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Old 08-12-2019, 10:41 PM   #1
dd1228
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TURNOUTS

Im having a heck of a time with turnouts. A while back I was using all Peco stuff, and it was pretty good except too much tie spacing, not prototypical looking. So I switched to Atlas code 55 flex and turnouts. It looks great but the latest batch of turnouts I got were of poor quality. They weren't flat and the straight part of the turnout was not straight. Very disappointing. So I was thinking about the old adage "If you want something done right you have to do it yourself". So has anyone hand made turnouts using the Fast Tracks jigs? Their videos make it look very easy and the turnouts look great. But the initial cost is a couple of hundred to get started. I don't mind paying that if my turnouts will turn out like their videos. However, I think their videos are showing HO turnouts, a little easier to work with the bigger size. Any advise appreciated. Thanks in advance.
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Old 08-13-2019, 10:19 AM   #2
sid
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some body on here makes there own turn outs . cant remember who. but im sure they will post here shortly. my memory is not that great these days.
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Old 08-13-2019, 11:11 AM   #3
GNfan
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traction_fan makes his own N scale turnouts. He usually comes by here once or twice a week.
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Old 08-13-2019, 11:52 PM   #4
traction fan
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West DIY turnouts

Quote:
Originally Posted by dd1228 View Post
Im having a heck of a time with turnouts. A while back I was using all Peco stuff, and it was pretty good except too much tie spacing, not prototypical looking. So I switched to Atlas code 55 flex and turnouts. It looks great but the latest batch of turnouts I got were of poor quality. They weren't flat and the straight part of the turnout was not straight. Very disappointing. So I was thinking about the old adage "If you want something done right you have to do it yourself". So has anyone hand made turnouts using the Fast Tracks jigs? Their videos make it look very easy and the turnouts look great. But the initial cost is a couple of hundred to get started. I don't mind paying that if my turnouts will turn out like their videos. However, I think their videos are showing HO turnouts, a little easier to work with the bigger size. Any advise appreciated. Thanks in advance.

dd1228;

Yes, as GNfan said, I do scratch-build my own N-scale, code 55 turnouts. The why, and how, is in the attached pdf file, "How I scratchbuild turnouts." The other file, "All about turnouts", has some general information, and my opinions, on the various commercial offerings, including Micro Engineering brand turnouts, which look fantastic, work well, but are a little delicate; so you need to be a bit gentle when installing them. Also Micro Engineering only has #6 right, and #6 left turnouts available.

The tie spacing on the Peco turnouts you have is probably correct for British track. Peco is a British firm and much of their track and turnouts are based on British prototypes. I recently watched some videos of British railways, and their track does have the ties(they call them "sleepers) further apart than they are on American track. Peco does make some track and turnouts based on North American prototype track. I don't know if they make the North American track in N-scale, or only in HO-scale.

I started making my own turnouts many years ago, when there were no N-scale, code 55 commercial turnouts available. Today Atlas, Peco, and Micro Engineering, all make them, and I should add Kato. They make a good N-scale turnout, reasonably priced, but I'm not sure the rail is code 55 if that's important to you. Also Kato's turnouts do not have the more realistic looks you apparently want.

My turnouts are primarily built for ruggedness and reliability, rather than for appearance. I think that they look fine when painted and ballasted, but they may not meet your standards for looks, that's up to you. If they don't, then you might go with Micro Engineering as they make the most realistic looking turnouts, and code 55 flex track, I've ever seen.

The biggest advantage of building your own turnouts is cost savings. You can make your own turnouts for about $5 ea. (or a bit less) in terms of the cost of the materials needed to build them.
A good quality commercial turnout, like Peco, Micro Engineering, or Kato, retails for about $20-$30ea. The price of commercial turnouts seems to be very gradually going down a little bit, and there are some discounts available as well. This somewhat reduces the cost advantage of building your own, but not all that much. The trade-off for spending less money is spending more time.

While the Fast Track jigs are popular, and seem to satisfy the folks who use them; I, personally, have never used, needed to use, or even wanted to use, them. They are very expensive, and each jig can only make one type of turnout. If you buy a #6 right hand jig, for example. Correction per the next response from Sumner apparently the #6 right-hand jig can also make left -hand #6 turnouts
This doesn't mean that The Fast Track jigs, have anything physically wrong with them. Many have used them, and been very happy with the results. I just never found them necessary, and I wasn't willing to spend that amount of money on something I didn't need.

By using the method, and materials, outlined in the file, I've been able to build dozens of turnouts, in any configuration required. I have also scratch-built all-rail crossings and custom yard throats in much the same way. You would need a lot of expensive jigs to do that; if indeed, you could even find jigs for all those different pieces of custom trackwork. By contrast, once you learn how to scratchbuild turnouts without jigs, you can build whatever kind of trackwork you want.


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How I scratch build turnouts new(8).pdf

All AboutTurnouts rev 4.pdf
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Last edited by traction fan; 09-04-2019 at 01:19 PM..
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Old 08-15-2019, 04:02 PM   #5
dd1228
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thanks to all who responded!
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Old 08-21-2019, 03:33 PM   #6
Sumner
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Making your own turnouts....

Hi, first new to this board and new to returning to N scale since I was last doing this in the early 70's.

I decided after a lot of thought and reading to try making my own turnouts. I also decided to start with one of the Fast Tracks fixtures. Not sure if without one I would of gotten my feet wet. Sure they cost some bucks but if it means trying or not only you can decide what it is worth to you. For me I'm glad I went this route.





Above is the first turnout I made with their fixture. It seems fine rolling trucks through it but haven't started the layout yet so will know more later. One point to clear up is that if you get #6 turnout fixture it will make both left-hand and right-hand turnouts from the same fixture.

I spent a little more and got a #6 crossover fixture..

https://www.handlaidtrack.com/af-n-c-6-me55

... and with it can make #6 left and right-hand turnouts and crossovers.

After doing a few #6's, and those will be the majority of turnouts on the layout, I tried making one with a paper template that was downloaded from FastTracks site....



... and it came out pretty good also. I learned a lot from first using the fixture and you can build a turnout much faster with the fixture so it has been a great investment.

If you are only interested in say 10-20 turnouts then give the paper templates a try but if you get frustrated consider buying the fixture and the point and stock rail forming tools. They also really speed up the process. I'm not quite at a turnout per hour using the fixture and other tools but getting close after only doing 6 or so.

I also recently (no pictures yet) designed a curved turnout to a 14" outer radius and a 12" inner radius since I couldn't find a template for that. It also seems to work fine.

I have a lot more on my web site here if you are interested...

http://1fatgmc.com/RailRoad/Trackwor...ork-Index.html

Sumner

Last edited by Sumner; 08-26-2019 at 04:57 PM..
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