Fast Tracks

Manually changing points
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Author:  Sir Grambit [ Wed Sep 21, 2011 7:05 pm ]
Post subject:  Manually changing points

I have made two turnouts (sadly not with a turnout kit, but on a printed turnout). Well almost two. I've still to add a few sleepers but most of it is done. As I don't yet have a permanent home for my layout, I was wondering how to include my turnouts in a layout that may have to be removed after each use. Not ideal I know, but you do what you can! Are these ground throws the best way to do this and can they be attached directly to a turnout. The eventual plan is to use the turnout with a motor, but in the meantime what is the best way to manually switch the point.


Author:  jdm_com_au [ Wed Sep 21, 2011 7:34 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Manually changing points

It sounds as if you have the layout on a kitchen table or similar? If you can physically reach them, you could use the ground throws. If they're out of reach, you may need to use the Bullfrog, possibly mounted to something reasonably solid.

Author:  Sir Grambit [ Thu Sep 22, 2011 5:10 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Manually changing points

The kitchen table is most likely where it'll go for the time being. Maybe the living room floor, but having a 2, 3 and 4 year old, that might not be my brightest idea. In any case they'll certainly be reachable. Thanks for the reply. I'll post some pictures once they're finished. Hopefully over the weekend, but it's hard to say.

Author:  jdm_com_au [ Thu Sep 22, 2011 8:01 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Manually changing points

Definitely NOT on the floor. And make sure ALL chairs are well away from the table. You should know by now how kids can climb things and grab things when you blink. My little boy is now an 18 year old adult, so I'm no longer in that boat.

Author:  bandrews [ Thu Sep 22, 2011 4:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Manually changing points

Based on my experience, I think you are going to find it very difficult to keep HO track together if it is not fasten down somehow (track nails, glue, etc.) Also, you may have problems attaching the hand throw to just the ties on the turnout (they do work well otherwise).

You might want to look at what people are doing with modules these days before you go very much further. Even if you don't decide to go that way, you should get some ideas for building a sectional layout that you could set up on a kitchen table. Perhaps just a few pieces of foam with very simple wood frames to help join them together. This would not only let you run a train but also experiment with scenery and add a few structures. They could even be incorporated into a permanent layout when you get more space.

Since you are already building turnouts, you also might want to think about a small switching layout built on a shelf. Perhaps even on the top of a book case.

Just don't let the lack of space keep you from having fun.


Author:  Sir Grambit [ Thu Sep 22, 2011 5:19 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Manually changing points

Yeah my kids are climbers. But there's is no chance of me having any sort of layout without them being involved. I am allowing for the fact that things are going to get broken. I'll get over it. As for space, that not really the issue either. Time and money are! Actually, today I put up a board in our converted attic (my office, I work from home sometimes) It's 4' by 2'8", which is quite an awkward size (kind of in between oval and shelf layout) but I'm not going to complain ... It's the beginnings of the beginning. So I'll probably do like you say and start with a shelf type layout that can be used as part of an expanding project. We'll see what happens.

Author:  Kurt Konrath [ Mon Sep 26, 2011 1:04 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Manually changing points

Just a heads up to help with the layout board.

You might look at getting cheap 1x2's for support underneath. Provides some rigidity to layout, and space to run wires as needed. You can glue or screw with the 1" section to layout, and that give you a 2" spacing off of floor. Helps keep things low, but off the ground. You can drill holes through middle supports for wires and that makes it safer for kids, if they can't get caught in wiring or shocked by wires if pulled loose.

Have a fun time with kids, I kept mine involed until they got old enough to decide if they wanted to play with dad.

Its a time you and they will enjoy and remember.


Author:  jdm_com_au [ Mon Sep 26, 2011 8:51 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Manually changing points

Or do as I did and use 2" thick foam. Cheap, light and fairly rigid. Simply push the track pins into the foam to secure the track and just as easy to remove later when it's time to expand.Use a screwdriver or similar to make holes in the foam for any wiring to go through. It doesn't get much simpler or lighter.

Author:  Sir Grambit [ Tue Sep 27, 2011 6:12 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Manually changing points

When I get a second board to join to what I now have, I'll go with the 2x1 frame underneath. We'll see how that goes. I like your idea with the foam, but I think I will go with the wood. I should be able to get most of the wood cheap enough if not free. The board I have at the moment was from my dad, a carpenter. He's a bit of a hoarder (to say the least) and probably has tons of other stuff lying around. Trying to find something usable is the problem, but I'm in a better situation than most, I guess.

Thank again,

Author:  jdm_com_au [ Tue Sep 27, 2011 9:24 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Manually changing points

Can't complain about a free baseboard.

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