We're bringing back the Monorail - 3D printed!

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Comments

  • LowaLowa FloridaMember Posts: 114
    mathew said:
    You could also offer the monorail track in different colors.  I'm thinking a dark blue like the "lost" Sea-Tron theme monorail would be a good start:
    Hi mathew, thanks for the suggestion - we have been getting a few requests for new track colors including white (Christmas theme), black (Blacktron and Star Wars) and the Seatron blue. We are finalizing half curves tracks so it would make sense now to have a full range in new color(s). Which color(s) would you all vote for first?
    MattDawson
  • MattDawsonMattDawson Solihull, UKMember Posts: 1,202
    I would say white - quite a lot of monorails seem to have either white or grey track. 
  • TigerMothTigerMoth Member Posts: 2,343
    It's called concrete or steel. You're being too realistic!
    stlux
  • SprinkleOtterSprinkleOtter Member Posts: 2,731
    Lowa said:
    mathew said:
    You could also offer the monorail track in different colors.  I'm thinking a dark blue like the "lost" Sea-Tron theme monorail would be a good start:
    Hi mathew, thanks for the suggestion - we have been getting a few requests for new track colors including white (Christmas theme), black (Blacktron and Star Wars) and the Seatron blue. We are finalizing half curves tracks so it would make sense now to have a full range in new color(s). Which color(s) would you all vote for first?
    Are transparent colors an option?
  • dougtsdougts Oregon, USAMember Posts: 4,128
    White isn't that far off from light grey. Black or blue would be more of a differentiator 
  • LowaLowa FloridaMember Posts: 114
    Are transparent colors an option?
    At this time, transparent ABS is too brittle, especially for such a big piece and would be more translucent than transparent. We are also concerned about all the connectors, etc at the back of the track showing through - would that be acceptable to you?
  • cheshirecatcheshirecat Member Posts: 5,332
    Black.
  • SprinkleOtterSprinkleOtter Member Posts: 2,731
    Lowa said:
    Are transparent colors an option?
    At this time, transparent ABS is too brittle, especially for such a big piece and would be more translucent than transparent. We are also concerned about all the connectors, etc at the back of the track showing through - would that be acceptable to you?
    Hmm. Can you tell I hadn't thought this one all the way through?
    I suppose one could use trans-#### parts for the connectors, but anything used to lif the monorail off of the ground would be visible.
  • TigerMothTigerMoth Member Posts: 2,343
    Lowa said:

    Which color(s) would you all vote for first?
    Actually, does it matter? As I understand it, you virtually have to make these to order, and can therefore make any colour for which you have stock; if you don't have it, it's just a matter of a couple of extra days sourcing it.
  • LowaLowa FloridaMember Posts: 114
    TigerMoth said:
    Lowa said:

    Which color(s) would you all vote for first?
    Actually, does it matter? As I understand it, you virtually have to make these to order, and can therefore make any colour for which you have stock; if you don't have it, it's just a matter of a couple of extra days sourcing it.
    Hi TigerMoth - it does matter as we have to develop a custom color with our supplier to match LEGO - it takes a lot longer than a couple of days and there is also a minimum order size...
    SprinkleOtterShibcheshirecatBumblepantskiki180703
  • oldtodd33oldtodd33 Denver 4800 miles to BillundMember Posts: 2,416
    ^ It's the minimum order size that's going to get you. I would vote for black myself but I think red would be awesome too or blue. 
  • Russell844Russell844 California, USAMember Posts: 1,834
    I vote for white.
  • TigerMothTigerMoth Member Posts: 2,343
    Lowa said:

    Hi TigerMoth - it does matter as we have to develop a custom color with our supplier to match LEGO - it takes a lot longer than a couple of days and there is also a minimum order size...
    I was thinking more of the "first" bit. There are probably colours (the more neutral ones) which you know you'll want to produce and for which there effectively isn't a difference between "eventually" and "first". A second batch of colours might be trickier to determine because it will depend more what they have in mind.
  • LowaLowa FloridaMember Posts: 114
    I gave it a try in black and white and they came out great.  Like Dougts, I expected the white to be too close to the light gray but it's not, it actually gives a very different impression.  It could definitely work to give a snowy feel, but could also give a hi tech or futuristic feel in the proper layout.  The black track would look very neat in a batman, blacktron, darth vader, etc. layout.

    We're ready with the short curves, we're releasing them next week (together with our cross switch!) so you can do a basic layout (straights and curves) in black or white.  If you're interested in black or white tracks, let us know, and we'll print them for you (no extra cost). 

    SprinkleOtterMattDawsonkiki180703stluxBumblepantsdougtsjosekaleldrdavewatford
  • MattDawsonMattDawson Solihull, UKMember Posts: 1,202
    gmonkey76Bumblepantsjosekalelkiki180703
  • LegogramLegogram PA USAMember Posts: 316
    I am relatively new to LEGO, so reading about all of this has been really interesting.

    I bought a "lot" of LEGO at a resale shop, shortly after I got interested.  I thought they would be fun for my grandsons and I to sort and put together.  Lol, they only like the new ones I discovered quite quickly after my purchase.

    The sets are partially sorted, but the one large set I purchased is in it's original box, and somewhat sorted.  It is set 6990.

    Can someone tell me if it is possible to use parts from this set to make a longer tram for a city display?

    Also, I have the motor and battery box.  Will it be sufficient to put a battery in and connect the motor to see if it still works?  I have not tried any trains or trams yet, so I really don't know anything about them.

    Any help will be most appreciated. :-)
  • MattDawsonMattDawson Solihull, UKMember Posts: 1,202
    @legogram ;
    For the monorail to work, you need a 9V battery box, connecting wire and motor - the control mechanism is integrated into the motor bogie, so provided the battery box is in good condition (i.e. no battery leak) then you should be fine to connect everything up and try the motor.
  • LegogramLegogram PA USAMember Posts: 316
    @Matt Dawson Thank you for your help.
     I have the connector too, so I will give it a try.  As long as the gear turns, I imagine that it is possible it will work.
    I found the list of parts on brickset, so now I have to find out how many parts I am missing.
    Thanks again for your help.
  • mpontonmponton FloridaMember Posts: 1
    Lowa said:
    I gave it a try in black and white...... snowy feel....... hi tech or futuristic......darth vader....

    These were really the only words I read and saw this picture. Only thing to ask now is... Does anyone know of or wants to design a star wars themed monorail train? Christmas themed monorail train? Maybe for those who have daughters or a wife that likes Frozen a bunch and might enjoy a Disney theme with Elsa and Anna? (I have two monorail motors and batteries)

    I'm not the greatest at train/monorail mocs so any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Note: My monorail only gets put out once a year for Christmas and it goes around Frozen's castle, Santa's workshop, and the new addition for this year the giant Disney castle as a focal point.

    Anyone care to help with this MOC?
  • BumblepantsBumblepants DFWMember Posts: 5,827
    Another interesting idea would be to 3D print the narrow guage track (4W) found in the Temple of Doom and Friends Coaster set in different colors and new part types such as straights. Might be a decent market for something other than 'garish blue' and more track configuration possibilities.
    sid3windrdougtskiki180703
  • MattDawsonMattDawson Solihull, UKMember Posts: 1,202
    @Bumblepants someone on Shapeways already did.
  • LowaLowa FloridaMember Posts: 114
    @Bumblepants  That's indeed an interesting idea !   We're currently developing 'dark blueish gray' filament so our train track switches are matching the current train tracks.  We have been experimenting with printing train track as well.  Below you can see our prototypes: 90 degree cross, straight, quarter straight, half straight and a stopper / buffer track.  So we could make a full range of narrow gauge track types in the same color as the standard LEGO track.  What do you think ?
    gmonkey76Russell844josekalelkiki180703bluedragon
  • dougtsdougts Oregon, USAMember Posts: 4,128
    I'm not a monorail owner (I don't own any, so don't want to get started), but I want to say I think it's awesome that you guys are doing this, and that you are being so responsive to customer input/requests on this blogs. The black and white versions look awesome.

    I AM a train owner, so I would love things like the 90 degree cross and a double crossover (#7996)
    gmonkey76kiki180703stluxLegoboypharmjodRonyardrdavewatford
  • TkattTkatt MNMember Posts: 328
    I would be interested in narrow gauge track. How much would straights cost?
    dougtskiki180703gmonkey76
  • MrShinyAndNewMrShinyAndNew Member Posts: 244
    I would be interested in regular track. Especially the cross track. I've always wanted one but been put off by the high prices on bricklink for the old 9V one. Those other lengths would be useful too. Given that the regular straight track piece is available from Lego, my interest in that would have to depend on the price. Lego track isn't cheap, and to buy straight track new you have to also buy useless flex track.
  • dougtsdougts Oregon, USAMember Posts: 4,128
    Tkatt said:
    I would be interested in narrow gauge track. How much would straights cost?
    Ditto
    gmonkey76
  • LowaLowa FloridaMember Posts: 114
    dougts said:
    I'm not a monorail owner (I don't own any, so don't want to get started), but I want to say I think it's awesome that you guys are doing this, and that you are being so responsive to customer input/requests on this blogs. The black and white versions look awesome.

    I AM a train owner, so I would love things like the 90 degree cross and a double crossover (#7996)
    Thanks dougts!

    The model of the 90 degree cross is essentially done.  Once we have the custom colored filament we can start producing them.  If you want one, keep an eye on the 4DBrix website / bricklink store because we might have them pretty soon.

    The double crossover is definitely on our to do list.  We have been experimenting with 3D printing the train switch mechanism; to have a little spring mechanism like the LEGO switches.  That seemed to work fine, so we should be able to create custom track switches and double crossovers.
  • LowaLowa FloridaMember Posts: 114
    Tkatt said:
    I would be interested in narrow gauge track. How much would straights cost?
    That's not an easy question as I have never made one, so I'm not going to pin myself down with a price.  However, I took my standard straight model, reduced it to narrow gauge and loaded it into the 3D printer software to get an estimate of the amount of plastic and print time.  Based on that is seems a straight narrow gauge track (16 studs long) would be around $5 to $6.  (We offer free shipping for all orders above $40).  That's an estimate, 3D printing is full of surprises, so I need to print a couple before I can give a final price.  We could make them in dark bluish gray or black; that would not affect the price.

    gmonkey76
  • LowaLowa FloridaMember Posts: 114
    I would be interested in regular track. Especially the cross track. I've always wanted one but been put off by the high prices on bricklink for the old 9V one. Those other lengths would be useful too. Given that the regular straight track piece is available from Lego, my interest in that would have to depend on the price. Lego track isn't cheap, and to buy straight track new you have to also buy useless flex track.
    Hi!  Unfortunately 3D printing is not a cheap process.  We cannot make the regular straight track cheaper then LEGO, even considering the fraction you pay for the flex track.  I made some prototypes to check the dimensions and connections and test the track in a layout but it's not intended to sell because it doesn't make any sense from an price point of view.

    For the cross track.   Again, it's hard to fix a price when you haven't made a bunch of them but if we can get the processes under control we might be able to do it for $13 - $15.   So for the cross track we can definitely do better than the second hand 9V ones.




    gmonkey76SprinkleOtter
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 17,797
    I can understand why you might make a crossover. But for the straights, especially the regular straight, I think you should avoid them. Even if you could print them cheaper than the Lego equivalent, reproducing a current Lego set / part puts you in Lepin territory.
    Bumblepants
  • mldj77mldj77 Philadelphia, PAMember Posts: 63
    I'd love the quarter straight or half straight in 9v if that were possible. 
  • LowaLowa FloridaMember Posts: 114
    CCC said:
    I can understand why you might make a crossover. But for the straights, especially the regular straight, I think you should avoid them. Even if you could print them cheaper than the Lego equivalent, reproducing a current Lego set / part puts you in Lepin territory.
    I totally agree; we have no plans in making copies of bricks LEGO currently makes. We want to produce parts that are no longer available or parts that were never produced.

    For the straight train track, I understand the pain in having to buy a box with a bunch of flex tracks that you're not interested in.  So I can see where the request for straight train track comes from, it is indeed a bit of a frustrating situation that there is no set with just straights.  I just wanted to point out that even from a price perspective, it would not make any sense to 3D print them.  
    MattDawsonkiki180703gmonkey76stluxjosekalel
  • MattDawsonMattDawson Solihull, UKMember Posts: 1,202
    http://www.shapeways.com/product/Y8ZVSN5CN/narrow-gauge-straight?optionId=57700494

    The Shapeways 16 stud length 4w track is nearly £19 each.
  • LowaLowa FloridaMember Posts: 114
    mldj77 said:
    I'd love the quarter straight or half straight in 9v if that were possible. 
    We looked into the possibilities of using conductive filament.  But even the most conductive filaments don't even come close to what you need to power a LEGO motor. We need a breakthrough in conductive filament before we can make 9V track.  

    Apparently it's possible to power a monorail with copper tape conductors.  I'm not aware of anyone that tried that with trains.  Maybe it's a workaround to make the 3D printed short segments conductive yourself...


  • oldtodd33oldtodd33 Denver 4800 miles to BillundMember Posts: 2,416
    @Lowa  
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 17,797
    There is a kickstarter at the moment for regular train track, in different curves and lengths

    https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/bricktracks/additional-track-geometries-for-lego-trains/description

    It looks like it is destined to fail with 5 days left, a little over 10% pledged. It seems their pricing for their kit is a little over ambitious (and let's face it, kickstarter is not really about getting projects up off the ground, it is about selling the items).

    Foe example, $50 for 16 straights (8 x 1/4 lengths and 8 x 1/2 lengths) - so six straights equivalent in small sections for $50.

    Some of their bigger radius circles have little to no backers whatsoever, so this might give an indication as to what people don't want.

    They have said they will double the amounts for the same price if over funded to $75K. But seems unlikely.
    MattDawsonkiki180703
  • MrShinyAndNewMrShinyAndNew Member Posts: 244
    Lowa said:
    Hi!  Unfortunately 3D printing is not a cheap process.  We cannot make the regular straight track cheaper then LEGO, even considering the fraction you pay for the flex track.  I made some prototypes to check the dimensions and connections and test the track in a layout but it's not intended to sell because it doesn't make any sense from an price point of view.

    For the cross track.   Again, it's hard to fix a price when you haven't made a bunch of them but if we can get the processes under control we might be able to do it for $13 - $15.   So for the cross track we can definitely do better than the second hand 9V ones.
    Okay, that's understandable. I'd still love to be able to order those other sizes and connections that Lego doesn't make.
  • LowaLowa FloridaMember Posts: 114
    Okay, that's understandable. I'd still love to be able to order those other sizes and connections that Lego doesn't make.
    Absolutely, we need few weeks and we should be ready to make those !

    I am going to start a different thread for the train discussion so that we can have a dedicated thread for the train accessories and automation conversation, and one for the Monorail.

    In the meantime, we did release the Monorail cross switch, half curves and diagonal track on BL today.  You can also check them out on our website www.4dbrix.com.  Now you can make something like this:




    dougtsSprinkleOtterkiki180703MattDawsonstlux
  • SprinkleOtterSprinkleOtter Member Posts: 2,731
    Are the switch pieces (not the 90 degree one) manually operated?
  • LowaLowa FloridaMember Posts: 114
    Are the switch pieces (not the 90 degree one) manually operated?
    We don't make the switch tracks yet, so those are the original LEGO ones, just like the full curves and monoswitch.  We'll make our switches with the same control connector as the cross track to make it easy to motorize them.  

    I'm thinking about making a 'bracket' to be able to mount a motor onto the original LEGO switches.  I have already made one for the monoswitch.  That was pretty straightforward, for the switches it will be more complicated but I have a couple of ideas.  You can see the monoswitch bracket in one of our YouTube videos:




    SprinkleOtterkiki180703drdavewatford
  • MattDawsonMattDawson Solihull, UKMember Posts: 1,202
    Official video is out!

    Lowakiki180703drdavewatford
  • LowaLowa FloridaMember Posts: 114
    We have been working an the monorail and train automation.  We just tested the first fully functional version of our automation bracket for the monorail switches.  It's designed to mount a motor onto the monorail switches.  You can see it in action on our YouTube channel.  Any feedback, suggestions or comments are welcome!


    MattDawsonkiki180703
  • MattDawsonMattDawson Solihull, UKMember Posts: 1,202


    I wonder if this could be made at half-length for those wanting to create a island platform?
  • LowaLowa FloridaMember Posts: 114

    I wonder if this could be made at half-length for those wanting to create a island platform?
    Hi Matt.  I don't see a problem in creating a 'half diagonal'.  The 'half diagonal' would be the horizontal/vertical equivalent of a quarter (short) straight.  I didn't make it yet because I didn't see a clear use for it at this point.  We'll need it if we want to make T-intersections, but I need to make the Y-switch track first.  As you can see below, it's not possible to make a T-intersection without the 'half diagonal' because the straight part of the LEGO switches is too long.



    I'm trying to understand what you had in mind.  Is it what I drew below ?  The half diagonal would widen the platform area with 8 studs, from 12 studs (bottom) to 20 (top).

    MattDawsonkiki180703
  • MattDawsonMattDawson Solihull, UKMember Posts: 1,202
    @Lowa
    Indeed! although no control switches in the loops may cause issues... :P
  • LowaLowa FloridaMember Posts: 114
    @Lowa
    Indeed! although no control switches in the loops may cause issues... :P
    Yes, indeed!  It's kind of a the main point of having a platform...

    Although... I have been working on the automation and I been experimenting with designs for RC controllers for the LEGO trains and I might be able to get them small enough to eventually get them into a monorail...  
  • MattDawsonMattDawson Solihull, UKMember Posts: 1,202
    Lowa said:
    @Lowa
    Indeed! although no control switches in the loops may cause issues... :P
    Yes, indeed!  It's kind of a the main point of having a platform...

    Although... I have been working on the automation and I been experimenting with designs for RC controllers for the LEGO trains and I might be able to get them small enough to eventually get them into a monorail...  
    Here's an even better solution: If you're short of space, could you integrate it into a new battery pack? The only problem I can see is the electrical connection, though.
  • LowaLowa FloridaMember Posts: 114
    Here's an even better solution: If you're short of space, could you integrate it into a new battery pack? The only problem I can see is the electrical connection, though.
    In fact, that's what I'm thinking off.  But I want to go beyond simple RC.  I would like to go to true automation so I want to include sensors so the train knows where it is on the track and can respond accordingly...  so I'll need all the space I can use.  

    I have a pretty good idea of how I want to achieve that but I want to build a functional prototype before I go into further details here.  But a smart RC monorail would be an awesome way to celebrate its 30th anniversary next year!
    MattDawsonSprinkleOtterkiki180703
  • MattDawsonMattDawson Solihull, UKMember Posts: 1,202
    http://www.bricklink.com/store/home.page?p=4DBrix_Europe#/shop?o={"showHomeItems":1}

    EU store is now live! I know where I'm spending some of my money next year...
    Lowakiki180703
  • MattDawsonMattDawson Solihull, UKMember Posts: 1,202
    @Lowa
    I've just had a thought - are you going to add your parts to Bricklink's Stud.io?
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