Track Planning Software

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by Dave Flinn, Mar 26, 2002.

  1. Dave Flinn

    Dave Flinn Member

    Here is a general question for all, which will probably start another brisk discussion. I have decided that, if I am ever to get the Housatonic and Cayuga anywhere other than in my mind, I need to start putting something visible out where I (and others) can look at it. Not being much of an artist, I think I'd like to use some track planning software. I know that there are several on the market, so I thought I'd toss the question out to The Gauge.

    What software have you used, and how do you like it? I look forward to your replies.
  2. billk

    billk Active Member

    Dave - I use a "generic" CAD software called QuickCAD, picked up cheap at Menards, no less. It doesn't have the 3-D capability of some of the RR-specific ones, but other than that it fills my needs perfectly. Plus you can use it for anything, not just RRs.
    - Bill
  3. Dave Flinn

    Dave Flinn Member


    I think I have seen QuickCAD somewhere. We don't have Menards in this part of the country; but I probably saw it at Staples or something like that. Obviously, I'm going to wait for further responses here before I go out and purchase anything; but your idea of having something useful for other than track planning has some advantages; and I don't know if I really care one way or the other about 3D capability. OTOH, if I once experience 3D, I might not want less.
  4. billk

    billk Active Member

    I would guess that prior drafting/engineering drawing/whatever experience would be helpful if using a generic CAD program, so maybe it seems easier to me than it would to someone else. When I get to the computer I have it on, I can post a sample of what you can do wrt layout planning, if you want.

    BTW (off-topic) This prompted me to look at your profile - what breed of horses?
  5. Bill Stone

    Bill Stone Member

    Speaking as a CAD-experienced design engineer, please believe me that unless one is doing very sophisticated product development and will need to output dimensional information to computer-aided manufacturing machines, or an architect or other designer with the need to generate illustrations to please clients, 3D is of no real value except as a gee-whiz thing to impress people with.

    If it comes free with the software you want (for other reasons) okay. If not, don't spend a penny for it.

    I use an expensive professional CAD software --- that includes high-level 3D --- for my model railroad design, and I have NEVER have had any need to use 3D for MRR use.

    CAD is really not easy or quick to learn --- and usually the inexpensive ones are tougher than the fancy ones, and with far less documentation --- so I doubt whether the effort is worth it just to be able to draw a track plan. My advice would be to buy one of the layout design templates made by CTT Inc (Walthers 2002 HO catalog, page 311) and an inexpensive drawing board, T square, and a couple of adjustable triangles (AND some good drafting pencils) from a local office or artists' supply house, and have at it.

    Bill S
  6. Bob Collins

    Bob Collins Active Member

    Dave; I have the disc ( I bought it several years ago) of 3rdPlanIt. I tried it and although I understand it has a good reputation, I'm just not either smart or patient enough to run it. I'd be more than happy to stick it in an envelope and ship it off to you to try out and use, if you wish.

  7. Dave Flinn

    Dave Flinn Member

    I'll try to reply to both billk and Bill Stone in one message here. Forgive me if I get confused.

    Horses: We breed and raise primarily Clydesdales; but we also have a Cleveland Bay stallion, a couple of light horses (TBxCleveland), a mule (MullasierxClydesdale), and have just imported a Scottish Shetland Pony. Our "Lansing Zoo" also includes 3 peafowl, 12 geese, an Angus cow and 8 cats!

    Layout design: The design template sounds like a good idea, and perhaps I'll give it a try. I'm interested in software, too, just because I like to play computers as well as trains. Your thoughts on 3D echo what I had in mind; but if it comes free with whatever I decide on, that's ok, too. If anyone wants to post a sample, that's fine by me, but don't go out of your way.
  8. Matthyro

    Matthyro Will always be re-membered

    I used the freeby download from Atlas and it worked like a charm. No 3D view though.

Share This Page