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Thread: How to install flex track question

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    Default How to install flex track question

    Is there a correct way to do this? Very hard to hold and cut on irregular shapes. Ron

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    There are probably as many ways to do this as there are model railroaders doing it. I glue my flex track down and use push pins as needed to hold the track in place both for test fitting and until the glue sets.

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    I pin it in place using a combination of pushpins and map pins, and then cut to length when reasonably secured.

    Then I mark where to solder the feeder wires, pull it back up and attach them.

    Then I apply adhesive caulk to the roadbed and re-lay the track, again pinning it in place.

    Finally, I place cans of soup or vegetables on the track to weigh it down while the caulk cures.

    Others will likely have better methods but this works for me.
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    Darticus,

    How much detail are you looking for? can you tell us what sort of flex you will be using? What will you be using for road bed (or not) and the sub roadbed type.

    If you are having trouble cutting the flex, the way I do it is to attach my flex to the road bed except for the last 6-10 inches. I remove the last two ties and hold it in the shape it will eventually be... then I use Xeron track cutter (these are the key for me) to make sure the two ends sticking out are the same length. I then deburr with a small file and slip on some joiners. I then attach the next piece of track and solder them together. Then I glue down the last 6-10 inches of the last track and the first 30 inches of the newly soldered on piece and repeat.
    Sean McC

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    See? I told you someone would come along with a better method...
    Check out the CH&FR Blog, Facebook page and Twitter feed (@CHFRRailroad)
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    Joining on curves; Solder two lengths of flex-track together whilst straight... then lay the track from the middle of the curve, working it in both directions as you form it to the desired radius... then cut the ends even and join to the next length on the straightaway.
    This way you get a smooth curve without a kink at the joint.
    Bryan
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    Per Sean's comment, the type of flex track you are using will largely determine the prefered method of laying it down. Peco code 55 for example, will hold shape much better then Atlas code 80.

    A couple of things that I have learned in laying down my Peco code 55 is that you can de-burr the cut ends fairly easily by using the "flat side" of a dremel cut-off wheel. I hold the track with a damp bit of cotton to act as a heat sink, and use a variable speed dremel armed with the cut-off wheel to 'file' the ends. Goes really quick that way. Soldering the joint prior to bending it into a curve is really the best way to ensure a fair curve-otherwise it's pretty hard to keep the track from having a kink at the joint. Bryan's advice is spot on in this regard.

    I use white glue to glue all my track. I found that if I needed to move/remove/ or otherwise adjust track/switches as I went along, just a little warm water brushed on the track (even ballasted track) and in a moment or two the whole thing popped up ready to be moved. Easy to glue back down as well. I guess the lesson here is that the stronger the glue, the more certain one should be that nothing will ever, ever, have to be moved, which makes them a much better track planner then I am.

    I use a combination of pins, lead weights, and my favorite-the old worn out D-Cell battery, to hold track in place. For marking my cuts, I use an exacto-blade and simply make a couple of scribing cuts to "mark the spot" whilst holding the track in place. After awhile your eye gets pretty good at remembering the spot, but it's always nice to have a mark just in case.

    Hope something in here might be useful to your question.
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    One thing that can help a lot is to have on hand a number of curve templates, so that you can spot check that you are not compromising your minimum radius or varying too much. I made a bunch by printing out concentric arcs that I drew using CAD software, at 1" increments (from 12" up to 19" or so), printed those out, then spray glued them to some cardstock. One sharp X-axto blade later, and I've got a set of 30-degree arcs to guide me along. I think you can get ready-made ones, too, if you prefer. Of course, your own eyeball can sight along your trackwork and find kinks or other problems, but it helps to have the templates.

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    This is another excellent thread with very good information, I've subscribed to follow additional posts.

    I would recommend MR "Trackwork and Lineside Detail" by Keith Johnson

    See ya
    Ron
    "Men go and come,
    but earth abides." Ecclesiastes 1:4

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    Quote Originally Posted by 69Z28 View Post
    This is another excellent thread with very good information, ...
    It's worth remembering to Rate This Thread (top of the page), so others can see it's of value at a glance, and it will place higher in a search on the subject.
    Bryan
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    I also use white glue and its great if you need to change something. I'm already thinking of adding a pier set to get a second level going so I will be changing stuff in the near future. Ron

    Quote Originally Posted by rmmodeler View Post
    Per Sean's comment, the type of flex track you are using will largely determine the prefered method of laying it down. Peco code 55 for example, will hold shape much better then Atlas code 80.

    A couple of things that I have learned in laying down my Peco code 55 is that you can de-burr the cut ends fairly easily by using the "flat side" of a dremel cut-off wheel. I hold the track with a damp bit of cotton to act as a heat sink, and use a variable speed dremel armed with the cut-off wheel to 'file' the ends. Goes really quick that way. Soldering the joint prior to bending it into a curve is really the best way to ensure a fair curve-otherwise it's pretty hard to keep the track from having a kink at the joint. Bryan's advice is spot on in this regard.

    I use white glue to glue all my track. I found that if I needed to move/remove/ or otherwise adjust track/switches as I went along, just a little warm water brushed on the track (even ballasted track) and in a moment or two the whole thing popped up ready to be moved. Easy to glue back down as well. I guess the lesson here is that the stronger the glue, the more certain one should be that nothing will ever, ever, have to be moved, which makes them a much better track planner then I am.

    I use a combination of pins, lead weights, and my favorite-the old worn out D-Cell battery, to hold track in place. For marking my cuts, I use an exacto-blade and simply make a couple of scribing cuts to "mark the spot" whilst holding the track in place. After awhile your eye gets pretty good at remembering the spot, but it's always nice to have a mark just in case.

    Hope something in here might be useful to your question.

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    Just remember when using the rail cutters - don't use regular wire snips - to face the flat side of the cutter towards the piece of rail you are going to use and cut from above or below the ties. That leaves a nice square end. A good quality rail file should clean off any burrs top and bottom in one stroke.
    I remove the last 2 ties from each end of the piece of flex I'm using. I take a sharp knife and remove the rail "spikes" from the ties and then I use a small round file to carve a channel down the ties where the joiners will be so that the ties won't sit so far below the rail and other ties once they are slid into place.
    I use WS Scenic Glue to secure my foam road bed and track - flex and handlaid. It sets up fairly quickly so you can pull the pins or foam nails out and get on with laying track. It's also fairly easy to remove a mistake by soaking with water and using a flat scraper to lift the track.
    I use either foam nails or pins to secure the roadbed/track while the glue sets up and Fast Tracks SweepSticks for straights and set radius curves.
    I have a little home made gauge to keep tracks parallel. It's made from a piece of hard maple and has two small grooves cut in it with a jewelers saw. Those grooves are 1.25" apart on one side and 1.125" on the other. I run it from inside rail to inside rail and it has clearance for the outside rail of the inside track sanded into it so it passes over that cleanly. There are good tools that do the same thing available from places like Rodney's but mine took a couple of minutes to make and cost me nothing.
    "God wants spiritual fruit, not religious nuts!" (appeared on the sign outside our Pentecostal church)

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    Thanks for the info.
    Think I'm getting a good start but want a mountain that the train can go up trough a tunnel and out and down the mountain.Sall set up to work with. Ron
    Quote Originally Posted by aussie View Post
    Just remember when using the rail cutters - don't use regular wire snips - to face the flat side of the cutter towards the piece of rail you are going to use and cut from above or below the ties. That leaves a nice square end. A good quality rail file should clean off any burrs top and bottom in one stroke.
    I remove the last 2 ties from each end of the piece of flex I'm using. I take a sharp knife and remove the rail "spikes" from the ties and then I use a small round file to carve a channel down the ties where the joiners will be so that the ties won't sit so far below the rail and other ties once they are slid into place.
    I use WS Scenic Glue to secure my foam road bed and track - flex and handlaid. It sets up fairly quickly so you can pull the pins or foam nails out and get on with laying track. It's also fairly easy to remove a mistake by soaking with water and using a flat scraper to lift the track.
    I use either foam nails or pins to secure the roadbed/track while the glue sets up and Fast Tracks SweepSticks for straights and set radius curves.
    I have a little home made gauge to keep tracks parallel. It's made from a piece of hard maple and has two small grooves cut in it with a jewelers saw. Those grooves are 1.25" apart on one side and 1.125" on the other. I run it from inside rail to inside rail and it has clearance for the outside rail of the inside track sanded into it so it passes over that cleanly. There are good tools that do the same thing available from places like Rodney's but mine took a couple of minutes to make and cost me nothing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by darticus View Post
    Thanks for the info.
    Think I'm getting a good start but want a mountain that the train can go up trough a tunnel and out and down the mountain.Sall set up to work with. Ron
    Now you're venturing into another area not related to this topic.
    "God wants spiritual fruit, not religious nuts!" (appeared on the sign outside our Pentecostal church)

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    SORRY, Don't know how to delete it. Sometime I think were just talking. Ron

    Quote Originally Posted by aussie View Post
    Now you're venturing into another area not related to this topic.

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    No need to delete it it! But if you wish to discuss it further (and it sounds like it might be worthy of discussion), try a new thread!

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    Thanks I'm just getting started with a lot of questions and forget to make a new post in a different section. I will try to remember. Now trying to get my train running in a new post under DCC. Thanks Ron

    Quote Originally Posted by BryanC View Post
    No need to delete it it! But if you wish to discuss it further (and it sounds like it might be worthy of discussion), try a new thread!

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    Quote Originally Posted by darticus View Post
    Thanks I'm just getting started with a lot of questions and forget to make a new post in a different section. I will try to remember. Now trying to get my train running in a new post under DCC. Thanks Ron
    Not to worry. We all do this... we all STILL do this... BryanC is just doing his job trying to keep the site halfway organized. No harm, no foul.
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    Quote Originally Posted by darticus View Post
    Thanks I'm just getting started with a lot of questions and forget to make a new post in a different section. I will try to remember. Now trying to get my train running in a new post under DCC. Thanks Ron
    That's okay as TD said we all still do this around here but then when we do the alligator man whips out his ruler and smacks up over the knuckles just like the nuns used to do to me! Although Sister Carmalita used to just make me do laps at footy training if I'd played up in class.
    "God wants spiritual fruit, not religious nuts!" (appeared on the sign outside our Pentecostal church)

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