Scratch building track

Discussion of N gauge model railway specific products and related model railway topics (problems and solutions). (Graham Farish, Dapol, Peco)
Atso
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Scratch building track

Postby Atso » Mon Jun 11, 2018 2:49 pm

Hi all,

I thought I'd share my first attempt at scratch building some N gauge track and a turnout. I have build a few Finetrax turnouts in the past but also need for a (planned) extensive fiddle yard something that is:

a) Compatible with the Finetrax - notably the height.
b) Cheaper than Finetrax or Peco turnouts.

The 2mm Scale Association was the source of some code 40 rail and copper clad sleepers. Other than the Finetrax rail filing jig, I don't own any track gauges. Therefore, extensive use was made of my digital calipers to get the 9mm track gauge and 0.9mm check rail clearances. However, I am reasonably proficient at CAD so I designed the turnout in this first. As this will never be a scenic piece of track, I spaced the sleepers at 10mm intervals and didn't even consider fitting chairs to it!

After a couple of hours (just under three actually but I was half watching a film as well!), this is what I ended up with:

Image

Amazingly, a test wagon passed through this without any problems. Encouraged by this, I built a few straight sections and placed the whole lot on a length of shelving so that I could test a loco, a video of this can be found via the link below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0EsfMqhFzZw

The total cost for the components for the turnout was £1.11. This doesn't factor in the straight lengths I knocked up later, flux or solder (minute qualities of each). Overall, I'm amazed it works and encouraged to have a go at building more!
Steve

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Mountain
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Re: Scratch building track

Postby Mountain » Mon Jun 11, 2018 5:24 pm

Well done again. I will add from my perspective as well. I did t realize I could build my own track until I gave it a try. First I tried wood sleepers pin ex but this was not so successful, but once I took to soldering them onto sleepers I cut from a PCB, I was amazed that it worked. OK, I needed to fettle it here and there, and my work is no where as near as Atso's is, but with the price of ready made pointwork so high and the feeling of satisfaction afterwards makes it worth while.
Each person may go about it a different way according to ones personal ideas and ones requirements.
On YouTube I saw someone in 00/H0 gauge make his own track starting with the V of the frog and going from there. I tend to lay the outermost rails and then build the V inside it. We are all different. As my points are very short 0-16.5 points, the rails made into point blades are too stiff to lay without additional pivoting. Long points can be built without pivoted blades as the flex of the rails should allow for enough movement. I pivoted my blades using rail joiners cut in half.
As long as you can solder it is well worth a try!
Well done Atso. You're on a roll now. Very neat work as well.

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Bufferstop
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Re: Scratch building track

Postby Bufferstop » Mon Jun 11, 2018 8:14 pm

Very nice bit of trackwork, I'm impressed by the loco's lack of wobble passing through the point.
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Mountain
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Re: Scratch building track

Postby Mountain » Mon Jun 11, 2018 9:22 pm

Sometimes you may need to provide isolation for the track. I cut the track where it needed isolating, and I used resin to fill the gaps.
Here is a PIC of one of my points in 7mm narrow gauge. Note the railjoiner pivots and the crudely cut PCB sleepers. Not sure how much they cost me to make. Not a lot as PCB was cheap enough, along with reused code 100 rail from 00 gauge track. Then it was cheap solder and a little flux.(Most of my track I didn't use flux but found that when I did try it it was like "Wow! So much easier!" As you can see it is a case of learning while building... :D
It is possible to remove the blades as one unit with the tiebar should I need to to this. Maybe a useful feature of my design.
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alex3410
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Re: Scratch building track

Postby alex3410 » Mon Jun 11, 2018 9:23 pm

Impressive stuff, even more so considering its N!

i had trouble getting premade N track joined up let alone building it myself :!:

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Mountain
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Re: Scratch building track

Postby Mountain » Mon Jun 11, 2018 9:51 pm

alex3410 wrote:Impressive stuff, even more so considering its N!

i had trouble getting premade N track joined up let alone building it myself :!:


Is why I find Atso's work so impressive. I only add my work to show that if I can do it, anyone can (Anyone who can solder and has a little patience).

Atso
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Re: Scratch building track

Postby Atso » Mon Jun 11, 2018 11:15 pm

Bufferstop wrote:Very nice bit of trackwork, I'm impressed by the loco's lack of wobble passing through the point.


Thanks Bufferstop, the flange ways are much tighter than Peco's at 0.9mm - although Peco have the issue of having to mass produce track that will accommodate a wide variety of wheel standards. As I'm only using the more modern standards, I can get away with the finer tolerances. In theory, I could probably go down to 0.8mm or even 0.75mm but I don't fancy having to play with the back to backs on all my stock and the test turnout allows wagons to be reversed reliably at much faster speeds than the real railway would allow!

alex3410 wrote:Impressive stuff, even more so considering its N!

i had trouble getting premade N track joined up let alone building it myself :!:


Joining track (or rather getting good transitions between tracks and getting it level) in any gauge isn't easy in my opinion! No one is more surprised that this experiment has worked than I - to quote Mountain, if I can do it, anyone can!

Mountain wrote:Is why I find Atso's work so impressive. I only add my work to show that if I can do it, anyone can (Anyone who can solder and has a little patience).


Your track is very impressive Mountain, especially as you've hand cut the sleepers as well! I like the rustic look of your track, perfect for so many narrow gauge lines! My own track was built using Fry's flux paste and cheap electrical solder - useless for building models in my opinion but great for the track where you want very limited flow.

One of the nice things about soldered construction is that you can adjust the tracks simply by going back in with the iron and moving the track. In this respect, I think that hand built track has an advantage over rtr.
Steve

Atso
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Re: Scratch building track

Postby Atso » Tue Jun 12, 2018 2:59 pm

My second attempt at a turnout.

Image

This time I stuck a second copy of the plan onto some 0.5mm cardboard and cut out the frog and one of the check rails to make some crude disposable jigs. This seems to have worked well as the test wagon passes through the turnout easily enough. :)
Steve

b308
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Re: Scratch building track

Postby b308 » Tue Jun 12, 2018 3:08 pm

A friend of mine models in OO9 using the N scale Society's stuff, he's even built me three 6.5mm gauge points, though I would say that a roller gauge and those triangular spacers (can't remember the proper name for them) make life much easier and the track gauge more accurate.

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Bufferstop
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Re: Scratch building track

Postby Bufferstop » Tue Jun 12, 2018 6:13 pm

Mountain wrote: Then it was cheap solder and a little flux.(Most of my track I didn't use flux but found that when I did try it it was like "Wow! So much easier!"

You must have been using flux cored solder at first as you would have got absolutely nowhere trying to solder with just a strip of alloy :) The flux does the same job for solder as the legendary three drops of washing up liquid do for the diluted PVA.

@b308 Do you mean a 3 point track gauge, like this or perhaps a bit cruder three point track gauge
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Mountain
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Re: Scratch building track

Postby Mountain » Tue Jun 12, 2018 7:27 pm

That's very nice Atso. Thanks for the compliments.

I think it would be great showing photos of our points as we can be a great encouragement to others as well as learning for ourselves. I do have another point I want to build in the future along with another small length of track for use as a siding. I already have a point lever set up ready for it.
I've also made a diamond crossing which is a line that cuts through a sharp curve, which I wasn't sure if I could pull it off but it works. I've not wired it up yet as I have a load of ready soldered on wires hanging down from the crossing under the board ready. (An easy job to do wheni am ready to do it. Ignore the soldering. I did many alterations etc. (I also over solder!) Much of the bulk is resin used for isolating purposes. The square V parts are resin.
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Atso
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Re: Scratch building track

Postby Atso » Tue Jun 12, 2018 8:30 pm

b308 wrote:A friend of mine models in OO9 using the N scale Society's stuff, he's even built me three 6.5mm gauge points, though I would say that a roller gauge and those triangular spacers (can't remember the proper name for them) make life much easier and the track gauge more accurate.


Thanks b308, do you know where I can get a roller gauge for code 40 rail to N gauge standards? I can find the 2mm Associations and one for code 55 (to wide) in N but nothing for code 49. :(

Mountain wrote:That's very nice Atso. Thanks for the compliments.


No problem Mountain,you track is very good.

Ok, my next bit of sharing is this...

Image

No idea how I'm going to isolate it yet, at the moment I'm just happy a piece of stock runs through what I've built so far! :shock:
Steve

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Bufferstop
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Re: Scratch building track

Postby Bufferstop » Tue Jun 12, 2018 8:59 pm

I'd suggest for isolation you slip in an extra sleeper so that the bit that needs cutting is as short as possible. Once its firmly stuck down cut the rail with a slitting disk in a small rotary tool. Fill the gap with Plastic Padding, two part epoxy glue or even Milliput, then file it smooth.
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b308
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Re: Scratch building track

Postby b308 » Tue Jun 12, 2018 9:12 pm

Atso wrote:Thanks b308, do you know where I can get a roller gauge for code 40 rail to N gauge standards? I can find the 2mm Associations and one for code 55 (to wide) in N but nothing for code 40. :(


I'll ask!

Bufferstop wrote:@b308 Do you mean a 3 point track gauge, like this or perhaps a bit cruder three point track gauge


Yes that's the type i mean.

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Mountain
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Re: Scratch building track

Postby Mountain » Tue Jun 12, 2018 9:45 pm

That's a complicated way of solving a simple issue. I like it! :D Was trying to work out what is going on as in routes. Nice!


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