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Handbuilt Z Gauge Turnouts - building points for tiny pizza cutters?





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#1 justin1985

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Posted 04 June 2017 - 23:40

I've had a side-interest in German Z gauge for a while, but only built a plain track "pizza" so far because the Märklin points look so awful. However I've been cooking up a plan to build a small shelf layout representing a station on the Höllentalbahn (Black Forest) so I decided to try putting together some finer track. This layout built by Will Vale has been an inspiration - not least in realising you can thread code 40 flat bottom rail into Märklin flextrack sleeper bases.

 

IMG_20170604_233728.jpg

 

This is a B6 curved turnout I printed (rather haphazardly) from Templot, constructed with 2mm Scale Association code 40 flatbottom rail and "2mm narrow gauge" sleepers and turnout sleeper strip. The aim was to build something that would look a lot better than Märklin turnouts (curved example in the picture) but still work with out of the box locos and stock. I settled on a flangeway gap of 0.8mm, rather than the 1mm of the Märklin points - still pretty generous - and conveniently the thickness of the PCB sleeper strip, so I could use that as a spacer. I did buy some 2mm Association roller gauges for 6.5mm gauge, but they are designed for code 30 rail, not code 40 - so didn't fit. In the end I made do with a square of scrap etch cut to 6.5mm as a gauge, along with some heinous abuse of some digital callipers. 

 

I found that while a bogie wagon or coach went through perfectly before I added the check rail, a 4 wheeler (longish wheelbase) tended to derail on the diverging route. When I build points in 2mm I usually judge a wagon running through reliably without checkrails in place as a sign of success. When I added the checkrail for the diverging route, the wagon seemed to run much more reliably, and still smoothly. Tightening up the flangeway gap on this checkrail slightly (to 0.7mm) has resulted in what looks like flawless running. 

 

Is it inevitable that a turnout built for "pizza cutter" type wheelsets (which have lots of horizontal slop - they run in central "bearings", not pin points) will actually need the checkrail to function? Or is there a problem with my crossing? 

 

Justin

 

 


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#2 martin_wynne

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 04:03

Is it inevitable that a turnout built for "pizza cutter" type wheelsets (which have lots of horizontal slop - they run in central "bearings", not pin points) will actually need the checkrail to function? Or is there a problem with my crossing?

 

Hi Justin,

 

Check rails are essential for the proper functioning of crossings (frogs). The notion in some parts of the hobby (especially in the USA) that they are some sort of optional cosmetic addition after building and testing a turnout without them is just crazy. It might appear to work with a single wagon pushed though by hand, but a long train of such wagons and bogie vehicles will almost certainly derail, especially if being propelled (pushed).

 

You didn't mention the back-to-back dimension for your wheels, so it is not possible to comment on your dimensions.

 

But in general, if you want to tighten up the standards without changing the wheels, you should reduce the check rail gap by means of reducing the track gauge, leaving the check rail in the same relative position from the crossing (frog). So in the case of reducing the flangeway from 1.0mm to 0.8mm, the track gauge would reduce from 6.5mm to 6.3mm. This leaves the check gauge at 5.5mm as before. The check gauge is the most critical dimension in building pointwork, matching the wheels.

 

If you can say the dimensions of your wheels - back-to-back, wheel width, flange thickness - it would be possible to suggest some suitable track dimensions for finer-scale operations than the RTR pointwork.

 

regards,

 

Martin.



#3 hayfield

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 06:12

Justin

 

Like you I am happy if a wagon(short to medium wheelbase) goes through a turnout without check rails in place, from what I deduce it is more to the setting of the wing rails just before the tip of the vee.

 

But as Martin has said the check rails are most important, as the turnout has to function with a verity of chassis, both powered and up powered and differing wheelbases.

 

As for track gauges, good to see you making your own, these can either be made from brass sheet, or threaded rod with a verity of tubes, nuts and washers (as per the first generation of Protofour and Exactoscale gauges)



#4 justin1985

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 07:44

Many thanks for the replies - and for correcting the idea that checkrails should be more cosmetic than functional. Sounds like that might be a bit of a modelling urban myth!

I quickly ran the callipers over a few Märklin wagon wheelsets this morning.

Face to face: 8.5mm
Back to back: 5.35mm
Flange depth: 0.5mm
Flange thickness: 0.5mm

I noticed that the NMRA spec for Z gives gauge as minimum 6.5, maximum 6.8.

The point I built yesterday does now seem to work well, although I guess I'm still to test with a loco. Any suggestions of tweaks or better tolerances to build the others to would be very welcome though!

Justin

#5 hayfield

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 07:54

Justin

 

You seem to have cracked it yourself, as Martin said the check rail position is the most important, as the stock rail can be slightly over gauge (especially on the curved exit) is required, next is to test it with both a selection of locos and long wheelbase stock



#6 justin1985

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 23:32

Thanks for all of the help and comments so far! 

 

I had a chance to test with some locos, and do some tweaking this evening. I started off with a Br.24 2-6-0 tender loco, simply because its unboxed and was to hand. It seemed like there was a bit of trouble on the diverging road again, so I tweaked the crossing slightly better into alignment than it was already, and fiddled with the checkrail/adjacent stock rail a bit more. THEN I noticed that the pony axle of the loco was way off its back to backs, and actually the central driven axle was a bit wide too.

 

Trying out a range of other locos, ranging from an 0-6-0 diesel shunter to a 4-6-0 pacific and a 4-6-4 tank, everything seemed to run pretty much perfectly! If a 0-8-0 tank runs through smoothly, I'm happy!

 

IMG_20170605_225405.jpg

 

It does seem that there is a bit more variation on the back to backs on older Märklin locos - from 5.3mm to more than 5.6mm. Nonetheless, other than the dodgy Br.24, they all seem to work fine with the 0.8mm flangeways and 6.5mm(ish) gauge. I did notice and try to ease out several tight spots on the gauging of the curved stock rail, which had been very difficult to lay without a proper gauge.  

 

So, I think I'll probably leave this turnout as it is now, at least until I can connect it to a longer stretch of track for testing complete trains through it. The sleepers are much thinner than the plastic bases I'll be using for plain track, so it'll need packing up to lay other track up to it. 

 

For the next turnouts though, I'll definitely make a better gauge (I do have access to a lathe, but currently no tools thin enough to turn a grove thin enough for a rail slot - I'm guessing the answer is to grind down a spare parting-off blade to the correct thickness). 

 

If the minimum back to back is 5.3mm, I'm thinking that the optimum flangeway gap for crossing and checkrails will be about 0.7mm, on the basis 6.5mm-5.3mm=1.2mm, /2=0.6mm, plus a slight tolerance. Or shall I just stick with 0.8mm on the basis it seems to work on this one, and using sleeper strip for gauging the crossing and checkrail is easy?

 

Justin 


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#7 martin_wynne

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Posted 06 June 2017 - 05:49

If the minimum back to back is 5.3mm, I'm thinking that the optimum flangeway gap for crossing and checkrails will be about 0.7mm, on the basis 6.5mm-5.3mm=1.2mm, /2=0.6mm, plus a slight tolerance. Or shall I just stick with 0.8mm on the basis it seems to work on this one, and using sleeper strip for gauging the crossing and checkrail is easy?

 

Hi Justin,

 

The optimum flangeway gap is determined by the wheel width, assuming you don't want wheels to drop in the crossings. You didn't say the wheel width, but from your figures it appears to be (8.5-5.35)/2 = 1.575mm. It would be better to actually measure it.

 

Subtracting the vee blunt nose width of say 0.075mm leaves 1.5mm for two flangeway gaps, so the flangeway is 0.75mm absolute maximum for full wheel support through the crossings. Say 0.7mm nominal.

 

Your back-to-flange dimension is 5.35+0.5 = 5.85mm, so this becomes the minimum check gauge. Say 5.9mm to allow for some back-to-back variation.

 

Finally, adding on the 0.7mm flangeway gives a track gauge of 5.9+0.7 = 6.6mm. (This provides a running clearance of 6.6mm - 5.35mm - (0.5mm x 2) = 0.25mm.)

 

Notice that if you start with the wheels, the track gauge is arrived at last, not at the beginning.

 

In summary:

 

track gauge: 6.6mm.

check gauge: 5.9mm. This is the critical dimension.

crossing flangeway: 0.7mm.

check span: 5.2mm.

 

regards,

 

Martin.


Edited by martin_wynne, 06 June 2017 - 06:02 .
bold added


#8 justin1985

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Posted 06 June 2017 - 11:00

Many thanks Martyn, really appreciated! The total wheel thickness does indeed measure out to about 1.55mm - with some variation between newer and older stock. The main tread of the wheels seem to vary between 0.9mm and 1.1mm. The check gauge on the point as I've built it does indeed measure out at 5.85mm.  

 

So, for the next one, I'll try to turn up some gauges set to 6.6mm gauge and 5.9mm check gauge (0.7mm flangeway), and find some 0.7mm strip material to use to locate the crossing heels. Once I've made the gauges, I'd be tempted to take off the curved stock rail altogether and resolder it accurately set at 6.6mm gauge - its obviously very difficult to adjust and get the kinks out when all the neighbouring sleepers are still soldered! 

 

Thanks again!

 

Justin



#9 MegaBlackJoe

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Posted 18 June 2017 - 18:44

Hello Justin. I see that you are using templot. Could you please tell which settings you are using for a turnout or even share them? 



#10 justin1985

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 13:57

For some reason Templot now won't now open - just sits there in task manager using 1.5mb memory but no window appears. Any ideas Martin? (running Windows 7 Pro with latest updates on VirtualBox within MacOS 10.12, latest version of of Templot download).

 

From memory I just used the Z-NMRA setting from the gauge menu.

 

Justin 



#11 MegaBlackJoe

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Posted 20 June 2017 - 18:15

I run Templot as an administrator, it only works when I do so. The reason I am asking - I would like to change sleeper width and distance for turnouts. I have already done it for straight and curve track, but turnouts are not the same. I would be grateful if Martin could explain how to change the distance and width of sleepers. I tried to register at Templot forum, but my credentials didn't work. Templot is a great software I am amazed by the fact that it has been in development for more than 15 years whereas railroad modellers in my country only start adopting handlaid track. I would really appreciate your help Martin. I tried to search the user manual - but tutorials and documentation for turnout sections are missing. And since I am not a native speaker - it's very difficult to understand what specific terms mean. For example, sleepers and timbers is the same word in my language, so honestly I don't know what is the difference between these two words. Is there any chance to get a picture that would indicate distances between the elements of the turnout and the terms indicating these distances and how are they named in Templot? That would be so kind and great of you. Thank you very much indeed.  



#12 MegaBlackJoe

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Posted 20 June 2017 - 18:18

Justin, by the way. What are you going to use to switch turnouts? Are you going to use Marklin parts or probably servomotors? It would be really interesting to know. 



#13 martin_wynne

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Posted 20 June 2017 - 18:43

I run Templot as an administrator, it only works when I do so. The reason I am asking - I would like to change sleeper width and distance for turnouts. I have already done it for straight and curve track, but turnouts are not the same. I would be grateful if Martin could explain how to change the distance and width of sleepers. I tried to register at Templot forum, but my credentials didn't work. Templot is a great software I am amazed by the fact that it has been in development for more than 15 years whereas railroad modellers in my country only start adopting handlaid track. I would really appreciate your help Martin. I tried to search the user manual - but tutorials and documentation for turnout sections are missing. And since I am not a native speaker - it's very difficult to understand what specific terms mean. For example, sleepers and timbers is the same word in my language, so honestly I don't know what is the difference between these two words. Is there any chance to get a picture that would indicate distances between the elements of the turnout and the terms indicating these distances and how are they named in Templot? That would be so kind and great of you. Thank you very much indeed.  

 

Hi,

 

timber_spacings_899x436.png

 

See spacing explanation at: http://templot.com/c...gs_overview.php

 

"Sleepers" are used under plain track. In the UK they are almost always 10 inches wide and 5 inches thick, and for about 100 years now, 102 inches long. That's 254mm x 127mm x 2591mm , but they are not sawn to that precision!

 

"Timbers" are used under switches and crossings (turnouts and other formations). Often called "Crossing Timbers". In the UK they are almost always 12 inches wide and 6 inches thick, and vary in length. That's 305mm x 152mm.

 

The above dimensions apply to traditional wooden bearers. Modern concrete bearers differ slightly, although still often called "timbers". smile.gif

 

If you write to me again and this time tell me your name, I will set up another login on Templot Club for you. Have you tried clearing all the ultrabb cookies, or logging in using a different browser?

 

regards,

 

Martin.


Edited by martin_wynne, 03 December 2017 - 11:40 .
amended link

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#14 Izzy

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Posted 25 June 2017 - 09:17


So, for the next one, I'll try to turn up some gauges set to 6.6mm gauge and 5.9mm check gauge (0.7mm flangeway), and find some 0.7mm strip material to use to locate the crossing heels.


Thanks again!

 

Justin

 

 

Might I suggest that making gauges up as Hayfield describes using a lathe - roller gauges from individual parts - is probably the easiest way and overcomes parting tool width issues as mentioned in the code 55 roller gauge thread. Just really a series of washers of varying widths and diameters held together with a bolt it enables adjustments/alterations to gauge and flange/crossing sizes  - remaking the individual parts as needed rather than making a new gauge from scratch, and the making of a few at a time, batch production of the various 'washer' sizes. It also enables both track and flange/crossing nose gauges to be produced.

 

Izzy



#15 justin1985

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Posted 25 June 2017 - 10:13

Thanks Izzy, thats pretty much what I'm planning to do now. I was going to try and turn a pair of "buttons" with a 0.5mm wide step (i.e. rail thickness) on one side, which could then be bolted to a central spacer section. I haven't had the chance to actually do it yet though! Hopefully one evening in the coming week I'll get the chance to experiment. 

 

Justin



#16 Izzy

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Posted 25 June 2017 - 11:47

Thanks Izzy, thats pretty much what I'm planning to do now. I was going to try and turn a pair of "buttons" with a 0.5mm wide step (i.e. rail thickness) on one side, which could then be bolted to a central spacer section. I haven't had the chance to actually do it yet though! Hopefully one evening in the coming week I'll get the chance to experiment. 

 

Justin

 

Hi Justin,

 

Making button type washers is cetainly one way of doing it, but if you just use separate washer spacers then you can make individual ones to suit the rail head width of the particular rail being used, and swop them about without having to re-make the whole gauge, the rest of it staying the same. Sometimes much is made of the particular code of rail being used without appreciating that this only refers to the total rail height in thou's and not what the head width might be.

 

Izzy



#17 justin1985

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Posted 16 July 2017 - 21:42

With my limited lathe skills, I managed to make a kind of hybrid gauge by turning two "buttons" with a 0.5mm step for the rail head, adding an M6 (I think) washer that happened to be 0.8mm thick and so could be filed down to 0.7mm for the flangeway, and then a central spacer turned down to the same diameter as the steps in the buttons. All of it is threaded on a 10BA bolt and nut. I initially tried to turn off some washers of exactly the right size and diameter, but just couldn't get that degree of accuracy, especially with a parting-off tool. The two washers of slightly larger diameter actually seem to have the advantage that they stand proud just enough to act as a gauge even when there are obstructions (like the vee) preventing it sitting right down into the flangeway etc.

 

IMG_20170716_205509.jpg

 

With this set to a total gauge of 6.6mm i ran it through the point I built before and tweaked out the two stock rails to the new gauge. Now even the problematic loco runs through much better than before :)

 

IMG_20170716_205519.jpg

 

I guess if build a new point from scratch using this gauge (I made the parts for two while I was at it) then i should be well on the way to a much finer looking Z layout!

 

Justin


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#18 justin1985

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Posted 21 January 2018 - 23:50

I made a second turnout using these standards and the bobbin gauge, this time with a gentle curve. It look a few tweaks to get the crossing just right, but overall much easier than attempting without a gauge!

Once I had the two points I stuck them down on a (warped, it turns out) offcut of ply, and added some plain track created by pulling out the rail from a section of PECO Z gauge flex track and replacing it with the 2mm Association code 40 flatbottom. Pictured below with the Märklin stock switch again.

IMG_20180121_220545.jpg

I wired this up to test how they work with point motors, and with locos. One turnout has just been attached to a slide switch using some steel wire, and the other is fitted with a Conrad stall motor switch machine. I'm quite impressed with the Conrad point motor - pretty good value at £10.99, low profile, and easy to adjust. The only downside is that it is certainly not slow acting!

IMG_20180121_220608.jpg

It took a bit more adjustment of the crossings and the switch blades to get everything working nicely. It turned out that I'd let the gauge get a bit too wide over the switches, and the crossing wasn't aligned quite perfectly. I certainly appreciate the potential for tweaking that PCB sleepers give you. I got there and it all seems to work essentially flawlessly, at least as my eyes can detect. I've tested with locos from a 0-6-0 tank to a 4-6-2 pacific, and bo-bo diesels, and with wagons from short wheelbase four wheelers to exceptionally long modern double deck coaches.



I'll create a new topic in the Layouts section soon with details of the rest of the layout project.

Justin

Edited - video added


Edited by justin1985, 22 January 2018 - 09:23 .

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#19 The Nth Degree

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Posted 24 January 2018 - 09:31

Did you start a layout thread Justin?



#20 justin1985

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Posted 25 January 2018 - 09:05

Did you start a layout thread Justin?

 

Hi, I just got around to it last night!

 

http://www.rmweb.co....z/#entry3017459


Edited by justin1985, 25 January 2018 - 09:05 .