scratchbuilding signals

This article describes how to scratchbuild signals.

a a

Materials needed:

Overall assembly

  1. Cut brass tube to length and deburr, figure 2" for the signal mast, plus enough to penetrate your scenery and emerge below the layout. I use 5" as my layout is built on 2" Styrofoam.

  2. Assemble LEDs into target faces. Be sure the (-) leads are on the same side, facing where the target will mount to the mast.

  3. Position the target face in place on the mast. Fold the two LED (-) leads over the tubing and solder in place. This will not only support the target face, but the tube itself will provide the (-) conductor for the LEDs.

    (-) leads soldered to tube

  4. Slide the round spacer up on to the tube. The spacer has no function other than appearance as a relay enclosure.

  5. Drill a hole in the center of a computer keyboard key, which is used as a base. It should be a tight fit onto the tube. Slide it up into place. Set the base to desired height. I use 2" from top of target face to the top of the base.

  6. Solder a wire onto the bottom of the tube to provide the (-) connection under the layout.

  7. Fish two wires thru the tube, and solder one to the (+) side of each LED.

  8. Assembly is ready to test. Use a 9v battery with a dropping resistor between 330 and 1000 ohms. (This assembly does not include dropping resistors, as my resistors are mounted on the controller under the layout).

  9. Paint base concrete color, and mast steel or aluminum color.

  10. Glue ladder stock in place, and block number boards if used.

  11. Place signal in position and connect under layout.

Home • Revised Jan 18 2020