Author Topic: Anyone out here in asshatland have any experience with traversers for staging?  (Read 1620 times)

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Ed Kapuscinski

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I'm looking at possibly using one for the 20 track staging yard I'm going to have to build, and I was looking for the collective words of wisdom.

They seem to be the simplest approach to achieve a lot of staging in a small space.

Does anyone have plans, or even just words of wisdom?

conrail98

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I'm looking at possibly using one for the 20 track staging yard I'm going to have to build, and I was looking for the collective words of wisdom.

They seem to be the simplest approach to achieve a lot of staging in a small space.

Does anyone have plans, or even just words of wisdom?

When I see my typical crew on Wednesday next week, I'll ask. The one guy in our group has built mechanical bridges, swing bridges, and an elevator for his staging so I'm sure he has some ideas that could help you. I also remember someone doing a bunch of YouTube videos on a staging traverser they were building. Regardless, you need to program the control mechanism using an Arduino and Node,  :D
- Phil

mark dance

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I'm looking at possibly using one for the 20 track staging yard I'm going to have to build, and I was looking for the collective words of wisdom.

They seem to be the simplest approach to achieve a lot of staging in a small space.

Does anyone have plans, or even just words of wisdom?

Hi Ed:

I have lots of experience with one on the C&W and lots or praise for its advantages (with some slight reservation).

Its use and advantages were covered in a sidebar to the C&W article in MRP 2012.    You can also see it in action at the 1 minute mark of the attached video.  Sorry for the shaky video quality...it was one fo the first we shot.

thx

md
Youtube Videos of the N Scale Columbia & Western at: markdance63
Photos and track plan of of the N Scale Columbia & Western at:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/27907618@N02/sets/72157624106602402/

Ed Kapuscinski

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Mark, I was hoping you'd chime in. The sidebar you speak of was what put the idea in my head in this case.

That looks absolutely beautiful. Can you explain how your detent and pulley systems work?

DKS

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Just to offer an alternative viewpoint, the "Hyde Yard" system is much more space-efficient, since the only things that move are the swing tracks at each end. They're not as hard to build as they may seem (certainly no harder, and possibly easier, than a large transverser). And you don't need a sophisticated control system--a few relays will do the job.
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Ed Kapuscinski

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How much length do you lose in the swing arms to be able to service 20 tracks though?

DKS

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I'd have to do some calculating. That's a lot of tracks--may need to split it up into two bunches. But in the meantime... you have room depth-wise for 40 tracks to allow for the full movement of a 20-track traverser? That's about five feet.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2013, 03:12:57 PM by David K. Smith »
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Dave Schneider

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It's a pretty high bar to ask for both experience AND words of wisdom..... :)
I'll be interested to follow this discussion, as I have been contemplating staging recently.

DKS, what exactly do you mean by a "Hyde Yard"? Is this a sector plate deal or something else?

Best wishes, Dave
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DKS

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DKS, what exactly do you mean by a "Hyde Yard"? Is this a sector plate deal or something else?

Possibly, depending on your definition of a sector plate. It consists of a length of flex track that is fixed at one end (with a slider on one rail) and swung at the other end in an arc past the ends of the storage tracks. Imagine something that's a cross between an x-way stub switch (where x is the number of storage tracks) and half of a turntable. There are two, one at each end of the yard.

I've built two of them, both for Rick Spano's Sceniced and Undecided. The first one was something of a trial run; we were delving into uncharted territory at the time--it was the late 70s, and American model railroaders were largely unfamiliar with staging yards, let alone automated ones. The second one I designed has been working for the last 30 years or so. It was built mostly from Plexiglas, using only hand tools, so it's not especially challenging (or expensive) to build. The only moving parts are the swing arm and an indexing cam, and since the yard cannot be seen, it manages train movement on its own using IR detectors. (I wrote an article on how to build them, but none of the magazines were interested.)
« Last Edit: September 13, 2013, 03:27:26 PM by David K. Smith »
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mark dance

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Mark, I was hoping you'd chime in. The sidebar you speak of was what put the idea in my head in this case.

That looks absolutely beautiful. Can you explain how your detent and pulley systems work?

thank you Ed...will do, but it may need to wait until Monday for a full description I am afraid.  A 3 day, bi-annual operating event is starting today and guests from all over North America are arriving at my place...actually I hear one now!

md
Youtube Videos of the N Scale Columbia & Western at: markdance63
Photos and track plan of of the N Scale Columbia & Western at:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/27907618@N02/sets/72157624106602402/

Ed Kapuscinski

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I definitely would NOT want to get in the way of THAT!

And David, I'm actually not that worried about that. The entry will be on the front of the thing. I'll just need to make sure to leave room in the walkway.

20 tracks might be a bit overkill, but I'd rather have them and not need them than need them and not have them. I can probably get away with closer to 15 if I needed to.

conrail98

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Here's a good blog post on a sector plate. Not sure how it might work for up to 20 tracks,

http://model-railroad-hobbyist.com/node/6401

Phil
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DKS

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Here's a good blog post on a sector plate. Not sure how it might work for up to 20 tracks,

Yes, same principle, although note that he calls it a selector plate, as opposed to a sector plate. 20 tracks is indeed too much for the design; I think splitting it in half would work, however.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2013, 10:11:14 PM by David K. Smith »
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mark dance

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Not sure what happened 'cause I thought I posted this before.  If it is posted twice I appologize.

Mark, I was hoping you'd chime in. The sidebar you speak of was what put the idea in my head in this case.

That looks absolutely beautiful. Can you explain how your detent and pulley systems work?

OK, here goes...The traversing table is made from a hollow core door (light, flat, straight) 2'x8'.  It runs on 2 precision drawer slides (recirculating ball bearings) attached to the short ends of the table and the fixed benchwork.

Glued and screwed to the underside of each end of the traversing table, running perpendicular to the direction of the table motion, are 1/2" wide x 1/8" thick aluminum strips.  Into these two strips are drilled small diameters holes (1/8”?) precisely 2" apart which is the track to track spacing I desired...I used a knee mill to drill the holes.  These holes receive the ball of a Stanley ball latch ...they are cheap and I can buy them at any hardware store.  I use them in lots of places.



The ball in the ball latch is a much larger diameter then the holes drilled in the aluminum strips.  The latches are mounted to the fixed benchwork facing up and "click" as they engage one pair of holes at a time as the drawer is moved in and out.  I grease the aluminum with lithium grease.

Initially I had wondered if this would be all I needed but it became clear after using the table a bit that lining up one end then the other was not as elegant an operation as I wished and the table did cam over if pulled or pushed unevenly or from one end.  So I set out to put together a cable linkage so that both ends always *had* to move together regardless of from where the table was pushed or pulled.  This is a little difficult to explain but basically I made 4 pulleys from cheap castor wheels like these...

 

I pulled the plastic wheels out of the castors and grooved them so that a cable would run in the groove.

The four pulleys are  mounted to the fixed benchwork with two at the front side and two at the back.  A small diameter steel cable with a turn buckle in it to adjust the tension was run around the pulleys as in the diagram below.



I attached the traversing table to the two points on the cable labeled A and B.  if you follow the movement of the pulley you should be able to see that, because of the "twist" in the cable at the back, points A and B always move together the same direction and the same distance. 

It works great.  The cable makes the ends move together and the detents lock the ends in place.  With it all working I laid the tracks and have never had to adjust.

As I noted in the MRP side bar I abandoned my original ideas of using the traverse as a staging table primarily because of the multi turn helix runs down to it but also because pulling it out frequently would have interfered with operation in the aisle.  That being said I do use it each session to swap two ore trains because the C&W’s south staging in the small helix does not have enough capacity.  To do this I have to pull the table out one track for 1-2 minutes each session but it has not been a problem.  I use the table heavily during restaging. 

Its benefits are that it takes up *no* additional length and all length is fully dedicated to storage tracks.  It also allows for all alignment to be done at the front of the table and requires no turnouts which in addition means I use absolutely minimal vertical clearance above the table saving at least one but possibly two helix turns at each end of the table.

I hope that is clear...please feel free to PM me and we can either communicate directly that way or set up a time to talk live.

thx

md
Youtube Videos of the N Scale Columbia & Western at: markdance63
Photos and track plan of of the N Scale Columbia & Western at:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/27907618@N02/sets/72157624106602402/

mionerr

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A guy over at modelrailroadforum dot com has built one for his Waltzing Creek and Western. I operated on it when I lived in Alabama, before he moved to the other end of the state. He's an operations guy so it's gotta work nearly flawlessly. IIRC he used heavy duty drawer slides. I think his was 6 or 8 feet long.
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