Building a Model Train Turntable


Building a Model Train Turntable with 300 lb. Capacity?

The car swivel seat swivels a full 360 degrees for smooth, easy movement in either direction. Perfect for getting in and out of car. The car swivel seat is small enough to be taken virtually anywhere and supports up to 300 pounds. Enjoy a comfortable and easy way to get in and out of your car .......... or you can lay some train track on it when you are done using it, and use it for a Model Train Turntable!




February 6, 2011
This had to catch your attention. I have been thinking about this for a while. My wife had a knee replacement last fall, and she is doing just great. When you have this type of surgery you need all the durable medical aids for transferring. The thing that caught my eye was the “car swivel seat cushion” the swivels 360 degrees and measures 15 1/2” inches wide x 7/16” high with the cushion removed and with a capacity 300 lb.

I think that should work for most model trains, even American Flyer. My only concern was its stability at the outer edge of the turntable. So I went ahead and remove the foam cover. That took a whole 30 seconds. The stability was rock solid, and come to find out the American Flyer rubber roadbed with track meets flush with the top of the turntable.


I will just have to hand lay the track on the turntable, but that should not be to much of a problem.
The only modification I will have do on my layout drill a small whole for the nut on the bottom side to set into. Other wise everything sit flat on my layout without cutting any large circular holes.


I will post updates and pics as I build my first turntable. I would like to do this right the first time so any in put would be greatly appreciated. I’ve read most of the posts on turntables and this idea has never showed up. I will be looking for ideas to motorize the turntable, plus detail to realism.
February 9th 
 I plan to turn the turntable with a 6 rpm gear-motor unit. For the alignment of the track rails I will use my Craftsman Laser Trac level. The turntable will be located (similar diagram) within arm’s length from the edge of my table-top layout. This will make it easer to correct possible derailments, an also it is the maximum distance a person can line up the tracks. I may Index the turntable later to make the bridge rotate automatically to a selected track location. I’m still checking into the motor index possibilities.
February 10th 
Today the railroad gang started laying ties on the turntable. Tomorrow they will get at spiking down the track. They said they wanted to put a walkway along the track and do some roadbed upgrades. I'm already paying them overtime, so they better get it right!


February 12th 
Today the railroad gang finished the walkway, spiked down the ties, and did the desert sand weathering on the turntable. I gave them the weekend off. Everyone is headed to the TCA meeting tomorrow morning. Next week they will start installing the handrails, and building the control cab. I will be looking into adding an angle power arch before installing the turntable on my layout. All that is left now is the power to the turntable and indexing unit. I have an idea how it will go together, but that is another day.


February 24th
The railroad gang got a little derailed the last few days on the turntable. They or I have not done much scratch built train projects before in S Gauge. Being in American Flyer makes it that much harder to match up things close to scale.

 We went to the railroad scarp yard for some usable items, tower and a control cab. We will be adding some railing, and do something more to the top of the tower? 
March 3rd
The railroad gang went back to work after enjoying a few cactus league baseball games here in Scottsdale, Arizona. After the game they went out to the railroad scrap yard looking for something they could use on the top of the tower of the turntable. We were looking for some kind of light that would work as a signal when the track was aligned correctly. 

The track forman came up with the idea of using the top part of the signal off an American Flyer turnout. After cutting off the light signal part of the turnout, we did some grinding and repainting. We had to do a little fine tuning. 
They fit like they were made for each other. We found light socket out of a steamer that aligned perfectly inside the housing. We wired the light down the thru inside of the tower, and into track to provide signal for alignment. With the green light going on, would also signal for the train engineer to move ahead onto the American Flyer turntable. 
The railroad track gang is planing to work on the guard railing (fencing) this next week.
March 12th 
The Forman of the track gang is back to work in Arizona after a well needed vacation to the Grand Canyon, Flagstaff & Sedona. While he was away the track gang completed the guard railing around the American Flyer turntable. 

They used 1/2” inch galvanized hardware cloth, cutting off the roll using side cutters. Grinding the points smooth was done with a dermal and painting the railing flat black before installing in pre-drilled holes. The paint is now drying while the glue sets up over night. Pictures are being updated as progress continues.
March 14th
I plan to turn the American Flyer Turntable with a 6 rpm gear motor unit. I will index the turntable with fingers from AF control unit (e-unit) to make the bridge rotate automatically to a selected track location. With a 1/4” inch clearance between the top and bottom of the turn table the fingers should line up opposite each other with very little adjusting. The light on top of the 
tower will activate when the fingers touch, and the turntable is aligned correctly.
I was just on eBay looking for train turntables. There sure is a flood of turntables available now, after I built mine from scratch (kit-bashing).  Well, I did it my way...that is my satisfaction!

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