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Model railway maker projects with Raspberry Pi, Arduino and 3D printing

The projects in this page are all based around maker projects involving model railways. This includes indoor model railways such as OO and HO, and larger outdoor model railways using G-Scale 45mm track.

Building a G-Scale garden model railway

This project is a bit different to the others in that it isn't just about computing and electronics. This is an ongoing project to build a G-Scale Model Railway in our garden. It's a project involving myself and my son, with some electronics, 3D printing as well as traditional woodworking and other crafts. I have previously created indoor model railways at OO scale, but this is my first go at larger outdoor model railways.

Introduction

This is an introductory video showing you around my outdoor layout.

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Model Railway Automation

I've now completed laying the track and connected it to a Raspberry Pi with a motor controller. It's now possible to run trains in either track using full automation (station start and stop), IoT (web based control) or traditional analog controller.

I have created a YouTube video series explaining the different aspects of controlling the model train. The first video is shown below. For the full series (as released) see the Model Railway Automation page. Alternatively go to YouTube Model Railway playlist.

Installing track around the garden

The first aspect is getting track installed into the garden. We started with a basic model G-Scale set from LGB. It can with an oval of track with simple analogue controller. I wanted to take this further than a basic oval and have created bridges to take part of the track around the garden.

The garden is used for multiple purposes and I people to have to step over the track. Our garden is on a steep hill. The area where the main part of the garden railway is installed is reasonably level (compared with the rest of the garden), but is reached by going up some steps. Rather than having people step over the track I took the railway into a section of garden that is lower down and created new wooden stairs which are mounted over the top of the existing concrete steps. The track goes through the steps forming a tunnel. There is a similar arrangement at the top of the garden for moving into the next part of the garden where the garden sheds are located.

G-Scale LGB train on outdoor model railway

More details of the challenges we face and how we overcome them will be included in future.

3D Printing

I have been creating some items for the railway using a 3D printer. So far most of the 3D printing designs have been based around simple models (see Creating 3D printer models in blender), but we are now looking at the tools used to create our own designs to scale.

3D printed G-Scale weigh building for outdoor model railway

The first is a small building which includes a smoke generator to give the effect of smoke coming out of the chimney.

3D printed G-Scale boy scout campsite with campfire

This is a Scout campsite model created in TinkerCAD. It includes a campfire with LEDs controlled using an Arduino.

I've also created other accessories including G-Scale traffic lights for my outdoor railway.

Future projects

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Model Railway Automation