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Thread: Working with Flex Track

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    Default Working with Flex Track

    I'm new to model railroading (for the third time - Lionel layout in 1954; first N Layout on a hollow core door 1995 that was destroyed in a move; in process of planning a second N layout) so bear with me as I am sure my question has been asked before.

    Is there a good YouTube video or site somewhere that demonstrates the proper use of flex track? I need to learn how to do it right the first time.

    I'm thinking of using all flex track for my layout. Thanks for any help.

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    Hi Peter and welcome to nScale.net!

    I think one of the first questions you be asked is what kind of flex track? There are several different kinds. Atlas code 80, Atlas code 55 plus others from ME and Peco!

    All are a little different in how they are best used!

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    Welcome Peter start here http://www.youtube.com/user/thebige61 there are extensive videos on flex track and there is some good videos for a beginner or novice. But for anyone to help you here we do need to know whose Flex track you are using as some exhibit differences in their use. I have Micro-Engineering track but like BryanC said you need to be more specific, in reality try that with all your posts' the more information you give the members the more help you can receive. Believe it or not you have landed on the Finest N Scale site in the World what one member is not an expert at there will be another who will be this site is fantastic I love it. Post a question and in an hour or two you will usually have an answer to get you started.

    Again Welcome

    Pete
    Eighty 1 Fourever

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    Welcome Aboard! Pete
    there are a number of folks on the site that use various flex and I'm sure that you will get lots of help. I used it but am not an expert so I'll defer to others on the site.
    Again -
    Yours,

    Gene

    Turtle Creek Industrial RR

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    I used all flex - code 80 Atlas. Others have used other codes or other manufacturers. Pete gave you an excellent link to get you started and the rest of us can certainly answer any remaining questions you may have as you go along.

    Oh, by the way ... WELCOME to the site!
    It is better to walk alone than with a crowd going in the wrong direction. - - Diane Grant

    Come visit my web site - http://davidchiasson.ca/park/railroad/index.html

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    Thanks for the info on thebige61's videos. Sorry I was vague. I plan on using Atlas Code 80 flex track. I realize now that I have more than one question - (I probably have thousands!!!)

    But I suppose my basic problem is getting the layout from computer to foam when using flex track. I used Atlas templates to help before, but back then I was using snap track. I think my basic problem arose from watching the videos on The World's Greatest Hobby website and realizing that if I use flex track it will be quite a bit more of an undertaking to get the layout design down on the foam. In doing this I will have to cut the flex track to almost finished dimensions? I would appreciate any suggestions.

    I apologize if I sound like I'm confused. I am.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PeteCamp View Post
    Thanks for the info on thebige61's videos. Sorry I was vague. I plan on using Atlas Code 80 flex track. I realize now that I have more than one question - (I probably have thousands!!!)

    But I suppose my basic problem is getting the layout from computer to foam when using flex track. I used Atlas templates to help before, but back then I was using snap track. I think my basic problem arose from watching the videos on The World's Greatest Hobby website and realizing that if I use flex track it will be quite a bit more of an undertaking to get the layout design down on the foam. In doing this I will have to cut the flex track to almost finished dimensions? I would appreciate any suggestions.

    I apologize if I sound like I'm confused. I am.
    Well if you are using a software program for design you can either print a bitmap file or take a copy of the bitmap file or jpg to say Kinko's and have them print it and then transfer it to the foam. There are various methods to accomplish the transfer from carbon paper which is inexpensive to just laying the paper out on the foam or just use the paper as a blue print. I would suggest that you lay in your corners first being very exact and then build in from there just take your time and make clean cuts. They don't have to be exact as there will be expansion and contraction of the track which will occur no matter what one does. Just clean cuts and remove and burrs by gently filing your pieces of track. If you are using that site he goes into a great deal of depth on flex track, also remember you can fast forward past any parts you don't want to watch. Pete
    Eighty 1 Fourever

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    Thanks. That will work. I think the biggest difficulty for newbies like me is trying to absorb the myriad things that must be accomplished. Now I'm remembering to break each problem down into bite-sized pieces and solve one at a time. i am really enjoying all the great things on this site.

    Thanks again.

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    I agree lol, after being out of n scale for about 8 or so years, and just having a basic layout in the past, things have changed. I want to do my layout right the first time!

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    Question Cutting the track

    Figured I would ask here instead of starting a new thread.

    My question is, what is the recommended / best way for cutting the track? Do the rail nippers work? Should I use a small saw? A Dremel with a cutting wheel attached?

    I assume that no matter what method I use I will have some burrs to clean up with a file, but what method leaves the least burrs and distortion?

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    I've used Xuron rail cutters (http://fiferhobbysu770.corecommerce....detail&p=13935) and have been extremely happy with them. Very quick and minimal filing needed afterwards.

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    Thanks! I guess I need to get myself a pair of those. And so the toolbox grows...

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    Quote Originally Posted by PeteCamp View Post
    ...But I suppose my basic problem is getting the layout from computer to foam when using flex track. I used Atlas templates to help before, but back then I was using snap track. I think my basic problem arose from watching the videos on The World's Greatest Hobby website and realizing that if I use flex track it will be quite a bit more of an undertaking to get the layout design down on the foam. In doing this I will have to cut the flex track to almost finished dimensions? I would appreciate any suggestions.
    Pete, welcome to the newbie club. I just went through the process of transferring the plan I built using Anyrail to my foam benchwork. I went the route of printing the plan at 1:1 and taping it together. I put carbon paper under the paper and then just drew the lines on the foam. One thing I discovered very quickly is that you need to put a layer of cheap latex paint on the foam first. It doesn't take the carbon paper without it. I had drawn about 20' before I discovered that I had no carbon line on the foam before I checked my progress. Dumb move on my part. I had some old house paint in the shed and put down a coat of that and all went smoothly from then on. As for the flex track issue, I will let you know how it progresses. I am using a combination of Atlas Code 80 flex track and standard Atlas snap track. I plan to use a copy of the plan with Atlas part numbers as a guide as I place track. I don't know what software you used, but I know Anytrack gives you a list of materials including each piece of flex track and the exact length it needs to be cut to. I'm hoping their figures are relatively accurate so I can pre-measure and cut some of the longer flex pieces. Good luck. You are a lot further along than I am because I don't have the earlier N-scale experience. All I have is the Lionel back in 1955.
    Kurt Laidlaw
    President, CEO & Chief Engineer
    Tahoma & Cascadia Central Railroad

    TCCRailroad@gmail.com


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    I use Xuron too but several folks use a cut off wheel in a dremel. My advice with flex is to buy about 20% more than you think you'll need. Don't need to ask how I know this...
    Yours,

    Gene

    Turtle Creek Industrial RR

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    I have a Dremel, so I will give that a try too. Now just need to get lots more track. Lots and lots more track.
    Michael Carnell - Charleston, SC
    My Model RR Website

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    I always found using a dremel for track laying to be like hitting a finishing nail with a sledghammer. Sometimes you just need to remove a smidge and hauling out the dremel seems like more work. Give me nippers for laying rail any day. Helps me stay light and work fast.

    Now, when it comes time to fix, revise or repair track, the dremel comes in VERY handy.
    Sean McC

    "No man is a failure ...

    who has friends." -- Clarence

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    I assume I am also going to have to have some decent way to keep the track steady while cutting it so that it doesn't twister or turn. Yes?
    Michael Carnell - Charleston, SC
    My Model RR Website

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    What I did (do) is to mark where I want to cut, remove the track or reposition it to where I can get a good line on the cut and then use the nippers to cut to the marks. the nipper cut rarely if ever needs filing so i then remove about 2 ties and slip on the joiners and try out my handy-work. some times with good results others with having a smaller piece to use elsewhere on the layout - like in the yard or on a spur!
    Yours,

    Gene

    Turtle Creek Industrial RR

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    Sounds like a plan. Now a judgment call. Is everyone using real Xuran or are there other less expensive brands that work as well?
    Michael Carnell - Charleston, SC
    My Model RR Website

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    Probably not a good place to save. track work is extremely important. I am still working out questionable track work.
    Yours,

    Gene

    Turtle Creek Industrial RR

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