Rock and Roll - Fast Tracks Tilt Table.
I have been looking for this video clip for some time and it finally surfaced! When this was in use there weren't too many digital video cameras around, so very little video of it operating exists. Back in 2006, in preparation for the National Train Show in Philadelphia, we wanted to build a unique item to demonstrate trackwork built with our tools.
What I envisioned was a small shelf layout that would rock up and down, a free rolling box car would simply roll through the trackwork on the table as it raised up and down.
The concept was simple enough, but the reality was something different! It turned out to be a very difficult piece to build. The mechanics underneath are a marvel to behold, Russ (my brother) built the mechanical part of the display using a power window motor. He also constructed the base from 2" foam so it would be light enough to move around. A series of timers and microswitches were installed to drive the motor and the four Tortoise switch machines powering the turnouts. Programming those timers was incredibly difficult. Simple as it seams, the logic needed was almost enough to stump Ron (my other brother). After a few days of struggle he did get it figured out (it was WAY beyond my comprehension) and the table performed flawlessly.
To stop the rolling car from shooting off the end of the table, small brushes were mounted under the roadbed. When the table tilted down, the brushes would pop up between the rails just high enough to rub on the bottom of the car axles, causing to to come to a complete stop. These brushes can be seen up close further into the video. This worked incredibly well, and stopped the car smoothly every time.
During the three days of the train show it ran non stop, flawlessly. For 50,000 cycles that boxcar rolled through the double crossover without a single derailment. The four turnouts in the double crossover were all switched back and forth 50,000 times without any issues, pretty much proving that a properly soldered switch point on a PC board is very reliable.
It is absolutely mesmerizing to watch, and during the 3 days of the Philadelphia NMRA Train Show in 2006 and the Detroit NMRA Train Show in 2007 several thousand people were introduced to our products while completely hypnotized and unaware of our whispering in their ear they had lots of room left on their credit cards....
The display has since been retired.
Tim Warris - Fast Tracks
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