Title:
METHOD FOR JOINING MODEL RAILROAD TIE STRIPS AND TRACKWORK WITH AN ALIGNMENT CLIP
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A method for joining multiple lengths of pre-cut strips of interconnected model railroad ties, interconnected track switch ties and other track components to form a single flexible assembly of trackwork. A clip fashioned from various thicknesses of plywood or other materials works with existing model railroad scales and is designed to match and connect together pre-cut flexible strips of interconnected wood or plastic railroad ties, PC board railroad ties, or other ready-to-run track components that are used to produce finished trackwork for model railroads.



Inventors:
Warris, Timothy Allan (Brantford, CA)
Application Number:
11/768194
Publication Date:
12/25/2008
Filing Date:
06/25/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E01B11/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MCCARRY JR, ROBERT J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Tim Warris (Brantford, ON, CA)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A connecting clip that includes two or more pockets that are sized for a friction fit of a similarly sized railroad tie made from wood, plastic or other material that is part of an assembly of pre-positioned ties which effectively creates a single section of pre-positioned ties by holding two or more assemblies of pre-positioned ties in precise alignment enabling the modeler to curve and position single piece assemblies of pre-positioned wood ties onto their layout in preparation for gluing or spiking steel rails to the ties.

2. A connecting clip according to claim 1 wherein one or more sections are engraved or otherwise marked with an alignment outline or cutout to aid in the orientation and positioning of one or more PC board ties that are used to reinforce completed trackwork at strategic points along the trackwork.

3. A connecting clip according to claim 1 wherein one or more sections of the clip are engraved or otherwise marked with an alignment outline or cutout to aid in the orientation and positioning of one or more PC board ties of similar or varying lengths that are used to reinforce strategic points in track switches such as turnouts, wyes, etc.

4. A connecting clip according to claims 2 and 3 wherein the thickness of the clip can be adjusted to provide an intrinsic shim for holding the top of one or more PC board ties flush with the top of connected strips of wood or plastic ties.

5. A connecting clip according to claims 2 and 3 wherein connecting webs between one or more sections of the clip enables the clip to be longitudinally curved along the same radius as the sections of flexible trackwork that the clip is connecting together.

Description:

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

To solve the problems described in the background of the invention I, Timothy A. Warris have invented a specialized clip that accurately joins and aligns any number of pre-cut flexible wood or plastic ties strips, switch tie strips and other track components together to form a single, continuous length of pre-positioned track ties, switch ties and other track components that can be easily curved and aligned into position onto the modelers layout, ready for the installation of rail.

Other objects of the present invention will become obvious while reading the following specification and referring to the accompanying drawings and will form a material part of this disclosure.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Building hand laid trackwork for model railroads using traditional tools and techniques can be both challenging and monotonous for beginner and advanced modelers alike as individual wood ties must be placed into position on the modelers layout one-by-one and then glued or spiked into place. On small layouts this could entale hand positioning as many as 2,000 individual wood ties, while on larger layouts the number could be well into the tens of thousands. To address this issue a number of products have been introduced over the years to try and simplify the process of constructing trackwork. Typically these products consist of pre-manufactured (commonly referred to as Ready-To-Run or RTR) lengths of finished or partially finished trackwork that is constructed using injection molded plastics and cast or press formed metal parts. While this approach makes it easier to quickly build finished trackwork, the final product is a poor facsimile of prototype trackwork that is constructed using wood ties and steel rail. It is also more difficult to apply realistic finishing and weathering to RTR track.

In recent years laser cutting technology has advanced to the point where it is now possible to pre-cut lengths of joined, pre-positioned wood ties into flexible strips using well known techniques. (FIG. 1) These strips of ties can then be positioned on the modelers layout in either straight 1 or curved orientations 2 as required. However there are a number of drawbacks to pre-cutting long and short lengths of pre-cut wood tie strips. For example long strips of pre-cut wood ties are very fragile and break very easily, require higher packaging and transportation costs, and are limited in length when produced with low cost laser cutting equipment. Shorter strips are harder to manipulate and bend into smooth, continuous curves and to install onto the modelers layout. Multiple strips of short ties strips are also harder to accurately align with each other and with other track components, and take a lot more time and effort to install onto the modelers trackbed.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Referring now to FIG. 2 of the drawings, a typical connecting clip 3 is shown. The single piece connecting clip is typically made from laser cut wood material or injection molded plastic and consists of a mid section 5 that joins two end sections 4, 6 that are precision cut or formed to form two openings 7, 8.

Referring now to FIG. 3, the connecting clip 3 is shown joining two sections of flexible ties 2 by inserting the end ties 9, 10 of the flexible tie sections into the openings 7, 8 of the connecting clip. The openings of the connecting clip are cut or formed so that they create a tight, friction fit around the end ties 9, 10 of the two sections of flexible tie strips 2 or other track components. This effectively holds the two tie strips in precise alignment and creates a single flexible strip of ties out of two or more individual strips that the modeler can then curve and position onto their layout. The width and length of the connecting clip openings 7, 8 are determined by the scale and type of flexible tie strips that are being joined together. Additionally the size and positioning of the connecting clip openings ensures that the tie strips, switch tie strips or other track components are precisely aligned and positioned together to form a single continuous strip of pre-positioned ties any length.

Referring now to FIG. 4 it can be seen that any number of flexible tie strips 2 of any pre-determined length can be connected together using connecting clips 3 to form a single length of flexible interconnected ties switch ties and other track components. The resulting assembly can then be curved and formed into any shape desired by the modeler. Additionally, tie strips can also be formed using straight lengths 1 of fixed tie strips which are more suitable for straight sections of trackwork.

Continuing to refer to FIG. 4, connecting clips 3 can also be used to join other track components such as interconnected turnout ties 11 and other types of track switches to lengths of tie strips 2 to form a partially or fully completed road bed of interconnected ties for straight and curved trackwork or switches that are ready for the installation of rail. Once the interconnected ties are securely fastened to the roadbed and the rail has been installed, the connecting clips 3 may remain in place and be buried under the ballast, or they can be removed and discarded or re-used.

In another embodiment of the invention, connecting clips can also include additional mid sections that are used to aid in the support and positioning of printed circuit board material that is cut into the shape of a railroad tie (commonly referred to as “PC board ties”). PC board ties are commonly used to re-enforce trackwork at strategic points along the track by providing a metal base for soldering rail in place on top of the ties. When combined with a connecting clip that includes one or more alignment/support mid sections for PC board ties, the modeler can also build straight and curved sections of track that are re-enforced at strategic points with PC board ties.

Referring now to FIG. 5, a PC board tie version of the connecting clip 12 is shown. The single piece connecting clip is typically made from laser cut wood material or injection molded plastic and consists of a mid section 13 that is joined by two small webs 17, 18 to two end sections 14, 15 which allows the clip to be longitudinally curved along the same radius as the sections of flexible trackwork that the clip is connecting together. The mid section 13 includes either an engraved or otherwise marked outline 16 (as depicted in FIG. 6) showing the exact position of a single PC board tie, or (depending on the scale of the trackwork) a similarly sized cut out area that is the same length and width of a matching PC board tie that allows a PC board ties to be placed into the cutout.

Referring now to FIG. 6, the PC board tie version of the connecting clip 12 is used to connect two flexible tie strips 2 The openings in the two end sections 19, 20 of the connecting clip are precision cut or formed to create a tight friction fit around the end ties 21, 22 of the two sections of flexible tie strips 2 or other track components. The width and length of the openings 19, 20 in the connecting clip are determined by the scale and type of flexible tie strips that are being joined together. Additionally the size and positioning of the connecting clip openings 19, 20 ensure that the tie strips 2 are precisely aligned and positioned together to form a single continuous strip of pre-positioned ties any length. After the strip of ties are put into place on the roadbed, a PC board tie 23 is then set on top of the connecting clip using the engraved outline 16 to correctly orient and position the tie in preparation for soldering it to the rail. In the case of track scales where the thickness of the PC board ties is the same as the rest of the ties, the PC board tie is dropped into a cutout made in the mid section 13 of the connecting clip that is the same length and width of the PC board tie.

Inexpensive off-the-shelf PC board material used to construct PC board ties is typically limited to predetermined thicknesses such as 1/32″ and 1/16″. However the thickness of scaled railroad ties can vary depending on the scale of the model and are rarely the same thickness as PC board ties. This means that the PC board ties needs to be shimmed, or otherwise modified so that the top of the PC board tie is flush with the top of rest of the ties. So a further embodiment of the connecting clip is the ability to use low cost production techniques to produce a clip to any thickness required to ensure that the top of the PC board tie sits flush with the top of tie strip ties.

Referring now to FIG. 7 and 8, a connected assembly of two tie strips 2 and connecting tie clip 12 with a PC board tie 23 is shown. The thickness of the connecting clip 12a is determined based on the standard thickness of the PC board material that is used to produce the PC board ties and the scale thickness of the ties that are part of the tie strip 2. This ensures that the top of the PC board tie sits flush with the top of the connected ties and allows the use of low cost, standard off-the-shelf PC board material in the production of PC board ties. In the case of some scales where the PC board is the same thickness as the rest of the ties, the mid section 13 of the connecting clip is cutout so that the PC board tie actually sits directly on the road bed rather than on top of the connecting clip.

After the modeler has joined the tie strips and other track components together and positioned the tie strip(s) onto the roadbed, a PC Board tie 23 is positioned on top of the mid section 13 using the engraved outline 16 to orient and position the tie on the connecting clip 12, or dropped into a cutout made in the mid section for track scales where the thickness of the PC board ties is the same as the rest of the ties. The rail (not shown) is then soldered to the PC board tie. This effectively fixes the rails into position holding them in precise gauge and alignment. The rail is then spiked or glued to the tie strips and other track components. Once the rail is secured in place, the modeler completes the trackwork with appropriate ballasting and painting. The connecting clip remains in place and acts as a support shim under the PC board ties and is buried under the ballast, or otherwise camouflaged.

In yet another embodiment of the invention, the connecting clip can be designed to accommodate different lengths of PC Board ties as required by some types of track switches or other track components.

Turning now to FIG. 9, a connecting clip 24 typically made from laser cut wood material or injection molded plastic and consists of two mid sections 27, 28 that are joined by three small webs 33, 34, 35 to two end sections 25, 26 which allows the clip to be longitudinally curved along the same radius as the sections of flexible trackwork that the clip is connecting together. The mid sections 27, 28 includes an engraved or otherwise marked outline or cutout 29, 30 showing the exact position of a single PC board tie for each section. The openings 31, 32 in the two end sections 25, 26 are precision cut or formed to create a tight friction fit around the end ties of the flexible ties strips, pre-cut track switch ties or other track components that the connecting clip is being used to connect together. The width and length of the openings 31, 32 are determined by the scale and type of flexible tie strips that are being joined together. Additionally the size and positioning of openings 31, 32 ensure that the tie strips, track switch ties or other track components are precisely aligned and positioned to form a continuous strip of pre-positioned ties.

An example of using the track switch connecting clip can be seen in FIG. 10 that shows a standard turnout assembly of ties 36 that includes three pre-cut sections of wood ties 37, 38, 39 held into alignment with two connecting clips 24. This example shows an assembly of three pre-cut sections of wood ties and two connecting clips forming a typical turnout switch, but an assembly can consist of any number of pre-cut sections and connecting clips to form any type and scale of track switch or component.

Referring now to the enlarged view in FIG. 10, the cutout sections of the connecting clip 24 are sized for a press fit of the end ties 44, 45 of the two sections 37, 38 that are being joined together. This in effect produces a single section of ties that can be curved and manipulated by the modeler to suit the needs of their layout. After the tie assembly has been positioned on the road bed, PC board ties 40, 41 are placed on top of the mid sections 27, 28 of the connecting clip 24 using the engraved outlines 29, 30 to orient and postion the PC board ties in preparation for soldering them to the rail. In the case of track scales where the thickness of the PC board ties are the same as the rest of the ties, the PC board ties are dropped into a cutout made in the mid sections 27, 28 of the connecting clip that is the same length and width of the PC board ties. Once soldered to the rails, the PC board ties effectively holds the rail to the ties and ensures it remains correctly aligned and in gauge. Once the rail is secured in place, the modeler completes the trackwork with appropriate ballasting and painting. The connecting clip remains in place and if required acts as a support shim under the PC board ties and is buried under the ballast, or otherwise camouflaged.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a top plan view of examples of flexible and fixed strips of wood ties cut from a single piece of plywood using well known techniques.

FIG. 2 is a top plan view of a typical connecting clip.

FIG. 3 is a top perspective view showing a typical connecting clip connecting two sections of flexible strips of wood ties.

FIG. 4 is a top plan view showing a number of connecting clips connecting multiple sections of wood ties and typical track switch ties into single assemblies of wood ties ready to be positioned onto the modelers layout.

FIG. 5 is a top plan view of an example of a typical connecting clip that includes a section with an engraved outline for positioning a PC board tie between two strips of flexible wood ties.

FIG. 6 is a top perspective view showing how a typical PC board connecting clip connects two sections of flexible strips of wood ties with a re-enforcing PC board tie.

FIG. 7 is a top perspective view showing a typical PC board connecting clip connecting two sections of flexible strips of wood ties with a PC board placed on top of the clip.

FIG. 8 is a top plan view showing a typical PC board connecting clip connecting two sections of flexible strips of wood ties with a PC board tie placed on top of the clip.

FIG. 9 is a top plan view showing a variation of a connecting clip that includes multiple sections for positioning two PC board ties that are used to re-enforce trackwork typically used in track switches.

FIG. 10 is a top perspective view and enlargement showing how a connecting clip with multiple sections for positioning PC board ties is used to construct tie assemblies for track switches.