Track and Silly Noobs
With me being the silly noob.
Right, while this might be considered crazy, insane, or just outright suicidal, I am taking steps to build my first layout since I was a kid far too long ago. What I am thinking of doing is jumping right into DCC - which isn't too crazy - and not just trying my hand at hand-laid track, but adding Proto:87 elements (Mainly fishplates, and other eye candy type items) to the thing.
Now, its not going to be much more than a decent sized switching layout 10, maybe 12 foot long, so shouldn't be too insane depending on the final layout I settle on.
Question is this: Is Fast Tracks all that it seems to be as far as jigs and such? Everything I have seen seems to point that it is the way to go.
Thanks for the help..
This is a question I have been pondering for several years myself now. There are many who are able to, and have been building turnouts for themselves and others totally without the aid of such jigs and tools to a very high standard and would consider them a waste of money.
Originally Posted by Panther Al
But I'll bet the skills to do so didn't occur overnight and there were several failures or "not quite rights" along the way at first.
I'm a great believer in the use of jigs and specialised tools if you want to make a large number of anything, so it comes down to in my mind to a few questions.
How much time and materials are you prepared to expend on getting it right if you don't use jigs?
How many turnouts do you intend to make? (the jigs etc aren't cheap)
When I have finished building what I need, will the tools just rest in a drawer or somewhere, never to see the light of day again?
Will they pay for themselves?
Will they actually save me sufficient money to make it worthwhile or would I be just as well off buying commercial turnouts or checking out eBay for those that could be selling the fastrack ones on there?
Finally, does your desire to have trackwork that looks "special" outweigh any of the above considerations?
As far as taking the plunge into DCC, I've also been "fluttering" around the edges of this for years, even though I know it's the only way to go (and especially in a yard where there would be a number of locos acting independently) (and funnily enough how I'm planning on starting a layout), so to this end I have "done the jump" and bought a decent size starter set ('cause I like to run multi loco consists as well).
As far as crazy goes, I'm 73, most would say (and be right) I am.
Fast Tracks is all that it seems, but it is more...it is a way of thinking. That is what I got out of my purchases. Some men/women are gifted enough to be able to watch something and know intuitively that they can do what they see, often better. And they are right. I am not one of them. So, I purchased the jigs for #6 double-slip and for #8 regular turnouts. Loved the experience, but it was hard learning how to control my hands. I'm no dental surgeon.
However, there came a time when I realized I now knew pretty much how to make any turnout I needed, and have done that, right on the layout, three times so far. So, if you can figure out how to cobble together the materials, skill, time, and intent to make a decent turnout that is as good as a typical Fast Tracks turnout, and can do that without the Fast Tracks tutorials or jigs, then I would commend that orientation to you. For me, the jigs were a necessary first step. On my current layout, I have built a nice, unique, two way curved turnout using my learning.
Thanks all for the comments: I am one of those detail freaks that people laugh at - back when I did 15mm Napoleonic's I was that guy that made sure every button and lapel was in the exact right shade of colour for that exact unit. So, yes... detail does weigh heavy on my seesaw of ROI gage.
I am going to go with FT: As Selector pointed out, its a great starting point to learn how to do handbuild track.
Eventually, I would like - although I admit it might be a stretch - to go all the way to Proto:87, but that would take some time.
My thinking as well, I'm pretty useful with my hands, if the glucosamine and chondroitin will keep the arthritis at bay, and I like the satisfaction of building a better looking and operating product.
Originally Posted by Panther Al