A question about CAD

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by ezdays, Mar 13, 2003.

  1. aartwmich

    aartwmich Member

    EZ...nothin wrong with drawing what you built into the cad file so as to continue your design in cadd. I do that often at work: draw up the concept, build some prototypes, make changes incorporated during prototype construction to the cad file, draw/design the other parts of the concept - we do that over and over until we get it running then 'asbuild' the final product.

    Whatever tool helps ya think!!

    I see you have some funky curves in there and you may want to draw some 3d to design your topography.

    Looks pretty cool tho. Got any pics to post of your progress?

    Have fun! :D
  2. RailRon

    RailRon Active Member

    Don, there's absolutely nothing wrong with the method of your developement. I guess we all do it more or less this way.

    Don't get me wrong: As I said before, I only went into so much details with my 3d planning, since I had no possibility to lay hands on real wood and screws. But now, since I started construction, 3rdPlanIt enjoys its well-deserved rest. (Well, almost!) :D :D :D

    Your plan looks fine and offers quite a lot of scenic possibilities. I would suggest to add an interchange track with a real RR to the 'world outside' - perhaps along the front or along the left side. An interchange track allows you to handle ANY type of car (even railfan steam excursion trains) - a source of endless operation possibilities! :cool:

    Hope to see your progress here at the Gauge! Happy railroading!

  3. Paul Davis

    Paul Davis Member

    The paper + cad approach actually works really well. When I was designing my layout I'd draw on paper the general idea of what I wanted then drew it in cad to see if it worked. I then printed it and fixed problems/changed things on paper as it really is a lot quicker to draw with a pencil. Now I have peices of paper with all sorts of lines drawn over them but I have a cad drawing that I can print out whenever I want as a reference. It's especially useful to be able to print out the complicated parts 1:1
  4. spitfire

    spitfire Active Member

    Wow Ron, I can see how that could be totally addictive! As you say, it could well be a hobby in and of itself. $100 for a program that does what you've shown here is well worth it IMHO.

    I know some of us don't have the room right now for a layout the size we'd like, or even a layout at all. But for $100 it's possible to have that dream layout anyway - that's pretty cool.

    I fall into the category of someone who spends WAY too much time at the computer. I've been that way ever since I got my first Mac back in '88. It's lucky for me that's not a Mac program or you folks would probably never see me again LOL!

    Lately I've had to deliberately set aside an hour each day to do some actual modelling or model-related stuff in the real world. I like to compare it to someone tunnelling their way out of a POW camp. It may seem like slow progress, but little by little the tunnel gets longer and in a couple years it's really something!

    :D Val
  5. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    Thanks, I had considered doing that, and that's a very good reason to do it. At the stage I can add it just about anywhere, but I've got a lot of room around Hannigan Medows which is the lowest elevation on my layout.

    Yeah, I did put some topo lines in the sketch, I'd love to do it in 3D but the leaning curve is kinda steep.

    And I do have some progress pics, I thought I'd start a new thread in N scale.

    To all,
    Thanks for everyone's comments. I guess I was looking for a bit of reassurance that I was headed in the right direction, and to get a few nudges if it looked like I was going off course.

    D:cool: N
  6. aartwmich

    aartwmich Member

    EZ..actually by 'funky curves' I meant the track curves not the topo curves. Which software did you use to draw the tracks?

    The 3d would help in designing your topo, you can fix the track curves in 2d I would imagine.
  7. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    Yeah, that's what I understood you to mean. I use TurboCad. I've used it since version 2.2. They made 3D a permanent feature around version 5 which bloated the program and jacked up the price about triple. I mainly do schematics, wiring diagrams and assy drawings so the 3D features never had much appeal until now.
    I just drew the topo curves in to give me an idea of where to start putting things. It's kinda late since I've already got all the elevations roughed in. I think I'm stuck in a 2D world until I get a bit smarter. :rolleyes:

  8. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    I resurected this thread from almost a year ago to see if there is any fresh input on the subject. My layout right now is kinda in limbo until we move, and when we do I will have a lot more room to build new or expand my current layout. I think what I'm going to do it finish the one I've started for the experience and to give me some satisfaction of being able to run some trains while I start on a larger one.

    In the meantime, I'm thinking that this would be a great time to pick up a 3D track planning program and get to learn it. There's some great input here from a year ago, I'm just wondering if the conclusions are still the same, RTS for 2D, 3D Planit for 3D stuff. As you can see, I have done a bit using turboCad, but I think I'd be better off using something specifically designed for layouts.

    If anyone has any thoughs, or want to reinforce their prior comments, I'd love to hear them.
  9. TR-Flyer

    TR-Flyer Member

    Hi Don:
    I downloaded the 3rd planit demo this morning and i'll play with it some this week in the evenings when i get home. The pictures posed here and the info on the website makes me think it's a great bargain. I've used RTS and found it limited, though a good bargain at $0.00.

    As i said before, i use AutoCAD for the module layouts for our club. We're having a club get together in March up in Richmond and using AutoCAD i'm making a 2 x 3 laminated "playing card" for each person’s modules, about 65 of ‘em. Since i'll have a model of each person's modules on the 'puter i'll also go ahead and do a proposed layout for the get together so we can do planning for transformer locations and blocking. But there's always a few last minute changes due to someone either showing up or not showing up. We can take the cards out at the site and lay them out on a table and shuffle them around till we get a layout everyone likes. Then we just leave the card layout there till we get all the modules set up so people can come over to it and see what goes where. It's been really useful for our division when we are setting up a 36'x 36' layout at a GATS or other show. Less confusion.

    Like Micro station, Acad is not a program for most modelers. I use it just because I have it and have been using it in my work since ’89. And like other folks have pointed out, it’s good to move from one media to another when you’re working out a solution to a problem. Different tools give you different perspectives on a problem and will yield different solutions, even though the basic input or data may be the same.

    Like they found out when looking into the sub-atomic world, at a certain level, just shining a light on the problem changes the nature of the thing you’re examining. Allen Funt made a career of that sort of thing at 1:1 scale.

  10. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way


    As with most tools, one will always find a tool specifically designed for one job will always work better than one designed for general use. Assuming that the design is a good one. The end resultss may be achieved with either, but the path may be longer and more tedious. Based on that, if I could design a building or a complex machine part using Acad or Tcad, I most certainly could design a 3D railroad layout. Notice I said "could" not "can" because I cannot do any of those things without a lot more effort on my part. If there are tools out there that have all the elements already in place, they are worth the cost, that is if my time is worth anything. Even at minimum wages I should recoup my inverstment within a week or two.

    I'm impressed with the results that Ron had showing earlier in this thread. Let me know what you think. I'm going to give the demo a shot too just to see what I can do with it. But I'm still interested if anyone has used any other layout software.
  11. Goattee

    Goattee Member


    I downloaded RTS & WinRail and have been playing with them.
    In the demos there is electrical symbols in place.
    My question is does the program insert the circuits automatically or do you have to do it yourself?
    I’m not exactly electrically challenged but any thing that doesn’t tax my brain these days is greatly appreciated.
    If not is there any program that will do this.
    I like the concept of 3rPlanIt and will try it next.
  12. RailRon

    RailRon Active Member

    Don and Goattee,

    I only can repeat what I said about a year ago in this thread: For me 3rdPlanIt is simply the best available planning software available. In these past months it has become even better, the 3d possibilities are just :thumb: :thumb: :thumb: !

    I admit, that 3rd PlanIt isn't cheap, but you get lots of support from Randy Pfeiffer (the man who wrote the program and still is updating it). Updates come in on a regular basis, and you can drop wishes and bug-reports any time. Randy goes out of his way to make 3rdPlanIt still better. I never found such a support from any software producer. You can download a demo version here.

    The learning curve is quite steep, I think. Once you get the hang of it, you try this and that... and your layout plan gets always better and better. (Of course you also can build your absolute dream layout, look at it in 3d views - and you even can ride the rails with the engineer's view of the layout. (Here is an example.)

    Here is a comparison between my plan and the raw state of the actual layout. (So far I put down the trackbed and just only started glueing the ties for the warehouse siding in the lower left corner.) But I think you see quite well, that the plan and original correspond quite well - even the sunken ashpit and turntable pit are showing in the 3d view.

    Feel free to ask for more details if you're interested.

    Goattee, I never heard about a software which would add the wiring to an existing track scheme automatically. And I doubt if something like that exists. :( (However you can add wires, panels etc. by yourself to an existing drawing.)


    PS: No, I don't own stock of Randy's El Dorado Software, hehehe. I'm just convinced, that's all! :D :D :D

    Attached Files:

  13. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way


    Thanks. I downloaded it about two weeks ago, and you're right, there is a very steep learning curve. With all the time I've been spending on our new house, packing and keeping this house "showroom ready" I haven't had the time to put into learning to run it. I plan to though.
  14. Agatheron

    Agatheron Member

    I downloaded the demo of it some time ago, but sat down with the tutorial to get a handle on how things worked. Once that was in place, I found myself pulling together yards and such reasonably quickly, and longing for a version that I could actually save my work. As such, 3rd PlanIt will be a purchase I will make within the next month... so that I can at least plan my layout well...

    I am fortunate that I have a speedy computer, so the 3d Graphic animations won't be a problem...

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