Radius SweepSticks

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#1
Greetings,

I'm getting ready to lay some track soon and this has me thinking about sweepsticks from Fast Tracks. I wanted to know if others have found ways to make these much cheaper then buying them? I figure it can't be to hard to cut some out that would work as well as the purchased ones.

Ideas guys?

Maybe someone wants to sell some they used but no longer need now that their layout is done. I would be willing to purchased used one and share the cost of them. I'm still not sure the $10 each is worth all it would cost for all the different curves I'll have in my layout.

Thanks,

Dave
 

montanan

Whiskey Merchant
#2
Try using a piece of string. Put a nail where the center of the curve will be and measure the distance you want the radius to be and using a pencil at the end of the string to draw the arc. A cheap yard stick will also work with one end at the center of the arc and you have your inches already on the yard stick.
 
#3
Oh yeah, I remember that now Chet.

Thank you. I realized I can just print out my curves at 1:1 and used them as the templates. Don't get much better then that.

Dave
 

santafewillie

Well-Known Member
#4
Dave - Just found this topic. Sounds like you found the answer. That's what I did because the sweepstick really doesn't work on around the walls type layouts...nowhere to anchor the pivot. I just set up a piece of light cardboard (pattern makers cardboard) on a sheet of plywood and made concentric half circles using a yardstick that I drilled holes in. I then marked for radius and cut-out. I made them as wide as the standard cork roadbed and use them as patterns.

Willie
 

Greg@mnrr

Section Hand
#5
At one time I used pieces of sectional track that were joined together and used the nail holes in the track to mark center lines for cork roadbed placement. Fast and easy way to use unneeded sectional track.

The limitations being only the 22 inch radius.

Thanks.

Greg
 
#6
I made one out of a 2" wide 4' long piece of pegboard. The holes are already 1" apart and you can drill a hole if you need an increment of an inch. The best part is, it was cut from a piece of scrap that may have been tossed otherwise. To get across a walkway I just laid a long piece of wood across, pounded in a finish nail and moved the wood and nail to my center point. About the only thing it can't do, is go around corners. :D

Joe
 
#7
Sweepsticks are designed to sit on the ties in the center of the flex track and hold it in place while attaching the track to the sub roadbed. They keep the track radius concentric during the process. You can add easements by using a larger radius Sweepsticks on the ends. The other methods discussed are for drawing the radius center line on the sub roadbed.
 

Iron Horseman

Well-Known Member
#8
I'm getting ready to lay some track soon and this has me thinking about sweepsticks from Fast Tracks. I wanted to know if others have found ways to make these much cheaper then buying them? I figure it can't be to hard to cut some out that would work as well as the purchased ones.

Ideas guys?
I go to the state fair and find the booth that is giving away yard sticks. Make several passes by there through the day/week and accumulate a few of them. Then I drill a small hole at 1" for a nail. Drill for the nail don't try to just pound one in. Yardsticks aren't made for construction. Then drill radius holes for mechanical pencils at the appropriate location. Of course this limits it to 34.5" radius. I've been using these since junior high, ummmmm 1972?

I realized I can just print out my curves at 1:1 and used them as the templates. Don't get much better then that.
Well, depends on how big your printer is. Do you have one of the 36" wide type with rolled paper? That would be pretty cool. If not, each union of two separate curves introduces the possibility of a kink.
 
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Iron Horseman

Well-Known Member
#9
The limitations being only the 22 inch radius.
Only if one is limiting themselves to Atlas sectional track. Shinohara made sectional track in much larger radii. I think I used my last two pieces of 32"R on the modular unit a couple summers ago. I never thought to save it to use for measuring! :( I guess one could drill holes in the center of Bachmann EZ-Track and use that.
 

Selector

Active Member
#10
Dave - Just found this topic. Sounds like you found the answer. That's what I did because the sweepstick really doesn't work on around the walls type layouts...nowhere to anchor the pivot. I just set up a piece of light cardboard (pattern makers cardboard) on a sheet of plywood and made concentric half circles using a yardstick that I drilled holes in. I then marked for radius and cut-out. I made them as wide as the standard cork roadbed and use them as patterns.

Willie
Au contraire, mon ami! I have built two such layouts and used a trammel (the correct name for a 'sweep stick') every time. What I do is to lay the rail plan out on the floor using masking tape and the very same trammel. I place a 1/2" wood screw through the trammel at its zero point of the radius, or its pivot, and place the screw's point in a piece of tape, double thick if that works better.

Later, after I have erected the bench sections, I fasten a small 1X2 or even a thin length of 1/2" plywood to one of the benches and anchor it well. It then cantilevers out over the pivot point previously used for the floor representation. I mark my spot, indent the plywood, and then insert the tip of the screw into the dimple. Now I can sweep that trammel through a wide arc. If I have temporarily fastened arcs of sub-roadbed material previously where they need to be, I can use a pencil in the appropriate trammel radius hole and draw the arc I need for the tracks to follow. Then, I remove the arc of sub-roadbed, trim it to width, and presto...I used a trammel up off the floor on an around-the-room style layout by making a pivot point board.
 
#12
Sweepsticks are designed to sit on the ties in the center of the flex track and hold it in place while attaching the track to the sub roadbed. They keep the track radius concentric during the process. You can add easements by using a larger radius Sweepsticks on the ends. The other methods discussed are for drawing the radius center line on the sub roadbed.​


Dave..... not sure what your asking in your post, but what the IronHorseMan quoted is what I used the sweep sticks for. Once you get your centerline of track by what ever method, then use the sweep sticks to line up your sections of track to fasten to the road bed. I did this for all my mainline track, not sidings or spurs, were the speed is greater. The sticks are especially usefull for lining up track leading into & out of turnouts. (most often straight track.) I laid a portion of my mainline track without the sticks, I got my head down and sighted down the track with an eyeball, it was all over the place, no matter how carefull I was. But using the sticks, my mainline track is straight on the tangents, and consistent radi through the curves. I have had zero derailments from kinky track. My advice would be, on how ever you lay your track, take your time, and throw an eyeball down it evey once in awhile, you'll be surprised at what you'll see.
 
#13
Jerry,

I think you got what I was asking. There are a lot of good ideas here on how to get track in place and all that but I wanted to know if the use of sweepsticks are something worth getting to ensure the track is placed correctly. I know the most important thing about the layout is good trackwork so I'm making sure I do what I can to get the best I can.

Thank you.
Dave
 

fcwilt

Active Member
#14
I used Fast Track SweepSticks, where ever I could, to keep the track properly aligned, especially on the transitions from curved to straight. I think they are well worth the money. Would not be without them.

Frederick
 



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