Sadler’s Sidings – 03 – Building a `Sidetrack Module’

G’day All, This post covers the making up a 160mm wide (125 +35) and 248mm long (multiple of 50mm less 2mm for Unitrack overhang) Sidetrack Module. i.e. this module will allow for three parallel tracks.

This is a ‘pull saw’ that makes cutting timber a dream. It takes a little getting used to and really requires that you let the saw do the cutting and not your pushing down on the wood:

Implement of separation

Implement of separation

A comparatively cheap plastic mitre box that does the job well if you don’t hurry:

Mitre Box

Mitre Box

Even though there is the mitre box to keep cuts square, marking them as square is a good habit that pays dividends in future work:

Marking the wood

Marking the wood

While the sides were cut to the full length of the module (248mm) the ends were cut to fit inside the sides to give a neat outer appearance. This means that the ends have to be cut to a length of  160mm less the combined width of the two side pieces. Don’t rely upon the theoretical widths, measure the real ones. Sidetrack, and its original T-TRAK,  can tolerate small errors (see down further), but sensibly keeping them to a minimum doesn’t stretch that tolerance:

Measuring combined width of both side pieces

Measuring combined width of both side pieces
Frame components placed out for assembly
Frame components placed out for assembly
Gluing corner blocks ot end pieces
Gluing corner blocks to end pieces
Clamping sides to ends
Clamping sides to ends

As you can see there are a couple of ‘ooops!’. Width is 161mm but that is less than 1% error and the `wonky’ corner was straightened up before the glue had set:

Checking the width

Checking the width
Frame finished
Frame finished

This end piece is an off cut from a previous module’s construction. One side was `dead on’ for the width, the other was 1mm too short. A bit of careful alignment of the corner blocks and it was overcome. Not recommended for your first few modules unless you are really limited on timber to hand:

Weird End Yankovic

Weird End Yankovic
Weird End overcome
Weird End overcome

3mm balsa for the top of the module. I find that prices here in Auz can vary quite a bit between individual shops and towns. There is no place to buy it in my own home town and so if my own stocks are low I purchase sheets when I see them:

3mm Balsa sheet

3mm Balsa sheet
Balsa top 2 panels clamped
Balsa top 2 panels clamped

The reinforcing spine was another offcut from previous work and I had apples stewing on the stove. No one will see it, except you dear reader(s):

Reinforcing spine fitted

Reinforcing spine fitted

An update to fitting the spine, make sure that you have worked out your track plan in terms of under the baseboard items before fitting the spine. I have had to remove this one to allow for an under the baseboard drop away magnetic uncoupler. I will refit the spine once clearances are worked out.

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Filed under Model Railways, shunting layout

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