1. rray

    rray Staff Member

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    Today I drew up an end module to mate to the three 440mm x 300mm module set I made for my Lester WA scene. This module has a 300mm high backdrop, that the train goes through coming out of the Lester WA module set, and is supposed to represent the Green River parallel to the NP tracks, along the route towards Seattle.
    TTZ Corner.JPG
    The Green River has several turns and small bridges west of Lester, and a really big high bridge east of Lester. The light gray line is the BNSF mainline, so you can see there are bridges and turns on each side of Lester.
    Green River.JPG
     
  2. rray

    rray Staff Member

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    So, since I am the first member of our T-Trak-Z club in Boise, and since every other TTZ club has fine tuned their module specs to their liking, I decided I would adhere to all the technical specs that will allow me to connect to other club's modules, but since I plan on modeling mountainous regions, I elected to go with a 300mm skyboard on my straight modules. I also decided that end modules can have skyboards if desired, especially if it helps frame a scene.

    One of my deviations from the TTZ wiki is I decided that skyboards can be used on end modules if you like. Another is I decided that the 2mm (2000 microns) module gap is too ugly (maybe functional but still ugly) so I made my modules only 500 microns smaller than the Rokuhan track lengths for closer coupling.

    Since I elected a closer coupling, I need help making sure my modules will not come apart easily, so I choose 90 pound pull super magnets, gapped through 3mm of wood giving about 10-15 pounds of pull between the adjacent modules. The supermagnet is countersunk 3mm in using a 1-1/4" Forstner Bit, and the 34mm washer countersunk 3mm using a 1-3/8" Forstner bit. I also speced a single pivoting alignment pin, centered under the track joiners, to prevent show bumps from misaligning the tracks. And finally, I added a 13mm wire passthrough hole for DCC Command cables and track feeders.

    Here are the pics with the highlights. Yes in the background I have tomatoes still producing in January, in 5 gallon buckets with a southern exposure patio door :D The legs can be adjusted with an allen wrench accessed from the topside of the modules, and the 5mm rubber caps grip the table, yet are soft and do not scratch the table.
    [​IMG]

    Here you can see how the modules are pinned together, and where the magnetic joining system is located:
    [​IMG]

    Here is a measurement of two 440mm modules close gapped, with the removable pin installed and the magnets pulling the modules together:
    [​IMG]

    And, I couldn't wait, so I cut the corner module I drew up today and glued it together, so you can see how the trains can pass through the skyboard. This module is 345mm x 300mm, and the skyboard is 300mm fro the bottom of the module:
    [​IMG]
     
  3. DadCooks

    DadCooks New Member

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    @rray It looks like you have your own or access to a laser CNC(?) machine.
    Would you mind telling me what brand it is and what software you are using?
    My son is a Mechanical Engineer who also has Associates Degrees in Computer Machining and old fashioned Lathe Machining. He is intrigued by what the model railroading world (T-Trak in particular) is doing with computer-aided design and manufacturing.
     
  4. rray

    rray Staff Member

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    I have a 2008 model 30W GCC Laserpro C180 desktop laser with an 18" x 12" engraving area. This is an industrial type 24/7 duty cycle machine with an air cooled 20,000 hour metal laser tube. What is really nice, and sets it apart from the cheaper lasers, is it uses a Windows Print Driver, so you can directly print from any windows program. I use Corel Draw X4, but was on Corel Draw 9 when I purchased it. I also have a 2003 model 12W Laserpro Venus desktop, but it needs a CO2 recharge, and only has an 8" x 12" engraving area. It can only cut through the thinnest materials, and is more suited towards engraving rubber stamps, or cutting roof shingle material in Z.
     
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  5. al borg

    al borg New Member

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    In case anyone else is interested Masterpiece modules has quite a selection of ttz modules I had a discussion with someone there about a new module but turn around that has a 220 245 radius
     
  6. husafreak

    husafreak TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks for the heads up.
     
  7. rray

    rray Staff Member

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    I looked at their site, and seen a good selection of Z Scale modules to choose from, and am surprised how affordable they are, less than the price of a typical a Z Scale boxcar! Masterpiece Models T-Trak Z They are CNC cut, so should be very precise, but they guy did say they have fuzzies that need to be sanded off.

    Here is a video of their module assembly:
     
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  8. husafreak

    husafreak TrainBoard Member

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    Well that is fantastic, I think I’ll give this guy some business and help reinforce his decision to produce TTZ modules. Now to design a layout!
    Of course I am still super conflicted. I personally feel the larger sizes and depths are the way to go, ultimately it is just a few inches. That what’s been holding me back. Anyway I really prefer the 220/245 curves with the option to do 195, I just have to decide what depth straights...
     
  9. rray

    rray Staff Member

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    Today I designed all the basic modules I need to build my Lester WA module set. This complete set measures 2360mm x 692mm or roughly 93" x 27" and will fit on a standard 8 foot x 30 inch folding banquet table. The radius of the turns are 270mm and 245mm, so passenger trains are accomidated:
    Lester Modules.JPG

    The turntable module is 480mm deep x 440mm wide, however I cannot cut that large on my laser so I have a few splices. The sine wave pattern is the splice for the table top of the module, called a Finger Joint. What I did is measure the kerf of the laser cut at .020" for this thickness, and added the 20 thou to the length of the module, so when I glue it together it should measure exactly 480mm deep:
    Turntable Module.JPG

    I also had to splice the left and right sides because they are too long, but they just get Box Joints. There is an overlap of spliced pieces such that the front half of the tabletop, will hold the 2 side piece Box Joints together, and the back half of the sides, will hold the table top Finger Joints together. In other words, once all the parts are fit, they hold each other in perfect alignment while the glue sets.

    If you try to figure it all out, you will discover the 300mm backdrop extends to the left and right sides, and forms a pseudo "Window Box" in the back half of the module, such that it seamlessly matches the adjacent 440mm x 300mm modules.

    On the back side of the display is four 440mm x 175mm yard modules that will allow staging of trains up to 53" or 1350mm long, and these modules will not have backdrops on them. I am actually surprised I was able to fit my Lester WA design into a module plan that does not require a bump out module, and even more surprised that I could figure out a way to laser cut a module larger than my lase can accomidate. I'll cut the parts sometime this week and see if I can assemble it with just glue and masking tape. :D
     
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  10. rvn2001

    rvn2001 TrainBoard Member

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    That looks great, Robert. Why not make the 2 end modules 4 90-degree corners? That way you don't have to do any fancy, extra cuts for them.
     
  11. poppy2201

    poppy2201 TrainBoard Member

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    For everyone's information, David Petersen and Masterpiece Modules have been around for a long time. In fact he was in on the discussions when the T-TRAK-Z standards were being rewritten back in 2018. He originally drew up specs for what he calls the STD 220 modules (a copy from August 3, 2018 of which I still have) but decided that a 295mm depth as a minimum was the way to go. This led to a conflict between parties and thus that is why you don't see his modules being promoted on the T-TRAK-Z FB group as the "270mm minimum depth" is listed as the standard and there doesn't seem to be any wavering of that in the future. I have no objections of promoting his product as well as any other manufacturer of modules. Competition is good for the hobby and encourages creativity.

    If you want modules from Masterpiece that have the "standard" 270mm depth I'm sure David would make them for you as a custom order. Contact him and inquire. Personally I have found over the last year and a half the 270mm max depth is too limiting as well as the smaller 195/220 radii too confining in light of the modern equipment we have available in Z and running on larger curves just looks better and thus my decision not to follow it. My 320mm depth quint modules are due to be delivered today and I'm quite confident that future projects will be no less.
     
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  12. rray

    rray Staff Member

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    The end modules are four 90 degree modules. Only the Turntable module is a spliced module, because I cannot fit any kind of roundhouse without a very deep module.
     
  13. husafreak

    husafreak TrainBoard Member

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    So Robert, are some of your modules your own standard?
    It looks like your “front” modules are 295 depth, standard, and you said your “back” modules are 175, not standard, then you have the special depth for the turntable, talked about that earlier in the thread, then the corner modules are not square, which I think is not standard, are they also 295 deep? It looks like your grid is 20mm? Thanks for the clarification.
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2020
  14. rray

    rray Staff Member

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    That grid is just the default Corel Draw grid which changes by zoom. The straight modules are all 440mm wide by 300mm deep. This is the limit of my laser cutter or I would have made them 320mm deep.

    The corner modules are 345mm x 300mm, again because I could not fit the standard 345mm x 345mm on my laser, one axis limits at 300mm. This is not really a problem because the track setback is 76mm on one side, but only 31mm on the other. It's not a physical problem with the standard, just an aesthetic one, because the modules will mate up with other standard modules, they just won't look the best. Again, this is only a limit of the size of my laser's cutting table, and if I use 2 of my end modules together, nobody will be the wiser because they match each other.

    If I really wanted too, I could make small 45mm x 345mm boxes and glue them on the 300mm side to make them aesthetically standard, but realistically, they will probably only be used locally, and I would probabaly setup only the better more detailed modules to the big shows.

    One thing to remember about connecting your modules to the T-Trak-Z standard, only a fraction of the standard affects functionality. Those are from what I am able to discern:

    Interoperability Functionality Standards (must comply)
    1) Module lengths must be designed in increments of two pieces of the standard Rokuhan 110mm track or 220mm.
    2) Module heights must be adjustable to cover the range of 70mm to 102mm.
    3) Rokuhan track must be used at the ends of all modules that will interface with the TTZ standard.
    4) Inside and Outside corner radius must use 195/220mm, 220/245mm, and 245/270mm for multi club modules to be planned and fit.
    5) Junction modules (T Modules) must use 195/220mm, 220/245mm, and 245/270mm and follow specific length rules listed on the T-Trak-Z Wiki.
    6) Track feeders must be connected to Anderson Powerpole 15/30/45A shells wired to rail colors from front to rear rail, Black/Red, Yellow/Black.
    7) Any crossover from the two main tracks must be electrically isolated (insulator gapped) to prevent shorts.

    Interoperability Functionality Standards (should comply)
    1) Module lengths need to be 2mm shorter than multiples of the 220mm standard in case the other guy makes his modules too long. I have heard from the T-Trak seasoned veterans that this frequently happens, and by allowing that 1mm overhang on each end of your modules, you will allow that poor guy who is just a millimeter out of spec the opportunity to participate.

    Each and eveything else in the wiki is "Recommended Practice", to make your participation a much more harmonious experience. (so you don't get hollered at for having modules that look like they don't belong), and we are here to have fun with others, hence.
     
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  15. poppy2201

    poppy2201 TrainBoard Member

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    The quint modules from CMR Products arrived today. These quints are 1098mm x 320mm. Now to get busy and get them assembled.

    Quint 0001.JPG Quint 0002.JPG
     
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  16. rray

    rray Staff Member

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    Nice, it looks like they even burned holes for the track screws, excellent!
     
  17. poppy2201

    poppy2201 TrainBoard Member

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    Yeah, a feature they have always done so you can screw the track in place from underneath. Screws are supplied with the kit. The only minor problem is the spacing is for 110mm track. If you use a 220 or some other straight piece the pre-drilled holes won't line up with the "tubes" underneath the Rokuhan track. You will either have to screw those pieces from the top with Marklin screws or use some form of adhesive to secure the track if you don't want to go with screws.
     
  18. husafreak

    husafreak TrainBoard Member

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    What is you favorite type of adhesive for gluing down track?
     
  19. rray

    rray Staff Member

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    I don't like to use roadbed track, prefering the traditional flextrack and matching turnouts.

    So, for Atlas and other non roadbed track, I first glue down cork roadbed with wood glue, then I use Walther Goo, a contact cement in a tube. I apply the thinnest snail trail of the stuff by pressing the tube nozzle flat with the top of the cork and marking a path down the top of the cork, as though I was using a sharpie pen, at exactly 90 degrees to the cork.

    It barely uses any contact cement that way, yet leaves a sticky snail trail of cement. I let it sit for 30 seconds to allow the glue to "Skin" then lay the track on top, and wiggle it sideways a bit, and hold it on the centerline for a couple seconds. That's it, waterproof, and ready for ballast!

    For roadbed track I don't know, I have a lot of it, but never used any. Little screws maybe? Maybe Walthers Goo will work with it too?
     
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  20. poppy2201

    poppy2201 TrainBoard Member

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    Finally got around to assembling the quint modules this morning. All taped and waiting for the glue to dry.

    Quint Assembled 0001.JPG Quint Assembled 0002.JPG
     
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