Author Topic: Any Decent Model Railroading Design Software  (Read 980 times)

shane_man15

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Any Decent Model Railroading Design Software
« on: September 15, 2010, 08:50:17 PM »
I've tried the Atlas program, and I didn't like it.
Are there any better ones out there?
Shane Smiley (shane_man15)

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CIOR

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Re: Any Decent Model Railroading Design Software
« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2010, 09:55:09 PM »
There are several out there, but I've only ever used AutoCad to do it.
Check in your bookstore at school.  If they have the education version, its worth the cost.

You can design everything with ACAD, not just railroads.

I have templates that I just use, and I know the sizes of most of the commercial HO scale turnouts and such.

INprinter

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Re: Any Decent Model Railroading Design Software
« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2010, 10:09:35 PM »
I agree with the assessment on Autocad. You can do almost anything with that program including model railroad layouts. I have also used Xtrkcad. IMHO Xtrkcad has a learning curve and is not entirely intuitive, meaning that it's not obvious how you get the job done in this program. Once you learn the various functions and begin to recognize the symbols on the command buttons and where things are in the pull down menus you can move along with your project fairly well. The documentation for Xtrkcad is out there but you have to find it. There is very good Yahoo group that supports Xtrkcad and I recommend joining it if you venture forth with the program. By the way, the program is free but you do pay a price, not in dollars but in sweat equity learning how to use it. Xtrkcad has lots of individual support in the way of object libraries that support almost all of the popular track systems out there. Also, buildings etc. as well. You just got to stick with it and get over the learning hump. I know several times I got really frustrated because I couldn't figure out how to do certain layout techniques, even deleted it from my computer several times. But I'm glad I kept going back and stuck with it.

I worked with Autocad probably 20 years ago now. My archaic experiences with the program probably aren't worth squat now as I'm sure the program has progressed tremendously since then. I'm sure it has a learning curve as well, it did 20 years ago for sure. I took quite a few classes back then in CAD and that really helped me along with Autocad. I sure would have appreciated that sort of learning experience with Xtrkcad. Waiting for answers off a Yahoo group can lead to frustration.



Inprinter
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Re: Any Decent Model Railroading Design Software
« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2010, 10:25:31 PM »
INprinter, no worries.  I started working with AutoCad in 1991, and its not changed a bunch.
Gone are the digitizers and board that I started with and today are hard prompt commands....
Simply put  "LINE" or "L" is just that... 
There is a learning curve to learning the commands, but that is much like anything else.
I took a period of about 6 years away from it, and it was liking riding a bike when I got ready to use it again.

INprinter

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Re: Any Decent Model Railroading Design Software
« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2010, 04:43:28 PM »
INprinter, no worries.  I started working with AutoCad in 1991, and its not changed a bunch.
Gone are the digitizers and board that I started with and today are hard prompt commands....
Simply put  "LINE" or "L" is just that... 
There is a learning curve to learning the commands, but that is much like anything else.
I took a period of about 6 years away from it, and it was liking riding a bike when I got ready to use it again.

Sounds like the same interface, or at least very similar. Back then I knew all of those line commands and modifiers as fast as I could type them. Almost didn't have to think about it. Had a very large digitizing pad(shelf actually, LOL) that also had the command functions located on it identified by icons in little squares. I was better at the command line. We learned on a terminal(very large, had a huge round screen much like a radar screen) that was wired into a mainframe somewhere via a 9600 baud modem. Hard to believe I actually got anything done. Screen redraws got to be a pain in the arse the more objects you got on the display.

Inprinter
Shelbyville-1st RR in IN: 7/4/1834. 1st RR abandoned in IN: K&S RR 1854, 26 miles. Making IN RR history. Without photons photography would be a black art. You can never get cornered in the Roundhouse.

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Re: Any Decent Model Railroading Design Software
« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2010, 06:30:28 PM »
Yes, the shelf was fun to learn...NOT.  I agree, it was easier to just command line all you did in there and be done with it.
As they came out with single digit command it helped, but heck I still find myself using LINE as a command over L...Why I have no clue.

Regen versus Redraw...   ;D

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Re: Any Decent Model Railroading Design Software
« Reply #6 on: September 17, 2010, 12:46:16 PM »
Yes AutoCad's command aliases (the single letters) was a godsend for an old dos guy (I started on Version 7).  I can type the commands  A LOT FASTER than I can find them in a pull-down menu or find the right icon around the screen.

Once you build blocks or import a object library, Autocad can be very fast.  Plus, if you ever want to add a layout room to your house, Autocad will help you more than xtrkcad.
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Re: Any Decent Model Railroading Design Software
« Reply #7 on: September 17, 2010, 01:13:00 PM »
Yes AutoCad's command aliases (the single letters) was a godsend for an old dos guy (I started on Version 7).  I can type the commands  A LOT FASTER than I can find them in a pull-down menu or find the right icon around the screen.

Once you build blocks or import a object library, Autocad can be very fast.  Plus, if you ever want to add a layout room to your house, Autocad will help you more than xtrkcad.

I've designed a few actual structures (you know 1 to 1 scale) with Autocad.  Plus the remodel of my basement and making sure it would all fit.

rrnut282

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Re: Any Decent Model Railroading Design Software
« Reply #8 on: September 17, 2010, 01:33:57 PM »
Which version are you using at home, if I may ask?
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Re: Any Decent Model Railroading Design Software
« Reply #9 on: September 17, 2010, 01:50:32 PM »
I've got 2000 and then I have 03LT for what I do most of the stuff with.
I've not upgraded further because I don't need to. 

rrnut282

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Re: Any Decent Model Railroading Design Software
« Reply #10 on: September 20, 2010, 11:23:49 AM »
I've used 2003LT and it will most everything you need to do.  It just doesn't have all the automated bells and whistles.  I've found those bells and whistles do way more than you wanted them too, and you spend a lot of time undoing the extra without losing what you wanted. 

I've used 2007 Land Development Desktop and 2010 Civil 3d versions that will do grade changes in real time, changing pipe quantity and excavation volumes with a drag of the mouse.  Like killing a fly with a bazooka.
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