Winander wrote:This is a momentous and exciting achievement, and having read at least the new thread (11 pages) on the Templot forum, I thank and congratulate you for the significant effort you have made.
Can I ask how thick wooden timbers would have to be, is it the same as the FDM ones, 3.2mm?
Many thanks for the kind words.
As with almost everything in Plug Track, a one-line question requires a page to answer.
The default thickness is 1/8" - 3.2mm.
But you can set the timbers to any thickness you require. And nearly all the other settings (dozens of them).
A few points to bear in mind:
The loose-jaws option requires a long pin to work (and be easily handled). Anything less than about 3mm deep is not going to work very well, so it needs a 3mm depth on the chair plug. The plug could project below thinner timbers if they were packed up on battens between the plugs:
If you don't want the loose-jaws option the plug can be set much less deep for use in thinner timbers. However, if you make the plug too thin, the chairs become very fiddly to locate over the sockets, and the press-fit doesn't work so well. The deeper plugs have a taper which makes locating them in the sockets very easy before pressing the chairs home. I think 1.5mm is probably the minimum timber thickness to work for press-fitting.
If you want thinner sleepers, such as Brook Smith 0.8mm ply, I think you would need to set an easier fit, and glue the chairs in place. There is an adjuster to get the desired plug/socket fit -- after some trial and error no doubt:
For FDM-printed timbers, I added the side flanges as stiffeners where the socket wall is thin. The side flanges and webs are 1mm thick, and need to be hidden under the ballast, so I would think 1.5mm is a practical minimum for FDM timbers.
Although the 3.2mm timbers seem very thick compared with more traditional methods, they do offer the option to hide all manner of gubbins under the ballast. Pre-fitted dropper connections for example can be run to the side of the track. A hidden slider tie-bar device can run in the space between the timbers, with a card cover, hidden with ballast, and dummy cosmetic stretcher bars added.
If preferred 3.2mm FDM bases can be fixed with screws through the webs rather than gluing to the trackbed. Allowing for fine adjustments of the rail alignments and a less stressful track-laying experience. Proceed at your own pace, not that of setting glue. Ballast later when all is tested and running -- a bottom fill of coarse crumbled material, and a top layer of crushed walnut shell, or whatever.
It is still very early days for the Plug Track experiment, there are lots of ideas still to try for actually building and laying it. It is only now that full turnouts are possible that we can find out how best to use it.