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The "Fiddlestick Switch Job"


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A bit of background - earlier this year I was asked if I could show a layout at Inverness MRC exhibition

[10/11 September] and I said "Yes". At that point I had a choice of two (in progress) possibilities, neither of which proved as exhibitable or intreresting as I expected. Further thunking reminded me fo another that I had started away back when Prof Klyzlr produced his 48" long O scale "ChicagO Fork" switching layout - My thought then was that it would work well in HO - however he did complete his HO version before mine got sidetracked! Then there was "That Damned Box" (quite well known on Carls Site) given to me away back by Colin Stewart - Internally it measures 74cm x 20cm x 18.5cm. or 29" x 8.5" x7.25" in old money - build layout to fit in box - have sound - and a switching stick controller so a child can run it at a constant speed - and plug a Fiddlestick Sector plate into one end , and use a 24" long locolift for the sector plate. Yowzer! "Fiddlestick Switch Job" was born. The complete layout, minus stock and power supply (wall-worts) packs away into TDB, and proves that you don't need a huge space for a layout that can be stored on top of a wardrobe or in a cupboard, The switching stick plugs into the front where the black knob is - that allows the stick to be removed and the normal controller to run the layout at home - gives left.right/stop, and speed is set by an off scene controller preventing any drag racing. Sound is provided with an MRC soundbox and there are two speakers, one at each end of the layout behind the grilles. Overall length - including sectorplate is 52"

 

If you are coming to the show next weekend, in the Ramada-Jarvis hotel, please stop by and say "Hello!" - you might even get invited to have a go!

 

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Edited by shortliner
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Probably boxcars, with an occasional tank - The cars are each a different colour so that I can use a tiddlywink computer (not prototypical but it will make life easier for any kids - I'll be the brakeman and throw the switch and operate the SP, they'll be the engineer) - the intention is 4 cars at a time with 3 of them them being placed at the doors in the order drawn - but any tank car MUST go at the far end of the siding replacing a car at door #1. The remaining car is then taken on up the line for delivery IE onto the sector-plate. Cars will be mainly 50', but there will be a couple of 40' Hi-cube boxes. The layout is really an Inglenook with the middle-track being the main per the Profs idea.

The tiddly-wink counters were sorted out for me by a very pleasant lady called Mel at em4miniatures - I phoned, explained that I needed some of each colour she had, and they arrived the following day - highly recommended

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I really like this one :)

 

Its the sort of thing one could do in N scale for a really portable affair, or as a "taster" for a new / different scale gauge combo ......

 

Dear Mickey,

 

The inspiration was built as a test for a O scale SG switcher in "micro layout" space

(I'd never modelled in O scale SG before...)

 

http://carendt.us/scrapbook/page98a/index.html#ho-chicago

 

http://carendt.us/scrapbook/page97a/index.html#chicago

 

A HO version was banged out in approx 6 weeks, using "all-foamcore"

 

http://carendt.us/scrapbook/page103a/index.html#chicago-fork

 

An N Scale version should be very do-able in approx 1' x 3" (scene size) + 1' sectorplate

(Total size, 2' x 3" overall)

 

Not sure how large a G scale SG version would be, possibly 8' x 2' (with an 8' sectorplate?)

 

Whatever the case, yes absolutely agree that it "works" as a "try another scale/gauge" taster...

 

Happy Modelling,

Aim to Improve,

Prof Klyzlr

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What is remarkable about this layout design is just how complicated the switching can actually get. I just gave myself a headache working just some permutations in my noggin.

How much additional space in the various scales would we need to avoid sector plates? This would make it even more attractive to novices.

 

It also occurs to me that if one is a tank car fan the single business could be a corn syrup distributor - where up to four different grades of syrup would need to be kept separate and each grade has its own unloading point (which is what does happen).

 

Best, Pete.

Edited by trisonic
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What is remarkable about this layout design is just how complicated the switching can actually get. I just gave myself a headache working just some permutations in my noggin.

How much additional space in the various scales would we need to avoid sector plates? This would make it even more attractive to novices.

 

Best, Pete.

 

Dear Pete,

 

The ChicagO Fork (O scale) version was designed such that the sector-plate module could be removed, and another 4' x 1' module could be put in it's place. The geometry of the sectorplate was such that the diverging "industrial spur" would mate on the new module thru a #5 turnout exactly the same as the existing one, with no movement/re-alignment of rails accross the joint necessary.

 

Given the use of a GP35 on the O scale version, the resulting "tail track"/switchback would be slightly too short, although an Atlas SW1200 would fit.

 

Ergo, for O scale,

and assuming

- #5 NMRA turnouts,

- strictly 40' cars

 

a "no sectorplate" version would be (Dimensions are _Overall_)

8'x 1' (2400mm x 300mm) for a SW or Alco S switcher

8' 6" x 1' (2550 x 300) for a GP35 or shorter

 

The HO version sectorplate as built actually holds 4 x 40' cars

(or 2 cars + 2x SW1500s a la SP "LA Street Switching" style)

 

This was a "happy accident", and came about by building a sectorplate that could handle

1x GP40 (longer than a SW!)

1x 50' car

1x 40' car

+ some "fudge factor"

 

By stiffening up the specs to

- PECO US geometry #5 turnouts with _no_ trimming

- strictly 40' cars

(and noting that the existing 2-car "spurs" on the 'nook are slightly longer than absolutely required,

to fit the afore-mentioned "random/rogue 50'er" car... :bomb_mini: )

 

4' 3" x 6" (1275 x 150) for SW or Alco S switcher

4' 6" x 6" (1350 x 150) for GP35 or shorter

 

Substituting PECO Code 75 or Code 100 "setrack" might shorten up the dimensions, but may also _widen_ the depth of the module. "Curved route" turnouts may also have knock-on effects on the reliability of Kadee coupling/uncoupling.

 

FWIW, working on the basis of "car lengths",

a (NO SECTORPLATE) 5-3-3 'nook eats 11 linear carlengths,

and a (NO SECTORPLATE) 3-2-2 'nook eats 8 linear carlengths.

 

However, assuming a _SectorPlate_Equipped_ 'nook, with no "fudge length" for excess-length cars or oversized locos:

"5-3-3" 'nook = approx 9.5 carlengths

"3-2-2" 'nook = approx 6.5 carlengths

 

Have to say I've not feased the lengths for N scale,

but based on the above and the fact that a LifeLike N scale SW1200 is 90mm over MT couplers,

a (NO SECTORPLATE) 3-2-2 'nook should be do-able in under 18"/750mm linear.

 

Hope this Helps...

 

Happy Modelling,

Aim to Improve,

Prof Klyzlr

Edited by Prof Klyzlr
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Brilliant analysis, Prof!

My point was that Sector Plates can put off the woodworking/constructionally "challenged". They are still doable in the larger scales, they are still (relatively) compact.

 

Thank you, Pete.

 

 

Edited for spelling.

Edited by trisonic
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Gene - 149th Street has been salvaged and this is its replacement for the time being - living in a very small cottage in the Highlands, I simply don't have the room to keep them, There is usually one current and one "in progress"! Having said that there were 3 on the go earlier this year, but with winter approaching the car is going to need the use of the garage, and it will be far too cold to work out there anyway - which is why - to some extent - layout building is a summer occupation for me!

Edited by shortliner
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Jack:

Another well presented little gem from you. How many layouts do you actually have now?

... not as many as he's designed over the years... ;)

 

Agree with Ian, Jack; "Gem" describes it down to the ground!! Once again, you are not helping me resist building more in O Scale.... :(

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Damn! I was hoping you'd sell me an O gauge SW1500.....................................

 

KISS also suits this layout. As I said before the various permutations of switching gave me a headache! In a good way.......

 

 

best, Pete.

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Brilliant analysis, Prof!

My point was that Sector Plates can put off the woodworking/constructionally "challenged". They are still doable in the larger scales, they are still (relatively) compact.

 

Thank you, Pete.

 

 

Edited for spelling.

 

Dear Pete,

 

Interesting thought, although from experience I've found that building a 1<>2 sectorplate _or_ traverser is far more challenging to the _mind_ than it is in _practical_terms_.

 

Once you get into 3<>1 territory, the need to index to the "centre track(s)" significantly up's the practical build degree-of-difficulty.

However, for a 2<>1 "it's either one way or t'other" system, if you can lay a length of flextrack, you can build a sectorplate.

(Read that again.

If true, this implies that building and operating a "Sectorplate 'nook" a la ChicagHO Fork

is easier than it is to build Jack's "Shortover yard",

although not as compact in overall linear length for the same track capacity...)

 

The Sectorplate on "ChicagO Fork" was severely over-engineered, using 1" aluminium tube, 3mm MDF, and a 3/8" bolt as the pivot point. This "excess of material" was predicated by

- I hadn't worked in O scale before,

- had _no_ equipment to compare with,

- and was paranoid about weight handling

 

As it turned out, the brass GP35 I ended up with weighed in at around 2 kilos, and each car tipped the scales at around 1/2 a kilo. Interestingly, a friend did test boththe layout and the sectorplate with his _4_kilo_ Brass Sunset UP Challenger, and zero-deflection was detected ;-)

 

Compare this to ChicagHO Fork, where the sectorplate is nowt but

- 3 layers of 5mm foamcore laminated together (for height more than rigidity/strength)

- a 3/8" bolt thru a 308 skateboard/rollerblade bearing for the pivot-point

- and a single thickness of 5mm foamcore glued vertically along each _long_edge_ of the sectorplate to act as a "rigidity gusset"

(oh, and a length of flextrack on top :-) ).

 

I've said it before, and I'll be saying it again, how heavy _are_ our trains?

Do we _really_ need to build micro layouts with benchwork that could support me benchpressing my own bodyweight?

 

Admitedly, using a sectorplate "ChicagHO Fork" style only saves 1 turnout in linear length,

(or between 1.5 and 2 linear "carlengths" based on the 'nook carlength maths I mentioned earlier),

but in some cases, _any_ linear saving is a _worthy_ saving...

 

Happy Modelling,

Aim to Improve,

Prof Klyzlr

 

PS did a quick roundup of the equipment I have piling up here, and it appears that ChicaHO Fork could easily masquerade as

- LA circa 1970 - 1990s (paired SP SW1500s and western RR stock)

- LA circa 1990 - 2000 (paired ex-SP + UP SW1500s and western stock)

- Florida 1980 - 2000 (Apalachicola Northern SW1500 + caboose and ??? stock, just need to add a palm tree... ;-) )

- Chicago circa "CB&Q" era (as designed, with Atlas CB&Q GP40 + caboose and ??? stock)

- Chicago 1990 - 2010 (IHB SW1500 + PB1 and ??? stock)

- NY/NJ 1990 - 2000 (NYCH S1, S4, or NW2 and eastern stock, although needs more dirt/grime/grot/grafitti)

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Dear Pete,

Do we _really_ need to build micro layouts with benchwork that could support me benchpressing my own bodyweight?

 

Happy Modelling,

Aim to Improve,

Prof Klyzlr

 

 

 

No, we do not and further any layout that is not going to move (to Exhibitions) is generally over engineered in order to suit a dance floor for the "overweight challenged". I've always thought that.

What we really want is enough mass (or fixings) to prevent the whole unit from being jogged by an accidental knock or push.

 

Thanks, again, Prof.

 

Best, Pete.

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