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P4 ply and rivet turnout build


hayfield
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Before I get too involved with printing 3D turnouts I thought I would have another go at ply and rivet turnout construction. Firstly I have all the gear, not only timbers, sleepers and rivets but 3 Protofour rivet building presses ( two mk1/2 and one Mk3) greedy yes but very much time saving as one press punches 2 holes, another closes 2 rivets a third punches a single hole

 

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A Mk 1/2 Protofour press, with the hole punching die set on double holes, timber strip, rivets and Bill Bedford etched slide and special chair plates

 

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First up is to cut all the timbers and fit them on to a plan using very thin double sided tape placed under the rivet positions

 

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Where two rails are close together I marked where the single rivet should be punched

 

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A couple of photos of the Protofour hole punch with the double hole punch fitted

 

6.jpeg.b2dd2cbf14e97ff4ff3cfa353385e147.jpeg A timber with holes punched with brass rivets

7.jpeg.13b2028d73523c8b1a119502ea4c6ecb.jpegSame timber with the rivets fitted and closed up

 

 

8.jpeg.5e1342db6012b90cd9c2d87a5eb4eb73.jpeg

 

All rivets in place ready for the rails

 

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I thought for information purposes I would share more details of the Scalefour punches

 

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This is a Mk 1 or Mk2 Press in this case it has the rivet punch fitted

 

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The punch dies are in 2 pieces, the bottom die holds the timber and has holes for either the double or single punches. The other dir has the punches, one way its a double hole punch the other way round a single hole punch. the secind photo shows the double punch fitted

 

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These are the rivet press dies, again either a single of double press option

 

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Close ups of the press 

 

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This is the latter Mk3 Press which also doubles up as a wheel press, but is only available as a single hole press

 

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Top is the hole punch die and bottom the rivet press die

 

This is a link to the The Protofour Manual, Tools for Track Construction, 4.1.4

 

https://www.scalefour.org/history/protofoursociety/manual/4.1.4-tools

 

A much better guide to the use of the tools and their history

 

Also this document from the Society is a very useful set of track building instructions

 

https://www.scalefour.org/history/protofoursociety/manual/4.1.6-track-construction

 

Edited by hayfield
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I take it the double hole punch is for plain track? Never having bought or used tools for track construction one aspect I have often found necessary with ply and rivet is to file flat the underside of the rivets when sometimes they stand proud of the timbers a bit and so stop them laying down completely flat. Do these punches squash them right down flush into the timbers on the underside? I’ve always just used a small hammer with the anvil being a bit of 1/2” hardened gauge plate. 
 

Bob

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1 hour ago, Izzy said:

I take it the double hole punch is for plain track? Never having bought or used tools for track construction one aspect I have often found necessary with ply and rivet is to file flat the underside of the rivets when sometimes they stand proud of the timbers a bit and so stop them laying down completely flat. Do these punches squash them right down flush into the timbers on the underside? I’ve always just used a small hammer with the anvil being a bit of 1/2” hardened gauge plate. 
 

Bob

 

Bob

 

Thanks for joining in on the thread. The double punch is very much used on most of the turnout, its easier to say where its not used which is most of the common crossing and most of the switch area.

 

In the area between the common crossing and the switch area, each timber is double punched twice as is the end of the heal and its used on the toe end once as well. 18 timbers are punched twice with the twin punch.

 

These old presses (made from letter (address) embossing presses) do allow you to apply a constant pressure and this time I only damaged 1 timber by pressing the rivet too hard. The bottom of the rivets are still slightly proud, but I guess by the time you add glue to stick them to the baseboard and apply weights you will get a uniform rail height.

 

I don't plan to use this turnout, its a bit of an end of an era in track building as I hope to get involved in 3D printing plug track using the program/files produced by Templot. For years I have found the best method is to use plastic timbers and chairs, using mostly Exactoscale components,  especially Exactoscale's special chairs, which in my opinion is the most practical detailed system I have come across.

 

Templot's 3D printed plug track has taken track building into another dimension in terms of detail and ease of build. For me its the detail achievable with 3D printing that is the most important aspect, others it will be the ease of building.  

 

However for most, for the time being traditional track building methods will continue. And for some its the engineering skills required in these traditional methods, that is the most pleasing and enjoyable aspect. Certainly it will continue for a long time.

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36 minutes ago, hayfield said:

 

Bob

 

Thanks for joining in on the thread. The double punch is very much used on most of the turnout, its easier to say where its not used which is most of the common crossing and most of the switch area.

 

In the area between the common crossing and the switch area, each timber is double punched twice as is the end of the heal and its used on the toe end once as well. 18 timbers are punched twice with the twin punch.

 

Thanks, I never considered you could double punch like that for turnouts, thinking the dimensions would be out done at an angle, I guess there's enough leeway and especially if your not adding half chairs afterwards.

 

I still use rivets with my trackwork in key places both for location and electrical connections. Here's a P4 single slip I've recently done on my plank rebuild to illustrate what I mean.

 

RmwebtrackSS01.jpg.227be94c2dbc327a2753d32403ee5dfe.jpg

 

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It isn't pretty, but does the job, and I'm not quite sure if it would be possible using a punch. Not to a high standard re details as your builds are, no special chairs etc. but once painted and weathered I don't think it's too bad. 

 

RMwebtrackSS03.jpg.7dc2f1ee5c85d5bea4f4e8d3ea4b0f93.jpg

 

I admire all the work going on with 3D printing but it's way beyond what I could contemplate, the new British Finescale pointwork where it's all done for you seems more my level these days....

 

Bob

 

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Bob

 

With the exceptions of where I was going to fit rivets to check and wing rails and the slide chair and special slide chair positions, every other position must be a double punch as the rails are at the standard gauge apart. single punch holes just takes longer

 

Nothing wrong with your method which needs the same accuracy as any other methods. I like the method Len Newman designed, providing the chairs hold the rail tight and you use the correct gauges plastic chairs on plastic bases will have the required strength as soldering, however if using ply timbers/sleepers I would do as you and solder the rail to rivets

 

Even though being a Templot devotee, until Scaleforum  I had reservations about 3D printed track. Wayne makes super kits which are very high quality and reasonably priced, and I have some early prototypes of the Templot 3D printed track. Well at Scaleforum James had some of the latest prints for Templot 3D plug track. James was swamped all day on both days (even when it was not opened). There are limits as to what can de done with standard chairs, 3D printing overcomes these issues

 

The builder still has to accurately form the rails accurately. The program also allows for filing jigs to be printed if required for both the switch and common crossing rails. Threading chairs are also a thing of the past as the chairs are in 2 parts, lay the rail in place and push in the plugs (outer chair parts)  https://85a.uk/templot/club/index.php?threads/experimental-plug-track-continued.673/

 

I think most of us will be converted once the system is seen to work in the flesh and the prints can be accessed

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1687.jpeg.92c7dd6187be7337fb0dc910b0c9c822.jpeg 

 

I brought some solder paste hoping it would be easier to use than using solder wire, I should have brought some cream flux as the paste cannot be thinned with normal liquid flux

 

I tinned the under side of the vee and rivet tops

 

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The slightly burnt timber was dine whilst trying to tin the wing rail rivets, I used a pointed end soldering iron tip rather than a chisel ended tip and as you can see minimal burning of timbers

 

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A complete battle of whit's in soldering the rail to the rivets, I tined the bottom of the rail again, tried to use the solder paste, but ended up using solder wire and liquid flux, about 2/3rds of the  soldering on this rail is completed

 

I do think this method once finished looks the part, in fact a piece of artwork. But I would never use it on a layout for several reasons, ease of build being one. But for me its the challenge of producing a piece of work without burning it to a cinder.

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On 21/10/2023 at 13:27, Izzy said:

It isn't pretty, but does the job, and I'm not quite sure if it would be possible using a punch. Not to a high standard re details as your builds are, no special chairs etc. but once painted and weathered I don't think it's too bad. 

 

RMwebtrackSS03.jpg.7dc2f1ee5c85d5bea4f4e8d3ea4b0f93.jpg

 

Bob

 

 

Hi Bob,

Do you think you could post a close-up showing a few sleepers to show what the finished appearance is like without chairs?  I'm currently experimenting with various soldered track construction techniques and the one big pain with ply & rivet is the rivet head size doesn't make this easy.  Thanks.

 

On 23/10/2023 at 11:14, hayfield said:

A complete battle of whit's in soldering the rail to the rivets, I tined the bottom of the rail again, tried to use the solder paste, but ended up using solder wire and liquid flux, about 2/3rds of the  soldering on this rail is completed

 

Hi John,

What solder and iron temperature did you use please?

 

Thanks

Brian

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14 hours ago, polybear said:

 

 

Hi John,

What solder and iron temperature did you use please?

 

Thanks

Brian

 

Brian

 

I use a 75 watt temperature controlled set on max (480 degrees)

 

I started off using a cheap solder paste*, then went to my old standard solder wire, no idea of type as label too damaged (60/40?) good old fashioned 50 year old leaded solder

 

 

* lead free 183 degree, should have read the label rather than the cost

 

 

Edited by hayfield
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4 minutes ago, hayfield said:

 

Brian

 

I use a 750watt temperature controlled set on max (480 degrees)

 

I started off using a cheap solder paste*, then went to my old standard solder wire, no idea of type as label too damaged (60/40?) good old fashioned 50 year old leaded solder

 

 

* lead free 183 degree, should have read the label rather than the cost

 

 

 

Thanks John - though I suspect you mean 75 watt, not 750 watt!

That term "lead free" may well be a major source of your problems - industries such as Aerospace, Defence etc. don't stick with lead solder for no reason (they're allowed to) - it's much better & far more reliable.

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13 minutes ago, polybear said:

 

Thanks John - though I suspect you mean 75 watt, not 750 watt!

That term "lead free" may well be a major source of your problems - industries such as Aerospace, Defence etc. don't stick with lead solder for no reason (they're allowed to) - it's much better & far more reliable.

 

Brian

 

Thanks, its not that it will not solder, I cannot get it to leave the cocktail stick onto the rivet. Using the related cream flux might be better ? I should have ordered some !!

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Hi Brian,

 

This is some plain line ply/rivet track laid in the fiddle.

 

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I try to use the minimum of solder, Ersin Henkel/Loctite 60/40 multicore leaded applied with phosphoric acid flux as wetting agent. It's the only solder I use. Still available today in red reels. Green is un-leaded.  Applied via a 15w Antex with a standard bit.

 

RmwebPRT06.jpg.8e73f762bcb10832b3a001b643e7815e.jpg

 

When Len first did the chairs he arranged it so they could be cut in half and placed around the rivets. Here are some of the original grey moulded production.

 

RmwebPRT03.jpg.9e925428d46c5d4fa7d0ea2c9e374fd5.jpg

 

I can't honestly remember now if the original intention was just to use them like this and not as functional chairs or whether that came later as they were developed. It so long ago now and functional has become the default in many scales today so I'm not sure if current mouldings all have this rivet 'hole' anymore, I haven't bought any in a long while, having stock to use.

 

However, to fit them around the rivets easily (!) requires the rail is centred over the rivet precisely otherwise you need to file the chairs on the inside to get them to fit over. I usually use round/oval needle files for this, and file the foot of the rivet away as well sometimes. Here's a few spare sleepers showing both sides and the result of just using a hammer to pean over the rivets.

 

RmwebPRT04.jpg.9254fd7868836318e8fd3a36e7dc8757.jpg

 

 I have never tried this before but it did occur to me to try fitting some over the rivets before the rail was added, just to see.

 

RmwebPRT05.jpg.fdd538ca838ef74f935d578f9ec687d7.jpg

 

It was very hard going and spread them so the rail was a loose fit. Hm. 

 

Hope this is of help - or not!

 

Bob

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Thanks Bob; C&L chairs have a square (rectangular?) hole whilst Exactoscale Chairs (designed by Len?) have round holes and are easier to fit around a 2mm rivet - but still need filing of the chair and/or rivet to do so,  

The Veropin/PCB method is easier insofar as chairs are concerned because the pin heads are only 1.5mm diameter, meaning chairs are easier to fit.  However, after spending the last few days preparing PCB timbers for a B8 turnout (purely to test/practice techniques - it'll not end up in a layout) I came to the conclusion that ply & rivet would be quicker as I have a rivet punch and press** and ply timbers don't need gapping.  Ply is also a lot cheaper than pcb too!!

 

**I'd like a second one (at a reasonable price...) so I don't have to keep swapping the tooling. 

 

 

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Len Newman designed both ranges, however new tooling has been made for C&L. No idea who designed earlier new tooling but the new 14 chair C&L design was from Phil Read's design criteria

 

Certainly the early K&L chair design was to be compatible with ply and rivet construction, and a good marketing ploy was to replace cast whitemetal half chairs with cheap (then) plastic extrusions

 

The circular  hole in the chair base on the Exactoscale range was to be compatible with their P4 company turnout and crossing bases, which had 2mm round spigots on the timber bases where the chairs were to be positioned. Like wise with the sleeper bases which also have the round spigots on the sleepers.

 

I must say had I been using this system the turnout would now be finished, in fact its quicker than cutting then punching and riveting the timbers, .

 

Still its a challenge, I have burnt two timbers trying to use some old London Road Models solder paint, but at least it can be put on the rivets once mixed with flux.

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1 hour ago, polybear said:

**I'd like a second one (at a reasonable price...) so I don't have to keep swapping the tooling. 

 

 

 

No chance, I sat one set plus a few parts sell for over £100

 

I did sell a spare punch with only the rivet punch for £50 which I was happy with, but I would not sell a complete set that cheap.

 

The question being I regretted selling the first punch I brought back in the 80's. Bit will I ever use them again ?

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11 hours ago, hayfield said:

 

Brian

 

I use a 75 watt temperature controlled set on max (480 degrees)

 

I started off using a cheap solder paste*, then went to my old standard solder wire, no idea of type as label too damaged (60/40?) good old fashioned 50 year old leaded solder

 

 

 

I wish I had a punch! I drill all my sleepers using a 1.2 mm bit held in a pin vice. Some holes need cleaning up with sandpaper and a quick twist with a tapered reamer. I have a section of a copper wire bar which I use as an anvil and close the rivets using the EMGS tool and a small hammer.

 

I apply a dab of Carr's 188 solder paint to each rivet. After touching the tip of the soldering iron at 350-400 degrees with thin 60/40 solder wire, I apply it to the rivet. This works well for me although I sometimes wish I was living in the 21st century. Scorched sleepers are rare.

 

I don't bother with chairs on my point-work. Once the rail is painted, I don't notice their absence. The rail is also upright and not canted, something which a gentleman on the C&L stand at Scaleforum seemed to find shocking.

 

Roll on 3D printing!

 

Adrian

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2 hours ago, adriank said:

I don't bother with chairs on my point-work. Once the rail is painted, I don't notice their absence. The rail is also upright and not canted, something which a gentleman on the C&L stand at Scaleforum seemed to find shocking.

 

Roll on 3D printing!

 

Adrian

 

Adrian, I hope it was not me, the trouble is for years we have been taught by the suppliers of both C&L and Exactoscale that this is the correct thing to do !! and as the range of chairs (thinking of the Exactoscale special chairs) is quite convincing, we all brought into the thought process. In its self it has caused issues regarding track gauges as the rail head needs to allow the rail head to rotate. The thinking about the rail laid with a cant is all about prototypically being correct, and hard to argue against in P4 !!!

 

Anyway the latest thought process is for modelling upright is best, I assume Wayne's British Finescale turnout kits have upright rails, certainly Templot plug trach has upright rail so things coming back full circle, as for chairs, I think I will disagree with you. Certainly with Wayne's British Finescale kits its a method of holding the rails to the timbers, and most I assume will prefer having chairs, though Peco have sold track for years without chairs (as they have used flatbottom rail with clips) and customers have brought tons of the stuff

 

Thanks for confirming you use solder cream and solder wire, thought I was using the wrong stuff

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21.jpeg.f380a8113cf3e20ab91e61e4f27aa14e.jpeg

 

Another push over the weekend and the turnout has moved on. Gone is the solder paint, good old fashioned lead solder wire and flux.

 

I finished off the toe of the turnout then went on to fit the wing rails using roller gauges and a D D Wheelwrights block gauge and wing rail alignment tool (available from either Scalefour or EMGS stores).

 

22.jpeg.e77683ec6ec930d09c6585f323783995.jpeg

 

The second stock rail went on much easier and I had a preformed switch rail which was quickly fitted.

 

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The seconf wing rail was formed and soldered in place as was the first check rail

 

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The block rail gauge is used to set the curved stock rail inconjuction with the switch rail maintaining the exact gauge

 

Using leaded solder has made construction much easier, but sorry I am not a convert of this method. I have spent several hours on this turnout and not a chair in sight.

 

I am undecided whether I will add chairs to this turnout as I will not be using it. I simply wanted to have another go at using this system. A concern I have is how level the rivets are and then how level I was able to solder the rail given I tinned both the rail and rivets.

 

 

 

 

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In my time I've made quite a few turnouts, initially ply and rivet, then using the Exactoscale functional plastic chairs, then using a combination of ply/rivet and the Exactoscale chairs,albeit in a purely cosmetic role this time.

 

For ply and rivet I've never had any of the various punches or presses.  Like Adrian I drill the holes for the rivets with a 1.2mm drill in a pin vice and some have to be slightly reamed out to get rid of any swarf.  Then I press in the rivets and squash them flat using a large pair of pliers. I fond that as effectve (and slightly less destructive!) than a hammer.  Sometimes in spite of my efforts with the pliers the rivet may not be quite flettened at the base but that is quickly resolved with a quick application of a grinding disc in my mini-drill.  As for soldering, I use 60/40 solder wire and plenty of liquid flux; it's nice to have a high wattage iron, but not necessary as the area to be soldered is so small.

 

That produces a sturdy and reliable turnpout - the rails all stay precisely in place, just where your gauges put them.  Unfortunately, however, there are no chairs and in today's finescale age these are a necessity although I sometimes thing that from a viewing distance it's quite hard to tell the difference between a well applied blob of solder and a plastic chair, expecially once the track has been painted and weathered.  In any event, applying chairs to a ply & rivet turnout is a complete pain.  I don't know what the situation was in the past, but while today's Exactoscale chairs do indeed have a round hole in the base, it's smaller than the head of the rivet and as a result nearly every chair has to be filed and tweaked to fit.

 

But all that can be avoided, can it not, by discarding ply and rivets and using 100% Exactoscale (or C&L) chairs from the start in a functional capacity?  Well, yes it can and such track is easier to build - Butanone or MEK or whatever you call it sticks chairs to ply sleepers quite firmly, no need for any punching or soldering, and the finished product looks great.  So you install it on your layout, but a few weeks afterwards you find that stock is beginning to derail on it.  Why?  Because as indicated earlier in this thread, the Exactoscal (and C&L) chair are designed to follow prototype practise and cant the rail inwards by 1:20.  Fit your chaired rail to the timbers using the normal track guages and they will probably hold the rail straight up.  In a relatively short space of time, however, the inbuilt cant will assert itself and the gauge will narrow which may well mean derailments.  Don't ask me how I know!  Why this design feature was built in I don't know - just a step too far for prototype accuracy, but it even fails on that score because on the prototype the rail in turnouts is not canted, but held straight up at 90 degrees.

 

So now I use a combination of ply/rivet and plastic chairs.  Rivets at, say, every fourth sleeper, and more at vital areas.  Thread chairs onto the rails taking that into account.  Once the rails have been soldered in position using the rivets, the chairs can then be glued on and added where necessary.  Try as they might, they will be too weak to cant the soldered rail inwards and good running should ensue.

Edited by Torper
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I’ve just been reading about Martin Finney’s P4 Semley in the latest BRM where the track is all ply & rivet with no less than 10,000 individual whitemetal half chairs added. It does look good but boy what a task. And while pointwork is nice and sturdy plain track can be ‘swivelled’ if not careful (the rivets turning in the sleepers) so the gauge is lost. It was the introduction of whitemetal chairs by the scalefour society that took me down the route of using them functionally glued down with evostick, a long winded process but still easier but plastic chairs are so much easier still. 
 

Bob

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4 hours ago, Torper said:

 - just a step too far for prototype accuracy, but it even fails on that score because on the prototype the rail in turnouts is not canted, but held straight up at 90 degrees.

For bullhead track the rail in turnouts were normally canted at 20 degrees just as in plain line, this also applies to many versions of flatbottom but recent (ish) 113lb flatbottom do use vertical rails in turnouts, identified as such in the track manuals. More recently I understand that turnouts made with the heavier UIC60 rail have reverted to inclined rails. Referring to UK practice, overseas railways may well be different.

 

Anyone building track with the plastic chairs used functionally should ensure their track gauge does not hold the rail vertical, thus avoiding the problem.

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I must finish this turnout off, as I said I just wanted to build one to my satisfaction 

 

Track laying has come a long way from using card sleepers/timbers with flatbottom rail spiked to it. Or using strips of wood with cast metal chairs fitted, and until recently I was firmly in the camp of plastic chairs stuck to plastic timbers

 

The new boy in town is 3D printed track, British Finescale have been selling 2mm & 4mm kits for some time. Templot designer Martin Wynn has evolved Templot from a 2D planning software into a design system for both 4 & 7mm (other scales possibly) to produce files to enable turnouts to be printed on 3D printers, Not only visually accurate but much easier to build than other existing systems. and without any gauges or expensive jigs (filing jigs can be cheaply printed

 

10.jpeg.b4b17c8ca974a1e2a570726e5dd67c0c.jpeg  My new printer which will print track bases in 4 & 7 mm scales

 

But this is for another thread

 

 

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3 hours ago, Grovenor said:

For bullhead track the rail in turnouts were normally canted at 20 degrees just as in plain line.......Anyone building track with the plastic chairs used functionally should ensure their track gauge does not hold the rail vertical, thus avoiding the problem.

 Thanks for this correction, Keith - it seems I was misinformed.  Correction duly made.  Incidentally, one measurement of which I've never previously been sure about is that the switch opening width for P4 should be 1.5mm (a little more for EM); I fear I may have made some of mine narrower than that which could account for some running problems.

 

As for track gauges, most in my possession are from the S4 Soc and hold the rail verticle  - the only one that probably doesn't is the S4 Soc triangular gauge which only grips (quite tightly) the head of the rail.  Can you recomment any track gauges that get round that problem?

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40 minutes ago, Torper said:

 Thanks for this correction, Keith - it seems I was misinformed.  Correction duly made.  Incidentally, one measurement of which I've never previously been sure about is that the switch opening width for P4 should be 1.5mm (a little more for EM); I fear I may have made some of mine narrower than that which could account for some running problems.

 

As for track gauges, most in my possession are from the S4 Soc and hold the rail verticle  - the only one that probably doesn't is the S4 Soc triangular gauge which only grips (quite tightly) the head of the rail.  Can you recomment any track gauges that get round that problem?

 

The newer C&L P4 roller gauges allow for this

 

I asked this question some years ago in Templot club and this was the advice I got

 

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Bottom is the modern Exactoscale gauges, easy to copy with studding, tube, washers and nuts. Top normal other 3 gauge widened (one ,two & 3 thou)  The middle gauge is an adapted 3 point cage (see next photo) upper modern 3 point gauge, advice was to fill up the gap with wire so that it had a tiny slot  which allowed the rail head to rotate

 

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The gauge has been modelled by taking off the backs, keeps the track to gauge whatever angle the rail is held

 

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These are block gauges and very useful, one vert talented S7 track builder uses only a block gauge when building track, rail can be upright or at an angle

Edited by hayfield
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