CNC cut switching layout!

Discussion in 'Layout Design Discussion' started by brett1970, Feb 4, 2011.

  1. brett1970

    brett1970 TrainBoard Member

    well, i finally found something interesting to try to cut. I found the track plan here:


    While the original was 10' long, i decided to use up some material, and stretched it to 190" I used Xtrkcad to draw up the plan, then i exported it as a DXF file to my cnc design software. From there, i used the calculator figuring in the roadbed, and drew it out around all the trackwork. I drew it as the total length, then split it in half, and nested it on a 4X8 sheet of 2" foam.

    I used a 45 degree V bit for the roadbed bevel, then a 1/4 straight bit for some of the narrower areas, and then a 1/2 bit to shave down all the rest of the surrounding areas. This was just a test, for anything i'd do for anyone else, i'd surface the entire sheet to eliminate thickness variation, but overall, it turned out pretty cool! I drew it with Atlas code 100 track, #4 switches everywhere, except one #6 because it fit better! I cut a 1/2 deep path around the border, and will trim out each 18" wide section on the tablesaw.

    You can see the tooling marks/edges, but they sand down really easy. I sanded a larger area to check it. Let me know what you guys think of it. I had 4 hours in design time, and 1 hour of cut time.




  2. brett1970

    brett1970 TrainBoard Member

    here's the last 3 pics



  3. COverton

    COverton TrainBoard Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Very cool!! Nice work there.
  4. Bevale

    Bevale TrainBoard Member

    Thats a really cool idea you have going there. What sort of depths can you cut? Would you be able to cut right through a 2" piece of foam? I am thinking that if you could use something like a topographical map and cut terrain, it would be a big hit with those that want an easy-to-build layout. Just stack and scenic.
    The biggest expense would be the time to create the topographical map and tool path.
    I definitely think you are on to something, now to find the market!
  5. Wolfgang Dudler

    Wolfgang Dudler Passed away August 25, 2012 TrainBoard Supporter In Memoriam

    when you have the tool
    and the knowledge. :angel:

  6. brett1970

    brett1970 TrainBoard Member

    My bit length is my drawback. I have to find a bit with more cutting lenght. I have 6" of travel in my Z axis. As far as Topographical is concerned, a 3D scanner is what i need. www.nextengine.com is the company that carries the scanner i am looking at. With that, i take a layout that has the terrain features done, like streams, rivers, hills, mountains, etc and scan them. Then with the scanned file, i can load it into my software, partworks 3D and then slice the model in layers, and cut it out, and glue the layers together to make larger 3D models.

    I showed the layout to a friend who is also into trains, and he was very enthusiastic about having a layout cut already lol. Once i get this refined, and keep building up a library of layouts, i should have a pretty good catalogue to choose from.

    Also looking at doing mix and match modules too. For what some of the other companies are charging, i think i have lots of room on the price range to still make it worthwhile.
  7. Wolfgang Dudler

    Wolfgang Dudler Passed away August 25, 2012 TrainBoard Supporter In Memoriam

    This sounds very interesting.

  8. Hytec

    Hytec TrainBoard Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Brett, looks great. I think it's a good product for those who want to put down track quickly, then do what they really enjoy...scenery and running. These folks will be even happier once you perfect 3D shapes. Then they can just fill the gaps in the foam board and get into the real artistry of creating scenery.

Share This Page