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Spring fuller from FAIR RR track anchor


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A while back, a friend gave me a bunch of FAIR railroad track anchors (the ones shaped like a big "J" with a T-shaped cross-section), a couple of which I've used to make bottom tooling. I had an idea for converting one of them into a spring fuller, so here goes.

1. Mark out the material to be removed:


2. Cut off excess and grind smooth:



3. Straighten the center section (I hooked the curved end over a fuller and used a big bending wrench for the initial opening, and then finished up the straightening with The Beast):


4. The curved end came out kind of wonky, so I flattened it using the vise and a ten-pound sledgehammer:


5. This left an oddly shaped protrusion, which I reshaped by hammering down the top point and peening out the thickness:



6. The interior corner was still angled inwards, so I cut this off and filed out the corner to prevent a cold shut from forming:



(In retrospect, I could have hammered this bit back into the fuller and kept a greater mass of metal, but oh, well.)

7. Then the fun begins: drawing out the center section on The Pressciousss:


8. Drawing out the center section took the length between the fullers from five inches to twenty:


(The original cross section was 1/2" x 1"; the finished is about 1/4" x 1/2". This is a nice proof-of-concept of basic drawing-out theory: the length of a workpiece varies inversely with its cross-section -- in this case, quartering the cross section quadrupled the length.)

9. The little nub on one end needed to get hammered down:


10. Some hot-filing on the fullers.


11. Heat the center and bend into a U shape. I had to reheat and tweak the shape a bit, and then allowed it to cool in still air to normalize.


12. And we're good to go!


I haven't had a chance to test it yet, but I will post once I do.

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Ok,  so I was right.. You are a machine..   that is a tool made out of " I am angry as heck and need to hammer something"..  LOL.. 

Nice work..   I love seeing what you are doing because you are not afraid of serious work.   I think that mental prowess is a true gift.  Nice Job John. 

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I have been using some diamond coated disks that are dual use.   Grinding and cutting so far I am pretty impressed.   they can be used on pretty much any material and so far the lifespan has been good.  

they cut pretty fast..   And for grinding as a long as not much pressure is applied they seem to leave an okay surface finish.. 

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Thats interesting..  I must have gotten a few bad ones back 30 years ago..  Bad enough that the steel didn't harden no matter what I did to it.  I just thought they were mild steel and  I figured it was the T shape that did the work. 

I'm going to have to look into this now.    thanks 

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The AREMA standards for anchors are all about performance under load, but don't include specs for material. Given the variety of designs out there (unlike the standardization of rail spikes, for example), that's not particularly surprising.

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I have a substantial quantity of railroad scrap from the crew who was working by my house and spent sometime researching it. It tough stuff! I’ve made most of my hand held punches and chisels from the “unit V” style but have done anything with the FAIR type yet. Below it what I found for the anchor material (at least from one manufacturer). Mostly the 60Si2MnA, but didn’t copy the whole page.





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12 minutes ago, Goods said:

I’ve made most of my hand held punches and chisels from the “unit V” style but have done anything with the FAIR type yet.

Here’s another option for converting one into both top and bottom tools:


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Here is the page that I copied:

[Commercial link removed per TOS]

First time posting a link, and this phone doesn’t always agree with me. Hopefully, it works.

Also, just noticed this is a Chinese manufacturer, so may not be representative of scrap from old rail line repair/upgrade.

Hopefully still useful,


Edited by Mod34
Commercial link removed per TOS
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The AREMA standards for track and track fasteners are available online. I can't link directly to them (as they are on a commercial site), but if you google "AREMA railroad track standards" (without quotation marks), you can find the link fairly easily.


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