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Handlaid Turnouts
 Moderated by: Herb Kephart Page:  First Page Previous Page  1  2  3  4  5  6  Next Page Last Page  
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 Posted: Sun Nov 2nd, 2014 09:49 pm
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Herb Kephart
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As I went through Regs various steps, I jotted down the various places that his methods differ from mine--not to claim that my way is better, but to see how two modelers, who have both been laying switches (what I grew up hearing real railroad employees call the things) for a long long time, have worked out differing processes to achieve the same end. Yes Reg, I remember the fiber tied flex track--do you remember that during the Korean war that stuff was only available with steel rail? NASTY!

I heartily agree on Regs advice to get the best tools that you can afford. Regs idea about using Dykes to drive spikes is something I've never thought of. After driving countless thousands of spikes over the years, the jaw ends on my favorite pair of spiking only needlenose pliers are getting pretty worn--and I can readily see that Dykes could make the job a lot easier. Thanks Reg!!

So where do our methods differ (again--the results come out the same) ?

 First, My dad taught me to solder about 1944--he was a ''tinnocker'' (worked with sheetmetal) his whole life.  To him soldering paste was something you smeared on  the doorknob of someone who you didn't particularly like, if you couldn't find any fresh dog dung. He always used acid. Ergo I have always used acid. Only time that I don't use it is rosin core for electrical. Rosin core is distinctly different from soldering paste --which is usually zinc chloride (what most "acid" fluxes are) and grease, to stop the corrosion. I use zinc chloride and stop the corrosion with some baking soda in water. This is either applied with a paint brush, or in the case of small parts, by dipping after soldering. Different strokes for different folks. 

Next, templates. I've never used them. Too restrictive. I build switches to suit the space and track arrangement. Real frogs, and Reg's, have both rails straight through. By making the diverging rail on a constant radius a small saving on the overall length of the switch can be made. Plus, if you use easements into the curve (I usually do) a flat in the easement doesn't help. So my frogs have curved rail. I run at least the curved rail through the frog site in one piece (see my system-http://www.freerails.com/view_topic.php?id=2070&forum_id=6  )
I avoid some of the tedious cleaning the solder from flangways by slipping a piece of thin (.010" +or-) brass under the frog or guard rail- still have a little clean out to do, but no where as much. and the shim provides stronger connection between the rails than just solder, I believe. I used to do it Reg's way.

I file everything. Never had much luck with grinding. Do use a Dremel (and a Foredom) with the abrasive discs at times. Cut rail with a little "chop saw" tool that uses a much larger diameter (and longer lasting) abrasive disk.

Only time that I build a switch on other than the ties that it is going to spend it's life on, is if it's going to be shipped to someone else.

And one final thing--that we more or less agree on-- the NMRA gauge. Get one!!
Although to say that it is impossible to build a smoothly working switch without it is a bit of a stretch--Both Reg and I built many switches without one before they were ever thought of, and some still do--it makes the job much easier, and accurate.



Herb



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 Posted: Mon Nov 3rd, 2014 07:28 am
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Bernd
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Wow Herb. Nice looking turnouts.

I've tried my hand at turnout building and am a complete klutz at it, if you can believe that. I've read many articles on how to build them and still have problems.

I guess I need to practice some more.

Bernd

Last edited on Mon Nov 3rd, 2014 07:29 am by Bernd



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 Posted: Mon Nov 3rd, 2014 09:52 am
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Thayer
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I am still sorting out Herb's photo above. Amazing! In the meantime, I just found this with google while looking for images of switches.

http://www.loupiote.com/sets/72157594228478196.shtml?
That's some dedication to the rails, despite a few technical errors.

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 Posted: Mon Nov 3rd, 2014 11:57 am
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Bernd
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Might have been more interesting on the opposite gender don't you think? Probably would have had some serious curves and a tunnel. :pimp: :cb: :cool:

Bernd



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 Posted: Mon Nov 3rd, 2014 12:28 pm
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Reg H
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Wow, Herb. That is one impressive piece of trackwork! I did a 90 degree crossing once. It was in O standard gauge code 125 rail. It turned out OK. Pretty much the most complex piece of trackwork I have done.

I bet figuring out the gapping and wiring on this piece took more than an afternoon!!

You may have me by a few years. I didn't start serious model railroading until the early '60's, so I don't remember the steel rail.

I used to fabricate my turnouts in place. I found I prefer to do the fabrication at the work bench.

I have done some curved turnouts, and the constant radius through the frog works just fine. Kind of tricky for beginners, though.

I have never had a frog fail. But I have used the approach of placing a piece of sheet brass under the frog. I was laying O standard gauge turnouts using code 100 rail. I would probably use that approach if I were doing code 40 rail in On30 (or HO).

Many years ago, when I was building my motive power from scratch and from kits, I used acid flux. I still have some. I was building one of the American Locomotive Works O scale GP-35's and got called away from the work bench "for a few minutes" that turned into two weeks. What a mess.

I have hopes of getting back into scratch building locomotives. It is not as easy as it once was. Years ago there was a wide variety of drivers and detail parts. For most of my "scratch building" I purchased drivers, domes, bells, air pumps, etc. I have a list squirreled away of locomotives I would like to build. I would have to fabricate my own drivers for every one. I have the tools with which to do it, and I think I know how. But I have never done it. The new 3D printing presents some interesting possibilities. Look up Ed Traxler's stuff.

For the turnout application I like the rosin based for two reasons: First, a little wire brush clean up is all that is necessary; Second, it is goopy enough to hold everything in position until I can place a more substantial means of securing the parts in position.

Good stuff.

It is great to find others interested in promoting the basic construction aspects of the hobby. I could have gotten my layout this far without having actually built anything. Locomotives, rolling stock, track, even benchwork can be had today essentially "ready-to-run". It is a pretty cool thing. I love the look, detail and operating qualities of my Bachmann On30 locomotives. But there is a special pleasure in creating something out of raw, or almost raw, materials.

Of course, I can't leave the R-t-R stuff alone. My locomotives are eventually going to get some paint and weathering. And every piece of Bachmann freight rolling stock is going to get modified. A case in point is that caboose that is the subject of my first photo on this site. The cupola got moved off center and the whole thing got "hunkered" down. All the freight cars are going to receive similar treatment.

Reg



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 Posted: Mon Nov 3rd, 2014 01:30 pm
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Reg H
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Herb...it also looks like you are modeling traction.

Curved turnouts are much more common for trolley and interurban railroads.

I suppose that would simplify the wiring, too.

Do you remember the name of the guy that did all that great traction modeling in O scale years ago? He built some really impressive box motors and was featured in the MRR press on a regular basis. I was fascinated by his work but never made copies of any of the articles.

Reg



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 Posted: Mon Nov 3rd, 2014 10:54 pm
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Herb Kephart
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Yes Reg-- Heavy interurban. so all rails are grounded, and pantographs are used for collection. Couple non electric locos are battery power, radio control.

The two outstanding O scale modelers were Bill Hoffman. and Bill Clouser. Hoffman was on the West coast and built a model of near every car that the Sacramento Northern had. Not every class, every CAR! Worked in wood.

Clouser was in Illinois, and worked almost exclusively in Strathmore board - which is a dense smooth hard surfaced artists board. Think high class poster board. Still available in artist supply and some craft stores (Michaels, for one) but only in the thinner "weights''. Built at least one 1/2'' scale interurban--a C&LE ''Red Devil'' for the Smithsonian. Most of his models were of Illinois Traction equipment, and he was a pioneer in casting epoxy car shells in 1/48--40' steel boxcar, and  North Shore passenger cars--- for sale.

Clouser is probably who you are thinking of, as I would think that Hoffman was before your time.

Herb



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 Posted: Tue Nov 4th, 2014 12:12 pm
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Reg H
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I remember Bill Clouser's stuff. But the one I am thinking of was a mountain-themed heavy traction. The guy called the "Something" Mountain Lines.

Reg



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 Posted: Tue Nov 4th, 2014 12:21 pm
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Reg H
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I got it! Bolt from the blue. Bob Hegge and his Crooked Mountain Lines.

I really like his stuff. Long gone, of course.

Reg



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 Posted: Mon Nov 10th, 2014 10:15 am
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Greg W
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Thanks for the tutorial. I built a few turnouts about 15 years ago but then left the hobby. I'm back and about to start a layout so will need many turnouts. Starting slow on the bench then hope to be able to build my skills to the point I can build them in place on the layout to suit the situation with little or no need for templates and measuring (aside from guages of course).



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