Home made laser cut sleeper sections

Discuss the prototype and how to model it.
David Bigcheeseplant
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Home made laser cut sleeper sections

Postby David Bigcheeseplant » Sat Apr 04, 2015 10:48 am

Although we plan to use Templot to plan most of track on our clubs Aylesbury layout, there will be quite a bit of straight track, it occurred to me we could laser cut our own sleeper sections, each sleeper section being tabbed into a frame that sets the sleepers to the correct spacing which would be removed just prior to laying.

For a start does anyone know where to obtain the thin ply used sleeper strip, and secondly I would guess Aylesbury would be LNER spec trackwork so what would the standard rail lengths (60 feet?) be and how many sleepers per length?

David

David Bigcheeseplant
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Re: Home made laser cut sleeper sections

Postby David Bigcheeseplant » Sat Apr 04, 2015 10:49 am

Double post

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John Bateson
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Re: Home made laser cut sleeper sections

Postby John Bateson » Sat Apr 04, 2015 12:26 pm

In another life I included adverts in a certain journal for TimberTracks when they were made by the old C&L.
See here http://www.timbertracks.co.uk/templates/4mm/T43W63w8.pdf
It should be possible to take a Templot drawing, print out the parts you need and then laser cut (or get somebody else to laser cut) the bits you need.

Full list of panels is at http://www.timbertracks.co.uk/index.php?route=product/category&path=8_9 but this does not included LNER stuff as far as I can see.

This might help ...

John
Slaving away still on GCR stuff ...
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grovenor-2685
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Re: Home made laser cut sleeper sections

Postby grovenor-2685 » Sat Apr 04, 2015 1:56 pm

IMHO, ply is not cheap, laser cutting ready spaced out sleepers gives you about 60% wastage, just to save a few seconds spacing them out on a template. bad idea in my book. Better cutting them the way the stores are doing it.
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Keith
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Keith
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David Thorpe
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Re: Home made laser cut sleeper sections

Postby David Thorpe » Sat Apr 04, 2015 3:42 pm

There's a wide selection of timber suitable for model making at Cornwall Model Boats (http://www.cornwallmodelboats.co.uk/index.html) They have ply sheet at 0.8mm and 1.5mm thick, together with a large number of other types of wood and sizes.

Just a satisfied customer....

DT

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David B
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Re: Home made laser cut sleeper sections

Postby David B » Sat Apr 04, 2015 5:24 pm

There was a chat about sleepers, laser cut, holed and no-holed, in this section of the Forum a short while ago. I gave some sources of timber here.

David Bigcheeseplant
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Re: Home made laser cut sleeper sections

Postby David Bigcheeseplant » Sat Apr 04, 2015 6:25 pm

Our club has its own laser cutter, so artwork and cutting is no problem, If the sleeper spacing jig is only on one side two sets could be interlaced saving wastage, another thought is a laser mark to show where to position the chairs.

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Martin Wynne
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Re: Home made laser cut sleeper sections

Postby Martin Wynne » Sat Apr 04, 2015 7:01 pm

I agree with Keith, it's a daft idea. To save a few minutes sticking them on a template, you then have the great difficulty of cutting out the web links between each sleeper without damaging the track -- that's 4 cuts per sleeper. And wasting half the plywood you paid for.

Martin.
40 years developing Templot. And counting ...

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martinm
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Re: Home made laser cut sleeper sections

Postby martinm » Sat Apr 04, 2015 11:23 pm

Hi David,

I don't know what your track details are, sleeper size(s), spacings, rail length, etc.

The fact that you seem to be thinking of plain laser cut ply suggets that you are going for plastic chaired track.
I think there are easier and cheaper options than cutting the sleepers wih connecting tabs.

Scalefour Digest 23.5.3, although for the old whitemetal chairs, uses a jig to space the sleepers during the assembly. I remember using something similar (half of that jig) for rivetted track, since I was making old Midland track for which ther were no templates.

You could use the laser cutter to make the jigs to suit your own track, especially since that could now include markings for the rail line.

I hope that works, I'm certainly going to try it for plastic chaired track soon since I now need some more older Midland lines,

regards,

martin

Terry Bendall
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Re: Home made laser cut sleeper sections

Postby Terry Bendall » Sun Apr 05, 2015 8:16 am

David Bigcheeseplant wrote:For a start does anyone know where to obtain the thin ply used sleeper strip,


Simple question, easy answer! :) When I was making the sleepers for the stores I got the plywood from:

Jennor Timber, Jennor House, Lockfield Avenue, Enfield, Middlesex, EN3 7QL Tel: 020 8805 2121 Email: sales@jennortimber.co.uk

We used 1.5mm thick birch play which came in sheets 1200mm square so easy to transport in a car since it can be bent gently to fit. The last batch was bought in 2010 and the cost per sheet then was £29.00, but that was with buying 10 sheets. It will cost more if the quantity is less but the firm is usually willing to discuss prices. If you are going to use them, a phone call first is advisable and get a price when you ring.

The company is a large timber merchants that supply birch plywood in all standard thicknesses as well as a good range of hardwood and softwood timbers.

Terry Bendall

David Bigcheeseplant
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Re: Home made laser cut sleeper sections

Postby David Bigcheeseplant » Sun Apr 05, 2015 8:52 am

Hi Terry
thanks for the info.

We plan to build the track wire and paint it, then lay and ballast in one go, when we have done this before the sleepers have a tendency to slide or move to a position not perpendicular to the rail. The idea was if the tabs were to one end of the sleepers not under the rail then it would just one cut prior to laying, but hopefully it may keep everything aligned till the last minute.

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jim s-w
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Re: Home made laser cut sleeper sections

Postby jim s-w » Sun Apr 05, 2015 11:27 am

Is that a laser ply though Terry?

Jim

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Martin Wynne
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Re: Home made laser cut sleeper sections

Postby Martin Wynne » Sun Apr 05, 2015 11:31 am

jim s-w wrote:Is that a laser ply though Terry?

Jim didn't explain that.

Not all plywood is suitable for laser cutting. Some plywood has glue which melts under the laser and causes the layers to shift or come apart. Makes a nasty mess.

Martin.
40 years developing Templot. And counting ...

Tim Horn
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Re: Home made laser cut sleeper sections

Postby Tim Horn » Sun Apr 05, 2015 11:57 am

I've recently cut 10,000 Irish sleepers for the stores, and over 6,000 for another customer so I've now got a bit of experience with the process. You will always get a bit of waste, the biggest hassle is keeping the sheet material flat. Its easier to do a couple of hundred sleepers at a time using bars to keep the material flat. You can't set a full 4ft by 3ft sheet going in one go unfortunately!

Irish P4 9ft Sleepers 0-8mm TJH01 Copyright Tim Horn.jpg
Irish P4 9ft Sleepers 0-8mm TJH01 Copyright Tim Horn.jpg


I've got Terry's ply in stock, whilst you can zap it, it's not ideal as it requires quite a bit more power but it's better than nothing at the moment. I do have plans to experiment with other wood sheets cut to the correct thickness, but I lack time as always.

Cheers
Tim

mikewturner

Re: Home made laser cut sleeper sections

Postby mikewturner » Sun Apr 05, 2015 3:05 pm

Hansons (not Brian :-) are meant to have 1.5 mm laser ply as of January this year. Not tried them yet...

http://www.hanson-plywood.co.uk/products/birch

Regards

Mike

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grovenor-2685
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Re: Home made laser cut sleeper sections

Postby grovenor-2685 » Sun Apr 05, 2015 5:03 pm

Terry said,
We used 1.5mm thick birch play which came in sheets 1200mm square so easy to transport in a car since it can be bent gently to fit.

Now this is a surprise as all of the ply sleepers and timbers that came from the stores (and even those from Studiolith before!) for use with rivets ala Brook Smith method have been 0.8mm thick. It would seem difficult to cut them from 1.5 mm sheet.
Tim's picture shows sleepers with holes in so presumably for rivets and hence should be 0.8 mm thick.
A quick check on the stores list reveals that the thickness is not mentioned. Perhaps Tim or Terry can clarify what thickness is actually being used.
Regards
Keith
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Keith
Grovenor Sidings

Tim Horn
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Re: Home made laser cut sleeper sections

Postby Tim Horn » Sun Apr 05, 2015 5:57 pm

Hi Keith,

I'm using 0.8mm at the moment, basically for the rivets.

Cheers
Tim

Terry Bendall
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Re: Home made laser cut sleeper sections

Postby Terry Bendall » Mon Apr 06, 2015 6:59 am

jim s-w wrote:Is that a laser ply though Terry?


Sorry no idea. When I was doing it they were cut by hand so not a problem.

grovenor-2685 wrote:Now this is a surprise as all of the ply sleepers and timbers that came from the stores (and even those from Studiolith before!) for use with rivets ala Brook Smith method have been 0.8mm thick.


Yes it is. Apologies but I quoted the wrong thickness. Blame old age! :( It was 0.8mm ply but I did get the firm and the price correct.

Terry Bendall


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