MODRATEC Interlocking Lever Frame Kits are constructed from solid brass and stainless steel components. This page offers the rationale behind the design and lists the tools required for construction.

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The MODRATEC Lever Frame design

Photo of Frame from side

Side view shows Diagram hinged up to reveal interlocking. Auxiliary Switches and electrical terminals are seen below.

The key to creating the MODRATEC Lever Frame was to find the right balance between:

  • the need for precision,
  • the need for ruggedness,
  • the need for affordability, and
  • the need for construction with minimal hand tools and skills.

The MODRATEC Lever Frame is not intended to be a scale model, but a practical control device which nonetheless evokes genuine railway atmosphere.

The design aims have been achieved firstly, by adopting modular principles, and secondly, by minimising the production tasks required for manufacturing kit components. MODRATEC performs all of the machining required, taking care of critical accuracy. What is left for the modeller can then be achieved with basic hand tools aided by the provision of simple and inexpensive but precise jigs.

The main construction is of solid brass with the lever spindle being of stainless steel.

Interlocking Lever Frames include clear acrylic sheet cut to size for the interlock cover and signal diagram holder. Links between levers and tappets are formed from piano wire.

Optional Auxiliary Switches are small tactile switches mounted on high quality printed circuit boards. They are rated at 12V 50mA and configured to be closed when the corresponding lever is 'pulled'. These switches can interface to relays, computer inputs and other electronic controls. Note that for each bank of 6 switches there are 7 terminals—one for each switch plus one common terminal.

MODRATEC Lever Frames are also optionally available as Premium Kits with all components pre-drilled and tapped.

The uniqueness of each kit is fully detailed in a correspondingly unique Construction Manual derived from the modeller's SigScribe4 design. The Manual is web-based and accessed via a security-coded URL (web address).

The tools required by the modeller

  • Vice.
  • Flat file (points file is ideal).
  • Square and flat needle files (grade 2 if you have a choice).
  • @ Drill (a drill press is ideal, but a hand drill is OK).
  • @ Metric drill bits 1.50mm, 2.30mm*, 2.50mm, 3.10mm*.
  • @ Number Series drill bit #41*.
  • @ Countersink bit.
  • @ M3(coarse) tap.
  • @ Tap holder / wrench.
  • Pliers / wire cutters.
  • Hammer.
  • Hack saw with 32 TPI blade.
  • Screw driver (flat).
  • 5.5mm spanner ( 7/32" is OK or pliers at a pinch!).
  • Soldering iron suitable for electronic work**.
  • Solder (electronic work type)**.
  • Continuity Tester or Multimeter**.

* These drill bits are available from the MODRATEC Shop.
** For the optional auxiliary switches only.
@ These items are not required for a Premium Kit.

Click here to read Stewart McSporran's article describing his experience of Building a MODRATEC Lever Frame for his 'Loch Awe' model railway.

For some helpful dimensional information about MODRATEC Lever Frames, check out the following topics in the Guest Lounge: Signal Diagram Dimensions, Base board cut-out + vertical dimensions.

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I put the frame in for the club modelling competition and received a lot of favourable comment from members.... (Archie)

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