Author Topic: Photo-etched details for handlaid turnouts  (Read 6161 times)

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ednadolski

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Photo-etched details for handlaid turnouts
« on: December 13, 2014, 10:46:33 PM »
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Here is a fret of photoetched parts that I have received as an early Christmas present.   This is my first attempt at a fret of photo-etched details for building a hand-laid N-scale #12 turnout, designed for code 55 rail and featuring the various tie plates, slide plates, and gauge plates that are found on a typical prototype turnout.  This is meant to fit over a turnout template, so that all the tieplates are in place and do not have to be positioned individually by hand.  The tieplates are etched in a way that is intended to serve as a guide for laying the rail.  There are also a number of additional detailing parts such as the frog bolts, rail braces, and the point reinforcing bars.

The main idea is to first lay out the PCB and wood ties on top of the template, then construct the turnout by placing each rail in position and then soldering to the PCB ties.  Once all the rails and details are in place, the pieces of joining fret can be cut away leaving the 'skeleton' portion of the turnout (rail + tieplates + PCB ties) as a single assembly.  This can then be lifted up for painting, then replaced back over the wood ties to complete the turnout.  Pliobond can be used to attach to the wood ties, or if one prefers, the tieplates also have 0.010" square holes that will accept photo-etched spikes.  Overall this should be similar to constructing a handlaid turnout using the standard solder+PCB ties method, along with the changes to accommodate the extra detail parts.

This approach does necessarily require that the turnout be built to a standard geometry to match the fret and template.  The frog is meant to be built from individually filed rails (as opposed to a frog made from layers of photo-etched metal).  This design presumes that the point rails will be hinged, so there is an allowance for using rail joiners as the hinge. I am planning to build the point rails from filed rail, thus the stock rail at the switch will need to be notched at the foot.

I am just starting this process, so this thread is a WIP that  I will be updating as the build proceeds.  I expect to learn a thing or two and then generate a revised version of the fret.

One fret contains parts for two turnouts in order to optimize the space on a sheet.  There is both a left-hand and right hand-version, this first build will be for a right-hand turnout.  Here is the fret laid out next to a paper template:


IMG_1599.jpg

These close-ups show the detailing of the points and frog areas:


IMG_1600.jpg


IMG_1601.jpg


Here is the fret for a single turnout, cut from the larger fret. At this stage it is very important to leave the interconnecting metal in place, in order to preserve the correct gauge spacing:


IMG_1602.jpg


And here is the fret laid over the paper template  (the paper is a bit wavy at this point, so things do not line up completely right in the pic, but they do line up when everything is properly flattened):


IMG_1603.jpg


So my next step is to stain the wood ties and tack them down over the paper template.  I will also be tacking down and gapping the PCB ties.  Thanks for looking, and stay tuned for further updates!

Ed
« Last Edit: February 03, 2018, 12:21:07 AM by ednadolski »

Scottl

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Re: Photo-etched details for handlaid turnouts
« Reply #1 on: December 13, 2014, 10:51:26 PM »
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Madness!  :drool:

C855B

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Re: Photo-etched details for handlaid turnouts
« Reply #2 on: December 13, 2014, 11:01:00 PM »
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Lemme go get the popcorn... this little bit o' genius is going to be interesting to watch. You are hitting on my biggest issues with hand-built - either no details, or hours placing hand-positioned tiny bits.
...mike

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wmcbride

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Re: Photo-etched details for handlaid turnouts
« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2014, 12:39:54 AM »
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This is genius. I was just getting ready to build a #12 using my Fast Track jig...
Bill McBride

jmlaboda

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Re: Photo-etched details for handlaid turnouts
« Reply #4 on: December 14, 2014, 02:39:03 AM »
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Athabasca Shops use to offer a similar product for detailing switches but I never saw someone using them.  Looking forward to seeing how it turns out.

SAH

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Re: Photo-etched details for handlaid turnouts
« Reply #5 on: December 14, 2014, 09:49:37 AM »
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Ed.  You are a certifiable mad man.  Even though I will never do anything like this for my turnouts I love it!  The way you push the envelope on so many fronts is impressive.  Thanks for sharing your efforts.
Steve

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Re: Photo-etched details for handlaid turnouts
« Reply #6 on: December 14, 2014, 10:04:22 PM »
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Wow Ed!  Next project: a turnout with movable frog rails!  :ashat:
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chrismears

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Re: Photo-etched details for handlaid turnouts
« Reply #7 on: December 15, 2014, 07:52:20 AM »
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This is a really neat idea. I've built quite a few turnouts in the past, usually following the traditional soldered rail directly onto PC ties route. I like the extra detail here and I'm very keen to watch as this project evolves.


/chris

daniel_leavitt2000

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Re: Photo-etched details for handlaid turnouts
« Reply #8 on: December 15, 2014, 10:42:13 AM »
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Any chance you can make a few of these available to the rest of us? I would like to try my hand at it.
'In my great and unmatched wisdom'

railnerd

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Re: Photo-etched details for handlaid turnouts
« Reply #9 on: December 15, 2014, 02:43:10 PM »
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Any chance you can make a few of these available to the rest of us? I would like to try my hand at it.

Also probably interested if you decide to make a few more

-Dave

GaryHinshaw

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Re: Photo-etched details for handlaid turnouts
« Reply #10 on: December 16, 2014, 06:42:09 AM »
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Very interesting approach Ed!  I will follow closely and would also be very interested in some for my lower level.

Are these etchings nickel silver?  Are you planning to solder the rail to the fret?  It seems to me that PCB ties would not really be all that necessary with all the gluing surface you have - Pliobond on wood ties should work just fine.

One nice bonus of this approach is that you get lots of conductive paths between the stock and closure rails, and your points should slide well on the plates.  Very nice!

What are your plans for a throw-bar?  I would also recommend that you consider the proto:87 points (if you haven't already).  They should work just fine with this system and are very well machined.

I'm afraid to ask how much this costs, but maybe its not more than a commercial turnout?

Lemosteam

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Re: Photo-etched details for handlaid turnouts
« Reply #11 on: December 16, 2014, 08:44:26 AM »
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GaryHinshaw, I was thinking the same.  Great idea.

I might add that since the fret is already half etched, a groove for the rail could be employed to possibly eliminate the need (and I know you guys are gonna hammer me for this) for guaging.  Etchings are extremely accurate and grooves would likely land the rails within necessary guage tolerances.  Just an idea.

Philip H

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Re: Photo-etched details for handlaid turnouts
« Reply #12 on: December 16, 2014, 10:41:23 AM »
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GaryHinshaw, I was thinking the same.  Great idea.

I might add that since the fret is already half etched, a groove for the rail could be employed to possibly eliminate the need (and I know you guys are gonna hammer me for this) for guaging.  Etchings are extremely accurate and grooves would likely land the rails within necessary guage tolerances.  Just an idea.
A set done this way might get me to handlay . . . .  :facepalm:
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wazzou

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Re: Photo-etched details for handlaid turnouts
« Reply #13 on: December 16, 2014, 11:30:49 AM »
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A set done this way might get me to handlay . . . .  :facepalm:



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Lemosteam

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Re: Photo-etched details for handlaid turnouts
« Reply #14 on: December 16, 2014, 01:34:26 PM »
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A set done this way might get me to handlay . . . .  :facepalm:

I get the sarcasm, but that is in fact one of the things that has intimidated me to this point, along with the cost of jigs, rail alignment, etc from attempting to handlay track.  Not everyone has the skills of M.C or Chriss333.  For the novice there are too many opportunities for failure that can be very frustrating and expensive.  Ed's idea solves this problem for me, and if the grooves were there, I would have much less worry of building a POS turnout in addition to not needing the initial investment.