Let’s try this… My first post is not directly related to the group's portable layout though.
Some of you already know I started my home layout. I finished the benchwork a couple of weeks ago and I have started to lay some tracks since. I’ll be adding some more photos over the weekend. To see them, click on Simon's Picasa Gallery.
There have been a major change for me on how I built my switches and handlay tracks because I now own a 30 watts laser engraver/cutter. I use the laser to engrave and cut my ties on 1/8” plywood (and basswood). Before cutting the ties, I engrave tie plates and spike heads details. Since everything is precisely drawn on the computer, the spike heads detail act as alignment guides when I lay the rails. This way, I don’t need to put lots of spikes to fix the rail, I glue the rail instead and only use spikes every 2-3 inches.
Additionally, since the switch ties are in plywood, the tie “cluster” for switches do not tend to break at connection tabs and allow me to build the switches and detail them on the work bench.
For most of my track I use flex track (code 70 and 83) but like the CN did for some spurs, I wanted some tracks without tie plates (The Tomalco flextrack has tie plates). To make the spur tracks, I decided to laser cut and engrave the ties at scale 24” apart (mainline track usually 21” apart) and engrave spike heads, no plate. This way, it is quick to lay the track and have the spike details at every tie.