3D printed ''Euro RailDriver' ... WIP...

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3D printed ''Euro RailDriver' ... WIP...

Post by gazz292 »

***This is a Work In Progres, this is not the finished item***

A little something i've been messing about making over the past few months,
I'm calling it my Euro RailDriver:

2 views of Euro RailDriver.jpg

As anyone who has a RailDriver knows, they are based on American loco's, the levers work backwards to how they do on euro trains, and they are a little too small for grown up size hands.

Next to raildriver small.jpg

I have a fascination with German trains, and they are the only ones i will drive in the sim, i actually own the complete driving desk, Air gauges, MFA (in my avatar) EBuLa, radio, drivers seat etc from a BR111 Wittenberger Steuerwagen, i just don't have a spare room (yet) in the house to set it up :cry:

So after getting a 3D printer (Prusa i3 mk3S) for xmyth a few years ago, i decided it was time to stop printing penis headed dinosaurs and print something useful.

The levers are modeled at 62.5% scale to the real ones (an odd number, but the measurements work out best, i.e. 16mm lever shaft diameter becomes 10mm, 120mm disc diameter becomes 75mm etc)
i also went for this size so it's not too large for the average computer desk, i have it sat on an overbed table that is 55CM wide in the top photo (Joint issues mean i'm stuck in my bed for extended periods.. another reason to make an easily movable device)

One of the main things i wanted to do was make this 'Euro RailDriver' semi universal, it'll work for 'most' post 1980's style German Loco's, EMU's, Steurwagens etc.

So i have the full complement of levers for driving a loco:

4 position Reversing Switch (The lever is removable, doing so triggers a hall sensor, so the in game lever is removed / put in the slot)
AFB lever.
Power lever, pushing the knob down pushes on a microswitch, i use this for SIFA acknowledgment in the sim.
Coupled Air and Dynamic brake levers, pushing the Dynamic Brake knob down uncouples them so they can be used independently, they auto re-couple when in line again.
Loco Brake lever

The 2 knobs on the middle panel are for the Wipers and Headlights... these are temporary, the wiper switch will go on the vertical front panel when i make the box up to house this lot in.
And the hole is where the 90 degree rotary switch will go when i get it in the post, this will be for the door select switch...again this will move to the correct location in the final design along with a selection of lever switches that i am designing next.

The levers have changeable notch wheels, this is part of making it universal, say i was driving a BR146,
The power lever will have a notch wheels to suit... with notches for Off, On, then smooth movement to Full power..
The Brake levers will have the standard 'Release, Off, 1A, 1B, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, (7), Full Service, Emergency' notches.

If i switch to driving an EMU, i ignore the AFB and brake levers, and change the notch wheel in the power lever to one with notches in the middle, so the lever sits mid ways,

Push it forwards past the centre notch and into the power section, pull back, past the centre notches, and into the braking section, where near the end will be a small notch before Full Service Brakes, then a harder notch to go into Emergency Brakes.

A BR112, whilst i won't have the levers matching what they look like, i will have a notch wheel with 18 notches, for off, on, then 10 to 160 kph speed selections.

This is a rough render of what i plan to make the top panel look like:
Render of Top Panel.jpg
There will be lever and switch text plates that go around the levers and switches, they will likely be 3D printed too,
Then a box will be made to house everything in and the top panel will hinge at the back, to allow me to change the notch wheels over.
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Re: 3D printed ''Euro RailDriver' ... WIP...

Post by gazz292 »

Mechanicals of the levers (The technical boring bit):

The levers are about 98% 3D printed, non printed items are things like the bearings the main shafts run in, bearings in the notch levers that run against the notch wheels detents, springs, nuts and bolts, plus the electronic components (potentiometers, switches, wires, connectors, USB input board / STM32F / arduino)

This is a render of the Power lever:

Render of Power Lever labeled.jpg

Basically a frame that holds everything in place, a main disc that is the basis of German train levers, the lever shaft screws into the top of the main disc, on some levers that's all, on others the main shaft is hollow and a spring loaded inner rod connected to the knob pushes down to operate a switch embedded in the disc, or push a 90 degrees mounted lever to uncouple it from the next lever along.

In the left hand image you can see the (EMU) Notch wheel fitted, a pin (3mm bolt) moves with the levers main disc, this allows the notch wheel to move with the lever and be placed on the outside of the box, to allow easy changing of the notch wheel.

The spring loaded notch lever is hollow on the top so it's sides keep the wheel in place on the main shaft (yellow bit)
Bearings in the centre of the notch lever run against the notch wheel, the spring allowing the lever to move down as the 'pips' go past, and back up into the 'holes' to hold the lever in the notches position.

To change a notch wheel i just push the notch lever downwards, slide the notch wheel sideways off the shaft and rotation pin, then slide the different one on... the notch wheels are 3D printed of course, so new ones can be quickly made up to suit different trains.

The right hand part of the image shows the lever assembly end on,
The star shaped brake band adjuster knob changes the tension on a (3D printed of course) brake band that grips the main levers axle, this stops the lever flopping over to one end when no notch wheel is in position, and makes the levers feel more realistic.

The axles (yellow) the levers disc rides on are 3D printed, and the left hand one includes the gear (again 3D printed) that drives the potentiometer, this is so the potentiometer is moved ~280 degrees for the 90 degrees the lever moves. gives better resolution for lever position in the simulator.
The blue thing with 4 pins is the 10K Alps potentiometer i used, cheap pots give a lot of position jitter i found.

Below is a render of the Brake levers:

Render of some other components.jpg

Same main frame units as used in the power lever (i made them universal, so one frame will work both ways round the levers can be placed in the lineup)
Here you can see that the main discs are flat on the bottom ~1/4, and a seperate 'Notch Wheel Driver' is bolted to the flat bottom of the disc.

The brake levers differ from the AFB, Power and Loco Brake ones, in that they are coupled together, i.e. move one lever and the other one moves with it,
in real life you can uncouple these levers by twisting the Dynamic brake levers knob, then you can slow down from speed using just the dynamic brakes, and stop using the air brakes as well,
When the 2 levers are level with each other they automatically re-couple together.

I wanted to copy this, but had to settle for pushing the dynamic brake levers knob down to uncouple them, as the mechanics are easier to 3D print.

The black coupler in the middle of the 2 yellow shafts rotates only with the air brake lever (Left one) the Dynamic brake levers shaft is free to rotate in a bearing inside the coupler.
This coupler has a notch in it that the red shaft from the dynamic brake lever sits in, and in a similar way to how the notch wheels are driven with a pin, this allows the 2 levers to be coupled together.

Pushing the dynamic brake knob down moves the red bar down and out of the notch in the coupler, and the Dynamic brake lever can then be moved without moving the air brake lever.
The dynamic brake knob is spring loaded, so once decoupled you stop pushing down on the knob, the red bar rides on the couplers edge until the levers are level again, where the bar springs back into the notch and the 2 levers are automatically coupled together again.

Then we have the Direction Switch:

Render of Direction Switch.jpg

I made this as a plate and pillar frame rather than a full box frame like the levers, it is basically a lever on it's side in operation (This idea can be modified and used for trains that have horizontal moving levers)

A small notch wheel with 4 notches is permanently fitted inside the frame (no need to have interchangeable notch wheels on this i figured.. EMU's that have a 3 position direction switch just ignore the Motor only position)
The parts of the central rotating shaft have square 'pegs and holes' so it all clips together and transmits drive down it, nuts and bolts hold it all together.

The reversing lever / key is made to be removable, like the real thing.. except i didn't model the part that captures the key when it's in any position except Off... i might do that in the next version, but the key does click into the slot and is retained by the little pip towards the fork end of the key.

I have a small magnet glued in a pocket on the underside of the key, and under where that sits in the central shaft is a switch type hall effect sensor, this is so that when the key is placed into the slot, it can send a signal to the game telling it to put the reverser handle in, or take it out when i remove the key.

Having this made the construction of the whole assembly more complicated, a 1 x 2mm slot down the shaft allows the 3 wires from the hall sensor to exit the shaft, i use silicone wire that is designed to be moved a lot in use, and it simply loops out the bottom of the shaft and plugs into the small stripboard 'pcb' the potentiometer plugs into.

Another alps style pot is used here, with different 3D printed gearing to again get as much pot travel from the levers 115 degrees of movement this 'lever' has.

The 2 horizontal knobs next to the brake levers are simply bought knobs on potentiometer shafts... they are temporary,
I just used them because the 'DIY' RailDriver method i use to get these levers working in TSW2 have them... they are for the two 3 position knobs on the raildriver... which in TSW2 can be upto a 6 position switch for wipers in some EMU's.
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Re: 3D printed ''Euro RailDriver' ... WIP...

Post by gazz292 »

So, were onto the electronics bit, here's where it's limited in TSW2 i'm afraid.

Nothing is plug and play unfortunately (just like 3D printing levers is not 'print one thing out and they are done' a lot of assembly is needed, sanding things like the lever shafts, running a tap and die down the shafts threads etc)

TSW2 does not support joystick type controllers, recently they gave us (Beta) RailDriver support and that's the best we've got.

Someone on the Dovetail forums made a workaround using a replacement .dll that tricks TSW2 into thinking an arduino connected to our levers is a RailDriver:

https://forums.dovetailgames.com/thread ... dll.45793/

You may have worked out, mechanical stuff is my thing, electronics i'm fairly good at, programming arduinos... not so good.. i can modify working programs and do the absolute basics, programming computer stuff... total fail, that's why i don't have a 'heres a program i wrote that makes this work' solution, i'm using other peoples programs, and unfortunately the writer of the above program has possibly moved onto other things, so we have the levers working and that's it, no button inputs, no speed readout, closed source etc, so any lever reassignments has to be done on the arduino... but it's better than the alternative, which is to drive with the keyboard.

So, if you want to make some levers and use them in TSW2, first i suggest you read the threads for the 'xinput-game-controller-raildriver-dll' linked above,
It's not that hard to get working, but for some reason you need to have visual studio on your computer for it to work... which is free to download... without that the replacement 'PieHid64.dll' crashes TSW2 at startup (putting the original back fixes that, but our custom 'RailDriver' will not work)

Then get an arduino, some potentiometers, the above program and see if you can control trains by rotating the potentiometers shafts, only if that's working think about making levers to attach to them.

However, if you also play on 'TSC' aka Train Simulator Classic (was Train Simulator 2022) then you can use levers like these very well, thanks to CobraOnes Raildriver and Joystick Interface,


I have my levers set up to work with both TSC and TSW2, they have a lot more functionality in TSC thanks to being able to access the trains data directly, data TSW2 doesn't allow access to.

Having access to that data in TSC means you can also do other things,
Like run TS-MFD as well, which gives you fully working and auto updating EBuLa and MFA screens on android tablets!

Here's a pic of me driving a train in TSC, with TS-MFD running on a couple of ~10 year old android tablets that i mounted on my laptop table,
note the levers are bare bones as this was before i'd finalised their dimensions and bought full reels of white and black PLA to print them all out in one go, plus the top panels etc:

To use the levers in TSC, you just need them to appear as a joystick in windows and CobraOne's program does the rest, i am using 'FreeJoy' for this part


FreeJoy runs on a cheap STM32f 'Blue Pill' board, gives you 8 analog inputs, 128 button inputs, encoders, shift registers, flash led's and so on,

But there are lots of alternatives, you can use certain arduino boards as HID Joysticks, or buy ready to use joystick input boards... make sure you get ones with analog inputs for the levers, not just a button board as used in 'home arcade cab builds'

So as i am using a STM32f Blue pill loaded with FreeJoy for driving trains in TSC, i stacked another on top of it (disconnecting the 5v, Reset, PA11 and PA12 usb data pins between the 2 boards, but sharing the potentiometer and button inputs) and my 2nd blue pill is running STMDuino, which programs in the arduino IDE... so i have the simple arduino serial program that TSW2 listens to (with the replacement RailDriver.dll') running at the same time FreeJoy is running on the other board.
The 2 boards are connected to a small USB hub, then a single cable to my laptop running the train sims.

Here's my stacked blue pills (top one has extra long header pins installed to enable stacking) and the shared the strip board connector for the potentiometers inputs, i have a couple of buttons directly on these pins (SIFA and Reversing key) but i will be using shift register boards to get the 20+ button inputs i need using just 3 input pins.

I am still playing around with the arduino program i run for TSW2, as a lot of trains have different lever assignments on the RailDriver, i will likely have a switch that i move to suit the train i decide to drive, and it will run the relevant part of the program on the Arduino, and do things like split the combined power and brake lever into 2 seperate separate full travel levers when driving loco's, as opposed to EMU's that will use the combined power and brake lever.

Then there's things like the BR112, this uses the 'independent brake lever' on the RailDriver as it's speed selector, so i map that back to my Euro RailDrivers full travel power lever.

Kerickey, i've typed a lot here... use it as a bedtime story, you'll be fast asleep by the 2nd part.
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Re: 3D printed ''Euro RailDriver' ... WIP...

Post by gazz292 »

oh boy, i do type far too much when i get into a subject.

just in case anyone is interested in an update, i've been making switches lately,
everything is 3D printed except things like springs, nuts and bolts and the micro switches that my switch mechanisms operate.
Switches so far.jpg
In the photo above, have the lever style switches on the left hand side, top left is the one for the pantograph, and next to it would be the circuit breaker switch,
middle left one with a white lever is the door open/close switch, and bottom left are the PZB switches.

Then we have:
Top middle is the TAV door side release switch, 4 positions at 90 degrees, and it has no rotation stop just like the real thing.
To the left of that is the train line power switch, 3 positions, left and up latches, the right position is a spring return.
Top right is the brake lever lock out key and brake overcharge button.
Below that are EMU style door open and close buttons, i'm making this driving console semi universal, and EMU's and locos / dostos have different door opening methods.

Finally, middle bottom is the wiper switch/valve, this mounts vertically on the front upright panel of the box that all this is mounted on, this one is out of scale, as i had a specific space it had to fit.
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Re: 3D printed ''Euro RailDriver' ... WIP...

Post by gazz292 »

Made the emergency brake lever today:
E-Brake and Wiper Switch.jpg

The levers are based on the levers in the Dosto, but i had to mount them side by side:
Dosto E-brake.jpg
Like the wiper lever, the E-brake is not to the scale of the main driving levers, this is because i only have 76mm of vertical space where these 2 levers need to be mounted, i don't want the top of the driving console to be too tall, as it's supposed to sit on a computer desk.

i didn't model the screen wash part of the lever, it doesn't work in the sim anyway, but if it ever does become working i will do a re-design and make the lever pivot to push inwards, and probably do the same as i did with the reverser switch to send the signal for putting in or taking out the reversing handle, i.e. use a magnet to trigger a hall effect sensor to send the signal, and the wires to the hall effect sensor will go down the middle of the central axle / shaft the lever pivots on.

I'm going to be laser cutting the main box panels in a couple of days, then i can finally start assembling this controller properly, hopefully it will look something like this when i'm done :
Euro RailDriver render 06-06-22.jpg
I've been designing it to sit on my overbed laptop table, so the base of the controller has cutouts so it will sit over the laptops keyboard.

When i drive trains in Train Sim Classic, i will be using the TV connected to the desktop PC to run the sim, and the laptop display will have the trains MFA panel showing on it, with the 2 android tablets i have mounted either side of the laptop showing the EBuLa and train power displays... using https://www.ts-mfd.de/

When driving in TSW2 i can't use any of that, as we don't have an API to access the needed data, so i will likely just run TSW2 on the laptop.

i'm also going to be a little stuck with inputs for TSW2 for the switches, as the RailDriver replacement .DLL i use only works with the levers, i do not know how to write a program that can read joystick levers and buttons, and send it to TSW2 in the format a real raildriver does.

So i have to use keyboard commands to operate the switches in the trains, but there are some commands that a raildriver button operates that keyboard commands don't.

I need to find someone who can code and can set up the basics of a joystick to raildriver interface program, but there are very few people who play on TSW2 who want to use levers to control the trains, most are happy with the keyboard it seems.
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Re: 3D printed ''Euro RailDriver' ... WIP...

Post by gazz292 »

An hour or so at my local Hackspace, using the laser cutter, and i have a 'flat pack' box that will house all the levers, switches and electronics for this project:
Laser Cut Box.jpg
I still have some switches to make, so i have 'extra' front panels, so i can drill holes the old fashioned way to fit them for now.
I have to re-print the side panel joiners i made, as they turned out to be about 1/2 a mm too wide, so the pic below is just a mock up of the box.
Laser Cut Box mockup.jpg
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Re: 3D printed ''Euro RailDriver' ... WIP...

Post by karma99 »

Just wanted to dive in and say, this looks amazing! Great work.
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