SUPERFINE MODEL TURNOUT BUILDING INSTRUCTIONS
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List of tools
List of Parts
Super-Detailing if desired
These instructions describe the easy building of an outstandingly strong and reliable,
NMRA STANDARD, STRAIGHT OR OPTIONALLY CURVED RTR TURNOUT.
On completion, you will end up with a complete, self-contained, turnout, that is the equivalent of a commercially manufactured turnout of the highest possible standard and quality.
If you have never built a SUPERFINE turnout using our methods before, then you should read through the rest of these instructions before commencing any work.
Once however you have built one turnout, the process is so simple and straightforward, that you will likely be able to then repeat it very rapidly, without needing to refer to anything except the selected turnout's diagram.
FOR THOSE WISHING TO BUILD A CURVED TURNOUT, the process is merely interrupted after laying the first stock rail, to CURVE THE PART ASSEMBLED TURNOUT TO FIT THE DESIRED CURVE, BUT BEFORE FITTING AND FIXING THE REMAINING OTHER RAILS AND PARTS.
LIST OF TOOLS NEEDED:
To be ready to build any turnout, you should obtain and have at hand:-
...A large enough, extremely flat, base on which to construct (A Switch Works Pro magnetic claming Base is ideal)
...Bright, even lighting and a magnifying glass
...Small Tweezers for lifting the throw bar ends to fit them into the point holes and for any scale spiking desired. (Tuned to have parallel rough jaws is better)
...Small grips or needle nose pliers to crimp the throw bars
...ACC Gel in a syringe and fine nozzle for placing it, or a slow acting Epoxy and a toothpick
...A cutter (Dremel with cutting disks, rail nippers or a fine razor saw) to cut rail cleanly
...A small flat file to file rail ends square if needed
...Now or later, you will need a medium soldering iron, solder and electronic (non-acid) flux, to make electrical wiring connections.
You should also use a NMRA or Proto:87 gauge, as appropriate, to verify, or adjus, the diverging route gauge at the frog vee and also the guard rail positions during construction.
LIST OF TURNOUT PARTS:
The turnout parts are as included in the kit shown above.
A Fast and Easy plastic molded Turnout base, to be cut and mounted on a plastic sheet as per the instructions
Two sufficiently long lengths of rail for the stock rails and enough rail for the remainder of the turnout
A pair of three-way machined and drilled points
A pre-formed frog of the desired type
A single set of throwbar parts and point hinges
A few inches of very flexible wire for connecting the points electrically and to hook up to the frog for optionally powering it
It is extremely easy and convenient to pre-paint the modified tie base on the plastic base, before laying the rails. Similarly, the rail pieces and remainder of the details can be separately spray painted before assembly.
As a result, the later completed turnout will be correctly and realistically colored, with good color separation across the different part edges. As shown in the example above..
NOTE: The majority of the construction pictures that follow, show the parts unpainted, for clarity. However we strongly recommend pre-painting, as the same standard of results is far more difficult to achieve on an already fully constructed turnout
Follow the construction steps as shown in the following sequence of pictures
Cut the original head ties section from the turnout base with a sharp craft knife, as shown, using some scrap plywood as a cutting board
NOTE: DO NOT DO ANY CUTTING ON THE SWITCH WORKS BASE, AS YOU WILL LIKELY DAMAGE THE FLAT SURFACE
Make sure all of the the two web sections are completely removed from the end of the large remaining tie base end, as the new throwbar will need to run smoothly through the gap.
Now glue the two remaining pieces of the tie base to the plastic base sheet, using the superfine tool to align them exactly, as shown.
NOTE: DO NOT GLUE THE LARGER SECTION DOWN ON THE BASE SHEET INITIALLY IF YOU ARE GOING TO CURVE THE TURNOUT. Instead cut the base webs as needed and curve it to the desired shape, before gluing it down.
Now test fit two new wood head ties. Slide the ties under the slots milled in the underside of the tool and adjust by eye to make sure they are as orthogonal as possible, and that the throw bar strips run freely between them. When satisfactory, glue them in place.
Now remove the tool and the finished base should look as below.
This is the stage at which the base may be most conveniently pre-painted.
One any painting has dried and cured, the base is ready to accept the rails.
The first rail to be fitted should be the curved stock rail. This should be notched and pre-bent as described and shown below
The depth of notching need be only minute, and just on the rail base, using the sharp edge of your file as shown in the close up below.
This curved stock rail will be most easily shaped if it is pre-bent with your fingers at the "sharp bend" point between the TOE and the SWITCH , halfway between the first wood tie and the toe plastic tie, to give the correct switch angle. Using the turnout base as a guide, similar minute notches should be added at the hinge location and the beginning of the frog toe, to keep the different bends from just flowing into each other.
The rest of the bending is easily done by then leaving the SWITCH portion perfectly straight until the position of the points hinge. From there it should be worked with fingers gently into the curve that runs up until the toe end of the frog section is reached. From there, through the frog and the end of the turnout, the rail should remain straight.
NOTE: WHILE EVEN AN UNPRE-BENT RAIL WILL BE HELD TO THE CURVE BY THE TIEPLATE GROOVES, THE PRE-BENDING AROUND THE SWITCH (POINTS) SECTION IS RECOMMENDED TO ENSURE THE SWITCH SECTION OF THE TURNOUT REMAINS PROTOTYPICALLY STRAIGHT. AND ALSO TO MAKE SURE THE STRAIGHT POINT IS PROPERLY HOUSED TO ENSURE RELIABLE RUNNING.
The next step is the placement of the frog.
While the slots in the tie plates will roughly fix the frog position as shown, it is recommended that you first check that the gauge between the frog vee and the curved stock rail is in compliance with the NMRA standard. The gauge may be slightly adjusted by moving the frog either way along the straight route within the the looseness of the slots. Glue the frog down when satisfied. Then prepare to cut and lay the rest of the fixed rail pieces EXCEPT FOR THE SECOND STOCK RAIL.
Note the TWO closure rail pieces provided in the kit are just long enough for one closure rail, one frog rail and one guard rail EACH. Do not cut them in any other proportions and leave the remainder of each piece for the guard rail last. Be sure to leave a small insulating gap between the frog and the closure rail end, then cut each closure rail to fit exactly to the center of the tie on the throwbar end of the molded hinge position as shown.
Before finally gluing down the closure rails, file away a small length of the rail base, and about 50% up into the web, at the points end, to allow the hinge to fit and slide back to the intended 50% of it's length. That should end up giving a cut back distance of around 1/16" or 0.060. Also the hinge should be able to fit fully flat down on the remaining rail base. Test fit the hinge to confirm, then remove the hinge and glue down the closure rails as above.
Now all the rails except the straight stock rail are fixed in place, it is time to assemble and fit the Throw bars. Snap the fret in half to separate the bars from the hinges. The metal bars will snap off their part of the fret if worked lightly. Check no tab material is left on the pin ends and file off any flash left behind. Apply glue to the pins of each metal bar and crimp it into place with grips. Cut the long end off the "pull" bar to make it symmetrical.
Fit the both throw bars in place as shown:
then fit and glue the straight stock rail to lock them in place.
Check again that the throw bars are able to slide absolutely freely so that the second stock rail can be fitted and glued into place. Now we have to align and cut the points to length.
Lay the points alongside the stock rails so that the pre-drilled holes line up with the hooked ends of the "pull" throw bar. Cut each point at the plain end so that it only just reaches to touch the end of it's closure rail. Then file the end flat so that it is about 0.010 shorter. Test fit to make sure that the length is correct.
Now it is time to fit the point hinges.
Choose the correct pair of hinges from the fret. The shallow angle ones fit turnout #'s 7,8 or 9. The more acute angle fit turnout #'s 5 or 6. The relative positions of the hinges are as shown in the close up below.
Apply glue to the bases of ends of the closure rails and the matching places of the bases of the stock rails and glue the hinges in place, forcing them down flat firmly on the closure rail base.
Slide the points through the gaps between the stock rails a throw bar ends until they enter into the hinge slots. Using the tweezers lift the pull rod hooks until they snap in to the drill point holes. NOTE: THE POINTS ARE A LEFT AND RIGHT HAND PAIR. BE SURE TO PLACE THEM ON THE CORRECT SIDE. Test Position each point so the pre-drilled hole is fitting freely in the pin of the "pull" throwbar,
THE TURNOUT MOVING PARTS INSTALLATION IS NOW COMPLETE.
This is a good time to add the optional extra-flexible wire provided by soldering short pieces to the underside of each point near the hinge end.
SETTING GUARD RAILS AND NMRA CHECK GAUGING:
Now the guard rails may be fitted. Although the guard rail plates nominally set the guard rails in the correct place, you should verify that with a check gauge, before spiking and gluing them in permanently.
ELECTRICAL ASPECTS AND WIRING:
Finally, the points should be electrically connected to the stock rails by soldering the other ends of the point wires to the underside of the stock rails.
Since the model turnout is fundamentally an accurate scale reduction of a prototypical turnout, very little needs to be done to make it much more realistic.
The areas where additional parts will make a difference are:
Adding the RAIL BRACES along the switch stock rails:
Adding JOINT BARS around the frog and and internal rail joints
Adding the secondary FROG STRIP TIE PLATES around the frog.
Adding FILLER BLOCKS to the Guard Rail ends and centers
Adding NUT AND BOLT ENDS to the frog and guard rails.
Adding the POINT STRENGTHENING GIRDERS to the POINT RAILS
Adding BOLT DETAIL STRIPS to The THROWBARS
With these extra parts, the Model Turnout will duplicate the Prototype almost exactly.