Layout Design Software?

Hoss Jan 28, 2024

  1. Hoss

    Hoss TrainBoard Member

    860
    733
    35
    What’s everyone using? I see something called SCARM and AnyRail. Is there a favorite among the modelers? Preferably free but I’m willing to pay a reasonable amount.
     
    BoxcabE50, Hardcoaler and BNSF FAN like this.
  2. country joe

    country joe TrainBoard Member

    1,188
    3,474
    57
    I use Rail Modeller Pro on my Mac. It’s a good program and, as far as I know, it’s the only one available for Mac. If you have a Windows computer others will have to help.
     
    BoxcabE50, BNSF FAN and Hoss like this.
  3. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

    10,924
    46,565
    142
    I used SCARM with good results.
     
    BoxcabE50 and BNSF FAN like this.
  4. MetraMan01

    MetraMan01 TrainBoard Member

    745
    5,182
    41
    I’m happy with SCARM. Probably better out there. I found playing around with elevation with SCARM a little tedious on something this big 8’x20’, but eventually went back to something that will be generally flat. Here’s my track plan:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
    BoxcabE50 and BNSF FAN like this.
  5. Hoss

    Hoss TrainBoard Member

    860
    733
    35
    Thanks for the replies. My home
    Computer is a Mac so Rail Modeler Pro may be my only option based on country Joe’s comment.
     
    BoxcabE50, BNSF FAN and MetraMan01 like this.
  6. Hoss

    Hoss TrainBoard Member

    860
    733
    35
    looks great!
     
    BoxcabE50 and BNSF FAN like this.
  7. sidney

    sidney TrainBoard Member

    1,265
    2,148
    38
    im a scarm user.... not a mac fan at all... but i do love linux better than macs any day of the week.....but then again mac is a linux flavor just user has no control of it.........
     
    BoxcabE50 and MetraMan01 like this.
  8. Shortround

    Shortround Permanently dispatched

    4,405
    5,294
    93
    I had another system - don't remember the name - that I downloaded about '99. That computer got fried 3 years latter. I have read about SCARM but never tried it. Does it work with a new machine and Windows 10+. Is a larger screen and printer necessary?
    Also now living in a second story apartment I can't get fancy with bench work. I that necessary for what it will create?
     
    MetraMan01 likes this.
  9. jhn_plsn

    jhn_plsn TrainBoard Supporter

    2,685
    3,094
    76
    For many years I used 3D RR Concept and Design, but there were never any updates to the libraries. I loved it and tinkered with it all the time. Now I use Anyrail as it is is similar and receives updates often. I primarily do grade and fitment checks then as I build I add in the details.
    I'm an N scale guy.
    Here are some I put together. The 3D option was never built. The other is my current project that is well along.
    2021-06-13 (4).png 2021-06-13 (2).png Screenshot 2023-12-31 114153.png
     
  10. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

    2,377
    1,447
    56
    In the 1990s, I had an early version and a 1997 Version 3.02 of 3DPlanIt that had lots of bells and whistles and (to me) a moderately steep learning curve, so I never did much beyond the basic trackwork and a few buildings and minimal scenery.

    In the last few years, after designing track plans for very small/simple layouts or a small section of larger layout with a pencil, I've used XTrakCAD (Click it for a link) to make a nicer looking track plan that can be digitally sent. A friend using XTrakCAD spent dozens of hours designing his basement-sized track plan with structures and scenery. Months before starting any actual benchwork, and even before he had completed designing the whole track plan, he used the XTrakCAD feature for adding in car/loco information and simulating trains running on his track plan.
     
    BigJake, Hoss, jhn_plsn and 2 others like this.
  11. Sumner

    Sumner TrainBoard Member

    2,906
    6,192
    63
    It would probably be very easy to find a good working used windows computer for $50 or less at a yard sale. a friend or possibly Goodwill or on line. You don't want a Cromebook.

    Sumner
     
    MetraMan01 likes this.
  12. Hoss

    Hoss TrainBoard Member

    860
    733
    35
    The last time I did this back in the early 2000’s I used some layout planning software by Atlas. Maybe that’s what you used too. It worked fine for my needs back then, but I’m sure today’s stuff is better.
     
    MetraMan01 likes this.
  13. Hoss

    Hoss TrainBoard Member

    860
    733
    35
    I have a PC laptop I could use but it’s a work laptop so I’d rather not. The Mac is at home. I’m not necessarily a Mac guy, but I’m not looking to get anything new right now either.
     
    MetraMan01 likes this.
  14. Hoss

    Hoss TrainBoard Member

    860
    733
    35
    That looks great!
     
    MetraMan01 likes this.
  15. Shortround

    Shortround Permanently dispatched

    4,405
    5,294
    93
    I sold my old junkers for $100 back in 2002. So the cheap ones are not Windows 10, well before that and the local thrift stores will not handle even an electric typewriter.
    Chrome is the best according to the local repair shop. It used to be several but, now it's down to one run by a man that is not useful.
    I believe I had tried about 4 systems in the '90s.
     
    MetraMan01 likes this.
  16. Sumner

    Sumner TrainBoard Member

    2,906
    6,192
    63
    The reason I mentioned that you don't want a 'Chromebook' is that it has the Chrome Operating System on it, not Windows. From what I've read it isn't going to run software written for Windows or Mac software easily....

    https://www.cnet.com/tech/computing/how-to-get-windows-software-on-a-chromebook/

    Since you can find used Windows computers very cheap I'd stay with a Windows computer if you are looking to run software written for Windows.

    Sumner
     
    BNSF FAN and MetraMan01 like this.
  17. Shortround

    Shortround Permanently dispatched

    4,405
    5,294
    93
    Ah!! Now I remember "Chromebook" was used in business environments years ago. Don't know about it now. "Chrome" is an additional system upgrade like the one Windows also uses. Both are on my desk top and lap top.
     
    BNSF FAN and MetraMan01 like this.
  18. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

    3,399
    6,690
    70
    I use XtrkCAD, and I like it a lot. The price is certainly right ($free), and since I use Kato UniTrack sectional track, I'm not using many of it's features for flex, hand-laid, etc. track use. It does everything I need it to do, and a whole lot more. Runs on Windows or Apple, and probably more...
     
    BNSF FAN and MetraMan01 like this.
  19. Hoss

    Hoss TrainBoard Member

    860
    733
    35
    I decided to go with Rail Modeler Pro since it's seemingly the only one that operates on a Mac. Over the past few days I've been doing a practice layout with it just to learn the software. It wasn't free but it seems like it will serve my needs well.

    Thanks for all the recommendations!
     
    jhn_plsn, MetraMan01 and country joe like this.
  20. Shortround

    Shortround Permanently dispatched

    4,405
    5,294
    93
    I believe this may be the one I may try. I will probably be returning to N and have Kato UniTrack. Unless there is one that will concentrate on Kato sectional. I may not be using flex for now.
    The next door tenant has already complained about the noise of the N/HO dcc and I will have to move over to the smaller bedroom.
     
    MetraMan01 and country joe like this.

Share This Page