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Handbuilding turnouts, using gauges


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Last night, I came to the conclusion that trackbuilding is not for me.

If anyone models in, or is thinking of the OO sf standard, I have gauges, some track components, and a quantity of C and L flexi track which I would just like to get rid of.

To be honest, I think its time to chuck this frustrating hobby in.

 

Regards,

 

Lee

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Before you do that, why not try plain old PCB construction. It seems to have been good enough for many of the best modellers in the past, and you've seen Gordon S's efforts on Eastwood town - speaks for itself.

 

You have to choose your battles in what, as you say, can be a frustrating hobby. Nothing like going into the workshop and taking two steps back with no forward progress to make you wonder about things.

 

I'm building a "train-set" for my kids at present. This is the first layout I have build since my early teens, when I used Hornby, Peco, Tyco, you name it set-track.

 

I took one of CJF's plans and used it as a background in templot to lay out the track. I've never made track before, but decided to make PCB track to OO-sf standards to save money. I made a few turnouts using scrap code-100 FB rail to get an idea of where the critical bits are and how wheel sets behave when going past the blades and through the crossing, then started on the track proper using code 75 BH rail (which is 10 times easier to use than the code 100 FB). I'm using nothing but a set of vernier calipers and a 1mm thick piece of metal. I've made the station area with 8 turnouts and they all work fine. The curved ones are not as smooth as I'd like, but I can still propel my test wagons through them at speed without the wagons derailing so good enough.

 

I get Martin's point about the gauge between the crossing rail and the working face of the check-rail, and this is an area which is a hassle without proper gauges, but the track still works.

 

As for point blades I just file one side of the blade flat for a certain distance (none too precise about that distance) and then file the head off the running side so the top of the blade sits fairly flat against the stock rail. I don't joggle the stock rails. The form of the BH rail means this is all sufficient, unlike FB rail which is much harder to use when forming the blades. The flanges should not be hard up against either stock rail at the beginning of the blades anyway (I assume that is what the tread coning is for) and even if it is, as long as it can't sneak between the blade and stock rail things should be ok.

 

The hardest thing is getting the knuckle right on curved turnouts - I have not figured that out yet, but as I said my test wagons can be propelled through them which I assume is good enough.

 

The advantage of PCB construction is the ease of adjustment when things are not quite right. You can add cosmetic chairs later if you want. I'm not going to. My track won't satisfy the S4 brigade, but I'm not building it for them. The appearance is a compromise I'm happy to make given the layout's intended purpose and audience, a trainset for kids.

 

My point (pun indended) is if you're willing to use RTR track, try PCB construction as the track will still look better, probably run better, be cheaper, and you made it yourself.

 

Regards,

David.

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I just looked at it and decided what bits of it should be the same polarity at any given time. From memory:

 

1. The V is a single polarity, switched depending on the setting of the points. The wing rails also have this polarity.

2. I decided it would be best if the points had the same polarity as their adjacent stock rail to avoid shorts. The closure rails are connected to the switches (they are a single piece of rail) so they also have this polarity.

3. I needed to gap the rail between the closure and wing rails.

4. The rails of the V cannot be connected to the rail of the exit tracks because the whole V changes polarity.

 

So I gapped the "timbers":

 

1. Between the points/closure rails, like plain track.

2. Between the V and the check rails. This means the check rail is live, but that's okay as long as it is the same polarity as the adjacent stock rail.

 

On the first point I made way too many gaps. After thinking about it further I think I reduced it to the above. A multimeter (or a lightbulb and wires) is all you need to ensure you have gaps in the right places. After that I test ran a loco on different bits of track and through the Vs to ensure it was all okay.

 

Whatever templates you already have will be fine to use.

 

Also don't solder every sleeper to begin with. Just the ends and centres of things like the V, wing rails, and check rails, say every 2nd or 3rd sleeper of the stock rails, and the ends of the closure rails with every sleeper done towards the switches. Once you're happy it all works then fill in the gaps.

 

Regards,

David.

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If you use a cutting method the gaps can be later filled with filler/putty. Or maybe slightly easier would be to just file away the copper surface in the middle before soldering starts.

Don't give up just yet.

Dave.

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LOL! I see. I put them close to a stock rail or check rail where I can, and down the middle between the points.

 

As above, you can fill them if you want and they should mostly disappear after painting.

 

Regards,

David.

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Hi,

 

Before you give up on the C&L/Exactoscale type track, you might wish to consider using a jig to build the common crossings off the turnout. That should ensure that the vee is level with the crossing rails. Such jigs can easily be made or indeed they are available to buy, (if you ignore the expensive metal versions) for about £10.00, which should do many common crossings of the same angle.

 

PM me if you are interested and can't locate said jigs.

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Hi Stephen.

I have just joined the EM society, and ordered one of their common crossing construction jigs. Admittedly, before I spat my dummy out with the track. Is this the sort of jig you mean?

I am going to have a break from it all, just do some reading/research, and have a rethink about planning and what I really want from a layout.

 

Regards,

 

Lee.

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The EMGS crossing jig is a flangeway wide piece of brass with gaps in it for the bits you solder on mounted into a block of wood. Personally I didn't get on with the one I had.

 

Thre is a home made different jig illustrated here:

http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/41414-use-of-roller-gauge/page__view__findpost__p__445673

 

 

Personally I prefer to make up the crossing in situ now though and solder the vee and wing rails onto pins in the sleepers around the critical point.

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Not quite perhaps

 

Why not put 'common crossing jig' into Google and see what you get? There are a selection of ideas and methods suggested.

 

 

Hi Stephen.

I have just joined the EM society, and ordered one of their common crossing construction jigs. Admittedly, before I spat my dummy out with the track. Is this the sort of jig you mean?

I am going to have a break from it all, just do some reading/research, and have a rethink about planning and what I really want from a layout.

 

Regards,

 

Lee.

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Not quite perhaps

 

Why not put 'common crossing jig' into Google and see what you get? There are a selection of ideas and methods suggested.

I see yours was quite near the top http://www.borg-rail.com/crossingjig.html

 

This is a rather nice site I hadn't seen before which uses the same method but uses Paxolin so should last a long time.

http://www.grindham.co.uk/evolve_main.cfm?stage_id=3

He has also used some bits from the old Exactoscale method which is the first time i've seen it outside of the bits I now have.

 

2mm scale modellers are blessed with nice CNC milled paxolin jigs to make their common crossings in..

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I made my own jigs from scraps of wood and a few panel pins. True you need to make one for each grossing angle but they are cheap to make and you only need two or three sizes. In 0 gauge I find 1:5.5 very handy for compact shunting layouts.

 

post-8525-0-47909100-1311320100_thumb.jpg

 

Don

post-8525-0-47909100-1311320100_thumb.jpg

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Here's a diagram which may help when setting the wing rail knuckles:

 

2_220535_490000000.png

 

The blue infill shows the theoretical ideal with a sharp bend at K exactly matching the angle of the vee and in line with it. In practice on the prototype it is not possible to make such a sharp bend because of the 1:20 inclination of the rails.

 

Instead, a short curve is used, as shown by the green line, making the knuckle gap wider than the flangeway gap. It works fine, and can help if replicated on the model. Some companies made this curve quite gentle and obvious as shown -- the NER for example. On the GWR the curve matches the crossing angle in feet, so for example a 1:7 crossing has the knuckle bend curved at 7ft radius.

 

But it's important to get the flangeway gap correct alongside the nose of the vee at X in the diagram, otherwise there is a risk of wheels dropping into the gap in front of it.

 

What you must not do is make the knuckle bend too sharp, as shown by the red line. This is guaranteed to cause problems.

 

regards,

 

Martin.

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Martin...that diagram explains so much, thanks for posting. The knuckle bends are the one area I haven't quite cracked. Looking at that I would say I have them a little sharp. So what's the best way to create the bend? I have been using the nose end of a pair of pliers.

Regards,

Lee.

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Here's a diagram which may help when setting the wing rail knuckles:

 

2_220535_490000000.png

 

The blue infill shows the theoretical ideal with a sharp bend at K exactly matching the angle of the vee and in line with it. In practice on the prototype it is not possible to make such a sharp bend because of the 1:20 inclination of the rails.

 

Instead, a short curve is used, as shown by the green line, making the knuckle gap wider than the flangeway gap. It works fine, and can help if replicated on the model. Some companies made this curve quite gentle and obvious as shown -- the NER for example. On the GWR the curve matches the crossing angle in feet, so for example a 1:7 crossing has the knuckle bend curved at 7ft radius.

 

But it's important to get the flangeway gap correct alongside the nose of the vee at X in the diagram, otherwise there is a risk of wheels dropping into the gap in front of it.

 

What you must not do is make the knuckle bend too sharp, as shown by the red line. This is guaranteed to cause problems.

 

regards,

 

Martin.

Quite so. Many of us have been rounding off at K with a bit of wet'n'dry (in situ, after the point/swich/turnout is built [Just get the wheels running through nicely, no need to mark out the red and green lines]) since day 1. Like Double Diamond it Works wonders. Regards, Brian.

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The knuckle bends are the one area I haven't quite cracked. Looking at that I would say I have them a little sharp. So what's the best way to create the bend? I have been using the nose end of a pair of pliers.

Hi Lee,

 

It's quite difficult to work accurately with pliers. For best results you need "parallel-action" pliers such as the ones made by Maun (available from RMweb sponsor Eileen's Emporium in several sizes both snipe-nose and square-nose. The small 125mm size is best for 4mm modelling):

 

2_120602_580000000.jpg

What's more, they are actually made in UK: https://www.maunindustries.com/jewellery-craft/

 

However, you don't need expensive pliers. You can make all your rail bends very easily this way. It just needs a bit of practice knowing how hard to hit. smile.gif Despite costing nothing, the results are actually better than using pliers because the bend is always symmetrical.

 

Hopefully the diagram is self-explanatory. Just two bits of rail about an inch long laid side by side with a gap between. The smaller the gap, so the harder you need to hit, but the more precisely located will be the bend. Make sure the rail is exactly square across them before making the bend -- a bit of graph paper stuck on the bench helps.

 

2_041828_140000000.png

 

2_041840_270000000.png

 

regards,

 

Martin.

Edited by martin_wynne
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Thanks for that Martin, another top tip :) I shall give it a go.

Don't suppose you could recommend a decent quality bstard file? I have one, but its a bit cheap and nasty, and is very slow to use.

Regards,

Lee.

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Don't suppose you could recommend a decent quality bstard file? I have one, but its a bit cheap and nasty, and is very slow to use.

Hi Lee,

 

If a bastard file is slow to use on 4mm rail it must be completely blunt! Cheap tools from the far east can be handy, but generally anything which needs a cutting edge is useless.

 

A bastard file is a bit rough for 4mm scale nickel-silver rail. If you can only afford one, I suggest a 2nd-cut file would be better for a good finish. Especially if you can do the rough work on a disc sander first.

 

It's a long time since I purchased a new file, but the Swiss make Vallorbe has a good reputation. They are available from several tool supliers, such as Axminster:

 

http://www.axminster...iles-prod22596/

 

(No connection). An 8-inch 2nd-cut file from that page would be a handy addition to a modellers toolbox.

 

When using a file make a slow deliberate forward cut, and then lift the file and repeat. Don't rub the file rapidly to and fro, which will quickly blunt it. You should be able to count the cuts easily.

 

You can actually do a lot of work without a file, by sticking strips of abrasive paper to a wooden block. Use double-sided adhesive tape, which is easy to peel off and replace. Abrasive paper in various grades is available from car shops for car body repairs.

 

regards,

 

Martin.

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Hi all. Well, this afternoon, I really looked forward to spending a few hours having a go at building another common crossing. I recently joined the EM gauge society, and ordered one of their crossing assembly jigs.

In short, it's been a diasaster. I STILL can't get the knuckle bends right, even after studying the excellent diagrams in earlier postings. I'm not bad at soldering, but made a right mess of that as well. I just think I have met my match, and unfortunately, am finally admitting defeat. I understand all the technical wheres and wherefores, but simply cannot make my hands produce what is required.

So, to the few that sent me private messages about buying the gauges, track etc, please get in touch. I want it all sold this weekend so I don't change my mind yet again.

It was the same when I tried airbrushing, I just could not get the hang of it at all.

I need to be honest and face facts, I am no good at constructing small fiddly things, my strength is in buying rtr and stuff in boxes. End of story!

The longer this takes trying to get something working, the more I am actually getting sick of it. i NEED to see some progress on the boards. Its going to have to be Peco.

 

Thanks to everyone for their help and encouragement.

 

All the best,

 

Lee.

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