First Fast Tracks Turnout...

Sumner Jun 30, 2019

  1. Sumner

    Sumner TrainBoard Member

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    Just finished my first Fast Tracks turnout...

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    It took me a lot longer than an hour but I think I can get it down to about that after a few more.
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    I took my time and things went ok although I wondered at times. Trucks roll though it easily so feel that it will work once it has adjoining trackage.
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    The picture above show the partially completed turnout at the bottom. The QuickStick ties above it that will be attached with Pliobond. The jig above the ties with PCB ties loaded into the jig. To the right of the jig is a piece of aluminum that I milled to the same thickness as the jig thickness at the bottom of the rail channels. I also cut some thick pieces of steel that hold the rail down during construction while soldering the rail to the PCB ties. At the top is a paper pattern that you can print out full size on Fast Track web site. The Fast Track's fixture is for an N Scale code 55 #6 double crossover. You can also use it to build LH and RH turnouts which is what I will primarily use it for.
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    Above is another picture of the aluminum piece that helps when rails stick out past the end of the fixture. I guess about the only thing I think Fast Tracks could of done to make this easier would of been to make the fixture a few inches longer on both ends. I'm sure that wouldn't of added much to the cost.

    Here is ...
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    ... the same piece of aluminum turned over and you can see where I've milled it to hold the two rails that comprise the frog point for soldering.
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    With a soldered frog point. This really helps as it is hard to do this in the stock fixture with all the rail channels in that area. As mentioned above in the picture you can get this tool from Fast Tracks and I would have but I had bought a couple of very small end mills to make a tool like...
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    ...the one that MLR use to make. I did finally find one in Canada but hope to make another one or two.

    I enjoyed making the turnout and hope to keep enjoying making them as I move along,

    Sumner
     
    ddechamp71, hoyden, montanan and 6 others like this.
  2. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    I have a friend who is using the Fast Tracks turnouts in N Scale and his results are excellent, just like yours. A really cool product line it seems.
     
  3. Eagle2

    Eagle2 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Looks great, and like you said it should go quicker in future.
     
  4. RBrodzinsky

    RBrodzinsky Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    A couple of “experience” hints: you may want to consider adding one or two extra PCB ties on either side of the throwbar; and you may also want to add an additional PCB tie directly under the frog point. The former helps strengthen the area which gets a lot of physical motion (some folks will actually use an HO PCB tie there). The latter helps keep the point in place

    These look good.
     
    Sumner likes this.
  5. Sumner

    Sumner TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks Rick. Are you saying two on each side of the throwbar? I did noticed that the one doesn't give much strength to the area.
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    Also add one more to the frog point where the arrow is? Now there is one directly under the point and just ahead of the isolation cut.

    Thanks for the tips on this. They make sense,

    Sumner
     
    badlandnp likes this.
  6. RBrodzinsky

    RBrodzinsky Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    On the throwbar, put them right next to it, on either side. For the frog point, literally right under the pointy end; I have seen too many hand built switches have the point “pop up”, it tends to be the weakest solder joint (after the point rails on the throwbar).
     
  7. bill pearce

    bill pearce TrainBoard Member

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    It's generally nice work, and I think they will work well, but...

    I can tell you did it with a pencil iron. There's a blob of solder at each joint that I find unsightly. I suggest you get a resistance solderer with the tweezer tool, You thin use the penicil iron to tin the underside of the rail. No need to get too fancy, just get some solder on the whole underside of the rail. Put paste flux on the ties in the places where the joint will be, grasp the rail in the tweezer, hold it down, tap the footswitch and you will get a good joint without the blob. After installation, you can use the tweezer to adjust the spacing (and you will need to) and to fix any weak joints as needed. I did al;l of mine with paper templates, and what I saved on fasttracks went for the resistance solderer, which has a whole host of other uses.
     
  8. Sumner

    Sumner TrainBoard Member

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    I'd considered investing in a resistance solderer but for at least the time being I'm happy with the results that I got.
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    Granted on the raw turnout the soldering is somewhat noticeable but...
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    Once painted it is virtually impossible to notice the solder joints even ...
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    .... with the image enlarged to life size or beyond. The cuts in the PCB or more noticeable and I might do something about those. Once put in place and ballasted this is going to be plenty good enough for me but I respect that you might have a different standard,

    Sumner
     
  9. bill pearce

    bill pearce TrainBoard Member

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    Where you will need the resistance machine is when, and it can happen, the turnout missaligns whne laiid. I believe that process of soldering relieves some stresses in the rails and they move. So there will be spots where you need to adjust gauge.

    That said, the solder spots do get tiny with the paint. It's a good looking turnout.
     
  10. Tony Burzio

    Tony Burzio TrainBoard Supporter

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    It takes 5 weeks to make a switch the old way at the SDSoNS in San Diego. Fasttracks jigs are the best thing to happen to handlaying!
     
  11. Tony Burzio

    Tony Burzio TrainBoard Supporter

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    The blobs come from incorrect position of the flux. Paste flux on the inside of the rail, solder on the outside. The vaporizing flux will draw the solder under the rails, leaving no blobs.
     
  12. Tony Burzio

    Tony Burzio TrainBoard Supporter

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    Plinking: The sound that an incorrectly soldered joint makes when you clean the rails with a Brite Boy.
     
  13. Sumner

    Sumner TrainBoard Member

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    Guys I think what you are calling blobs are more the way the camera picked up the light off the bright solder. Looking at the painted turnout you don't see any real solder bumps at the same locations.

    I fluxed and soldered in the same manner as shown in Fast Tracks instructional videos.

    Sumner
     
  14. bill pearce

    bill pearce TrainBoard Member

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    I have seen that layout, 20 or so years ago. It is very impressive with tons of great modeling, but the thing that make the biggest impression on me were the monster globs of solder on every rail/tie joint, especially at the turnouts. Maybe that's why it takes 5 weeks to build, which I otherwise find an exaggeration worthy of a politician.

    And if you tin the underside of the rail, you won't get the solder outside of the joint, blob or trace.
     
  15. Tony Burzio

    Tony Burzio TrainBoard Supporter

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    Five weeks because it takes a long time for glue to dry, an integral part of the process. The blobs are from the depths of time, before club members discovered the simple trick (track up front was constructed first).

    Anything else you need to know?
     
  16. bill pearce

    bill pearce TrainBoard Member

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    (track up front was constructed first).

    A horrific mistake for anyone on any layout. I prefer to bury my mistakes in invisible locations.
     
  17. RBrodzinsky

    RBrodzinsky Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    I think the discussion needs to get back to the OP’s Fast Track switches, and not a 20 years old layout in San Diego.
     
  18. DCESharkman

    DCESharkman TrainBoard Member

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    Fast Track's switches are really the way to go. You toss the first three and then the rest all come out great. If you use their jigs, it takes less time to fab the pieces parts like the frogs etc.

    When I built my dream layout, I looked at costs and Fast Tracks were the only way it could be affordable. I got to the point where I could build the turnout sans the wood ties in a little less than an hour. It was really nice to be able to make a switch when ever I needed one. And I also saved some money because some of my buddies were bitten by the Fast Tracks too, and we pooled all the tooling amongst ourselves. Nothing nicer than a passenger train transversing a #12 crossover with barely a flutter!
     
    Sumner likes this.
  19. Sumner

    Sumner TrainBoard Member

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    I have enough quick stick ties for I think 10 turnouts. After that I'd like to switch to the individual ties. If you are using the individual ties did you make a jig to help place them? I'd be interested in any info on how you are using them.

    Also I just cut a tie size width of PCB scrap from their Copperhead PCB ties with my band saw and it cut pretty good so I ordered some sheet .031 printed circuit board and will try cutting ties from it.

    Thanks,

    Sumner
     
  20. DCESharkman

    DCESharkman TrainBoard Member

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    Sumner,

    I used the Quick Sticks because I found it was a real pain to sort and manage all the loose ties. My layout is at another property other than my primary residence. So for me, using the Quick Sticks was more time efficient and required less "organization" which is important when there is so much else going on. I also found this was a much easier to stain and weather the ties.
     

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