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Hayfields turnout workbench





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#1 hayfield

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Posted 19 June 2012 - 22:46

I have been asked to build a couple of P4 turnouts, in a GWR style. I have not been given much prototype details or specifications.

Its a bit of a mix of C&L and Exactoscale parts. 2 bolt chairs are the order of the day, but neither C&L or Exactoscale do 2 bolt slide chairs. In addition I will be using the Exactoscale check rail chairs and switch chairs for the additional detail they provide. All 3 types of chair are 4 bolt, so I will endeavour to splice in 2 bolt chair parts. I will also use small and bridge chairs where appropriate.

I do have several photos of a GWR turnout on the Seven Valley Railway, which I will use as a guide. It has had some chairs replaced which are 3 or 4 bolt, but in obvious places where a standard 2 bolt would be used

Picture 1904.jpg

Standard build, plan is stuck to a building board, tracing paper taped over it. Sleepers held down by thin double sided tape. The common crossing has just been assembled.

Picture 1905.jpg

Where ever possiable I start with the common crossing first, then the stock rail. The stock rail has the standard 2 bolt chairs fitted and glued to rhe sleepers. Normally the check rail chairs (with the checkrail fitted) and some of the special switch chairs would also be threaded on to the stockrail at the same time. But as these special chairs are 4 bolt I will be using the middle parts and splicing the outer parts of 2 bolt chairs on to the sleepers.

You can see half way along the stockrail I have notched a cut in the railhead and soldered an a fishplate under the cut, I ahve also put a joggle in the stockrail where the switch rail touches the stockrail

Anyway this one is keeping me on my toes, as I am planning forward what needs to be done and when.

Edited by hayfield, 22 September 2012 - 07:50 .

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#2 hayfield

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Posted 20 June 2012 - 11:29

A quick update on the progress

Picture 1908.jpg

Both stock rails in place, the 4 bolt slide chairs have been cut down. Flat plate left (it should be a slightly different design) but 2 bolt half chair fitted to the outside. The 1st 2 slide chairs will be fitted after the tiebars have been fitted. Special chairs again not fitted yet but the light brown chair is a bridge chair which should be correct. The piece of rail lying in the middle is the first switch rail.

Picture 1909.jpg

The 5 sleepers marked X is where the check rail chairs will be used (well the middle bits), I have fitted half 2 bolt chairs as the special check rail chairs are 4 bolt. I did not use the Exactoscale common crossing chairs as they are also 4 bolt, so cut down 2 bolt chairs again were used.

Now the fun begins with the switch rails, but thats for another day
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#3 buffalo

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Posted 20 June 2012 - 11:42

The lack of proper GWR chairs is a pain though, as you say, the four bolt slide chairs can be modified to an approximation of the right type. I've not bothered with the Exactoscale check rail chairs as I find it easier to just cut up and file down normal two bolt chairs. C&L do make a proper slab and bracket for the crossing nose which looks very good.They are, however, only available in brass, so do add to the cost.

Nick

#4 hayfield

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Posted 20 June 2012 - 13:17

Nick

The Exactoscale special chairs are execellent, had the common crossing chairs been 2 bolt I would have used them. But £3 just for the odd chair on this build I thought it was not worth it on this build. I have a single slip to build in a few weeks and will be using them then, but the slip will be using 4 bolt chairs. I may try and make a slab chair for the knuckle though.

I am realy impressed with the switch rail chairs, even though I will only be using the middle parts. And the check rail chairs will be the same. However the system should realy come into its own with the chairs for the obtuse crossing (sometimes refered to as the K crossing).

I have filed up the first switch rail leaving a foot on the bottom at the sharp end

#5 hayfield

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Posted 24 June 2012 - 18:14

Work has stopped on the P4 turnout till tomorrow, as work, social life, hayfever and football has got in the way. Also a quick copperclad turnout had to be built

Picture 1910.jpg

An A5 in Em gauge was requested, I was hoping to finish it yesterday, however living next to fields sent the pollen count through the roof and I suffered a bit so decided just to watch football.

Tomorrow night I can give the P4 turnout my full attention to the parts, this is one job I cannot do watching the telly

Picture 1911.jpg

This is the A/B/C switch pack, one left hand and one right hand turnout can be made from the packet (not 1 of each), some parts are common to all 3 switches, others not.
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#6 hayfield

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Posted 25 June 2012 - 21:53

Tonight has been a bit slow, I made the second switch blade then decided to refine the end a bit more on the first one. Over did it and had to make a new one. These take a bit longer than the normal ones I make as I leave a foot on the inside of each blade.

Picture 1912.jpg

These are the instructions from Exactoscale, I had to decide which of the units to use and which to replace (changing from 4 bolt to 2 bolt). The numbers are hard to see on the fret,owing to the colour of the plastic and everything being so small

Picture 1913.jpg

The inside parts of the special switch chairs have fitted. I have found a problem in the instructions on the second from the left set, as there are 2 outer bits but no middle, so I cut down and fitted a normal slide chair. Pity the standard 2 bolt chairs are the same colour (never used to be) as the sleepers, as they are hard to see

Picture 1914.jpg

As you can see I have added all the replacement chair halves, I deviated trom the instructions by adding a second bridge chair after the 4 special chairs as a 2 bolt chair would not fit without cutting it down drastically. Once the chairs are painted and weathered the Exactoscale ones will not stand out as they do at the moment, and should blend in well with each other.

I do like seeing the extra chair details of these special chairs, once I have fitted the other switch blade the check rails will get the same treatment.
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#7 hayfield

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Posted 26 June 2012 - 22:08

A few more photos of the turnout as I had some spare time today. Had a lucky break, as I got hold of Len at Exactoscale and was ordering the special chairs for a single slip and found out I had the wrong check rail chairs, so the correct ones were ordered.

I finished the rest of the turnout and just have the check rails to fit. Still a wagon and an 0-6-0 chassis worked fine without the check rails

Picture 1915.jpg

Views from each side, the contrast in the colours, as the 2 bolt disappear being the same colour as the sleepers, where as the others stick out. Once painted they will all be the same

Picture 1916.jpg

Picture 1917.jpg

Above the etched fishplates are barely visable on the stock rails (left of the light brown chairs). Below the brown plastic fishplates realy stick out. These plastic fishplates are super as they hold the rails in place till the solvent dries out and look much better than either a gap or rail joiners

Picture 1918.jpg

Picture 1919.jpg

2 views of the special switch and bridge chairs (in light brown) I have spliced in where possiable 2 bolt outer and inner chair pieces, as the special chairs are 4 bolt. I will do the same with the check rail chairs

Picture 1920.jpg

There were a couple of issues with some of the bits, but nothing that could not be sorted easily

Happy with the build to date and have just started on a left hand turnout. Sleepers laid, common crosing built and fitted
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#8 trisonic

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 05:18

John, it is really good that you share your acquired knowledge on this subject (I remember when you were first sticking your toe in the water).

Have you tried other gauges/scales? I'm just wondering what your favourite (if any) is to build.

Best, Pete.

#9 hayfield

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 08:23

Pete

I have built one 2mm, a couple of 7mm turnouts and a couple od SM 32 turnouts, the former I used some old 2mm copperclad sleepers I had with code 60 rail and a home nade gauge. The 7mm were with both Peco parts and copperclad construction, the SM32 with Tenmille parts, which are quite fun.

I do find EM & 00SF the easiest to work on mainly as the tollerances are quite firm and the gauges used. P4 seems to just rake a little more effort (not much) with the exception of rivited trackwork. I have built some plain track and turnouts, but it now (thankfully) has been superseded** by the plastic chair construction method, its not even worth now except in some extreme cases to use the odd copperclad sleeper.

As to whether ply or plastic sleepers are better, each have their own merits. What I will say is that the thicker sleepers are best (both ply & plastic) and with the advent of Excatoscale plain track in 00, EM & P4 no excuse for thin sleepers other than saving ballast. Reason is that the thinner sleepers flex too much and far greater care has to be used in sticking them down

I am now building for my self some 0 16.2 track with Exactoscale 10" 7mm wooden sleepers and code 75 rail and chairs, I have just brought some C&L flatbottom chairs so I can mix some code 82 flatbottom track in as well (as in the Ffestiniog)

I dont mind 00 gauge but always worried about what locos may be using it, as some locos have back to back issues so try and make them not too finescale. I have a Mainline J72 which is my yardstick. And for fun build the odd code 100 turnout.

I have been building up some old track building parts, fiber sleepers both thich & thin. Spikes and metal chairs, Peco turnout kits and now have a pair of Hamblings track gauges. The idea is for a small retro layout for my very old stock.

What's my favourite, the next challange. Have no real favourites, just like the odd challange

** I am waiting for the abuse from the ply and rivet brigadea On that point I must finish the thread about building a P4 crossover in Ply and rived method, I now can see no reason to use this method now that the plastic chair system has improved greatly and proved its self over time
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#10 hayfield

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Posted 30 June 2012 - 21:42

The past few days I have had little time to progress with the turnouts until this evening. Anyway the P4 checkrail chairs have arrived. I have fitted both stock rails to the second turnout and built one switch rail and fitted it.

Picture 1922.jpg

Now to the check rail chairs, or rather the middle of each one. The hardest part was to see which way round the two end centers go (for the flares in the checkrails) The center three were fitted first, then the two end ones.

Above you can see the sides checkrail chairs on their sprue

Picture 1923.jpg

The 2 bolt (outside part) chair halves were fitted to Great Westernize (is that a word?) the chairs. My checkrail gauges have seen better days, still they were second hand when I brought them.

A wagon and loco chassis runs through it fine, so happy to proceed fitting the other 3.

Edited by hayfield, 30 June 2012 - 21:50 .


#11 buffalo

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Posted 30 June 2012 - 22:47

Hi John,

Interesting to see the check rail chairs, even though I can't make out much detail from the photo. What has always puzzled me about these things is when and how you are meant to fit them, particularly when the ends of the check rails are flared to give a wider gap on the two outer chairs. I just can't see how they work unless you fit the chairs on to the stock and check rails together and only bend the flares after fitting the the chairs between the flares. In your case where you are cutting off the outer ends and replacing them with half a GWR chair, there appears to be no problem as you are, I assume, left with just suitably sized spacer blocks.

The way I've done it before is just to use full GWR chairs alternately on the stock and check rails with a notch filed into the chair to allow the rails to be at the right distance apart. Dummy half chairs are then added to complete the picture. This works fine for me as I'm relying on the gauge, not the chair, to set the gap so I'm wondering what the advantage of using these check rail chairs really is.

Nick

#12 Grovenor

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Posted 30 June 2012 - 23:01

I have not checked the P4 track co instructions but I would expect to fit the chairs to the check rail first including the one on each flare, then thread the stock rail through as the slots for the stock rail should then be lined up. The advantage is that the gap is then set correctly for you and the check rail/stock rail assembly can be gauged off the crossing using the check rail gauge.
Regards
Keith
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#13 buffalo

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Posted 30 June 2012 - 23:25

Thanks, Keith. I suppose I'm still thinking in terms of the check rails as something to add at a later stage of construction. Threading the stock and check rails together before securing either to the timbers just seems a little odd to me. Mind you, the idea that dimensions are fixed by a piece of ABS that then has butanone sloshed around it is, to say the least, questionable. I'd rather trust my gauges. Even though I'm inclined to add detail that no one will ever see, I just don't see the benefit of these chairs.

Nick

#14 hayfield

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Posted 01 July 2012 - 06:36

Keith

Thanks for answering Nick's question as I had signed off for the night

Nick

Sorry the photos are not clear enough as the C&L 2 bolt chairs now are the same colour as the sleepers, had I been using all of the Exactoscale chair rather than the middle it would have been easier to see, this shot may help

Picture 1924.jpg

As keith said normally you would fit the stock rail first, though some track builders fit the check rail before the stock rail (Gordon S for one). I am told that the check rail gauge is more important than the stock rail.

In the past when using standard chairs I leave 2 sleepers without chairs where the check rail goes and only fit 2 chairs on the check rail. I then trim back slightly the 3 chairs on the stockrails and 2 on the check rails where they touch each other, replace the missing chairs by cutting them in half and glue in place.

Once the chairs have been glued in place they are stuck fast, providing they are in gauge when the solvent dries they will not move. Plenty of turnouts have been built over the years to prove the point. Some do use the odd copperclad sleeper on slips etc, where the chairs have to be cut about. With the advent of the Exactoscale special slip chairs this should not be needed (once I have finished the catch point I will be building a Timbertracks single slip using this method)

Getting back to fitting the check rails, you could fit the check rail after fitting the stock rails by trimming one part of the chair off, glueing the check rail in place. Then fit the missing parts. This will not weaken the joints as the solvent welds the plastic in place.

Hope this explains your question
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#15 Grovenor

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Posted 01 July 2012 - 09:06

Mind you, the idea that dimensions are fixed by a piece of ABS that then has butanone sloshed around it is, to say the least, questionable

But that is the whole concept of the P4 track co. kits, :) lots of people seem to have success with it. I started a long time ago and all my points are ply and rivet so no personal experience except from observation. I don't think the idea is to slosh butanone around, that would likely take that nice crisp detail off the chairs as well. As I understand the concept the chairs hold the rail and the butanone should only be applied sparingly to the chair/timber interface.
Regards
Keith

#16 buffalo

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Posted 01 July 2012 - 09:37

Hi John,

Thanks for the photo, it does clearly show the form of the spacing block between the two rails. This was the part of the chair that I was uncertain about.

...As keith said normally you would fit the stock rail first, though some track builders fit the check rail before the stock rail (Gordon S for one). I am told that the check rail gauge is more important than the stock rail.

In the past when using standard chairs I leave 2 sleepers without chairs where the check rail goes and only fit 2 chairs on the check rail. I then trim back slightly the 3 chairs on the stockrails and 2 on the check rails where they touch each other, replace the missing chairs by cutting them in half and glue in place.


That's exactly what I do with chaired track, though I normally use ply not plastic timbers, and I've always found the method quite satisfactory. You are right that the check rail to crossing gauge is the important one. I leave fixing many of the stock rail chairs until after the check rail has been gauged and stuck down, then set the gap to the stock rail before fixing the stock rail and adding the half chairs.

Once the chairs have been glued in place they are stuck fast, providing they are in gauge when the solvent dries they will not move. Plenty of turnouts have been built over the years to prove the point. Some do use the odd copperclad sleeper on slips etc, where the chairs have to be cut about. With the advent of the Exactoscale special slip chairs this should not be needed (once I have finished the catch point I will be building a Timbertracks single slip using this method)...


Maybe I wasn't clear enough. I wasn't questioning the strength of the chair/timber joints or, indeed, the strength of ABS chairs assembled from multiple parts. I've built enough turnouts this way to know how strong they are and am often amused by the rivet and pcb fraternities who go on about glued chairs not being strong enough. Sometimes I wonder just what they expect to be able to do to their track.

Instead, my point was questioning the dimensional stability of ABS when subjected to butanone. The check rail chairs may be made to give the correct gap, but unless held in place by gauges when the butanone is applied, I wouldn't want to rely in the ABS alone to maintain the correct spacing. In a similar vein, some folk will tell us that because the normal chairs are made to give the 1:20 inwards lean of the rails, you will automatically end up with the prototypical lean. In fact, if the rails are held using simple roller gauges, they will end up vertical because the butanone is quite capable of softening the chair so the rail adopts the alignment of the gauge, not the chair. In fact, I've used this effect when building early inside-keyed track to ensure that the rails do not lean outwards due to the shape of the chairs.

Another subsidiary question was really what you thought the benefit of using these chairs was in your case. I can see the attraction if you are building track with 4 hole chairs but, after all, you are throwing two-thirds of them away.

Nick

ps. Keith, 'sloshing' was perhaps a slight exaggeration but from several years experience with ply timbers, which I much prefer to plastic, a fair amount of butanone is required to get the chairs well keyed into the wood, probably more than is needed with ABS 'timbers'. I suspect that a failure to appreciate this may be why some people have reported getting poor ABS/wood joints. Certainly, my sloshing is not enough to remove any detail. In either case, though, the chair is sitting in a butanone-rich atmosphere for a reasonable period of time which I reckon must lead to some overall softening and so the potential for distortion. As said above, there are even cases where this can be turned into an advantage.
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#17 hayfield

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Posted 01 July 2012 - 20:12

Hi John,

I normally use ply not plastic timbers,

I wouldn't want to rely in the ABS alone to maintain the correct spacing. They will end up vertical because the butanone is quite capable of softening the chair so the rail adopts the alignment of the gauge, not the chair.

Another subsidiary question was really what you thought the benefit of using these chairs was in your case. I can see the attraction if you are building track with 4 hole chairs but, after all, you are throwing two-thirds of them away.

'sloshing' was perhaps a slight exaggeration though, the chair is sitting in a butanone-rich atmosphere for a reasonable period of time which I reckon must lead to some overall softening and so the potential for distortion.


Buffalo

I liked the term "sloshing" sounds nice

I try to hold rails that need gauging as long as possiable with the gauges on, I take your point about the chairs getting distorted. On the point, if using thin plastic sleepers they must be glued at both ends of the sleeper as I have found that sometimes they tend to curl up slightly (action of solvent on one side of the sleeper only?), this does not happen with the thicker ones

What to do with half chairs !!

Well I have loads of 3 bolt (inside part of the chair without chock) half chairs, as when adding cosmetic chairs on common crossings each turnout takes 8 outside and 2 inside half chairs and the check rails take 10 outside half chairs. Each turnout produces 16 spare inside half chairs. I am also building up a few 2 bolt inside half chairs for the same reason. I have thought of using them on my 0 16.5 layout either in an engine shed or on the quayside track

As for the 4 bolt chairs

Well the person I am building them for wants them in a Westernized style, which means I have had to adapt 4 bolt slide and check rail chairs (32 per turnout) to 2 bolt chairs as there are no special 2 bolt chairs about. Its only £1.20 worth of additional chairs. Just like buying additional parts for a loco kit for the variant you want. Anyway by adding outside 4 bolt to 3 bolt inside half chairs, not only do you get a complete chair but a 4 bolt one, as the 2 bolt side on a 3 bolt chair is on the inside. Sadly not enough from 2 turnouts to have enough to make a 4 bolt chaired turnout.

I may use them on my 0 gauge narrow gauge layout. Lets face it when I looked at the trackwork on the Ffestiniog at Minffordd there is a mixture of both bullhead and flatbotom track within the station area, I never checked what mixture of bullhead chairs were in use, but I guess narrow gauge companies may have brought up second-hand chairs and sleepers from where ever they could. I have just got a supplt of C&L ST flatbottom chairs so I can also add a few lengths of flatbottom track with code 82 rail.

Must get some work on the turnouts done now

Edit

I think stained ply sleepers look better, but plastic chairs do stick better to plastic sleepers. For a portable exibition layout, I am beginning to think that plastic sleepers may be better/more reliable/stronger than using ply sleepers as the bonds with plastic chairs are weaker. Looks or strength ?

Edited by hayfield, 01 July 2012 - 20:18 .

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#18 hayfield

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Posted 02 July 2012 - 21:01

Day off today (company charity golf day) but not managed too many hours modelling.

Second turnout is nearly finished, just needs the tiebar fitting and a couple of electrical contacts soldered between the stock and switch rails. Initial testing done with wagon and loco. The first turnout has had the check rails fitted and just needs the electrical contacts soldering on.

Whilst the solvent is setting on both turnouts I have started the catch point

Picture 1925.jpg

As the customer commented on the size of the catch point I found in a book, I decided to build it as an A6 turnout, this has shortened the turnout by an inch or so. Hopefully this will be much simpler to build as the catch point finishes just before the common crossing, one switch rail becomes the straight road.

#19 hayfield

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 21:51

Soon I will find that I will have plenty of time to do my modelling, tonight I had to go out to see a friend and what was going to be a quick visit took two and a half hours. Anyway got a bit further with the catch point.

Picture 1926.jpg

Second stockrail fitted, some half chairs put in place where the check and switch chairs will be and the first switch rail has been filed up. These switch rails (with one foot left on) are not taking as much time to make.

Late start tomorrow, so will be able to continue to build in the morning.

#20 hayfield

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 21:48

Nearly there with all 3 turnouts

Picture 1927.jpg

The catch point is nearly finished, In the photo I have been working to, there is an oblong metal block at the end of the curved switch rail, I guess it lifts the wheel to the same height as the stock rail so it can cross it. But as I have no diementions that job I will leave to the customer

Picture 1928.jpg

To finish them off, I just have to fit bonding wires from the switch to stock rails for all 3 turnouts

Picture 1929.jpg

I was hoping that the switch chairs show up clearly in this photo, must take some photographic lessons from my daughter.

I am glad that I have finished these turnouts, as there has been quite a lot of splicing of 2 bolt chair parts to 4 bolt chair parts. Still nice to do something out of the ordnary.

Now all I have to do once the wires have been soldered on is to trim back the rail ends and give them a good test.

Edited by hayfield, 04 July 2012 - 21:53 .

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#21 hayfield

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Posted 06 July 2012 - 19:44

All 3 turnouts have been finished by adding the tiebars and the 2 chairs each side on both rails of the tiebars. I do these after soldering the tiecars to the switch rails in case the mark the slide chairs during soldering. Then tested with a loco chassis

Picture 1931.jpg

I have now photo-copied the timber track single slip on to a piece of paper, as I need to mark what Exactoscale obtuse crossing (K crossing) chairs go where, as they are numbered, at the same time I will mark what chairs are needed for the common crossings, and the positions of the switch rail chairs.

This time the turnout is to be of the 4 bolt varierty, so no splicing of special chairs. My one concern is that the Timbertrack fret does not match up with the C&L plan or the sleeper spacings on the 2 Templot (A and B switch lengths) plans I have printed out. Slightly concering as I will be using the Exactoscale special slip chairs.

Looks like its going to be another interesting build

Edited by hayfield, 06 July 2012 - 19:47 .


#22 gormo

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Posted 14 July 2012 - 09:52

Hi John
Just dropped in to see what you`re up to...............beautiful work mate!!........I don`t think my eyes would stand the strain of the work you`re doing and doing so well...................Brilliant............................................................Cheers Gormo
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#23 hayfield

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Posted 14 July 2012 - 11:34

Brian

Thanks, just got back from a week away. Only had my phone but managed to keep up with your thread on manual point controll

Most of the parts are easy to see, except the Exactoscale check rail chairs b*****d if I can see which way the end ones go round

I have as I said a Timbertracks P4 single slip to build using C&L and Exactoscale 4 bolt chairs, spent some time whilst I was away transposing Exactoscale's chair numbers on to a C&L plan. 2 packs of common crossing chairs were waiting for me on my return but one packet has a couple of distorted ones and needs to be returned.

Still I have an EM gauge turnout to build now, pictures to follow later.

Once you get the hang of building turnouts they are quite straight forward, pity the ready made crossings and switch blades are so expensive, as more might be tempted to have a go.

#24 hayfield

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Posted 14 July 2012 - 17:43

Picture 1932.jpg

I never got started till this afternoon(a bit late). The plan was stuck to building board, tracing paper held over plan with masking tape, then 2 lengths of very thin strips of double-sided tape added to the tracing paper to hold sleepers to it

The common crossing was made up as normal and fitted in place. You can just see that I have notched the stockrail and soldered at etched fishplate to it (where the short red line is)
Both stock rails fitted in place using the full chairs, all but 2 slide chairs each side were then superglued to the stock rails first then stuck to the sleepers. I am leaving the cosmetic half chairs till later.

Picture 1933.jpg
Started fitting the check rails with the Exactoscale check rail chairs, these having an 0.8mm gap are neither P4 or EM gauge, however as they are 4 bolt and 3 bolt normal chairs are being used with the turnout I just cut of the outside part of the chairs and set them in place with the gauges, outside halves of 3 bolt chairs will be used forming 3 bolt check-rail chairs

Picture 1934.jpg


Close up view of the checkrail chairs and the other checkrail with spliced sleepers. Next up the switch rails.

Edited by hayfield, 14 July 2012 - 17:45 .

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#25 hayfield

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Posted 15 July 2012 - 09:59

Finished the turnout this morning, fitting the remaining switch rail and soldering wires from the stock rails to the switch rails.

Picture 1936.jpg

Finished off with cosmetic half chairs from both standard and bridge chairs, depending on space available as I do not like chopping up chairs to shorten them any more
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