The 2mm Society'Easitrac' Point Kit

Discuss the prototype and how to model it.
Enigma
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The 2mm Society'Easitrac' Point Kit

Postby Enigma » Sun Feb 14, 2016 6:30 pm

I am sure that many members of the S4 society will have seen this, either in the 'flesh' at demos or in the recent MRJ feature. I had a good in-depth discussion about it with a couple of the 12mm guys demo-ing at Normanton Exhibition a couple of weeks ago and came away rather impressed by both the actual product and their society's braveness in tackling the subject head on.

The question I have since been asking myself is - 'Why aren't the S4 Society doing something similar?' If the 2mm guys can maintain the required tolerances and make the kit (relatively) easy to construct then surely in 4mm scale this should be easier?

The principle behind the kit is a CNC milled sleeper base with injection moulded chairs fitting into milled holes. Gauge is therefore maintained with very little measuring required. The common crossing is a CNC milled NS item screwed to the sleeper base - no bending and forming wing rails and 'hoping' they fit.

Now, I seem to remember around 25 or so years ago (and I am quite happy to be corrected if necessary) that one of Len Newman's original ideas for his K&L track was to have separate chairs fitting into holes in sleepers for automatic gauging. This concept was not proceeded with and (again I'm happy to be corrected) the reason given was that he could not guarantee tolerances with the materials and injection moulding processes he was using at that time. Now, 25 years on, the same concept has been successfully used by a scale half the size of ours using techniques and possibly materials that can guarantee the required tolerances. The use of CNC milling rather than injection moulding is probably the largest factor in this.

I was told that there were significant costs involved in setting up the manufacturing processes. Writing the CNC programmes, tooling up for the chairs etc. - but the 2mm Society are still able to sell the complete kit to members for £18 which, as far as I know, is rather less than the current retail price for a 4mm kit from the trade. The 2mm Society has fewer members than the S4 Society, the S4 Society is not (as far as I am aware) short of cash. Is the whole concept something that we should be considering especially as the subject of 'RTR pointwork' has been one of the major topics of 'discussion' within the S4 Society for a considerable time?

Answers on a postcard .............................. :thumb

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steamraiser
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Re: The 2mm Society'Easitrac' Point Kit

Postby steamraiser » Sun Feb 14, 2016 7:07 pm

I believe that the Easitrac point is a B switch and there is, or will be a number of different crossing angles available.

Gordon A
Bristol

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Mike Garwood
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Re: The 2mm Society'Easitrac' Point Kit

Postby Mike Garwood » Sun Feb 14, 2016 9:12 pm

Gordon

What a brilliant idea! But aren't there dimples on the existing range to locate the chairs?

Mike

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steamraiser
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Re: The 2mm Society'Easitrac' Point Kit

Postby steamraiser » Sun Feb 14, 2016 9:35 pm

Hi Mike,

I don't know about the dimples as I am playing with plywood sleepers on my current project.

Gordon

billbedford
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Re: The 2mm Society'Easitrac' Point Kit

Postby billbedford » Mon Feb 15, 2016 9:13 am

Don't Exactoscale pointwork chairs have a dimple to locate them on the plastic sleepers?
Bill Bedford
Mousa Models
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grovenor-2685
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Re: The 2mm Society'Easitrac' Point Kit

Postby grovenor-2685 » Mon Feb 15, 2016 9:27 am

Yes, the timbers supplied for the point kits have pips on top which locate the chairs via the dimples under the chairs.
Regards

nigelcliffe
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Re: The 2mm Society'Easitrac' Point Kit

Postby nigelcliffe » Mon Feb 15, 2016 6:16 pm

Perhaps the real question for "Enigma" is why no manufacturer in 4mm scale has a similar approach to products ? There is a manufacturer in N - Finetrax - at about the same price as the 2mm Scale Association kit. The two products share a lot of common design features, but, except for the company which rolls the rail, are independently sourced parts.

4mm finescale is big enough to support some commercial companies, in both retail and manufacture.
2mm isn't big enough for commercial companies, the "largest" small suppliers are people doing a few kits in their spare time, usually of prototypes they need for their own modelling projects.


- Nigel
( Webmaster and wagon wheel maker for the 2mm Scale Association. )

mickeym
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Re: The 2mm Society'Easitrac' Point Kit

Postby mickeym » Mon Feb 15, 2016 10:42 pm

I have casually wondered why no one has done, or tried to do, this in 4mm scale.
The Finetrax ones in N gauge are pretty good and go together well - even I can make them work ok ;) Not yet tried an Easitrac one; mainly cos the Finetrax caught my eye as something in N gauge therefore easier for me to play with for my sprinters and stuff.....

Terry Bendall
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Re: The 2mm Society'Easitrac' Point Kit

Postby Terry Bendall » Tue Feb 16, 2016 8:22 am

mickeym wrote:Post by mickeym » Mon Feb 15, 2016 11:42 pm I have casually wondered why no one has done, or tried to do, this in 4mm scale.


I have not yet seen this kit in the flesh or read the article in any depth but I think the answer is there is no real need for such a product since the Exactoscale kits produce a perfectly useable product for 4mm scale. The 2mm Scale Association have done a lot of work in recent years to make track building in that scale easier and I have never failed to be impress with what they do. The Association have responded to a need but the same need is not there is 4mm.

Terry Bendall

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Mike Garwood
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Re: The 2mm Society'Easitrac' Point Kit

Postby Mike Garwood » Tue Feb 16, 2016 9:35 am

Terry Bendall wrote:
mickeym wrote:Post by mickeym » Mon Feb 15, 2016 11:42 pm I have casually wondered why no one has done, or tried to do, this in 4mm scale.


The Association have responded to a need but the same need is not there is 4mm.

Terry Bendall


Not too sure about that Terry. If you scale the costs up from 2mm (guesstimate)then you have a product that is almost approaching affordable. The current price tag of over £50 per kit (and I realise it's a business) is to my way of thinking 'too expensive' to consider on a layout with potentially 10 sets of points - yes, there are other methods of construction, but all require a modicum of skill, sadly lacking in this members locker. Were I have to have more modest plans then perhaps I'd be prepared to pay the price. Personally, I think this is a cracking idea and where it to be developed/sold in house (sorry Jeremy) then may even encourage more members to take up the challenge of producing trackwork/pointwork. I really enjoy reading about other members work in this area, it's the one part of this wonderful gauge that I have yet to get to grips with. If these became available in P4 then I'm sure I could be persuaded to rob the piggy bank again.

I shall now wait to be shot down in flames... :D

Mike

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Ian Everett
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Re: The 2mm Society'Easitrac' Point Kit

Postby Ian Everett » Tue Feb 16, 2016 11:44 am

I'm surprised Martin Wynne hasn't posted on this topic. Members of the Templot forum have been thinking hard about the possibilities of 3D printing of track bases, based on Templot files. This seems to me to be a fantastic idea - far better than being limited to a few standard, straight turnouts.

See http://85a.co.uk/forum/view_topic.php?id=2734&forum_id=6&page=1
Ian

billbedford
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Re: The 2mm Society'Easitrac' Point Kit

Postby billbedford » Tue Feb 16, 2016 11:45 am

Enigma wrote:Now, I seem to remember around 25 or so years ago (and I am quite happy to be corrected if necessary) that one of Len Newman's original ideas for his K&L track was to have separate chairs fitting into holes in sleepers for automatic gauging. This concept was not proceeded with and (again I'm happy to be corrected) the reason given was that he could not guarantee tolerances with the materials and injection moulding processes he was using at that time. Now, 25 years on, the same concept has been successfully used by a scale half the size of ours using techniques and possibly materials that can guarantee the required tolerances.


But Len found he could guarantee the tolerances if he moulded the chairs in with the sleepers, hence the moulded sleeper bases. However it took two attempts before he got the gauge widening on curves to work correctly.

It seems to me that having to place individual chairs into prepared holes is a retrograde step when acceptable P4 sleeper bases are available.
Bill Bedford
Mousa Models
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Enigma
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Re: The 2mm Society'Easitrac' Point Kit

Postby Enigma » Tue Feb 16, 2016 1:14 pm

But only on plain track Bill. We're talking pointwork with all its potential variables and pitfalls for the newer and less experienced P4 modeller. I must admit that I was unaware of the 'dimples' on sleepering (I've only ever used ply sleepering for points) but do they apply to point sleepering with all the possible variations that might occur?

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jim s-w
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Re: The 2mm Society'Easitrac' Point Kit

Postby jim s-w » Tue Feb 16, 2016 2:20 pm

I'm a bit unsure what 'problem' the 2mm point kit fixes that we have. I've built a bit of track now but haven't ever measured anything. I just use gauges to build points. Track gauges are not all that expensive and are essential anyway. I've never used an exactoscale point kit but from what I've seen they seem simplicity itself to build so what am I missing?

The beauty of hand built track, be it p4, EM or 00 is that it flows. This isn't something you can get as easily with set-track or rigid points.

Cheers

Jim

Armchair Modeller
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Re: The 2mm Society'Easitrac' Point Kit

Postby Armchair Modeller » Tue Feb 16, 2016 2:52 pm

You can get away with a lot less detail in 2mm scale too - the turnout kits don't have detailed chairs and (I think) the vee is milled, so would not look nice when doubled in scale.

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Martin Wynne
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Re: The 2mm Society'Easitrac' Point Kit

Postby Martin Wynne » Tue Feb 16, 2016 3:27 pm

Ian Everett wrote:I'm surprised Martin Wynne hasn't posted on this topic

Hi Ian,

I would if I knew what you want me to say? Image

At present I can't find any web link or a photo of the topic subject, so I'm in the dark. I did find this:

http://www.2mm.org.uk/products/instruct ... 03-etc.pdf

Chairs with pegs are much more difficult to mould than with a recess, requiring different split lines in the mould tool. It also means the chairs can't be used on plywood timbers without snipping off the pegs very cleanly. The Exactoscale arrangement of a pip on the moulded timber base makes far more sense from a production point of view.

Cast crossings may not look too good in 4mm scale. Andy Reichert's method of bullhead crossings laminated from etchings might be a better approach: http://www.proto87.com/product1954.html

regards,

Martin.
40 years developing Templot. And counting ...

Terry Bendall
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Re: The 2mm Society'Easitrac' Point Kit

Postby Terry Bendall » Wed Feb 17, 2016 8:17 am

Mike Garwood wrote: The current price tag of over £50 per kit (and I realise it's a business) is to my way of thinking 'too expensive' to consider on a layout with potentially 10 sets of points


Yes I agree Mike but what would be the price of a similar system in 4mm to that which has been developed for 2mm? It may be double, and that may be affordable, but it may of course be more. Turnout construction is a skill that is not too difficult to learn and as with any other practical skill the more you do, the more you learn. Pre Exactoscale, anyone who wanted to build a layout to P4 standards had to learn the skill. :(

Enigma wrote: but do they apply to point sleepering with all the possible variations that might occur?


The Exactoscale sleepers for turnout kits do have dimples (or more correctly pips) for the chairs to fit over and they do work although my practice is to put track gauges in place whilst the glue sets.

jim s-w wrote: I've never used an exactoscale point kit but from what I've seen they seem simplicity itself to build so what am I missing?


Nothing I think Jim. I have no connection with C&L or with Exactoscale when it was a separate company but the kits are easy to build. If you can build an Airfix plastic kit, you cab build a turnout kit. The only slight disadvantage is when you want to do something more complex such as a tandem turnout where if the standard vees are used, some short pieces of additional rail may be needed. That is where making everything by hand scores since the vee could be made long enough from the start.

Terry Bendall

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Andy W
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Re: The 2mm Society'Easitrac' Point Kit

Postby Andy W » Wed Feb 17, 2016 9:37 am

Turnout kits of all kinds are to be welcomed, but as Terry says, if you want to create something non-standard then it's a good idea to develop the skills needed to build such items. Which makes me wonder what % of turnouts on the pre-grouping railways would have been "off-the shelf" standard formations, compared to those built to fit a particular location/need?
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Re: The 2mm Society'Easitrac' Point Kit

Postby Armchair Modeller » Wed Feb 17, 2016 10:22 am

Even if they were usually off the shelf, I suspect pre-grouping companies would have had different timber spacing and timber sizes. Just looking at some of the plain track templates in the archives, every company was different, even when there was no obvious need for individuality.

Terry Bendall
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Re: The 2mm Society'Easitrac' Point Kit

Postby Terry Bendall » Thu Feb 18, 2016 10:46 pm

Andy W wrote:Which makes me wonder what % of turnouts on the pre-grouping railways would have been "off-the shelf" standard formations,


My understanding, and I may be wrong, is that the common crossing and the blades are always standard components and the only thing that changes is the length of the rails between them. Whether this applied in pre-grouping times is another matter but I would have thought so. There are of course lots of interesting bits of track with such things as interlaced turnouts, where something special would be needed b ut even in pre-grouping times there would have been advantages in standardising where possible.

Terry Bendall

GTi
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Re: The 2mm Society'Easitrac' Point Kit

Postby GTi » Fri Feb 19, 2016 10:10 am

I think there is a wider discussion to be had here.

Traditionally this Society has relied on the ‘trade’ for its specialist supplies. I know the reasons why – I was there. But back in the day the ‘trade’ were fellow P4 modellers providing a service, Mike Sharman for wheels, Bernard Weller for every thing else. Whether these ‘businesses’ made a profit we don’t know. But these businesses get sold on and the new owners may be only interested in selling the stock they have bought and the products then disappear. We can all name quality products that are no longer available to us.

In my case I have used Exactoscale axle boxes and springs in my locos. How long will replacement springs be available? I also use Exactoscale couplings with the drawbar springs and the small stamped brass ‘washer’ to retain the spring – how long will these be available?

I think we are vulnerable to rely entirely on the trade – clearly the items I have listed, whilst important to me as a modeller and Society member, may not be worth stocking as a commercial trader. No doubt springs have to be bought in bulk and may take years to sell and recover the outlay.

Is this is where the Society Stores could step in and provide the items that it is not commercially viable for the ‘trade’ to supply?

Food for thought?

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Guy Rixon
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Re: The 2mm Society'Easitrac' Point Kit

Postby Guy Rixon » Fri Feb 19, 2016 10:36 am

GTi wrote: No doubt springs have to be bought in bulk and may take years to sell and recover the outlay.


It's worse than that. I'm told that the tiny coil-springs that are standard for buffers used to come from one Swiss supplier. That supplier recently declined to continue supply, so there was a gap in availability. I think those particular springs are now available again, but it shows how things can get messed up so easily.

Terry Bendall
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Re: The 2mm Society'Easitrac' Point Kit

Postby Terry Bendall » Mon Feb 22, 2016 10:43 am

quote="GTi"]Is this is where the Society Stores could step in and provide the items that it is not commercially viable for the ‘trade’ to supply?[/quote]

Yes but the Society would still have to make someone to make what is needed and that is the more difficult part. :( A few years back I found an jobbing engineering company near to me that was prepared to make the gauges and filing jigs that are sold by our Stores but such places are not easy to find.

It is the same with the supply of materials as the comment on small springs illustrates. Occasional conversations with one of our larger suppliers of tools and materials has brought to light all sorts of problems with supply lines of some materials. You can have it, but only once every six months or even more and only if you are prepared to buy several tons of whatever is might be. Most of our suppliers cannot afford to have that much money tied up in stock that may take 5 years to sell and they do not have the room to store it. The same problems would apply to our Stores.

Terry Bendall

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Will L
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Re: The 2mm Society'Easitrac' Point Kit

Postby Will L » Mon Feb 22, 2016 10:59 am

Terry Bendall wrote:
GTi wrote:Is this is where the Society Stores could step in and provide the items that it is not commercially viable for the ‘trade’ to supply?


Yes but the Society would still have to make someone to make what is needed and that is the more difficult part. :( A few years back I found an jobbing engineering company near to me that was prepared to make the gauges and filing jigs that are sold by our Stores but such places are not easy to find.

It is the same with the supply of materials as the comment on small springs illustrates. Occasional conversations with one of our larger suppliers of tools and materials has brought to light all sorts of problems with supply lines of some materials. You can have it, but only once every six months or even more and only if you are prepared to buy several tons of whatever is might be. Most of our suppliers cannot afford to have that much money tied up in stock that may take 5 years to sell and they do not have the room to store it. The same problems would apply to our Stores.


I've seen Jeremy's garage, oh yes it would apply.

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Flymo748
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Re: The 2mm Society'Easitrac' Point Kit

Postby Flymo748 » Mon Feb 22, 2016 6:21 pm

GTi wrote:I think there is a wider discussion to be had here.

Traditionally this Society has relied on the ‘trade’ for its specialist supplies. I know the reasons why – I was there. But back in the day the ‘trade’ were fellow P4 modellers providing a service, Mike Sharman for wheels, Bernard Weller for every thing else. Whether these ‘businesses’ made a profit we don’t know. But these businesses get sold on and the new owners may be only interested in selling the stock they have bought and the products then disappear. We can all name quality products that are no longer available to us.

In my case I have used Exactoscale axle boxes and springs in my locos. How long will replacement springs be available? I also use Exactoscale couplings with the drawbar springs and the small stamped brass ‘washer’ to retain the spring – how long will these be available?

I think we are vulnerable to rely entirely on the trade – clearly the items I have listed, whilst important to me as a modeller and Society member, may not be worth stocking as a commercial trader. No doubt springs have to be bought in bulk and may take years to sell and recover the outlay.

Is this is where the Society Stores could step in and provide the items that it is not commercially viable for the ‘trade’ to supply?

Food for thought?


Whilst we haven't had a Society Committee meeting since your message was posted, I feel that I know my Committee colleagues and the Society policy on items stocked in Scalefour Stores. For those that may be new to the Society, or have not seen this discussion before, we have two broad principles:

1 - the Society will aim to supply items that are essential for P4 modelling. This was more true in the past than today. There are now far more P4 parts far more widely available than ever before. As Terry notes, it is one thing to say that the price of turnout kits is too high; twenty years ago we wouldn't have dreamed that 18.83 kits would *ever* be available. However the Society Stores still remains committed to supplying the gauges, the rail, the ply sleepers and rivets, the basic wheels and so forth that we always have done, enabling a "one stop shop" for anyone seeking to try P4 for the first time. It worked for me in 1983, and I think that it still would today.

2 - the Society does not aim to compete with commercial traders. Again, you could say that this was easier to comply with in the past than now, because much of what used to be only readily available in the Stores is now more commonplace and even on the internet. But the principle still holds - not least because we don't have to make a commercial profit margin so _could_ undercut the prices. Not good to keep your friends and supporters in the long run.

There is a third element that cuts across both of these - that is innovation. So we have seen things like the go:no-go gauge, and the Scalefour lever frame which was designed and produced by one of our own Area Groups. We have also seen the production of third and fourth rail chairs when there was nothing comparable available. Your Society has invested money to produce all of these, and our own books as well.

So if there was a product that filled a gap in the market, such as a cheap but reasonable fidelity turnout kit, the Society could support it. But someone needs to make the proposal, and say how it is going to be done. There's even a Digest that has been available for a few years saying how to go about it.

Digest 3-4-0 v1-1 Sponsorship of New Products.pdf
(100.69 KiB) Downloaded 55 times


So it really comes down to the fact that the Society needs someone to take it forward, if it is going to happen. Volunteers?

Cheers
Paul Willis
Deputy Chairman
Beware of Trains - occasional modelling in progress!
www.5522models.co.uk


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