To paraphrase Vane Jones, "Knowledge is of little value until shared with others."

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Working on the Street Track End Loop Module - Part 4B Turnout – Soldering Point/Mate Castings to Street Ties & Tools to Help

Assembling the Point and Mate castings and 2 copper clad ties together was done on a flat wooden or other soldering surface. I am calling the copper clad ties "street ties". The Point/Mate castings with soldered street ties assembly will be mounted on the layout later.

A square was used to position the 2 Point and Mate castings on the 2 street ties. Then to hold the 2 castings on the 2 street ties, a weight was placed on top of the castings to prevent any movement. Carefully check the gauge during this process. Remember I’m using the Right-O-Way castings.

After some careful checking, the 2 castings were found to be square with one another. This means the ends of the base of the castings are the same length and have matching details in the correct corresponding locations. It also means the ends of the pieces of rail extending from the castings are the same length. Now the parts are soldered together at the corners.
The red arrows point to the soldering locations. This photo was one of the "engineering" photos I took. I forgot to take any assembly/soldering photos.  The rail and brass ties on the right are explained below.

BTW - If the pieces of rail extending from the castings are NOT the same length, stop to find out why. If needed replace the "bad" casting or repair it.

While working on the Point/Mate castings an idea of a tool to hold the castings in gauge came to mind. This Post will cover 2 different tools to help with the building and installation of track on my modules.

The 1st of the two are a tool made from pieces of brass for the ties and code 125 rail. The brass pieces are the same dimensions as the “ties” being used for the street trackage. The length of the rail doesn’t matter as long as the rail can be squarely soldered to the pieces of brass and in gauge!

These gauge tools can be used to hold the Point/Mate castings in gauge while you are making the castings and street “ties” square. Even though you have used a tool like this, still check the assembly for gauge using an NMRA track gauge!!

The red circle is around the gauge tools mentioned above. The blue circle is talked about below.

The other tool is to help with the track at the end of the module. The track at the end of a module must be able to connect with the track of another module. Check the EPTC module standards if you have any questions about this. My "end of module track tool" is made up of code 125 rail and brass pieces found in my left over brass bin.
This is the end of module track tool in action. The long piece of brass is made from a 3/16” “H” section about 8-1/4” long. It can be made from any brass shape just as long as it will not bend!

What you may be unable to tell is, the above track tool is attached on the center of track line. Two brass tabs were added to the "H" section so the tool can be screwed in place on the layout. As can be seen in the photo the lines drawn in as to where the rail is to be located were not accurately drawn. Always use NMRA track gauges and measure everything 2 to 3 times.

The object of the tool is to have the rails at each end of the module in exactly the same location! With this tool the rails will end in exactly the same location, square with one another.

In the next Post the Point/Mate castings will be installed on the layout.

Cheers,
Ed


Saturday, November 5, 2016

Working on the Street Track End Loop Module - Part 4A Turnout in Street (Pavement)

Turnout in Street (Pavement)

If you remember, the Posts for the end Loop module containing the street trackage are out of sequence. A Post on drawing the track plan for this module on top of should have been 1st.


In the prior Post a photo of the desk lamp used by me was taken just before the Post was published. The track work for the loop of track for this end module was completed as shown in the photo.

As you'll discover, the turnouts must be located before any other track work is done. Also, I just as excited and nervous as you are to see what happens.
This is not nearly as difficult as you may think it is. Take a deep breath and start to work!

In the US for O scale there’s 2 sources of the Point/Mate part of the turnout. The 1st source is Right-O-Way (ROW) products which was originally owned by Lou Cross. Upon Lou’s death Jay Criswell, 2286 Hampton Way, Clovis CA 93611-6047, has taken over the product line.


I’ve talked to Jay and found out besides being the new owner of ROW, he is one of the executors of Lou’s estate. He has lots of work to do with both the estate and ROW. He is selling ROW products if you contact him.

The ROW Point /Mate for street trackage works with almost all O scale wheel sets from the old original 0172” down to the 0.135”flange. The 0.115 flange of fine scale may be a problem. This set of points is designed for a 15” radius curve if my memory serves correctly. It will accommodate both smaller and wider curves.

This is the Right-O-Way Point/Mate for street track. This is an older product received from Lou Cross several years ago. The price is not up to date. The instructions on the left tell how to install the point.

The Point/Mate available from ProtoCraft, 18498 Half Moon Street, Unit 203, Somona CA 95476-4835 is intended for fine scale applications. The point and mate will match the profile of Clouser rail. The flangeway is not deep enough for most O scale application outside of fine scale.

ProtoCraft has a number of unique items. Be sure to look as his decal section. From what I can tell he’s a one man operation. He’s away from the shop during O scale meets both fine scale and regular.

The ProtoCraft Point/Mate for street track were ordered as a pair. The price on the package insert/instructions is for one Point/Mate. The instructions are very complete.

Outside of the USA, Greg King in Australia has a Point/Mate for street trackage. He has a slightly different way to operate the point. His price seems to be slightly lower than here in the States. If anyone wants to contact him feel free to contact me via email.

This is how the Point/Mate arrived from Greg King. The 2 castings are soldered to the ties. The additional brass in the center are attached to the point. Moving the brass lever will move the point.

Back to the Point/Mate castings available here. Before starting to install the point and mate castings, the pieces of rail which stick out from the castings and are intended for ease of installation need to be inspected. They may be out of alignment, left to right or up and down. A good sturdy pair of pliers and/or a small vise may be necessary to straight out the rail. This inspection and correction is important to be done now since it may be impossible to do later!

Next carefully follow the instructions which come with the castings regarding the installation of the switch point. There’s 3 ways to deal with the operation of the single point:
1.    Power the point with a switch motor, cable or lever of your choice under the layout,
2.    Spring power the point with a “weak” spring under the layout, and
3.    Finger nail power the point.

If a street turnout is located in a remote or hard to get to location, the point will have to e operated by either an electric switch motor, some type of cable or lever system, or a spring. Almost any available switch motor can be hooked up. For a cable and/or lever systems you'll have to read about them in older hobby magazines.

The “weak” spring only needs to be able to snap the point back into place. If a stronger spring is used light models going wrong way through the switch may derail. Be sure to institute the rule of not stopping and reversing direction over a spring switch!

The “finger nail” operated point is interesting. It mimics the prototype operation of the operator of the streetcar using a switch iron to manually move the point to the desired route.

On to the installation – the 2 castings must be soldered onto suitable ties. Clover House, PO Box 215, Veradale WA 99037-0215 has copper clad (both sides) of electrical board cut into 2 sizes (plus a small sheet) suitable for in-the-street track.


 
The above photo shows the ROW Point/Mate casting ready to be installed on the layout. The rod to move the point has been installed. The 2 copper-clad street ties have been installed. To help gauge the rail on the castings, 2 "tools" made from code 125 rail and brass strips can be seen on the left and right of the castings.

[The addresses for ROW, ProtoCraft, and Clovis House were included in this post. Each has their own web site and often a phone number is listed. You can look these up yourselves.]
 
We'll look more into the installation of the Point/Mate in the next Post.
 
Cheers,
Ed








Working on the Street Track End Loop Module - Part 3 Curved Track

Curved Track

Just as a reminder, the reader should be reading or at least looking at how to lay track on YouTube. Also, there are excellent articles on street trackage written by Bill Clouser and John T. Derr in the booklet "Traction Guidebook for Model Railroaders" published by Kalmbach Books in 1974.

Three more comments before getting into the curved track. I like a lot of light on the things being worked on. To produce more light on the area being worked on a small desk lamp is used. These come either with an Edison base for an average size screw in bulb or a fluorescent bulb. Chose the one you like best.
My desk lamp on top of the layout.

When using the wooden clothespins to hold work (rails) being soldered, there’s always a chance the wood will start to char. The charring may leave undesirable substances on your work. Always clean this off! It can interfere with glues, paint, etc. If the jaws of a wooden clothespin become too charred toss the clothespin out.

Next, when soldering rail or whatever to the copper clad board being used for street ties be careful not to heat these too much. The copper will come off the board! The gauge of the track may be in question.

Street railways used a different girder rail for curves. This girder rail had a higher back flange for the back of the wheel to rub against. The back flange was higher than the paving and often stuck out of the top of the street. Driving an auto or truck over this rail was difficult but not impossible. I do not know if Clouser had an O scale girder rail for curves. 

To mimic the higher back lip of curved girder rail many modelers have used a 0.125” “L” shaped piece of brass soldered to the back of both of the rails involved in the curve. The “L” shape can be hard to bend so the base of the “L” had to be cut or ground out about every 1/8”

I have a surplus supply of 45 year old code 125 rail having a wider head than currently supplied code 125 rail. Therefore, this rail was used on my layout as the running rail in curves. New code 125 rail with a narrower head was used as the interior lip of the flange.

To properly gauge the new code 125 rail being used as the lip or guard rail the code 70 spikes from my track building supplies were 1st inserted on the inside of the running rail. Because the track in mounted on plywood, holes had to be drilled for the insertion of the spikes. The drill was just a few thousands of an inch smaller than the diameter of the spikes. Insertion of the spikes required a pair of pliers. The spikes were spaced about an inch apart.
The red arrow points to a rail joiner. These were installed only in the running rail, never the guard rail. The black heads of the code 70 spikes can be seen. The weight holds down all the rails flat. Solder can be seen on both sides of the running and guard rails.

Using code 125 rail with the 2 different size heads can be seen in the photo above. It looks different, perhaps not like girder rail for curved track but non-the-less not like the girder rail for straight track used in other parts of the layout!

Even with using the code 70 spikes to provide the proper side flangeway, still use an MNRA track gauge to both gauge the running rail but also the size of the flangeway.

Before going further allow me to introduce you to the Precision Scale (PSC) 3-point code 125, O scale track gauge. Currently these are $4.00 each. These were 1st supplied by Kemtron 50-60 years ago. These are a lost wax casting. For this reason, as with any casting, there may be manufacturing irregularities. When 1st removed from the package check the track gauge!
Do not cut off the small sprue on the single rail end of the gauge until you have completed all work on the gauge. This way you'll know you have completed the gauge!

PSC includes a metric screw. I have nothing against metric screws but I decided to drill and tap the mount for the coupler for a 1-72 screw.

If you have 2 of the PSC gauges it’s easy to lay both straight and curves track. For the straight track the gauges are placed on the rails with one gauge facing one direction while the other is placed on the rails facing the other direction. For curved track both gauges should face with the 2 areas to hold the rail on the outside of the curve. This will expand the rail a little for the curve.

Since the gauge is made of brass it's easy to modify the gauge for other size rail. If you do modify the gauge be sure to adequately make it!

Cheers,
Ed

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Working on the Street Track End Loop Module - Part 2 Straight Track

Straight Track

EDITOR'S NOTE - The laying of track for the in the street and paved area for the loop module will be treated as different topics for each Post. They are not in the order in which the actual track was laid. Instead they in the order in which questions have been asked. To date this comes to:
Part 2 Straight Track,
Part 3 Curved (Loop) Track,
Part 4 The 2 Turnouts, and
Part 5 The Curved Crossing.
There may be more as the individual Post are written. Here's Part 2.

Street railways used a girder rail intended for straight track. Many years ago Bill Clouser had prototype O scale rail produced for straight track. The problem is this rail is hard to find today. Plus this O scale girder rail was too much like the porotype in dimensions. The flangeway was too shallow for most O scale trolley models having deeper flanges. Some fellows have ground the flangeway deeper.

Clouser girder rail is best left for Proto 48 (Fine Scale) usage. If you are interested in finding O scale girder rail you might try Protocraft http://www.protocraft.com/index.cfm . Although they do not currently show it in their online catalogue.


Code 125 nickel silver rail was used for my layout’s street trackage. Instead of the Clouser girder rail, after the 2 turnouts plus the curved crossing were built and tested, I soldered a piece of code 100 nickel silver rail on its side to the inside of the code 125 rail.


The head of the code 100 rail was tinned 1st. Then the code 100 rail was soldered in place using small amounts of flux and solder. Clamps made from wooden clothes pins work out well. Before the clamping is done 1st reverse the blades of the clamps as per the photos.


From experience I’ve discovered the wooden clothes pins come in 2 sizes. Either size works well. The position of the spring in your new wooden clamps will give you either a light or heavy clamping. You might find it advisable to have both light and heavy clamping available for your work.

These are the  2 sizes of clothes pins I was able to purchase over the years. Either size works out well. Note that the longer clothes pin will allow you to grip the object further from the edge.

This photo shows the before (left), during (center) and final form of the pin after the blades are reversed.
Green = the gripping area away from edge of blade
Red = the 2 clothes pin blades
Blue = gripping area after blades reversed
Pink = location of spring for moderate pressure on tips of blades
Orange = location of spring for tighter pressure on tips of blades

After soldering check to see if the soldering worked. Try to move the code 100 rail to the side. Re-solder any areas where the original work didn’t solder.


A small section of the straight girder rail track being soldered. A small piece of code 100 rail is about to be soldered in place. Part of a wooden clamp can be seen on the left.

The code 125 rail was soldered on copper clad electrical board strips from Clover House. A short  #2 round head screw holds the copper clad strips in place.


To clean-up the flangeway a hacksaw blade with a wide knerf was used. Move the hacksaw blade back and forth until the solder is removed. A file will be needed only for areas where other rail needs to be cleared out of the flangeway.

Cheers,
Ed

Friday, October 28, 2016

100,000 Pageviews of the Posts on This Blog

Another milestone has been reached. Individuals have viewed a Post in this Blog 100,000 times. This is listed as "Total Passengers"  on the bottom right of the page.

Thank you for viewing my Blog! The USA accounts for the most number of viewers. Canada accounts for the 2nd most number of viewers over the last several months. A special thank you goes to my Canadian viewers.

Some of you have looked up Samuel Insull, my name, or another term which has appeared in a title or Post. You may have heard about me and were interested in seeing what was being written. Many of you are friends who are returning.

Others were perhaps doing research on Samuel Insull and ran across my Blog. My wish is you found the material interesting and helpful.

For whatever reason you read my Blog, my wish is you will continue to read the Posts.  As the saying goes, once a teacher always a teacher. My entire life has been devoted to teaching in some form or another from teaching my fellow high school machine shop students the math in the course, fellow members of our Sea Scout Ship the information needed to raise in rank, the new employee orientation where I worked, or to finally teaching high school chemistry.

We need to get more individuals interested in traction and trolleys from the past as well as the current. We also need to get more individuals interested in O scale trolleys as a hobby. Perhaps this Blog will do that.

If you have been coming back to this Blog for the various Posts, please include yourself as a "Follower" of this Blog. It's easy to do. Thank you.

Thanks for looking up things and following my Blog!

Cheers,
Ed

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Working on the Street Track End Loop Module - Part 1

After writing at least 4 of the subtopics for this Post, a combination of the editor used for writing the Post for the Blog plus my new laptop computer equaled all the material being erased! Baa humbug!!!

That event along with the "town finishing work" required to finish the street track work have caused me to rethink what I do to prepare the Post for publishing. When you start to work on track to be in a street, you have to have a well thought plan as to how to finish the street(s) with curbs, buildings and the balance to the town.

When compared to open track, the street track is more complex. With open track the r-o-w can be painted "track color" with the balance of the area painted green. As you will see the street track requires you to have a plan as to what to do from the beginning.

I'm sitting here looking at the fire station which had to be built to finish the town. Earlier today 3 cans of paint - a concrete color, a mortar color for the brick finish of the fire station, and a mint, pastel green for the interior of the fire station had to be obtained just to give you an idea as to how things go.

Now to start putting all the tools away which were required to get a far as I have.

GO CUBS!
Cheers,
Ed


Friday, October 21, 2016

Working on the 2 End Loop Modules - Part 7

Before getting into the material for this Post, I attended the 2016 National O Scale Meet held in Indianapolis this year. My primary reason for attending was to help a friend sell items. The vendor in back of us sold hand made turnouts. His beautiful products are made up of rail and the associated castings (frog, guard rails, etc.) glued to the ties. The ties are glued onto a mounting board of the buyers choice. The buyer of his ready to use products can cut a hole in the layout and drop his product in place. The vendor said the buyer could add spikes if the buyer wanted to.

The reason for bringing this up is, I serious doubt the work being done on the 2 end loops could be done with just glue and no spikes. There's too much soldering involved in the end loops. The heat from the soldering would soften the glue and cause failure of the glue to adhere properly.

Back to the end loops! This is more about recommendations and/or requirements of track design and engineering. As part of the turnout construction include all the wing rails and guard rails. For the turnouts the guard rails do not have to be very long.

The soon to be completed, as far as the rail part goes, open track end loop module.

Since the loop is built to a tight radius, the rail on the inside of the loop must have a guard rail all along the curve. In photos of the loop you'll notice the inside guard rail stops where the loop reverses direction. A guard rail then starts on the inside of the other circle.



Hope you are able to see the pencil line connecting the 2 centers of the curves. This is where the curves change direction.


A chose up of where the curves change direction. Note how the ends of the guard rails are treated, bending them into the center of the track.

When spiking down the interior rail, on the side of the rail where the guard rail is to be installed, the code 70 spikes were used. This was done because the code 70 spikes with a 0.025" diameter proved to be excellent spacers between the 2 rails. The NMRA track gauge was used to gauge the gap between the 2 rails.

Now is the time to break out as many different trail trucks you have. Pick the ones with the worse wheel sets plus the longest and shortest wheel bases. Also try to pick large and small diameter wheels. Check each wheel set for being in gauge!!!!

If there are no problems, proceed checking the track with powered models. If there are problems, with a felt tip pen mark the ties where the wheels of the truck are when the problem happens. Fix any problems.

Once any problems are fixed, if you know how the layout is to be wired and/or where the electrical gaps in the rail will be, install any wire drops now. I prefer the outside of the rail where the wire is soldered to the base of the rail using adequate size wire. Clean up the track for the painting.
 

The track is made up of both natural wood ties with rail install on them and premade flex track. All of the rail is a silver, metallic color. I never use weathered rail (Unless the rail is being reused and already has been painted.) or track to make a layout. Weathered rail is harder to solder plus it's more expensive. After all the track work is done, the rail, ties and roadbed are painted a dark brown.

On my prior layout and on the new layout house paint was and will be used. It's brushed on with a disposable brush.  The top of the rail is cleaned afterward before the paint completely sets. The paint and colors used were/are:


10+ years ago on my old layout - Home Depot Behr Interior Flat "Gun Flint" #3B39-8?

Now, 2016, ACE Hardware Interior Flat "Momentous Occasion" #VR096A
  
The paint in a dark chocolate brown is applied to the track and the balance of the top of the module using a 1" disposable brush. The water miscible house paint is brushed over the track, cork roadbed, and the top of the module for about 1" from the track. 


The dark chocolate brown color was picked when color chips from Home Depot were placed on the Burlington Northern tracks in Berwyn, IL near East Ave. Granted not every tie is the same color and the side of the rail may be a lighter color. The lighter rust/brown color was air brushed afterwards on the side of the rails. The over spray gave the tie next to the rail the correct effect. Remember there is a art component to this hobby. 

Start painting the turnouts, then do the balance of the track. Work slowly looking from one direction down the track and then the other direction. Get both sides of the ties. Try to not get the paint on any part of the track where there is to be electrical contact.


Paint can get on the top of the rail but wipe it off. The wiping off does not have to be too well done as the top of the rail will be cleaned later for best electrical contact.

I don't want to get into paint chemistry other than to say as the paint is brushed it should become thinner or more watery. This is a unique property of the paint. If you find the paint is too thick to start out with, you should be able to add up to 5% by volume of distilled water to the can of paint. Over the past 50+ years water miscible paints have become better paints.


Within a short time the paint will feel dry to the touch. The exterior of the paint has formed a skin over itself. However, the paint inside the shell is still wet and requires more time to fully dry. Allow the paint to dry for up to 5-7 days. When the paint is completely dry, any flex track or loose ties will be held in place. The paint acts as a "glue".

After the 5-7 days the balance of the top of the module can be painted a grass green if you plan on planting grass on the module. It does not matter too much about this painting. Different materials to make grass, a gravel walkway, weeds, flowers, fences, etc. will be added later.

After the paint has thoroughly dried install the turnout points and the ground throws. Once the ground throws are installed recheck the track gauge of the turnouts. Correct any problems now. If necessary don't be afraid to rip up any track work and relay the rail. It's far easier to correct track work problems now than later.




Next is the street end loop module. Cheers,
Ed