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- Help With Hand Laying Switches -
 Moderated by: Herb Kephart Page:    1  2  Next Page Last Page  
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 Posted: Fri Dec 13th, 2013 01:29 am
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rockhound
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I've attempted my first hand made switch using a printable template to build over.

I have a few questions...

Is it better to lay the main track, then cut the switch in (build in place) or place the switch and lay the track to it.

Using the templates gives a "standard" size switch.
I wish to be able to build in place to better suit the tracks "flow"  Is there an easy way to determine the frog angle of a custom (built in place) switch ? or does it not matter as long as I don't exceed the minimum radius or frog angle.

Here's My first attempt at a Switch, Code 80 Rail (old flex track) No Gaps cut.

I appreciate any advice or tips anyone has on this subject.
  JimD



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 Posted: Fri Dec 13th, 2013 02:13 am
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Herb Kephart
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I lay track right up to the switch, then lay the switch.

Lay the curved switch rails first--it's far easier to cut the straight rails in than the other way around.

Herb



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 Posted: Fri Dec 13th, 2013 04:38 am
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W C Greene
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I think it looks pretty good. Do trucks roll through it OK? If so then it's just fine. I use Herb's way and my way also. I guess I will have to 'splain that sometime. BTW...is this N scale or HOn30? Whatever way works for you is the way to go.

Woodie



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 Posted: Fri Dec 13th, 2013 02:34 pm
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rockhound
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W C Greene wrote: I think it looks pretty good. Do trucks roll through it OK? If so then it's just fine. I use Herb's way and my way also. I guess I will have to 'splain that sometime. BTW...is this N scale or HOn30? Whatever way works for you is the way to go.

Woodie

This is N Scale.
I wish I had the space for HOn30 or the $ for steam power narrow gauge.

The trucks do roll smoothly through the switch. Better than any of the switches I have bought to date.
 I wanted to go with code 55 rail but I can't really see that well and with my plan of buying older non DCC equipment, possibly the flanges on the older stuff wouldn't work.  I have read that they will as long as I don't spike the track... I'll have clearance...even code 40 will work, with some wheel sets (no spikes)

I still need an NMRA track gauge. I have a 3 point gauge though.
Q: The NMRA Gauge will work with all codes of rail ?

 I may give the code 55 switch building another go. I am ordering flex track and the NMRA gauge soon so I need to decide what Code I can easily work with.

Q: which comes first the frog or the wing rails ?
Watching videos, using the jig they solder in the frog then the wing rails. I had trouble doing it this way ( I have no jig) I kinda had to solder all three simultaneously.

 I hear the standard size PC cross ties used in the points area sometimes break. Is this from filing the gap across the tie or the hole drilled through it. My plan was to not drill a hole between the rails, but solder a sliver of brass tube  (like a washer) outside the switch in the prototypical area. If it's just the tie that's too weak, I'll have to replace them with a larger size PC cross tie.

Thanks for the help.

JimD.




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 Posted: Fri Dec 13th, 2013 03:03 pm
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W C Greene
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Jim, I don't think you would have any problems using code 55 or even code 40 rail on pc ties. An NMRA gauge works on all rails, it will show you the standards for back to back gauge, flangeways, etc. A very handy & useful tool, in fact it is needed for getting everything "right". As for which rail comes first, someone will know. Over 50 years, I have probably built a few hundred switches and don't think I have ever built two the same way except for some jobs I am doing for a friend using a Fast Tracks jig (to me, a waste of good money). Throw bars are another matter, my experience is different than others since I run r/c so wiring and short circuits are not part of my life. I make everything "bullet proof" since my layout is outdoors and even then track maintanence is an ongoing concern.
Good luck, the more you build, the better and easier it will become. Keep us informed.

Woodie



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 Posted: Fri Dec 13th, 2013 03:50 pm
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Herb Kephart
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DO NOT worry about frog angle. Both prototype rails are straight through the frog, but it makes a smoother switch with the sharp radii that we are forced to use to make the curve continue right through the frog.

The rail order that I lay a switch in--

Curved rail on the inner side of the radius

Curved rail on the outside of the radius (that will end up going through the frog)

Straight rail that goes through frog, cut into above rail in the process.

Straight rail on outside of switch.

Then, guard and wing rails.

Actually, wing rails on a frog don't do much with the radii that we use. With the prototype, they help support the tread of the wheel going across the gap in the rail. In our world, even though the gap is wider in proportion, the frog angle is much less acute, and wing rails become more of an appearance thing, than necessary.

But, as Woodie says--every hand layer has there own order of doing things. The reason that I do it my way (besides the fact that it is --Ahem--best;)) is that it is much easier to line up straight rails through the frog than curved ones. Also, I slip a piece of brass shim under the frog area, to solder all the pieces to. I do this also where the guard rails go. When finished with the construction, I take a fine file laid flat and go over the top of all the rail to take the inevitable high spots down--probably much more important in N than in O, that I work in. Like Woodie I don't run 2 rail, so my points are connected by a solid bar.

As you get experience, you will begin to see that fixtures and templates only hinder smooth flowing trackwork.

Hope that this helps


Herb



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 Posted: Sat Dec 14th, 2013 12:17 am
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Lost Creek RR
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Jim
I have only made a few Turnouts however if you want the RR  to look right code 55 is the way to go. I have been using ME Code 55 flex track for 19 years and love it. Most rolling stock will operate on it except for very early Micro Train trucks with the very old wheel sets.
I have modified all of my M / E turnouts and most of the problem with the throw bar is the hole is too small for the Tortoise wire that I use. I install a wide PC board for the throw bar drilling a larger hole thus eliminating the problem. They still look good when installed and ballasted.
Have fun.
Rod.

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 Posted: Sat Dec 14th, 2013 04:19 pm
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rockhound
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Lost Creek RR wrote: Jim
  if you want the RR  to look right code 55 is the way to go.

I was hoping you wouldn't say that, you are right though.

I was hoping to use up the flex track (high rail) that I have and switch to code 55 on the sidings.
Most of the Main Line will be hidden. It's more or less just to get me to the elevation I want for the P2P and for continuous running.
Shoot, I'm trying to justify using code 80 to save a buck !
I shouldn't, once again you are correct, It does look terrible. In the hidden areas I'll use it though.  Code 55 it is.

The plan was to have a folded dog-bone figure eight Main L  with a point to point over the top of it. I have no track plan on paper and this may be what's holding me back. I've got so many ideas, so many things I'd like to include into the layout I know I'll run into trouble down the road.
I have to try RTS again. Are there any other "Free-ware" track planning programs that anyone could recommend ? Something I could do a quick and dirty design, with out a high learning curve.

Q: abut the code 55 flex,
I had some flex track that would hold it's shape, I didn't care for it much.
I like the springy kind. Seems easier to get a natural radius with easements.
Can anyone recommend a specific brand (the springy kind) of Code 55 flex track.

JimD.






 



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 Posted: Sat Dec 14th, 2013 10:44 pm
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Lost Creek RR
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Jim ME code 55 track is a bit stiff, the pre weathered track is even stiffer. Atlas makes a good code 55 flex track that is very good. Trouble is it has been out of stock for so long along with their turnouts it is an issue with a lot of modelers. Also The spikes are too high and do not accept MT pizza cutter wheels sets.
So If you want to start go with the ME code 55 un weathered.
Trust this helps.
Rod.

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 Posted: Sun Dec 15th, 2013 05:11 pm
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W C Greene
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I remember a "trick" that the On30 modelers used to handle ME track. They sprayed the track with WINDEX window cleaner and found that it was easy to bend. The stuff dries and doesn't leave any residue. Has anyone tried this? Comments??

Woodie



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