Can N scale turnouts be made with just Pliobond?

goatfarmer May 23, 2020

  1. goatfarmer

    goatfarmer TrainBoard Member

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    Hi, I'm considering hand laid track and turnouts for my layout so I can use real wood ties and I enjoy this sort of tedious work. I think the looks will be worth it in the long run. Question is most of the hand laid turnouts I see are using pc board and Pliobond. Are the pc board ties necessary or can I just use Pliobond to attach the rail to the ties? Is there another method. Your opinions are appreciated.
     
  2. RBrodzinsky

    RBrodzinsky Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Yes, the PCB ties are necessary, there is insufficient strength in the bonds with wood, even with PlioBond. Think about the end of the point rails on the throwbar, or even at the frog.

    Also, the PCB ties are an excellent way to provide an easy method for attaching feeders
     
    Sumner likes this.
  3. Sumner

    Sumner TrainBoard Member

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    Agree with Rick. I've built over 40 now and the pliobond bond is just not strong enough or reliable enough to skip the PCB ties during construction or afterwards. At times you also will find yourself having to tweak the rails one way or the other on the ties to get them where you need them. To do this you will heat the solder joint at a tie and push the rail slightly one way or the other.

    [​IMG]

    This is especially true if you are making them off of paper templates, as shown above. It isn't just the rails you have to tweak at times but also the guard rails.

    [​IMG]

    Once painted you aren't going to really notice the PCB ties in most cases at normal viewing distances.

    I have a lot of documentation on my site regarding building N scale turnouts with Fast Tracks fixtures and on templates.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Also information on designing and building turnouts and crossing for situations where you can't find a fixture or template like above.

    I wasn't sure if I'd enjoy this or not and was a little reluctant to put out the money at first for the initial investment in a fixture and the PointForm and StockAid tools but have no regrets now. I love it. If you are doing very many turnouts you can get the cost down to about $5 or less a turnout for supplies once you get past the break even point of buying what you need, which I found was about 20-25 turnouts. If you enjoy this type of work you will have a lot of fun and gratification building them.

    Link to a lot more info ....

    http://1fatgmc.com/RailRoad/Trackwork/Trackwork-Index.html

    Sumner
     
    Kurt Moose likes this.
  4. goatfarmer

    goatfarmer TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks for all of this information but I really don't want to make that kind of an investment with the fastracks templates and jigs. Perhaps I'll just be better off with commercial turnouts but I feel I'd be missing out on the adventure if I did that. I guess I'll have to do some more research, surely there was a way to do it before pcb ties came out.
     
  5. Point353

    Point353 TrainBoard Member

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    [​IMG]
     
    Hardcoaler likes this.
  6. Sumner

    Sumner TrainBoard Member

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    Those things make it easier but people do make the turnouts without them, hand filing the points, frog and stock rails by hand without the Fast Track PointForm and StockAid tools. It is just a lot easier with them. As for the fixtures, I've now made a number of turnouts without the fixture I have using just the paper templates that you can download for free from their site.

    The only thing that you would be saving by being able to use pliobond to fasten the rails to the ties is the cost of the printed circuit board ties. The ties aren't that expensive and I now make my own...





    ... for pennies a turnout ( http://1fatgmc.com/RailRoad/Trackwork/page-4.html ).

    Maybe get a few pieces of rail, which could come from a section of flex track, download a template, look at how I make turnouts from templates or how others do it, get some printed circuit boards off ebay for a few dollars and make the PCB ties and try making a turnout or two. I'd be more than happy to answer questions and Fast Tracks has some great videos on using the fixtures but they apply also to making a turnout with a paper template.

    Sumner
     
    goatfarmer likes this.
  7. goatfarmer

    goatfarmer TrainBoard Member

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    Thank you, I looked through your website pages and I think I may just give it a try. Thanks for taking the time to put all of this information in one place, surely I will use it for reference. I guess I will have to go with the pcb ties, I was just hoping to be able to use all wood, but I guess they can be painted and camouflaged so nobody will notice them.
     
  8. porkypine52

    porkypine52 TrainBoard Member

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    I think it was way back years ago that Gordon Odegard [spelling?], MODEL RAILROADER MAGAZINE, first really brought to the surface, HAND LAYING N-Scale track work. He used PLIOBOND for attaching ties to rails. I'll have to look it up.
    PCB ties are the way to go. SOLDER them right and never worry about them again. If you aren't real comfortable with your soldering skills, practice practice, practice. Try just soldering a piece of rail to a tie or two, to get the hang of it.
    A certain CANADIAN company sells all the parts you need, but they aren't the only ones. GOOGLE PCB TIES for more companies selling supplies.
     
  9. goatfarmer

    goatfarmer TrainBoard Member

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    Thank you, I will have to check that out. Soldering skills aren't a problem, I've been flying and building drones for about a year and I got plenty of practice soldering, my plan was just to keep everything wood.
     
  10. porkypine52

    porkypine52 TrainBoard Member

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    Got to looking at the Model Railroader dvd list of magazines. I think that the February 1976 issue was the one I was talking about. First article about HANDLAYING N-Scale track work. Code 40 at that! Two different ways to lay rail. One article was with PLIOBOND and the other article, by Gordon Odegard, who has passed away, was the first time I remember reading about using PCB ties and solder.

    Just by chance, on YOUTUBE, I found a lot of videos about basic SOLDERING and HANDLAYING track work. WOW....Never know what you will find on the 'Net. The great TIME waster, get off the 'puter and WORK on the layout! LOL
     
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  11. COverton

    COverton TrainBoard Member

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    The point of PCB ties here and there is both to provide structural integrity AND to avoid having dead spots if you gap rails or use hinged points. The soldered ties, copper cladding on the soldered surfaces gapped appropriately using a needle file, makes for robust connectivity throughout the entire turnout.
     
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  12. traingeekboy

    traingeekboy TrainBoard Member

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    I know a guy on a narrow gauge forum who uses wood ties and Walthers goo.
     
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