Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 33

Thread: Market for Hand Laid Turnouts?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2018
    Posts
    12
    Thanks
    2
    Thanked 10 Times in 4 Posts
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default Market for Hand Laid Turnouts?

    Greetings, Iím a new guy in town. In the process of preparing to build my little layout, I acquired some Fast Tracks turnout jigs for N code 55 and it got me thinking. Is there a market/demand for hand laid turnouts in N scale or are the people who would want hand laid turnouts also people who would rather build them themselves?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Columbus,OH, USA
    Posts
    3,212
    Thanks
    73
    Thanked 1,527 Times in 891 Posts
    Mentioned
    40 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    Welcome to the forum.

    Just FYI, I moved this post from trackage to product and service announcements because that is where it belongs.

    Paul

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Netherlands
    Posts
    5,380
    Thanks
    10,537
    Thanked 9,020 Times in 2,828 Posts
    Mentioned
    116 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    Why would I want to have handlaid track if it wasn't made by myself, the only advantage , if you want to call it advantage to handlaid track is the satisfaction of building them yourself. Maybe with one exception , if it were a turnout that was highly customized and I couldn't build it myself.
    As long as I can model in N-scale, I know I'm not old

    My Flickr Pages

    http://www.janbouli.com

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Windsor, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    1,082
    Thanks
    1,663
    Thanked 2,370 Times in 601 Posts
    Mentioned
    19 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    There's the aesthetic reason: I've always liked how the FastTrack turnouts don't have the pivot points along their points - the flexing of the rail looks so much more realistic.
    Peter

    Layout Depot (share your designs with others): www.LayoutDepot.com
    My Build Thread: www.nscale.net/forums/showthread.php?28081-Green-Valley-Railway

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Posts
    1,088
    Thanks
    1,351
    Thanked 1,254 Times in 567 Posts
    Mentioned
    30 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    I think there would be. For things like a #8.5 or a #12 or a 30"/40" curved or a #8 wye - things that are not available on the market.

    But... it will probably not pay more than a job at a burger joint. If you're really good, I guess you can make a turnout in an hour? With materials worth $5? Then you are going to pack and ship it and people probably won't pay more than $25 for it. And probably everyone will want something different, so you could end up buying a lot of jigs (or losing most of your market if you only offer one kind of turnout) - and I don't think there will be more than 50 turnouts per year.

    Plus you should count the time it takes to clarify what the customer wants and deal with warranty repairs.

    edit:
    Quote Originally Posted by pbechard View Post
    There's the aesthetic reason: I've always liked how the FastTrack turnouts don't have the pivot points along their points - the flexing of the rail looks so much more realistic.
    I actually soldered the pivot points on my Atlas #10s More for reliability than for looks, but yes, it helps for that too (Flexing the rails - you still can't miss the pivot points). Not sure if it can be done on smaller turnouts and not sure how long it will last either.

    Heiko

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Nebraska
    Posts
    4,252
    Thanks
    5,580
    Thanked 6,915 Times in 2,296 Posts
    Mentioned
    131 Post(s)
    Tagged
    2 Thread(s)

    Default

    I wouldn't quit your daytime job.
    But I would think there might be a small market for these.

    A few years ago there was a guy who made up some generic turnouts, both C55 and C80 and sold them on eBay for around $35 each.
    He seemed to sell them, as he always had a new one up. I think he also said he would custom build to suit.

    It's always worth a shot, but as other have said, if you plan to do it right, you will probably need to have a good selection of jigs on hand.
    On the flip side of that, others have said once they've gotten proficient, they really didn't need jigs.
    Myself, if I was in the market for some custom turnouts, I'd probably look you up, but it wouldn't be a huge amount.


    The Little Rock Line blog


    ďNever argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience." George Carlin

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Cincy-whatzit, Ohio
    Posts
    6,592
    Blog Entries
    3
    Thanks
    8,782
    Thanked 7,883 Times in 3,511 Posts
    Mentioned
    195 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    I was just looking at some Peco double-slips the other day and wondering to myself whether I might ever have a need for one of these. Sometimes a complex piece of functional turnout is compelling enough on its own to generate interest, even if the buyer hasn't previously planned on using such a turnout. A lot of the advice above seems to be predicated on the notion of work done on commission, but you might be able to fabricate things speculatively and then offer them for sale, here or on eBay or elsewhere. You'd probably need to demonstrate the functionality with a short demonstration video in order to make a sale.

    Think oddball turnouts: curved turnouts with unique radii, or a curved crossover assembly; wyes with one leg more broadly curved than the other; yard ladder with frogs more densely spaced than can be done with commercial turnouts; single and double slips at various angles; three-way turnouts; and so on.

    Get yourself a Rail Pass for free travel on the WP&P: wpandp.com
    Could Star Wars: The Last Jedi have been a smarter movie with just one tweak? wpandp.com/how-an-interdictor-could-have-fixed-the-last-jedi/

  8. The Following User Says Thank You to WP&P For This Useful Post:


  9. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Posts
    882
    Thanks
    1,882
    Thanked 793 Times in 445 Posts
    Mentioned
    30 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    I think there will be a market for this. As for how big of a market I don't know. Not everyone in this hobby is a retiree and/or have plenty of time on their hands or have the skill set to take on this task, but they might like to use hand laid turnouts on their layouts. That's where your extra time can help. Time vs. money thingy.

    Only way to find out is to make some and put it out there for sale and see how many you can sell.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Minnesota
    Posts
    1,679
    Blog Entries
    8
    Thanks
    1,677
    Thanked 1,355 Times in 636 Posts
    Mentioned
    18 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    I'm skeptical. You might make a few to help offset the cost of the jig and recover cost of materials, but your time will be a loss.

  11. The Following User Says Thank You to kalbert For This Useful Post:


  12. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2018
    Posts
    12
    Thanks
    2
    Thanked 10 Times in 4 Posts
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    I realize that. I wasn't intending to build turnouts for a living, I have a day job. I figured I could just pop out a turnout every night or so after work (takes ~40 min) and sell them on eBay every 2 weeks or something like that. If I could recoup the cost of the jig, I would consider it a success.

  13. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2018
    Posts
    12
    Thanks
    2
    Thanked 10 Times in 4 Posts
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    I figured that as well. The only problem is that the stuff like 3 ways and slips are a bear to build. I just built my first 3 way using my 3 way jig, and it wasn't difficult just VERY time consuming to build it correctly. So many pieces of rail to fit, it took me a few evenings to do it. No way I would ever build something like that regularly.

  14. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to CrazySDK For This Useful Post:


  15. #12
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Nebraska
    Posts
    4,252
    Thanks
    5,580
    Thanked 6,915 Times in 2,296 Posts
    Mentioned
    131 Post(s)
    Tagged
    2 Thread(s)

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by CrazySDK View Post
    I realize that. I wasn't intending to build turnouts for a living, I have a day job. I figured I could just pop out a turnout every night or so after work (takes ~40 min) and sell them on eBay every 2 weeks or something like that. If I could recoup the cost of the jig, I would consider it a success.
    The Little Rock Line blog


    ďNever argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience." George Carlin

  16. #13
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Southern Colorado
    Posts
    2,980
    Blog Entries
    8
    Thanks
    1,234
    Thanked 1,838 Times in 880 Posts
    Mentioned
    26 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    I'd say make curved turnouts in various radii combinations. It would be nice to have something other than just the 15"/21.25" radius Atlas offers. It would also be really nice to have some sharp curve turnouts like Peco makes, only in code 55.

    Oh and what about code 40 turnouts? bet they'd sell. Noone makes them.
    "Do Not Hump!?!?! Does that mean what I think it means?!?"--Michelle Blanchard

    "People saw wood and say nothing, but railroad men saw trains and say things that are better left unprinted."--Charles De Lano Hine

    Down with UP

  17. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to ranulf For This Useful Post:


  18. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2018
    Posts
    12
    Thanks
    2
    Thanked 10 Times in 4 Posts
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    I have a #6 12”/9” curved turnout jig already. Maybe i’ll order some quicksticks for it and make some curved turnouts to see if they sell.

  19. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Posts
    1,088
    Thanks
    1,351
    Thanked 1,254 Times in 567 Posts
    Mentioned
    30 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    I think the market is the other way - larger radius than the off-the-shelf offerings. My reasoning: Most people who are willing to shell out the money (and the effort in planning them and finding them on the market) on special turnouts also make space for large radii.

    But I may be wrong.

    Heiko

  20. The Following User Says Thank You to Heiko For This Useful Post:


  21. #16
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Ashburn, VA, USA
    Posts
    943
    Thanks
    185
    Thanked 1,123 Times in 380 Posts
    Mentioned
    17 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    Several folks sell (or maybe, have sold) them both on sites like this one and everyone's favorite auction site.

    I think the market is small, and difficult. Most people who want hand-laid will buy the jigs and do it themselves. Those who don't want to do it themselves are often looking for something odd. There's no profit in buying some odd 18"/27" curved turnout fixture and making 3 turnouts for someone. And people are going to have high expectations. It's going to have to be painted and weathered I think, folks who want to buy one won't want to do that themselves either.

    My $0.02 is there is more of a market in renting oddball fixtures. If I need two of those oddball turnouts paying $100-$150 for the fixture to make two turnouts just really doesn't work economically. But I would pay maybe $30 to rent them for 30 days, plus $7 in priority mail shipping both ways so I could make my 2-3 turnouts and then send it back. It would only take 5-6 rentals per fixture to turn a profit. I might also pay more if things like the QuickSticks were stocked with it. FastTracks charges $4-ish, but I'd pay $5-6 per to get 2 with the fixture because otherwise I have to order them from Fast Tracks and get hit with like $12 in shipping for those two parts.
    --
    Leo Bicknell

  22. #17
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Southern Colorado
    Posts
    2,980
    Blog Entries
    8
    Thanks
    1,234
    Thanked 1,838 Times in 880 Posts
    Mentioned
    26 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Heiko View Post
    I think the market is the other way - larger radius than the off-the-shelf offerings. My reasoning: Most people who are willing to shell out the money (and the effort in planning them and finding them on the market) on special turnouts also make space for large radii.

    But I may be wrong.

    Heiko
    No, you're probably right... I just had in mind turnouts I personally would like when I posted, and I am planning an electric interurban branch on my layout, hence a need for small turnouts.
    "Do Not Hump!?!?! Does that mean what I think it means?!?"--Michelle Blanchard

    "People saw wood and say nothing, but railroad men saw trains and say things that are better left unprinted."--Charles De Lano Hine

    Down with UP

  23. #18
    Join Date
    Sep 2018
    Posts
    12
    Thanks
    2
    Thanked 10 Times in 4 Posts
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    You guys are gonna love this. So I sold my first 10 #5 turnouts on eBay. After I sold the first 3, I decided to buy a jig for the #12 and see if they will sell. The day I placed my order for the jig, another person on eBay listed a hand made #12 turnout (competition) and somebody on eBay asked if I can make #4 turnouts (which I don’t have a jig for). This could be interesting. The guy who bought the last of my #5s also expressed interest in #6 turnouts. I find it interesting that the two sizes (#5 and #6) that are probably the most made by manufacturers have as much interest in hand made turnouts as they do. I suppose me offering them for 15.00 a piece may have had something to do with it as well. This could turn out to be an interesting experiment/metric so I will let you guys know if the #12s sell well.

  24. The Following 6 Users Say Thank You to CrazySDK For This Useful Post:


  25. #19
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Ashburn, VA, USA
    Posts
    943
    Thanks
    185
    Thanked 1,123 Times in 380 Posts
    Mentioned
    17 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    I think you have two groups of modelers with very different motivations.

    On the one side, there are always folks trying to fit in a 2x4 or other small track plan. They need tight switches, #4/#5/#6, to make those plans work.

    On the other side there are folks trying to be more "realistic", using more prototype sized turnouts. I suspect most will be in the #10/#12/#14 type sizes although obviously the prototype goes much bigger (ever read about #46 moveable point high speed turnouts?).

    $15 is an extremely cheap price, IMHO. Consumables (rail, PC ties, quick sticks, solder) run about $3-$5 a turnout, near as I can tell. I figure a completed, as in glued on ties, painted, tested, ready to install, turnout takes me about 1.5 hours. You're netting $6.75-ish an hour for the work at that point. I can't find commercial turnouts for under $15, and they have the advantages of mass production. My $0.02 is $25 is the ballpark price.
    --
    Leo Bicknell

  26. The Following User Says Thank You to bicknell For This Useful Post:


  27. #20
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Southern Colorado
    Posts
    2,980
    Blog Entries
    8
    Thanks
    1,234
    Thanked 1,838 Times in 880 Posts
    Mentioned
    26 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    So do you have a link to your ebay store?
    "Do Not Hump!?!?! Does that mean what I think it means?!?"--Michelle Blanchard

    "People saw wood and say nothing, but railroad men saw trains and say things that are better left unprinted."--Charles De Lano Hine

    Down with UP

Similar Threads

  1. Switch holder for manual hand laid turnouts.
    By MystRacing in forum Trackage
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 17th Feb 2014, 10:10 PM
  2. My first hand laid turnout.
    By thetrick in forum Trackage
    Replies: 15
    Last Post: 20th May 2012, 03:42 PM
  3. Hand Laid Turnouts
    By YardMaster845 in forum Trackage
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 1st Dec 2009, 10:35 AM
  4. Hand Laid Rail
    By sams in forum Trackage
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 26th Feb 2005, 12:29 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •