1. Greg Elems

    Greg Elems Staff Member

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    Well I finally got out my Fast Tracks switch jig and started building my first switch.

    http://www.handlaidtrack.com/

    What a sweet modeling aid this is. When I get it out of the jig and add some ties to it I’ll post a couple of pictures.

    Greg Elems
     
  2. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Is this tool something the truly "all thumbs" type person can use? If I had my way, I'd wish to watch someone close up. And see all the steps taken.

    :D

    Boxcab E50
     
  3. Greg Elems

    Greg Elems Staff Member

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    Well so far, with my hammer hands and 10 thumbs I've got a switch that is really neat. I'm going to file the points tonight and figure out a throw bar. I'm planning on HO Caboose Hobbies ground throw. The toughest part so far has been soldering. Once I broke down and bought a 40watt soldering iron, $8 from Radio Shack, it started going together real nice. I didn't have any acid flux so I used white vinegar to clean the copper and NS rail. Seems to be working ok. The instructions call for acid flux and since you can wash the soldered switch in warm soapy water the acid flux isn't supposed to be an issue. We'll see, after I get to the hardware store and get some. In the mean time, my SHS test truck glides through with nary a sound or bump when it goes over the frog. I'm jazzed that's for sure.

    Greg
     
  4. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Only problem with acid flux, is the fumes can be ugly. :eek:mg:

    Does a jig come with something to hold a rail for filing? What about bending guard rails?

    :D

    Boxcab E50
     
  5. Greg Elems

    Greg Elems Staff Member

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    The jig holds the rails in gage. There are marks on the jig as to where the rail needs to be bent. Needle nose pliers worked just fine. I bought a jig to hold the rails for filing the frog points. Now I see a jig for filing the switch point rails. After I make my first set of switch points I’ll decide if I want to get the jig for them. The jig for the frog is universal as far the scale. Track for HO, On30, S and O can use code 100 rail and the jig holds a short piece for filing. I'll try and shoot some pictures of the jigs and post them with the switch picture. I soldered a pc board tie to the rails where the switch points would have been, with the idea I’m going to use a different method for the switch points. The pc board tie is similar looking to the single ties we use on the ridged switches in Sparks.

    Greg
     
  6. BnOEngrRick

    BnOEngrRick TrainBoard Member

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    I'm using the #8 code 55 jig in N scale, and have built almost 60 turnouts with it so far. So those in larger scales should have even less of a problem building than what I have. They also make a filing jig for frog points and switch points so everything can line up perfectly.
     
  7. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    OK. So there is a seperate jig that must be bought, in order to really do them properly.

    Boxcab E50
     
  8. Greg Elems

    Greg Elems Staff Member

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    It speeds things up but they aren't necessary. I checked my first switch against my track and wheel gage and it was right on. One thing I did discover was the wheels on my old American Models cars are out of gauge. Next item to check is the wheels on the older engines I have. My SHS wheels are right on as are the NWSL wheel sets I bought to replace the plastic wheels on the Pacific Rail Shop cars. I'm still jazzed with this jig. A friend of mine bought the #6 jig. I don't know if he's used it yet. It sure speeds things up and keeps the rails in gauge.

    Greg Elems
     
  9. JCater

    JCater TrainBoard Member

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    Looks like I could use one for On30.
     
  10. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Have you seen the On30 switch offerings from LITCo?

    :D

    Boxcab E50
     
  11. Wolfgang Dudler

    Wolfgang Dudler Passed away August 25, 2012 TrainBoard Supporter In Memoriam

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    Those switch jig are great. And the video at their site is best! For me the jigs are too expensive and I cann't build any turnout. My latest curved turnout has 60'' resp. 39'' radius (H0). Westport thread

    Wolfgang
     
  12. Greg Elems

    Greg Elems Staff Member

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    Wolfgang,

    You did a beautiful job on that curved turnout. I took a look at your scratch building turnout site, very nice.

    While the jig is expensive initially the price becomes a non factor as you build them. I bought one for myself and have built two turnouts now. They cut down on the learning curve and allowed me to make them off the layout. After five turnouts I figure they will drop the price per turnout significantly. I’m modeling in S so custom built or Shinohara switches are pricey. In the mean time tackling a curved turnout such as yours will not be intimidating.

    Greg
     
  13. Greg Elems

    Greg Elems Staff Member

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    Another neat thing about these jigs. I've been contacted by a couple of individuals who have jigs and may want to trade switches. I really didn't need any #8's but a trade for one or two sure works nice for me.

    Greg Elems
     

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