Breaking it down - Freestyle!!!

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by tetters, Jan 4, 2008.

  1. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2005
    Messages:
    905
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yeah...I'm bored. I'm not just trying to be a smartass either just by saying that.

    I needed to focus on something other then my layout, however still wanted to play around with train stuff and challenge myself. So mid afternoon at work I got this crazy idea to handlay a double x-over without a jig. Cast away the crutch if you will. In fact I would just use a paper template and the tools I already had a home to make a go of it. It would either turnout out to be a big success or an utter failure for me. That voice in the back of my head by this point was already saying, "DO IT!" The fact that at present I have no need for one makes this exercise even more pointless. Well not exactly pointless...but ya know what I mean

    So I printed off a No. 6 double x-over template from the FastTracks website and brought it home with me. It helped that I also studied the specs on the x-over before attempting this at all. The key was figuring out the secondary angles for the rails and then figuring out a way to shape the rail to that angle. The specs say 19 degrees.

    I used a simple low tech methods in order to achieve my ends. I used a large cheap plastic protractor got it as square to the sanding disk on my benchtop belt sander and held the rail on the angle I needed roughly 9.5 degrees. Then I carefully sanded off the material to get the frog points. Checking, adjusting, sanding, until it matched up with the printout. Once I crafted the four frog points for one side of the x-over I started soldering...and soldering...and adjusting, and checking, and soldering, and on, and on, and on... The frog points on the sides for a regular No. 6 were easy as I already had a frog tool. The real moment of truth came when I started putting the small pieces I had together onto the PCB ties. Man!!! It was H-A-R-D and tedious too. As much as I was prepared that this will not work, I really want this work in the end So I was careful along the entire way. I didn't want to have a pile of scrap rail when I was done.

    Now...I'm not finished. But this is how far I got tonight. This took about 3 1/2 hours of solid work. And it doesn't really look like much to me. Perhaps tomorrow night I'll get the first half done. All the flangeways check out and are within NMRA standards. Most importantly, wheels don't drop in the middle where the four angles meet. I also will need to go back and cut the isolation gaps.

    I'd love to keep going, however I do have to get up for work tomorrow.

    [​IMG]

    I'll post up tomorrow night if I get more done. Let me know what you folks think of this so far. Comments are always welcome.
  2. puddlejumper

    puddlejumper Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2007
    Messages:
    256
    Likes Received:
    0
    I remain in awe of your skill. That is very impressive, and without a jig! :thumb:
    I need to start buttering you up so when I build my layout you'll be ready to fly out and spend a month laying track here... :mrgreen:

    Dave
  3. cnw1961

    cnw1961 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2006
    Messages:
    936
    Likes Received:
    0
    I think we all need a new challenge from time to time, so I fully understand that you started this. It looks fantastic, can’t wait to see it finished :thumb:.
  4. iis612

    iis612 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2006
    Messages:
    532
    Likes Received:
    0
    I am reminded of a line from a rather ubiquitous movie, perhaps you are familiar... "Wayne's World"?
    Most particularly, I am drawn to there act of reverance when they drop to their knees, bowing and repeating "We're not worthy...We're not worthy..."
    I would love to be able to lay a section of flex track, let alone a double crossover without a jig.:thumb:
  5. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2005
    Messages:
    905
    Likes Received:
    0
    Gentlemen you are all too kind. Seriously.

    Dave I'd be more then glad to come over and help you out. Provided you provide me with the plane tickets, free room and board, plus meals. But...then who would look after the family??? Sorry man I guess I can't help you. :grin:

    Although, I did already offer to build some trackwork for Kurt and ship it out to him. Perhaps I could supplement my hobby with my newly aquired skills....hmmm...

    I can't wait to get home and finish this half of it. I'm already plotting the steps in my head about what needs to be done when I finally get a few hours to work on it. Plus its Friday. So since I don't have to work tomorrow morning, I could really be burning the midnight oil on this one.
  6. Ralph

    Ralph Remember...it's for fun!

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2002
    Messages:
    5,342
    Likes Received:
    0
    I really admire your skills and your ambition tetters! Good luck as you continue with this diversion.
    Ralph
  7. Glen Haasdyk

    Glen Haasdyk Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2004
    Messages:
    1,313
    Likes Received:
    0
    Very impressive. I won't even try to build a trestle bent without a jig and here you are!
  8. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2005
    Messages:
    905
    Likes Received:
    0
    Half way there...I usually install the throwbars on the layout...I find I can get them centered inbetween the ties better this way...however in this case, I may just put them in during the final step. I'd also love to start grinding the secondary frog points for the other half, however its late and will require the use of my belt sander.

    Which means that unless I wanna sleep in the snow bank outside this is it for tonight. sign1

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    This handlaying session was brought to you by the letter "B" as in hot rails burn your fingers!!!, The number 12...cause it must have happened over a dozen times. Sponsored in part by A&W Root Beer and Salted Cashews. :p :mrgreen: :wave:
  9. Kevinkrey

    Kevinkrey Member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2006
    Messages:
    960
    Likes Received:
    0


    But you said since you have no work tommorow you would finish. I stayed up this late for nothing?:x I may never forgive you.


    Just kidding,sign1that would look pretty good on my ore dock.:twisted:
  10. cnw1961

    cnw1961 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2006
    Messages:
    936
    Likes Received:
    0
    That’s what I call art!! :inw::inw::inw::inw::inw:
  11. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2005
    Messages:
    905
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks Kurt. I greatly admire your work as well which I consider a form of high art, if you will.

    I got some more done this evening plugging in another good solid four hours on this one. Lets see how I got there.

    [​IMG]

    I wasn't kidding when I said low tech. This is how I ground the 9.5 ish degrees for the secondary frog points. I keeping pushing the rail forward into the sanding disk on the appropriate angle until the rail has sharp point. Safety Glasses are a MUST when doing this! To do the other rail just come in from the opposite side.

    [​IMG]

    With both rails cut, I then place them on the template and line them up very carefully. Using something heavy to help hold the rails steady helps greatly when doing this. You want to have the frog a sharp as possible and as far in as it will go. Notice how clean the template page is too...it won't stay that way long.

    [​IMG]

    I then apply a liberal dab of acid base flux. I will neutralize the acid with alcohol and then wash the entire assembly in hot soapy water to get rid of any residue. Then using my 40w iron I apply solder to the top of the rails, moving the iron back and forth to allow the solder to flow into the joint all the way down to the base.

    [​IMG]

    Then I clean off the top of the frog with a mill file and then sand with some wet/dry sandpaper. You want the frog points to be a sharp as possible.

    [​IMG]

    In this picture you can see the various stages of assembly. The two separate rails sanded down. A second frog ready to be soldered and a completed one.
  12. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2005
    Messages:
    905
    Likes Received:
    0
    Now...where was I???

    [​IMG]

    So once I've got the frog points all together. I start by soldering the center frog on the template to a PC board tie. The location of the ties are shaded on the template which makes it easy to spot them. I use a couple of other ties to support the frog on both ends and again place something heavy on top to help hold everything down. I'll make several adjustments to get the frog and tie a sqaure as possible to template CAD drawing. I think it goes without saying that keeping everything as sqaure as possible right from the get go is critical.

    [​IMG]

    Using my trusty NMRA gauge I place the next frog on to the tie and move it into the position. Making sure that the flangeway is within spec and that it is also lined up properly on the template. I then solder it in place.

    [​IMG]

    Voila! Well not quite, however this is how it starts to come together. I was a little sloppy with my soldering on this one. So I'll have to lightly file off some of it in order to accurately place the No. 6 frog points.

    [​IMG]

    However before I do that I have to finish shaping the frog I just soldered in place. Part of the frog forms a guard rail and part of a wing rail. In this picture my file is pointing at the spot where I have to bend the rail to match up with the template. Using my rail cutters I'll nip out a small angle in the base of the rail and file off any burrs. Then I'll carefully bend the rail to match the template as closely as possible.

    [​IMG]

    In this picture the file is pointing at the angle on the template I'll need to cut off excess rail. The wing rail is actually made of two pieces in this cross over construction. I cut the rail a little long and then file it down until it closely matches the length I need.
  13. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2005
    Messages:
    905
    Likes Received:
    0
    [​IMG]

    If you looked carefully on the template there are a couple of bends in the guard rail which I make. I also file a slight chamfer on the guard rail to gently coax the wheels against the stock the rails. It also adds that nice detailed touch to the whole project.

    [​IMG]

    Up top you can see the completed frog shaped and cut to length. The opposite frog can then be put in place and soldered to the assembly. I will also shape it to be the mirror image of the finished frog.

    [​IMG]

    Jumping a little ahead, here is the assmebly with both No 6 frog points installed framing in the cross over frogs. This is when it really starts to come together.

    [​IMG]

    The final frog is then soldered together and placed in between the guard rails. I also soldered additional PCB ties in place as I went along to increase the structural strength of the whole assembly.

    [​IMG]

    Now this is where I divert from the Fast Tracks method of x-over construction. Normally you would complete both halves and do a final assembly. However, I feel that with out the added security of a jig to keep everything lined up precisely, I figured I should assemble to two halves of what I've got before I get in too deep and find out it won't match up. The rails at the joint are a little longish, which is what you want. Several adjustments, and careful filing to remove the excess, you eventually arrive at this...

    [​IMG]

    Now...it didn't perfectly line up in all areas. However I was pleased as punch that it was for the most part bang on. The No. 6 frog rails needed some adjustment in order to get them to line up which was nothing more then simply heating up the joint and moving the rails so that they would meet up with each other. All trackwork checks out with the NMRA gauge, so I must have done something right.

    Sadly, thats all for tonight. Tomorrow I will wrap up construction on this little project of mine.

    :wave:
  14. puddlejumper

    puddlejumper Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2007
    Messages:
    256
    Likes Received:
    0
    Outstanding!:thumb:

    When does the bidding start?:mrgreen:

    Dave
  15. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2005
    Messages:
    905
    Likes Received:
    0
    I dunno...It's turning out so well, I just may be forced to find a place to install it on my layout. Even if its only ornamental. :mrgreen: :-| :p

    Going through the crossing in one direction I can hear a slight clicking as the wheels hit the frog point. Going through the other direction its like glass. So smooth. Just metal wheels on metal rails. It's a thing of beauty brother.

    I'm already thinking about constructing a curved No. 6 cross over with 2" track centers. Yeah, as if this wasn't hard enough, I had to go and throw a curve in the whole dang formula eh? I've been sketching out the radi and track work on paper and it should work, I'm teaching myself how to use CAD as well as part of the process. I've already made drawings of code 83 rail according to NMRA specs. If I can pull off a 3D CAD drawing of what I want, I'll consider it done. Best thing is this actual something I could use. It would make operations easier for the switchers and would be a truely unique piece of trackwork on my layout.

    It's like Crack...or it must be all the solder fumes going to my head!

    tooth1 :razz: :lol:
  16. cnw1961

    cnw1961 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2006
    Messages:
    936
    Likes Received:
    0
    It’s definitely the solder fumes sign1.
  17. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2005
    Messages:
    905
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yeah...you're right, it's the solder fumes...snnniiiiiffff!!! ahhhh... woo hoo!

    Oh look...Done!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Well...not really. I still have to cut the isolation gaps, clean up the pc board ties a bit and install the throwbars. But essentially...done. :mrgreen:

    When I started I completely had the second last turnout all cock-eyed. You should have seen it, it was like veering off to the side something fierce! I don't know what in the hell I was looking at when I first aligned it and soldered it in place. Luckily I was able to correct it.

    It's not perfect, however operationally speaking it will work no problem. Some filing and tweaking along the way and its like butter over all of the frog points. I'm so glad this turned out.
  18. roch

    roch Member

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2008
    Messages:
    206
    Likes Received:
    0
    All I can say is WOW!!! That is soo cool. I hope to be that gifted one day.
    You have got to PM me and let me know where you got the knowledge and supplies.
    I am new to this and have trouble with prebuilt tracks.
  19. Wildcatfootball

    Wildcatfootball Member

    Joined:
    May 13, 2006
    Messages:
    142
    Likes Received:
    0
    I so would NOT have the patience to do that. I envy you for that fact and your beautiful track work. Hopefully you can find a place on your layout for it. If not, I am in need of a cross over sign1
  20. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2005
    Messages:
    905
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks for the kind words gents. Roch, I PM'ed you the main link that got me started. I wouldn't consider myself gifted, just good with tools and building structure. Some patience and a good eye helps with accuracy too though. To me this is like framing a house...just much, much smaller.