T-TRAK-N Cut Patterns

By Ken Biholar

I have created "cut patterns" that I use when I cut material (usually 2'x4' MDF) to build modules. I like using the 2'x4' sheets because I find them easy to manage when working by myself. I also like to plan out what I need to cut to minimize the number of times I have to adjust the fence on my table saw.

This isn't a knock against the commercial module producers out there. From what I've seen their products are excellent and should be seriously considered if you don't have the tools/space/time to do the "heavy lifting" yourself. It's simply a function that right now I have more time than money - and working on these gets me out of my wife's hair for a couple of hours!

I know what I was thinking when I created these patterns, but it might not be immediately evident to others looking at the images on the left. I have the "KATO" dimensions (i.e., KATO track dimensions - 310mm, 620mm, etc.) in the figures on the left, but on the right side I have put notes to indicate what the actual sizes should be - 308mm, 618mm, etc). I like to avoid joints visible from the front of most modules so I adjust the sides (make them shorter) to account for this when I cut them. I didn't put the cut lengths on the drawings because I leave the fence set for the depth of the module (say 355mm) and then just clamp two sides to the fence to account for the front and back thickness.

These cut patterns help me plan how to cut Single Modules, Double Modules, Triple Modules, T-Junctions, Corner Modules, and 180 degree Endcaps - and various combinations of these modules.

I also include cut plans for two modules of my own creation (at least - I haven't seen them before but they might already be out there!): I call them a 1) Single+ ("Single plus") and a 2) Double- ("Double minus"). Basically they are a 1) Single (310mm) plus 124mm or a 2) Single (310mm) plus 186mm. The Single+ and Double- will create a Triple Module when used together. I am still working on the cut pattern I want to use for an Inside Corner, but I haven't built one of those ….yet (to be added to a future version maybe?)!

Using these cut plans, it took me 1-1/2 hours to cut all the lumber needed for 3 180-degree Endcaps, 5 Double Modules, 4 Single Modules, and 8 Corner Modules that I was building. When you're working in an un-airconditioned garage or on the driveway in the Texas spring/summer heat, you don't want to stay outside any longer than you have to!

Note that the image was created using AnyRail software.

Click image to enlarge

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