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Thread: used my CNC to cut a switching layout!

  1. Default used my CNC to cut a switching layout!

    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.

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  3. #3


    Wow. That looks really nice.
    Take care,

    Freelance modeling of ICG and SOU in early 1980s Mississippi in HO and maybe O

    Member, SRHA, ICHS, GM&OHS

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    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.
    Anton. and his useless page

    My layout progress
    Part 1 Part 2
    control panel (decommissioned)
    "Glass" Control Panel

    Track Planning for RealisticOperation - The only essential MRR book (IMHO)

    What can i say, i love editing my posts

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    i dropped 18K on one 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.

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    Wow that is amazing!
    I love that kind of stuff... should have changed careers long ago!
    Questions answered, Answers questionable.

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    That's spectacular! But $18K for equipment? I assume the CNC is used for your business and not just MR-ing. LOL!

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    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.

  9. #9


    Nice! I always thought it would be cool to draw hills/mountains in 3d and then CNC them into blocks of foam.

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