• Make your own ballast spreader

    Here is a thread showing how you can make your own unique ballast spreader that works very well. I made these primarily from clear acrylic plastic. I bought full sheets from a hardware store, but all that is needed is some scraps, which you might get free if you ask nice. Directions and materials are shown in the sketches. Dimensions and thicknesses are critical for proper operation.

    Don't be tempted to put a coupler on it, because it won't work. Best results are with hand operation.

    To use, just put some ballast between the tracks, and then push the car to spread the ballast. Some brushing may be necessary to remove ballast from the top of ties and near rails, but it is SO MUCH EASIER than trying to spread ballast by hand.

    I didn't do it, but an easier alternative may be to modify an old piece of rolling stock by cutting off one end and gluing on the push slab and foam block.

    I sold a lot of these on ebay for ten bucks each, but it's not that hard to make your own.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Make your own ballast spreader started by gary60s View original post
    Comments 12 Comments
    1. Chessack's Avatar
      Chessack -
      That is super clever.

      When I was ballasting my Unitrack I kept thinking I needed something to help spread the ballast... but I never would have thought of something like this. Very cool.
    1. pwh70's Avatar
      pwh70 -
      That does look easy to make, but if you're still selling them on ebay I'd have one to use a lot faster than if I tried to find the time to make my own!
      Are you?
      - Paul
    1. kalbert's Avatar
      kalbert -
      Outstanding! Have you tried putting wings on the sides to shape the slope, or does it work well enough on it's own to not need them?
    1. gary60s's Avatar
      gary60s -
      Unfortunately I'm not making tools anymore, or selling them Paul.

      Kal, I thot about that, but it just seems to naturally flow down the sides. It all depends on how much ballast you initially put on the track. Only do about a foot at a time.
    1. jhn_plsn's Avatar
      jhn_plsn -
      That is a great concept Gary. Your always trying to make our lives easier. I use a ballast spreader that is just a hopper that dispenses as I move along, but this tool would help define the shoulders even better.

      There is still no replacement for patience.
    1. magi46's Avatar
      magi46 -
      Beautiful in it's simplicity, another well done for the wall. I noticed there are no rivets.
    1. jimltop's Avatar
      jimltop -
      Very cool concept.
    1. Asator87's Avatar
      Asator87 -
      I will definitely be looking into making one of these when I get to that stage in things!
    1. Bob LeMond's Avatar
      Bob LeMond -
      Very clever. Thank you for sharing.
    1. ENGRET94's Avatar
      ENGRET94 -
      Oh wow that is a good idea, never thought of something like that.
    1. Vince P's Avatar
      Vince P -
      Cool gotta build me one of these now

      Thanks for the cool idea
    1. mitchschuess's Avatar
      mitchschuess -
      Awesome. I will have to make one of those