where I live, and the T-Trak-Z logo. I drew a 300mm high skyboard with cutouts for the powerpole panel mount connectors. They have a tight fit using .98" x 1.35" cutout, which only slightly compresses the panel retainer wings. I had to cut small L shapes to fit in the retainer wings so the panels cannot be pulled out. The 3 modules I glued together today will be arranged permanently to make my Lester WA scene. I might not be able to fit the turntable on this module, but NP tore down the roundhouse and burried the TT pit by 1960, so I will just focus on Diesel servicing instead of Steam.

    [​IMG]
     
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  18. poppy2201

    poppy2201 TrainBoard Member

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    I changed my plan from using doubles and singles to using quint (1098mm x 320mm) modules. I ordered my (2) T-TRAK-Z Qunt Modules this morning from CMR Products. The plan is Image 1.

    I guess this is the impetus for me to get cracking and assemble those 245/270 corner modules I already have.

    I will eventually have (4) quints with various track configurations that I can easily swap out with each other as the mood strikes (Image 2). I haven't thought out the 4th quint as far as scenery but am leaning toward cutting out a section and running a river under double bridges.

    320 Depth Main Line Segment.jpg Quint Options.jpg
     
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  19. rray

    rray Staff Member

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    You can sure do a lot more in 43 inches than you can with 17 inchers. I want to do something like that but I want just a bit more to be able to easily ship my modules somewhere for the NTS, and fly instead of drive. Living in Boise I am the only member of the Z Scale club I started! :D for now...
     
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  20. poppy2201

    poppy2201 TrainBoard Member

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    I can relate and appreciate your view. Over the last year and a half I have learned a few things.
    1) I have become a firm believer of having as few modules that are manageable depending on your track plan.
    2) Some track configurations e.g. as sidings can be tricky to design and look good using singles and doubles while allowing for proper connections from one module to the next and the proper overhang at the ends.
    3) I know that bucking the trend (standards) by having deeper modules doesn't sit well with some but a 25mm to 50mm increase in depth across the board of all modules makes a huge difference in Z when planning scenery etc.
    4) Some may argue that going with a quint it becomes hard to handle and more difficult to transport. Maybe with N or HO but I can't see it with Z. I guess I'll soon find out.
     
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