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SP Common Standard Turntable from an Atlas Model PART 2

July 3, 2009

Now that the concept proved successful, it was time to dive into actual construction. Luckily, I had a turntable lying around from a display I took to shows last year, and although it was nicely weathered and a nice model in it’s own right, it was cheaper than buying a new one.

wiring the turntable

I began construction by salvaging an Atlas turntable motor from another damaged model I was given. The motor and gears worked fine, and recycling is paramount to any model railroader. So I installed the motor onto the turntable and then soldered wires to each rail in the center, so I could run the electricity up onto the future bridge.


I also purchased a 12″ by 12″ plexiglass sheet to use for the new (non-rotating) turntable pit. I traced the circumfrence of the atlas model with a pencil onto the plexiglass and lightly scored the plexiglass. I then used the “scribe n’ snap” method for making a remarkably perfect circle. If you look closely in the above photo, you can just make out the plexiglass disc.

Building the turntable bridge

Next, I had to build the open steel underframe for the bridge that would span the turntable pit. Most turntable scratchbuild tutorials go for the classic plate-girder look, but I decided to go for something more interesting, as you know. I built it almost entirely out of styrene “I” beam structural shapes I had laying aound. The main I beam is a scale 4 feet tall, laying on its side making the strong center beam.


This really took alot of patience and a couple failed attempts, which I suppose will make good shop clutter or scrap loads. I had to not only cut all these I beams identical widths, they had to be notched to interlock with the large “I” beam.
If someone knows a really great, smooth and clean way to cut structural shapes like these to identical lengths please post a comment, I’d love to hear it. Eventually I got the necessary amount ot structural shapes cut and began putting it together.

complete turntable bridge awaiting truss pieces.

Now that the underframe is complete, it’s time to build the pit rail and outrigger wheels to support the ends of the turntable. In our next two installments, we’ll build some truss structures and the outrigger wheels.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Elaine McCurry permalink
    August 23, 2011 4:11 pm

    I am looking for a motorized turntable for a hand made carousel 36″ . can you help?


  1. Part 3: Atlas Wooden Turntable Goes Steel « Interacting with Miniature Railroading

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