Tetter's Layout Progress and Other Pics.

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by tetters, Feb 3, 2007.

  1. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    sign1 sign1

    I still can't work up the neve to handlay a switch :oops: :oops:
  2. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    To be honest I never would have considered it, until I happened upon the Fast Tracks website. Then I decided to take the plunge and give it a shot. The fixture is a big help as it holds everything in place plus keeps it all nice and square. I rewatched the instructional video again to see where I can improve on the next one and little tips and steps I forgot to do on this one. I am convinced that they will only get better from here on in. It's almost like cheating. :D
  3. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    Thank you very much. :thumb:

    I've jumped into the deep end alright. More like deep fryer! sign1

    It's going to take me awhile to get to any semblance of a finished product, however I'm convinced that it will be all worth it. I'm going to bang off several more of these and let you all know how it going before I update again. I was actually thinking about constructing a small diorama to test the waters in advance. Even wire it for power with a working ground throw to fiddle with.

    Until then, take'er easy fellas!

    Oh one more edit....looky what else came in the mail.


    Unfortunately. This is how she will stay until my decoders come in. Still a beaut though. I haven't been this exicted about something since I found out the liquor store sold my favourite scotch in bigger bottles.

  4. Nice stuff you're building there, very well done and quite clean. Too bad about the grab irons...wait...what are grab irons again? My memory's dying...
  5. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    I was bored...

    ...and a wee bit drunk. So I built a test track.




    I was also tired after laying about half dozen hand laid switches and building several kit cars.

    It was really quite simple. I used some scrap wood I had laying about. The top is nothing more then 1/8 wood panel board. The cheap stuff you use to "dress up" the den in the basement. I also used some 1" x 1/2" wood as a simple framing. The wires and feeders are not pretty as I used whatever I could find. I wasn't going for asthetics I wanted to see if I could get it to all work. Well, a few glasses of Scotch later and I did!

    Tomorrow evening I'll install the Tortoise machine I picked up at my LHS. I need a switch for it before I can wire it all up. My main goal was to see if the handlaid # 5 switch I had made would actually work with a moving train. For all intents and purposes it did. There were a couple de-railments. Mostly due to me thinking..."How fast can I make this go before I run out of room???"

    The test track is 4' long by 6" wide. The parallel tracks are 2 1/4" on center. Which is what my track plan calls for. (I kinda fluked out that one...:D). As you can see I can fit a loco plus two small frieght cars on it and experiment with them. Oddly enough the cars that did derail the odd time were Athearn RTR cars I picked up. All my P2K kit cars were flawless on the turnout. The straight sections of track are flex track I picked up which I just glued down to the cork bed using carpenters glue. Seems to hold it well enough. I probably took me about 5-6 hours to build...on a whim basically.

    About the turnout. It's the first one I made...the one I said was sloppy looking. Seems to work decently enough for this application. The frog has a little too much gap in it as I can see the wheels drop ever so slightly when crossing it. It works fine though and this is without any wood ties and being tacked down! I need to wire up the Tortiose to get power to the frog though. As of now, a slow moving train will stall when it crosses the frog. That said, I'm really stoked about how these are going to work out on my finished layout.

    If I get the Tortoise wired up, I'll post up tomorrow. As of now, I'm losing my buzz, but I have to work tomorrow anyway. Good night!


    P.S. In other news...The layout has gotten bigger with the boss' permission. Which means I'll have to edit my track plan. It's now a 12' x 14' shelf plan. Whoo...hoo!

    ...wait...that means I'll have to make more turnouts probably...dang it!
  6. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!


    I finally got around to getting the Tortoise all wired up. I just need to install it in the test track.

    Let me explain. I've never done this kind of stuff before. Electrically speaking. Well, that is not entirely true. I've run entirely new circuits in my cottage but that is a different story I guess. When it comes to small electronics, if you will, I fear that I'm going to blow an important component despite my best efforts at following instructions.

    Using 18 solid gauge wire throughout I managed to hook up a 4.5 volt DC power supply to 4 position dual row bar. From there I soldered up wires to DPDT switch and then connected it all to the 4 position bar. From the bar I then ran my wires to the Tortoise and soldered my feeds to the # 1 and # 8 positions on the board. I turned off my power bar and plugged in my power pack. I then turned my power bar back on. To my surprise and enthusiasm the Tortiose actually moved! Honestly, I was expecting nothing to happen. Seriously I thought it either gonna go kabloowie or nothing. I then flicked the switch and watched it move over to the other postion. I played with this set-up for several minutes amazed at the fact that I DID THIS!!!

    I wish I could drill the holes to mount everything. Alas the house is asleep. I don't want to fire up the power drill. The wife would give me a frontal lobotomy with said drill if I did so! EEK!!! I'll finish up tomorrow and post up pictures of my crack experiments.

    FYI - Next month during March Break. I'll be starting some actual bench work. In the meantime until then, I'll be busy making turnouts and cars. I've got a lot of work to do, until then.

  7. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    Hey guys. Before I go burning down the house I need to ask a quick question. In order to power my electrically isolated frog on my turnout I need to connect it to the track power through the Tortoise by using points 2, 3 & 4 right? I've been busting my head over this, and think I've got it figured out. I just need a second opinion.

  8. Amrap1

    Amrap1 Member

    Totally awesome work! I have trouble with something as simple as laying cork on a curve, so I can't even imagine trying to hand lay track let alone a turnout! Keep up the great work and keep the pics coming.

  9. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    Nevermind. I got it figured out. Good thing I didn't burn the house down. sign1
  10. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    I promised myself I was not going to post something without some sort of progress to explain my summer absence. Beside with the colder weather I'm looking for things to do indoors to keep me from going stir-crazy.

    So, I'm 2/3 finished my benchwork. I still have to complete the 8 foot section of the "L" shape to the shelving. For framing I salvaged scrap pieces of 2x6 & 2x8 lumber which I milled/ripped into 3x2's (technically, 2 1/2 by 1 1/2, but hey who is counting...) and used that for framing. Best thing is it didn't cost me anything...It was wood laying around from when I built a deck and fence a few years ago. Throw a coat of paint on it ( dark brown???...I haven't decided ) and it will look just keen.

    I also used the bench work to create some much needed shelving space. That created some "natural" cross bracing for the structure which really stiffened the whole set up. I topped it off with 3/8 fir plywood for the decking.

    I know some would argue that I should have used at least half inch decking however, my 210 pound frame has been leaning/sitting on top of this all weekend, drawing track lines just to get an idea where things will go. So I believe it is pretty damn solid. It's also 54" high, so it is just about at chest height for me. It's widest is at 1' 11" inches which is actually a mistake...whoops, I measured the cross bracing at the actual width of the decking inside of accounting for the width of the lengthwise lumber. I can still easily touch the back wall, and if I have to, stand on a step ladder. At 34 yo I like to think I'm still young too.

    I plan to top the decking off with cork for the roadbed when I actually start to hand-lay the track work. I should get the 8 ft section done next weekend. For now this is all I have done.


    I have to re-locate some electrical. I was planning on running the outlet behind the layout and mounting it to the benchwork. Plug in a power bar and I'm all set for power. The light switch will be gone as it is not needed. Whoever did the electrical in this house last really did some stupid things. (sigh...thinks of the cost to get a pro to re-wire the whole house in a few years time...) The dryer duct will be moved as well. I'll have to drill a new hole for the vent in the side of the house as I plan to use aluminum ducting instead of the plastic tube. The duct work will be tucked up into the joists above the ceiling.


    Here is a quick shot of my "stuff". Compared to the length I've got so far it doesn't look like much. Guess that means I'll have to buy and build more models. :mrgreen:

    You can also see one of the "problems" I need to design around. I don't know what the piping is for in the corner, however I'm in no hurry to start cutting it out. My theory is that it was for the an old oil furnance that used to be in the house decades ago. My current plan is build structures around it like a grain mill and my brewery. Some tall buildings should hide it nicely. I guess I should paint the walls too...that ogre green is hideous.

    Oh and the original 16 x 8 ft layout is back ( w/ possible expansion of another 6 ft to the 8 ft leg?) I was going to build this in another room, however decided to keep it in my little corner of the basement.

    That's all for now.
  11. cnw1961

    cnw1961 Member

    Hey Tetters, one of the few positive aspects (or the only??? I like it warm) of the cold weather is to see you making progress. Good to see you posting again :wave::wave:.
  12. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    Hey thanks Kurt. How's your layout coming along? It looks like you added a bit more structure wise. Looking nice indeed. Good motivation for me to get me arse in gear!

    I got a jump start on the "phinal" phase III of bench work construction. I had to make a compromise as I needed to make sure my wife had a place to use her wire rack to hang dry some of her clothes. I still need to place a 6 footer length wise across the front and use some additional 2x3's for angle bracing to help stiffen it all up. I may run a 3 ft brace at 18" from the floor across the back side on the right. Plus I need to put some additional cross beams in between the uprights to properly support the deck when i place it on top. As is, it is already pretty strong. Guess those years as high school kid who did some house framing finally paid off. :p

    If it wasn't for the hail that started to fall, I could have cut the remaining pieces and at least assembled it all inside. Damn Mother Nature won't co-operate. I have to hurry somewhat. Pretty soon I won't be able to stand outside and "make" more of the lumber I'm going to need.

  13. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    I feel like I'm talking to myself here...but that's o.k. sign1

    A quick note to the engineer's log as contruction is going to slowly ramp up over the next couple of weeks. I went ahead and ordered the Fast Tracks # 6 curved turnout as I'm going to need at least a couple of them. It has a minimum internal radius of 21" which should handle anything I'm planning to run. Plus more rail and wood ties. Enough to keep me going for a while at least. To be honest I don't know how much I'm going to need.

    I can't believe how totally commited I am to hand laying the trackwork for this! :razz: I am not a patient guy and for me to be still sold on the idea is a personality accomplishment. Trust me!

    Funny how the mind starts to concoct other ideas while planning this sort of thing...Last night I caught myself thinking about how I could re-route the copper pipes on the floor joists above the layout to somewhere where that are not. That way I could build a valance ( I think that is what it is called ) w/ lighting and to frame it all in nicely. It really wouldn't take much, and I'm a pretty solid "back-yard plumber". I even started to count the copper fittings I would need to do the work...crazy huh?

    Need to go to the local Rona tonight and buy the last sheet of 3/8 fir for the decking, maybe find some cork too...then it's all down hill from here. I'll post up later in the week when I've really got something to report.

  14. cnw1961

    cnw1961 Member

    At least, I listen to you :mrgreen: :wave::wave:.

    To answer your question: VERY SLOWLY :mrgreen::mrgreen:. Yes, I added some structures. Now there are only two or three left to be built, but one of them (the citrus packing plant) will be a real challenge, so it will take some time.
  15. wickman

    wickman Member

    Nice to see some progress pics, keep em coming:wave:
  16. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    Glutton for Punishment...or at least that's what I call this photo.

    I've banged off about five more of the turnouts I'm going to need. I still have to make 4 more rights and 2 more lefts. I feel like an assembly line worker. I'm going to take tomorrow off.

    As if that wasn't bad enough, I made a jig so I could accurately assemble a yard ladder and keep it nice and straight while maintaining my 2" centers. Then...looking at the combined skeletons, I decided I wanted to see how they would look on some ties.

    So one by one I started placing down ties. I followed the centerlines on the deck and just kept going, stooped over the bench meticulously laying each individual cross and turnout tie. Eye balling the spaces inbetween each one. Then I took the entire skeleton and laid it on top. Not too shabby...too bad its not permanent. wall1


    Those little sticks go on for two more turnouts behind the loco.


    Time for bed. :sleeping:
  17. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    I lied.

    So sue me, I didn't take the day off today. :mrgreen:

    I finished off my bench work. I added some much needed angle bracing and finished off some "details". Cause its those little details that seem to take up a lot of time to do as well.

    Also, after last nights tedious task of laying down ties only to scoop them all up again this morning...I got to thinking tonight,

    "There has to be an easier and quicker way!"

    No sooner said then done. I grabbed a couple of the "Quick Sticks" for turnouts that Fast Tracks supplies when you order one of thier fixtures. I then broke the sides off which left me with the bits of actual ties in the middle and the two remaining, normally waste, "halves". I lined these up using the end pieces of ties I broke out and glued them down to a small sheet of plywood I had. I did this for a left and a right turnout. Voila! Instant "tie rack*" template.

    Brilliant! If I do say so myself. Pats himself on the back. :twisted:


    Using these templates I should be able to cut and place down my turnout ties with ease. Then using a piece of masking tape pull out the wood ties and glue them to my road bed. Which is what I sorta of did in the picture, except I just glued them down to plywood. The beauty of it is if I am patient and careful I can pull off the tape before the glue dries. Then make minor adjustments if needed to the ties spacing with the turnout laid on top. I can also still use the Quick Sticks ties I broke out. I just lay them in place, stick them to tape to pull them out and glue them down like regular ties.


    *"Tie Rack" is a name that Fast Tracks gave to its own tie jig for laying down straight or curved ties. I just borrowed it.
  18. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    Still slugging away here!

    I received some more goodies in the mail today... :mrgreen:


    That is a crap load of turnout and cross ties, a # 6 curved turnout jig, outer radius of 30" inner of 21". I need at least two of them. Also the point form and frog tool, plus some PCB ties, .015 solder, a couple of tie racks for siding and branch line spacing and some more of the quicksticks.

    This is where all the action happens...


    Sorry about the mess. I'm running out of room to work. As you probably can tell, I've got a number of things all going on at the same time. The free weights are placed on top of small particle board pieces (or in this case my # 5 turnout jig) while the glue dries. Who says you don't get any exercise while model railroading? My arms are getting quite ripped! :lol:

    However, I finally started laying ties for the first yard ladder.


    As you can also see I finally got my cork roadbed. I was planning on getting some ballast tomorrow at the LHS however, this missus made other plans for the morning...:curse:

    Not a big deal really...I have a ton of ties I need to lay anyways. Since the above picture I've laid a couple of small straight sections about 2 ft each coming off of the diverting rails. Waiting for the glue to dry is the hard part. I have to wait for it to dry completely before I can sand the tops of the ties to make them level. Then I can stain them with some watered down leather dye or india ink...I haven't decided which I'm going to try. Maybe I'll do a mock up side by side and post up a poll for you folks to vote on? :twisted:

    I'll keep you all posted until the next time.
  19. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    The guys in the rail manufacturing plant have been working overtime for the new yard facility. They've begun production on the first of two # 6 turnouts needed...;)


    Meanwhile the boys laying down the rail have been working hard as well.


    They were expecting the first of many hundreds of ballast truckloads however rumor has it that there is a strike at the quarry...oh no...that could mean a delay.



    After a hard day working on the railroad the boys and gals are calling it quits for the day.

    Until tomorrow.
  20. cnw1961

    cnw1961 Member

    Seeing these jigs and your wooden ties, I am tempted to try hand laying track on my next layout. Unfortunately it will be so small that I only need a few turnouts, so that it won’t justify the cost of the jigs :cry: – all the turnouts I need will be cheaper than one of those jigs. So I’ll have to use track with plastic ties again.

    Your track gang is doing a great job. I am sure your track will look awesome after ballasting.

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