Modifying An atlas turntable?

Discussion in 'Scratchin' & Bashin'' started by MilesWestern, Oct 23, 2006.

  1. MilesWestern

    MilesWestern Active Member

    I have a question for all you kitbashers out there. Say you have a fleet of steamers (6 or so, that need a good place to turn around, an the atlas turntable is a smidge too small, but it could fit end to end across the turntable, could make the turnable larger? Woul that throw off the indexing? I need some help here, if you would be of some assistance.

    Otherwise, do they still make the Walter's 90' er?
  2. zedob

    zedob Member

    I haven't done it, but it seems like it could be done and the indexing should remain intact.
    Make a disk of the required diameter/ length that sits on top of the factory TT, then raise all radiating tracks to meet the TT track.
    The only major problem that I see would be slop in the gearing. The farther out in radius that the rail ends are located, then better the chance of misalignment of the rail ends. This may or may not be a major problem. guardrails may help ensure proper tracking.
  3. KCS

    KCS Member

    I wouldn't recomend it do to the fact turn tables arn't very cheap. However there is a company that is listed in just about every issue of MR mag. the make's custom turn tables. Look around and see. If you don't mind shellin out for another one then that would be the best way to go.
  4. Iron Goat

    Iron Goat Member

  5. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    How much larger do you need it? You can kinda easily stretch it to 10-10.5 inches. Any more than that and it becomes tough because the motor/winding mechanism gets in the way. Basically, all you need to do is glue some kind of shim to the turntable deck, and glue new track on top of that shim. The shim can be two 9" long styrene channels or square rods, and for the track I would recommend rigid track rather than flextrack. Or you can use something like a pair of atlas plate girder bridges spliced together. The new track will overhang the turntable "ring", and the table itself will have to either be sunk into the table top or the tracks leading to it elevated.

  6. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    Back in the early 1980's, Malcom Furlow used an atlas turntable on his Silver San Juan. If you're familiar with Malcom, you understand why this was a problem...he's a narrow gauger!

    Malcom built a new bridge over the existing table for the HOn3 tracks.

    I'd suggest building a new bridge for the TT (or finding a bridge that would fit like nachoman suggests) and mounting it with the head of the rail 3/4 of an inch or so above table...then place this in a pit...and don't forget to run jumpers from the old rail to the new...dropping it and installing a motorizing kit avoids having the crank being in the way of a larger table.

    Edit: also check ebay for turntables. I picked up an old Model Masterpieces 100' table on ebay for a fraction of the price of the new Walthers table.
  7. MilesWestern

    MilesWestern Active Member

    Hmm...all these ideas sound good. I was indeed thinking about making it sunken...but how could I hide the crank motor plate on the side??
  8. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    If you need to make the bridge long enough that it would interfere with the mechanism, then sink it far enough below the talbe that your bridge will clear the motor or crank. A motorized version would be better since you wouldn't need to provide clearance for your hands to operate the crank. For your pit wall, check out a Micheals for embroidery hoops. If you get them the right size, you will have a nice round wall, so irregularities in your cut won't show. You can fill it with spackle. The bottom of your pit could be a false bottom above the Atlas turntable. Put a single rail around the perimiter of the pit to support the new bridge. The wheels will be hidden under the bridge, so you don't need to worry about how they look. I would get a pair of cheap Athearn or MDC trucks and cut one end off the truck so it only has 1 axle and the bolster mount. Then screw the trucks to the bottom of the bridge so that the outside wheel is supported by the rail in the pit. Get some square styrene tubing in 2 sizes, one to fit just inside the other. You can build the bridge out of Atlas flat car load girders. Make a box out of the thickest styrene you can buy at the hobby shop for strength, and make a square hole in the center of the box to mount the larger of the two square drives in. Solder one wire to each rail on the Atlas turntable and make them long enough to run up through the center of the drive square, through the smaller drive square on the bridge, and solder to the two rails on the bridge. Again glue a piece of styrene to the bottom of the bridge, and drill a hole dead center on the bridge and file it to fit the smaller square tube. When you slide the bridge square tube into the base square tube, you will have a drive to transfer the rotation from the Atlas table to the new custom bridge. The power will transfer from the Atlas tracks to the new bridge tracks. The hole in the floor of the pit for the drive to go through should be bigger than the drive squares, but small enough to be hidden by your custom bridge.
  9. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    one more bit of advice - if you arent connecting the TT to a roundhouse, try and get an older all black model. The older ones don't stop at so many tracks, and if all you want to do is turn engines around, they move much quicker! I have a newer one, and it takes forever.

  10. MilesWestern

    MilesWestern Active Member

    WOW RUSS! :thumb: This exactly what I was hoping would be possible! Thank you so much!! Problem solved. :)

    Russ, or anyone else: Did you have pictures of such an arrangement?

    Thanks russ! I'll try that as soon as possible! ;)

    Thanks everyone for throwing some great ideas out there, and I'll post my progess in future posts when I get around to it! :)
  11. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I don't have any pictures. I thought of doing it when I was going to build a small steam era shortline railroad using the last layout in "6 Small Railroads You Can Build" from Kalmbach. I didn't need a longer bridge in the turntable, I was just trying to figure out how to make the Atlas deck type turntable into the pit type that is more common with Western railroads. I started to build it, but quit when I changed my mind about what I wanted to model. In my case I fastened the bridge permanently to the Atlas base, and intended to make the Atlas base the bottom of the pit and just disguise it with a bunch of ground foam and dirt.
  12. MilesWestern

    MilesWestern Active Member

    So much for that (good) idea I got a walthers!~ how to index it?

    OK, here's irony: I asked you guys all about the atlas turntable and how it could me modified, Today I recieved a 90' turntable and motorizing kit from a friend! :rolleyes: Is there any to index this thing? :confused:
  13. steamhead

    steamhead Active Member

    Miles, There is an indexing kit for the W's turntables...Not cheap!!! Last I looked in MR it was in the $200.00 + range... I got a 90' W's t-table and index it like the real ones were done...The ol' eyeball trick. I use a DPDT center off momentary switch to turn the table in either direction and nudge it with short "blips" till it lines up. I think I got the switch at Radio Shack, about $5.00-saved some $$ there.
  14. MilesWestern

    MilesWestern Active Member

    IDEA: what if I put a meduim strength magnet on either end of the turntable, and two on the pit, when it'd come to the magnet, it'd line up and stick a bit, but it wouln't be powerful enough to overcome the motor, just enough to align it. (like kitchen magnets?)
  15. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    That should get you speared by flying flextrack after all that:D :D If it isn't built into it or if the manufacturer doesn't provide it as a separate add-on accessary, then it won't be easy. There have been articles in the past in MR on it and I'm sure there's been a resourceful sprite or two that's done it in cereal cardboard and paper clips but it's a fairly tall order for the average joe...:thumb: Ours at the club is an older Fleischmann that we just eyeball, it really isn't that hard to do.
  16. MilesWestern

    MilesWestern Active Member

    ....would eyeballing it line it up well enough to prevent derailments? Would the magnet idea work, or do more harm than good?

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