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Well, I started handlaying track and figured what the heck why not try a switch or twelve? So my main question is, for those out there that hand lay switches, how do you make your points? I have seen some that are like prototypical switches where the points are solid track all the way to the frog. I started making mine more like Aristo or LGB switches where the points have a pivot point in them. The type of switch mechanism i use won't work with the solid rail type. So, what does everyone else do?
For the record I am using code 332 aluminum rail.
Thanks in advance for any help.
Terry
 

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Terry
Don't know that you'll find the exact answer you're looking for, but the following link to a topic in the MLS archives is about one of the best discussions on hand laying switches that I remember. Hope it's found to be of help to you.

First attempt at turnout building
 

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I also use the pivot with half rail joiners.

I make a small dent in each rail with a drill then "punch" the joiner into it. Gives a loose joint that can move but wont separate unexpectedly.

Pretty sure that idea came from the linked thread above..
 

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I have only made the one turnout (in G scale), but I am working on my 2nd.

The first was a feasibility study, and it worked well. I used a rail joiner as the pivot point as well.

I have started the next one, currently working on the frog, but for this turnout I will be making a plate which will lay on the tie.

The plate will have a hole in it which some brass rod will go from the rail and through the plate. This will be the pivot this time, I think it will prove to be stronger, having said all this I think the above method is a great idea, it like a cross between my two methods

You will see on the below picture of my feasibility study that I have mounted the frog on a brass plate. I live steamer told me to do this, he said it’s not prototypical but it very strong! The next point will be neater, and I can’t wait to finish it!

 

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I have handlaid many switches this past summer using a variety of methods (using code 215 aluminum rail).

1) stub switches ... have the moving part on the "point end" if you can use that terminology. I use a solid rail and allow the equivalent of 4 ties unspiked for the rail to move. I drill through the inside web of the rail and insert a brass escutcheon pin. This pin goes through a small hole in a brass throw bar and is soldered to the underside. The switch throw is by a choke cable which has no trouble moving the solid rails and holding them in place.

2) regular switches ... i have used both solid rail and the pivot method finding there is little to choose between them. perhaps the pivot method requires a bit less precision if no switch jig is being used. For the pivot I use a full llagas Creek rail joiner and have not found that it has worked loose. Aluminum oxidizes to almost a weld if it is allowed to sit for any length of time. The points themselves are ground on a grinder (carefully so the heat does not deform the aluminum) and finished with a file. Again the throwbar is brass attached by escutcheon pins through the rail web with a choke cable switch throw.

In the end, I don't think it matters much which method of making the points pivot is used ... the harder part by far is grinding the proper angle for the points and the recess in the stock rails (not to mention making the correct frog angle).

Regards ... Doug
 

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how do you make your points


A picture is worth a thousand words...



Plus the pivot photos from "wigginsn" posted above.

The 'first attempt' thread (also above) has a discussion of how the prototype makes a pointed bit - by raising/bending the movable point rail upwards and filing off the top of the rail, so that (a) the narrow web forms the point and (b) the base is still there, though overlapped on the stock rail, for added strength.
 

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I have to say this. Notched stock rails are a pet peeve of mine. I'm sure someone will correct me, but I have never seen a real switch with nothces in the stock rails. They are bent at the point angle, and the point fits up against the bend. It's no harder to do it right, if you're handlaying the thing anyway. Just to prove a point (no pun indended), I once handlaid an N scale #10 turnout using code 40 rail, built the "right" way, and we could not find a single car or loco that would derail through it.

It's worth doing right, because (in my humble opinion) the results look better and work better. Ever wonder why turnouts are the primary cause of derailments on a model railroad, but not on the real thing? Proper design and construction makes a world of difference.
 
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