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© May 10,
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How to make your own
Large Scale Backyard Railroad
part 2: Reader Responses
Written by Tom O'Connor
photos by Tom O'Connor
continued from How to make your own backyard
railroad, part 1
The following is a ....
|The main description of
the Backyard Track System®
is posted on this website in the
This article is in response to a reader question from “Laurence”.
Laurence uses groove track but is interested in ways to prevent the rails from
popping out of the ties. This is a typical problem with the groove track
system. Laurence asked the the following:
“When you were drilling the angle holes in
preparation to run the screw through the rail into the ties; how did you keep
the drill bit from sliding down… did you center punch or what?”
The following is a description and photos that
hopefully will give you a good idea of how I handled the problems of drilling
pilot holes into the steel (after it the rail was already set into the ties).
I’ve also included details of how I was able to make the track rail ends and
the joiners line up perfectly with each other for simple and fast rail
joining. Thanks for the question Laurence.
way to drill the holes into the rails
I came up with a pretty easy
way to drill holes into the rails and with far greater ease. I laid out my ties
and inserted the rails into them. Then I used a tool that I came up with to
drill the angle holes into the outer face of the rails at each tie. It is quick
and easy and sets the rail pilot hole in just the right position. This jig also
prevents the drill bit from wandering as it first bites into the steel. Here
are some photos of the tool I came up with.
|The tool itself is a solid
metal block that fits over the rail and straddles the tie. I drilled a hole
into the block at a 45 degree angle and inserted a hardened drill bushing into
it for a 3/16” drill bit. The hardened bushing holds the drill bit in place and
the bit is unable to distort the hardened bushing. The tool I made self centers
the deck screw pilot hole in the middle of the tie with. First use a #2 Center
Drill to start the hole in the side of the rail. This set up will make a nice
angled starting hole without walking around the bar stock as it goes. This is a
starter hole and need not go too far into the metal. Also the #2 center drill
bit is short and not likely to break while inside of the hardened bushing. Then
use that same tool to drill the completed pilot hole for the deck screw. For
the 2nd bit it is best to use a parabolic drill bit such as the: DeWalt No.
DW1212: 3/16". The Parabolic flute design is for improved heat dissipation,
material removal and increased life.
about Rail Joiners
This is additional information to the rail joiner information
I listed in the
of this series.
From the previous article: Rail joiners were rather easy, but I had
one very strict discipline in mind. I wanted the joiners to be standard and
universal as well. What I mean is that I wanted the ends of each track to
match up with any joiner. I wanted to make a standard straight and standard
curved track. In this way I could design and layout my backyard railroad much
like I designed and laid out my train layout on my Lionel train set when I
was a child. So the joiner becomes critical as far as being universal with
any of my track sections. For this reason I made a jig to force identical
specifications on my joiners and track ends. You’ll have to make your own
adjustments for what scale you build, but these specs. are for my 13” gage
I used this jig to place every hole in exactly the same location.
In part 3, I’ll tell the story my 13” gage train…
"Choosing Your Backyard Train"
©Discover Live Steam. This material may not be
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