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Wooden Train

I built a wooden train set for my daughter using some of the design principles outlined in David Barber's Observations on Track for Toy Trains. It's based on the 60 degree system using my own design for a genderless connector:

The design allows me to use the same connector on all ends of the tracks without small "dogbone" pieces that might become a choking hazard. The connector is slightly loose (0.01" gap) to allow it to be easily connected by a small child. It does not need as much play as the traditional tracks because the 60 degree system always meets perfectly. The top of the track has the traditional grooves and the bottom has a flat "road" surface. Since the connector is asymmetrical this means that only road-to-road or track-to-track connections can be made. 

I also built a set of train cars that use a genderless (or pole neutral) coupler. This is done using sphere magnets inside pockets within the car body. The pockets are slightly larger than the magnets which allows them to move
 freely and align with any nearby magnets.

All parts except the upper train bodies were created on the CNC mill. I created a hexagonal jig with threaded inserts that allowed me to attach the blanks at the corresponding ends. The tracks were held in place 
with holding tabs so they could be flipped to have the reverse side machined. Once the machining was complete I just snipped the tabs and sanded them flat.

It's not immediately obvious how big of a difference the 60-degree system makes, but after playing with it for a few minutes it's noticeably more fun. Swapping out sections and rearranging tracks is effortless and it always connects perfectly. It's also nice not having to worry about multiple lengths of straight track.

Future enhancements will include more switches and intersections (including mixed intersections of road and track). I'll also add some elevation to the track for bridges and tunnels. The design of the cars will have to change slightly to allow them to pivot vertically on hills.