handlaying turnouts: best methods for attaching points to throwbar?

handlaying turnouts: best methods for attaching points to throwbar?

Post by Robert Bowdid » Tue, 20 Jan 1998 04:00:00

Thanks to everyone who made suggestions about throwbar materials and methods
for joining the pointsd to the throwbar.

I tried a couple approaches for making points.  The first was to solder little
brass ears on the bottom of the points, drill the brass for a 00-90 screw, then
attach the points to the throwbar with the screw.

After a bit of experimentation, I used another old approach from a Model
Railroader article: bending the rail to form a mounting point.  Start with
a length of rail a bit longer than you need your points.  Make a right angle
bend at the points end, then file down the right angle part to the very bottom
of the rail.  This forms a mounting point for a***through the throwbar.

I like this approach much better because I only need to file and drill to
make the points. I don't need to keep a hot soldering iron on hand, I don't
have to worry about weak solder joints, and I can make points a lot quicker.

I haven't found the screws too ugly yet.  I've also found that screwed
points are really nice because the points can be unscrewed if I need
to do any work on the points, throwbar, or switch machine.

I used PC board for the throwbar, drilling and tapping the PC board for 00-90
screws.  This has worked well so far.

I've attached some of the responses I received by mail.


Robert Bowdidge


Subject: handlaying turnouts: best

Hi Robert,

This is my experience:

 When I came up to Georgia, I was told by the modelers up here that
 the PC board throwrod was the hot setup. After dealing with them for
 about 8 years my experience is:

    Don't use PC board!

 On a friend's layout, every switch that I have had to rebuild so it
 would work properly (ie: Actually throw all the way over in both
 directions) had a PC board for the throwbar.

 I use a piece of thin & narrow brass sheet (.020" x .25") soldered
 between the actual points with a hole drilled in the middle for
 attachment to the throwbar. I then make a throwbar (to connect the
 handthrow or switchmachine to the turnout) out of a piece of music
 wire which passes thru a brass tube (round or square) that is spiked
 down so as to pass under one of the running rails. This is very close
 to the way the prototype does it.

 One major advantage to this method is that if your turnouts are
 located in a congested area that is hard (or impossible) to get at
 comfortably, then you can make an extended throwbar that passes under
 any number of tracks (up to the length of the wire) and then attaches
 to the throw mechanism. This is also quite prototypical of the lingage
 mechanism of an interlocking tower.

 When you use the rail joiner approach, make certain to notch the
 ties where the railjoiner will go or the points will rise up above
 the running rails. Under some circumstances it might also be
 necessary to bend the point piece itself down a little. (ie: Put a
 shallow bow in the point rail - not bend the point down.)

 The bar/wire method can be used on either the solid rail or rail
 joiner approaches.

 I have also used styrene for the throwbar using a 2/56***for the
 attachment/pivot piece. It should be possible to use a smaller***
 than a 2/56.

Good luck,


Organization: AOL http://www.FoundCollection.com/
Subject: Re: handlaying turnouts: best methods for attaching points to throwbar?


>2) Use 00-90 screws to attach the points to the throwbar.

We now use 1mm screws on our On3 and Proto 48 track work Use PC throw bars from
Clover House or cut your own from locally obtained PC board. Get screws from
NWSL or High Sierra Models in Reno. Visual difference is amazing.
 Bill Uffelman

Subject: Re: handlaying turnouts: best methods for attaching points to throwbar?

Hello -

I'm a novice at laying track but on my S scale code 100 turnouts I
spiked the points at the fixed end to let the rail bend instead of
pivot. This helps eliminate another possible trouble spot (the hinge)
and keeps the rail upright too.  At the point end I soldered on some
tabs at the base of each rail (between ties), drilled them and used
small screws (0-80 I think) to attach the tabs to tapped holes in a PC
board throw bar. (cut an electric gap in the pc board) This allowed me
to let the points lie close to the stock rail with no fear of wheels
shorting between stock rail and points. Cut a gap in the point rail
between the frog and the spiked end of the points - you need to gap to
insulate the frog anyway.  If you make the points long enough there is
very little strain on the throw bar in moving them so there should not
be much problem with maintenance. Probably you should use slow-motion
machines instead of twin-coil but that's true (in my opinion) for all

Hope this makes sense - It seems to work well with my track and I am not
an expert.

Art Armstrong