Silcon Valley Free-MoN: A new yard has begun

RBrodzinsky May 20, 2020

  1. RBrodzinsky

    RBrodzinsky Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    For many many years, the Silicon Valley FreeMoN group has been using MC Fujiwara's Effet yard as our main operations yard on our setups at different shows. I "inherited" custody of the yard when life took MC in a different direction.

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    [​IMG]

    Unfortunately, it has become a bit long-of-tooth and cramped, as more folks have been running on our layouts, with longer trains (Not that we won't be able to continue to use it!). (Photos are from 2018 NSE Convention in SLC)

    But, it has always been my plan to build a much larger yard, and this summer that activity has begun. Here is the plan for the new Silicon Valley FreeMoN yard (still to be officially named)

    Large FreeMoN Yard Jan 2020 Long.jpg
    Grid size = 3 inches. Each of the colored sections are a 2-foot by 4-foot section, while the two curved sections are approx 39" along the outer curve. Each is a 22.5 degree arc. To make my build life miserable, I plan to have the two curved and the green section be completely reversible and interchangeable. This will require a high degree of precision for placing the tracks at all the end plates (more on that in later posts).

    All parallel tracks will be at 1.125" spacing; the central 8 yard tracks will be "at grade", while the outer mains will be on roadbed. The left hand interface (blue) is a single track, while the right side (light yellow) supports dual track (or, if necessary, a single can be aligned). There are a couple of industries at the lower far right, and a shopping center (with Dairy Queen Grill & Chill) in upper far right, with backs to the track. Engine service at lower left.

    There are 33 switches on this module, with almost 7 scale miles of track!

    Since I started cutting rail to build the switches this morning, I decided to start the thread documenting the build. Lots to show. The goal is to have this fully operational by the fall (hopefully, we will have train shows by then, again), and full scenery in time for the National Train Show in Santa Clara, CA (summer of 2021).
     
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  2. rray

    rray Staff Member

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    looks like a good plan!
     
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  3. Massey

    Massey TrainBoard Member

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    I’m watching!
     
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  4. RBrodzinsky

    RBrodzinsky Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    This morning’s progress, frog points have begun to be soldered, so this module is truly happening!

    708CB9F9-EF7B-491B-B94C-7A988F7C033C.jpeg
     
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  5. Massey

    Massey TrainBoard Member

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    When I was in Virginia I had a friend who built a yard ladder all as one piece using the Fast Track jigs. Are you planning on doing the same or are you just going to build individual switches?
     
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  6. RBrodzinsky

    RBrodzinsky Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    My plan is individual switches. Mostly just from timidity and worry over damage. I am considering doing the crossover on the "green" section as maybe two pieces, so the track spacing gets set with the common frog/stock rails of the 8R/8R and 8L/8L combos.
     
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  7. Massey

    Massey TrainBoard Member

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    Ok. It took him quite a while to complete the ladder but he made many individual switches as practice.
     
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  8. RBrodzinsky

    RBrodzinsky Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    The biggest concerns on this module will be getting all those 12-track end plates to align perfectly no matter how we set the three inner sections up. Over the years, we've had quite a few different methods to secure track to the end plates, both at grade level and on roadbed. Everything comes down to securing PCB ties, or using GapMasters . Unfortunately, the latter would be an expensive solution with 107 needed for just the end-plate crossings!

    So, with my new Anycubic Photon-S I decided to try a new solution: First image is for grade level, second is matching up with roadbed

    EndPlate Grade Level PCB Tie Holder v2.jpg
    EndPlate PCB Tie Holder Wider v3.png
    These can be attached to the end plate with glue and a #2 wood screw The platform for the ties raises the PCB ties to the same height as the plastic "wood" ties on Atlas or ME code 55 track. The little platforms between the ties delineate where to align the track, while the little cleats at the end of the ties help keep them properly aligned (they will be covered with ballast once module is completed)

    Of course, the real question was how well will resin-printed items like this work? So, I built a small miniature to test (earlier version of holder). Both the holder and the track stood up to severe abuse (the type which happens during module setup/takedown and transit). Used JB Weld Steel Epoxy to attach the ties to the guide

    RQJR6277.JPG

    Some of the first "finished" units

    BOVM9908.JPG
     
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  9. Massey

    Massey TrainBoard Member

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    One solution to you alignment issue would to make the ends recessed a few inches and use a floating piece of track that could take up any slight misalignments in the tracks.
     
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  10. RBrodzinsky

    RBrodzinsky Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Nah - violates the spirit of the Free-MoN standard (true, within a module, nothing prevents this, but there should never be contact of tracks across an end plate). Precision build is the optimal solution.
     
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  11. Massey

    Massey TrainBoard Member

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    The other suggestion then would be to retain the track ends with a “staple” that would allow the track a slight movement left and right but not up and down. This would also help compensate for modules being different temps as well as having a slight different expansion due to humidity variations where they are stored. Precision is always best but even the best sometimes needs a bit of help ;)
     
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  12. fordy744

    fordy744 TrainBoard Member

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    Great idea!

    I want some in HO...
     
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  13. RBrodzinsky

    RBrodzinsky Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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  14. gmorider

    gmorider TrainBoard Member

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    I did not know this. (y)
     
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  15. SOO MILW CNW

    SOO MILW CNW TrainBoard Supporter

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    I wonder if you could make/print an alignment jig/fixture?
    The jig/fixture could be used to ensure alignment on the joining faces during construction.
    Just a thought.
    Wyt
     
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  16. RBrodzinsky

    RBrodzinsky Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    We’ve discussed this. Would be a bit easier without all the closures, as would require a good CNC or a very large plate 3D printer (not a Photon). Who knows, maybe some of the DIY shops will be available by the time I need everything.
     
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  17. DCESharkman

    DCESharkman TrainBoard Member

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    I like what I see and need a bunch of those too!
     
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  18. RBrodzinsky

    RBrodzinsky Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Finally, finally, got back to working on the module. Got distracted with a whole lot of other stuff. About a quarter of the way through switch building

    66E799C9-7B0A-42C4-9030-C4D46DBA6EC6.jpeg

    Need 33 in total
     
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  19. RBrodzinsky

    RBrodzinsky Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    For those interested in obtaining the end plate PCB tie holders, I will consider making them, at a reasonable price, for folks, once I get beyond the build stage of the module which needs them.
     
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  20. RBrodzinsky

    RBrodzinsky Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Today’s big event on the work, my first multiple switch! I know many folks have done this, many times, but I’ve always avoided it.

    D38C0DCA-1D89-4AAD-BC2F-BFE397607F1E.jpeg
     
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