Switching to Z Scale

poozinsc Oct 13, 2017 at 12:47 AM

  1. poozinsc

    poozinsc TrainBoard Member

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    Hey,

    Hope everyone is doing well. I am getting ready to retire and am considering building the Model Railroader's classic Clinchfield layout in Z scale. I currently have an N scale layout but have always wanted to build the clinchfield. A few questions:

    1. I would like to build my own turnouts using FastTracks templates. Any suggestions on these?

    2. Does anyone sell track laying tools?

    3. Are there Z scale track gauges available?

    I'm excited about building in this scale -- especially since time will not be an issue.

    Looking forward to hearing from y'all.

    Chris
     
  2. strummer

    strummer TrainBoard Member

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    Hi Chris

    As a relative newcomer to Z scale myself, I'm afraid I cannot answer your questions...but I know there are people here who can, and no doubt will!

    Welcome!

    Mark in Oregon
     
  3. SJ Z-man

    SJ Z-man TrainBoard Supporter

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  4. Greg Elmassian

    Greg Elmassian TrainBoard Member

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  5. Garth-H

    Garth-H TrainBoard Supporter

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    The Clinchfield in Z sounds very interesting, but to match the character of that layout I would suggest Code 40 rail from micro engineering and No 8 Z scale turnouts jig from Fast Tracks, and the jig will contain both a left and a right hand turnout on the plate. Code 40 rail is finer rail, than what is found in Z commercial track, Using commercial flex means code 55 rail choices are Micro Trains, Atlas, Peco, and the basic differences are in the tie spacing and height. The only turnouts with a tie base commercially available are from Marklin, and I do not recommend them, for a project like this. So for turnouts at this point the only real choice is fast tracks for either code 55 or code 40 rail.

    For straight sections you can get a jig from fast tracks for this also, and it can be used for curves as well just solder your pcb ties to one rail only place it in situe and then use a 3 point track gauge track to hold track in gauge while you solder second rail in place. ( I find it easier to use several of these 3 point gauges when doing curved track each of mine has a center hole so I can pin them in place)

    There are two systems of roadbed sectional track available in Z scale 6.5 mm track gauge, again code 55 rail ( some code 55 is closer to code 60 than 55. one is from micro Trains and the other from Rokuhan, both make a turnout a No 6, but Rokuhan has double crossover and many other options which do not find in the micro Trains line. Atlas says they are working on turnout to go with their Z scale Flex, but no delivery date as yet and no samples shown at train shows yet.

    three point track gauges for code 40 and 55 can be found at republic locomotive works, they used to have skeleton turnouts available but not in recent times.
     
  6. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    Chris, you probably know of it, but there's a train show tomorrow (Saturday, 10/14/2017) at the Jamil Shrine Temple, 206 Jamil Road in Columbia, from 9AM to 3PM. Admission is $5, kids under 10 Free. I'm not sure what to expect, as this show isn't sponsored by a club, but is instead promoted by a trade show company.
     
  7. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    Replying to my own post, but the Columbia, SC show was impressive and filled out the entire place. Probably 50% Lionel, but the balance was a good representation of all other scales. Hope you were able to make it Chris.
     
  8. strummer

    strummer TrainBoard Member

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    Wow. Those gauges are very reasonably priced. Thanks for the link. :)

    Mark in Oregon
     
  9. poozinsc

    poozinsc TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks to all for their advice. I have looked at the Clinchfield book at the turnouts used and done the conversions to the Fast Tracks jigs -- 8s and 5s fit the original profile. I hadn't considered Code 40 but will give that some thought. I was hoping with the introduction of the Atlas flextrack the process would go a bit smoother.

    Unfortunately I missed the local show in Columbia yesterday... Bummer...

    I have always wanted to build my own turnouts and read article after article about it. I have an N scale Fast Track jig I'm going to learn on and then downsize. Not sure that's the way to go with aging eyes :). Layout construction will start in 2019 -- that gives me over a year to plan, accumulate and practice.

    Chris
     
  10. poozinsc

    poozinsc TrainBoard Member

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    Just checked out Rodney's tools -- those are exactly what I am looking for. Thanks for the heads up !!!
     
  11. SJ Z-man

    SJ Z-man TrainBoard Supporter

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    I have not heard from him in YEARS. He ended up in Mexico at one point. Had *numerous* computer problems. Some early parts were quite out of gauge.
    But, they are the right ideas. Let is know if you can get them and how long.
     

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