My initial thoughts on point rodding and what was installed on the first few points on the layout used square section 0.8mm brass rod in straight runs to the operating arm. Originally the Cobalt SS motors were to be hidden by lineside huts and other bits and pieces and the illusion would be enhanced by the use of Ratio plastic points rodding kits laid up to the brass rod. Challenges were experienced with the installation in such ways as bending the rods to a fine profile and it looked a bit over scale but, from what was available at the time, I was happy that it could be made to look relatively realistic.
Since the installation of the first few points I have occasionally experienced a challenge with a point not moving, which I have put down to interference, probably at the ends of the rods, which may just protrude a touch too much and were going to be filed down slightly. I also realised that there was a danger of a short occurring between the rails so a piece of plasticard was inserted and glued below the rail to insulate it.
As mentioned the intention with my 0.8 mm brass rods was to supplement them with Ratio rodding to enhance the look of the installation however as this was all being tried tested and considered DCCconcepts decided to throw a spanner into the works by releasing their own operational points rodding system. Luckily I didn't have too many points installed at this time so I had to decide on whether I wanted to change direction and go with the new system. As it had the potential to be far more scale looking than the system I had trialled I had to at least give it a go. I decided a suitable starting location to trial the system was at a place on the layout where a crossover and a siding point at all operated from and could realistically be controlled from a signal box. I really wanted to have a go at this so I bit the bullet and purchased the point rodding starter set from DCCconcepts and, as my scenic progression was almost at the point where three points are located on the upper level, I decided to have a go at installing them. I would normally advocate trying something simple and straightforward for a first time however, as two of the points in question are in a crossover and all three are operated from the same control unit I thought the three would make a good convenient starting project and an opportunity to really see what the strengths and weaknesses of the new rodding system are. I basically thought that if I can sort out these three then everything else after that should be that bit more straightforward.
The rodding is also required to go underneath an adjacent track, for which DCCconcepts recommend using their own system of wire inserted into a flexible plastic tube embedded into their foam underlay. I haven't used their underlay, plus I wanted the installation to look as scale as possible so I really wanted the rods to go under the track in much the same way as real rodding is routed. I also wanted the operating rods to emerge from the signal box, which would therefore have to hide the motors so I was stacking up the challenges even before I started.
When the starter set arrived I gave it a good once over and studied the contents of the packet. The thing that struck me more than anything was how fine the rods were. I measured them up and they came to 0.4mm square section rod, half the size of my original rods. It was obvious that they would need the supplied stools for support to prevent flexing and I had to consider the fact that a rod going below the track might require support in the ballast, which would be a shame as I wanted the rod at this point to look as prototypical as possible. I quickly came to realise that a lot of this installation was going to be of a trial and error nature and that there was possibly going to be a lot of deviation from suggested practises.
The first job was to remove the original brass rods and Cobalt SS motors from the three points and take a deep breath before embarking on what I anticipated as being quite a bit of work and probably quite a steep learning curve.