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niceguy said:
Im new to design, what is the best way to design. Do you draw it first or just go at it :confused:
That's one way to go about it.. plans can draw on a number of resources - your brain, magazines, other layouts you have seen, or prototypes (ie the real thing).

Sitting down with a pad and paper, or a scale track template preferably is fine. This works for some people (think of drawing on cocktail napkins) but others will use software packages such as XtrackCAD or similar. Atlas also has a software package as well for use with their track systems.

There is a huge amount of small and micro layout designs on this site - it's an invaluable resource for layout planning, large or small, as you intregate many of the designs into one large layout.

Most of my ideas on first done on pencil and paper, then on to XTrackCAD.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Sounds pretty sophisticated. I guess my concerns are if i have a certain amount of table space and i dont calculate my turns properly, my track will go over the edges or i will have to change my design as i go.

Is this software expensive? My computer and my skills are fairly basic.

Thanks for the help!
 

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The software is free. Sectional track is a good way to test out your plans before committing to construction. For example, to make a half circle 6 pieces of curved sectional track would be required. Using the track in your starter set would be a good idea for this.

Usually you can tell when you may go over, for example, if you have anything larger than a 22 degree radius on a 4x8 layout, you might go over:
 

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ideas

Switches and dead track stops should be considered for a layout. A circle or loop gets boring after a time with nothing to do. Sidings and work stations gives you some thought and planning on a typical run.
 
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