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Discussion Starter #1
I've seen people mention that they can build turnouts in an hour or two. That's just crazy! Roughly speaking I'm spending about an hour for initial prep and laying down the stock rails, probably 90 minutes each on the frog and each point, another hour attaching the points to a throwbar and adding guard rails...

I mean, I've made several of these things now, and I expect the dual-gauge models to take about twice as long, but this was just a basic standard-gauge turnout using one of my printed jigs to get everything in place quickly, and I finally finished it up this afternoon. I'm not struggling with the placement of each piece any longer. The only thing I can think of is that it takes me a long time to file down the angles for the points and frog even though I use a dremmel to take down the bulk of the material. Maybe I'm just spending too much time test-fitting everything? I dunno, but I do end up with nice smooth turnouts in the end.

I'm building 14 nearly identical turnouts for the shelf layout. One down, thirteen to go... I really hope this starts going faster! :D
 

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And what do you feel makes a FastTracks jig so much better than other methods? I mean, I've built enough turnouts that there's no question about placement of the pieces, getting the angle of the frog, or how fine I need to take down a point so train wheels won't catch it. My own 3D-printed jigs let me accurately bend the curves and cut the straights as needed, and I know which ties need to be PCB for the solder points. So where are you getting the extra speed from?
 

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The most time consuming part for me is spiking down the CV tie and PC ties, about 2 hrs. in general I think it takes me about 4 hrs total to make a turnout. I use a 1" belt sander to make the frog and the points, although the last few were made with Proto 87 stores points. Do to make an improvement I've been thinking about Shdwdrgn's 3d printed jig to eliminate all the time consumed in spiking down stuff that later is all unspiked!
 

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i followed Tony Koester's article on scratch building turnouts. I believe he said he could build a turnout in an hour. I assume while he was waiting for the glue to dry on one turnout, he was cutting rails on another.

presumably he got good at it when he hand laid turnouts on his Allegheny Midland layout. But I believe is used ME turnouts and flex track on his Nickle Plate layout.

i built 9 turnouts for my small shelf. i later replaced one with a curved turnout that took a while to plan. but i was surprised how quickly i cut the frog and points with my experience building and tuning the others i had done. By that time I knew what to be more precise with
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I like that idea of the 1" belt sander, I bet it takes down the points and frogs pretty quick? I might have to see if I can find one (I bet Harbor Freight carries them).
 

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I give full credit for Fast Tracks. It's a great idea, and as Tim Warris says, you'll learn from his kits how to build anything you need. He does!

I purchased a #8 Code 100 turnout jig and a #6 double-slip jig, plus the thin solder, rail stock, and PCB ties. I quickly made all the turnouts I needed, including a custom curved #10 that has served me on two subsequent layouts, including the one I'm building. On both of the last layouts, still with some leftover PCB ties from the first purchase, and some Code 83 stripped from 3' lengths of flex, I also custom-manufactured two odd geometry two-way turnouts to insert into my main to give access to yards or to the no-lix descending to my staging yard below the main level. I can slam heavyweight passenger consists through them in both directions, even backing, at terrifying speeds. I can build them inside of an hour, but I feel rushed that fast. Probably closer to 75 minutes is the norm, including some fiddling with the placement of a rail here and there to improve transition through the frog area.

The Fast Tracks system is costly, to be sure, but you only need to spend on it once, and from there you can build exceptionally stable and reliable turnouts of any description using the templates he thoughtfully provides at this website.
 

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I may be going that route so I can build a dual gauge HO/HOm #6 RH turnout. It is not offered commercially so Fast Tracks is my only option except for doing without.
 

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I don't

I've seen people mention that they can build turnouts in an hour or two. That's just crazy! Roughly speaking I'm spending about an hour for initial prep and laying down the stock rails, probably 90 minutes each on the frog and each point, another hour attaching the points to a throwbar and adding guard rails...

I mean, I've made several of these things now, and I expect the dual-gauge models to take about twice as long, but this was just a basic standard-gauge turnout using one of my printed jigs to get everything in place quickly, and I finally finished it up this afternoon. I'm not struggling with the placement of each piece any longer. The only thing I can think of is that it takes me a long time to file down the angles for the points and frog even though I use a dremmel to take down the bulk of the material. Maybe I'm just spending too much time test-fitting everything? I dunno, but I do end up with nice smooth turnouts in the end.

I'm building 14 nearly identical turnouts for the shelf layout. One down, thirteen to go... I really hope this starts going faster! :D
Shdwdrgn;

I don't build turnouts "so fast", or fast at all, for that matter. But, what's the rush? If you really want turnouts in a hurry, for whatever reason, you could just buy them.

I started making my own, because what I wanted, (N-scale code 55 turnout) was not available commercially years ago. They certainly are now. Atlas, Micro Engineering, and Peco all sell some version of a code 55 turnout (though the Peco one has a weird rail setup)

The other main reason for building turnouts vs. buying them is cost. It's still cheaper to make them than buy them, but not as much cheaper as it used to be. The prices of commercial turnouts have come down quite a bit. I recently bought brand new Peco turnouts for $20 ea. at model train stuff. They used to retail for $30ea. or so.
I don't use gauges, but for those who want to use fastracks gauges, it does add to the overall cost of building your turnouts (albeit only once, as previously said)
My method of making turnouts (attached below) contains a cost vs. time analysis that says the first build might take several days to a week (of spare time) and with experience could be gotten down to a day. Knocking one out in an hour is way beyond me, but then I have no need to do so either.

Traction Fan :smilie_daumenpos:

View attachment How I scratch build turnouts new(8).pdf
 

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Yes, the belt sander is perfect for doing frogs and points. I did a bit of reading up on the 1" belt sanders and got a Rikon. The Harbor Freight one is a great buy on sale.
 
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