Sunday, January 20, 2013

Bench Built Track 01

I mentioned yesterday that I was experimenting with a new stub turnout.  I love hand laid track, and like wood ties, but I have not been entirely satisfied with the turnouts on the Virgin Railhead.  I made those turnouts using fast tracks jigs to form the rails.  Instead of using PC board Ties, I simply soldered spacers across the rail.

Two issues, first, the fine throw bar breaks away from the point to easily, and second I am  not entirely pleased with the "flatness" of my ties.  The track works well with a lot of my equipment, but not every piece forward and back, as I know it needs to be.   99% is just not good enough.

I returned to the concept for the paper track I made some time back, and did it this time with wood ties that are more in scale.  My last efforts, both on the railhead and the paper track used over sized ties and it was starting to bug me.  Instead of pre-cut ballast, I ended up making an acrylic template to get things arranged.  I also laser cut my ties in a way that was not dissimilar from Fast Tracks Twist Ties, though mine are simply marked individual ties with spike holes pre-etched.

I also designed a throw bar that pivots at the point rails.  The throw bar itself is hidden under the layout.  Any linkage above the layout can be very fine--that below is incredibly robust.

Overzealous testing, of course, found the limit of strength, and I had to do it again. . . . .  the mark one throw bar is above (using washers), and the thicker, "mark two" throw bar is below.

Should be ready for rail this week.  Ballast is just fine dirt this time.  The servo link seems very robust, and it should also integrate smoothly into a lever / indicator target.    It's shown above with my template.

Here's a shot against the Virgin Railhead turnout I plan on replacing (I'm going to replace all the track).  I've tuned the existing turnout one too many times, and it's loosing its charm.  I am hoping that by bench building track I can achieve something more solid and reliable.  We'll see.

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