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Traverser Table FY

Posted by Kenton , 05 January 2010 · 587 views

traverser baseboard fiddle yard
In response to Mikkel who has followed the diary thread so closely, the following gives more detail of the traverser FY - the board had not been bolted on in the photo on the previous page.

Just as a reminder, I used drawer runners - the ball bearing type - available from most DIY chains.
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The traverser board is in two parts - it has its own baseboard and a running board joined by the drawer runners.
It is critical to keep the runners parallel or it will just jam. The running board is 33 inches long to take a 3 car dmu and overhangs its baseboard on the operator's left. It is 8 inches wide - enough for 4 parallel tracks or 5 at a push. This is it lying loose.
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One of the reasons for having the traverser demountable is my lack of operational space. As you can see I have to pull the layout out into the access area to have the traverser mounted. This will be even more acute a problem when the boards are round the right way - the station board in the corner. This shows the traverser well in the factory board. The holes in the cross beam are to take the runners as they slide across. The depth of this well is quite critical so that the top surface of the mounted traverser is at the same level as the main baseboard across the full width of travel. Doing it this way does give the option of adding shims of plasticard (though none was required here).
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The running board extends out so that it will be possible to align all tracks with the track nearest the back of the board. The input tracks (there are 4) will be offset towards the back so that at least 3 of the tracks on the running board can be aligned with the "up" line of the main.
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The track and alignment pins are yet to be added - and I will update this page when that is done. However, it will be a while as the factory board will be set aside while I concentrate on the station board.
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Thanks for posting this. It has sparked a question about the gaps involved. I have used 9mm MDF for my board, so if I put these runners under a piece of MDF, what is the gap between the MDF and the other board that the runners are mounted to?

I was thinking of building a sector plate, but this looks a whole load simpler.
Thanks for posting this. It has sparked a question about the gaps involved. I have used 9mm MDF for my board, so if I put these runners under a piece of MDF, what is the gap between the MDF and the other board that the runners are mounted to?

I was thinking of building a sector plate, but this looks a whole load simpler.
Thanks so much for posting this Kenton, it gives and excellent illustration - and is really useful as I'm hoping to do something similar later on. Much appreciated!

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Beardybloke
Jan 05 2010 23:15
Brilliant Kenton, thanks for posting this - it's just what I need before I attempt to build mine next week!

It has sparked a question about the gaps involved. I have used 9mm MDF for my board, so if I put these runners under a piece of MDF, what is the gap between the MDF and the other board that the runners are mounted to?


Firstly I need to point out there are several different types of drawer runners available. In this case I have used the ones that are sold as a single unit - I can vouch for the fact that they can be taken apart but you end up with ball bearings rolling around and they are difficult to put back together. This single unit is good at it has a very finite size - and come so they run smoothly in each other.

But it is still critical to get them running parallel to each other and to the traverser - baseboard edge. Just a few mm out is enough to make them jam-up.

The reason I constructed them as a separate removable unit was not just space. I am not especially great when it comes to woodwork (some may say any work) where fine measurement is required. I could blame the tape measure ...

Build the baseboard first,
lie the baseboard face down on a flat hard surface (not carpeted),
lie the traverser table face down (and right way round) in the gap where it is to go (inset).
screw on the drawer runners (remember parallel with the edge and each other)
Note: I personally do not think 9mm is thick enough for anything longer than 2ft - this table is 18mm ply. If you have a really long board then use more runners. It is not really a weight/warping thing more of an issue of continuous use. This is one of the most important parts of the operation of the layout it will be used for almost every train move.
I then marked the runner locations on the traverser support board (yes it is upside down) and you need a short pencil and squishy fingers. (others might have more confidence in measuring)
remove the traverser table and support board - invert and screw the other side of the runners down to the board.
You now have (should have) a operational traverser unit - it should run freely - if it doesn't fix it now - it will never get any better through wear.
place the unit back in its inset and complete the baseboard frame around it and any support panels.

finally bolt the unit to the baseboard support panels and adjust the height (now with everything up the right way) so that the traverser table is flush with the baseboard. add washers/shims to the bolts as needed to level.

Doing it this way means that it does not matter how thick the runners are or indeed how thick the table and boards are.

I guess the more wood proficient would route out channels for the runners and even rebate a tongue and groove in the traverser to baseboard join.

I'll measure them when I next fight my way through the snow to the garage.
Just another thought -

This traverser is inset into the baseboard. ie the baseboard frame is the support for the table

That is not always the case and often the table is another board added at the end of main baseboard. In such a case I would still build a baseboard to adjoin the main board as if it was just another board with say 6 inches of baseboard and the tracks aligned to the adjacent board. Then add the traverser table aligned to that short length. This just avoids the added complexity of a baseboard join affecting the horizontal movement of the traverser.

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