layout programs

can any of you here give me an idea of a simple program to work with that isn't to complicated for designing an HO layout .The one I have seems to
require an engineering degree .(2D railroad Achitect) thanks in advance jim
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Anderson wrote: can any of you here give me an idea of a simple program to work with that isn't to complicated for designing an HO layout .The one I have seems to require an engineering degree .(2D railroad Achitect) thanks in advance jim -------------------------------------------------- You might want to try Atlas Right Track Feeeware.
http://www.atlasrr.com/righttrack.htm
Bill Bill's Railroad Empire N Scale Model Railroad: http://www.billsrailroad.net Brief History of N Scale: http://www.billsrailroad.net/history/n-scale Resources: Links to over 700 helpful sites: http://www.billsrailroad.net/bills-favorite-links Bookstore: http://www.billsrailroad.net/bookstore.html
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In a message on Tue, 9 Dec 2003 18:46:44 -0500, wrote :
"> can any of you here give me an idea of a simple program to work with that "> isn't to complicated for designing an HO layout .The one I have seems to "> require an engineering degree .(2D railroad Achitect) thanks in advance "> jim
XtrkCad: http://www.sillub.com /
"> "> ">
\/ Robert Heller ||InterNet: snipped-for-privacy@cs.umass.edu http://vis-www.cs.umass.edu/~heller || snipped-for-privacy@deepsoft.com http://www.deepsoft.com /\FidoNet: 1:321/153
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Jim, I have asked the same question half a dozen times and got numerous answers. All I want is simple and easy to learn so I can do up a track plan for a new layout. I'm not interested in scenery, my mind's eye can deal with that. I down loaded the Atlas program and it didn't work properly for me. I'm not using their track anyway, just wanted it for doodling. Tonight I ordered XTrak Cadrail from these guys http://www.sillub.com / I'll let you know how it works out. Hopefully it works as well as others say. Doug
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I haven't used it for layout designing, but I bought a copy of IMSI TurboCad at Half-Price books for $8.
The instruction manual is about 1/3" thick. I was able to look through the book to pick & choose what I needed to do. I was able to make my first drawing. It has a selection of scales in the print menu, or you can enter your own scale.
I was able to use this to lay out the measurements for a gear box for an interurban freight motor I'm building.
Jay CNS&M North Shore Line - "First and fastest"
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I use an ordinary Computer-Aided design program (I am an engineer by profession).
I just set the "Chamfer" command to the radius of the curve I'm using and draw tangents, then "snap'. Turnouts are placed by turning the frog angle (from NMRA tables) at the P.I. of the switch.
I would like to know, from those who have used them: Are these dedicated layout design programs "snap track" that is, do they give you chunks of tangent and curve to place like one were building with individual pieces? (I assume the Atlas program wirks this way)
I have a hunch that the people developing these programs are hung up on the toy train approach, but I've never used one of these programs to know. In fact, the most important bit is the Point of Curve, where tangent begins to curve. Everything else in a track design follows from that.
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On Thu, 11 Dec 2003 01:38:28 UTC, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (SailNrails) wrote: 2000

I can only speak for Cadrail. It is a real drafting program set up for laying out railroads. Yes, it has libraries of track chunks although I have never used them. I put my own turnouts into Cadrail, having created a figure library for them. I normally draw my track plan with tangents only and fit curves to the tangents. PC and PT are readily available. If you want to do it the other way Cadrail will work happily with specified PCs. You can specify a radius or you can use the circle tool to create an arc of any radius. If you are used to drafting programs you will find Cadrail a powerful tool.
I have used Cadrail since the DOS days and have been a beta tester for several versions. Tom rewards his beta testers with a free copy. Other than that I am not affiliated with Sandia Software and receive no financial rewards. That said, I love Cadrail and find it a flexible and powerful tool.
--
ernie fisch


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Good Morning!

    Please define PC and PT -- Thanks!
        ((More below))

    Would it be possible to import a drawing of a turnout (which is drawn for the prototype) and then use the centerline to draw rails to either side? I am thinking of "O"--Scale which is 5-feet between the rails (as opposed to the 4'_8.5" of the prototype) and a spiral-easment turnout for trolleycars.
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James B. Holland
Holland Electric Railway Operation....... "O"--Scale St.-Petersburg Trams Company (SPTC)     Trolleycars and "O"--Scale Parts         including Q-Car     mailto: snipped-for-privacy@pacbell.net
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in article snipped-for-privacy@pacbell.net, Jim Holland at snipped-for-privacy@pacbell.net wrote on 12/11/03 3:23 AM:

I suppose you could do it that way; I've not actively used Cadrail for some time since I'm on Mac OS X. I put HO turnouts into Empire Express by measuring them and using their tool to create a template. It works flawlessly for me.
Others have mentioned ease-of-use and human engineering for these types of programs, so I'll chime in.
All of these programs are pitiful. If all you are doing is a flat layout with sectional track, they work well enough and are easy. But as soon as you need to use flex track or change elevations. WHAM, the CAD god strikes you down with unneeded complexity. Some won't let you rotate exactly (Empire Express lets you rotate freely, but the movement increments depend upon the magnification, or in 15 degree chunks. So, if want 7.5 degrees for a turntable, you can get close, an maybe exact, but not guarantee. Why not let my type in the rotation amount? I don't know, but they left it out.
If I want a spiral easement to a fixed radius curve, hahahahaha. The rules for such things are pretty simple, so why not have a "flex" curve or "spiral" curve which lets me join to track segments with an eased curve. Most of these layout are using flex or hand laid track, so we don't really care what the radius is, other than specifying a minimum radius.
No, these programs are all too hard to use and one fiddles constantly to get what you really want. Mostly what I did was to use flex track to join segments, and adjust for easements while I laid the sub-roadbed and track.
I don't use pencil and paper because my eraser wears out to fast, and my skill as a draftsman is lacking completely. I'm a computer programmer (worse, I was a management type before retirement, so I didn't actually perform useful work).
Ed.

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Ed Oates
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PC and PT stand for "point of curvature" and "point of tangency" - i.e., when you think of a train traveling along a track these are the points where a curve starts and ends.
The drawing on this page may be helpful: http://sandiasoftware.com/tutor8/Appendix%20A/circle_tools.htm
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wrote: 2000

PC is the point of curvature, this is where the curve starts PT is the point of tangency, this is where the curve ends.
Cadrail marks the end point of each object i.e. the tangent and the curve. The endpoints are coincident. The coordinates are available as absolute numerical values as well.

It is possible to do this. I use two straight lines for my turnouts in drawings.
--
ernie fisch


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(SailNrails)

Are these dedicated

give you chunks of tangent

individual pieces? (I assume

are hung up on the toy

programs to know. In fact,

tangent begins to curve.

program set up

chunks
into Cadrail,

my track

PC and PT are

Cadrail will

or you can

you are used

tool.
beta tester for

free copy.

and receive

it a

Given that Jim Anderson (the thread originator) was looking for a "simple program to work with that isn't too complicated for designing an HO layout" and said "The one I have seems to require an engineering degree.", I'm surprised that *anybody* mentioned CadRail. I *have* an engineering degree (BSEE, but never got into using CAD programs), and found CadRail to be too much of a hassle. When I got home after a long day of research and eyestrain (10-12 hrs of 10CFR, 50.59 Evaluations, researching UFSARs for two PWR nuclear plants, etc.), I wanted to have a program that made it easy for me to put together a layout, not something that made doing my income tax returns look like an relaxing & enjoyable event. CadRail may be powerful, but I found it to be too much hassle.
--
Mac Breck (KoshN) - from the desktop PC
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I bought Cadrail 3.0 several years ago, and after many attempts to read the book and use the product, I've given up. The frustration was overwhelming. I do much better with a template and graph paper. If I need it in an electronic format, I scan it after drawing.
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2000

I can't answer your question very well as I have an engineering degree. I would suggest that although these programs are daunting to begin with, reading the manual and experimenting a lot will make you proficient. I know that Cadrail is a real drafting program although the tools are railroad layout oriented.
The problem is that a simple program doesn't do much and one that does a lot is complicated.
--
ernie fisch


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wrote:

to work with that

I have seems to

thanks in advance

engineering
daunting to

will make you

program although

one that does

And the ones that do a lot are more complicated than they have to be, and aren't very intuitive. The human engineering is pitiful. A lot of times, doing the simplist of things requires that you do thing that you'd never think of, or doing the simplist of things is just not possible with the software. It's easier just to head over to the drafting board, and draw.
--
Mac Breck (KoshN) - from the desktop PC
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In a message on 11 Dec 2003 14:10:46 GMT, wrote :
"B> http://www.deepsoft.com /\FidoNet: 1:321/153
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Robert, What you and I want from track planning is identical. I hope the program works as well as you say because I should have my copy any day. Doug
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Simplest one of all, pencil, paper, triangle, scale (3/4" or larger preferred) and a compass. Works every time and doesn't need electricity or an engineers degree to use. Don't mean to sound sarcastic, but in the world of computers there are many that think if you can't use a computer do it, you can't do it.

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On Fri, 12 Dec 2003 17:14:11 UTC, "Charles Callaghan"

I learned my drafting when we used drafting machines and triangles and my engineering when the calculators were Fridens and Marchants and there were no pcs so we used slide rules. I have programmed computers using plug boards. I know how to do it the old way. I use computers when they serve my purpose.
I use Cadrail because it is much easier for me than paper and pencil. It allows me much more design freedom than paper and pencil. If you are going to do one layout plan there is no point in learning a CAD program. If you are going to do two maybe it is worthwhile. For more than two the payoff is real.
--
ernie fisch


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More often it's the other way around. If you can do it, you can use a computer to do it. Assuming some smart guy has written the software for it. <G>
Jay CNS&M North Shore Line - "First and fastest"
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