Layout Design

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NickB

Wannabe Engineer
What is the best way of designing a layout for something that will be done up as modules?? I plan to make my layout into modules and want to do a fairly nice layout where I can have a train running continuously while I do some yard switching with another. I plan on having a turntable as well. What would be the best way about starting out first on this?? I also need to keep it cheap as possible, wife rules, so I plan doing the decorating later on after I get the track laid out. Is there any easy software to use as well or if anyone has any ideas on easy layouts that would be great. Thanks
Nick
 

NZRMac

In Training Down Under.
Xtrkcad is a good programme www.sillub.com many guys on here use it. I'm designing a new layout now and I'm thinking modular. I will just build it in convenient sizes to move, not to exact module sizes.

Ken.
 

pa3de8

GO PENNSY!!!
There are several train softwares and some train simulation softwares sets out there that you you can pick. Xtrkcad is one yes, but it's not easy to use. There is a yahoo group soley for people who use Xtrkca and maybe that might be helpful as well.

Scott
 

SpaceMouse

Fun Lover
I just wrote this elsewhere.

********************

I have not tried CADrail, but of the other three I own, Atlas RR, XtraCAD, and 3rd PlanIt, I am now using XtraCAD,

I started with Atlas RR (free) and found it easy to learn, but clunky and since it limits you to Atlas track, restrictive. I designed a few layouts with it and when I decided to build found that the 4 x 8 I designed needed a 4.5 x 8 to work and hand to rebuild my benchwork.

I then went to XtraCAD (free) and after taking the 4-hour tutorial found it both easy and intuitive.

I like the idea of 3-D rendering and after asking a question like you are doing I paid $109 for 3rd PlanIt. It also has a 3-4 hour tutorial. However, this program I found to have a steep learning curve and is to put it bluntly, highly counter-intuitive. Since I paid for it, I kept working with it for over a year fighting with it the whole time. Then when helping some one with a layout design, I tried XtraCAD again and was amazed.

Things that took quite a few minutes to do in 3rd PlanIt, like building a yard, I can do in 20-30 seconds. But the basic stuff, like setting turnouts and joining track is so easy...

I basically, scrapped the $100 product, 3rd PlanIt and have returned to XtraCAD. The only thing it I miss is the 3d rendering, but everything else is so much more efficient with XtraCAD, that I'll do without.
 

NickB

Wannabe Engineer
sweet I'll do xtrkcad and watch the tutorials when I get some time away from work and schoolwork. thanks
 

Joe Daddy

C & SF, my obsession
What Scott said!

There are several train softwares and some train simulation softwares sets out there that you you can pick. Xtrkcad is one yes, but it's not easy to use. There is a yahoo group soley for people who use Xtrkca and maybe that might be helpful as well.

Scott
Nick,
Notice carefully what Scott said. I agree with him, Xtrkcad is not all that easy to learn. Their tutorial in my opinion is seriously lacking. My pick is 3pi (3rdPlanIt) which has just released a new version. It is a super product that produces every high quality 2D output and has 3D capability too. See my evaluation of these two products on my blog at http://wwwjoe-daddy.blogspot.com/ look for the link to train cadd assessment.

Have a great day.

Joe Daddy
 

NickB

Wannabe Engineer
Thanks Joe I'll look around at bit more at some modeling software. My main thing that I've always wanted in a setup is bi-level and a roundhouse...other than that I'm pretty flexible.
 

NYC_George

Well-Known Member
I would make sure it had a double main the entire layout. That way there would be at least one train running at all times without interferring with local switching. My 2 big yards are on a branch so I can run 3 trains and switch all at the same time. I didn't want to spend a lot on a turn table either so I bought the Walthers $29.00 turn table. I had to do a lot of remodeling to make it work though. If you want to see it look in General Layout Photos - under NYC_George

George
 

NickB

Wannabe Engineer
I couldn't find your layout George but it does sound interesting. I guess I'll try looking more into depth tomorrow.
 

Cjcrescent

Master Mechanic
Nick;

I have found that choices in trackplanning software is highly personal and is colored by our use of other programs of that type, be it a freebie, or an expensive one.

I have been fortunate in being able to own them all, and have spent a good deal of time trying to learn them. FOR ME, the best of the most popular ones, 3rd PlanIt, Cadrail8, Atlas RTS,(both versions, 5 & 7), and XtrkCad, is XtrkCad.

I have found the program way easier to use than any of the others, and FOR ME, wasn't as hard to learn as others have stated.

Below is a copy of my layout's "second level", there's one below and one above, that I was able to do in XtrkCad. I can even "run trains" on it to check operations and switching schemes. I'm still exploring the program to see what else I can make it do.
 

NickB

Wannabe Engineer
Man that's awesome looking, I downloaded xtrkcad yesterday. As soon as I get some free time I'll try out the tutorials and see where I go from there.
 




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