Turnout Const. – Pt IV

Wing Rails

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Next we need to fabricate the wing rails. I grind (file) the angle to fit against the closure rails before I cut the rail to length. It often takes a bit of fussy grinding to get the angles right, and that can use up some length.

You can see that the wing rails are ground to fit flat against the closure rails. It takes some back and forth trial fitting to get it right. The far ends are simply bent out at a small angle using the pliers.

Setting up to solder

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The next step is to set everything up for soldering. I kind of glue everything together with rosin flux.

What I have done here is place some solder in the flangeways and a bit beyond and set everything in place using the NMRA gauge to get the flangeway widths right. It is all pretty much gooped up with flux. The flux will hold everything in place until I can get that piece of strip wood laid across the top to hold everything in place.

Getting enough solder in place is a matter of trial and error. It is easy to have too little solder and almost impossible to have too much. So cram as much in there as you can. The reason I do it this way is because it is very difficult to hold everything in place and feed solder at the same time.


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Once everything is in place, and these are small pieces will take some fussing, and held down with a piece of wood, apply the soldering iron. You want to be sure your iron is fully heated up. You will need to work the iron along the rail, without moving the piece of wood. This ends up being pretty close to your fingers, so be careful.

When the solder has completely melted, pull the iron away and continue to hold everything in place with the wood until the solder sets up. Be patient. In this process you got everything really hot and it will take a few minutes before the solder is solid.

Hopefully, you ended up with something that looks like this.

Yeah, the flux makes a real mess, but it ensures the solder goes everywhere you want it to go.

You want solder to extend from beyond the point of the frog all the way past where the wing rails attach to the closure rails. If you got enough solder applied the frog will be one chunk of solder and rail.

True confessions…on this frog I didn’t get quite enough solder in there. So I had to hold everything in place with one finger on the strip wood, while using a couple of others to feed in some more solder. I almost lost control of the whole thing when I inadvertently moved the piece of wood and everything shifted a little. I managed to work everything back into place with the end of the stick before the solder set up. So unexpected adventures can happen.

Cutting Flangeways
Cutting Flangeways

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Now its time to cut the flangeways. Were you wondering what that chunk of hack saw blade was for? Well, here it is. Use the blade to cut the flangeways. Just work it back and forth aligned with each flangeway. Keep checking the depth and width of each flangeway with the NMRA gauge as you go. It takes a little patience, but goes pretty quickly. You should end up with something that looks like this (a little hard to see because the solder is so reflective).

You can see that the nearest flangeway still needs a bit more work. It is pretty obviously a bit too shallow. The instructions that come with the NMRA gauge do a perfect job of illustrating how to determine proper flangeway width and depth. Much better than I could do. And proper flangeway width and depth is CRITICAL to smooth operation.

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