Greg Amer

 

I’ve always considered myself to be an Internet pioneer. I built my first website some 20 years ago. I registered my first domain in 1995 and came up with the brilliant idea of registering my own name as a domain some 15 years ago. I took the time to learn and implement CGI, PERL, HTML, JavaScript, ASP, VB, C.

That was then, this is now. I started having trouble with my Internet server last week, a FAST CGI error. Basically my server was crapping out. My hosting company told me my problem was that I was on a LEGACY server. A 14 year old machine just showing its age. Quite frankly, I was surprised it had been that long and shocked that a computer would last that long.

The Pioneer had now become the Legacy.

Yesterday I moved my website to a new server. Same gregamer.com, but a new IP address: 208.106.239.150 . It should pose no interruption to the end viewer as the change should propagate through the DNS system.

Cheers to the Internet.

 

 

A long time ago, I purchased a stash of Peco #8 turnouts, just in case I got fed up with trying to make my own. But abandoning this Proto:87 venture would lead me right back to why I diverged onto the Proto:87 course anyway: Peco frogs don’t look like frogs (see post - Frog Frenzy). With making a suitable turnout moving at a glacial pace, and after another frustrating failure last week, I ordered a half dozen Details West #8 frogs to replace those ugly Peco frogs and move the layout along with at least a temporary track while I figure out how to build a suitable turnout.

One lament with this idea would be that I would have to build this temporary track as a standard HO track, while everything else I’m building would be Proto:87. As I ripped out the Peco frog and refitted it with a nice Details West frog, I had the idea to convert the Details West frog to be usable as a Proto:87 frog. To do so, I simply glued a .030 styrene shim to the wing rail portion of the Details West manganese frogs. This shim was then sanded down to not interfere with the flange-ways, and acts to carry the wheel tread from the closure rails to the frog point without dropping into the enormous HO gap. I also removed the Peco guard rails, filed their bases and moved them closer to the stock rails so that they met the Proto:87 Check gauge. If I do another one, I’ll try to make a video or take in progress photos.

 

 

What little time I had this summer for model railroading was pretty much devoted to making another Proto:87 Stores #10 “Ultimate” Turnout. This time I decided to heavily modify it from the original. These are some of the modifications and the lessons I learned along the way.

  1. I substituted Heavy Duty tie plates for the standard Medium Duty Tie plates.The heavy duty tie plates don’t fit the Proto:87 Stores Switch-Works tie-plate jig I’ve been using. So in order to lay the Heavy duty tie plates, I used tie plate jig to lay a few reference tie plates and then used a piece of rail to site the rest of the tie plates. I glued them in place using Barge/MEK. Somehow, I misplaced about every tie plate, causing me to have to lift them up and reapply them several times to get the correct position. In the future, I will use several more reference tie plates.
  2. I substituted tie plates around the points, guard rails and frog.Some of this had to be done somewhat freehand, so I didn’t get a perfect job, but the tie plates around the guard rails turned out pretty good. In the future I’ll be much more careful with these and I will need to develop a better way to site the frog first, then slip tie plates beneath.
  3. I added Details West Adjustable Rail Braces.These look OK, they all needed some degree of filing to make them fit. I don’t think they turned out that great, they don’t all look to be the same size and they don’t all seat the same. I was tempted to use the Central Valley rail braces, but I think I had a hard time cutting them off the sprue and threw them out.
  4. I tried Humbrol Enamels for Painting the TrackMatt 113 and Matt 98 looked good going on, but turned out to be more like a gloss than a matte. I had to strip the paint off and go back to my old friend Vallejo Cam Medium Brown. The Vallejo paint looks great.
  5. I Abandoned the Proto:87 Stores Point Hinges for Micro Engineering Rail JoinersI didn’t like the Proto:87 Stores point hinges, it leaves too much vertical slop in the points. I’m much happier with the rail joiners.
  6. I’m not Satisfied with the Turnout ThrowI’ve built six turnouts and probably experimented with 15 different points. I don’t like how the Proto:87 Stores throw bars work. The best interim solution I’ve found is to shim them, but this leaves them extremely stiff and hard to throw.
  7. Glue (Ewwww!)As you can see in the photos, I really ended up with some glue globs. Not what I want at all!

I started another turnout last week. This time using CA to glue the ties to the plastic base, and inadvertently to the Switch-Works fixture. I destroyed the tie base and thought I had destroyed the fixture also, but was able to reshape it and clean it up. I’ve ordered more supplies and hopefully will be making more turnouts soon.

Aug 152013
 

Shimming Proto:87 Stores “Ultimate” Throw Bars

I’m continuing to build Proto:87 Stores “Ultimate” turnouts. One feature I’ve complained about before is holding the points snugly against the stock rails (see: Getting to the Point). With a bit of filing and shimming I’ve been able to make the “Ultimate” throw bars work, but they are hard to throw and they aren’t pretty. Shims are placed above the plastic portion of the hooked throw bar and below the plastic portion of the straight throw bar. Without shims, the throw bars are prone to falling out of place and don’t seem to hold the points snugly to the stock rails.

Shimmed Proto:87 Stores Throw Bars

Shimmed Proto:87 Stores Throw Bars

 

Can I Make My Own Throw Bars?

I am trying to make my own throw bar system with Fast Tracks N Scale Copperheads PCB Ties and .015″ phosphor bronze wire. The basic premise is to connect the points to the PCB ties using the phosphor bronze wire. The PCB ties will be used with the copper portions facing the ties (giving a thin profile). I’d like to report some success at this point but can’t.

I’ve tried a few methods.

  1. Hook and Eye - In this method I’ve soldered eyes to the sides of points and fashioned a hook of wire that is threaded through to the PCB tie (throw bar).I like this method for the looks, but it has draw backs.
    • It is hard to produce eyes that look the same.
    • It is hard to make several bends in the wire without breaking the wire or the PCB tie.
    • I need to come up with a better jig to drill holes
    • I tried soldering wire hooks to the eyes, but lost the flexibility, and still having trouble bending over without breaking.
  2. Thread and Solder - I thread wire through the PCB tie, slide it through a hole in the point, bend it over and solder it to the point.This method looks kind of bad and doesn’t function well.
  3. Straight Connection- I solder full size PCB ties directly to the points.Looks terrible. Almost always results in points being soldered to the stock rails. Function OK.
  4. Modified Proto:87 points- I drilled an extra hole in the points and used the hooked Proto:87 throw bars instead of the pointed ones in the front throw bar position.This doesn’t work, the hook bumps against the base of the stock rail and doesn’t allow the points to close.

 

Aug 142013
 

It’s been a real slow summer. No time for trains. Kids summer camp brought me a couple of hours of free time to take on a couple of projects.

Work Bench Add On and Dremel Workstation

I added a small section to my workbench. The new section is for my new Dremel Workstation. The 12″ x 16″ section was made from a piece of scrap melamine and is supported by a steel angle bracket. I found some Micro Carbide CNC drill bits on ebay that work great with the Dremel. They have an 1/8″ shank. I bought a set of 50 bits, 5 each of size #72 through #83. I plan to start using the set up immediately to drill holes in the points and throw bars.

Turnout Progress

I started this #10 turnout in May, but it’s been dormant mostly all summer. I started it using Proto:87 Stores Switch-Works tie plate jig, then substituted heavy weight tie plates for the standard plates and made some adjustments to the types of tie plates around the points, frog, and guard rails. I’m adding adjustable rail braces.

Jul 012013
 

This video shows how to install points for the Switch-Works “Ultimate” turnout. Switch-Works is a set of jigs for assembling “Museum Standard” track featuring wooden ties, metal tie plates, etched frogs and machined points.

Switch-Works Points

Switch-Works Points

Jun 052013
 

This video shows how to lay guard rails for the Switch-Works “Ultimate” turnout. Switch-Works is a set of jigs for assembling “Museum Standard” track featuring wooden ties, metal tie plates, etched frogs and machined points.

As part of the 4th Div. PNR NMRA Spring Meet, Andy Reichert’s Proto:87 Stores was kind enough to lend us some of the Switch-Works tools and provide us with kits for a clinic on how to build the “Ultimate Turnout”.  As a special thanks to Andy I wanted to put out some videos to help promote Proto:87 Stores products.

Find more help building the Switch-Works “Ultimate” turnout visit http://www.proto87.com/handlaid-turnout-reference-manual.html

Guard Rail Check Gauge

Guard Rail Check Gauge

May 202013
 
Build The "Ultimate" Turnout

Build the "Ultimate" Turnout - Presented 5/18/2013 at 4D PNR NMRA Spring Meet

 

Thank you to everyone that attended Build the “Ultimate” Turnout Clinic. As promised, I’ve posted an abbreviated version of my presentation (without the About Me slides ;)

http://www.gregamer.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Ultimate-Turnout-Clinic-Abbreviated.pdf

I’ve posted a video series about building the “Ultimate” Turnout on YouTube. You can watch the videos at:

http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLCebMLhnW-VaA2k6IhlsOSK9UdzC4oN_z

% Special Thanks to Doug Bulger, Al Lowe, & Daniel Segner for setting up the video, slide machines & computers (You guys are Awesome!) %

If you have questions contact me: greg@gregamer.com

“Ultimate” Turnout Clinic.pdf

 

May 172013
 

This video shows how to lay stock rails, frog rails, closure rails and the frog for the Switch-Works “Ultimate” turnout. Switch-Works is a set of jigs for assembling “Museum Standard” track featuring wooden ties, metal tie plates, etched frogs and machined points.

As part of the 4th Div. PNR NMRA Spring Meet, Andy Reichert’s Proto:87 Stores was kind enough to lend us some of the Switch-Works tools and provide us with kits for a clinic on how to build the “Ultimate Turnout”.  As a special thanks to Andy I wanted to put out some videos to help promote Proto:87 Stores products.

Find more help building the Switch-Works “Ultimate” turnout visit http://www.proto87.com/handlaid-turnout-reference-manual.html

 

May 172013
 

This video shows how to build the throw bars for the Switch-Works “Ultimate” turnout. Switch-Works is a set of jigs for assembling “Museum Standard” track featuring wooden ties, metal tie plates, etched frogs and machined points.

As part of the 4th Div. PNR NMRA Spring Meet, Andy Reichert’s Proto:87 Stores was kind enough to lend us some of the Switch-Works tools and provide us with kits for a clinic on how to build the “Ultimate Turnout”. As a special thanks to Andy I wanted to put out some videos to help promote Proto:87 Stores products.

Find more help building the Switch-Works “Ultimate” turnout throw bars at http://www.proto87.com/throw-bars.html

 

© 2012 Greg Amer
Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha