Drawing Software for Mimic Diagram?

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Papyrus
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Drawing Software for Mimic Diagram?

Postby Papyrus » Sun Feb 18, 2018 4:06 pm

I'm about to replace my horrible temporary wiring lashup with a control panel in the form of a mimic diagram. It will embody section power switches, stud-and-probe turnout switches, and LEDs to indicate section and turnout status. At least that's the theory!

But I need to produce a decent layout schematic (with colours to denote sections) and work out where the switches, studs and LEDs will all go, not only for the 19 sections in Phase 1 (which is built) but also the six sections in Phase 2 which is not. I'm hoping it will fit in the space available! Then I can print it, stick it to a sheet of 5mm ply, and cover it with some sort of protective coat.

The application software I'm familiar with (mainly MS Office, plus AnyRail) doesn't seem to include a suitable tool for doing this. So I'm looking for a drawing package. There are loads of freeware CAD packages out there, but the process of finding one could be time-consuming.

So does anyone have any recommendations?

Alan (who still hasn't come up with a sig ...)

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TimberSurf
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Re: Drawing Software for Mimic Diagram?

Postby TimberSurf » Sun Feb 18, 2018 4:24 pm

I can goto AutoCad as a 30 year user, but there are several out there that are free like FreeCad.
Visio might also be a good choice and again there are many free alternatives.
Even a "paint" graphics program would do, but a little more difficult to get the measurements right, but possible (pixels equate to DPI when printed)
Here is my CAD one, need to reprint when I have finalised the numbers
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Bufferstop
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Re: Drawing Software for Mimic Diagram?

Postby Bufferstop » Sun Feb 18, 2018 4:55 pm

If you want something that gets printing sizes right without fiddling around, lets you draw lines and shapes in different weights and colours, and even lets you integrate bits of bitmap pictures, take a look at the drawing app in the free "Libre Office" suite. It does a pretty good job on combining ability with simplicity. I used it to produce the graphics for my panel. I repeatedly go to it despite having a hard drive full of more "powerful" specialist software. My wife would insist you can do it in MS Office, and I'm sure you can once you learned how to properly use it's more powerful features but it does seem o be overkill to me.
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luckymucklebackit
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Re: Drawing Software for Mimic Diagram?

Postby luckymucklebackit » Sun Feb 18, 2018 5:56 pm

Paint is as good as any, I have used it for all of mine, just takes a little bit of practise

See here https://www.newrailwaymodellers.co.uk/Forums/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=33932&start=45

Jim
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flying scotsman123
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Re: Drawing Software for Mimic Diagram?

Postby flying scotsman123 » Sun Feb 18, 2018 7:02 pm

I just used MS publisher, that can do dimensions in cm/inches too which is handy.
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Suzie
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Re: Drawing Software for Mimic Diagram?

Postby Suzie » Sun Feb 18, 2018 7:25 pm

I have access to several drawing programs but usually end up using the Windows paint program for its simplicity.

Suzie x

brit-in-bama
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Re: Drawing Software for Mimic Diagram?

Postby brit-in-bama » Sun Feb 18, 2018 9:13 pm

a long time ago I was using autosketch, as it was free, then I learned autocad, and never looked at anything else, and after 30 years I still use autocad for everything, but autosketch used the same commands and was a good intro for autocad, it was only 2D but it was free and still is (probably without the bells and whistles) havnt used it, but here is the link to the free version.
https://en.freedownloadmanager.org/Windows-PC/AutoSketch.html

Papyrus
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Re: Drawing Software for Mimic Diagram?

Postby Papyrus » Tue Feb 20, 2018 12:22 pm

brit-in-bama wrote:a long time ago I was using autosketch, as it was free, then I learned autocad, and never looked at anything else, and after 30 years I still use autocad for everything, but autosketch used the same commands and was a good intro for autocad, it was only 2D but it was free and still is (probably without the bells and whistles) havnt used it, but here is the link to the free version.
https://en.freedownloadmanager.org/Windows-PC/AutoSketch.html


Thanks all for the advice. I tried the link to AutoSketch as above but everything there seems to say you have to pay for it - or have I missed something?

Libre Office though is definitely free - I'll have a go with that! (Thanks @Bufferstop)

Alan

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Re: Drawing Software for Mimic Diagram?

Postby Bramshot » Tue Feb 20, 2018 9:12 pm

I printed mine mirror imaged on a sheet of overhead projector film, which I then laid over a white painted sheet of hardboard with the holes cut in for LEDs. Of course the film and hardboard had to be drilled together for the studs, which was a bit difficult.
It worked fine for about 2 months until the switches in the SEEP point motors started to fail and the LEDs became intermittent. I am modelling N gauge and I suspect the short throw of N gauge points did not give the optimum movement for the switches, which are simply a washer that slides over the pcb tracks on the point motor.
I ended up junking the whole thing, changing to low current PECO point motors and to dcc operation with computer display of the mimic diagram. Nowt to wear out there!

stearne
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Re: Drawing Software for Mimic Diagram?

Postby stearne » Mon Mar 12, 2018 4:27 pm

Hi Just a thought have you looked at my RECTORY ROAD in constructing layout section with control panel mimic board with point control using stud and pen and point indicators plus block detection indication I used anyrail6 to make this up.
Mick

Papyrus
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Re: Drawing Software for Mimic Diagram?

Postby Papyrus » Mon Mar 12, 2018 5:17 pm

stearne wrote:Hi Just a thought have you looked at my RECTORY ROAD in constructing layout section with control panel mimic board with point control using stud and pen and point indicators plus block detection indication I used anyrail6 to make this up.
Mick


Hi Stearne - Just took a quick look, it looks good. I do have (and use) AnyRail 6, but AFAIR the main reason I discounted it for doing my panel was that I could not make the lines any wider. Perhaps not enough drawing tools either.

I actually ended up using MS PowerPoint, which wasn't ideal but it worked for me. I was at least vaguely familiar with it, though not really for drawing. The principal snag I found was an inability (as far as I could tell) to draw constant-radius arcs (curves!) that subtend anything other than 90 degrees. But I worked my way round that.

Here is the design / template. Now to see if I can build it OK!

I'm working in DC with Cab Control, so in addition to point studs and status lights there are DPDT switches to connect the two controllers to the 27 sections, and status lights to show which controller if any each section is connected to. Plus some mini-switches (DPDT, but used as SPST) for isolatable sections at the end of some sidings, and some push-to-break switches to get locos to stop at the right place in hidden sidings.

(Image of my Mimic will appear in a separate post, once I have worked out how to upload an image!)

Cheers, Alan

Papyrus
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Re: Drawing Software for Mimic Diagram?

Postby Papyrus » Mon Mar 12, 2018 5:29 pm

OK, let's try this to display my Mimic Diagram.

Dukeries Mimic Diagram v2.jpg
Mimic Control Panel for Dukeries Railway, Design


Seems I can't upload a pdf - had to convert to jpg.

stearne
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Re: Drawing Software for Mimic Diagram?

Postby stearne » Mon Mar 12, 2018 6:58 pm

Just a quick thought I use anyrail6 for that control board in oo gauge but in the future I want to put a full length minic board of the complete layout on the wall but to get it all in I decided to go to N gauge which also made tracks narrower wondered if you went to a larger scale things might work out better I have'nt tried it just thinking out loud.
Mick

stearne
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Re: Drawing Software for Mimic Diagram?

Postby stearne » Mon Mar 12, 2018 7:22 pm

Just had a look at my anyrail6 and you can mix and match from the track library the widest is G scale it seems any scale you choose they will join together.
Mick


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