Building the first 3 foot curve

I worked most of Friday night and Saturday morning building the first curve.  This may be a prototype or it may be an actual curve used in the final layout depending on how it turns out. Just about every posting on the internet suggests that a 2 foot radius curve is to small for G-scale trains and that only Lionel and Buckmann use it as a standard curve.  You can buy USA and Aristo rail that is 2 foot in radius, but you are limited to the cars that you can run on the rail due to the curvature.  So, I built my first curve with a 3 foot radius.  I couldn’t figure out how to bend 1×1 rails, so I got 1/4×2 Red Oak strips that are 4 feet long and ripped them to make a 1/4x1x48 strip of wood.  Three of these strips is exactly the width of my 1×1 rail so it is perfect in dimension.

I got a 4×8 piece of oak plywood and drilled holes every 4 inches on the inside of the curve and then similar holes for every other edge of the curve.  I then cut wood 5/16 dowels to fit into the holes.  The only problem I had is that I didn’t have a 5/16 drill bit and had to make a run to Lowes to get a new bit.  I opted to get a new bit because I have a lot of 5/16 holes to drill anyway.  After putting in the pegs, I was able to bend the 1/4x1x48 strips into the jig and so I removed the wood, put glue on, and then put the wood back into the jig.  That last step was the hardest because the wood wouldn’t hold a curve and the glue first made the wood slide apart and then kept it from sliding at all.  After getting the inner curve in, I started working on the outer curve.  This was even more of a pain because the clamps for the inner curve made it difficult to manipulate the wood.  I eventually got everything in place and used little spacers between the rails to hold them in place.  The picture of the final assembled 3 foot radius curve is shown below.

3_foot_curve_jig_bright_full

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