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ranger10178

My first foray into T-Trak

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ranger10178

Hi all,

 

After finding some 6mm MDF in the garage, I've decided to give T-Trak a go. I've got 3/4 of the way through putting two "standard" 308mm x 300mm modules together.

 

The photos show the results: Poorly assembled, constructed etc, but hey it's a learning curve!

20200415_225743.jpg

20200415_225753.jpg

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cteno4

It’s a start, that’s the important thing! 
 

doesn’t have to be pretty you only see the front edge. If the front edge is a little rough you can always just glue on a nice bit of matte board and hit it with a can of some spray clear acrylic varnish. Or styrene sheet and paint. Cheap and easy way to get a clean nice textured/colored veneer on the front. 3” wide wood veneer tape is the fancy route and is about a buck a foot or less and gets you a very pretty hardwood face. You just iron it on with a regular clothes iron (don’t let your spouse catch you though).

 

did you have thurs for the legs? If not you can add later but instead of touts get some 1/4”-20 threaded inserts (or a metric equivalent available abs used in Ttrak in england) instead of tnuts. Tnuts require you hammering them in the last bit and once you have stuff on top of the module it’s hard to do this. Threaded inserts you just drill a hole and then screw the insert into the hole with a big flat screw driver, or a hex wrench or just a bolt threaded into the insert depending on the style of inserts. These are like those threaded inserts on ikea stuff. You can just clamp the module on its side to the edge of a table to hold it while drilling the hole and screwing in the insert.

 

https://smile.amazon.com/50pcs-Threaded-Insert-Furniture-Screw/dp/B07TBNJK11/ref=sr_1_2_sspa?crid=1T6C14KQAO8IG&dchild=1&keywords=threaded+inserts+for+wood+1%2F4-20&qid=1586992395&sprefix=Threaded+inserts%2Caps%2C144&sr=8-2-spons&psc=1&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUExUDVKSDhBSkZUSE4wJmVuY3J5cHRlZElkPUEwODAzMzg0MUNYMVdOSTlTTUM4USZlbmNyeXB0ZWRBZElkPUEwMzUzOTgxMk1WT0dTT0FWMVg0RyZ3aWRnZXROYW1lPXNwX2F0ZiZhY3Rpb249Y2xpY2tSZWRpcmVjdCZkb05vdExvZ0NsaWNrPXRydWU=

 

cheers

 

jeff

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ranger10178
14 hours ago, cteno4 said:

It’s a start, that’s the important thing! 
 

doesn’t have to be pretty you only see the front edge. If the front edge is a little rough you can always just glue on a nice bit of matte board and hit it with a can of some spray clear acrylic varnish. Or styrene sheet and paint. Cheap and easy way to get a clean nice textured/colored veneer on the front. 3” wide wood veneer tape is the fancy route and is about a buck a foot or less and gets you a very pretty hardwood face. You just iron it on with a regular clothes iron (don’t let your spouse catch you though).

 

did you have thurs for the legs? If not you can add later but instead of touts get some 1/4”-20 threaded inserts (or a metric equivalent available abs used in Ttrak in england) instead of tnuts. Tnuts require you hammering them in the last bit and once you have stuff on top of the module it’s hard to do this. Threaded inserts you just drill a hole and then screw the insert into the hole with a big flat screw driver, or a hex wrench or just a bolt threaded into the insert depending on the style of inserts. These are like those threaded inserts on ikea stuff. You can just clamp the module on its side to the edge of a table to hold it while drilling the hole and screwing in the insert.

 

https://smile.amazon.com/50pcs-Threaded-Insert-Furniture-Screw/dp/B07TBNJK11/ref=sr_1_2_sspa?crid=1T6C14KQAO8IG&dchild=1&keywords=threaded+inserts+for+wood+1%2F4-20&qid=1586992395&sprefix=Threaded+inserts%2Caps%2C144&sr=8-2-spons&psc=1&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUExUDVKSDhBSkZUSE4wJmVuY3J5cHRlZElkPUEwODAzMzg0MUNYMVdOSTlTTUM4USZlbmNyeXB0ZWRBZElkPUEwMzUzOTgxMk1WT0dTT0FWMVg0RyZ3aWRnZXROYW1lPXNwX2F0ZiZhY3Rpb249Y2xpY2tSZWRpcmVjdCZkb05vdExvZ0NsaWNrPXRydWU=

 

cheers

 

jeff

Hiya Jeff,

 

At this stage I'm not going to bother with covering the front with anything.

 

I'm not quite sure what you mean when you say thurs for the legs or about the touts. Is this technical jargon or American colloquialism?! 😂

 

I do plan on adding some legs with things you twist to adjust the height. However hardware shops are closed in the UK, and Amazon are only selling "essentials"...

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ranger10178

I've screwed the base board to the frame now, and drilled holes for power cables.

 

I was planning to use S62's with the Normal Kato feeders, however most people seem to solder the cables onto the rails. Is there any particulat reason?

 

I've got as far as drilling the pin holes in the track, as well as marking off the location of the tracks.

 

I'm taking a break for now, but will probably pin the track down this evening. Is there anything I should do before pinning the track on?

20200416_143411.jpg

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cteno4
6 hours ago, ranger10178 said:

I do plan on adding some legs with things you twist to adjust the height. However hardware shops are closed in the UK, and Amazon are only selling "essentials"...


ranger,

 

looks like the track is all ready to go!

 

yep you can add a face on at any time later, easy.

 

the legs are usually bolts (us standard are usually 1/4” - 20 bolts like m6 metric) that thread into some sort of threaded inserts you attach to the module structure. The old classic way is with the old Lee box (original design for Ttrak modules, but many ways to do them) is using an insert called a T-nut (maybe a different name on your side of the pond) that are driven into holes driven in little blocks of wood glued into each corner of the module. T nuts are simple just a threaded tube the bolt can screw into and then a flange with some barbs you can hammer into the wood to hold them in. Problem is you have to hammer or press with a big C clamp in order to get them mounted and hard to do once you start working on the track and scenery. They are also prone to wiggling out with time and need to be epoxied, so really are not the best option. The way they are being used on Ttrak modules is not how they are designed to function really.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T-nut

 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Carbon-Steel-ProngedT-Nut-Inserts-Furniture/dp/B07LF66TD3/ref=sr_1_2_sspa?dchild=1&keywords=T-nut+m6&qid=1587070128&sr=8-2-spons&psc=1&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUEyV0pZU0tYNDJCOFE3JmVuY3J5cHRlZElkPUEwMjQwNzAyMUtGNUpERzcyNkIzWSZlbmNyeXB0ZWRBZElkPUEwMjc0ODAwMjRMNDQ5OTRaUzk0NCZ3aWRnZXROYW1lPXNwX2F0ZiZhY3Rpb249Y2xpY2tSZWRpcmVjdCZkb05vdExvZ0NsaWNrPXRydWU=
 

http://ttrak.wikidot.com/typical-method-quarter-inch-material (Btw this site has a lot of great info)

 

some actually just take a regular nut that fits bolts and drive it into a hole that is slightly smaller than the nut. It’s cheap and can work, but hard to get perfectly flat and can wiggle loose with time (and thus epoxy again).

 

easier are what are called threaded inserts like I linked above. They are just a cylinder that is threaded on the inside for the bolt (leg) and have threads on the outside to bite into the wood as you screw it into the hole you drill. Some have an internal hex head you can just use and hex driver to sink, some have a slot to use a large blade screwdriver, and some you just use a bolt screwed all the way in to drive with a wrench. Threaded inserts are especially easier when you already have stuff on top of the module. Your sides and back piece see big enough to put the inserts into them or just use the method of putting the insert into a little block of wood and glue them into the corners.

 

one new evolution for Ttrak modules is you don’t need to do 4 legs, 3 actually works better. Put one in each front corner and one in the rear center. This way it’s super easy to level as you just level the front two to get the sided to side level needed between modules, then once done jsut do the single back leg to level front to back. Trying to level 4 legs is a real pain in the patoote and especially the two in back as you have to be reaching behind and remembering your fingers are upside down and thus turn direction is opposite from what you were just doing in the front! Unless you have a colossal building that weights a ton on only one of the back corners it won’t tip over. We uses three legs fine with larger 2x long modules as well. Also one less insert and bolt to buy!

 

cheers

 

jeff

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Martijn Meerts

Great start!

 

I've played a bit with T-Trak as well, not actually build any modules yet apart from some bases. Since I'm not exactly good at woodworking, nor really have decent tools, I decided to get my module bases laser cut. I only did a few basic ones, but I'm looking into doing some more advanced / modified ones so they work better with the prototype I'm going for.

 

As for the S62s with Kato feeders, people most likely don't use those due to price, cheaper to just solder some wires to the track. On the test modules bases I have, I did use the official feeders, but on the actual modules I'll probably go the soldering route as well. Mostly because I do plan to go for DCC, so it'll need some custom wiring anyway.

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cteno4

I actually just carve a slot under each rail with the roto tool in the middle of the 248 and solder the leads onto the bottom of the rail. Then best to just put a blob of epoxy over it so the strain is taken off the bare wire at the solder joint. Very tough and cheap. Last time i think it took me an hour or so to do 20 modules worth of these. I just decided to do them on all straight modules so did not have to worry later. Connectors on the other end I just left off and can be soldered on as needed for what we finally decide with club (Kato or powerpole). It’s cheaper to get heavier gauge wire (like 20g) for better power delivery and durability and the attach a plug on the other end (Ie a good tamyia Kato or powerpole). Or you can just get the Kato plug feeder wires and solder them directly to track if you want.

 

you can also just pull the metal connector out of a unijoiner and solder a 22g wire to the bottom (biggest gauge that will still go back together well) of the Metal connector. Then slip the connector back into the plastic unijoiner frame wirh the wire going out the bottom. Basically making your own unijoiner  power leads, but with heavier wire to hold up better. The Kato unijoiner power feed can snap really easily at the solder joint as 24g wire.

 

many ways to skin the Ttrak power connections!

 

cheers,

 

jeff

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ranger10178
Posted (edited)

Yesterday I wasn't feeling too good, so I didn't do any work on the modules, but today I've done a little.

 

I've pinned the track into place, and I've put a layer of corrugated cardboard onto the MDF.

 

I have also started cutting out some Greyboard sections which will be used as the pavements as well as what I'll put some buildings on. The plan will be to have some outer suburban / small town style buildings. (I'll use card printouts to limit cost/ allow me to build straight away)

 

I was wondering if anybody had any idea on how best to go about raising the height of the road for the level crossing? For that matter, any ideas for constructing the Level Crossing would be appreciated. I'm planning to use the barriers and lights from a Kato set I have. 

20200418_231257.jpg

Edited by ranger10178
Added photo it wouldn't allow mw to add on my phone!
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ranger10178
Posted (edited)

Managed to get the photo uploaded on my PC.

Edited by ranger10178
Managed to get the photo uploaded on my PC.

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Cat

Sheet styrene is my first go-to for any sort of area modelling like roads and pavements.

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ranger10178
12 hours ago, Cat said:

Sheet styrene is my first go-to for any sort of area modelling like roads and pavements.

Thanks Cat! I'll see if I can order some. I might do a mock up with card in the meantime.

 

Next on the agenda will be to build up the layers of cardboard on my second module. Then I'll try to find my ballast bucket, as well as order some sheet, and box section/bar styrene for part of the level crossing.

 

I also need to start designing my roads. I'll probably draw these on my PC and print them out in card. The same will go for my pavements (sidewalks).

 

Thankfully I should have a few spare traffic lights and lampposts from my Kato Station area set that I can use to detail the model. If not I can order additional supplies from a local dealer (Train Trax)

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cteno4

Ranger

 

cardboard works for a sub road bed, but be careful if you are doing ballasting or other very wet scenery processes as it can get up under it and really muck it up. You can also just hit the cardboard with some cheap spray paint ($2-3 paint cans) all over before you put it down to help prevent this. Also if you attach it down with white glue again soaking area with water can lead to the PVA glue coming loose.

 

printing streets works great! You can print in man hole covers, lines, road markings, etc. you can also use textures fo give them pavement a nice pattern that’s not jsut solid color. While at usual module viewing distances you won’t see any texture, adding a touch overscale just says to our mind’s eye road and we fill a lot in from our visual memory into what we are looking at. You can trace road markings from some of the decal sets as well. You can get fancy and try doing cracks, potholes and even tire and oil/exhaust smudge lines in the roadway. I’ve seen some very adept photoshop folks do amazing roads this way. You and also do some detailing and weathering by hand later with some weathering powders and such.

 

ive found using a heavier art/drawing paper with a little texture to the surface in an inkjet printer can give some interesting surface texture results. Glossy photo paper not so good but some of the matte finish photo papers gave interesting results. Laserprinter not so great as fuser roller flattens everything into sort of a hard coat. But inkjet it does burn a lot of ink! 
 

best to hit the top with dull coat before gluing down to protect the ink as much as possible again many inks May run some with scenery technique moisture.

 

experiment! I use quick printouts to test ideas 

 

cheers

 

jeff

 

 

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ia909

Hi Ranger

 

For baseboard joiners and legs, try www.stationroadbaseboards.co.uk and click on 'baseboard fittings'.

 

Regards,

 

Ian

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ranger10178

Thanks! I'll have a look!

 

I have kinda put these modules on hold for the moment, as I've just built a 2050x1220 baseboard upon which I'll be trailing layout designs, as well as generally having a play! At the moment I just have a double track loop on the board, but I'm going to try quadruple track next! - I have quite a lot of second hand kato track that I've just brought out of storage!

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