i need some help with turnouts

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by zachary, Dec 2, 2007.

  1. zachary

    zachary Member

    hello everyone i have finaly came up with a trackplan that uses 24 turnouts and i was thinking of handlaying them but havent the slightest clue how to thanks for your help zachary
  2. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    put handlaid and turnout or track in the search function. There are some threads (about 2005) covering handlaying.
    Also check for fast tracks. They make a jig for assembling turnouts and fancier track, but it's expensive. 24 turnouts (the same?) might justify one.
  3. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    There is a book by Kalmbach that came out about a year or two ago that contained an article by Tony Koester on handlayiong turnouts. There is also an article in the current issue of Model Railroader on hand laying turnouts.
  4. zachary

    zachary Member

    i thiink i have decided to hand lay my turnouts cause it will be cheaper in the long run do you think i should by the kit or just wing it
  5. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    Although that's one reason for hand laying turnouts, it may not be enough to sustain you if you are an easily frustrated when pursuing the finer points of modeling.

    The Fast Tracks jigs are reportedly very helpful for your first couple of turnouts. The limitations of the jigs are 1) the expense if you need multiple frog angles or rail sizes; 2) limited with few exceptions to the frog angle of the jigs you ordered; and 3) not easy to install tie plate detail. OTOH, provided you build in accordance with the instructions, you will have a very smooth running turnout that will not cause derailments with wheel sets that are in gauge.

    I learned to hand lay before Fast Tracks jigs were available. But I didn't start with a turnout, either. I used Jack Work's article in April 1963 Model Railroader as a guide. I was scared that I was in over my head. So, first I laid an oval on a 4x8 of Homasote covering plywood. I then took up some of that track and added a couple of turnouts. Worked out better than I ever dreamed. I have found that I find a peace and patience I don't normally have when I am hand laying track or tuning a locomotive. This gives me the ability to correct my work until it is spot on. But there are plenty of folks who don't find this peaceful zone when hand laying track - and for them hand laying is not a good idea.

    Advantages of not using the jigs: 1) you save the expense; 2) you can have custom trackwork to any geometry you like, including curved frogs, curved turnouts, stub turnouts, and so forth; 3) you can pick methods, techniques, and components you prefer without worrying whether it will work with the Fast Tracks jigs. You can buy very detailed cast frogs, or make your own. Same with points and throw rods. You can buy very realistic tie plates, and point hinges, or make your own, or do without.

    The primary disadvantage of not using the jigs is creating your own turnout template to lay out ties, file the frog, determine the length of points, and so on. I did this by by drawing where I wanted the rails to go in pencil right on the Homasote. Steve Hatch of Railway Engineering (Handlaying Track) suggests positioning a piece of flex track to one path of the turnout, tracing the position of the rail heads onto paper taped in place over top, repositioning the flex track to the desired other path of the turnout, and again tracing the rail head positions on the same paper still taped in place.

    just some of my thoughts, your choices
  6. zachary

    zachary Member

    well i think im going to be getting the jig its not that i dont have any patince it that i havent got 20 20 vision i have vision inpairment althout i still have a lot of my vision
  7. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    I built my first turnouts in high school; it was mainly a financial matter but I was encouraged by a friend. I started by making a stub turnout (no points) using a nailfile (I had a lot more time than money) and a soldering iron. And a track gauge. I went on with Atlas and Tru-Scale switch kits. I finally built a full switch in code 70 (very daring for the time). This was about 45 years before the jigs came out. I think I still have some of the bits in a scrap box.
  8. zachary

    zachary Member

    thats cool im defitnaly going to build my turnouts when the time comes

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