used my CNC to cut a switching layout!

Affiliate Disclosure: We may receive a commision from some of the links and ads shown on this website (Learn More Here)

well, i finally found something interesting to try to cut. I found the track plan here:

While the original was 10' long, i decided to use up some material, and stretched it to 190" I used Xtrkcad to draw up the plan, then i exported it as a DXF file to my cnc design software. From there, i used the calculator figuring in the roadbed, and drew it out around all the trackwork. I drew it as the total length, then split it in half, and nested it on a 4X8 sheet of 2" foam.

I used a 45 degree V bit for the roadbed bevel, then a 1/4 straight bit for some of the narrower areas, and then a 1/2 bit to shave down all the rest of the surrounding areas. This was just a test, for anything i'd do for anyone else, i'd surface the entire sheet to eliminate thickness variation, but overall, it turned out pretty cool! I drew it with Atlas code 100 track, #4 switches everywhere, except one #6 because it fit better! I cut a 1/2 deep path around the border, and will trim out each 18" wide section on the tablesaw.

You can see the tooling marks/edges, but they sand down really easy. I sanded a larger area to check it. Let me know what you guys think of it. I had 4 hours in design time, and 1 hour of cut time.



Active Member
while this neat what is more interesting it the CnC machine as well. i wanted to build a cnc router long time ago. wondering how you approached it.
i dropped 18K on one :D I purchased a shopbot 4X8 standard model cnc for 12K then added the laptop for control, dust collection system, vacuum hold down system, then recently upgraded from a porter cable router motor for cutting up to a 220V 2HP high frequency spindle cutter.

Looking at getting a 3D scanner, so i can do lots of detail on a layout, then scan it for infinite reproduction. Hoping to turn the layouts into a side business, my other business is making reproduction 80's full size arcade game cabinets. Not a day job by any means, but i enjoy it.
i actually work for a railroad as my day job. I bought the cnc with the profits i made on a restored 68 mustang fastback i built. I always planned on doing kitchen cabinetry, but 4 years later and i haven't even tried lol.

3D scanner is my next equipment purchase, then looking at a cnc plasma cutter down the road. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to