early  screenshots  page

Here are some early screenshots from Templot.

(As it was during development on 24 January 1999. Templot has been extended since this page was written and now includes functions to draw a complete track plan on the screen in addition to the single templates shown here. Current screens and menus therefore differ, see recent screenshots.)

The first 7 screens are shown at the original 1024x768 size, so will have to be scrolled across on lower res screens. They were in 32-bit colour depth when they left Templot which the GIF file compression format may or may not reproduce well on your system. My screenshot software is clearly short of cheese, as it has completely failed to capture the mouse.

Then come 2 more shots from Templot running at 640x480 resolution in only basic colours.

Finally there are 2 scans of sample printed template pages.

1. The first screen shows a left-hand turnout in Gauge 0 Fine (GOG-F) with a GWR old-pattern 14ft heel switch and a crossing angle of 1:8. It has been curved onto a radius of 2205 mm, giving a minimum radius through the turnout road of 1371 mm (54"). This is more than the currently set limit of 1200 mm, so the warning lamp shows green. This screen view is called Templot's "drawing pad" and the "paper" currently has a background grid set to 1 inch spacings.

The information panel has been opened up to display all the details, and shows among other things that the pad zoom setting is locked at the current size, representing 657.14 mm across the width of the screen. I want to add a length of approach track at the left, so I have right-clicked to get the pop-up menu, and am about to click "zoom free" so that the pad will re-size itself automatically as I increase the length of the template with the mouse.

screenshot 1 1024x768

2. The second screenshot shows a right-hand turnout in S4/P4 gauge. This time there is a 12ft straight switch matched to a 1:7.5 crossing. The minimum radius of 1071 mm is less than the current limit of 1100 mm, so the warning shows red. The ELEMENT menu is open and I have just added the rails for the adjacent track. The turnout road has been extended across these rails, forming a skeleton diamond. The crossing is curved, meaning that the turnout radius continues unchanged across the diamond. A 45ft length of plain approach track has been added at the left, and you can see the rail joints marked and the closed-up spacing of the sleepers at the joints. The grid spacing is now 50 mm and the dotted white A4 page outlines show that I have changed to landscape (sideways) printing to get a better fit on the paper.

screenshot 2 1024x768

3. Now we have a flight of fancy in S4/P4 plain track. This is a sweeping S-curve transition occupying 22ft x 11ft. This could form the basis of a complete layout, with turnouts designed to map onto this curve. The curve starts from the bottom left with a length of 300 mm at a fixed radius of minus 3000 mm (nearly 10ft radius, note the minus sign), and then transitions from this to a radius of plus 1200 mm (about 4ft radius) in a length of 8000 mm (measured along the track). Finally there is a further end section at 1200 mm fixed radius starting at approximately the 2-o'clock position (and leading into the hidden sidings?). The snaking S-curve effect is produced by the change from a negative radius to a positive one.

The grid spacing is 12 inches, and the bonded brickwork-pattern background shows the A4 page pattern for the printer. Only pages containing track would actually print, of course. I have shrunk the information panel out of the way, but by using its multiple scroll bars the essential information is still visible.

I have opened the gauge/scale selector form, and was just thinking of trying it in Gauge 1.

screenshot 3 1024x768

4. The next shot shows how versatile Templot can be - some narrow gauge "crazy track" in 7mm scale and 13.71 mm gauge (Festiniog 1ft 11.5ins), using ScaleSeven flangeway dimensions. The crazy track effect is achieved by specifying randomizing factors for the timber positions, which can be set to give effects varying from a realistic slight variation to this more extreme example. Every time I click on the drawing pad the turnout is re-drawn with a fresh timbering layout, but can be locked if necessary to allow for the printing of multiple identical copies of the template.

The grid is now showing in centimetres, and for some reason I have shifted the zero datum points for the pad view, and rotated the turnout to face left. For this turnout I entered a custom curved switch design, with a 1:4 curved crossing. Even for narrow gauge the curving is a bit severe! The TURNOUT menu is open and I am about to change to a right-hand version of the same turnout.

Unfortunately I have spoilt the whole thing by messing about with the pad drawing colours! So quickly on to the next ...

screenshot 4 1024x768

5. Here we have a typical use for a transition curve. This is exact scale 1/64th (S Scale), and a long slender turnout (GWR 30ft straight switch, 1:14 crossing) lies on a transition curve at the entry to a loop. The curve starts top left with a 1000 mm length of fixed 1500 mm radius, and then transitions out in 3000 mm to straight track, with the turnout on the transition. By specifying a "parallel" crossing, the turnout road returns parallel to the main road, forming a smooth entry to the loop.

The ADJUST menu is open, showing the various mouse actions available, and I am just about to select ANY ANGLE for the crossing. This means that if I adjust the crossing angle with the mouse, the angle is infinitely variable. The 1/4 step alternative snaps the crossing to the nearest 1/4 unit angle, which is prototypically correct but sometimes a nuisance.

screenshot 5 1024x768

6. Here is a closer view of the same turnout. The crossing selector form is open and showing OTHER because a 1:14 crossing is not on the standard list of angles. Consequently, when I click OK I will be invited to enter the actual crossing angle I require, and could set it to an odd figure like 1:13.41, or more sensibly to someting like 1:12.5, or just leave it at 1:14.

screenshot 6 1024x768

7. Templot is just as useful, if not more so, for those working in a small space who can only dream of sweeping transitions. Here is a short GWR 9ft / 1:4.5 turnout curved onto a negative radius to give a handy little Y-turnout. It's in EM gauge.

screenshot 7 1024x768

8. Now here are a couple of shots from Templot running at 640x480 res, using only 4-bit colour (16 colours). This is the standard B-6 left-hand turnout which appears at startup, curved onto a scale 500ft radius. This one is in 7mm Gauge 0 Fine, so the curving radius is 3500 mm. I have set some exotic screen colours just for fun. The PRINT menu is open and I am just wondering whether to print it out at a reduced scale for Mark King.

screenshot 8 640x480

9. The eyes complained, so I reverted to a more restrained scheme. This is the same turnout, I have rotated it, shifted it, and zoomed in on it, all by dragging with the mouse. The GEOMETRY menu is open and I am contemplating changing to SQUARE-ON timbering in the modern style.

screenshot 9 640x480

10. But decided against it - EQUALIZED always looks better to me. I then printed the first A4 page of the template on my inkjet, and scanned it. As you can see, the colours are completely different and can be set up independently of the pad colours on the screen, or the whole thing can be printed in black if preferred. The red outlines and marks are the trim lines and alignment markers to enable a multi-page template to be accurately fitted together.

scanned print 1

The quality of the printed output is determined only by your printer, the results are the same regardless of the screen resolution and processor speed. I have previously performed a PRINTER CALIBRATION for this printer, so there is no stroppy note on the print warning me that it might be dimensionally inaccurate. In fact, placing a steel rule on the print shows that the 1 inch grid squares are exactly true, and the track gauge is exactly 32 mm.

The final construction templates are normally printed on good quality plain paper (e.g. 100 gsm), but my inkjet is equally happy to print on ordinary tracing paper (or drafting film). So if I make a duplicate print on this, I can lay it over the rails during construction to check the alignment of the rails. (This is not an alternative to using the proper gauges, of course.) Bear in mind that a separate printer calibration for the tracing paper might be needed to get an exact match between the two prints. If your printer doesn't like tracing paper it's possible to use the more expensive coated OHP transparency sheets instead.

This is a "regular" crossing (i.e. the radius in the turnout road at the crossing is the same as in the main road), and there is a short entry "straight" to the crossing. The green line across between the rails marks the end of the actual turnout curve. The red target mark in front of the vee shows the actual intersection point (called the "fine-point" or FP) of the rail running edges; Templot correctly draws the tip of the vee blunted off. Unless you are modelling in an exact scale such as ScaleSeven it is usually better for running to ignore this and use sharp vees, so the FP marker then indicates where to locate the sharp tip.

11. Now here is another idea. If Templot is set to print the rail centre-lines instead of the rail edges, you get the rivet positions for Brook-Smith style rivetted plywood construction, like this:

scanned print 2

Print on tracing paper, then spray the print with Spraymount adhesive (blue can) and lay the plywood timbers in position. Then turn the whole print over and prick through to mark the rivet centres. This saves the tedious business of marking them out, and gets the rivets exactly under the middle of the rail, which makes it a lot easier to fit cosmetic chairs later. The timbers can then be peeled off for punching or drilling, or using a mini-drill they could be drilled directly through the paper. You print a normal template for construction, of course, and having fixed the rivetted timbers in place on it, the tracing paper version can be used to check for any rivetting or timber alignment errors before adding the rails.

This is part of a B-7 turnout curved onto 1500 mm radius for P-87 (scale H0), this time with a "curved" crossing, so there is no green line - the turnout radius continues through the crossing.

For this print I changed the rail and timber outlines to thin black lines (1 inkdot wide, which the scanner has interpreted as grey). Templot lets you set the line thicknesses to suit your printer. For best-quality printing of the final templates thin lines obviously give greater precision; for quick trial prints in draft mode thicker lines are generally easier to see and work with. If you print at a reduced size, Templot adjusts your line thickness settings accordingly.

The prototype rail joints are marked, showing where to add dummy fishplates. (This is not necessarily the best place for any 2-rail insulation gaps, which are not part of the prototype and therefore beyond the scope of Templot - you might for example be using live steam, clockwork-drive or batteries, or modelling trams.


(Since writing the above in January 1999 I have significantly extended Templot to include functions to draw and print out complete track plans in addition to single templates. Click here to see some screenshots showing these new features.)

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