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  • JasonB
    started a topic Which track design software to use?

    Which track design software to use?

    The question of which software to use when planning a plastic or routed track, comes up every now and then. So I thought it might be useful to put all the information together in one place and provide a quick comparison of the various systems available.

    First we've got three editors which are specifically designed for the job

    SlotMan

    Description:- Timing and track design software
    Cost:- Free
    Ease of use:- Very simple and reliable
    Plastic/Scratchbuilt:- Plastic only, unless you create your own track pieces
    Track systems:- Carrera, Cartronic, Faller, Fleischmann, Maerklin, Ninco, Prefo, Artin, Scalextric, Scalextric Sport, SCX, Tomy, Tyco, Stabocar
    Flexibility/Customisation:- Custom track sections can be added
    3D capabilty:- None
    Available layout downloads:- None
    Advantages:- It's free and it's fairly simple to use
    Disadvantages:- Some of the track libraries are incomplete

    SlotMan screenshot



    Track Power

    Description:- Track design software
    Cost:- 15.95 - Free demo version available
    Ease of use:- Very simple and reliable
    Plastic/Scratchbuilt:- Plastic only
    Track systems:- Ninco, Ninco N-Digital, SCX Digital System, SCX Original, SCX Compact, STS 4x4, Scalextric Sport/Sport Digital and Carrera Evolution/Digital 123/Pro-X.
    Flexibility/Customisation:- Extremely limited
    3D capabilty:- None
    Available layout downloads:- 250 track layouts included with full version
    Advantages:- Not expensive, simple to use and track libraries seem complete.
    Disadvantages:- Not many track libraries and there is no way to add custom track pieces.

    Track Power screenshot



    Ultimate Racer

    Description:- Timing and track design software
    Cost:- 15.00 - Free demo version available
    Ease of use:- Simple
    Plastic/Scratchbuilt:- Plastic and Scratchbuilt tracks are possible
    Track systems:- Artin 1/32, Artin 1/43, Aurora AFX + MM, Aurora AFX, Aurora Ajet 1:32, Carrera Exclusiv 1:24, Carerra Universal, Fleischmann, Lifelike HO, Marchon, MaxTrax 4 Lane, MaxTrax 6 Lane, Ninco 1:32, Polistil, Revell / Riggen, Scalextric Sport, Scalextric / SCX + Digital, Scalextric Sport + Digital, Strombecker, Tomy AFX, Tyco HO, Scratchbuilt 1/64, 1/43, 1/32, 1/28/, 1/24, ISRA.
    Flexibility/Customisation:- Fairly extensive, colours, textures, track libraries, track sections.
    3D capabilty:- Yes but limited
    Available layout downloads:- Example layouts included with software, many more available from the website
    Advantages:- Not expensive, fairly simple to use, very extensive and complete track libraries, customisation options, and web publishing options available
    Disadvantages:- Bugs need ironing out

    Ultimate Racer screenshot



    Next we have a bunch of programs which are not specific to slot tracks, but which might be useful anyway

    Open Office

    Description:- Primarily an office suite, but the drawing program offers enough tools for planning a scratchbuilt track
    Cost:- Free
    Ease of use:- Simple to Medium
    Plastic/Scratchbuilt:- Scratchbuilt
    Track systems:- None
    Flexibility/Customisation:- Reasonable
    3D capabilty:- None
    Available layout downloads:- None
    Advantages:- It's free, it has useful scale and dimensioning options and as a bonus it's a great office program
    Disadvantages:- Probably not the most sophisticated option

    Open Office screenshot



    SketchUp

    Description:- Full 3D design software
    Cost:- Free
    Ease of use:- Medium. Can be reasonably simple if you are just downloading and using existing track libraries, but is much more complicated if you want to design your own.
    Plastic/Scratchbuilt:- Both
    Track systems:- Scalextric and Ninco are currently available
    Flexibility/Customisation:- Massive
    3D capabilty:- Full 3D capabilities
    Available layout downloads:- Extremely limited
    Advantages:- Anything is possible, plastic or scratchbuilt tracks, buildings, cars, scenery etc. Free models to download.
    Disadvantages:- Track libraries are currently limited and creating your own is time consuming.

    Sketchup screenshot



    Adobe Illustrator/GIMP/Inkscape

    Description:- Fully featured graphic design tools
    Cost:- GIMP and Inkscape are free, Illustrator is around 350 ($500?)
    Ease of use:- Complex
    Plastic/Scratchbuilt:- Scratchbuilt
    Track systems:- None
    Flexibility/Customisation:- Massive
    3D capabilty:- None
    Available layout downloads:- None
    Advantages:- Complex shapes are possible, in fact any form of 2D planning is possible
    Disadvantages:- Not easy to learn and use, and no track libraries are available.

    Inkscape screenshot



    CAD & 3D programs

    Description:- A myriad of programs, most of which are fully featured 3D design or engineering tools. There are simply too many options to list here, but the industry standard is Autocad
    Cost:- Some are free, others are very, very expensive
    Ease of use:- Complex, expect a steep learning curve
    Plastic/Scratchbuilt:- Both are possible, but scratchbuilt tracks are the norm for these programs.
    Track systems:- None
    Flexibility/Customisation:- Massive
    3D capabilty:- Full 3D capabilities for most
    Available layout downloads:- None
    Advantages:- Total flexibilty and 3D capabilities. Some programs include fantastic presentation capabilities (lighting, materials etc), and some will allow export for CNC production
    Disadvantages:- Not easy to learn and use, not even easy to decide which program to use.

    3ds Max screenshot


    3ds Max rendering



    And finally, though it's obviously not a program...

    Pen & Paper

    Description:- From rough sketches on the back of an envelope up to a fully draughted plan
    Cost:- Very cheap
    Ease of use:- Simple
    Plastic/Scratchbuilt:- More relevant to scratchbuilt tracks
    Track systems:- None
    Flexibility/Customisation:- Massive
    3D capabilty:- Depends on the draughtsman
    Available layout downloads:- None
    Advantages:- Very quick and flexible way to develop ideas, but when developed can be just as accurate as most software
    Disadvantages:- Time, patience, skill and of course tools are required for a proper scale drawing.

    Have I missed anything?

  • ThatJCB
    replied
    I've added a couple of extra track sections for SlotMan for Scalextric Digital. Mainly the lane changer and the racing curve cross overs.



    If it's of any use to anyone you can download it and import it in to SlotMan.

    From the SlotMan main menu.
    Manage - Track Systems

    Expanded View


    Import

    Leave a comment:


  • Spac
    replied
    OOps... For got the right click part.. Have fun!

    Leave a comment:


  • jbbush
    replied
    Originally posted by Spac View Post
    When launching the program, make sure you "Run as Administrator". Will solve this issue.
    That worked! Thank you!

    One other bit of information - when launching the program, right-click to "Run as Administrator".

    (Rest of my day will now be occupied...)

    Leave a comment:


  • Spac
    replied
    When launching the program, make sure you "Run as Administrator". Will solve this issue.

    Originally posted by jbbush View Post
    I've just downloaded Slot Man. I'm trying to decide between using Tomy AFX and SCX Compact in a relatively small space - 30" X 108".

    I can save my track design within the program - in the Track Editor window - and I see the track in the Manage Tracks window. But when I try to Exit completely, it asks me if I want to Save Changes. When I click Yes, it yells at me in German.

    "Dateizugriff verweigert."

    ... and if I tell it No I lose all my work. Anyone know what I'm missing here?

    Thank you,
    Jonathan

    Leave a comment:


  • mbx4xr
    replied
    Originally posted by Gripen View Post
    I just bought Autorennbahnplaner as well. It is a fantastic piece of software, easy to install and use. The user interface is very intuitive and the graphics are great. It also has helpful tools, like the ability to "smooth" out a track to make the two ends meet if they are within a acceptable tolerance. While the software is German, there is an English language button and English tutorials. I would definatly recommend this software for Carrera hobbyists.
    I have had this software for 2 years now and I agree with the above. If you have Carrera track this is the best out there.

    Jeff

    Leave a comment:


  • jbbush
    replied
    I've just downloaded Slot Man. I'm trying to decide between using Tomy AFX and SCX Compact in a relatively small space - 30" X 108".

    I can save my track design within the program - in the Track Editor window - and I see the track in the Manage Tracks window. But when I try to Exit completely, it asks me if I want to Save Changes. When I click Yes, it yells at me in German.

    "Dateizugriff verweigert."

    ... and if I tell it No I lose all my work. Anyone know what I'm missing here?

    Thank you,
    Jonathan

    Leave a comment:


  • JasonB
    replied
    Update

    Ultimate Racer now has much better 3D functions; track elevations, 3d models and improved 3d rendering. Here are some examples...

    A Scalextric layout, set within a small room.




    A routed 3 lane track with elevations and scenery.




    An eight lane championship raceway.




    I've been lucky enough to have been involved in testing the 3d developments, and have contributed some of the 3d models. I'll be doing more 3d models in the future, it's an ongoing project.

    Leave a comment:


  • studioRS
    replied
    Before I invested in a load of Carrera track, I wanted to make sure my design will fit within my small room space constraints. Here is what the final screen shot looks like from Autorennbahnplanner and my thread on the design. I've had lots of help from experienced gurus getting it to this point, thank you again.

    Cheers, Thompson

    http://www.slotcarillustrated.com/po...ad.php?t=75908

    Leave a comment:


  • Gripen
    replied
    I just bought Autorennbahnplaner as well. It is a fantastic piece of software, easy to install and use. The user interface is very intuitive and the graphics are great. It also has helpful tools, like the ability to "smooth" out a track to make the two ends meet if they are within a acceptable tolerance. While the software is German, there is an English language button and English tutorials. I would definatly recommend this software for Carrera hobbyists.

    Leave a comment:


  • WalnutHillSCX
    replied
    As an SCX Digital racer I have found Track power to be very useful tool for designing track layouts and I think it is pretty intuitive. Worth the money in my opinion.

    Leave a comment:


  • studioRS
    replied
    I have tried all of these and settled on autorennbahnplanner.de running on my Mac. It is however, only for Carrera track... They developed the software first for the PC platform and then made the Mac version. Developer is extremely helpful and emails quickly for any questions. In my opinion easily the best looking and working. The my room feature is nice too, they just teamed up with a 3D partner in Germany and sent me this tutorial video.

    [YOUTUBE]XnypDtHU4CM[/YOUTUBE]

    Leave a comment:


  • Flounder
    replied
    Trackpower

    I would like to buy Trackpower software. Their site says "
    If you are interested in buying TrackPower or need more information, please send an e-mail to: I did this a few days ago requesting information on what I need to do to buy the software.
    No reply as of yet.
    Did anyone else run into this issue?

    Leave a comment:


  • MrFlippant
    replied
    Yes. The tool icon just below the pointer is the lane selector. Right click the rail you want to measure, and it will select all connected rails. If you have lane changers, you'll need to select the path you want to measure. Keep right clicking until you get the whole path you want to measure.

    Leave a comment:


  • Timonator
    replied
    So I bought track Power. Is there a way in that program to check the length of each lane ?

    Leave a comment:

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