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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A couple photos of recent pointwork:

Fn3 (1:20.3) #6 Double Crossover Unit, Code 250 Nickel Silver Rail
This is a monolithic double crossover unit, all one piece. I had to spend a lot of time with this project. Between designing the digital blueprint to customer's specs, taking that blueprint and creating a 3D jig file, printing out the 16-part jig from PLA on my printer over 8 days straight, then doing the actual assembly... I had to have put at least 40-50 hours into this beast.

Made non-insulated for a live steam layout.

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Fn3 (1:20.3) High Detail #6 Turnout, Code 250 Nickel Silver Rail
I made four of these total. This is an example of a more realistic and detailed version of the #6 turnouts I usually build. Parts that are not typically on basic turnouts are the addition parts cast from white bronze: check rails, point slide braces, and the Pettibone-Mulliken replica switch stand. Also used are plastic tie plates made to replicate the style of plates found on our tie strips.

Most rail and metal parts were painted with Rust-Oleum primer and seal coated in clear. It is up to whoever is ordering one to decide what color they want used and for this round it was the primer color.

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Thanks for checking them out!
-Mike
 

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Very nice work Mike, are the plastic ties the same as you sell separately and have you used the short spikes ? Also what method of spiking them down do you use? I have Llagas Creek track and previously built turnouts using long spikes and then grinding the protruding bits down underneath with a Dremel and the shorter spikes will be better. I have made some turnouts with your plastic ties and tried various timber ties with spikes moving out on the timber over time, but spikes stay firm in the plastic ties. Spiking into the plastic is a real pain so any tips or ideas here for me on spiking and making turnouts would be appreciated, do use a special spiking tool to accurately press in the spikes? I do drill a pilot starter hole but pushing spikes into the plastic is hard by hand using pliers but plastic ties are the way to go and I must order the tie plates (good idea) as well more spikes and ties. I want to replace the wood ties but my track making skills aren't as good as good as yours but practice makes perfect thanks for showing.
Russell
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Very nice work Mike, are the plastic ties the same as you sell separately and have you used the short spikes ? Also what method of spiking them down do you use? I have Llagas Creek track and previously built turnouts using long spikes and then grinding the protruding bits down underneath with a Dremel and the shorter spikes will be better. I have made some turnouts with your plastic ties and tried various timber ties with spikes moving out on the timber over time, but spikes stay firm in the plastic ties. Spiking into the plastic is a real pain so any tips or ideas here for me on spiking and making turnouts would be appreciated, do use a special spiking tool to accurately press in the spikes? I do drill a pilot starter hole but pushing spikes into the plastic is hard by hand using pliers but plastic ties are the way to go and I must order the tie plates (good idea) as well more spikes and ties. I want to replace the wood ties but my track making skills aren't as good as good as yours but practice makes perfect thanks for showing.
Russell
Russell,

Yes these are the 1:20.3 Narrow Gauge Switch Ties that come in 5 3/4" lengths and have on the under side a few 1/2" stepped increments where you can cut it and sand square for the various lengths needed per turnout.

I am currently using Large Micro Engineering spikes. I haven't used the medium or small sized spikes for turnouts, I like the durability and length of the large ones to allow them tom be bent over underneath. We ran out of the normal stainless spikes that we would typically get from Pete at Sunset Valley, he let us know at the beginning of the year that the place that was making them for him closed up out of nowhere and since then we have had to scramble to find a new facility to make them for us. We found an engineering place in CT to make them for us in February or so, but several delays in getting the dies and cutters made and sourcing the nickel silver material we are going to have them made from has pushed delivery date back and back and back. Needless to say, I will be very happy to get the new spikes, and the run we ordered was a quarter million, so that should last me a while!

I drill a 0.8mm pilot hole and push in every spike by hand. I use a small handheld hobby drill I bought on Amazon to do the drilling, doing it with a full sized Makita drill would be a pain. I don't have any special spiking tool, just a Micromark brand spiking plier. They aren't marketed for use for hand laying G scale/Gauge 1 track, but they work fine enough with the large spikes. Once the spikes are all pushed through, I flip the turnout over and use a very simple homemade tool to allow me to hammer the spikes flat underneath while not allowing the spikes just pop out the other side. See the picture below of the tools made of 1" angle iron and some bolts/washers and a nut. There is one large one that lets me spike down two ties at a time before moving it, and a small one for tight spaces like when making level crossings.

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Using a tool like this and hammering the spikes down will make sure they do not lift out over time and keep the rail tight against the ties.

Shoot me an email at [email protected] if you decide to place an order. Sometimes our shopping cart shipping cost calculator is wildly wrong for International orders and it is best if I make a custom shopping cart for you and double check the shipping quote to make sure you aren't overcharged. Just last month I had to refund a fellow from the UK $400 since the website charged him about $550 for a shipment that really only should cost about $150 after I quoted it via UPS. I haven't figured out how to correct these errors, seems to only happen with international rates though. I'll have to open an inquiry with Shopify about it.

Feel free to ask any other questions you may have about turnout building, I'm happy to discuss.

Best,
Mike
 

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Thanks mike, I made a holding tool like yours to put the rail into then hammer down the spikes to bend them over, but I found the spikes were so hard they just bent a little then pushed sideways into the softer plastic ties rather than staying vertical and having just the protruding part bent over flush, so any technique for bending the spikes? I changed to wood ties for this reason but I would prefer plastic ties.
Yes I will contact you for some more supplies
Russell
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks mike, I made a holding tool like yours to put the rail into then hammer down the spikes to bend them over, but I found the spikes were so hard they just bent a little then pushed sideways into the softer plastic ties rather than staying vertical and having just the protruding part bent over flush, so any technique for bending the spikes? I changed to wood ties for this reason but I would prefer plastic ties.
Yes I will contact you for some more supplies
Russell
Russell,

I shot a quick video showing how I hammer the spikes down. I agree the stainless steel spikes we used to have were a bit rigid and tough, but they still would bend in a similar way to the Micro Engineering steel spikes used in this video.


I am hoping to receive the Nickel Silver spikes we will now be carrying and using on our switches within the next 4-6 weeks if all things go to plan and there are no more delays. You may want to hold off on your next order until we get those spikes in. I will be selling the spikes in bags of 500, 1000, and 2500. The nickel silver material will bend easier than the steel and should make the job of replacing ties and hammering much easier.

-Mike
 

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Thanks Mike, bending spikes over looks easy on your video so I'll try again and maybe make a better holding tool as mine was mounted in a vice as a bench one like yours will make the whole turnout stable and easier to manage. I will wait six weeks then order some more spikes and plates as you suggested and by the way if you look at the "picture" tab on your website scroll to the last image for a picture of my three way turnout that I made 10 years ago using your aluminium 250 rail but with wood ties and has held up well outside.
Russell
 
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