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The Protofour Manual

Note: The pages of this manual have been prepared in two forms. We have scanned the original printed pages ('Scanned PDF'), and also transcribed them as web pages. Some of the material is only available in one form. During transcription, line drawings have where necessary been redrawn for clarity. This has been a process performed over a number of years and at early points in the process, some diagrams were omitted due to the poor quality of their reproduction. When viewing the web pages, note that they are designed to print without the surrounding website navigation, to make high quality printed versions.

This manual has been superceded by the Scalefour Digests, available to all members.

Section 2. Standard Dimensions

2.0 Protofour and Preferred Proto-Ratios (Scanned PDF)
The tables of standard dimensions for P4 and for P160, P120, P87, P64, P45 and P32.
Essential data but the choice of scales for some of the gauges was flawed, hence 2mm fine, 3mm and S7 have succeeded and not the P160, P120 and P45 suggested. P87 is now showing popular acceptance and there is at least one modeller in P45.

Section 4. Instruction Leaflets

4.0 What is Protofour (Scanned PDF)
A basic introductory sheet
Concept is still valid, although detail and references are out of date
4.1.1 Introduction to Layout Building (Scanned PDF)
Discussion on choice of scales, standards, prototypes etc. Bibliography of useful magazine articles.
Good basic advice, the magazine articles from 1954 to 1972 would still be good reading but getting hard to find.
4.1.2 Planning templates (Scanned PDF)
Use of ¼ size templates for planning.
This method could be duplicated with photocopies, although modern PC drawing programs now give better results.
4.1.3 Construction templates and jigs (Scanned PDF)
Introduction to the use and adaptation of templates for track construction
The introduction to the classic Brook Smith method. As valid as ever, the methods have lasted more than thirty years and are still an excellent choice
4.1.4 Tools for Track Construction (Issue 2) (No scan currently available)
Details, with photos of the press and tooling for the Brook Smith method.
Includes Mk1, Mk2 and Mk3 tools
4.1.5 Gauges for Track and Wheels (Issue 2) (Scanned PDF)
Full instructions with photos on the use of track construction and wheel gauges. Covers Mk1 and Mk2 types
4.1.6 Track Construction (Scanned PDF)
Still the definitive instructions on the Brook Smith method using ply and rivets, with soldered construction
4.1.7 Track Laying, Weathering and Detailing (No scan currently available)
Covers underlay, ballasting, weathering and use of Mk1 TOU and switch blade gauges
The Mk1 TOU is no longer available but can be home made, and much other advice remains valid. The TOU parts of this digest were clearly a development from the Studiolith TOU (Scanned PDF).
4.1.8 Unit Wiring System (Scanned PDF)
Techniques for wiring connections worked. Diagrams are clear and a good guide to insulated joint positions. For traditional block control schemes care is needed as block sectioning is not indicated. For the use of DCC systems they are spot on
This section was expected to be on control systems and is referenced in 4.1.8 but is not known to have been issued
4.1.10 Baseboards and Baseboard Joiners (Scanned PDF)
Two page instruction sheet on use of pre-made board joiners
This includes specific instructions and is obsolete
4.1.11 Wire and Rail bending operations (Scanned PDF)
Two page instruction sheet on the use of the P4 bending tool
Good if you have the tool, which is especially useful for rail built buffer stops. It would be fairly simple to make a similar tool.
4.1.12 Rolling Stock Components (Scanned PDF)
A comprehensive guide of how to use wheels, W-irons, etc including various types of compensation systems.
Still useful information although the available parts have evolved subsequently.