The Rest of the World – otherwise known as “staging” – is taking shape with the installation of the sector plate.
The sector plate is relatively straightforward. A piece of 3/4″ thick MDF has been cut to create a stationary deck and a moveable plate. I laid out the centrelines for the four tracks, as well as the centreline for the plate. Chris Abbott then drilled a hole at the far end of the plate and deck for a steel dowel pin, which makes a great pivot:
Rather than get fancy about supporting the pin, we drilled the first hole about 1/8″ undersize, all the way through both plate and deck. We then used a press-fit drill size to drill down through the same hole, all the way through the plate but only about 3/4 of the way through the deck. This keeps the pin from falling through, but also allows us to push it out from underneath if we need to take apart the sector plate.
We then used the pin, a pencil and a piece of scrap MDF with a couple of holes in it to create a beam compass and mark an arc across the entrance end of the sector plate. We did this about two inches in from the end of the plate, then cut the arc with a jigsaw and sanded both sizes of the cut smooth. The short piece was screwed to the deck, located so the plate would slide past it with the saw’s kerf as a gap:
Here’s a tip – screw this end of the plate to the deck before drilling the holes for the dowel pin. The short piece will then go back in place exactly where it needs to be after cutting.
When we were satisfied with the fit of the plate, I added cork roadbed to the plate using No More Nails. I also finished the cork roadbed for the mainline from the north switch at St. Williams to the sector plate. Note how the roadbed fans at the entrance to the sector plate, so that each track lines up with the approach track. Note also how I cut back the cork around the dowel pin to make sure we can remove it if necessary.
The sector plate is now ready for ties and rail – and I am another step closer to driving the Gold Spike.