Stan's Software for Model Railroaders Stan's Software for Model Railroaders


Handy Converter 18 for Model Railroaders
New! Update 18.4

A few unsolicited comments from users ...

"This program is the answer to all my prayers"
"An excellent program, worth the price - and then some"
"A real boon to folks that work in more than one scale"
"This is THE ultimate modeler's tool, railroad or any type of scale modeling"
"I use this thing all the time. Great program. Thanks"
"Your helix calculator is saving me a lot of headaches!"
"The program will come in very handy in calculating any type of information I need for model railroading"
"You've done a great job on the program, and I thank you for providing it to the modeling community at such a reasonable price"
"Absolutely a brilliant program. Has already helped me with my scratch building"

"An ingenious piece of software"
"Thanks for putting it all together!"
"Extremely easy to use and simplifies all the tedious conversion work"
"This little program is one of my most used. For railroading, for everything"
"Exactly what I needed for my railroad"
"I just want you to know how highly I value Handy Converter"
"The greatest tool for anyone interested in model railroading, of any scale"
"Thanks so much. Love the program"
"Extremely easy to use and simplifies all the tedious conversion work"
"A wealth of knowledge readily available. Thanks for a great application"

Reviews of previous versions ...

Click to see a review from Model Railroad Hobbyist Magazine
Click to see a review from Large Scale Online
Click to see a review from Model Railroad News
Click to see a review from Garden Railways Magazine
Click for an earlier review from Model Railroad News

New in Version 18:

New in 18.1 Update:

New in 18.2 Update:

New in 18.3 Update:

New in 18.4 Update:

Click a small picture to see a larger one
Any Scale to Another Video: Demo

You've found plans for a shed you'd like to build in Large Scale. But the plans are in HO Scale.

Select the Any Scale to Another Scale tab, enter the HO measurements and click the Convert button. The program has thirteen built-in scales, and if you're modeling in a scale not shown, just enter your scale in the Other box.
The correct setting for converting drawings from one scale to another on a copy machine is also shown.

Scale Rulers

Planning to do some modeling? A scale ruler might be very helpful - maybe even essential.

Choose from one of sixteen model railroading scales on the Scale Rulers tab, and print a page of rulers. Print on letter size or A4 paper, and for durability use heavier stock.

Drills and Screws Video: Demo

You don't have the #68 drill that instructions call for. How much larger would a hole be if you used a 1/32 inch drill? What size tap drill is correct for a 0-80 screw? What are the clearance drill sizes for 4-40 screws? Want to know what pilot drill to use for a #8 wood screw?

Click on the Drills & Screws tab. You'll find the answers to these questions along with data for hundreds of drill sizes and screws.

Grades Video: Demo

You have a run of 31 feet of track and must not exceed a 4 percent grade. What's the greatest rise in elevation you can have?

Use the Grades tab and find that you must not exceed 1.24 feet.

The calculator will also solve for length of run or gradient percent.

Scale Speed Video: Demo

Just how fast is your train moving?

To calculate its scale speed, select the Scale Speed tab and enter the distance your train travels in a measured period of time.

Wiring Video: Demo

Updated. What's the best wire size to use for your layout? Larger wire than needed could be expensive, but smaller wire may cause performance problems.

Determine the best wire size with the Wiring tab. View the wire size tables, and enter the length of the run and maximum load to determine the voltage drop from the power source to the rails.

Weighting Video: Demo

New. Want a recommendation for proper weight of your train car? Properly weighted rolling stock will help prevent derailments on curves and improve performance on poor trackwork.

Determine a target weight with the Car Weighting tab. Choose your scale and enter the measured length of your car to see the recommended weight of the car. (Based on NMRA RP-20.1)

Video: Demo

The manufacturer states that the loco you want to buy is 180 mm long. You'd like to know the length in inches.

Select the Metric Units to US Units tab, enter 180 and click the Convert button.

US Units to Metric Video: Demo

The US Units to Metric Units tab lets you convert from miles, yards, feet and inches to metric dimensions.

LED Calculator Video: Demo

Have you wanted to use LEDs to illuminate your passenger coaches or your buildings but aren't sure how to do it?

Enter basic information on the LED Calculator tab, and your circuit will be quickly designed for you.

View the completed circuit design either as a Wiring Diagram or Schematic.

DCC Config Variables Video: Demo

The popularity of Digital Command Control (DCC) is increasing rapidly and has expanded to nearly every scale. Do you need information to program a new DCC decoder, or modify an existing one?

The DCC Config Variables tab features complete information for multi-function (loco and sound) decoders and accessory decoders, based on NMRA standards for configuration variables (CV).

Scale Figures Video: Demo

Want to make your own scale figures? If you buy them, what's the correct size for your scale?

Use the Scale Figures tab. Enter the 1:1 height to see the proper size and proportions for your scale figures - in either inches or metric.

You can also print an accurately scaled figure and easily modify the program's assumptions.

Scale Lumber Video: Demo

Constructing a locomotive shed and need to know what the size of that 4 x 8 should be in your scale?

Determine the correct scale size of lumber up to 16 inches wide and deep with the Scale Lumber tab. Find the proper size for rough-sawn as well as planed and dried lumber.

Scale Shapes Video: Demo

New. Modeling prototype structures with angles, beams, channels, tubes or rods?

The Scale Shapes & Strips tab is loaded with dimensions of hundreds of common prototype sizes, ready for conversion to your scale.

Scale Lumber Video: Demo

New. Don't bother finding pencil and paper to make a shopping list of needed scale lumber and scale shapes & strips.

Click on the "Add to Shopping List" buttons on these tabs, and the item will be sent to the Shopping List tab. There, you can edit the list, sort and print it.

Your shopping list will be saved when you exit the program, and loaded automatically the next time you use it

Video: Demo

Updated. While on vacation, you've measured a building that you'd like to model in HO scale.

Convert your real-world measurements to HO (or any other scale) by selecting the 1:1 to Model RR Scale tab, enter the measurement, and click the Convert button.

Model RR Scale to 1:1 Video: Demo

The Model RR Scale to 1:1 tab converts from model railroad scale to real-world dimensions.

Ohm's Law Video: Demo

Ohm's Law is a simple calculation, but do you remember what gets multiplied or divided by what?

The Ohm's Law tab provides an easy way to get answers to voltage, current, resistance and power. Enter any two of these parameters and the other two will be calculated.

Resistor Calculator Video: Demo

What's the value of those resistors in the bottom of the drawer? Or perhaps you know the value you need but don't know what color bands to look for. You may want the value of two parallel resistors to create a value not available in standard resistors.

This can all be answered on the Resistor Calculator tab. Enter the color bands in the Resistor Identifier to find the value, or enter the value in the Color Code Calculator to find the color codes.

Video: Demo

The manufacturer says that your train shouldn't be operated at a temperature over 40° C. Do you want to know the temperature in Fahrenheit?

The loco of your dreams weighs 220 grams. Would you like to know its weight in pounds and ounces?

Select the Temperature & Weight tab to get the answers.

Thermal Rail Expansion Video: Demo

Planning an outdoor layout or a large indoor layout? Don't forget to allow for expansion of the rails due to temperature changes throughout the year.

Select the Thermal Rail Expansion tab to calculate how much the track length will change. Just choose your rail material, then enter the anticipated temperature range and length of your track.

Are you using Aristo-Craft, LGB, Piko or TRAINLI track for your layout?

You'll appreciate the useful information in the Large Scale Track tab.

Track dimensions are provided in both inches and mm.

Minimum Track Radius Video: Demo

It's easy to determine the minimum track radius for your rolling stock, whether purchased or scratch-built.

Just enter the distance between trucks and the maximum truck angle in the Minimum Track Radius tab.

This calculator will also solve for the truck distance or truck angle if the track radius is known.

Helix Calculator Video: Demo

A helix is often used to join parts of a layout that are on different levels. The design of a helix requires balancing parameters such as available space, grade, spacing between loops, and the rise in elevation to join the tracks entering and leaving the helix.

The Helix Calculator allows you to specify the parameters of your helix. If a helix can be built matching these parameters, the calculator will show construction details.

Helix Calculator with Help

Several supplemental screens are provided to help you choose the parameters for your helix.

If it's not possible to finalize the design of a helix using these parameters, the program will describe the conflict and offer suggestions for modifying the design.


You don't have to write down the results of each conversion as you use the program.

Click on the History tab to view - or print - all of your conversions at any time.

Curvature Video: Demo

Handy Converter simplifies the complex curvature calculation.

A small circle is easily laid out using its radius. This isn't practical for a railroad's curves due to the large distances involved. Instead, railroads calculate degrees of curvature using surveying instruments and a 100-ft chain. Enter the prototype degrees in the Curvature tab and Handy Converter provides the radius in your scale along with the prototype radius.


You won't need a pad of paper beside you for updating your wish list, or to write down your thoughts and ideas as you use the program.

The Notes tab is a convenient place to store information. Your notes will be saved when you exit the program, and loaded automatically the next time you use it.

Calculator Video: Demo

Click on the icon at the lower left corner of most tabs, and a multifunction calculator will appear.

In addition to standard math functions, the Calculator provides conversion of fractions to decimal, and conversion between feet & inches and decimal feet. A binary to decimal converter is included and, to aid DCC programing, calculators are provided for CV 17 & 18 and CV 29.

And - the program remembers all of your preferences, such as modeling scale and units of measurement

Information about custom scales:
See note

Program requirements:
Windows 7 through Windows 10
Screen resolution of 800 x 600 or greater
Sample screens above are shown using Windows 10
Information for Mac users
Your money back if not completely satisfied.

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To Purchase the Program Download:

Download Version 18 for only $19.95
You will be directed to the download page after your purchase. (Please see note below) The download is about 4 MB.


Occasionally, PayPal does not direct buyers to the download page. If this happens, please send an email to me at and I'll get a copy to you right away!

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