Author Topic: Turnout control on pink foam  (Read 2882 times)

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PiperguyUMD

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Turnout control on pink foam
« on: October 05, 2013, 01:37:06 PM »
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So what kind of turnout controls are you guys using and how are you mounting it to layouts built with foam? Pics?  I'm planning on using 2" foam a the base for my next layout, but want to figure this one out before I proceed.

Thanks!

rogergperkins

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Re: Turnout control on pink foam
« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2013, 03:38:26 PM »
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Using Kato Untrack on 2" extruded polystyrene foam; controller mechanics built with the turnout.
Controllers level located on board beneath the layout.

mmagliaro

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Re: Turnout control on pink foam
« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2013, 06:00:59 PM »
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I use mini slide switches mounted directly to the turnout, so I didn't have a lot of need for mounting
machines on the foam.

But I do have one BluePoint manual control machine mounted under the layout.  My layout is on a 2" foam base.
To provide sturdy mount, I screwed the machine to a thin (1/8") piece of model aircraft plywood, which is
then glued to the underside of the foam with DAP Dynaflex 230  (you could use any caulk or adhesive made for
foam board....)  It's been in place for at least 6 months and seems to hold really well.

Catt

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Re: Turnout control on pink foam
« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2013, 09:49:27 PM »
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Using Caboose ground throws on my big layout.Track is on Midwest cork and so are the ground throws.With the cork glued to the styrofoam the ground throw is held firnly in place with a track nail on each.Some of my ground throws have been on the layout for 10 years with no problems except for the size of them. :D
Johnathan (Catt) Edwards
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Grande Valley Railway
100% Michigan made

Nilmadic

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Re: Turnout control on pink foam
« Reply #4 on: October 05, 2013, 10:23:50 PM »
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I have been using bluepoint and tortoise switch machines with the 2" pink foam. I glue a square of 1/4" hardboard drilled out with a hole for the spring wire to the bottom of the foam. That is a great base to screw the switch machine to. You will probably need a longer piece of spring wire than is included with the tortoise if you chose to go that route.

davefoxx

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Re: Turnout control on pink foam
« Reply #5 on: October 05, 2013, 10:37:03 PM »
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I'm using slide switches purchased locally at Radio Shack to control my turnouts.  You can find similar switches even less expensive online.  I install mine into cork roadbed, which holds the switch in place well.  I use Hex Frog Juicers to power the frogs, although you could wire the frog through the slide switch.



Hope this helps,
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nkalanaga

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Re: Turnout control on pink foam
« Reply #6 on: October 06, 2013, 12:44:41 AM »
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Put the track on wooden roadbed with the turnout and slide switch attached to the wood.  The main roadbed is balsa splines, but the switch point areas are 1/4 inch pine lattice.

In my experience foam is great for scenery but makes lousy roadbed.  The only track I have directly on the foam is industrial sidings with no turnouts.
N Kalanaga
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DKS

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Re: Turnout control on pink foam
« Reply #7 on: October 06, 2013, 07:41:50 AM »
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In my experience foam is great for scenery but makes lousy roadbed.  The only track I have directly on the foam is industrial sidings with no turnouts.

I happen to think foam makes terrific roadbed. This thread has quite a lot of good insight: https://www.therailwire.net/forum/index.php?topic=27443.msg281853#msg281853
“Everyone leaves unfinished business. That's what dying is.” —Amos, The Expanse

nkalanaga

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Re: Turnout control on pink foam
« Reply #8 on: October 06, 2013, 02:05:55 PM »
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David:  Just proves that what works for one may not for another.  Or, in the investor's language, past performance isn't evidence of future results.  I can see where the tape might work as well as wood, assuming that the sheer forces can't work the parts loose.

My problem was trying to put the track directly on the foam, which is the way I interpreted the question.  Been there, done that, it didn't work.  Foam has no resistance to side pressure (sheer), and everything works loose sooner or later. 

Now, if the entire mechanism is attached to the turnout, as with Unitrack, there's no problem.  That can also be done with conventional turnouts by adding some type of base or bracket under the turnout.  A piece of wood or metal firmly attached to the ties would be fine, as is Peco's idea of the machines having tabs that fit holes in the ties.
N Kalanaga
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PiperguyUMD

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Re: Turnout control on pink foam
« Reply #9 on: October 06, 2013, 03:17:19 PM »
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Thanks for the information!  I'm leaning towards using bullfrogs or bluepoint controllers.  I know the FreeMoN guys use a lot of the bullfrogs on their modules - which are usually foam.  Has anyone tried this setup?  Any information on these?  Thanks!


C855B

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Re: Turnout control on pink foam
« Reply #10 on: October 06, 2013, 03:47:22 PM »
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... My problem was trying to put the track directly on the foam, which is the way I interpreted the question.  Been there, done that, it didn't work.  Foam has no resistance to side pressure (sheer), and everything works loose sooner or later. ...

Hmm. My experience with both the white and gray foams is somewhat the opposite. Pure lateral (sheer) force resistance is very good (crazy good with the gray tape). Where I find the problem is with asymmetrical pulling force, where the forces pulling against the adhesive are concentrated on one small point of the bond and then it cascades into lifting the whole join. That said, in the real world it's somewhat difficult to have pure sheer forces without a lifting component in there somewhere. So I can see where white foam might have an issue.

I will say I've debugged entirely too many switch machine situations where there is a complex combination of lifting, pulling and lateral forces, all working against keeping things solid and in place, to heck with keeping the points in alignment. :|  So the solution is just general over-engineering, which is usually cheap and easy in this situation.

As to the OP's dilemma, I have no direct experience. I have not yet... but soon will... had to deal with switch machines on (or under) thick foam. My current testing is switch machines using linear micro servos mounted under the roadbed - sort of an electronic version of the slide switch. Too soon to tell with that. For standard machines under the foam, the engineer in me likes the crank-wire-in-tube approach, making the long transit a rotary action instead of trying to pass the springy linear movement that distance. As to mounting, my preference would be model airplane plywood as a mounting base, adhered to the foam with a good polyurethane glue like Gorilla Glue. I've had really good success with poly-u glues bonding wood to foam.
...mike

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Ed Kapuscinski

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Re: Turnout control on pink foam
« Reply #11 on: October 06, 2013, 04:09:17 PM »
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I've been using slide switches attached to the the track with a piece of clear plastic recycled from an Atlas box.

DKS

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Re: Turnout control on pink foam
« Reply #12 on: October 06, 2013, 08:17:50 PM »
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David:  Just proves that what works for one may not for another.  Or, in the investor's language, past performance isn't evidence of future results.  I can see where the tape might work as well as wood, assuming that the sheer forces can't work the parts loose.

My problem was trying to put the track directly on the foam, which is the way I interpreted the question.  Been there, done that, it didn't work.  Foam has no resistance to side pressure (sheer), and everything works loose sooner or later. 

Now, if the entire mechanism is attached to the turnout, as with Unitrack, there's no problem.  That can also be done with conventional turnouts by adding some type of base or bracket under the turnout.  A piece of wood or metal firmly attached to the ties would be fine, as is Peco's idea of the machines having tabs that fit holes in the ties.

I must confess that something doesn't sound right here. After laying track with foam tape for the last 25 years or so, I've never (bold, italic and underscore) had a failure in the foam tape adhesive when laying track directly on foam insulation; I have, however, had the adhesive fail on unsealed wood. Further, once the track is ballasted, any minute movement of the track owing to forces applied by a switch machine entirely disappears, and everything becomes rock solid.

I will also add that if the track moves even slightly owing to a switch machine, I consider the forces being applied to be excessive. IMO, you do not need a hydraulic jack to hold hinged points in place, and indeed excess force can damage the switch. I've used Tortoise machines mounted on a square scrap of 1/8-inch thick styrene, and DIY manual point actuators using snap switches and steel wire linkage.

My experience with both the white and gray foams is somewhat the opposite. Pure lateral (sheer) force resistance is very good...

Same here.

For standard machines under the foam, the engineer in me likes the crank-wire-in-tube approach, making the long transit a rotary action instead of trying to pass the springy linear movement that distance.

My preference as well. I have never liked the lever-style design of an unmodified Tortoise, and have never used it. Instead, I will most often use the rotary motion of the Tortoise arm to rotate Z-linkage.
« Last Edit: October 06, 2013, 08:34:18 PM by David K. Smith »
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DKS

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Re: Turnout control on pink foam
« Reply #13 on: October 06, 2013, 08:38:44 PM »
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Thanks for the information!  I'm leaning towards using bullfrogs or bluepoint controllers.  I know the FreeMoN guys use a lot of the bullfrogs on their modules - which are usually foam.  Has anyone tried this setup?  Any information on these?  Thanks!

You will find a tremendous amount of valuable information in this thread: https://www.therailwire.net/forum/index.php?topic=28047.0
“Everyone leaves unfinished business. That's what dying is.” —Amos, The Expanse

nkalanaga

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Re: Turnout control on pink foam
« Reply #14 on: October 07, 2013, 12:27:46 AM »
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Mike:  Maybe that's the difference.  All of my foam is the blue kind, except for some white "bead board" inside a few hills.  Possibly the other colors work better. 

I'll admit that, after the first failed experiments, I never tried again.  I planned to use wooden roadbed to get a better ballast and roadbed profile, so it really didn't matter to me.  The main reason for using balsa splines is that, while more expensive than pine, it's also almost warp-proof.  Once in place, even soaking it in water doesn't seem to make any difference, and it can be easily bent to fit almost any curve.  I used pine blocks under the turnouts simply to make sure everything stayed attached.
N Kalanaga
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