Etching HO Scale Balconey Rails

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tx28
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Etching HO Scale Balconey Rails

Post by tx28 » Tue Dec 19, 2017 7:47 am

Hello,

I am using qcad pro 3.19 on windows 7.

The project is to make the photo negative necessary to etch HO scale, balconey railings and building security gates.

The metal bars used to make them in the real world items are typically 2 to 3 cm square.
The patterns can be somewhat intricate. I have attached one such pattern.

If I set the project screen up in real world 1:1, each bar is an enclosed area and has to be hatched. To make the pattern , cleaning up the areas where the vertical and horizontal bars cross is a chore.

So I have moved from real world 1:1 to the HO world 1:1 by changing the drawing unit to mm. I leave paper unit a cm because I have no idea what it does.

In HO the balconies are about 32 mm wide and 11 mm high. So I draw the bars in solid lines , with line width .05m - solid lines end to end and top to bottom within those bounds. I then eliminate the parts of the lines necessary to make the pattern.

With the pattern done, I edit the layer and increase the line width to something like .5 mm (thickness dependes on the thickness of the metal to be etched)

Is there another or better way to accomplish what I am trying to do?

Thank you for the time you took to read this.

Gary Granai
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forum balconey.jpg
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Husky
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Re: Etching HO Scale Balconey Rails

Post by Husky » Tue Dec 19, 2017 9:32 am

Hello Gary,
tx28 wrote:Is there another or better way to accomplish what I am trying to do?
Yes - I think so. I could imagine two different ways but I need a final information:

Do you need it just scaled 1:87 on a print (Paper, Foil etc) or do you need the drawing itself in 1:87? I assume just the print, correct?
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tx28
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Re: Etching HO Scale Balconey Rails

Post by tx28 » Tue Dec 19, 2017 10:26 am

I need it scaled 1/87 on print paper - foil - to be used as a photoplate. The image must be a negative. I think that is a matter of changing the layer colors once I have the outline finished.

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Husky
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Re: Etching HO Scale Balconey Rails

Post by Husky » Tue Dec 19, 2017 6:46 pm

tx28 wrote:I need it scaled 1/87 on print paper - foil - to be used as a photoplate.
Ok - design as usual you drawing in 1:1. Down scaling to 1:87 is part of the print process. Don't worry about that right now.
tx28 wrote:The image must be a negative. I think that is a matter of changing the layer colors once I have the outline finished.
Correct - you need white lines for the layer, black background on the drawing and print page canvas and you need to deactivate the "Prevent white on white / black on black display" option.
Husky-2017.12.19-03.png
Husky-2017.12.19-03.png (49.51 KiB) Viewed 1158 times
My recommendation: Finish your drawing before you play on those QCAD settings. BEFORE you play on this settings save your qcad3.ini. That is then your backup in the case something went out of control.

Just to be sure: This is what your print should look like, correct?
Husky-2017.12.19-02.png
Husky-2017.12.19-02.png (5.08 KiB) Viewed 1158 times
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tx28
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Re: Etching HO Scale Balconey Rails

Post by tx28 » Tue Dec 19, 2017 7:32 pm

That is the look, I cannot get there in the usual way. That is why I am asking for help

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Husky
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Re: Etching HO Scale Balconey Rails

Post by Husky » Tue Dec 19, 2017 8:58 pm

tx28 wrote:That is the look, I cannot get there in the usual way.
Good - then we are on the same page. My last post contains already a few hints what is needed to accomplish that task. Tell us how it is going ...
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tx28
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Re: Etching HO Scale Balconey Rails

Post by tx28 » Wed Dec 20, 2017 8:39 am

Thank you but I have had the settings as you show, and attached is the grid I started working on.

The amount of trimming nee4ded to make the pattern takes too much time.

So I shifted to a smaller scale and increased line width. It is much faster and easier.

If there is an easy way to make the pattern in 1:1 other than doing all the trimming the attachment needs, that is what I need.
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balconey hatch.jpg
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Husky
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Re: Etching HO Scale Balconey Rails

Post by Husky » Wed Dec 20, 2017 11:33 pm

tx28 wrote:The amount of trimming nee4ded to make the pattern takes too much time.
How much is too much time?
This took me less than 4 minutes. Would that be ok?
Husky-2017.12.20-01.png
Husky-2017.12.20-01.png (12.88 KiB) Viewed 1129 times
tx28 wrote:So I shifted to a smaller scale and increased line width. It is much faster and easier.
Honestly - I have no clue how changing the scale or the line width speeds things up. Please elaborate. Thanks.
tx28 wrote:If there is an easy way to make the pattern in 1:1 other than doing all the trimming the attachment needs, that is what I need.
We don't even know how it has to look like. All the trimming? What needs to be trimmed? We need an example or explanation to help you efficient. Yes, you posted a screenshot but we could do thousand things with this drawing but that doesn't means that is what you are looking for.

Help us to help you! :wink:
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tx28
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Re: Etching HO Scale Balconey Rails

Post by tx28 » Thu Dec 21, 2017 7:13 am

Windows 7 QCAD pro 3.19

We established in the post Husky-2017.12.19 that we were on the same page as to where I want to go. That has not changed. That is exactly where I want to go.

The image of your less than 4 minute work is another image that shows exactly where I want to go.

The image included in this post is the basic grate that I start with.

It seems that there are many trims that have to be made to first establish the pattern. After the pattern is established, then it can be filled.

But it seems you can get the end result without trimming.

Please be so kind as to give me specific instructions, steps, tools, and or procedures to use that will teach me how you can do this in less than 4 minutes.


Now specific answers to your questions.

We don't even know how it has to look like. - Answer That was established in the post Husky-2017.12.19

All the trimming? What needs to be trimmed? Answer The screenshot posted is a basic grate. There are many pieces of that grate that have to be trimmed out to make the pattern.
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basic frame grate.jpg
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tx28
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Re: Etching HO Scale Balconey Rails

Post by tx28 » Thu Dec 21, 2017 9:15 am

It might be best to use useloom.com to make a screen recording of the process you used to make the image in 4 minutes. The basic principles will carry over to other projects.

Matfie
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Re: Etching HO Scale Balconey Rails

Post by Matfie » Thu Dec 21, 2017 3:04 pm

Hi

it seems to me that you are drawing two lines (one for each side of the bar) and trimming all the intersections away then doing a fill?

why don't you just draw single lines (one for each bar, in the centre position of the bar) then adjust the width of the lines to be the width of the bar. that would mean no trimming or filling is needed?

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Husky
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Re: Etching HO Scale Balconey Rails

Post by Husky » Thu Dec 21, 2017 10:18 pm

tx28 wrote:Please be so kind as to give me specific instructions, steps, tools, and or procedures to use that will teach me how you can do this in less than 4 minutes.
Ok, I created a step by step video. It is real time - no cuts! My Routine with this grate improved already my workflow what means forget the 4 minutes - it is now less than 2 minutes. :shock:



Note: There is no right or wrong doing - use the tools what ever fits best for you. Knowing most of the tools makes your CAD life very easy!
If you have a task like this try to break the shape down to something what can be copied. Remember: Working on a computer supports lazy people - nothing has to be done twice. :wink:
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tx28
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Re: Etching HO Scale Balconey Rails

Post by tx28 » Fri Dec 22, 2017 12:16 pm

Thank you for confirming that what I was doing was correct. And thank you for your informative video that shows a very efficient workflow when doing this work.

(See my original post that said, " If I set the project screen up in real world 1:1, each bar is an enclosed area and has to be hatched. To make the pattern , cleaning up the areas where the vertical and horizontal bars cross is a chore.

So I have moved from real world 1:1 to the HO world 1:1 by changing the drawing unit to mm. I leave paper unit a cm because I have no idea what it does.

In HO the balconies are about 32 mm wide and 11 mm high. So I draw the bars in solid lines , with line width .05m - solid lines end to end and top to bottom within those bounds. I then eliminate the parts of the lines necessary to make the pattern.

With the pattern done, I edit the layer and increase the line width to something like .5 mm (thickness dependes on the thickness of the metal to be etched)

Is there another or better way to accomplish what I am trying to do?")


And I add some important information for those interested in making photo plates to photo etch brass, nickle silver or whatever for ho scale grates, balconey rails, windows and the like.

It is important to note that because qcad has a limited number of line widths, when working with HO scale grates, balcony rails and the like, which have normally 2 cm bars, you have to make some adjustments.

First you have to set your drawing unit to millimeter. Then draw in 1 to 1, with all your measurements in HO scale rather than real-world scale. This should be fairly comfortable because you will normally be back fitting these balcony rails, window grates, etc. to models that are already HO scale.

If you try to do this with centimeter as your drawing unit, you cannot make the line size large enough to be able to print the bars properly for etching. That is especially important when you note that sometimes there will be crossbars, supports, and other parts of the gate that will be larger than 2 cm.

Second, you have to compensate for the line thickness that you will choose. That is because when you increase line size, it increases from the centerline. So the size of your drawing will increase. So you have to offset your border.

Third, due to the cusping that occurs during the etch process, you will have to adjust the line size according to the thickness of your metal and etching process. I have had to do this by trial and error by doing some tests.

Print 1:1.

This compensation requirement only makes it more important that before you start your qcad drawing, you have another drawing on paper with all the distances and compensations entered. I use SketchUp to do this, print the screen and then print the resulting image in full size so I can read it.

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