An Operating O Scale Ground Throw Part 2

Written by Edward Traxler, photos by the author.

As I touched on in part one, this ground throw is made for HO scale track, however, they work fine for O scale as well. In fact, while a little oversized for HO it is pretty close to prototype size for On30. Not being a fan of the large mounting holes in the flanges and no need for the smaller throw-bar extension on the right side, my plan is to remove this as we will see below.

Modifying the throw

First, I cut through the flange just behind the mounting holes. I actually would have preferred a bit more flange and would have cut through the center of the hole but the throw is made from Delrin, or something similar. Trying to fill the hole would be really tough.

I cut through the throw-bar as shown in the photo below. This can be thrown out since it will not be used. All you should have left is the smaller bar with a hole, which used to attach a throw-rod to the turnout.

That done I made a simple jig from some scrap polystyrene to drill two holes, 0.024” dia. I then insert map pins into these holes in order to secure the ground throw in place. Note, the size of hole drilled will depend on the thickness of your pins. 

Test Fit the Ground Throw

At this point, my modified ground throw is set in place to test. You will also notice I painted the throw with Ceramcoat® Red Iron Oxide acrylic which will be it’s primary color. Once it is secure in place, I will weather it using weathering powders.

Taking a closer look at the work that has been done, I held a light above the throw to help the camera pick up the details.

Drill Anchor Holes

As mentioned, the throw will be secured to the wooden dowel with steel pins, replicating miniature anchor bolts, creating an extremely secure throw. The throw is put in position on the ties and the holes in the flange act as guides for the drill bit. 

As I drilled each hole, I slid a pin in place to keep everything aligned.

Anchor Bolts

Once the super glue set up, I snipped off the pins so they extended just a bit above the flange. This would simulate the tops of the anchor bolts. 

I used Vectorcut 2mm  Washers & Nuts to finish off the anchor bolts. These are laser cut from .014” laser card.

A close-up with a dime for a size comparison.

An even closer look. I managed to get the .070" width across the flats with my dial calipers, the other dimensions are simply scaled from that.

Finally, a paper clip was used as my bar, connecting the turnout to the ground-throw. Once everything is in place, black weathering powder was used to add additional weathering as well as highlight the details.

This is a really simple and inexpensive way to add working ground-throws to your layout. With the embedded pins acting as anchor bolts, the ground-throws are extremely durable.

About the Author

eTraxx's picture

Edward Traxler

Retired from US Army as SFC. Living in South Carolina and enjoying that retirement.


jrl2442's picture

shawn, thanks for getting this second part up, and ed, thanks for doing it. cannot imagine ceramcoat sticking to delrin but will give it a try asap to see. appreciate good work that inspires. jim/atlanta

Shawn Branstetter's picture

You're very welcome Jim! I agree, Ed is a very inspirational model builder.

Shawn Branstetter

eTraxx's picture

Jim and Shawn, thanks.

I doubt the paint would hold up very long if handled .. but the throwout is out of the way and only the handle would be touched mostly so I figure it will be ok. In a simular fashiion it is very hard to paint a modern automobile fascia. My 350Z has one made of TPO (aka TEO - Themoplastic elastomer olefinic) is a blend of polyolefin and synthetic rubber -. To paint it I needed to clean with soap and water followed by a solvent-based plastic cleaning solution. This worked fine and would increase adheshiion to the derlin I betcha also.

"I drank .. WHAT?"
--- Socrates