Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Not So Wordless Wednesday #78

Just to build on last week's Wordless Wednesday, here's the rest of building that curved #8 turnout.

Special thanks to Tim Moran for letting me borrow his Fast Tracks #8 Pointform tool. Also thanks again to Tim and Jeff for burying me in puns in last weeks comments..

Using the Fast Tracks #6 switch fixture gave me a lot of confidence to try building one of the odd ball turnout sizes I'll need for the trackwork in Adena and other areas. And what better way to build my first "fixture free" turnout than to tackle a right hand curved #8 30"/24" radius switch.

Just like the other turnouts I've built, I cut and shaped all the rail pieces I would need first as seen in last week's Wordless Wednesday #77. This meant I finally got to try out the home made rail bender I built a couple months ago specifically for the curved turnouts.

Home made rail bender.
To help hold the copper PC board ties down to the template while soldering the rails, I used clear double sided tape. I then started soldering one of the stockrails down following the printed template.

Working the outside.
I'll admit without a Fast Tracks template to work from I was quickly at a loss for what to do next. I thought working on one route at a time to keep everything in gauge seemed like a good plan. Using a couple of code 70 Micro Engineering track gauges I worked on the main route then down the diverging route.

Keeping it in gauge.
Engrossed in soldering, or overcome by the fumes, the next thing I knew the turnout was pretty much complete! Building my first curved turnout was easier than I imagined it would be, but it wasn't without a few hiccups.

I did have a couple of tight spots that I needed to readjust the stockrail position in spots. I also could've notched the stockrails a bit longer to clear point rails a bit more. I'll need to go back an fix that up with a thin file. A test wheel set proved however that in the end my turnout should be operationally sound!

Before I thought hand-laying turnouts seemed like black magic, but now I see how silly it is to think "I could never do that" when you've never really tried. It isn't as hard as thought it would be. Although the tools do help :)


  1. That looks awesome. You're right, that sure always seemed like black magic to me as well.

    I think you will also find you will be able to make fine adjustments in gauge in between the soldered ties when you spike down to the wood ties.

    1. I hadn't considered the possibility of making those fine adjustments elsewhere in the turnout when I spike it down. Thanks!