Märklin Märklin points, turnouts, hiding the ugly mechanics

Reptilian Feline Aug 2, 2020

  1. Reptilian Feline

    Reptilian Feline TrainBoard Member

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    I've been looking into what tracks to use. The Rokuhan tracks with track bed look very nice, but are pricey and limited when it comes to getting them in Sweden, especially used. Märklin is easier to get and the Peco flex track will fit right in, since neither comes ballasted. The problem I have is with those ghastly point/turnout "motors". They doesn't look very nice, and both hand turned and electrical take up about the same amount of space.

    Is there an easy way to hide them or remove them?
     
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  2. bostonjim

    bostonjim TrainBoard Member

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    Hi, there. Welcome. I had the same question a couple of months ago and there is a thread here but I can't find it. The switch machine can be taken off and installed underneath your layout. I'm not sure how to locate it but it is here. Maybe somebody will find it and share it with you. I, too, have a lot of Marklin switches and can't think of using them with the switch machine on top of the layout. I'm not being terribly helpful, but I hope it helps a little bit. It can be done. Jim.
     
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  3. davejones

    davejones New Member

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  4. SJ Z-man

    SJ Z-man TrainBoard Member

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    Just be REALLY cautious with the white throw rod. The points are relatively embedded but can EASILY be torn out, if the throw bar is over displaced. Attaching a motor (servo, gear throw [MR-5], etc. can break the points out. You'll note when you get the external blob off, the throw is connected to a really thin wire that has just enough to float the points over. That is the prime mechanism that lets you run through the points !
     
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  5. Reptilian Feline

    Reptilian Feline TrainBoard Member

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    The Zscale.org article was perfect! Thank you!
     
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  6. mdvholland

    mdvholland TrainBoard Member

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  7. rray

    rray Staff Member

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    Nice Matt! Did you find that 3mm of travel is just right or does it push the point a little tight?
     
  8. mdvholland

    mdvholland TrainBoard Member

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    The 3 mm works just fine on this test setup, and the tension feels about right. However I have not put them to the reality test since my old layout was taken apart before I got to installing these new underground switch motor; MTB motors are waiting for my new layout. I just get to little projects these days, unfortunately.

    So, I don't know if this 3mm setup will allow for trains to run on the switch "from the wrong side" (I am not sure how you would describe it in english, we say "cut open the switch"). But I would expect it to work ok.

    In the pix I show the German instruction sheet, attached here is an english version and some more info on the MTB motors. They are very nice and I have heard good feedback from folk that did install them on their layout. Please note there is more than one type of switch motor, differences are mainly the options for frog power, 2/3 wire control, etc. The MP5 has a plug, which makes mounting under table easier (you don't have to connect the wires to a mounted motor under your table, instead install them on the plug and then plug it in), so I would advise that one over MP1. There are also newer versions, MP6 and MP7, I haven't worked with those.

    Matt
     

    Attached Files:

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  9. ubiminor

    ubiminor New Member

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    Well documented work Matt!
    I want to say though that while removing the ugly control box from the Märklin turnouts is imperative, you do not need to go always for motor control.
    I have made servo controls for turnouts, using RC servos and arduinos, but in some layouts I think manual controls are just what is needed.
    I have developed a manual control for my modules. My modules are made of styrofoam with composite epoxy cladding, essentially surfboard technology.
    As my modules are very light, I wanted to have a system that would impart very little mechanical stress/shock to the modules when switching.
    Switches and cursors were discarded, So I choose a rotating knob.
    The system is made of three parts all 3D printed:
    • A control rod on which the link to the throw bar will be attached. The rod has a square section and a screw pattern at the end.
    • A flange to mount the rod and the knob
    • A hollow knob that has an internal thread

    2.png
    Assembly is very easy, the thing works straight away.

    Installation on the layout requires just one extra piece. A L shaped 0.8mm steel rod. The short side of th L goes into the eye of the Märklin throw bar. The long side reaches down the deck of the layout and joins with the control rod.
    1.png
    The holes for the control and the steel rod were carved with a foam hot cutter. The flange is glued to the outer skin with epoxy resin.

    In the end the control does what is expected to do: smooth switching with no strain on the layout.
     
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  10. Reptilian Feline

    Reptilian Feline TrainBoard Member

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    I like your idea ubiminor! Very nice and tidy. I don't have access to a 3D printer, so I'm thinking that something similar could be made with things found in the hardware store. What do you think?
     
  11. ubiminor

    ubiminor New Member

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    For sure you could do something with threaded rods and nuts. The only problem is that the pitch of these threads is very thin, so you will have to rotate the knob few times to get the 5 mm throw. I designed the thread of my system so that it makes 5 mm excursion in a 90deg rotation of the knob.

    I have put the thing on shapeways,https://www.shapeways.com/product/8795SJ3JG/manual-control-for-switches-turnouts if you find it interesting.
    It is not a commercial offer as as I never apply any markup.
    The version there is a short one that allows to use as control rod any 3mm stick (such as a wooden skewer).
     
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  12. SJ Z-man

    SJ Z-man TrainBoard Member

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    American (inch) thread standards are more coarse. There are several external 'nut' mounts (e.g. Tee Nut) however, square plastic stock is not so common. It can easily threaded with a 'Die' (see Harbor Freight for a set of many sizes for ~$10) or, by a single Die, say 1/4-20 from a hardware supply.
    Plastuct, Evergeen, someone makes a square and, I also bet, Box tubing to slide in nicely, to keep rotational movement minimal ;) I'm betting a 1/4-20 (20 Threads per Inch) would move it. 1 turn would be 1/20 of an inch or o.05" (1.27mm). The track is 6.5mm so that would move it ~20% (if perfect mechanics)

    But I like the 3D printed concept !!! Print a linear gear on the side and you have a signal stand rotate 90 degrees ;)

    Make dang sure you can't somehow pull out, press in too far or, Lord Hep Me, rotate :)
     
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  13. ubiminor

    ubiminor New Member

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    Hi Jeff
    Thanks for the appreciation.
    The rack and pinion transmission is a clever idea and indeed a possibility. Though I have no rotating signals in the stations I am building. Nevertheless in the version I made for Shapeways one can insert any type of control rod, including a linear gear.
    The risk of tearing things apart is not so great. The reason is that the steel rod, that engages in the throw bar eye, is framed by the switch/turnout base. I cut into this base a 4 mm slot in which the steel rod inserts. So it cannot move more than 4 mm. I deem this construction as robust as the rest of the layout.
    IMG_20200812_094958.jpg
    About building this manual control with stock components, it can be done. In my experience using plaststruct/evergreen profiles is not very economic though.
    But in the end, if one has 30+ switches in a layout, making all those manual control becomes rather tedious. That's why I love the 3D printer do the job.
    But if I had no printer I would rather spend the 5+ bucks for the shapeways version and dedicate my time for more creative jobs.

    Ciao
    Gianfranco
     

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