hinge point vs. solid point turnouts

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by DarkWingDuck, Aug 19, 2006.

  1. DarkWingDuck

    DarkWingDuck New Member

    Mechanically I understand the difference between the hinged turnout and the solid rails, but after wathing a video on the Fast Tracks turnout jigs I got the impression that there may be major differences in how they operate or how they are used. Can anyone clarify for me what these differences are?

    Secondly, who uses the turnout jigs and do you like them?

    Thanks in advance
  2. LoudMusic

    LoudMusic Member

    Taking a shot at it here ...

    I would imagine hinged points are used when the turnout is sharper, maybe #4, #5, such as that. And solid points are used for more gradual turnouts.

    Hinged of course puts an angle in the rail (which is bad) where solid does not. Solid merely changes the curvature of the rail. Bending the rail enough to go from a straight alignment to a #4 alignment may be difficult, so a hinge is used to releave stress on the alignment mechanism.

    So guys ... am I right? Am I close?
  3. jim currie

    jim currie Active Member

    :wave: welcome to the gauge :wave: by solid rails do you mean the ones that pivot in the center and both the points and the frog ends move ?if talking about solid rails with fixed frogs they take a lot of power to move tried them once :(.as far as the jigs i use home made ones unless the switch is a odd one them i build them in place.
  4. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    For the most part, the prototype used hinged points (there are modern exceptions). I'm guessing that the one of the reasons is the same as one the reasons stub turnouts fell out of favor. As the rail sizes got bigger - generally over 75lbs per yard - the rail got very difficult to bend with existing mechanical turnout throws.

    In models, my guess is that most MRs who handlay track in the indoor gauges, especially On3 and smaller, do not use hinges (however some do). Turnout construction is much simpler and easier without point hinges, and hinges cannot be made to scale, anyway (Andy R at Proto87 Stores may prove me wrong here). The rail flexes consistently enough that if you use a reasonable point-to-stock rail gap for the open point (equal to or less than the NMRA standard), it works quite well. The small point-to-stock rail gap of the open point requires that the frog be insulated from the points, and the points be insulated from each other (insulated throwbar) to avoid shorts from the back of wheels touching the open point (also known as DCC-friendly). The gaps are commonly placed near the frog, and a reasonable point is chosen to anchor the closure rail where the rail can flex to allow the points to throw. Throwbars are commonly made from PC board to allow soldering of points to board, and then gapping the foil to insulate points from each other.

    Commercial model turnouts, on the other hand, generally use hinges. The throw on a commercial turnout is often much larger than hand-layers would use, so hinges or pivots at both the throwbar and the point-to-closure rail connection are used. With hinges or pivots, stamped or cast metal is often substituted for actual rail in the points. The hinges or pivots at the closure rail end are usually use to conduct electrical power, and they are known for occasionally not doing so over time.

    I have never used the Fast Tracks jigs - I customize a handlaid turnout for a specific location - but have heard many favorable reports other than price.

    yours in handlaid track
  5. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    I haven't seen the Fast Tracks video, so don't know what they present, but I don't see what major differences there could be in the use and operation of hinged versus non hinged turnouts. Yes, there will be less resistance in throwing the points of a hinged turnout. But except for code 100 or larger, the resistance is not an obstacle anyway. Of course, as Fred stated, most prototype turnouts are hinged. I started handlaying long ago, when handlaid turnouts looked better than any commercial turnouts available. That is no longer the case, as Micro Engineering turnouts are beautiful. I've started to use them on my recent addition. Funny thing is they are only available in #6. I think that is funny because my main reason I wouldn't buy a Fast Tracks jig is to avoid having all my turnouts be the smae, most likely #6! When I handlay, I draw my certerlines, glue down ties, and lay rail, never bothering to measure frog size, who cares? My centerlines are drawn to allow a generous radii. One or two turnouts experience teaches you where to put your frogs. I build in place to suit. Fred covered the issues of points being closer to stock rails on handlaid versus commercial, which is key to appearance to me. Also the gapping issues. But this can be done easily without a jig. Andy Reichart (sp?) does have some awesome details for track, I bought some scale spikes and tie plates but found my eyes weren't up to the challange. Wish they had been available years ago!

    Sorry I haven't really answered your questions. You may want to try the Yahoo group dedicated to hand laid track.

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