I’ve been wanting to try making a turnout without using the Proto:87 Stores Switch-Works Ultimate Turnout jigs. I’ve seen many people print templates off of the Fast Tracks website and use that as a basis for laying ties and siting rail. There are also templates available on the Proto:87 Stores website.
I prefer the look of the Proto:87 Stores template because the ties are not uniformly placed, instead they are placed closer at critical areas to carry the increased stresses in those areas. In short, the Proto:87 Stores templates more closely represent a modern prototype turnout.
On the other hand, the Fast Tracks turnout building method where track is soldered to key PCB ties lends itself more easily to using a template. It allows one to easily remove the paper template after the key PCB ties are soldered to the track.
I tried my hand at laying a string of ties for a #10 turnout using the Proto:87 Stores Templates. I printed the template on #65 lb. card stock and sprayed it with dull-coat. I carefully cut and taped the template halves using a thin strip of masking tape. I glued a straight piece of card stock to the bottom edge to act as a straight edge for laying the ties. I glued the ties to the template using Elmer’s wood glue. Then I stained the ties using a shoe dye and alcohol mix. It all stood up nicely. Everything worked great except it looked too small to be a #10 turnout. I compared it to my other #10 turnouts and it was definitely undersized.
It took a while to figure out what was wrong, but printed across the top of the Proto:87 Stores template is a large black bar and a note that says:
USE THE 6″ THICK BLACK REFERENCE BAR ABOVE TO VERIFY THE DIAGRAM IS PRINTED TO SCALE.
I never read instructions until after something goes wrong. I measured the bar and it was less than 6 inches. I did some calculations and reprinted the diagrams at 106% scale. Now I need to try this again.