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Thread: Hand Laid Track - Too hard? No patience? Don't know where to start? Just ask us!

  1. #41
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    I'm using Atlas c55 flex mating up to Ft turnouts made using ME c55 with no problems whatsoever. No shims, no hassles. There's even one area on my layout that an Atlas c55 #7 turnout is likely to mate up to a FT #8 curved turnout made using ME c55 rail.

    Here's an example. This turnout will have Atlas c55 (22"R "straight" route) and ME c40 flex (16"R diverging route) coming out of it. Only the c40 needs to be shimmed and that will be done inside the nylon rail joiners using some styrene. The diverging route leads into a reversing loop so it has to be isolated anyway. On the outside line you see there - my main line - a c55 #6 3-Way built using ME rail is being installed that will have 3 pieces of Atlas c55 leading out of it. One of those tracks will go to another curved turnout, another to more Atlas c55 flex and the straight track will head to a series of c40 3-Ways that make up my yard throat.

    ps: Check your existing wheel sets on a piece of c55 track before you replace everything. You might find that some will pass through just fine. Unless you're planning on spiking the hand laid track even pizza cutters will pass through a c40 turnout let alone a c55. This might just save you some time and money. It's the "spikes" on c40 flex that led me to changing out my wheels on rolling stock and locos.
    "God wants spiritual fruit, not religious nuts!" (appeared on the sign outside our Pentecostal church)

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    Aussie and all:
    Thanks for the info. I am enjoying seeing all the summer work party stuff going on. Its really impressive to see the hand laid track. just so smooth looking. As for the wheels, I did check my equipment and my atlas stock all work fine but the micro trains equipment is a goner. Some came with extra wheel sets, but that leaves about 60 or so piece needing replacement. Keep up the good work. I cant believe code 40 !!!! man thats go to be small

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    Not as small as c25! I bought myself a box of 100 of the MT low profile wheels and whenever I get a piece of rolling stock that won't make the grade I swap them out. Gives me a bunch of flat car loads and some to stack up around my rip track.
    "God wants spiritual fruit, not religious nuts!" (appeared on the sign outside our Pentecostal church)

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    Quote Originally Posted by mighalpern View Post
    I cant believe code 40 !!!! man thats go to be small
    Quote Originally Posted by aussie View Post
    Not as small as c25!
    Yeah - for anybody who thinks code 40 is small, go take a look at David K Smith's code 25 handlaid track - after that code 40 will look massive!

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    Ok, that is nuts. Just nuts!
    Best,
    Tony

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    I have deep and abiding admiration for anyone who can work in Z. The guys who have told me I'm nuts for working in c40 must think those guys are certifiable!
    "God wants spiritual fruit, not religious nuts!" (appeared on the sign outside our Pentecostal church)

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    One aspect of hand laid track that you don't hear about all that often but you sure do with out of the box track is wiring. I honestly think wiring a hand laid turnout/slip/crossing/straight/curve is so much easier than with store bought track. Some might disagree but the options you have with track you make yourself are numerous primarily because of the PCB ties but also because you can access so much of the rail from directly under the piece of track. Not only that but thanks to the PCB ties and the way most hand laid track is built you're not constantly worried about whether the point and frog rails on your turnout will get reliable power. In fact most of the time you're intent on checking there are no shorts caused by them getting power from more than one source! Case in point - pardon the pun:

    I just finished this curved turnout this morning. Each stock rail has it's own feeder as do each of the frog rails. The frog and wing rails also have a single feeder that will attach to a Hex Frog Juicer along with a couple of other frogs from various turnouts in that power block. Attaching all of these was a breeze because the rails/PCB ties they are soldered to already had solder on them from the assembly process. Just a little flux and a touch of the iron and they were all good to go. The PCB tie the stock rail feeders are attached to also have the point rails soldered to them so I know they are receiving good reliable power at all times. Checked everything with my multimeter and no shorts.
    Now something like a slipswitch...... well that's a little more complex but only just.

    Here's my plan for the slip. I could have isolated each of the final frog rails and fed them with two wires each but it's just as easy to use one and supply power from the same HFJ that feeds the frogs. Theoretically you could eliminate the second electrical isolation cut and use just one feed to each frog and it's rails this way but I decided to play it safe and make the cut and run the second feed from the HFJ.

    Crossings? Not much different to a slip but without the added thrills of all those points! Straight and curved track is of course really simple. You can drill through a PCB tie from underneath - well you can do this on any hand laid track really - and send the feeder up through the tie soldering it at the top. It's wise to cut a small isolation gap in the copper on the bottom of the tie if you do this just to be safe but checking with a multimeter will tell you if you're good to go and that should be done on all track before you start weathering it or glue it down.
    "God wants spiritual fruit, not religious nuts!" (appeared on the sign outside our Pentecostal church)

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    David K. Smith's work is so fantastic I think he may be a space alien from an advanced species.

    .....or maybe an android.
    (The voices I hear in my head may not be real, but sometimes they come up with a good idea.)

    Have fun.

    Moose

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    Mike and everyone thanks ,this thread has been very interesting and alot has been learned , keep it rolling in,we can all learn more

    Cheers Glynn QR OUTBACK


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    Quote Originally Posted by nachippy View Post
    Mike and everyone thanks ,this thread has been very interesting and alot has been learned , keep it rolling in,we can all learn more


    I've not posted here as I want to, but I need to take some pictures first to better illustrate some particulars within the Fast Tracks system...thank you Mike, for towing the line and contributing on a daily basis.

    Although this link from another forum focuses on spiking rail, the basics of turnout construction are very nicely documented, and this thread is definitely worth a look for those that are new to the game. The good stuff starts at post #38:

    http://www.trainboard.com/grapevine/...=106944&page=4

    Important note: Because of the choice of spiked rail, this N scaler is gapping his points differently, and is also not gapping as needed for a soldered frog.

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    I can't wait to see your photos of the turnouts you've built mate. The few that you have posted look very impressive. What I'd really like to see is more of the members who have laid their own track - straights, curves, turnouts, whatever - post photos and descriptions of what it is they've built and explain any little tips and tricks they've come across along the way. That's the kind of thing that will encourage others to give hand laid track a go.
    "God wants spiritual fruit, not religious nuts!" (appeared on the sign outside our Pentecostal church)

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    Some of you would have already read the posts I've made in my layout building thread that I've gone and broken the slipswitch while working around it. It highlighted two design problems that I had been worried about for a while and when all attempts to repair the slip in place failed I had to cut it out and try on the workbench. That failed as well. I could have spent a lot of time pulling all the wood ties off then unsoldering the throwbars from the point rails and installing not only new throwbars but also new point rails but when I thought about how long that would take I decided instead to order some more c40 rail and a new QuickSticks wood tie set and start again.

    So not everything with hand laid track goes according to plan but th slipswitch was described to me by the folks at FT as the hardest of all the turnouts to build simply because the dimension and clearances are so very small in N-Scale. That's really what did me in trying to fix the damage I caused with one slip of a pin vise. But the good thing to come out of this is I can now incorporate the changes I have pondered since I built this the second attempt at the slip some months ago. I also want to make some other changes to see if I can prevent a repeat of the problems this mistake of mine highlighted.

    I'll post the new build in the Tutorial for the slipswitch so if any of you want to follow along there please feel free to do so. Like everyone and everything else when it comes to hand laid track you live and you learn!
    "God wants spiritual fruit, not religious nuts!" (appeared on the sign outside our Pentecostal church)

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    I'm wondering if I should have taken photos of the latest build I'm almost finished with. I just built a c55 #6 3-Way. Only the guards and throwbars to be soldered and then cut the frog isolation gaps and glue on the QuickSticks. I was worried I had been posting a lot of this stuff and might bore you guys to death. Still I have to say that the slipswitch is a breeze compared to the 3-Way! The instructions are the usual "good for HO" and useless for N. I had to throw out the sub-frog I'd built because you simply CANNOT follow the instructions as written. Not with any of the tools I have at least and I've got darn near everything you could ask for in that department. Apart from that sub frog and one point rail which is so small and fussy it actually was a very quick build - quick but not simple! I'll post a photo I suppose with some arrows to explain. Hopefully the next 10 or 12 of these will be easier now I know the tricks. The c40's for the yards are going to be real "fun".
    "God wants spiritual fruit, not religious nuts!" (appeared on the sign outside our Pentecostal church)

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    Please post the pics. A lot of us want to follow your work on hand layed track.
    (The voices I hear in my head may not be real, but sometimes they come up with a good idea.)

    Have fun.

    Moose

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    Okay here goes........

    Here it is ready for the throwbars to be soldered, guard rails installed, frogs cut and the wood ties to be glued on. Now to show you the difficult parts.

    This shows the 3rd of the closure/points rails that have to be installed. It's the shortest of the three and easily the hardest to make and install correctly. It looks rough because frankly it's hard not to make it look rough.
    The yellow arrows show where you need clearance for wheels to pass through. So you can see that this rail serves as a point rail and wing rail. The tip of a frog can be seen to the right. The end of the wing section has to be ground away just enough to provide clearance to the rail just above it in the photo but there still needs to be enough of it to serve as the wing for that frog.
    The blue arrows point to the pcb ties used to solder that rail in place. If you think about it there is almost no way you can get the tip of an iron between those rails without upsetting something or filling the gap with solder. The trick is to tin the pcb ties and bottom of the rail and get it in place first. Then you take the turnout from the assembly fixture and turn it upside down. You can attach the rail to the ties and the surrounding rail bases from underneath the same as you do with the end of the frogs.
    Now for the worst of all........

    This is the sub-frog. Take a close look at that sucker. Can you believe the instructions say to make the cut in bottom of the upper rail (blue arrow) in this photo to form the wing AFTER you've soldered both rails together to form the frog! For a start you cannot get a file in there. Trying to get a jewellers saw in is possible but making a cut is next to impossible. So how do you nip the rail to allow the bend? You toss away the perfectly good sub-frog you've already built and start again. Get the two rails aligned and mark where each of them will be nicked to make a wing rail bend. You see that the lower rail in the photo forms a wing as well, right? Once the nicks are made solder the frog and then bend the rails to their correct angles and trim them to length. There is a lot of back and forth to get this right but it's a lot easier doing it this way than how the instructions tell you to.

    On another note with this thing. Like with the slipswitch they expect you to cut the point rails free and install rail joiners that will slip over the rail you left behind when you cut the points free so there will be hinged points. I haven't worked out how I'll do the c40 3-ways I need for my yards yet but this c55 version is not using joiners. I left them all solid. If I do go with hinges for the next lot then I suspect I'll do something similar to what I've done with the slipswitch.

    Wiring and weathering of this and the new slipswitch I'll show you guys later.
    "God wants spiritual fruit, not religious nuts!" (appeared on the sign outside our Pentecostal church)

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  19. #56
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    It's enough to make you cry! I'm starting again on the 3-Way. Want to know why? Well for a start I wasn't happy with the instructions leading me one way when in N Scale you should obviously go a different route - heard that before haven't we? For another there are some modifications I would make to gain some space between the rails that you obviously don't have to worry about in HO or larger but you should in N. Oh and lastly trying to solder the one remaining point rail to it's throwbar is nothing short of the greatest p.i.t.a. of all time! I'm on my third throwbar for this one point now because the copper keeps pulling away due to having to squeeze the tip of the iron down there to apply any solder at all. That is resulting in the copper peeling up in an area the width of the rail. Believe it or not it'll actually be easier to install that point rail and solder it to the pcb ties and then the throwbar BEFORE I solder in the much longer point rail that sits to the inside of it.

    So I didn't waste a set of QuickSticks, just some rail and pcb ties. Kind of like with slipswitch number 1 and number 2 I've learned enough here to make valued decisions on what will and won't work from the instructions. So I'll write up a tutorial on how to build it my way and see what you guys think. I'll be sending a copy of the build to Fast Tracks because two complex turnouts in a row I've found that trying to use their instructions are simply not going to work properly. You live and you learn!
    "God wants spiritual fruit, not religious nuts!" (appeared on the sign outside our Pentecostal church)

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    This sure is interesting and I wish I could have done this years ago when I could see what I was doing, but it is definitely too hard for me these days.
    JohnnyB

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sleeper View Post
    This sure is interesting and I wish I could have done this years ago when I could see what I was doing, but it is definitely too hard for me these days.
    Magnifying visors and such aren't of any use?
    "God wants spiritual fruit, not religious nuts!" (appeared on the sign outside our Pentecostal church)

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    Quote Originally Posted by aussie View Post
    Magnifying visors and such aren't of any use?
    I have them, but I know of only two words to describe them > TUNNEL VISION.
    JohnnyB

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    I have not had a lot of happiness using magnifiers either. I think our eyes get to a point at which nothing quite seems to compensate. I can do a lot of n-scale stuff with my glasses off and the work right up to my face but soldering gets really interesting doing it that way. I love seeing what you are doing, Aussie. I admire your talent and patience. I would not attempt it.

    Regarding boring us ... I find it is in the documentation of the ordinary and mundane that we often post an answer to someone else's difficulties. Post all you got! We love it!
    - - There's a fine line between genius and insanity. I like to use that line as a jump rope. ... (unknown)

    Come visit my Layout Build Thread - http://www.nscale.net/forums/showthr...l-Build-Thread

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