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Re: [HOn3] Re: HOn3 Flex trac

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  • kjb80401
    Steve, and y all, I will typically solder 3 lengths of flex track together for a rigid 3 section length, no more than that. When I join two sections of
    Message 1 of 16 , Mar 10, 2013
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      Steve, and y'all,
      I will typically solder 3 lengths of flex track together for a rigid 3
      section length, no more than that. When I join two sections of these 9'
      three-sections together, I leave a little 'breathing room' between the 9'
      sections to allow for expansion and contraction. I use rail joiners between
      all pieces of flex track to ensure their alignment. I do have to add that my
      layout is in the basement where temperature and humidity varies very
      little throughout the year.
      Soldering sections together where they're placed on a curve is
      particularly valuable. Lay the first section onto the roadbed and gradually curve
      it. When the first section has been curved almost properly and spiked down,
      solder to it the second straight one and then continue bending it around
      the curve. When I get close to where the third section will be applied, I
      solder it to the previous ones. I do this to make the smooth transition from
      one section to the next so as to eliminate 'kinks' between sections on a
      curve. Tweek as necessary at the joint area with a needle nose pliers to
      effect a visually continuous curving
      Each 9' section has a connection to the buss for insurance that they are
      receiving electricity.
      I don't allow 'cracked' joints as I have learned many years ago what a
      good, and also bad, connections look like.
      Keevan


      In a message dated 3/10/2013 9:59:20 A.M. Mountain Daylight Time,
      hatch@... writes:

      The problem with soldering rail joints is that the track can no
      longer contract in the cold without breaking.
      Those of us old timers have tried everything and we find that
      the hair line crack in a soldered rail joiner will drive you crazy
      because it will close up sometimes and open up other times.


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • roundbellrr
      I only solder flex track joints in a tight radius curve. This will maintain a smooth radius in the curve (no kinks) yet allow expansion give everywhere else
      Message 2 of 16 , Mar 10, 2013
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        I only solder flex track joints in a tight radius curve. This will maintain
        a smooth radius in the curve (no kinks) yet allow expansion give
        everywhere else where soldering is not needed. LocoDoc


        In a message dated 3/10/2013 11:22:11 A.M. Central Daylight Time,
        Kjb80401@... writes:




        Steve, and y'all,
        I will typically solder 3 lengths of flex track together for a rigid 3
        section length, no more than that. When I join two sections of these 9'
        three-sections together, I leave a little 'breathing room' between the 9'
        sections to allow for expansion and contraction. I use rail joiners
        between
        all pieces of flex track to ensure their alignment. I do have to add that
        my
        layout is in the basement where temperature and humidity varies very
        little throughout the year.
        Soldering sections together where they're placed on a curve is
        particularly valuable. Lay the first section onto the roadbed and
        gradually curve
        it. When the first section has been curved almost properly and spiked
        down,
        solder to it the second straight one and then continue bending it around
        the curve. When I get close to where the third section will be applied, I
        solder it to the previous ones. I do this to make the smooth transition
        from
        one section to the next so as to eliminate 'kinks' between sections on a
        curve. Tweek as necessary at the joint area with a needle nose pliers to
        effect a visually continuous curving
        Each 9' section has a connection to the buss for insurance that they are
        receiving electricity.
        I don't allow 'cracked' joints as I have learned many years ago what a
        good, and also bad, connections look like.
        Keevan


        In a message dated 3/10/2013 9:59:20 A.M. Mountain Daylight Time,
        _hatch@..._ (mailto:hatch@...) writes:

        The problem with soldering rail joints is that the track can no
        longer contract in the cold without breaking.
        Those of us old timers have tried everything and we find that
        the hair line crack in a soldered rail joiner will drive you crazy
        because it will close up sometimes and open up other times.

        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]






        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Richard Hull
        In my situation, in the eaves of my roof, 7 feet off the floor, it is the devil s own work to get a smooth curve with flex track on the outer-most back edge of
        Message 3 of 16 , Mar 11, 2013
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          In my situation, in the eaves of my roof, 7 feet off the floor, it is the devil's own work to get a smooth curve with flex track on the outer-most back edge of the layout. Standing on the long bench, 2 feet off the floor, the layout is at a great viewing angle, but your arm pits are about at table height making an easy reach to the back of the 2 foot shelf layout nearly impossible, certainly impossible for extremely accurate curve work. (note:  A one foot step up is used to elevate me farther up to where I can lean over the shelf a bit, but my head is almost against the roof peak.)  It is no fun at 67 to do this for protracted periods.
           
          I tend to use the fast tracks templates, but do pre-solder two sections of flex track together.  This is about the longest section that I can maneuver in the small space as the eaves tumble-in.  I start the effort by flexing the curve into more or less the correct curvature based on penciled in radius line on the bench work.  I then insert the fast traks template in the central joint area and nail down the central joint area ties on both sides of the joint.  I next insert ties under the joint area where I had to tear out ties and hand spike the rails to every tie to maintain smooth curvature based on the template/track gauge.  It is only when this is done and the critical joint is smooth and fixed that I move the template along, flexing and nailing as I go.
           
           After less than half of each piece of flex is nailed down, I put my most tempermental and easily derailed loco on the track (an old United PFM K-28) and clip lead the DCC to the track.  I then run the engine along the track and joint in both forward and reverse at slow and max speeds to make sure the track is good.  The outer curves on my 2 foot shelf layout are just impossible to reach for critical track work once the scenery is in place.
           
          Richard Hull 

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        • Jim Spencer
          I guess I started something. My issue only centered on incompatibilities between rails and rail joiners by different manufacturers. But for my own layout, I
          Message 4 of 16 , Mar 11, 2013
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            I guess I started something. My issue only centered on incompatibilities between rails and rail joiners by different manufacturers. But for my own layout, I follow Steve Hatch's recommendation of using all unsoldered rail joiners and then providing a feeder at every rail length, even really short lengths.

            An added benefit (and no one seemed to mention this) is that unsoldered rail joints allow flexibility for changes. Over the life of my railroad, I've relocated or realigned probably a dozen or more switches, along with several major curves where added easement or a broader radius were needed. It also helped me address what turned out to be "S" curve situations. I originally built the track work from my CAD plans and then operated it -- only to find glitches -- then moved the trackage to address the glitches.

            Finally, I install all my track (both flex track and the Central Valley CVMW tie and switch strips) with double stick tape, no glue. The double stick tape is Scotch permanent double stick tape, not the thick foam tape, and I typically use the 3/4" width. That allows the track work to flex and work itself to a point of equilibrium. Then after operations show the track work is okay and I like the design from an operational standpoint, it is time to ballast it in place. That locks it the same as glue would. ......... but.... by leaving the tape embedded, it also allows the track later to be removed by inserting a thin (bread knife or similar) flexible blade without serious damage. The track and switches are then available for reuse.

            The double stick tape on my layout has been in place without ballasting in most areas for 4 or 5 years and I have found very little movement.

            BTW, my layout is all on 2" extruded polystyrene foam with masonite or door skin plywood bonded under the foam. The foam is highly stable toward temperature and humidity changes and the masonite provides secure anchorage for the wall support and for things like wiring and switch machines. The track work is on cork roadbed or sheet cork (yards). Overall, it is quiet and light weight and if I ever move, I can disassemble and easily lift it to its new location. The benchwork is all cantilevered from the walls and is thin in overall profile -- leaving more vertical height for the future lower deck.

            More food for thought.
            Jim


            James G. Spencer, Architect, AIA
            trainmanjs@...







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