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How to loosen Hot glued Tortoise Switch machines after the glue sets?

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How to loosen Hot glued Tortoise Switch machines after the glue sets?
Posted by Capt. Grimek on Saturday, February 03, 2018 4:01 PM

I have one turnout which has too little clearace under the bench top to screw a Tortoise switch machine (not enough vertical clearance for a hand an even a right angle screw driver. I have an industrial hot glue gun and wondered how long we have to move the Tortoise around for aligning. I've read about 15 seconds or so...

If we get the throw wire off a bit and need to reposition the tortoise will a heat gun be my choice of "weapon" to loosen and reposition? I've read about the foam tape method as well as silicone but want this install to be permanent with no loosening or movement/travel down the road.  Which method have you used that's lasted oh, at least 5 to 10 years?  Thanks. Installing this coming Tues.

Jim

Raised on the Erie Lackawanna Mainline- Supt. of the Black River Transfer & Terminal R.R.

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Posted by selector on Saturday, February 03, 2018 4:06 PM

I wouldn't use hot glue for this application. I would use PL300 since I have it on hand for gluing layers of extruded styrofoam.  The PL300 takes about two days to fully set up where I live, so you have lots of time to twist a bit, or shove a bit...  Even then, PL300 is going to end up like the hot glue gobs...like concrete.  It might be better to reconsider what so many others say works, and that would be the two-sided tape and silicone caulk like DAP ALex Plus.

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Posted by BigDaddy on Saturday, February 03, 2018 4:11 PM

Broadway Lion uses silicon caulk 

  http://cs.trains.com/mrr/f/744/p/267726/3033324.aspx#3033324

I would be worried that a heat gun might melt the tortoise. 

 

Henry

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Posted by GraniteRailroader on Saturday, February 03, 2018 5:54 PM

Industrial adhesive Velcro.. it doesn't release and you can pull it apart if necessary.

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Posted by peahrens on Saturday, February 03, 2018 6:33 PM

I used double sided tape like the one below to secure my Torti, then added 2 screws.  The tape itself holds quite well but allows some twisting to adjust, easily for at least for awhile, even removing and re-sticking.  You might try it, make minor adjustments, press firmly (better if you could squeeze it in place with something for awhile).  When in place awhile, then add a bead of silicone caulk along opposite edges.  

https://www.homedepot.com/p/3M-Scotch-1-in-x-1-66-yds-Permanent-Double-Sided-Outdoor-Mounting-Tape-411DC-SF/100575385

Not exactly what I did, but just adding silicone beads instead of screws.

Paul

Modeling HO with a transition era UP bent

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Posted by Capt. Grimek on Saturday, February 03, 2018 6:44 PM

thanks for the link, peahrens. I had no idea foam tape was that strong (holding hand tools on a wall, etc. I was thinking it was more like double sided carpet tape. I'll give it a try. Anyone used it for several years without it letting go?

Slilicone appeals too. Lion once wrote that the tortoise could be removed,moved, later by merely bending the machine off to the side. Will the dap Alex allow this if it's ever necessary? To reiterate: There is NO room for screwdrivers so no screws at all are possible.( Even with a right angle driver). Thaks guys.

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Posted by peahrens on Saturday, February 03, 2018 7:21 PM

Jim,

Depending on the area around (underneath) your turnout, another option might be to utilize the Tortoise "remote" activation throw arrangement.  I'll have to look it up. 

http://www.modeltrainstuff.com/Circuitron-800-6100-Remote-Tortoise-Mount-p/cir-800-6100.htm

I had a clearance issue under a turnout (a tunnel with track below) where the Tortoise would have blocked the track.  (Yes, I added a turnout above without checking things out).  So I installed the remote throw parts a few inches away.  With great difficulty, a Dremel 90-degree and attachment and drill bit, and a little 90-degree screwdriver I was (barely) able to mount the parts on the underside of the plywood.  

It might be a different option, depending on your area under the turnout. But even if feasible, if the Tortoise will fit under the throwbar that might be much easier. 

Paul

Modeling HO with a transition era UP bent

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Posted by mlehman on Sunday, February 04, 2018 5:01 AM

Captain,

I have a bunch of Tortoises that I hot glued after getting tired of drilling all those holes for tiny screws. Mostly it's right the first time with enough practice.

Every once in awhile one ends up wrong. I use a stiff putty knife to break them free, slipping it under one corner and prying. They usually pop free then.

Mike Lehman

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Posted by richhotrain on Sunday, February 04, 2018 5:15 AM

No hot glue, velcro, or the like for me.

I use two screws, one on the front of the Tortoise and one on the opposite side rear.

That is sufficient to securely hold the Tortoise. I begin by marking and drilling pilot holes, and then the screws go in easy.

The OP has a particular problem since the Tortoise must be placed in an inaccessible spot under the layout. I have been in that situation before. My solution was either to rework the framework or relocate the turnout.

Rich

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Posted by hardcoalcase on Sunday, February 04, 2018 7:37 PM

For general mounting, I use the Scotch double side foam tape to position the Torti, then screws to secure it.  A 6" long philips bit in the drill is a near-essential tool for easy mounting.  The bits come in longer versions too, and may solve your extra-tight situations.

Where the Torti wouldn't fit below the turnout, I have used flexible plastic control rods (common to R/C aircraft, same concept as auto choke cables)  to make a remote installation. For stiff turnouts, brass rod silding through a brass tube would be a logical choice.  

Jim  

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Posted by Overmod on Monday, February 05, 2018 10:28 AM

Part of the answer to this probably involves being sure you use the LOW-temperature hot melt sticks instead of the more permanent ones.  Even some of the relatively high-melting-temperature waxes might work to secure switch machines for alignment.

You could of course use a heat gun or even a hairdryer to loosen the hot-melt, but you need to be EXTREMELY careful to use the lowest setting on highest blower volume, keep the nozzle moving, and probably use a noncontact IR thermometer regularly to check that the temperature is not too high or any hot spots are developing somewhere, if you have room to work it around down there (the helpful laser designator spot will help if it's dim down there...)  I think the low-temp hot melt should at least soften enough for sliding long before any components of a Tortoise machine would be heat-damaged ... if you approach the liquidus temperature carefully from 'below'...

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Posted by DigitalGriffin on Monday, February 05, 2018 12:56 PM

Use clear caulk.  It will give you a couple minutes working time.  Then you can use a putty knife to pry it loose if you need to.

What I do it position my switch in the center position and guide it up.  If my throwout sits in center position, I know I got it right.  Once it's in center, I gently push on the throw switch to see if the points press both sides.

Don - Specializing in layout DC->DCC conversions

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Posted by ROBERT PETRICK on Monday, February 05, 2018 1:11 PM

On my current layout build I installed about 45 or so Tortoises. I forget the exact number, but there were a lot. I took the paper template and transferred it to a sheet of 10 mil styrene and used that as the template. I drilled 3 tiny pilot holes for each machine and used 1/2" long #4 round head screws. If I had to do it all over again, I think I would go the adhesive caulk route. It's been 6 months and I still have a crick in my neck.

The double-sided tape or the velcro might work, but I've used caulk in similar situations and would be comfortable using it again. I dunno about hot glue; it's a little quick to cool and set.

Robert

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Posted by Capt. Grimek on Saturday, February 10, 2018 6:05 PM

We're in the middle of the job (continued next Tues.) and we are experimenting with a scheme to either drill down from above (slightly elongating the "screw holes" and using #4 or 6 bolts/studs as we can get a nut on them from below (under the deck).

I have also purchased velcro, Dap Alex caulking and will try a right angle flexible shaft drill head to see if we can indeed be successful with mechanical fasteners which would still be our preference if at all possible. Learning some new colorful language but the shared "misery" and comraderie is fun so far ;-) 

Jim

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Posted by rrinker on Saturday, February 10, 2018 6:38 PM

 Hmm, I never had much of an issue getting Tortoises in place. The template in the instructions puts the holes in the right place, and the trick I always used was to just put one screw in, part way. Then push the Tortoise with wire attached into place, tilt and slide onto the screw. You can move the Tortoise around to make sure it's aligned right. Then stick another screw in diagonally opposite. No need to drill pilot holes for such tiny screws. That really should hold it, but if you are paranoid you can put in the other 2 as well.

 The alignment isn't nearly as critical as some think. As long as the movement to each side is enough to put a slight tension on the points, it's good. If you pullt he points away fromt he stock rail by hand it should snap back, not sort of think about it, but it doesn;t have to snap like a mouse trap. On both sides. 

 I use servos now, but the most common way of mounting them works the same as a Tortoise - the music wire actuating rod tilts back and forth to push the throwbar side to side. The mounts I used cme with double sided tape, which I never trust. But it's plenty strong enough to hold things in place to check the alignment and then run screws in. Also easy to remove- just undo the screws on pull it off. I saved all of them off my old layout with nothign but a screwdriver to undo the 2 screws in each one.

                     --Randy


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Posted by richhotrain on Sunday, February 11, 2018 5:07 AM

rrinker

The alignment isn't nearly as critical as some think. As long as the movement to each side is enough to put a slight tension on the points, it's good.

I agree with Randy. I drill a 5/8" hole in the plywood surface on my layout. Position the Tortoise so the wire is centered in the hole, or nearly centered, and the Tortoise will work just fine.

Rich

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Posted by BroadwayLion on Sunday, February 11, 2018 11:33 AM

The Tortoise switch machine does not have to be under the layout...

 

 (Building fascia will hide the machines, a crosswalk from the builting to the elevated ROW will hide the rods. The building is of course an MOW station.

 

 

ROAR

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Posted by Capt. Grimek on Sunday, February 11, 2018 1:18 PM

Thanks Lion. We looked at doing just what you have done here and are considering it as a "back up" plan. I knew about this method from seeing friend's Caboose ground throws installed with a "ditch" under/through the roadbed. I'll report back after we get done as to what worked.  

Jim

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Posted by mlehman on Sunday, February 11, 2018 10:52 PM

richhotrain

 

 
rrinker

The alignment isn't nearly as critical as some think. As long as the movement to each side is enough to put a slight tension on the points, it's good.

 

 

I agree with Randy. I drill a 5/8" hole in the plywood surface on my layout. Position the Tortoise so the wire is centered in the hole, or nearly centered, and the Tortoise will work just fine.

 

Rich

 

Depends.

5/8" holes work fine for HO standard gauge or larger stuff. But they're kinda gigantic for HOn3 or N. I typically use a 3/8" bit for my Tortoise throwrod holes. Bigger than that and they become ballast suction devices.

I like to drill two holes side by side perpendicuar to the track centerline and "join" them by working the drill back and forth. I end up with something more like a slot than a circular hole. If you make this slot narrow enough so that any two adjacent ties cover it, it's about right, regardless of scale...

 

Mike Lehman

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Posted by rrinker on Monday, February 12, 2018 7:10 AM

 That's about all I use for HO standard guage. Sinc emy last layout had 2 layers of 2" foam plus a 1/4" plywood, a regular drill bit wouldn;t cut it, and the long one I found was 3/16". So 2x 3/16" holes drilled next to each other than I just kinf od higged out the space between them by tilting the drill. Plenty of space to move the throwbar fully each way. Not something I would want to do on thick plywood, it's really not good for the drill to do that, but since it was foam it just carved away the space between the two holes with no problem. You need width anyway, not a wide space fore and aft, along the rails. The actuating wire is narrow.

                               --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

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Posted by wickman on Monday, February 12, 2018 8:09 AM

I've used the good velcro and once the switch is in place used a long robertson screw driver with the small screws to set it home. I also change all the standard throw wire over to heavier thicker wire and found in many cases if need be if the allignment is out a tad I could manipulate the switch up on the layout so it has a more precise throw.

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Posted by richhotrain on Wednesday, February 14, 2018 8:01 AM

selector

I wouldn't use hot glue for this application. 

Neither would I.

Rich

Alton Junction

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