Printable Railway Tracks (STL) for the important Gauges!
Printable Railway Tracks (STL) for the important Gauges!
Printable Railway Tracks! Optimized for 3d-print. Standard, Russian, Indian, Cape & 600 mm gauge!
Printable Railway Tracks! Optimized for 3d-print. Standard, Russian, Indian, Cape & 600 mm gauge! Read more
A word ahead: This campaign will create - if anything - printable files of STL format. To hold anything in your hand, you have to print it out yourself on a 3d-printer.
Also now part of the reward - see Update 2:
Railways and their Tracks in history
For more then a century, railways represented the backbone of logistics, and thus for warfare. Campaigns were waged along tracks, and battles were fought for important junctions. While uniforms and tanks are represented to the last pocket and rivet for most periods and scales, tracks have not been given much love and are usually neglected.
This campaign will test the waters wether there is sufficent demand for a full set of tracks, or more...
Here is a FREE (250k zip) sample for our straigth standard gauge in 1:100 - no need to buy anything blind. For those who want them larger here is also a shorter version with some more detail (~300k]. Download and print it to see if it is what you want. If you like it and want more, support this campaign.
We DO plan to put up this set of standard tracks for FREE after this campaign ends. If you want curves and switches, help us to create them and benefit by getting the files for different gauges, too.
So, what is planned in this campaign:
We intend to create a set of files representing tracks using the Standard Gauge and ties spaced some 60cm apart. This standard set is planned to be released FREE for all after the campaign ends. All other sets are for campaigners only:
straight (1, 8, 16, 32 and 64 ties)
- curved - 200m radius (not for 600mm)
- curved - 100m radius (not for 600mm)
- curved - 50m radius
- curved - 25m radius (600mm only)
- switch left
- switch right
- cross 90° (600mm only)
The ties will normally be shown with a height of 5cm which allows them to be used both flat on a table or within your own ballast bed.
Straight tracks will also have the option to come with full ties (16cm heigth), to allow for the construction of bridges etc.
Scale and quality
Our standard design is made for 1:100, which makes it easy to swap to your scale. If in doubt:
- 1:35 - 285,71%
- 1:45 - 222,22% (0 scale)
- 1:48 - 208,33%
- 1:56 - 178,57%
- 1:72 - 138,89%
- 1:87 - 114,94% (H0 scale)
- 1:120 - 83,33% (TT scale)
- 1:160 - 62,50% (N scale)
- 1:220 - 45,45% (Z scale)
- 1:285 - 35,09%
To allow for the different scales, the files will differ in length from 8 (for 1:35), over 16 and 32 to 64 ties (for 1:285) per file, which makes them printable within a printbed of ~15cm for each scale. There will also be a single track, to customize your own printout.
We also offer the file in two additional quality grades to allow small scales (1:285-) to still show the rails, or for large scale printouts (1:56 or 1:35) to show rail profile and attachement details.
High quality will be available for 8 and 16 ties, the low quality for the 32 to 64 files.
As we also throw in some variants, like the straight track with full ties, to enable you to create bridges. In total there are 62 different files per set.
See our list for the Standard Gauge in ods (Open Document for Open/Libre Office Calc) here!
Normal vs. Small vs. Large Scale
To allow for 3d-prints we had to rework the profile of the rail - the typical serifed I - to a rectangle sitting on a base. In smaller scales the foot may vanish, and below 1:285 even the rail may vanish, so we do offer a "small scale" variant with thicker rail and no base. If you want these files for large scales a simple rectangle does look good, so we also made a version with rail profile and more rail fixing details.
Gauging More Gauges
The Standard Gauge makes up well over 50% of the worlds railroads, but - as mentioned above - its the difference in detail that makes modelling and gaming interesting. So we decided to offer you some different gauges to cover other important aspects of history.
These will come with the standard reward, but NOT for all after this campaign ends. We plan to put them online for roughly 10€ per set once this campaign is fullfilled.
Used eg by all trench railways during WW1, by most industrial gauges or by mines or fortifications like the Maginot line, this gauge perhaps offers the greatest opportunity to create dioramas or scenarios. We will offer this gauge with different ties and smaller radii, perhaps emulating a typical trench railway.
This gauge is most famously used by the Russians (and later the Soviet Union, and again the Russians), but was also the common standard for the Confererate States during the ACW, and is still in use today by others. This one will come fixed with three spikes per tie as used by the Soviets during WW2.
Interesting variants (and stretch goals) would be the four-rail combination tracks or regauged captured Soviet tracks under German control.
One of the largest gauges in use, the "Indian" gauge is also widely in use in South America.
One of the smaller gauges in use. It is widely common in Southern Africa, but is also standard the in Japan.
You will also get a full set of tracks for each of these gauges for an ultimate total of some 300 files for a measly 10 €. Admittedly, all of these will just create tracks on the other side of the printer, but for those who ever wanted some difference in detail, this deal is too good to just let it roll by...
AddOn 1 - Station: + 10 €
We know there is not much to see yet, but if you look at update 5 you will see where we will go for.
You will get STL-Files for an American Station of around 1900, both for scalable print in 1:100 with interior walls, and as a full house for print in smaller scales like 1:285. The house will come in segments so that you can field it as in real with 7 segments, or in any length starting with 2.
Delivery will be August.
AddOn 2 - Fachwerk A: + 11 €
There will be a "full house" version with reduced detail for 1:285 print. Previews and printouts are alredy available at Shapeways.
Delivery will be July!
2000€ - metre/1000mm gauge added with a full set - ties and fixings to be decided
- 3000€ - won't happen, but if it does, we will vote what is added, like different spaced ties, different material for ties, another gauge - seel below for ideas...
- 4000€ - dito, from here on...
Possible Sretchgoal variants
- Historical variants lik the Fishbed tracks
- Other gauges, like trams, the 15GN gauge, 50cm gauge or the projected Beitspurbahn
- Ballast Bed - added eg to the tracks of the Standard gauge as option
- Different radii for the curves
- A regauged Russian to Standard track, resulting in an imbalanced track bed
- Colored printfiles (as obj or wrl)
- Tie spacing variants - eg. very narrow for high duty sections (or railway guns), or wider spaced to allow for sparse material or older lines
- Tie variants, like rough logs, different concrete forms, or rails embedded in asphalt for trams
- Attachment and fixation details - there are plenty of variants out. While we used two of the most common (baseplates and spikes), we could create different variants that eg. fit better to the American West or more modern theatres like WW3.
- Different rail profiles
- More elaborate switches or crossings
- Multi-rail variants like the Standard/Normal hybrid tracks (used in Mongolia, Azerbadjan or Georgia)
Flames Of War - Armoured Train Extra...
If you play Flames of War with Armoured Trains - and chances are not bad if you are still reading this - you may have noticed that while the size of the trains (at least the Polish) is almost perfectly scaled down at 1:100, the gauge coming with these train is a bit on the smallish side.
As a free extra, we provide you with fitting wheels here to regauge your train so that they DO fit on our tracks.
Why should I not just use one track size and rescale it?
Good question. Perhaps because if you scale up a Standard Gauge by 6.2% to get the Russian Gauge, you also have higher and thicker rails and ties. Nobody else but you will ever know, but YOU will know...
When doing that to a trench railway, or upscaling Standard to Indian, it may be even more apparent.
That said, doing things right carries its own reward. Thats what we want to do, and this campaign shall test the waters if there is sufficent demand to do this for railroad tracks.
What if this campaign fails?
We will put the tracks we do have online for a price and go on with our next project. There will most likely be no different gauges, curves or switches.
Where does the money go?
Well, fair question. Kickstarter, taxes, software licenses, a webserver, hardware (comp, printer), and then onwards to food and other amenities of life :-)
Scaling down reality - Design Notes
The printouts do not look like the real profile of rail and fixings. While we would really like to do this, we had to accept the reality of 3d-prints. To amend this, we DID create a high quality version, which mainly means showing a slight I-profile and details of the fixing that would be lost in smaller scales. If printers and their materials become better, we may replace or amend these files.
Rail profiles differ widely over time, but some 150 years the flat bottomed Vignole profile became almost universal standard. If, however, you scale that down, the connection between bottom and top vanishes into nothing - so most, including our rail proviles, are rectangles upon a larger base. The high quality version, however, tries to emulate at least the profile by denting this rectangle a bit. For outer measures we did use the S49 with 67mm top width and 149mm heigth.
Ties also offer a wide variety, but were usually made from simple wooden blocks - often sloped on the top because trees are round. We ignored the slope and use 20*240*16 base size, spaced at 60cm - which is the standard for the German railway and is a good average for most European rails. They are spaced at 60cm, which again is a good average for Europe and goes back well over 130 years when some 1670 ties were put upon a km in the Prussian rail. Current US rails are closer, with 19.5" on average. As the spacing varies even on the same track with expected load and speed, the average seems quite a good starting point. As to the spacing of the other gauges - we are still researching and open to your input (which may also change the standard spacing.
That said, ties vary widely, from roughly hewn logs to elaborate constructions of steel, plastic or concrete. If you want something special, wait for a stretchgoal or go for the big addon... (hint, hint)
That said, 16cm height for the ties is a lot if you print in the 1:56 or 1:35 scale, and they normally are dug in (eingeschottert) anyway - so we decided to reduce their height to 5cm for the normal files, and just offer full size on straight tracks as an option, so that you can build bridges or create your own bedding.
Another variable is the fixing, which ranges from spikes (some selected one in gold) over baseplates - some fixed by spikes - to clamps and clips in a variety of forms and materials - most of which will never show up on a printout for tabeltop. Thus, we decided to go for baseplates fixed by screws, which covers most of the railway history - and spiked plates for the 5' gauge which is correct for the WW2 Soviet Union and may work for the CSA if you ignore the plate. If you are in dire need for another system,
After experimenting with a ballast bed we decided to do the normal tracks without, and changed this into a stretchgoal. Our version (PLA) tended to warp, and ate lots of time and filament compared to naked tracks. They are easier to just put on the table, though. So if there is demand...
Addon "Choose or design your own track"
If you are enthusiastic (some would say crazy) enough to go for this addon, you may choose any existing variant or describe to us any fictional railway. In both cases we need the information on rail, tie and fasting as detailed as possible, and will strife to reproduce them as close to your specifications as possible. You then can choose 20 file variants that we will do for this track, AND we will put up this package for all participants for free (so make sure you do not use rail profiles that are trademarked :-)
You can opt to be named as sponsor, or remain anonymous. After the campaign we will either put up that set as free download or shelve it, sponsors choice. The license is the same as for general files.
If you do want tracks of your own that you do NOT want to go to the public, or want to obtain full ownership of the files, please contact us.
Tools of the Trade
All printouts you see here were printed on a Dremel Ideabuilder 3D20, using standard settings, without any editing on the images save colour, light and contrast. The 3d-models were created using Allplan with post processing (repair) by Windows 3d Builder and MeshLab and slicings done with Autodesk Print Studio or Simplify3d.
Fair usage and "license"
As a participant in this campaign you get a personal license to print the tracks for yourself, your family or your close friends - though you are not allowed to SELL any of the printouts (or instigate some trade that amounts to a pseudo-selling), nor to forward the files to anybody.
If you want to sell the printed objects, or recasts of printed objects, please contact us for details.
Risks and challenges
Well, what risks...
as soon as it looks like there is sufficient support, I will start creating these files, and then upload them. Whatever can happen in between is the sum of all risks.
- (19 days)