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I use Hankscraft motors on all my turnouts. My scratchbuilt turnouts don't have any hinge device in the points. The point rails are simply bent to the selected route. This takes a certain amount of force, and the geared motors provide it. I've had the motors in my home stock for many years, and I was able to buy them for $4 ea. (super-cheap!) Recently, due to age & health issues, I've been relocating motors, & all other electrics to the front of the layout where I can get at them without going under the layout. Simple rod-in-a-tube mechanical linkages connect the turnouts to their motors. Given that I have a mechanical linkage right up to the fascia, why motors at all? Well I like route control and I found a simple electrical way of doing it with no digital electronics. For someone else who wanted simplicity, & didn't care about route control, the motors could be eliminated. That's what I did on my grandson's layout.

Traction Fan 🙂
 

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This thread couldn't have happened at a better time for me. I have been tossing and turning about what to do with all the turnouts I will have on my layout. Ideally I'd like to have them all on switches but that would cost a lot of money! I did buy some of the manual ground throws when I placed a recent order with MicroMark but I don't really want to do them for all the switches...

Has anyone ever done a DIY automated turnout motor? My mind is going over the possibilities and I like doing/building things myself. I'm sure it's not cost effective but curious if anyone has ever done it? The thought of $25+ per turnout is a bullet that is hard to swallow and I already have 8 turnouts in my plans and that's without the 2-4 yards or industries I plan on doingo_O
Yes, I have built DIY DC motor switch machines, but only a few as sample prototypes for my former club. The machines I made were mostly wood, with cheap, 3 volt, DC motors, a long 6-32 machine screw and micro limit switches with diodes. They were cheap as far as materials, perhaps $5 ea. but took a lot of time to build. The club ended up using commercial Hankscraft motors mounted on Rix racks.

Many years later I came up with the machine in the attached files. Its basically a manual, remote, push-pull, substitute for the popular, but expensive, Tortoise motor.
It does everything a Tortoise does, except run on electricity. It also costs less , $5 rather than $18.
Its also very quick & easy to make, unlike my earlier design. Using a table saw, you should be able to cut a whole slew of the two main parts from an 8' plank of 1 x 3 in a few minutes. The other parts are simple screws, washers, music wire, and an optional micro-switch or two. Such parts, bought in bulk packs, are quite cheap.

Traction Fan 🙂
 

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@traction fan builds his own manually operated remote turnout switches using piano wire and tubing. A wire inside a sheath kind of like a bicycle brake cable.
Jeff;

Actually, I use the wire-inside-a-brass-tube-linkages with electric gear motors. The reason for the motors is just my desire for route control, where one rotary switch controls all the turnouts needed to reach a selected track.
However, If one didn't care about route control, the exact same linkages would work just fine with simple manual levers or knobs, instead of the motors. In fact, this manual version is exactly what I used on my grandson's layout.

I have also invented a manual, much less expensive, substitute for the popular Tortoise switch machine. Its outlined in the two attached files, and it uses the same wire-inside-a-tube-linkage. One of these linkages is shown in photo #1.

The local control panel in photo # 2, controls all the turnouts needed to reach any given track in Cedar Falls yard, by setting a single rotary switch.

Photo #3 shows the motors that operate the turnouts & some engine house doors, through linkages. I mounted all the electrical gear up front where this old & disabled fart can get at them for maintenance.

If you wanted to skip all the complex electric stuff, a simple lever (photo #4) or knob (photo 5) will control an individual turnout just fine.

regards;

Traction Fan 🙂
 

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I'm using my pile of zstuff for trains motors that I had for my now boxed up o scale stuff, for my current ho layout. But I've had a lot difficulties not so much due to the motors although they may play a role, but to the unplanning "I'm just going to make this work" me.
Anyway they come with their own push button actuator which I like well enough. However maybe one day if I run out of things to do I'll convert them to some kind of throw lever... Which appeals to me for some reason....
Maybe you could use the Caboose Industries ground throws that come with electrical contacts for your throw levers?

Traction Fan
 

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@traction fan thanks for sharing! I 100% will look into your files (on phone getting ready to head to work) as that seems right down my alley!
I don't know why people put this "at" @ symbol in front of my screen name, which is just, "Traction Fan" without the @
Maybe there's some digital reason for this that this old analog fart doesn't understand?

Traction Fan
 
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