Let’s build a turntable

Discussion in 'The Academy' started by cnw1961, Nov 11, 2006.

  1. cnw1961

    cnw1961 Member

    I need a turntable for my next layout (HO). I want to scratch build the ATSF roundhouse at Redondo
    ( http://atsf.railfan.net/structures/rhredondo4.jpg ). Even though the turntable at Redondo is 120' and my turntable must not exceed 90 scale feet, I want to build it the same style. To make construction easy and to have a perfectly rounded pit, I ordered this MDF wood ring at an online store for car hifi products.

    pennsyrrfan found a source for these rings in the US: Able Audio . Thank you, Paul.
    The online-store in Germany: CHP car hifi produkte Online Shop


    The inner diamenter is 11 1/2" and it is 3/4" thick. That makes a shallow pit of 81 1/2'. It will be just big enough for my Mikado.
  2. cnw1961

    cnw1961 Member

    I thought of using a phone jack as the center shaft, but I don’t want to turn the bridge with my fingers. I need some sort of mechanism to turn the bridge from underneath. I haven’t decided yet, if I want to use a motor or a handle, but this rules out the phone jack as the center shaft. I will use this .240 brass tube as the center shaft and these gears, I found at a hobby shop. The gear ratio is 1:40. I hope, they will do the trick.
  3. cnw1961

    cnw1961 Member

    At first, I want to build the bridge. To get reliable operation, I think it is essential to have a sturdy bridge, that does not wobble or flex when a loco is standing on it. So I use two layers of .060 styrene to build the deck. I already marked the center of the bridge – it won’t be so easy to do when the bridge is assembled.

    The braces at the bottom of the bridge and the girders are made of .060 styrene too.


    In the last pic you can see the braces on the inside of the girders. Here is another view.

  4. cnw1961

    cnw1961 Member

    Now it is time to add some detail to the bridge. The braces on the outside of the girders are made from .013 and .020 styrene. The strips at the bottom and top of the girders are .020.


  5. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    Wow...nice start:thumb:
  6. Dakota train

    Dakota train Member

    Wow, this is going to be interesting to watch. Lately I decided I wanted a turntable on my layout. But I dont like the looks of some of them and others to pricey. Now this thread shows up, makes me think I should just build one too. Cant wait to see the finished table. Looks great.:thumb::thumb:
  7. cnw1961

    cnw1961 Member

    To be able to fix the center shaft to the bridge (I’ll do that later), I glued this piece of plywood to the bridge. I drilled the hole before I glued the plywood to the bridge. If the hole is not perfectly at a right angle, it is easier to take another piece of plywood and try it again!

  8. cnw1961

    cnw1961 Member

    After I finished the fundamental assembly of the bridge, I turned to the power arch. I used my computer to do drawings of these delicate parts, printed the drawings and glued them to .020 styrene using repositionable adhesive spray. Now it was easy to cut the parts for the arch precisely (the zig-zag line is .040").

  9. cnw1961

    cnw1961 Member

    The next two pics show how I assembled the power arch. With these delicate parts it is very important to allow the glue to dry completely, before the next parts are added.


  10. JAyers

    JAyers Member

    I, too am building my own TT from scratch. Nice work so far! Ray M has a nice How-To on building a similiar table from scratch. Yours is looking good.

    Mine is to be an armstrong A-frame for little tank switchers on quarry layout. I've been documenting mine here. I am using the phono plug idea, as I will be turning it by hand. And a thought occured to me: that brass tube that you're attaching your gear to, what if you attached the 1/4" phone plug to the bottom of that tube, and then inserted that into your jack, to act as a slip ring for electrical? Just a thought. Don't use it as the bearing, but just as an electrical connector.
  11. cnw1961

    cnw1961 Member

    After it dried completely, I fxed the arch to the bridge.


    On the front of the girder you can see the trusses for the walkway.
  12. steamhead

    steamhead Active Member

    Holy Zamboni...!!!
    This is quite a bit of nicely done work...!!! I thought turntables were born in hobby shops...Way to go! Shows that there are still a lot of real modelers out there!!!
    Are you going to build a roundhouse too?? I got to make me one for my layout so I'll look forward to seeing your progress.
  13. cnw1961

    cnw1961 Member

    Shaygetz, thank you for your encouragement. :wave: Dakota, I would be glad, if this thread is of any help to you. JAyers, thank you for your thoughts on using the phone jack. I had the same idea. I hope it works. Can you post some pics of your turntable (or tell me where I can find the thread) – I’d really like to see them! :thumb: Steamhead, as I said at the beginning of this thread, I want to build the ATSF roundhouse at Redondo. But I haven’t even started to build my new layout yet (I don’t even have a the trackplan yet) After seeing some threads on turntables and how doctorwayne built his one, I felt the urge to see right now if I can build a decent turntable :D .
  14. fsm1000

    fsm1000 Member

    Cool idea that. About doing the drawing on the computer and printing it out then spray glueing it to the plastic. I like that.
    One of those 'to simple to see' ideas LOL:)
    Anyhow, it's cool.
    Keep up the good work. :)
  15. Ralph

    Ralph Remember...it's for fun!

    Excellent step by step thread! I'm really impressed with the bridge and arch! Wow!
  16. MilesWestern

    MilesWestern Active Member

    EXCELLENT WORK!!! I Can't Believe how good this is turnign out! :thumb: WOW!! :)
  17. kirkendale

    kirkendale Member

    in a word, WOW :thumb:

    looks great, I cannot wait to see more. and what a great idea for the zig zag bracing.
  18. MadModeler

    MadModeler Member

    Agreed WOW!:thumb: :thumb:

    Folks, agreed. This is definitely one of the best (if not THE BEST) project I've seen!aussie :cool:
  19. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    You're doing a great job, Kurt, and I just wanted to compliment you on your excellent workmanship. :thumb: :thumb: I'm really looking forward to the rest of this.

  20. cnw1961

    cnw1961 Member

    Thank you guys for your very nice comments. :wave: I hope not to bore you with my lenghty posts.

    The next pic shows the power arch after I applied all details.


    I started glueing the ladders to the arch. Then I cut a piece of .040 styrene for the platform.


    I drilled holes for the stanchions before I glued the platform to the arch. The handrail and stanchions are .020 brass wire. I formed little rings on one end of the stanchions to fix them to the handrail.


    Then I soldered the joints. It took some fiddling and cursing (it was late, my wife was asleep already and no one else around :D ) until the wire had the right shape and I could glue it to the platform.


    The last step was to attach the box on top of the arch. That was quite easy, as you can imagine.

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