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Table-top Module Possibilities

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5 years 3 months ago #14988 by rvn2001
rvn2001 created the topic: Table-top Module Possibilities
Hi Everybody!

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away I started thinking about doing table-top modules in Z scale. Marklin track was all that was available at the time so I put the idea on hold. I've started thinking about it again with the release of the Rokuhan line of roadbed track. I realize that there is a Yahoo group for this subject and might present my proposal there but I thought I would present it here. I've done a little research and find that Rokuhan offers 10 radii that come in 30-degree or 45-degree sections. These are the type of sections that will allow for 90-degree corners. I decided to see how much real estate would be required for the 2 largest radii that fit the above criteria. I believe this should be the starting point for any design as everything else would come off of the corners and the large-radii corners would allow for the running of almost everything that's available now for Z scale. I purchased a package of each of the 2 radii, 270mm and 245mm. I've included a picture of a 90-degree corner using these radii. I would propose that a 13-inch square base be used as a 90-degree corner module. I've also found that 3 pieces of 110mm straight track would require a 13-inch long piece of real estate. I suspect that the modules would have to be slightly smaller to allow the roadbed connectors to lock completely but not by much. Is anybody else interested in continuing with the possibility of coming up with specifications for some table-top modules? I know there have been some discussion here among some of us but we'd like to hear from others.


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5 years 3 months ago #14989 by markm
markm replied the topic: Re: Table-top Module Possibilities
Isn't this really just the T-Trak stuff: www.t-trak.org/z-scale-1.html but with different dimensions?

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5 years 3 months ago #14990 by rvn2001
rvn2001 replied the topic: Re: Table-top Module Possibilities
Yes it is, Mark. But to be honest, I thought about doing something like this in 1972 when I first started in Z scale. There's a Yahoo group for this but nobody ever did anything with it. That's why I thought I'd bring it up here.

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5 years 3 months ago #14991 by stonysmith
stonysmith replied the topic: Re: Table-top Module Possibilities
I know this is a bit of a heresy, but why not go ahead and define the standard in terms of Millimeters?

Just call it 300mm

One thing I'd like to see is that the standard would be compaible with the (new) Rokuhan curved turnouts.
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5 years 3 months ago #14992 by garthah
garthah replied the topic: Re: Table-top Module Possibilities
using the two largest radii could cut of some possibilities, Think you should consider 195 and 220mm curves as the back bone and then you can use the curved turnouts, that are coming.

then the 145 and 270 radii can be an option.

Also the 195 and 220mm radii are available from all manufacturers, so people can use what ever they have.

The next consideration is what are you going to do for connection of one block to another. Are you going to Rokuhan expansion track and what set back from the edge are you going to use 55mm which is half of 110mm and nominal center point of a piece of expansion track straight.

you need a flush edge so you do not damage the tend of track and rail joiners during transportation.

There are some Z trak modules in Houston area already existing.

some more food for thought

regards Garth

cheerz Garth

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5 years 3 months ago #14993 by rvn2001
rvn2001 replied the topic: Re: Table-top Module Possibilities
Stony,
330mm it is! The main reason I want to use the largest radii track is to allow as much equipment to run on the modules as possible. The curved switches from Rokuhan will be for 195 & 220 radii. I would hope that they might make curved turnouts for the larger radii since they've made the small 55mm turnouts for straight track. Here's a picture with 4 tracks...the larger radii are Rokuhan and the smaller radii are MTL. We could make a 4-track mainline. One of the major complaints about the "standard" Z-Bend Track 2-foot end module is that the largest curve is too tight. I think it's a good idea to use the largest radii available for roadbed snap-style track.

Garth,
I was not aware that anyone had done anything with this concept. I would prefer to not mix manufacturers in one main-line. I just got done modifying both the Rokuhan adjustable track and Ellen's ZBT modules because she uses MTL roadbed track. I can tell you from my experience that they do not mix easily. We would need an adaptor module to go from MTL to Rokuhan track. I don't plan to have any set-back. The concept is that all of the modules will snap together and be held securely by the roadbed and rail connectors. These connectors would hang over the edge of the modules. There will be bolts on the bottom as legs but they will only be used as slight levelers. The idea is that they all sit right on the table. These are basically T-track modules.

I think that answers all the questions so far.


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5 years 3 months ago #14994 by Catt
Catt replied the topic: Re: Table-top Module Possibilities
In TTRAK the electrical connection between modules has always been just the rail joiners.This is not to say that there could not be feeders in several locations and the mains should have seperate power supplys.

The two mains can be connected with crossovers but they need to be isolated from each other electrically.

The reason for the larger raidius curves is to allow for running longer cars and locos,not to mention that those of us with body mounted couplers would benefit from the larger curves.

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5 years 3 months ago - 5 years 3 months ago #14995 by GNFan
GNFan replied the topic: Re: Table-top Module Possibilities
Count me in among those interested in this concept. I saw an example of an N-scale version of the TTrak standard at a train show today. In N, it makes for very small modules - my mind raced at the possibilities in Z. As someone who gets around chiefly by bicycle, bus and train (I do drive, if pressed) even ZBend modules are prohibitively large. But re-sized to Z-scale, I could imagine a layout's worth of TTrak modules in a suitcase, and thus quite appealing. :-)

I spoke with an acquaintance who was displaying this N-scale TTrak setup. (He's very "lower-case d" democratic about model railroading - all scales including Z are fine with him; he liked the idea of TTrak in Z). I don't know how closely we are obliged to follow the N-scale version of TTrak as an example, or even if it would be wise to do so. But one element of TTrak to *consider* borrowing from N-scale is that their straight modules are designed to fit what appeared to be a "standard" size (for N) of straight track - our equivalent would seem to be the familiar 110mm sections. In N-scale, it makes for straight modules that are somewhere close to square (each is one "side" of the layout only, unlike ZBend). Logically, and as has been discussed, our modules would need to be based on 110mm track, or multiples thereof.

Also, strictly for information/further discussion , and as someone else has pointed out, the N-scale interface is done by having a /slight/ overhang of the track over the ends of each module - 1/64", I believe. The result is a small gap (does 1/64" plus 1/64" really equal 1/32"? ;-) ) between modules, the joined tracks of each module bridging that gap. After wrestling with the Marklin expansion tracks on ZBend modules, there's a certain attraction to direct connections.

Common to the N-scale TTrak and ZBend standards, both have two mains.

MKS

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5 years 3 months ago #14996 by Kelley
Kelley replied the topic: Re: Table-top Module Possibilities
4 mains would be too much. If it is similar to T-trak it should be cheap and easy. 4 track would be like slot car racing and leave no room for scenery. I think it should go to the 195/220 radius. Even with the largest radius, they are nowhere close to the real thing, and if you are just wanting to turn your trains around would it matter?
Gaps bug me and I do not know if it would be better to used no rail joiners and use feeders, and only hold track together with the plastic clip thingies, (will you have problems going from MTL to Rokuhan?) or no plastic thingies and slip on rail joiners (have to keep a bunch of cheep Atlas ones around) or feeders and NO joiners whatsoever, but have a way to connect the modules using clamps and or bolts and wingnuts,(a standard pattern will have to be made in regard to the boltholes and the track)
The Germans have played around with some very small modules too. I too am a bus/train/bike getting around kind of guy and the smallest module I have is 1.5 meters long.

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5 years 3 months ago #14997 by soccrdad30
soccrdad30 replied the topic: Re: Table-top Module Possibilities
Here is my research so far...

A few weeks ago I contacted the Yahoo Z scale ttrak list owner, and still have not heard anything back. This group has had very little activity in the past few years. The group started out good but somehow 'lost interest'?

Then earlier this week I contacted the Ztrakz guys. I just heard from Les Skeans and he said they are alive and well, but I am still waiting for information on their guidelines and standards.

I would not have a problem starting a new ZCS category "Table-top Modules" then this could encompass all of the different groups.

John
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5 years 3 months ago #14998 by Catt
Catt replied the topic: Re: Table-top Module Possibilities
Just as not all N-TTRAK modules use the same track I can see no reason that Z-TTRAK would need to either.It really should not be that difficult to make conversion modules - Rokuhan to MTL - MTL to Rokuhan or any other combination as long as track spacing is constant.

Another thing to remember is if the modeler has a set of modules the only ones that need to meet end of module specs are the two (left & right) end modules.

My preference would be for the end modules to be somewhat rectangular to actually use up more of the table width.I will admit right here and now that I don't have a clue as to the various lengths of Rokuhan (or MTL) short straight track sections

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5 years 3 months ago #15000 by wunlwunt
wunlwunt replied the topic: Re: Table-top Module Possibilities
As i live on the west coast of Australia ( well actually 250km plus inland from the coast ) and there aren't many people into Z around me i have decided to make my own Z modules. I have 5 in the basic stage so far, wooden boxes with 100mm ( 4 inches ) of foam on top so that i can do what just about every modular system doesn't allow, and that is to have the scenery dip well below the level of the track. In Z that equates to about 70 feet of "fall" and obviously an unlimited amount of rise above track level. I will be able to create some serious rollercoaster scenery while keeping the two tracks dead level allowing for some really big trains, somewhere around 70 to 100 wagons. I wil be using Micro Trains flex track and Micro Trains turnouts ( better sleeper spacing ) and am still playing around with the best system to join my modules together. My two end modules are balloon setups with a minimum radius of 370mm ( 14 1/2 inches ) which will enable me to run big trains without any stringlining dramas.
This is what will work for me as i like to just watch big trains roll past and am not into shunting ( switching ), i have done enough of that ( shunting ) for real and don't want to muck around with all the problems that Z involves especially as i have both Micro Trains and AZL couplers on my rolling stock.
So what i am getting at basically is that if you plan on joining up ( literally ) with other peoples modules then you need to build something that is compatible with everyone elses modules, but if like me you will never do that, then build what you like.
Either way enjoy playing with your trains.
Eliot
downunder

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5 years 3 months ago #15002 by GNFan
GNFan replied the topic: Re: Table-top Module Possibilities
This is becoming quite the discussion quickly! :-)

Jonathan, I believe the reason for Thom's concern about mixing brands of roadbed track is that rail height of MTL compared to Rokuhan is not *quite* the same. It's a "small" difference but that results in a hop either up or down from one to the other. Not an insurmountable problem (or a necessarily insurmountable hop ;-) ), but something that must be taken into consideration.

Kelley, Thom's photo of four mains on a corner module was only to illustrate where the available 30- and 45-degree track (with enough of either to make 90-degree turns) would "fit". We'd want just two mains, I'm guessing. This just showed placement of the established 195-, 220-, 245- and 270- mm radii track on such a corner module. If it can be done in the space provided, I favor the two larger radii track sizes, but can also live with whatever standard exists, or is chosen.

Finally, the TTrackZ Yahoo! group is sputtering back to life (in part at the hands of ZCS members participating in this thread). Jim Glass says "the largest ttrackz group [he] know is meeting in Monroe", WA February 2-3. I probably had better get to that show, if I know what's good for me! :-)

MKS

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5 years 3 months ago - 5 years 3 months ago #15003 by Catt
Catt replied the topic: Re: Table-top Module Possibilities
Mike, you left out the first H in Johnathan :woohoo:

I am aware of the height difference between the two tracks which was the basis for my "adapter modules",I was able to converse with the guys from Intermountain at the NTS about the compatability of the two brands.IM informed me that there is a height difference in the two road beds that would require a shim for the MTL track.

My preference for the Rokuhan track has to do with the variety of track pieces available from them.That said I am agreeable to what ever standards we as a group come up with.I do know from N-TTRAK experience that the modules will need to be slightly shorter than 13" for 3 pieces of 10mm track but only by about .020" to allow for full engagement of the track connectors.

As for that show in Monroe please do go and take lots of pics and get lots of imput from those folks.

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5 years 3 months ago #15004 by Kelley
Kelley replied the topic: Re: Table-top Module Possibilities
I wished MTL would have made the bigger radius track. I had heard rumors...I guess that was all they were :( Someday I will find some European track and will measure everything, ties, distances, everything.

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5 years 3 months ago - 5 years 3 months ago #15005 by rvn2001
rvn2001 replied the topic: Re: Table-top Module Possibilities
Mike and Johnathan,

You have both expressed why I want to use Rokuhan track for the modules. My main reason for getting the Rokuhan curves was to find out how much real estate they would take up. I intend to have only 2 main lines. Mike was correct that my second picture was to show the difference. Rokuhan makes 10 radii we could use but I don't think 10 main lines would be a good idea. It will also be difficult enough to get 2 main lines connected at a time. I spent most of Saturday making 8 of the new Rokuhan adjustable tracks fit between Ellen's ZBT modules. She uses MTL roadbed track on all of her modules. I had to modify the Rokuhan tracks because they only collapse down far enough to clear the rails on the modules but not the rail joiners, which are supposed to be permanently mounted on the module tracks. I filed the ends of the rails to make a smoother transition between the 2 brands. I also had to remove some of the foam base on her modules to allow for the taller roadbed of the Rokuhan track. I think we should stick with one brand of track to avoid any problems, as much as I'd like to allow any brand they just aren't easily compatible. I wish MTL had continued with their track line too.

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5 years 3 months ago #15006 by GNFan
GNFan replied the topic: Re: Table-top Module Possibilities

Catt wrote: Mike, you left out the first H in Johnathan :woohoo:

I am aware of the height difference between the two tracks which was the basis for my "adapter modules",I was able to converse with the guys from Intermountain at the NTS about the compatability of the two brands.IM informed me that there is a height difference in the two road beds that would require a shim for the MTL track.

My preference for the Rokuhan track has to do with the variety of track pieces available from them.That said I am agreeable to what ever standards we as a group come up with.I do know from N-TTRAK experience that the modules will need to be slightly shorter than 13" for 3 pieces of 10mm track but only by about .020" to allow for full engagement of the track connectors.

As for that show in Monroe please do go and take lots of pics and get lots of imput from those folks.


Johnathan (with the missing 'h'), people are usually telling me to "get the 'H' out", now you're telling me to put it back in! ;-)

We're agreed on track: differences in track height must be addressed (ban anything that's not 'brand-X'? allow for 'adapter modules'? Insist to the public at train shows that the hop-drop syndrome is prototypical? ;-) ). ZBend accounts for/accomodates such differences (and other influences) via the Marklin expansion track. How should it be done in a table-top environment (TTrackZ or otherwise)?

I'd prefer Rokuhan as well, because of the wider variety of track pieces, the drawback being it is less NA-prototypical in tie-size and spacing. The discussion on the TTrackZ Yahoo! group also makes mention of the Rokuhan track being more durable than the MTL - but that is also one person's experience/opinion.

The NTTrak experience you describe is what I was struggling to illustrate: a sliver of daylight (a highly technical measurement ;-) ) between modules makes it possible for the N-scale track to snap together securely. The same would seem to apply to Z.

Now I'm openly comitted to the Monroe show, aren't I? ;-)

MKS

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5 years 3 months ago #15008 by garthah
garthah replied the topic: Re: Table-top Module Possibilities
there is one thing you need to know when combining Rokuhan Roadbed track with Micro Track is that the road be joiners are not compatible. You can use Rokuhan on wither but you can not use Micro trains on Rokuhan. While there is height difference, but I have not found it as big a problem as the roadbed and rail joiners joiners. I found a jewellers file very quickly take out the bump between the two rail heights and you have smooth operating. To connect the two systems together I replace the rail joiner and the roadbed joiner on Micro Track with those from Rokuhan, and they have a parts kit that makes this easy to do with 10 joiners for roadbed and for rail in a package.

cheerz Garth

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5 years 3 months ago - 5 years 3 months ago #15009 by garthah
garthah replied the topic: Re: Table-top Module Possibilities
Here is a link to T-trak for Z scale as defined by n-trak

www.t-trak.org/z-scale-1.html

this is T-trak for Z from OZ (Australia)
t-trak.nscale.org.au/other-scales/t-trak-z
Yahoo group for T-trakZ

dir.groups.yahoo.com/group/ttrakz/

Ntrak says they will shortly have kit for sale which will make the assembly of t-trak modules easy and for Z as well as the current N versions

cheerz Garth

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5 years 3 months ago #15010 by rvn2001
rvn2001 replied the topic: Re: Table-top Module Possibilities
Thanks Garth. I've already checked out those sites.

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