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Layout Design Software - Reviews

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CaptOblivious

Since this thread is still live and I've been using Rail Modeller for a few weeks, let me do a quick review summary.

4. "Magnetic" track snapping is half-baked. You cannot move more than one piece of track at a time and have it snap to an existing piece. If you want to move, say, 20 pieces of track over a few millimetres, you have to move each piece separately.

 

Railmodeller does allow you to join two segments of track all at once, but it's a menu option and not at all obvious at first. Choose Arrange -> Connect Segment To… then click on the end of the segment you want to attach elsewhere, then to the end of the segment you want it to connect to.

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Tenorikuma

What I mean is, if you take one piece and move it to another, they snap together. If you highlight two pieces and move them both to another, they don't snap. So when I want to lengthen a section of a nearly-completed layout, I have to move each of the 20 pieces (or however many) one by one so they'll snap into place. If I don't like it, I have to move them all back one by one.

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cteno4

What I mean is, if you take one piece and move it to another, they snap together. If you highlight two pieces and move them both to another, they don't snap. So when I want to lengthen a section of a nearly-completed layout, I have to move each of the 20 pieces (or however many) one by one so they'll snap into place. If I don't like it, I have to move them all back one by one.

 

Tenorikuma,

 

you can do this with the join command. say you have a layout you have made and you have a small yard ladder you want to joint onto the layout at a piece of track sticking off the layout. you just do these steps:

 

1) select the yard ladder by double clicking on any track piece in it while holding down the option key. this selects all the track that is connected together in the yard. if you find some that dont select this way you need to get them connected together. you can repeat the double click/option key trick until you are sure the chunk of track you want to move is all connected together.

 

2) go to the Arrange menu and choose Connect Segment To...

 

3) go to the end of the the piece of track of the yard that you want to have connect up with the stub on your layout and click on that end. when you hover over the end you will see the pointer change to a set of 4 little arrows point in to the center of the point area. it does not matter if the chunk of track you want to move is hilighted or not, you just do step 1 to make sure all the pieces of track in your chunk are connected together to move as one chunk. sometimes a piece of track will only be attached to one end even when both ends look like they are lining up with adjacent track ends. many times just selecting it and moving it a tiny bit will cause the connection click again and you will now find it connected at both ends.

 

4) then go to the end of the piece of track on the layout you want to have the yard attached to and click on the end of that piece of track (again you will see the pointer change over the end of the track). then your yard track will be attached to the layout! it will rotate the track if necessary to line the ends up.

 

this is sort of a step wise magnetic snap and actually is pretty fast in practice.

 

to reverse the process and remove the yard from the layout you can just do the following.

 

1) remove the section of track at where you want to remove the yard

 

2) double click on the yard ladder with the option key down to select the ladder

 

3) drag the ladder away from the layout some.

 

4) drag the connecting piece of track you removed in step one and re-attach it to the yard ladder

 

5) now you can double click/option key the yard to select it and move it or delete it or cut and paste it to another doc, etc

 

note if the beginning of the yard chunk you want to remove is a point you will either need to remove the piece of track in front of it (and then put it back later) or remove the point move the yard in two hunks then use the Connect Segment To... command to re-assemble the yard.

 

the one thing that that railmodeler does not have it the option of selecting groups once you have a group selected. what is needed is the ability once you have a group of tracks selected you can hold down the shift key and either option key double click on another set of track to add it to the selected set or hold down the shift key and rectangle select more tracks to add to your selected tracks. right now you can only add to a selected set of tracks by holding down the shift key while individually selecting pieces of track to add to the selected set.

 

cheers,

 

jeff

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Tenorikuma

Thanks for the information. I thought the "join" command only worked for inserting extra pieces of track between the two "join-points".

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CaptOblivious

The menu option is a little mysterious, and I agree that you should just be able to select a bunch of sections, and have them magnetically line up just like with one piece, but at least it's possible to do it one way or the other :D

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scott

Thanks for the information. I thought the "join" command only worked for inserting extra pieces of track between the two "join-points".

 

That's what the  "join with sectional track" menu commands does. The "join segment to" command does what Jeff and Don describe above.

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cteno4

Well, i spent a lot of sunday moving the new jrm track plan from railmodeler to xtrkcad on the mac. interesting process. Luckily i have 2 screens running on the mac so i could have the layout up on in railmodeler on the side while working in xtrkcad. i have xtrkcad running on x windows (x11) on the mac pretty well. still a few klunky things with it, but very functional. very hard to do any macros that are not just keystroke equivalents as the menus are all s/in x windows, not in the mac menu that macro programs would look for them in.

 

it took me a half hour to go back in and relearn all the little sectional track tips in strkcad and get them written down again (lost my last sheet with the pc when it went poof...). once that was out of the way it went pretty quickly. making shapes is a whole lot easier in railmodeler than xtrkcad as xtrkcad creates rectangles as 4 separate lines which you then group together, but once made you have to edit the separate line, you cant resize the whole group. the magnetic track snap of railmodeler is nice for fiddling on little things as you can play with it like you would regular track, just snapping and unsnapping sections of track till you get it the way you like. in railmodeler i would just have a little pile of pieces i would option drag copies from to quickly fiddle with something. in xtrkcad you have to continually delete sections and then rebuild with the track tool (trying to do the join command on each is tedious and the join command seems to be a little touchy in x windows and does not always complete.

 

but all in all once i got going in xtrkcad again it worked pretty quickly to rebuild the layout and do a second round fo adjustments to refine alignments and track lengths. i think i would still prefer to use railmodeler to do prototyping of a track idea. xtrkcad just has the big benefit of being able to share the track plan with the rest of the club which is mostly pc and have xtrkcad.

 

so i will still continue to fiddle with little ideas in railmodeler probably as its just easier with the magnetic track, but all the final plans will be in xtrkcad most likely.

 

cheers

 

jeff

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Martijn Meerts

Railmodeller 4 was released today which adds support for layers and (finally) heights and grades and such. The 3D view was upgraded a bit as well so you can view the height differences in 3D.

 

It's still nothing like for example WinTrack, but then again, the cost difference between Railmodeller and WinTrack is rather big as well =)

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scott

Great! And it'll run with 10.4, which means I'll still be able to use it--I was afraid it would jump up to 10.5 and I wouldn't be able to upgrade.

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scott

Here's an early attempt at using the 3D function in RailModeller 4....I'm sure a better user and a tidier layout file with all the connections working out cleaner would give a better result.

post-151-13569923747008_thumb.jpg

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KenS

Has anyone tried using the railset editor in RM 4 yet? I tried to edit a copy of the Unitrack set to add costs and mark unavailable elements, something I'd done a while back with RM3, but the editor didn't display the right pictures, and the changes didn't seem to happen, and when I tried re-entering the editor on the modified railset, it crashed with an error about missing layer info.

 

I could easily be using it wrong, since I haven't edited a railset in half a year, but I'm guessing there's a bug in there I need to report.

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CaptOblivious

As I recall the railset editor hasn't been uodated to work with RM4 yet.

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RogMar

Railmodeller 4 was released today which adds support for layers and (finally) heights and grades and such. The 3D view was upgraded a bit as well so you can view the height differences in 3D.

 

Ah.. finally!

Another update (4.1) now released, making the grading stuff a bit more convenient..

tinyurl.com/rm41up

 

Has anybody tried printing/exporting 3D views in RailModeller though??

 

cu -

roger

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Lawrence

There is a chap who comes on to our ngaugeforum.co.uk who has designed a free program called SCARM, whilst still a work in progress, it is not bad for a one man band and is free.  It perhaps doesn't have all the bells and whistles of more established software yet but with a bit of effort can work quite well.  More info at http://www.scarm.info/index_en.html

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Mr Frosty

Another happy user of XtrakCAD. I found it took a little while to get competent with it, but I now find it easy to use.

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cteno4

roger,

 

thanks just got the update, nice to see it steadily improving. xtrak cad keep needing tweaks on the mac to keep it running on xwindows, so railmodeler has been great to replace it.

 

jeff

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keitaro

i tried winrail 11 demo

 

it's not the easiest app to use IMO.

 

i'm tossing up atm to get win rail or anyrail.

 

as i am nearing the end of my layout i have been getting ready to look into getting software to start drawing up larger plans of my next intended layout for some fun.

 

Currently i have been  drawing it up in 100cm length x 80 depth blocks due to demo being piece limited and patching it together with paint. Still not sure i want to pay for anyrail i want a software that offers more than just the basics of track laying.

 

Any suggestions.

 

btw Tomix track.

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Martijn Meerts

I would suggest WinTrack, except for the fact that they don't have Tomix track in their library. But for features it can't be beat, it even allows you to add all wiring in the program, and do a full electrical check.

 

(I'm still contemplating buying it myself, but it's a wee expensive, and the developers seem to be stuck in the 90s and refuse to make a downloadable version available ;))

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Webskipper

Railmodeller has added a few updates since this topic first started.

 

Unitrack both N and HO are just about up to date. Always a few pieces behind.

 

They just added millimeters to the grid. Making custom lengths is a snap. No pun intended.

 

Railmodeller dot com

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cteno4

I really wish they would work on the track palette, its the only part that really feels non mac and is very hard to use. some show an icon, others only part number which is pretty useless unless you have a very good memory for numbers like that! i end up pulling a selection of track parts onto the project then just clone them as needed as its easier to figure out the part i want that way and get info if i need to get specific measurement. been meaning to write them about it.

 

I recently discovered that xtrkcad has a native mac version (4.20 beta) that seems pretty stable and does not require x11 installed. last worked on in feb, but works fine on my system with the jrm plan (done in xtrkcad). track palette is much much better. hey and its free!

 

http://sourceforge.net/projects/xtrkcad-fork/files/XTrackCad/

 

cheers

 

jeff

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Martijn Meerts

Having to have X11 installed was always a bit of a let down to try xtrkcad for me, so now that they've gone native, I might give it a go. Railmodeler is nice and all, but I've ran into a few annoying bugs when the track plan gets a bit more complex ;)

 

Edit: Downloaded it, but it refuses to start up .. Might be my machine though, it's been having a couple of issues, which isn't strange considering I upgraded from 10.6 to 10.7 previews/beta's and then to 10.8 previews/beta's.. I never did a fresh install, nor did I ever install the release version of 10.8 ;)

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Ken Ford

Old topic, I know...

 

I've been using XTrkCAD for a few years now, but never for Unitrack. Has anyone seen up to date parameter files for Unitrack?

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cteno4

There is a yahoo xtrakcad group. Did you look at the current release site?

 

Jeff

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Ken Ford

I've never gotten much good information from the YahooGroup; the last release on Sourceforge is over a year ago and doesn't seem to include any of the compact Unitrack. I've tried looking for standalone parameter files but have never had any luck.

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Vato

Using Anyrail and SCARM

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