Rail question


Rail question
#1
I'm not familiar with the train and rail parts.

What is a good distance to separate two parallel rail lines from each other? Taking into account curved rail sections and the general way rail parts are supposed to be connected.

Currently I have them set as close as possible next to each other. I chose this value because part 949ac02.dat splits into two lines spaced this much from each other. But looking at Lego.com's TRAIN TRACK PLANNER it seems this can vary.

[Image: th_rail_sections_shapes_01_zpsd3fa3594.png]
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Re: Rail question
#2
Usually people leave one full track (eight studs) between the lines. That makes it easy to join everything up and fits with the spacing from the switch tracks.

Tim
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Re: Rail question
#3
Which switch tracks though? I looked through all the parts in MLCAD and they all seem to be much closer to each other.
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Re: Rail question
#4
Check out this web resource by Holger Matthes for (hopefully) all the answers Smile

Tim

They are all the same dimensions and, when used as intended (with a curve backwards) give a spacing of 8 between the two tracks.
Apologies. My mistake.
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Re: Rail question
#5
Is the 9V rail system on the left present in the parts library? I couldn't find it in MLCAD. Any unofficial parts?

[Image: track-points.png]

[edit]

Also, do any other of the systems use the same dimensions as the 9V tracks?
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Re: Rail question
#6
The modern all plastic track is essentially identical to the 9V track. The switch happened about seven year ago (or maybe longer... my memory is terrible) and the two are compatible apart from one having conductive strips.


Thomas Burger has made LDraw parts of the switches but they do have many errors and need work. But still - for such a complicated part they're pretty good.

http://www.brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?f=203196
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Re: Rail question
#7
yes, the 9V track (with metal top) is available as unofficial file, see
http://www.ldraw.org/cgi-bin/ptreviewsum...aintrack9v

you will get it when downloading all unofficial files
http://www.ldraw.org/library/tracker/

To much more easily layout train tracks, I suggest using software BlueBrick
http://bluebrick.lswproject.com/
which can save files in LDRAW format.

LEGO modified the 9V train track again some years ago to no longer have metal top
but instead be 100% plastic. These are not available in LDRAW yet except for 1 part, the straight rail 53401.dat,
which is an official file since update 2013-02.
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Re: Rail question
#8
Wow. I hadn't realised the switches were so far progressed Big Grin Awesome!

Tim
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Re: Rail question
#9
Thanks!

What is the best way to work with unofficial files? Put them in the "unofficial" folder or the "parts" folder?

Also, can I inline all the sub-parts so I can distribute only a single unofficial file with my model?

Was this the correct thing to do?
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Re: Rail question
#10
(a)
unofficial files placement: see http://www.ldraw.org/article/14.html
usually, unofficial parts should go into ldraw/unofficial/parts,
unofficial subparts should go into ldraw/unofficial/parts/s
unofficial primitives should go into ldraw/unofficial/p
or its subfolder "8" or "48"

(b)
inlining of subparts is not necessary. you should instead save your model as an mpd file.
MPD is simply a container file containing 1 or more LDR files.
thus, you can put all required unofficial files inside that file.
I usually use mpdwizard for this purpose. It scans my folders and puts all necessary unofficial files
into a single MPD, together with the original LDR model using it.
The good thing about that tool is that only UNOFFICIAL files get put into the MPD, all official ones are NOT.

I attach the tool to this post, as I was not able to find a download link anymore for it.
Rename it from *.zip.txt to *.zip, unpack it, you'll get MPDWizard.exe for Windows.
I cannot remember where I got it from some years ago. Maybe also some newer tool for that purpose exists.


Attached Files
.txt   MPDWizard.zip.txt (Size: 3.4 MB / Downloads: 1)
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Re: Rail question
#11
Code:
Maybe also some newer tool for that purpose exists.
Yes, MPDCenter is designed for exact this purpose.
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Re: Rail question
#14
Thanks! That does the trick.

However, after creating the MPD, MLcad still complains about some missing files.

3-8con5.dat
3-8con24.dat
48\11-24chr.dat
48\1-3rin15.dat
t04q4444.dat
t08q4444.dat

LDView doesn't report any problems, oddly.

I've attached the file if someone could take a look.


Attached Files
.mpd   2859c03.mpd (Size: 459.43 KB / Downloads: 1)
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Re: Rail question
#15
It appears the MPD file doesn't include the unofficial primitives, and you probably don't have MLCad configured to look for unofficial parts in the Unofficial directory that LDView automatically creates when it downloads unofficial parts. See here to update MLCAD (although I think that's not what you want).
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Re: Rail question
#17
No, I want the file to contain the part primitives as well. I will try MPDWizard next.

[edit]

Using MPDWizard was a success! However, the resulting MPD file causes MLCad to barf a bunch of errors when the part is placed within a model due to the no-nested-MPDs bug. This happens frequently enough already in Datsville that I want to avoid the bug whenever possible.

This is why I want to create an inlined DAT file instead of MPD. Is there an automated way to do this? I know that LLDP can do this, but you have to manually select each file and sub-file you want to inline, etc. etc.

[edit]

It seems LDDP also doesn't look for the unofficial parts directory.
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Re: Rail question
#18
I think you'd be better off configuring MLCad to look for unofficial parts, then do all your modeling with the part not present in your MPD model in MLCad, then use MPDWizard on your final result.
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Re: Rail question
#19
The problem with that is that my models are nested fairly deep. For example, here is the model structure to get to the unofficial rail part:

Code:
* datsville.ldr
  * layer_streets.ldr
    * streets_-2_-1.ldr
      * rail_switch_right_mmm.ldr
        * 2859c03.dat

Due to the no nesting bug in MLCAD, MLCAD will complain even if it is set up to look for unofficial parts.

It wouldn't be a big deal if MLCAD only complained once. But, it will complain for each and every sub-part (about a dozen in total) each time I load one of the part's parent models.

[edit]

I just configured MLCAD to look for Unofficial files. The error messages have stopped. But now it takes much longer to load MLCAD, ruining my workflow. Sad
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Re: Rail question
#20
You can put the particular unofficial files used by Datsville in their own custom Unofficial directory. Point MLCAD at that instead of your main unofficial directory with lots of files in it, and MLCAD should load faster.
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Re: Rail question
#12
Shameless self promotion but MPDWizard is my program Smile and if you're running windows, MPDCenter is a much more up to date choice.
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Re: Rail question
#13
Hi Orion, ha, thanks! mpdwizard does its job very well here still.
Just to say thank you for it. Will have to try mpdcenter.
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Re: Rail question
#16
I need to mention that the official MPDCenter is good for our "normal" mpd content files.

But if you have also referenced to another mpd content file you should try the current BETA.
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Re: Rail question
#21
I ended up inlining all the sub-models/parts manually using LDDP. It was not as much of a hassle is I anticipated.
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