Free-moN Staging Yard - 2'x10'

MC Fujiwara Apr 23, 2012

  1. jhn_plsn

    jhn_plsn TrainBoard Supporter

    2,288
    622
    43
    I did not think about making it reversible. This way you have one side that would always have a continuous fascia, and having different inserts available depending on the goals at a specific show is a great idea.
    One of our members just invested in the track requirements to create a large through yard, and I'll throw that idea at him too. Thanks.
     
  2. robert3985

    robert3985 TrainBoard Member

    841
    47
    14
    You might want to try a thinner wire. I haven't used Bullfrogs before (I use Tortoises exclusively) but, it might solve your problem easier than dismounting the points on every turnout and re-slobbering them to PCB.

    Another solution might be to position a spacer under the Atlas headblocks' "spacer" bar that goes across the top of both of them. Maybe even extend the spacer (brass or Styrene) under the adjacent rails for a more precise fit of the floppy Atlas throwbar. I don't think it's the "floppiness" of the throwbar that's the problem...it's probably that there's too much space between the top of the throwbar and bottom of the rail foot.

    As perhaps you can tell, I avoid the problem altogether and hand lay all of my turnouts. Takes about an hour each, and costs about $2.75 per #10....if I don't superdetail the hell out of 'em using Andy Reichert's Proto87Stores superdetailing parts...then the price goes up exponentially!...but do they ever look FINE!!

    Cheers!
    Bob Gilmore
     
  3. MC Fujiwara

    MC Fujiwara TrainBoard Member

    1,190
    64
    20
    Funny you should mention the space between top of throwbar and bottom of rail.
    Last night I tried replacing a throwbar on an already-installed turnout and tweeked the point rail: they really like to bend and pop out of the hinge!
    I think it'll be repairable, but otherwise I don't mind replacing one with a handlaid turnout.

    But, thinking about how people had been talking about shims, I decided to give it a try.
    There's a little channel in the throwbar under each stockrail, so I just slipped a small section of 0.02" x 0.06" styrene strip into the space:

    [​IMG]

    Seems to work great.
    I also tried 0.03" x 0.06", but that thickness doesn't allow any give around the point clip, and the tension pops the point rail out of the hinge hole after a bit.
    The 0.02" x 0.06" is still thin enough to slide under the point rail clip & allow it some play, while still keeping the throwbar down under the stockrail to keep the point rail flush (and not ride up like it had been).

    So far, I think you only have to do it on the side opposite the ground throw / bullfrog wire, but the groundthrow might be keeping that side down.
    When I install a Bullfrog I'll see how it works, but it seems the worst case is that I slide another styrene strip on the throwbar under that side of the stockrail.

    K.I.S.S. really is a great principle to live by.
    Thanks to all who made all the suggestions / alt ways to skin the cat!
     
  4. MC Fujiwara

    MC Fujiwara TrainBoard Member

    1,190
    64
    20
    Here's a short "How To" video on how to improve the Atlas C55 turnouts by adding shims to the throwbar:

    [video=youtube_share;CA87ZvHJQd8]http://youtu.be/CA87ZvHJQd8[/video]

    I'll do another one on how I replace the throwbar with a PC board tie later (probably this weekend).

    I've also started installing the Bullfrog turnout controls to the module.
    As there's no 2" pink foam, I added a spacer made out of 2" chunks of 1"x2"s.
    Here's with the control knob pushed in:

    [​IMG]

    And pulled out:

    [​IMG]

    Notice that I built the turnouts without the rod support option: the Bullfrogs in the center don't need the Tadpoles as the red control rod sheathes are stiff enough when short enough.
    When I install one on the side of the module I might need a Tadpole for the far side.
    We'll see!

    The travel distance is about 1 1/8".
    Not thrilled with the distance (or the bright yellow of the rod), but I really dig the Bullfrogs themselves: keeps the points firmly secured and easy to power the frogs.

    To protect the knobs and have something useful on the yard module I built some small shelves 4" high that stick out about 2":

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [Haven't installed them yet: will drill all the holes for the Bullfrog knobs first]
    But not only to they protect the knobs, but will give us a surface other than the layout to place our Powercab and iPhone throttle, as well as any car cards / paperwork when we get to that point.

    The mainline turnout knobs are centered equidistant between the bottom of module and bottom of shelf, while I'm going to offset the yard track turnout knobs: 1/2" higher for far side and 1/2" lower for near side.
    Also will carve a slight notch top or bottom to indicate direction of diverging route so operators can feel it rather than lean back to double check all the time.

    Two Bullfrogs down & only 18 more to go!

    Thanks for looking.
     
  5. gregamer

    gregamer TrainBoard Supporter

    1,252
    282
    28
    I like that idea of putting the turnout pulls below the card shelf.
     
  6. Bob Morris

    Bob Morris TrainBoard Supporter

    748
    0
    19
    Thanks so much for sharing. I've butchered 3 Atlas code 55 turnouts trying to fix this very problem. Great video and much appreciated!
     
  7. MC Fujiwara

    MC Fujiwara TrainBoard Member

    1,190
    64
    20
    Thank ye, gents.

    So the two mainline turnouts of one section are now Bullfrogged:

    [​IMG]

    I'll hook up the wires after I install all the Bullfrogs.
    They work pretty awesome (though I did cut the red sheath a little short on the left one).

    Also installed the shelves on the handle side:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I used woodglue and screw on the first but then I realised that the paint might prevent a great bond (will the wood still emulsify if there's a layer of paint? wouldn't think so), so I tried... that's right: Gorilla Glue! on the second.

    Both seem equally firm and steady, so we'll see over time.

    I'm not going to install the shelves on the other side until I install 10 Bullfrogs on this section (much easier to work propped up and clamped on workbench like in photo above)

    So I've been installing more spacers on which to mount the Bullfrogs, and came upon a new issue:

    [​IMG]

    Originally, the bolts would stick out to the left.

    While I was smart enough to plan ahead with the cross-braces to place them not under a hole for turnout actuating rods, I was not smart enough to think about the bolts for the legs and how they stick out into the Bullfrog.

    So I've reversed the direction of the bolts so the leg plate goes on the "right" (outer) side and... that's right: Gorilla Glue!
    The bolt and washer on the inner side (where the Bullfrog will go) are now rocksolid attached to the crossbeam.
    If you look at the first photo in the post, you'll see I have room to slip the leg frame over the bolts, but I think I'm going to cut channels in the leg frame panels and make it a "slip-on" rather than "bolt-hole only" because I really don't want to whack the Bullfrog too much.
    Plus, slip-on is soooooo much easier & quicker.
    Just hope it doesn't over-weaken the 1/2" ply panel on the legs too much.

    Alrighty, back to building more Bullfrogs!

    Thanks for looking.
     
  8. jhn_plsn

    jhn_plsn TrainBoard Supporter

    2,288
    622
    43
    Looking good. You may find the rods give a somehwta mushy feal to the turnouts. A solution is to use the solid wire rods from an RC shop. They give a nice solid feal and you can bend the fascia end into a shape that you may like. You could even bend it to allow for a knob.
     
  9. MC Fujiwara

    MC Fujiwara TrainBoard Member

    1,190
    64
    20
    Finished installing all 4 shelves and most of the Bullfrogs on one section of the yard:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The mainline turnouts are centered between bottom of shelf and bottom of module.
    Yard turnouts knobs are raised or lowered 1/4" depending if throwing a near or far turnout.
    I might notch the knob to indicate direction of diverging route, but I'll wait to see if it's necessary when we use the yard at a show next month.

    One of the knobs is not under the shelves:

    [​IMG]

    But still protected.

    I've been playing around with the control rod supports on the Bullfrogs.
    If the Bullfrog is in the middle of the module, then no Tadpole or other support is needed.
    But some are on one side or the other, so I built some with the control tube support mounted on the Bullfrog.
    Seems to work fine unless very very close to the side, then the threaded z-bend tends to scrape a bit as the motion carries it down as it goes around.
    Here you can see some distances:

    [​IMG]

    Overall, the red tube is enough for good operations.

    I really like the Bullfrogs, except for the 1 1/8" travel distance.
    The only other issue I can see that might come up is the lateral movement of throwing the turnouts rocks the module a little side to side, but I'm guessing when both yard sections are joined with the smaller curved insert, and connected to other modules the movement won't be too bad.

    Time to build more Bullfrogs!
    Thanks for looking.
     
  10. MC Fujiwara

    MC Fujiwara TrainBoard Member

    1,190
    64
    20
    Finished most of the Bullfrogs on one staging yard section, so started in on the other (the one with the cans on it):

    [​IMG]

    I've left the shelves off the UTP side as I've found it's a whole lot easier to install spacers and Bullfrogs when it's tipped up on the workbench, rather than trying to screw up (done enough of that)(and probably will again).

    Speaking of which, for some reason I could not get the screw to hold one spacer flush while the woodglue dried, so in the end I just ended up taping it in place:

    [​IMG]

    Worked like a charm.
    A sticky blue charm.

    In that photo you can also see my sophisticated and hi-tech method of bundling & securing the wires up & out of the way from the Bullfrogs.
    Same sticky blue charm.

    The reason I had the partially-finished Bullfrog section up is because I laid the track and turnouts for the diesel engine service area (under the cans) and, since I had the chop saw out while making a pair of detachable extensions, I went ahead and cut slots to make this section's legs slip-on-able:


    [​IMG]

    I just cut straight from the top of the panel down to the holes I'd already drilled for the bolts.
    If anyone is making a module, I strongly recommend making your legs slip on.
    It's, like, totally 20 KABILLION times easier and faster to put the legs on (can even do it one handed).

    Also had to cut out more of the wire channel because flipping the legs around to the other side of the cross-support threw off my aim.
    When I first made the legs, I used a router to smooth the edges of the channel, but this time was too lazy to get the router out and went with the more direct route of a curved file.
    If anyone is making a module, I strongly recommend rounded and smoothing any areas on which wires will rub, as a sharp edge with tear the wires to shreds over time.

    So here's the overview of the second section of the staging yard module (though technically both are modules with standardized endplates on both ends):

    [​IMG]

    The two long tracks at the upper right are the diesel engine service.
    The one on the far left will double as a programming track (will hook up a DPDT in the fascia that will flip it between the main bus and a short section of bus-ish wire with powerpole connectors that can hook up with the portable PowerCab Panel / Booster I'm building in a toolbox).
    The short track between the engine service and the main is the fuel / sand supply track.

    I used two ME #6 turnouts for the diesel service.
    Why?
    LHS was out of Atlas #7s, and I wanted to try ME (first time).
    Free-moN standards allow down to #6, so it's all good.
    I popped out the spring underneath to allow easier movement for the Bullfrogs.
    And, like Adam (Steamdonkey74) said earlier (or maybe on a different thread), it's a PITA to solder the green wire to that little disc under the frog.
    Hope it holds.

    The grey rectanglish shape on the far left is the Machine Shop base, whose track might also double as a programming track so there can be one on each side.
    Both programming tracks will be long enough for at least 2 Big Long Locos for consisting.

    Tasks this week:
    --Fix / replace 1 turnout I butchered while experimenting on ways to improve it
    --Finish installing all Bullfrogs
    --Finish wireing up all Bullfrogs
    --Hook up some juice and run some trains to find out the bumps before the group run on June 10th
    --Start to figure out how to build the 8" pit turntable

    But things are moving again.
    Thanks for looking.
     
  11. MC Fujiwara

    MC Fujiwara TrainBoard Member

    1,190
    64
    20
    Turnout Trials & Tribulations!

    But first, I wired up the outer diesel engine service track to this nifty DPDT On-Off-On toggle (rated at 20amps):

    [​IMG]

    that will allow that track to become a programming track when hooked up to the portable Powercab panel toolbox I hope to build this weekend at our group build party.

    So I totally butchered a turnout experimenting with different ways to "fix" it.
    ('Nam flashback: "We had to destroy the village in order to save it.")
    So I needed to install a new one.
    (No, really, it was ugly)

    As I had already soldered everything together, I just used the Dedeco thin disc in the Dremel and cut it close to the original joint:

    [​IMG]

    After filing & fitting & filing to get a close fit, I slipped some HO PC board ties under the new joints, laid down some caulk and then slipped the new turnout into place & soldered:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Turned out rather well!
    And now I know what NOT to do to an Atlas C55 turnout: namely, don't try to cut the point rail throwbar clips as the point rails twist as soon as you breath close to them, and soldering doesn't work very well.
    Must be the kryptonite in the rails.

    So a key Atlas C55 is back in business & works great with the Bullfrog.
    Think the turnout troubles are over?
    Heck no.

    [cont.]
     
  12. MC Fujiwara

    MC Fujiwara TrainBoard Member

    1,190
    64
    20
    Soooooo, after fixing one turnout, I tried installing Bullfrogs on the two ME C55 #6 turnouts I used for the diesel service (and which, if you remember, I installed yesterday).

    Well, the hole in the throwbar is a bit smaller than the Bullfrog wire (which fits the Atlas just fine), and so I thought I'd just ream it out a little.

    HAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHHAAHA

    Snap:

    [​IMG]

    No matter how careful I was, either in reaming or in inserting the rod, the throwbar snapped off.

    Luckily, the ME turnouts are much sturdier (in general) than the Atlas one and the point rails don't have those clips.
    So I popped the throw bar off and slipped an HO PC board tie under there:

    [​IMG]

    There are tiny bumps under the ME point rails, so, after soldering, in order to keep the points down below the stock rails, I had to slip a small strip of styrene on top of both sides of the PC board throw bar and under the stockrails.
    Turns out 0.02" styrene is a smidge thick, so I filed it with a couple of passes and it fit real purdy.

    For the other ME C55 turnout, I took the point rails out of their seats (which look remarkably like rail joiners) and filed off the little bumps. The PC board tie then sat too far below, so I propped it with slightly filed 0.02" styrene:

    [​IMG]

    Turns out that this actually makes the throwing action a little stiff, so I might drop it a little tomorrow (put the throwbar on the ground) or trim the plastic ties next to it, as I think that might be pinching a bit.

    So lots of frustration and swearing today, mostly aimed at myself.
    But in the end, it all turned out:

    [​IMG]

    Tomorrow: wiring up the underworld.

    Thanks for looking.
     
  13. MC Fujiwara

    MC Fujiwara TrainBoard Member

    1,190
    64
    20
    Though sometimes I find all this yard work pointless:

    [​IMG]
     
  14. Sly

    Sly TrainBoard Member

    24
    0
    10
    Your work is always interesting to look at - and congratulations on the article in MRH by the way.

    I notice you've laid the non-main line tracks straight onto the wood - do you notice much difference in the sound an engine makes running on them versus the main which is on cork? Just curious to know. Contemplating this at the moment myself.

    Cheers,
    S
     
  15. MC Fujiwara

    MC Fujiwara TrainBoard Member

    1,190
    64
    20
    Thank, Sly.
    Haven't noticed any sound difference, as the only time we've run trains on it was at a show and it was pretty noisy.
    I'm sure there's a difference, but that's not really a priority.
    If it was and I did it over, I'd probably use a sheet of 1/2" pink foam on top of the ply.
    Actually, if I were to do it over again, I'd use 2" of foam and make a module of three 2'x4' sections and two 45 deg 2'x2' endplate sections so I could do Percival's Isle in 1937:

    [​IMG]

    Which is a super-cool yard that's just screaming FREE-MON ME!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 24, 2012
  16. mr1967

    mr1967 TrainBoard Member

    95
    0
    9
    i really enjoy your threads - tons of great information with supporting pictures and videos. i was considering a fix for my points on a few turnouts, looks like PC ties are in my future.
     
  17. MC Fujiwara

    MC Fujiwara TrainBoard Member

    1,190
    64
    20
    Thanks!
    Let me just reiterate:
    PC Boards on ME turnouts = good (though only if there's been an accident, as the stock throwbars are fine)
    PC Boards on Atlas turnouts = only as last resort, leave the clips on and do the soldering before installing

    Given the fragility of the Atlas point rails, it might just be easier to cut out & replace the whole turnout (like I did after mangling it).
    But if anyone has a better way to solder in a PC board tie, I'd be excited to hear it!
     
  18. RatonMan

    RatonMan TrainBoard Member

    532
    1
    24
    Where is/was this?
     
  19. MC Fujiwara

    MC Fujiwara TrainBoard Member

    1,190
    64
    20
  20. RatonMan

    RatonMan TrainBoard Member

    532
    1
    24
    Even today, it would seem like a good location for a rail yard.
     

Share This Page