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Author Topic: Hand laid switches  (Read 1779 times)

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« on: November 16, 2010, 10:21:32 PM »

How about some more advice!
Based on info from you guys i have decided to change a couple of switches out in order to run a new steam loco. I have seen some hand laid ones on ebay that look good. I know some of you guys lay your own. Would one of those be better than a "store bought" one from Atlas or others. I am using code 83 track, although i don't think that matters. I'm not ready to start that aspect of modeling yet, mainly because of time constraints. In other words, my grandson is impatient! What say ye?    thanks in advance, david
Jim Banner

Enjoying electric model railroading since 1950.

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« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2010, 11:33:17 PM »

Hand laid turnouts, crossovers and crossing are a great solution when the exact configuration you need is not commercially produced.  But making them tends to be time consuming and they usually need some tweaking before they work perfectly.  If you have time constraints, you may want to avoid them at this time.  "Store bought" turnouts are usually quite satisfactory although even with them you may still have to make minor adjustments.  Just be sure to select turnouts that are compatible with your new locomotives. 

There are other solutions.  Let's look for example at a 10-coupled locomotive.  A modern plastic model with various compromises carefully engineered into it may be quite happy on a #6 turnout.  But an older brass model of the same locomotive built with limited compromises may require a #8 or even a #10 turnout.  As these high numbered turnouts take up a lot of real estate, people will sometimes design their layout with one special track that uses only the straight through routes of turnouts along it.  Then they can use space saving #4, #5 or #6 turnouts and still run their long locomotives on that one special track.   

Growing older is mandatory but growing up is optional.
« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2010, 11:37:03 PM »

Peco turnouts are usually pretty good, as are Shinohara turnouts.

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« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2010, 11:50:47 PM »

if the handlaid switches are done with fast tracks jigs, and laid on pc board ties, they shouldn't be that much more difficult than a commercial switch. the jigs are set up to hold everything in place while the switch is soldered together, and the pc board ties will hold everything in guage while you lay the switch on your layout. you'll have to lay some switch ties to fit between the pcb ones, and you'll have to drill a hole in the throwbar for your switch motor linkage, or hand throw. other than that, they shoudlwork just as well.

the only thing that would keep me from buying one off ebay is that you don't know how careful the seller was in his workmanship.

Jeffery S Ward Sr
Pittsburgh, PA

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« Reply #4 on: November 17, 2010, 01:50:36 PM »

For your purposes, use the commercial turnouts.  A No. 6 turnout will accommodate virutally any loco except maybe an old brass ten-coupled loco like a C&O T-1 or PRR J-1.  The advantage to today's commercial ones is that most of them are now DCC-compatible.  A build-your-own takes some extra efforts with gapping and electrical power routing for reliable DCC operation. 

Just FYI, with standard turnouts, the smaller the number, the sharper the angle through the frog, which limits the use to smaller power and rollling stock. 
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