Author Topic: Handlaid Turnout Update  (Read 11389 times)

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3rdboxcar

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Re: Handlaid Turnout Update
« Reply #15 on: July 23, 2013, 03:07:35 PM »
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To Alexander: if you want to go down the self-build route, I'd say you could get by with just the Point Form tool, which allows you to make perfectly-formed switch points and frog points in no time at all.  Then just use a paper template and some thin Scotch double-sided tape (surely they sell this in England!).  You'll also want some 3-point track gauges, also available from Fast Tracks, but these are cheap (about $5 each; get three).  You could build your own jig from wood to hold and solder the frog points at the correct angle, and from there everything can be done without a jig, just following the rail lines on the template.

John C.   

I had thought about that but was unsure if my skills are good enough and would have liked to get the hang of things with a jig. I suppose with practice it would be achievable.

Alexander

DKS

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Re: Handlaid Turnout Update
« Reply #16 on: July 23, 2013, 04:11:45 PM »
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That's nothing you did, that's how the tool works.  The only way to get a true razor point is to do it by hand.

Quite true. A properly-shaped point will ultimately need to be filed from both sides. On the stock rail side, the rail is filed until the web is about half gone (which isn't much). Then the head of the rail is filed from the opposite side to form a perfect point. This is not something any jig is able to do for you in a fool-proof and simple manner.

For myself, I use a smooth-jaw vice and just eyeball it.
« Last Edit: July 23, 2013, 04:15:29 PM by David K. Smith »
“Everyone leaves unfinished business. That's what dying is.” —Amos, The Expanse

hminky

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Re: Handlaid Turnout Update
« Reply #17 on: July 23, 2013, 04:26:04 PM »
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I found on Code 55 heating the point end red hot and bending the rail 90 degrees then filing the point gives a better soldering "foot" on the throw bar:



Harold

robert3985

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Re: Handlaid Turnout Update
« Reply #18 on: July 23, 2013, 04:38:08 PM »
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Alexander, truthfully it doesn't take long to "get the hang of it" if you know the basic principles.  My contention is that if the cost of the expensive Fast Tracks jigs and fixtures is a problem, it is easy enough to make your turnouts with just paper templates and a few basic tools (most of which you probably already have) and some knowledge.

When I got started (early 80's), it was because I decided that Atlas 80 track didn't look good enough for me, and to be semi-Ntrak compliant, I built three modules using Railcraft (now ME) code 70 flex, and no code 70 turnouts were available, so my only choice was to learn how to make them.

I used Gordy Odegard's famous 1976 Model Railroader article about how to lay N-scale turnouts as a beginning, along with some commercially available hand-built PCB turnouts Railcraft was selling (they were really bad) to look at and to get me started.

It took me three tries before I got a turnout that I was satisfied with (which I have discovered is a rule of thumb) but, now when I look back on my old hand-built turnouts, I would not be happy with them if I built them today...but, they worked, and looked pretty good.

The trick is, gather the information (several articles have been published about how to build N-scale turnouts as well as resources at Fast Tracks and Proto87 Stores), get your tools together, buy some rail and PCB ties, download the free pdf files from either Fast Tracks or Proto87 Stores of the turnouts you need, and just start building.

None of us have all the skills needed to make our own turnouts when we first decide to give it a try, but practice teaches you how to do things.  The skills required are not what I would call "advanced" and involve bending, cutting, grinding, filing and soldering metals...tiny pieces of metal. After the first three turnouts, it ceases to be intimidating whatsoever.

Actually the most difficult part of the whole hand-laying thing is deciding to do it, and getting rid of the fear that your skills may not be enough to be able to make them.  One thing is certain, if you never give it a try, you won't ever build any turnouts, so buy a yard of rail, collect a few PCB ties and give it a go.


robert3985

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Re: Handlaid Turnout Update
« Reply #19 on: July 23, 2013, 05:21:36 PM »
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I found on Code 55 heating the point end red hot and bending the rail 90 degrees then filing the point gives a better soldering "foot" on the throw bar:



Harold

Here's my version:


Another view:


I did this with the thought that the big "foot" would ensure the points would stay soldered to the PCB throwbar, but that only happens if these criteria are met:
(1) I built the switch with no hinges (solid rail from wingrails to point) in code 55 or code 40
(2) I built the switch in code 40 (notch hinges)
(3) I built the switch with "slippy slide" hinges (modified rail joiners or Proto87 Stores etched part)

There were a few things that I never liked about these, the main thing being the throwbar is placed at the wrong place for a prototypical looking throwbar.  It should be back one tie towards the frog and the closure points should be resting on the headblock furthest from the frog.

They also took longer for me to make since there was more metal to remove.  I never heated mine, just bent the rail to begin with and started filing.

As a comparison, I built a couple of turnouts using the shallow S-shaped sheet brass "keeper" on each point, and these worked more reliably than the "foot", with the added benefit of looking more prototypical, moving the throwbar to its correct position and taking less time to make.

In my experience, although the concept behind fabricating the points and "feet' as a monolithic piece is good, in operation, they don't add any additional reliability over sheet brass "keepers", and they're more work, and make the switch look even less prototypical.
« Last Edit: July 23, 2013, 05:24:23 PM by robert3985 »

jdcolombo

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Re: Handlaid Turnout Update
« Reply #20 on: July 23, 2013, 06:44:34 PM »
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OK.

Here's my second effort, done today:



I've tested this one; it works very, very well, although the solder joints still aren't as "pretty" as I'd like.   I've run my Walthers 0-8-0 through it, and that engine runs very smoothly -  which is a big improvement over what happens with Atlas #5's (this engine is notoriously picky about turnouts; it will derail on Atlas #5's about half the time, until I spend hours re-working them to exact NMRA standards).  Everything from my VO1000 switcher to my NKP Heritage GEVO from FVM ran flawlessly.

So . . . going to paint this one, put it on the layout in the switching area I built it for, hook it up to a Tortoise, and see what happens over the next several operating sessions.

Some additional thoughts:

1.  I haven't installed the headblock ties yet, since I'm still cogitating on how best to do that.  Probably will use a couple of Clover House PC ties for this.

2.  The rest of the wood ties are Fast Tracks "quick sticks" laser cut ties, which are convenient, but expensive at $6 per turnout.  After I use up the 5 I got with my kit, I'll roll my own wood ties.  The Pliobond does work well for these, though.

Very satisfying to have done this.  Going to build a few more to hone my skills (the layout can always use a few more switches!) and see what happens.

John C.
« Last Edit: July 23, 2013, 06:53:02 PM by jdcolombo »

wcfn100

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Re: Handlaid Turnout Update
« Reply #21 on: July 23, 2013, 07:46:17 PM »
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On the stock rail side, the rail is filed until the web is about half gone (which isn't much). Then the head of the rail is filed from the opposite side to form a perfect point.

Not quite.  Just filing from both sides will never get you an optimal point (or frog).

The point rail gets slightly bent at the end so the the web lines up with the side you wouldn't normally file (the 'inside' part of the point rail).  Then the rail head is filed back straight to the rest of the rail.  Then you can proceed to file from the other side (stock rail side) and it will never cut into the web.  This also leaves extra base rail to solder to the throwbar.

Jason

DKS

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Re: Handlaid Turnout Update
« Reply #22 on: July 23, 2013, 08:20:46 PM »
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Not quite.  Just filing from both sides will never get you an optimal point (or frog).

Well, I guess none of my points or frogs are "optimal" then, but to be honest, I'm happy with 'em.

This also leaves extra base rail to solder to the throwbar.

Given that the web of Code 55 rail is around .0012 inches wide, that doesn't really leave a whole lot more base to solder. Just sayin'...
« Last Edit: July 23, 2013, 08:25:38 PM by David K. Smith »
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Chris333

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Re: Handlaid Turnout Update
« Reply #23 on: July 23, 2013, 10:40:25 PM »
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I clean up my solder joints after each rail is done. I stop, clean up with files. And then go to the next piece of rail.

The longer I do it the better I am at having less to clean up. I try not to get any solder up in the web. Touch the iron so it barely hits thr rail and let the solder flow under and out the other side.

M.C. Fujiwara

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Re: Handlaid Turnout Update
« Reply #24 on: July 23, 2013, 10:43:57 PM »
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I clean up my solder joints after each rail is done. I stop, clean up with files. And then go to the next piece of rail.

The longer I do it the better I am at having less to clean up. I try not to get any solder up in the web. Touch the iron so it barely hits thr rail and let the solder flow under and out the other side.

"The Flux is strong in this one"

Agreed: the more you do, the better touch you get with the iron & solder, the less "work" you have to do cleaning up.
The triangle file is your friend  8)
M.C. Fujiwara
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chicken45

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Re: Handlaid Turnout Update
« Reply #25 on: July 23, 2013, 10:49:01 PM »
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You've just convinced me. I'm selling my Atlas c55 turnouts and I'M TAKING THE PLUNGE.
Josh Surkosky

Here's a Clerihew about Ed. K.

Ed Kapucinski
Every night, he plants a new tree.
But mention his law
and you've pulled your last straw!

Alternate version:
Ed Kapucinski
Every night, he plants a new tree.
He asks excitedly "Did you say Ménage à Trois?"
No, I said "Ed's Law."

M.C. Fujiwara

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Re: Handlaid Turnout Update
« Reply #26 on: July 23, 2013, 11:01:39 PM »
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You've just convinced me. I'm selling my Atlas c55 turnouts and I'M TAKING THE PLUNGE.

Yeah!
Just remember you don't need the fixtures!
The point tool comes in handy (I use a #6 for various turnouts when the turnout gods aren't with me).
But otherwise just the templates and a big-a$$ 8"-10" bastard straight file.
And a small desk vise.
Check out Evret's video tutorial: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL39AF9D2D08FCF4EA&feature=plcp before buying all the doo-dads (though they're fun).

Welcome to the Wonderful World Of Handlaid Turnouts!
M.C. Fujiwara
Silicon Valley Free-moN
http://sv-free-mon.org/

wcfn100

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Re: Handlaid Turnout Update
« Reply #27 on: July 23, 2013, 11:17:52 PM »
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Well, I guess none of my points or frogs are "optimal" then, but to be honest, I'm happy with 'em.

The smaller the turnout the more you can get away with.  Trying to build a #12 that way can be problematic at the points and the frog, especially when it comes to minimizing the wheel drop.


Given that the web of Code 55 rail is around .0012 inches wide, that doesn't really leave a whole lot more base to solder. Just sayin'...

Drop a zero and then what do you think?


Jason

chicken45

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Re: Handlaid Turnout Update
« Reply #28 on: July 23, 2013, 11:32:58 PM »
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Yeah!
Just remember you don't need the fixtures!
The point tool comes in handy (I use a #6 for various turnouts when the turnout gods aren't with me).
But otherwise just the templates and a big-a$$ 8"-10" bastard straight file.
And a small desk vise.
Check out Evret's video tutorial: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL39AF9D2D08FCF4EA&feature=plcp before buying all the doo-dads (though they're fun).

Welcome to the Wonderful World Of Handlaid Turnouts!

Since I have to build twenty two #8's, I'm buying the jig. Once I master those, I'll try the 4 curved turnouts sans jig.
Josh Surkosky

Here's a Clerihew about Ed. K.

Ed Kapucinski
Every night, he plants a new tree.
But mention his law
and you've pulled your last straw!

Alternate version:
Ed Kapucinski
Every night, he plants a new tree.
He asks excitedly "Did you say Ménage à Trois?"
No, I said "Ed's Law."

DKS

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Re: Handlaid Turnout Update
« Reply #29 on: July 24, 2013, 12:09:26 AM »
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Drop a zero and then what do you think?

You're right, one too many zeros, but it's still not going to matter much, IMO. Anyway, it doesn't matter to me, since I don't solder the rails to a throwbar.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2013, 12:13:48 AM by David K. Smith »
“Everyone leaves unfinished business. That's what dying is.” —Amos, The Expanse