Anyone try building snap switches?

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by Nick8564, Mar 23, 2006.

  1. Nick8564

    Nick8564 Member

    Has anyone tried to build snap(solenoid) switches? I use atlas turnouts and most of the ones I got came with the switches, but the custom #6 turnouts did not come with switches and they are not expensive, but were ever I can cut money I get to spend it on something else bigger. Thanks
  2. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Hi Nick,

    I don't know if I've ever heard of anyone building their own switch machines (solenoid or slow motion). Plenty of people build their own turnouts though...

    There are several ways to have "remote" operation of the turnout without an electrical switch machine - choke cable, sprung switches (like Peco), push rod, etc.

  3. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    It would not be difficult to build, but the cost of the materials is likely to exceed the cost of a switch machine. You can also frequently find the machines on eBay - I will be selling some myself in the next week or two.

    To build one, you need an iron or steel slug that is magnetic but does not hold a magnetic field on its own over time. The slug slides back and forth in a tube between 2 electromagnets (coils of wire around the tube). The slug is linked to a push/pull mechanism to throw the turnout. Very simple device, but the devil is in the details. How many loops in of wire in your coils, size wire, getting the slug to slide smoothly in tube, distance between coils versus amount of motion needed at switch throw, whether or not the mechanism has to latch in each position, etc., would all have to be worked out.
  4. Self made switch motor

    Hi Nick,

    I have been busy with this hobby for many years now and I also say,"A dollar saved is a dollar ernd.
    I build my oen wissels annd switch motors, I have had a few missers but I kept at it and I kept getting better, and the thing is I gust used what I could find, I would go to tjhe elektrical dump store and buy motors for $0.50 and I would buy them all at once, about 12 to 15 of them, and from these motors I would make my switch motors.
    I would switch them with a DPDT switch, because my switch machines would turn them self's of when the wissel reached its end point, for this I used micro switches, one at each end and I added one to change the currant of the frog or to change a signal.

    When I first started I bought radio coils I think you call them, rewound them so that thay could withstand about 20 volts for a short time to see if thay would burn out, and then connected them to a 16 volt trafo and used push buttons to switch them.
    Here are some photo's of what I have made over the years.

    Photo's under paperklip.

    Attached Files:

  5. jim currie

    jim currie Active Member

    nice work Ernest :)
  6. Hi Nick,
    You think it's expencive in America, I went to the hobby shop and arsked the price of a solenoid switch from peco and thay arsked €20.00 for one,(about $20.00), and all it is, is two short peaces of small pipe amd some wire, and if you want to change currant for the frog I also had to buy a switch witch I could mount on the solenoid, that also kost €11.00.
    The ones I make my self, kost me €1.50 and about 2 hours work. and it dose exatly the same.
    regards Ernest lafleur.
  7. My wissels

    Hi guys,

    Here is a photo of one of my wissels I built, I got the tip's from a story in the modelrailroader, Sorry I don't know witch number it was, I have been making these wissels for a while now and don't need instructions any more.

    I draw the wissel I want with a cad program and print them out 1:1, that way I can tryout if the wissel will fit where I want it to go, and make changes if I have to.
    About €4.00 and +/- 4 hours later I have the wissel I want and need.
    This way I have made from a Nr#5 wissel to a Nr#10 curved wissel witch is about 60 cm long.
    These wissels are the best I have had yet and I am glad I found that artical in the Model railroader


    Attached Files:

  8. jim currie

    jim currie Active Member

    Ernest again nice work have you tried to build a double slip wissel (switch) .
  9. Hallo Jim,
    I have made a drawing of one, two actualy, a llarge and a small one but I have not built one.
    I have converted some Fleishmann doubbel slips and thy work fine now, I changed the guide rails by making the gap smaller.

    One of these fine days I will try to build one.
  10. Hi again Jim,
    here is a cad drawing of the dubbelslip wissel i was talking about.

    Attached Files:

  11. jim currie

    jim currie Active Member

    thats the baby Ernest built 6 of them on one layout and thats the reason my hair is to thin pulled most of it out building them:)
  12. 6 of them Jim, One good thing about it, you don't have to vizit the barber shop so often, HA HA.:D :D :D
    6 of them, and how do thay perform, to your satisfaction.
    Do you have a photo of one, I would love to see what thay look like.

    I bought my self one today from peco, €45.00 and I must say thay look good and I replaced a roco dubbel slip with the peco and I am happy with the performance, my trains run through ti like klokwork.:thumb:
  13. farmer ron

    farmer ron Member

    Excellent work Ernest, very well done. I also make my own switches, I get the templates from a company called Fast Tracks, a company here in Canada that makes all sorts of jigs etc for making switches. They also have on their site a section where you can print off switch templates on a 1 to 1 size and are NMRA standards. One question that I have is, looks like you use metal bases, how do you insulate everything , I also have to add a switch to route power to my frogs..again well done..Ron..
  14. Hi Ron,
    This company you wrote about, thay have a web site, and an E-mail addres, would you send me those addreses please, I would like to see what thay have in stok.

    No Ron it's not metal bases, It's strips of circuitry board whitch I cut my self, then stik these strips on the drawing at kritical points and then solder the rail on these strips,
    When the switch is finished, I grind the kopper away so I don't have any conection between the plus and the min.
    The rest I place strips of balsa wood, when it is painted and I have layed the ballast, you can not see that some slepers are koper based.

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