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Old 12-22-2012, 08:08 AM   #1
Hutch
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DIY turnouts

I want to try to make my own turnouts if I can't find some reasonably priced used ones somewhere. Are there any tutorials on this?
This is an expensive hobby to get into. I'm an electronic technician by day so I'm planning to make my own DCC controllers and other equipment.
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Old 12-22-2012, 08:24 AM   #2
waltr
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Yep, I hand made many turnouts. The first one or two are difficult but after that they fairly easy. I use the Fast Tracks paper templates (not the fixtures) to build turnouts.
http://www.handlaidtrack.com/Fast-Tr...lates-s/11.htm

Just print and build on top of the template.
The hardest part is filing the angle on the rails for the Frog and the closure rails (points). For those I did buy the Fast Tracks frog & point tool since all my turnouts are the same #.
http://www.handlaidtrack.com/PointFo...outs-s/857.htm

Fast Tracks have a number of good video tutorials that are well worth watching even if you do not use their fixtures.

Here are some links to show how:
http://www.railwayeng.com/handlay6/hndly-h3.htm
http://thomas.tuerke.net/on/mrr/?thread=-952184150
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Old 12-22-2012, 09:50 AM   #3
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Thanks Walt. I printed out a #6 and I'll give it a sometime next week maybe.
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Old 12-22-2012, 11:57 AM   #4
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Do you have PCB ties?
These really help in putting together turnouts.
I buy them from Fast Tracks. They ship fast, if in stock.
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Old 12-22-2012, 12:52 PM   #5
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I have plenty of material and a shear at work. I think I can make those pretty quickly but ill check them anyway.
Thanks
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Old 12-22-2012, 02:50 PM   #6
waltr
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Ok, I did do my first turnouts with FR4 I cut myself.
Hint: when using a shear to cut strips of FR4 they will twist. Be sure to untwist the strips before cutting to tie length.
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Old 12-22-2012, 03:41 PM   #7
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How about band-sawing? I have a pretty good woodworking shop in my garage. What's wrong with using wood? I could even mount it all right onto a plywood roadbed.
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Old 12-22-2012, 05:50 PM   #8
waltr
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You could directly spike the rails for a hand made turnout to wood ties glued to the road bed. This is the 'build in place' method. This can be a problem if the turnout location is hard to reach.
If you use some PCB ties the rails are soldered to the PCB ties to make a turn out on your work bench. It is easier to build turn outs at your bench than directly on the layout. Also, the PCB ties hold the rails 'in gauge' for trouble free operation. A completed turn out is then very much like a commercially purchased turnout.

Only enough PCB ties are used to hold all the turn out rails in place. They are not used at every tie location on the turn out. On the Fast Tracks template the PCB are indicated by the shaded ties. Did you check out the Fast Track videos?

Shearing the FR4 PCB material is ok as long as you know it'll twist and untwist the tie strips before cutting to length (just hold each end with pliers are twist the strip to straighten). Alternately, sawing the FR4 into strips would also work well. Just use a fine toothed blade and be careful that the cut strip doesn't caught in the saw table's blade slot.

One other thing to think about is powering the turnout. The Fast Track method is to have a totally isolated Frog that is then 'power routed'. However there are other ways to power the turnout. I use the isolated frog which is then powered through a DCC Frog Juicer from Tam Valley. Another method to power the frog is from the contacts of a switch machine like the Tortoise.
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Old 12-31-2012, 04:20 PM   #9
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I don't get it. After doing some research, it seems much cheaper to buy peco turnouts rather than build your own even without the jigs and other tools. What's the deal? Why would anyone buy Fast Track products? I must be missing something.
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Old 12-31-2012, 05:08 PM   #10
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my undersyanding...
In standard sizes (#6...etc) I think you'd do it for the look/style/challenge.

But for odd sizes you do it because you can't (easily) buy the turnout you need.

I saw a cool vid on youtube using custom laid tracks. I'll link it if I can on my phone.

Edit.
Watch "Turnout Torture Test" on YouTube
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XhZwE...e_gdata_player


Last edited by broox; 01-01-2013 at 03:04 PM.
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