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    • September 23, 2018 2:09 PM EDT
    • 99% Skill methinks! Great job.

      I'm voting for the  bridge with a bribe: you'll deliver umbrella drinks to your lovely on the pool float.

    • September 23, 2018 2:06 PM EDT
    • Sean McGillicuddy said:

          Great Caesar ghost ... you finished...looks great.. when you started I bet that wheel set had no rust...

      This should look great on the pike!

      Great Job !


      Thanks Sean.....the rust is real in this scale! No weathering needed :) I will set the wheels in the lathe and sand the rust off with carborundum cloth.

    • September 23, 2018 2:02 PM EDT
    • Ken Brunt said:

      Is that a typical setup, having the track screwed down to the ties? Been to a few ride on layouts and never really paid attention to how the track was fastened to the ties, especially on a switch. But it does make sense. 

      Great work, BTW. It looks like you knew what you were doing...............


      Ken: No this is NOT typical (screwing the rail down to the ties, through the rail. Most clubs use tie plate and then the screw head clamps down on the foot of the rail. The switch ties on Accutie Products are a new tie recently introduced to make building turnouts in kit form very easy for anyone. This company uses CNC for all this work.....whether drilling each tie for the holes for the mounting screws, drilling the holes in the rail base and for bending the rail precisely. Like Randy commented when the kit arrives, the ties are each numbered for a specific location on the turnout, each rail is numbered and bent for its location. Just "match the numbers" and screw together. Pretty simple and quick! At $625 for a single kit, it's a "no brainer". The reason it took me so long was that I had to make drill fixtures to get the holes correct for each tie ( BTW, the hole has to be in the exact center of the tie because there is only added material for the screw in the center), bend the rail as close as I could and assemble piece by piece. Without software like my MasterCam, this would have entailed lots of trig and math to do this correctly :).

      I still don't know how I was able to do this.....just 99% luck I think :).

    • September 23, 2018 7:52 AM EDT
    • Turned out great Gary!   You’ll get an overwhelming sense of satisfaction every time you look at it, knowing you did the job yourself.   I also have to vote yes on the bridge over the pool! Just tell the CEO it’s our fault, that we all demanded it.

      i think you will be able to get the spring action you want, you’ll just have to pick the right springs with the proper heft to do the job.  If I was going to leave my switch where it was at I’d be doing the same thing to it.   I’ll se we’re it ends up in the new plan be fore I go and do that thought.  I look forward to the switch stand updates!

    • September 23, 2018 6:01 AM EDT
    •     Great Caesar ghost ... you finished...looks great.. when you started I bet that wheel set had no rust...

      This should look great on the pike!

      Great Job !

    • September 23, 2018 3:35 AM EDT
    • Is that a typical setup, having the track screwed down to the ties? Been to a few ride on layouts and never really paid attention to how the track was fastened to the ties, especially on a switch. But it does make sense. 

      Great work, BTW. It looks like you knew what you were doing...............

    • September 23, 2018 12:39 AM EDT
    • Mate it may have taken some time but you did it and it is terrific.

      Very well done


    • September 22, 2018 10:28 PM EDT
    • Thank you Rick. What really surprised me was the amount to setup and machine the rails. I've been doing this kind of work for fifty plus years and never saw this coming. I lost enthusiasm a couple of times and then I would be invigorated again. Maybe it's the age or like Indiana Jones said in "Raiders", "maybe it's the miles" :). Tomorrow I start the mounting blocks and throw rod mechanism and then it's down the home stretch. :).


      Thanks again Buddy for your inspiration.

    • September 22, 2018 8:52 PM EDT
    • Congratulations Gary,

      A beautifully built switch, but we expected no less from you.


      I think that bridge over the pool is a great idea, give you some place to jump from when you go swimming.

      Yea,  just like when I was a kid, well that was into a river not a pool but the idea is the same

      Nice job Buddy.


    • September 22, 2018 7:22 PM EDT
    • Well I don't know how many of you are watching this, but today was a big day......I finally finished this 7.5 inch gauge #5 turnout. So now I have cleaned off the assembly table, put my tools away and vacuumed the dust, dirt and removed any other miscellaneous crap. Surprisingly I didn't lose any tools :)!! A few photos of the completed turnout project. Like I have mentioned before, I will NEVER build another one of these from scratch. Way too much work and very time consuming. I have about $225 in this for materials (includes rail, points, cast frog and stainless steel screws). The rest is all labor for the machining of the rails, which I did myself. I could have purchased the full kit (like Randy Lehrian did) for an additional $400 and had the switch completed in 90 minutes! Not the many months it took me :(! But I DID get the satisfaction that I could actually build one of these if I had to :). Below are the photos I took this morning and later on in the day, of the completed switch.


      The tail track for the diverging route is in the background. About 4-1/2 feet long. This track will eventually lead to my 10 ft. lifting rack (when the switch is on the ground) and then I can roll the cars and engines off of their storage racks, lower to the ground and roll onto the switch and the mainline of my layout. No "five finger" lifting tools with this scale!


      In this shot, I was adjusting the switch stand target to "read straight". Everything is fully adjustable on the miniature switch stand.


      Checking the switch stand target position. The short line continues through the open gate to the backyard (about 25 feet, between the palm trunk and the garage. I COULD put a bridge back there and go over the pool......naw, I don't think that would go-over very well with the CEO. :)


      Test trucks on the straight section and the target lines up.


      Working on the miniature switch stand getting the parts lined up for the throw bar and mechanism.


      Switch stand and parts for throw bar. I have to machine aluminum spacer blocks to replace the wood spacers in this photo. A little bit of "tweaking" to make this stand work with this switch.


      Another shot of the switch stand. It stands about 18 inches.


      Close up of the frog and one of the guard rails.


      Straight guard rail and frog.


      Straight guard rail.


      Now I have one last item to install.....the switch stand. I have a couple of days of machine work to do for spacer blocks and throw bar. Attach two compression springs on both side of the point throw so that when the switch stand arm is moved, the springs will take up the extra movement and lock the points in place. I'm hoping that with the compression value of the springs, this can be a "spring switch" and I can put an engine or car through the points and it will snap back into position (much the same way and spring switch works in the garden variety of turnouts. This is an experiment....we'll have to see what happens in actuality. :)

    • September 19, 2018 6:35 AM EDT
    • That came out so sweet!

      Getting there....

    • September 19, 2018 12:14 AM EDT
    • My "old body" has healed up as good as it's going to get and I'm back at the turnout build. Finally on the final assembly and installation on my railroad is "just around the corner" :). All the rail has been drilled and the ties have been "match-drilled" and the switch has been "temporarily assembled" to check gauge, operation of the points and geometry of the frog. That proved to be correct, so now I am drilling the ties with a correct "tap" drill for the #10 X 1 inch long stainless steel track screws. I drilled the "clearance" holes for the screws in the aluminum rail. There are a total of 162 screws holding the turnout together.

      I took these photos a couple of hours ago showing the final assembly. First two photos showing the entire turnout and the "tail track" for the siding off to the right. The switch at this point is about 12-13 feet long from the point end to the other end of the tail track.

      I believe Sean was asking aboiut how the frog attaches to the turnout and the closure rails. These close up photos show how the frog is attached to the ties and the closure rails. It's a very substandial and sturdy assembly. There will be 500 pound locomotives going through this along with 150-200 pound rolling stock.

      The small brass screws were used for the "temporary assembly" only. As I go down the line of ties, the small screws are removed and the #10 X 1 inch replace these in the final assembly. You can see the larger screws at the right of the photo in the rail and into the tie below. The Makita battery power driver has really saved the hands from blisters. That and mechanics gloves! :)

      A day or two more and it gets placed on the ground. It will be interesting to see how much this weighs. I'm figuring about 50-55 pounds. The last thing to do is install the scale model switchstand on the two longest ties near the points.

    • September 19, 2018 9:01 PM EDT
    • Randy,

      The thing I found most interesting about trying to be "precise" with the bender was that when I would draw the arc and chord on MasterCam, the amount of actual arc didn't make a lot of difference. Near the end of the construction on "our" turnout, I actually cut a large piece of 2X4 with the arc in place as a guide and clamped the outside curved stock rail to it. There was SOME spring, but after installing the track screws, you never knew the difference :).

      I'm sure the Eaton bender would do a 10 ft.'s truly a stout bender! I received some bent curved rail from the original west coast distributor (Northwest Rail and Foundry. I was going to complain, but after talking to Rich Eaton (he said his rail bender would straighten that rail easily), I purchased his bender and saved all the "damaged" rail. I also made the same mistake of over adjusting the cam wheel and really getting a sharp radius.. When I finally got a little more familiar with the bender, I was only moving the pointer on the wheel about 1/32 of an inch at a time!

    • September 19, 2018 8:52 PM EDT




    • September 19, 2018 8:51 PM EDT
    • Randy Lehrian Jr. said:


       That sounds like a plan.  I should finally have free time by then.  We do live in farm country now, so I'm used to seeing roosters around.  Not sure I want to know why his knees are dirty.



      Roosters have dirty knees as they are working Roosters . They have "Equipment and know how to use it" !

      You can travel RT 322 (scenic wise) to Kens as it's a direct route from Clairon. Spent a lot of time up that way back in the day and toured the Brockway Glass plant in the late 80's when it was closing . Lots of neat RR history up that way.

    • September 19, 2018 8:25 PM EDT
    • Ken, 

       That sounds like a plan.  I should finally have free time by then.  We do live in farm country now, so I'm used to seeing roosters around.  Not sure I want to know why his knees are dirty.



      Thanks for the heads up Gary,

      I did know that they will bend the rail for you.  I just would rather have the ability to bend to my immediate need as I build.  My issue was that any time I loosened the bolts on the adjustable wheel it would move out of position and there was no way to make a fine adjustment.  I plan to weld a steel block from plate to plate and then create a U strap that the axle ends of the adjustable wheel will pass through. There will be a large fine thread screw that passes though the bottom of the U and will push against the welded on plate. This will pull the adjustable wheel into the rail and allow fine adjustment via the bolt even while the rail is in.  I just need to finish building the shop so I can do such mods!   It's close.  I'm pretty sure the Eaton bender would do a 10 ft radius without much problem.  I made an adjustment at one point that was much larger than I though and it put quite a bend in the beginning of the rail.

    • September 19, 2018 7:44 PM EDT
    • Randy Lehrian Jr. said:

         I'm going to get acquainted with a local club once I get a bit more into working on equipment and the home track in the next few years.

      Like the 2 foot gauge group over in St Mary's

    • September 19, 2018 1:12 PM EDT
    • Randy,

      You made a comment about having trouble getting your rail bender to generate the correct curve for you. How close were the radii on your turnout kit from Accutie? They bend their rail using a NC bender, I believe. When you order rail from them, they will bend it for free :)! Free is always good. Mike Toney (member on here), just purchased a RRSC 25-ton critter and played some track in his backyard. Believe it or not, he had Accutie bend the West Coast aluminum rail down to a 10 ft. radius (20 ft. diameter! I didn't think anybody would be able to get it that sharp, but Accutie did with their bender. :)


      I believe Mike posted some photos of his oval on here or MLS. Quite an achievement.

    • September 19, 2018 9:59 AM EDT
    • The F scale is far from nixed.  I even just put a pile of chimney rubble where the one island loop will go to begin the build up.  I also just picked up a second live steam #12 too.  I plan to get started in earnest this spring.

      If you need to get your mojo working, I'll probably have another Ops session in April. You may even see Rooster there, dirty knees and all...............

    • September 18, 2018 8:59 PM EDT
    • Ha!, Yeah Sean that's exactly how it seams some days.


      John Caughey said:

      Ya know you're not fooling anybody with that hot rod  avatar, we know you are a full blown train nut!



      We'll your right John, but I'm not sure if a 75 CJ5 counts as a hot rod.  That was my buddy's that I wired the engine bay of, thus my head stuck in it.  I have a 79 CJ5 and an 80  J10 pick up in the garage both just awaiting some minor finishing.  I'm really just a sucker for machinery and the older the better...



      Pete Thornton said:

      The idea was to be able to have a little place to ride and also have it serve a purpose to aid in getting car loads of things from the dive to the house.  My wife really does appreciate having it there.

      Hey Randy,

      Really fun little railroad you have there.  Always good to have a proper reason for it to exist!


      Roger (Cutter) had a 7.5" gauge "portage" railroad that he laid from the road to the top of the storage tracks on the outdoor layout.  He said it was to help us bring our boxes of trains on Open Days, but it was really an excuse to play with big trains and make something so big he couldn't pick it up.  The latter was an EBT hopper, which he got as a kit of parts from someone, already cut to size and ready for riveting.


      Email me (or Rog) if you want more info.



      Right Pete, Just wanted to get something down for fun and I fell function is part of the fun.  The eventual permanent set up will be built to do some actual work for me too.  Yes!, I've see Solid Design. His stuff looks very appealing. Who would have though you could get a Vulcan truck in 2.5" scale.  I haven't got the nerve up to contact him for more info yet.  I may some day however.


      Gary Armitstead said:


      My radii here on my small short line is 25 ft. to a mazximum of 32 ft. Good enough for my 7 two-truck Baldwin electrics and my Eaton Super Husky. Longest car is a 72 inch steel gondola. When you start running the 10 ft. long RRSC heavyweights or streamline passenger cars, you definitely need a bigger radius. Those are massive cars.

      The Accutie Rail System is being used at Orange County Model Engineers (a live steam club in Costa Mesa, CA.). They replaced all the rail and ties with  Accutie. They run quite a bit of 2-1/2 inch and 3-3/4  inch scale NG steam and some diesels (RMI Models). Not a problem so far (over 5 years in the ground with the new ties. That club has many actual miles (not scale miles) of track, one of the larger clubs in the country.

      Steve Alley, owner of Allen Models of Nevada is the West Coast distributor now of the Accutie System (my source). Last night he sent me a few photos of a custom 7-1/2 gauge layout he built for a client in Riverside, CA. Deep in the orange groves. I will send these to you for inspiration for your growing layout. Some neat landscaping ideas. A beautiful estate! Just need an email address to send them to you. I would post them on LSC, but they might be proprietary. Not sure.



      Thanks for the info Gary,  good to hear it's holding up well for the OCME group.  I'm going to get acquainted with a local club once I get a bit more into working on equipment and the home track in the next few years.  I'll send you a PM with my email, I'd love some more inspiration.