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Author Topic: Where to buy rails for home made track  (Read 608 times)

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Offline njee20

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Re: Where to buy rails for home made track
« Reply #15 on: July 31, 2020, 07:10:59 PM »
Strip it out of code 55 flex track. Each piece gives you two yards of rail! I agree that’s a potentially interesting design idea.

Aside from teaching you how to compose a double slip (Templot would do the same for no cost) Wayne’s kits will be of limited use to you IMO. As you rightly identify you won’t be able to print the chairs, and Wayne uses cast frogs, so unless you buy 96 of those for your slips (if he sells them) the construction will be totally different - you’ll have to file and solder them out of whichever rail you use.

Wayne’s slip is also bullhead, you’re going to want flat bottom rail to have enough material to attach to the bases.

Buying a Peco double slip is probably more valuable - you can see how they manage the switch rails etc given the half height (I think you’ll have to file the side and the base of the rail). Then you can just print a copy base and replicate it in kit form.
« Last Edit: July 31, 2020, 07:16:00 PM by njee20 »

Offline RBTKraisee

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Re: Where to buy rails for home made track
« Reply #16 on: July 31, 2020, 07:41:48 PM »
Strip it out of code 55 flex track. Each piece gives you two yards of rail! I agree that’s a potentially interesting design idea.

And that's why this site is so wonderful - great ideas and people who think about things like this from a different perspective!

I've got some pieces sitting in a box behind my chair, yet I probably would not have thought of that any time soon, on my own!   Thanks!

Quote
Aside from teaching you how to compose a double slip (Templot would do the same for no cost) Wayne’s kits will be of limited use to you IMO. As you rightly identify you won’t be able to print the chairs, and Wayne uses cast frogs, so unless you buy 96 of those for your slips (if he sells them) the construction will be totally different - you’ll have to file and solder them out of whichever rail you use.

Wayne's Code 40 stuff is beautiful work.   There is certainly a temptation to think about doing my entire layout that way, but for now I'm going to place a few artificial limits on my current plans.   I can always re-visit at some point in the future!

If I bought the parts for all 50 of these from Wayne, I'd likely end up spending a similar amount as for the Peco solution, maybe a bit more actually, so that isn't a realistic option.   And if I do go down the path of designing my own, one of the main advantages is that I could increase the angles a bit (from 10° to maybe 12.5° or even 15°) which would allow me to fit that huge ladder into a shorter space - and again, I couldn't do that if I buy Wayne's existing parts.


Quote
Wayne’s slip is also bullhead, you’re going to want flat bottom rail to have enough material to attach to the bases.

Buying a Peco double slip is probably more valuable - you can see how they manage the switch rails etc given the half height (I think you’ll have to file the side and the base of the rail). Then you can just print a copy base and replicate it in kit form.

The fixed parts of the slip could be stripped-down Peco flex track rails, slotted into 3D printed plastic structures just large enough to hold the bottom foot in place.   Perhaps I could remove small patches on the rear so that some adhesive can be applied to hold everything permanently in place.

The moving parts of the slip might not even have to be Peco rail.   Maybe the Micro Engineering Code 55 flat bottom rails from Fast Tracks here in the US, would work.   I'll have to experiment with both to see.   Though the thought occurs to me that perhaps I will want to fix one end (near the frog for example) to the sleepers in the same way as the fixed bits of track - in which case using Peco rail would be the better starting place.

A lot to play with - and I just happen to have some suitable test rail already! :)

Ross.
« Last Edit: July 31, 2020, 07:42:53 PM by RBTKraisee »
“The meek shall inherit the Earth. The rest of us are going to the stars” -Robert Heinlein

An Ex-Pat Brit:  Two decades living in Florida and still a shade of "British Tourist White"

Offline njee20

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Re: Where to buy rails for home made track
« Reply #17 on: July 31, 2020, 07:56:25 PM »
I think I’d probably get some code 40 and 55 to test; I suspect the 55 will dot proud of the stock rails - I definitely get your logic, I fear there will still be too many constraints, but you’re making me want to try the same thing!

FWIW Templot will enable your to do custom geometry slips, as you’ve said, and can export DXFs, so you don’t need to draw sleeper bases for printing, merely sort whatever retention channel/clips you go for.
« Last Edit: July 31, 2020, 07:58:10 PM by njee20 »

Offline Steven B

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Re: Where to buy rails for home made track
« Reply #18 on: July 31, 2020, 08:27:21 PM »
Peco make flat bottom code 60 rail as a separate item - it's intended for DIY'ers and those adding third and forth rails.
Part number IL-1 will give you six lengths of 609mm long rails.

I believe the same basic rail is also used in their SL-200 Z gauge flexi-track.

Steven B.

Offline njee20

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Re: Where to buy rails for home made track
« Reply #19 on: July 31, 2020, 08:38:20 PM »
Doesn’t have the ‘double base’ of the code 55 though, which was the desirable feature. The OP is in the US, so has readily available sources of Micro Engineering rail for plain rail.

Offline RBTKraisee

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Re: Where to buy rails for home made track
« Reply #20 on: July 31, 2020, 08:41:33 PM »
I think I’d probably get some code 40 and 55 to test; I suspect the 55 will dot proud of the stock rails - I definitely get your logic, I fear there will still be too many constraints, but you’re making me want to try the same thing!

No going and building a 50 piece mega-ladder, okay?   Well, not until I've done one first!  :D


Quote
FWIW Templot will enable your to do custom geometry slips, as you’ve said, and can export DXFs, so you don’t need to draw sleeper bases for printing, merely sort whatever retention channel/clips you go for.

I had come across Templot before, but haven't really used it beyond trying out the simple stuff in the intro vids. Put it on the shelf a few months back and hadn't touched it again.

But since you mentioned it earlier, I updated my install and I've been going through the website and the menu's carefully to get an initial bead on it.

I note that it allows a lot more than just designing single turnouts/crossings - you can actually build a completely customised layout in it.

For my own project, the thought certainly occurs to me that the first rungs of my mega-ladder at each end, do not need to be on the main straight - and Templot would allow me to design curved elements to a very customised set of requirements.

And you mention DXF export.   I haven't got there yet, but being able to export the basic pattern of sleepers into SolidWorks would be a *massive* time saver.

Very, very interesting...

- Capable track design tools: Check.
- Exportable designs for import into SolidWorks: Check.
- Cheap source of Peco bare rail that probably can be used with 3D printed plastic: Check.

I still need a bunch of tools, but this is starting to shape-up quite nicely so far.

I noticed the Rail Bender tools can be a bit pricey, and I definitely want one.   Luckily, last night I found this website where a guy named Steve made his own from a Jaxa Wrench (a watch-back removing tool) for under $20 (about £15)!!

I've also got a free 3D printed versatile workbench that will clamp my Dremel down and allow me to use it as a router, a table saw and a variety of other bench tools, many of which would be useful in this project.   It takes a quite number of prints to make, but I finally think I have the reason to build it!

This is gonna be fun!

Ross.
“The meek shall inherit the Earth. The rest of us are going to the stars” -Robert Heinlein

An Ex-Pat Brit:  Two decades living in Florida and still a shade of "British Tourist White"

Offline njee20

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Re: Where to buy rails for home made track
« Reply #21 on: July 31, 2020, 09:40:18 PM »
Ha, no, I won’t be building a 50 point Uber ladder, but 3D printing bases with Peco code 55 is an interesting concept. I’ve printed bases from DXFs, but not with any method of retaining the rails, it’s on the ‘to do’ list!

Templot is very powerful, the entire point is that it’s not constrained by off the shelf geometry, so you can build basically anything, including curved slips, as you say.

I’ve never found a need for rail bending tools, but I’ve usually used PCB construction where you obviously solder the rail in place. Code 40 rail is very flexible though. If you need an angle it’s very easy to bend, not sure I’d rush to buy tools. If you do go down that route, Given the sheer number you’re building I’d consider getting filing jigs for switch rails and frogs, Fast Tracks ones are expensive, but would probably be worthwhile.

Offline RBTKraisee

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Re: Where to buy rails for home made track
« Reply #22 on: July 31, 2020, 11:45:46 PM »
I just finished my first design attempt for a sleeper base based on a simple B6 turnout from Templot, including channel for Peco C55 rail, chair detailing on each sleeper and a gentle texture to simulate wood on the top surface.   Took me about 40 minutes :)

I still need to draw up a tie-bar to link the switch blades but I don't know how to arrange that just yet, so it can wait until I have some rail elements.

I'll put the parts into my queue for printing (got RTS and mail coach net projects ahead of it) so it might be mid-week by the time I have anything to actually show, but I'm happy so far :)

Ross.
“The meek shall inherit the Earth. The rest of us are going to the stars” -Robert Heinlein

An Ex-Pat Brit:  Two decades living in Florida and still a shade of "British Tourist White"

Offline njee20

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Re: Where to buy rails for home made track
« Reply #23 on: August 01, 2020, 07:35:45 AM »
Look forward to seeing it. Loads of ways of doing tie bars. How will you work the turnout? Worth thinking about that too. I used Soldered PCB strip with an offset hole for a wire actuated by a servo on mine, but it puts a lot of stress on the tie bar, they broke regularly! I had to dismantle the layout before I honed it further!

Offline RBTKraisee

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Re: Where to buy rails for home made track
« Reply #24 on: August 01, 2020, 03:48:43 PM »
I am definitely intending to use servo's for actuation too.   I already have a Tam Valley Octopus III, DCC decoder board and remote programmer for it, as well as a bag of small servos.   How to integrate it all together though - I have no idea yet!   I think I need to build one or more prototypes and once I've got something physical in my hands I can test a few different approaches.

To make the switch blades I want to avoid having to design a specific hinge - if that's feasible.   I'm currently hoping to take a piece of Peco rail and grind away the lower foot for about 90% of its length, and use the remaining section as a mount up near the frog area.   Then the remaining ~90% of the length will hopefully flex freely enough - more like prototypical.   I really won't be able to make any sort of decision until I try it!

I think I'll need to design some jigs to allow me to repeatedly grind down the lower foot of the Peco rails, and to shave the switch blades, the cut-out areas in the fixed rails where the switch blades rest and the parts for the frogs too.

I'm currently leaning towards designing the guide rail elements into the plastic sleeper base, because they need to be painted with grime anyway, so metal won't ever be showing.

I'm running a DCC layout so I'm debating electro or insulated frog approaches.    I'm currently using electro-frog Peco turnouts.   I 3D printed my own tiny isolation joints to go in after every frog and to allow me to mix & match Peco and Atlas Code 55 track.   I have been very happy with the results so far.   I definitely want to avoid the expense of buying juicers.   If the point of the frog is plastic it would certainly make construction easier, and it can always be painted with a bit of chrome paint (I'm sure Wayne and others seeking perfection in their miniatures are spinning like dynamo's after seeing that, but for me I'm just looking for the easiest way to build 50 of these suckers!).   If I take that approach I believe it would simplify my layout wiring too.   But again, I think I want to see some real hardware in my hands before making any final decisions.

Ross.
“The meek shall inherit the Earth. The rest of us are going to the stars” -Robert Heinlein

An Ex-Pat Brit:  Two decades living in Florida and still a shade of "British Tourist White"

Offline nick_bastable

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Re: Where to buy rails for home made track
« Reply #25 on: August 01, 2020, 04:04:37 PM »
I would suggest you read the following especially the part regarding tie bars and modify to your own requirements

http://2mm.org.uk/products/instruction_sheets/pdf1-403-etc.pdf

Nick B


Offline njee20

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Re: Where to buy rails for home made track
« Reply #26 on: August 01, 2020, 05:48:33 PM »
Yes, you could potentially print the frogs. My concern would be the loss of conductivity given you’ve got some many one after the other.

You don’t need to file anything like 90% of the foot off the rail, just the bit where it fits against the stock rail, where you have to file it to a sharp point. That’s what I’d get a Fast Tracks jig for (I think they call it the Stock-Aid) as you’ll have to do so many. There’s tonnes of flex in the rail. Hinges definitely not needed.

Offline RBTKraisee

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Re: Where to buy rails for home made track
« Reply #27 on: August 02, 2020, 08:58:10 PM »
I would suggest you read the following especially the part regarding tie bars and modify to your own requirements

http://2mm.org.uk/products/instruction_sheets/pdf1-403-etc.pdf


Thanks Nick, that's quite a procedure!  I think it would be a good idea for me to build an existing kit, top-to-bottom, as one of my first attempts, just to see all the complexities and elements, so I don't miss anything when I try to do my own parts.   These instructions will be helpful.

Ross.
“The meek shall inherit the Earth. The rest of us are going to the stars” -Robert Heinlein

An Ex-Pat Brit:  Two decades living in Florida and still a shade of "British Tourist White"

Offline nick_bastable

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Re: Where to buy rails for home made track
« Reply #28 on: August 02, 2020, 09:08:36 PM »
Ross

they read harder than they are to do I completed 9 points at a  lazy rate of 1 a day , all work well at my chosen scale.  Hardest part is trying and learning from your mistakes

Nick

Offline RBTKraisee

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Re: Where to buy rails for home made track
« Reply #29 on: August 02, 2020, 09:21:18 PM »
Yes, you could potentially print the frogs. My concern would be the loss of conductivity given you’ve got some many one after the other.

Hmmm.   Good point.   I quite like the way Peco did it on my C55 turnouts - with a tiny bit of v-shaped plastic on the leading edge of the frog, with two shaped rails behind it.

I wonder if I could do something similar, but shape the two rails exiting the frog so that they *almost* touch, but have a very thin bit of printed plastic between them, allowing separate power on each.   I'd guess the separator would need to be very thin, less than 0.5mm, so I might need to experiment to find out exactly how well these resins will insulate the two rails from one another, if installed in such a position.


Quote
You don’t need to file anything like 90% of the foot off the rail, just the bit where it fits against the stock rail, where you have to file it to a sharp point. That’s what I’d get a Fast Tracks jig for (I think they call it the Stock-Aid) as you’ll have to do so many.

Sorry, I wasn't very clear, my mistake! :)   I said two things in one, when I should have split them into two distinct things...

First, I want to shave the bottom of the two-part 'foot' off of ~90% of the switch blades - as in the image below.   My intent here is just to allow the switch blades to be mounted firmly at the end near the frog using the short remaining section of 2-part foot, as normal, but then the rest of the switch blade will have the lower part of the foot removed along the entire section that flexes, so that the lower foot won't interfere with the sleepers.   This way, the sleepers under the switch can all remain at full height.

Then I'll add some solder to the side of the switch blade to thicken it out correctly, and file the sides down to get the correct profile along its length.

Does that make sense?


Quote
There’s tonnes of flex in the rail. Hinges definitely not needed.

That's really good to know :)   Sounds like I can skip that test then and move straight on to trying to get a working switch on my first proper go.

Ross.

« Last Edit: August 02, 2020, 09:25:55 PM by RBTKraisee »
“The meek shall inherit the Earth. The rest of us are going to the stars” -Robert Heinlein

An Ex-Pat Brit:  Two decades living in Florida and still a shade of "British Tourist White"

 

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