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Saved by Zonker Harris
on May 7, 2020 at 10:33:34 am

Welcome to Micropolis2 (or call it Micropolis Lite)

How The Idea Was Born - Micropolis Links - Adding an ArduinoPower Connections )


This is a collaborative workspace!  We're working on an update to the TwinLUG Micropolis building plate standard, which will allow easy routing of a power drop cable under the roads and modules, so we can easily power lights in the buildings on the modules.


We aren't suggesting that everyone retrofit their existing bases, because we could cluster the electrified modules adjacent to each other. But, having a few extra buildings to pass power below would let us spread the light out, to light other nearby modules in their glow.


I'd like to see a couple new pages, for Micropolis trains, and for Micropolis water modules (rivers and coasts).

 -  There are already some Train idea images in the Files section... 

Bill Ward has made a beautiful Metro Train MOC, using the 1x2 grill tiles for the track. 

I started thinking about making freight trains, but didn't do much with it, because I didn't have minifig skate wheels...

At Bricks by the Bay 2018, I finally got a chance to try my ideas. I hacked with grill tiles as tracks.

Spring of 2019, I bought 120 minifig skate wheels, and started making freight cars in earnest!

At Bricks Cascade 2020, Patrick (PortLUG member) had a microscale train display with the larger train layouts!

 - I was inspired by his piggy-back flatcars, his yard tracks, and the nearby "industry" buildings.

Spring of 2020, I've really dived in, and am getting ready for my next big Bricklink order!

  - I'm working on a 2-track Main Line border for  Micropolis layouts

  - I've built a 2-track curve, to be the corner on that Micropolis layout

  - I have plans for an extendable multi-track yard

  - I have an idea for a passenger siding/station module

  - I have an idea for an Industry Track that goes into a small neighborhood...

  - I've added a photo of a 32x32 baseplate as a display of many of the freight and passenger cars to the files section here


Here's the proposed building standard modification:



           Download the LDD file or the PNG image              Download the LDD file or the PNG image 


By adding eight 1x4 arch bricks (blue in the left-side image above), this provides the power cable routing path for any plan.  (I considered a 1x3 arch, but that would make it tougher to get a model to settle above the power cable. 1x4 gives more latitude!) 

The open-bottom arches makes it easy to move modules around, and drop them anywhere, and allow power to pass easily.

Each corner uses a 1x3 plate (light blue), a 2x2 "L" (pink), and a 2x2 brick (red) to secure them (one 2x2 is shifted, to see the plates). Under each 1x4 technic beam (red), there is a 1x6 plate (yellow). The arches have anchors on each side, for a sturdy base. The colors used here are only to help the parts stand out for identification in this discussion. Feel free to pick your own colors, because these will be UNDER your MoC, and will rarely be seen. I just kept consistent colors in order to describe the parts and illustrate their location.  :-)

** Note: It's easier to use two 1x1 bricks and a 1x2 Technic brick at the center of each side, rather than a 1x4 Technic brick. One peg is enough to join the modules. But, at the few Micropolis layouts, the tables were flat enough that we didn't peg many of the modules.


You will probably need some "cribbing" brick+plate combinations under the plates where they join, to give them stability while you are building your model. But, after your smaller models are built, I think you will be able to remove the extra bricks underneath. Some larger models may want to keep some bracing piers. (What do you think?)


Using larger plates on top of the base above will reduce the amount of extra bricks needed for support under the top plates. (Again, colors are picked just to make it easy to spot the plates and tiles for this discussion.) Leave a hole in the baseplates to drop your power cable. I'm suggesting a 2x2 opening. 


(I'm still looking for a stable, polarized, easy-to-plug connector pair to use for power distribution, but I am leaning towards Molex parts 03-06-1022 and -2024.)


Of course, extra border roads will also need to have arch bricks. And any medians, waterways, etc. will need arches as well. These connections are where you will find Technic pegs to be useful. A sturdy border will half keep the city together.


Power for the models will come from a distribution cable, laid out on the table, and then the modules would be connected, and sit on top of the cable. The distribution cable will have connectors for between 4 to 16 modules. 


Power will come from a USB-based battery pack for small displays. For larger planned layout, and multi-day events, a USB power pack could be used.


The image to the right shows a battery pack and power cable in red, with eight modules shown in blue. 


A power module will be built into a double module, capable of driving 4 power cables.


Why bother?

  • TwinLUG led the way with a Micropolis standard, making it easy to throw cities together at a gathering without significant prior coordination between the participants. Having a standard is a Good Thing.
  • Chicago has made big strides in getting people to light their larger MOCs, and now LifeLights and BrickStuff make it easy to add lighting in some of the smallest places! 
  • Lights are tiny... battery packs are not. My answer: Run power "underground"! But, instead of building a powered table and mandating where your modules should have connectors,  my thought was to modify the sub-structure of the modules, to allow a flexible power cable to snake from building to building. The power supply for a layout could come from one or two "power station" modules that could have any kind of model built onto it. 


What can you do?

  • Think about the idea, and tell us what you think about it! If something isn't clear, ask questions!
  • If comments here become a problem, maybe we can set up a mailing list for the topic.
  • Would you make new modules using the design? Would you modify your old modules, so the power cable can pass?
  • The more question we have, and the more input we get, the better the final solution will be.


Fall 2017 Update...

  • I completed a Transit Center (a 2-block model), in time to show at Bricks by the Bay 2015.
    • I got pictures and video, but I forgot to put them here. Check Flickr and etc... it's mainly tan bricks.
    • white LEDs in the main building
    • two red LEDs in headlight bricks behind each 1x2 printed clock tile
    • an Arduino underneath slowly fades/flashes two LEDs in the bus loading area
  • Joshua Gay got me into the Micropolis group on Facebook!
  • There was NO Micropolis area at Bricks by the Bay 2018! We must fix that in 2018!
    • Part of the solution is making sure more folks register that they will bring Micropolis MoCs!
    • Of course, that means we need to spend more time making more MoCs...

Update 2020-01-10...

  • The polarized 2-pin molex connectors are sturdy, and protect polarity, but they are hard to connect and disconnect  with one hand.
    • The "other hand" is holding your module up while you are making/breaking connections...
    • I'm looking for a better connector as an option to using the molex.
  • Thinner cable could be used for some modules, but the trade-offs are
    • that thinner can be more fragile
    • that you can only have fewer lights after that wire



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