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gavino200

What are the T-Trak "rules"?

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gavino200

I'm planning on doing some T-Tracking to learn how to model, before I try to model my layout. So I've a few questions.

 

Is there a standard for the Size of a module? width/height/length etc.

Does it matter what kind of track you use? I prefer kato unitrack.

Are the standards international?

How do people transport these things? A hinges box lid? I'm assuming I'll probably take it to a club to learn and get feedback from others.

Is it cheaper to make your own box or buy a kit? Are there plans available for the box?

Are there any good websites available? Or rather what websites do you think are the best?

N-scale by the way.

 

Thanks.

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Kiha66

The official standards are pretty vague other than the length of the track.  Usually modules are in units of 310mm (using kato 248mm + 62mm straight, or 186mm + 124mm), and from 6" to 14" deep.  The height can be anywhere between 2" to 4" , but most places seem to use either one or the other.

http://www.t-trak.org/standards.html

http://www.t-trak.org/modules.html

Masterpiece modules has some drawings that make planing the size of the modules easier.

http://www.masterpiecemodules.com/T-trak_N_Scale__Single_Wide.php#1

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cteno4

Gavin,

 

it depends some if youa re going to run with a club. Some clubs are a little pickier than others on module base uniformity, but really the basics are the spacing of the track and being able to get it up to the setup's running height. Most all clubs in the us run alternate spacing that's the standard 33mm kato spacing. Length is usually multiples of 310mm but you can do what ever length as long as you do them in pairs so you can even out on two sides of a loop. Depth behind the tracks only depend on the size of corners used and in front by the table width and thus how far out you can get leg supports.

 

the old Ttrak box is the usual and there are a couple of places that sell kits pre cut either laser or CNC. 

 

Like todd said you can also so them out of 1x3 stock or even as just a plank of 3/4" ply that has foam on top or not and just tall legs to lift it to the 3-4" running track height. Folks have even made the box style out of foam core and no problems other than not banging them around too much.

 

our club is an odder one that does the old standard spacing of 25mm of track roadbeds right up against each other. This is usually for running streetcars. We make our modules at 1" high and then those can either rest directly on the table or on inset risers made of 1x2 that are spaced with dowels and 4' long so you can level 4 modules at once and can be at more like 4" off the table. The slim front module faces frame the layout scenes and don't detract like the tall 2 3/4" faces of the traditional box modules. Also saves room when stored as the extra box depth is not used for anything but storing the leveling bolts.

 

on the leveling bolts also think of only using three instead of 4, just two in front corners and 1 in the center back. It's a lot easier to level the modules, just do the front two for leveling down the track the the single back one for the individual back to front for each module. Also easier to reach the single center back rather than the corner back pair.

 

Ntrak has pretty much taken over the Ttrak standards and Ttrak site now. 

 

Cheers

 

jeff

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kvp

Well, i would like to add the HJMTC variant of ttrak:

-we are using the classic 210 mm module depth (lengths are multiplies of 310 mm) so the scenery area is pretty narrow

-and a height of 70 mm with the adjustable legs fully in stowed position (allowing scenery a maximal vertical depth of around 60 mm)

-but building our track to the 33 mm alternate aka. mainline spacing of Kato track

-with curves of 282 mm and 315 mm so most trains could run on the layout (including european ones and even shinkansen)

 

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IST

Just one correction:

The modul length is not 310 mm, but 308. The length of the tracks are 310 mm.

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kvp
1 hour ago, IST said:

Just one correction:

The modul length is not 310 mm, but 308. The length of the tracks are 310 mm.

Yes, the correct formula is: module_length_in_mm = (310 * N) - 2 where N is usually 1, 2 or 4 for single, double or quad sized modules. For transportability, so far only single (308x210 mm) and double (638x210 mm) modules were built. Corners are full sized so far, but i plan to build a 'cut' corner with 210 mm ends to better mach the straight modules.

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gavino200
On 11/21/2017 at 3:35 AM, IST said:

Just one correction:

The modul length is not 310 mm, but 308. The length of the tracks are 310 mm.

 

So, it's normal for there to be a little gap between modules? Like in the picture below? 

 

http://ttrak.wikidot.com/armored-military-base-e

 

This is for less headache hooking up different people's modules at a meet? Better to much overhang than too little, sort of idea?

 

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Kiha66

Yep!  It makes connecting/disassembling them much easier, plus it accounts for modules of inexact dimensions, so they all line up.  I've seen someone make gap filling panels out of foam with some basic scenery, if the gap bothers you.

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gavino200
12 minutes ago, Kiha66 said:

Yep!  It makes connecting/disassembling them much easier, plus it accounts for modules of inexact dimensions, so they all line up.  I've seen someone make gap filling panels out of foam with some basic scenery, if the gap bothers you.

 

Thanks. I'm following this plan here. Do I really need the "feet"? What do they do?

 

http://ttrak.wikidot.com/1x3s

Edited by gavino200

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Kiha66

You don't need the feet, but if you plan to run with other people's modules they are for adjusting the height of your module to match theirs.  They can also help with uneven table surfaces.  If you do decide to add them, I recommend making one side just have one foot in the middle of the side, and the other side has two on the ends of that side.  Then they will make a tripod, which is much easier to adjust and is naturally stable.

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gavino200
5 minutes ago, Kiha66 said:

You don't need the feet, but if you plan to run with other people's modules they are for adjusting the height of your module to match theirs.  They can also help with uneven table surfaces.  If you do decide to add them, I recommend making one side just have one foot in the middle of the side, and the other side has two on the ends of that side.  Then they will make a tripod, which is much easier to adjust and is naturally stable.

 

Thanks. I'll do it. Regarding the instruction line below, I can foresee problems.

 

"With a small hammer, carefully tap a T-nut into each hole"

 

Will it really  be a good press fit? Will I need to apply some glue? Any sage advice?

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Kiha66

T nuts usually have spikes on the bottom to hold them in place, you shouldn't have a problem with them slipping out.

713b9PzanmL._SL1500_.jpg

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gavino200

Ok, I've got my shopping list together. Hopefully I'll get a chance to pick this stuff up this week. Thanks much!!

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Kiha66

Happy to help!  Even building a somewhat shoddy module means you learn a ton and your next one will be 10 times better, so don't be afraid to just charge right in!

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cteno4

Gavin,

 

another option to the t nut is the treaded inserts. These you just screw into the hole instead of hammering in place. Easily removable if needed and no whacking with the hammer!

 

https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B002KT43MU/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1

 

i second the tripod idea, use feet in both front corners and one in the center back. Then you just like up the front pair all down the row to get it lined up down the rail line then just come back and even each module up front to back with the single center back bolt. This helps also as trying to level the back corner bolts can be a pain reaching behind and the center is easier to access w.o 2 corner bolts next to each other. Also provides a wide tripod base.

 

the tripod idea is frowned upon some as it’s not the “standard” 4 legs, but no downsides and only upsides! Leveling is a pain with the bolts and why we did our modules 1” high and these rest on a girder 4’ Long to handle 4 modules the. Just level the girder and get 4 modules leveled at once. The thin face looks a lot better than the huge Ttrak box face which just looks bad for a scene frame.

 

check out the U frame, super simple and way less wood cutting which I know you love! Of course with this design 4 legs work better as you can’t do a center rear!

 

cheers

 

jeff

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kvp

Those threaded inserts tend to screw themselves out if the metal screw gets stuck. Also some of them managed to fall out for some unknown reason. Most of these got replaced with the hammered in ones as they are very good in resisting rotational forces.

 

The tripod works for short modules, but for a double or quad module with weight on one of the unsupported corners could easily tip them and then the unijoiners and the pva glue holding down the tracks are bearing the weight of the module. Leveling is easier though.

 

 

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cteno4

I don’t know how fouled your bolt screw threads must have been to unscrew threaded inserts like this. If the hole is drilled the proper size in the wood it’s a very snug fit and not easy to back out at all. Backing them out actually require you screwing a bolt into them and then sinching a nut down onto the insert, then backing the bolt down. Never had this issue in like 40years of using them in all sorts of carpentry. 

 

i have not tried the tripod yet on double or triple modules, but unless you have something very heavy in the back corners or press down on them it’s not going to tip. I much prefer to use track screws to hold the track on the modules as it’s such a stronger hold on the track than glue. Easy to move if necessary.

 

jeff

Edited by cteno4

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kvp
55 minutes ago, cteno4 said:

I don’t know how fouled your bolt screw threads must have been to unscrew threaded inserts like this.

Proper chinesium screws. You can get them in to a certain point then it gets jammed. Usually thread fault on one or both components. Now, i always check each part before using them. On avergage there is one faulty thread in every second bag of 10 screws and in every bag of 10 nuts. We also had trouble with sawdust getting the screws jammed and with some overtightening at the fully in (storage) position.

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cteno4

Are these galvanized maybe or really cruddy zinc coat? While I’m sure most of the bolts (and most likely threaded inserts) I’m using are of Chinese manufacture I’ve never had any jam in a threaded insert and I use them in situations where they get lots more force applied than as a Ttrak leg. If anything most of the touts I’ve ever used have had worse threading than cheap threaded inserts I linked (and I’ve even used others with slightly softer feeling metal). They’ve been in my Ttrak for probably 10years plus now. 

 

If you want the premos, these are much heavier duty and very cleanly machined. Bit more expensive but you can get them short to put in 12mm ply. These are super nice fit and been using them in the new layout frame system and in the tests I whaled on them with 1” Long bolt knob and they did not budge at all. 

 

https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B00207NF6W/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1

 

btw when inserting these it’s best to use a bolt stuck thru the insert and then a nut sinched up against it to lock the insert onto the nut. You can the use the length of the bolt to hold the insert in line with your hole ans a socket wrench to turn it. If you do a lot of them then putting the bolt thru a block of wood with a hole in it for the bolt and a counter sunk hole for the insert. This just lets you hold the block of wood on the piece of wood and the insert is driven in perfect orientation into the hole. Also a T driver is handy if you use inserts a lot, less juggling than the bolt and wrench! Same alignment Block works for this and like 5 seconds to drive an insert perfectly.

 

https://smile.amazon.com/WoodRiver-Wrench-20-Inserts/dp/B0035YF486/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1513280060&sr=8-1&keywords=T+wrench+insert

 

sorry last way I do something like this is to drive it home with a hammer...

 

Jeff

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kvp
3 hours ago, cteno4 said:

Are these galvanized maybe or really cruddy zinc coat? While I’m sure most of the bolts (and most likely threaded inserts) I’m using are of Chinese manufacture I’ve never had any jam in a threaded insert and I use them in situations where they get lots more force applied than as a Ttrak leg. If anything most of the touts I’ve ever used have had worse threading than cheap threaded inserts I linked (and I’ve even used others with slightly softer feeling metal). They’ve been in my Ttrak for probably 10years plus now. 

The ones sold in the wood shop are really cheap unbranded ones, with changing markings on the bolts. The material is either covered or not, i don't know, but the surface is siny silver. The usual errors are either thread material still inside like dangling metal filings, thread depths that are too shallow like from worn cutting tools and threads that are misaligned. (angle or thickness) Usually just a few bad ones from each bag. They cost less than most online ones and at retail price including vat (also packed into plastic bags with the name of the shop and size info on a piece of paper stapled to it).

 

For the screw in nut inserts, the most failiures we had were on fremo legs with around 20 kg of weight on the inserts and trying to turn the metric set screw for leveling with a wrench resulted in the insert getting unscrewed instead. Partially unscrewed inserts had wooden thread failiures if went unnoticed. This usually means the insert jamming back into the leg during an exhibition and then rotating freely so the set screw becomes useless. The hammer in nuts are more reliable and resist turning under compressive load in soft wood with a wrench much better. Also they cost around 2.5 us cents per piece. (a bit more considering the 10% reject rate).

Edited by kvp

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cteno4

Well for Ttrak you are talking almost two orders of magitude Lower weight and stresses, so even the ultra cheap ones should be fine for Ttrak weights!

 

i do wonder if it’s threading size issues between the two as vertical weights on slightly mismatched threads could cause them to get locked some or if eithe was of very weak metal they may deform the threads under 20kg. If there are any misc tailings that get stuck in the insert threads, these could lock up some in the threads with some weight and time. If you notice any tailings it’s best to ream a bolt thru and back out and wipe out as best as possible for use.  I’ve put a large pull on insert/bolts for long periods holding together cabinets ans such and never gotten lock ups, 2.5 cents is really really cheap, usually start here at more like 5-6 cents each. 10% reject is pretty high.

 

again never had any thread issues with the types of inserts I linked above here in the states. Actually the looses (ie not as clean) inserts we get here are usually the t nut inserts where the end of the inside thread cut is still a bit rough.

 

addind a bit of glue to the outer insert threads when mounting them can keep from backing them out if they do get locked.

 

jeff

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gerryo

My advice as a T-Tracker is to be part of a club, and have other modules to attach to.  This way you get the real reason for modular railroading.  And you can then join in on club meets.

You also have to follow the club rules and not go off on your own ideas.

 

Gerry

Edited by gerryo
Thought of second reason.

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gavino200
1 hour ago, gerryo said:

My advice as a T-Tracker is to be part of a club, and have other modules to attach to.  This way you get the real reason for modular railroading.  And you can then join in on club meets.

You also have to follow the club rules and not go off on your own ideas.

 

Gerry

 

Agree. However, I contacted my local n-scale club a while ago. They meet every Tuesday at 4pm. I'm guessing they're a bunch of retired guys. That won't work for me.

 

I might ask my local train guy. There's also a yearly train show coming up here. I'll ask around when I go.

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gavino200

So here's my first T-trak module. It's much smaller than I expected, but it was fairly easy to make. I haven't put feet on it yet, cuz I don't have an 11/32 drill bit. That'll have to wait fill tomorrow. 

 

Do people put a layer of 5mm foamboard on these things before gluing down the tracks? If not wouldn't it look bad where the foamboard meets the track?

 

GxgRWiO.jpg

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