Computer Design Software

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by pcgumshoe, Dec 8, 2006.

  1. pcgumshoe

    pcgumshoe New Member

    Hello, new to the forum...

    I've seen a lot of software out there for designing a layout. I have the template to do the same, however, there's a lot of play in the switches and I can't say for sure if anything I put to paper will actually connect.

    My efforts with the demo versions of all the software has left me less than optimistic. Additionally, I don't see that flex track can be integrated into these designs.

    Has anyone had any success with the software out there and can recommend any one version for designing a layout larger than 10' x 10'?

    Thanks in advance.

    BTW: my computer skills are advanced... I can build them, install software, etc. I don't want to have to learn CAD to design a layout.
  2. YmeBP

    YmeBP Member

    I stumbled on a forum link for right track 7.0 which is free and pretty striaght forward. I read through the dox very breifly after i figured out how to layout my stuff ;). It has a few quirks but it's free. You can search the forums for "righttrack" or go here:
    there are other links to software there too.
  3. Biased turkey

    Biased turkey Active Member

    Check the "track planning for the future " section.
    Xtrackcad is free and has template for .. everything: Atlas, Kato. Fleischmann just name it.
    The learning curve takes a couple of weeks, but it's worth it.
    And there is even a Linux version , what more do you want :)
  4. Will_annand

    Will_annand Active Member

    I use the Atlas Right Track v7.0, it is free and easy to use.
    I had a look at XtrackCAD, but could not figure it out. It is not very intuative.
  5. Collyn

    Collyn Member

    I use a really old version, so don't now if it is still around, of abracadatas 3d railroad. It has building templates track senery full 3d veiwing. anything you can do in real life this software can do. I love it. It lets you set tolerances then run test trains to make shoure there are no gaps ect. It even let me do the trench type thing.

    Attached Files:

  6. YmeBP

    YmeBP Member

    Just played around w/ xtrak cad. I think after a while w/ that one and 3rdplanit i can go for a job as a civil engineer. They seem powerful enough but i'm not that sharp when it comes to cad ...
  7. YmeBP

    YmeBP Member

    Does anyone know how to adjust the table/room size in rt7 ? I can't seem to get it to layout an 8x16 setup.
  8. zedob

    zedob Member

    3rdplanit, it's goood. There is a learning curve, but it's all relative to how much time you spend trying to figure out how to do certain things. Case in point is the easment feature and how it works, especially in the freehand mode. It still drives me up the wall.

    I wish it had a dynamic 3D feature instead of having to drive by buttons and better sounds in 3D (the diesel sound just doesn't cut it while running a steam loco), but it is more than adequate for designing. I don't see having to purchase another version for awhile.

    I highly recommend it because once you get past some of the basic confusion the program becomes more fun to use. I can honestly say that it is worth the investment if you are a die-hard armchair modeler, or seriously getting ready to invest a lot more money into a reliable layout. No, you don't need it to design a layout, but it sure is helping me to keep my visualizations and reality in check. It's just another tool that costs about the same as the average HO locomotive.

    There are a lot of functions that I haven't really used that much and I have never designed a layout including the benchwork. Mostly track, which is really the most important and necessary part and terrain manipulation. The rest is bells and whistles.
  9. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

    YmeBP, In RTS7.0, go to view, properties, desktop. You then enter the size of your area and draw your benchtop inside that. Hope that helps.
    Pcgumshoe, I use XTRKCAD, it is very powerful program for what it does. Take a look at the thread in track planning for the future, Nomad Valley and Skookum Creek. I drew that with XTRKCAD. Just play with it and use the help files a lot. That's how I learned. If you go with XTRK and need help, let me know. I have learned a little bit about it.
  10. YmeBP

    YmeBP Member

    Thanks it was driving me crazy all morning. Now i've almost finished my xmas layout. I'll have to revisit xtrkcad becuase i use linux on all the machines downstairs and i noticed it runs in linux. Maybe after xmas when i get a dcc thingy.
  11. pcgumshoe

    pcgumshoe New Member


    I really don't need to design the scene and run trains around. My goal is to design for a specific space and modify BEFORE I get to the building stage.

    I've tried most of the software out there but I never saw that I could take a piece of flex track and bend here, etc. I really want to know that if this curve is 22 degrees, it will meet with this number 8 or number 6 siding switch if I connect the two.

    I know I may be asking for much, but this is 2006 almost 2007, we should be able to do it!
  12. pcgumshoe

    pcgumshoe New Member


    I forgot to add...

    I notice that a LOT of the software has NOT received much support OR updates in the last year and 1/2 to two years. That scares me, but maybe I'm just used to Microsoft always updating and my video games the same...
  13. Will_annand

    Will_annand Active Member

    Not that scary Gumshoe, just reality.

    The Atlas "Right Track" software is free and was updated last year. It does all the basic stuff.

    XtrkCAD is now free as the fellow was not selling much and is now not updating it.

    The others don't sell well enough to warrant updates.

    Where Microsoft sells it's products based on around a million units sold and better games are sold by the 10,000s...

    Model railroad software is sold in the 100s.... (less $ in means less $ to work on updates). :cry:
  14. YmeBP

    YmeBP Member

    When you have software w/ 10+ million lines of code updates are common and often. I would much prefer to have a piece of software that is modular (allows me to create my own track library) and so stable i don't need updates.

    The RTS software is pretty straight forward i like it. It gets me to the building part the quickest w/ the least amount of fuss so far it has been spot on w/ it's suggestions etc.

    Xtrkcad looks like an intense piece of sftware which is why it probably didn't sell much. But .... you can download the code adn pay someone on these programmer/hour websites in china or india to build you whatever you want into the code for 8 to 14/hr. Think about it .. 10 hours w/ of programming is less than what you pay for a couple good xbox games or pc games for your own custom trian software.
  15. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

    Ymebp, your welcome. Glad I could help.

    Pcgumshoe, do you want to bend the flex track to a certain radius? If so, Xtrk does that. Connecting a turnout to it takes a little bit of moving and rotating to make it bullet proof. Select the tracks you have layed, they should be joined with a X, if not you have a kink there, which will be magnified when you lay track.

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