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Track soldering

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  • Mark Curtiss
    Hi all, I m new to the site and new to Z scale. I bought a little set and plan to build a layout very soon. Having done N scale, I soldered all my joints and
    Message 1 of 18 , Nov 1, 2005
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      Hi all,

      I'm new to the site and new to Z scale. I bought a little set and plan
      to build a layout very soon.

      Having done N scale, I soldered all my joints and am wondering if it's
      advisable with Z track. I've also bought some flex track and was going
      to use this for much of the layout but I thought I read somewhere to
      use it for longer straight sections. Is it a no-no to use for curves
      and all?

      Any advice is appreciated. Thanks.

      Mark
    • Adam Amick
      Mark, Welcome to the group! It is advisable to solder flex-track prior to laying, particularly on curves. This will help keep proper rail alignment. Flex is
      Message 2 of 18 , Nov 1, 2005
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        Mark,

        Welcome to the group!

        It is advisable to solder flex-track prior to laying, particularly
        on curves. This will help keep proper rail alignment. Flex is great
        to use for curves. Just be careful to lay a consistent radius, and
        possibly incorporate easements into and out of the curves. Also, I
        believe it is possible to do small super-elevation in Z with thin
        styrene shims. 1/32" or less should be ok.

        Now, the other issue is possible expansion and contraction of the
        layout and track, thus necessitating expansion joints in the track.

        This is determined by the materials used in layout construction,
        particularly the sub-roadbed, and the environmental conditions in
        the layout area. I advise using 3/4" sub-roadbed with cork for
        roadbed. Tom Browning here in Dallas started this and it has been
        great for years on modules that stay in garages and travel to shows.

        You may have small expansion joints in strait sections after several
        feet of track, but I don't think you would need more than 1/16" -
        1/8" at most. This would be an area where you would just solder the
        joiner to one rail or the other, but not both. That is, if you
        solder them at all.

        Also, painting all bare wood in the structure to seal it should help
        alleviate expansion and contraction with changing conditions.

        Best of luck.

        Adam Amick
        Dallas

        --- In z_scale@yahoogroups.com, "Mark Curtiss" <marknkim@u...> wrote:
        > I'm new to the site and new to Z scale...

        > I soldered all my joints and am wondering if it's advisable with Z
        track.

        > Is it a no-no to use for curves and all?
      • thomascb2004
        I agree with Adam. One additional thing I would mention about flextrack, especially if you have not worked with it before...make sure you do not permit flat
        Message 3 of 18 , Nov 1, 2005
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          I agree with Adam. One additional thing I would mention about
          flextrack, especially if you have not worked with it before...make
          sure you do not permit flat spots in your radius. Adam said it a
          little differently, but non-the-less.

          If your layout is to travel (go to shows) you should seal the cork
          roadbed at the transition points. This is subtle but important.
          Humidity is going to creep into the cork somewhere along the way and
          will expand. This expansion will open the pores of the cork and
          ballast, dirt, etc will get inot the pores which will cause the cork
          to swell. Now you have a bump in your transition and a potential
          source for wheels to hop off track. This is more so if you use
          Marklin expansion track.

          As for track soldering...I have sort of gotten into soldering each
          piece of track and not soldering at the joints (curves are the
          obvious exception). This is a little extra work but certainly has
          big payoff when troubleshooting or revisions that may crop up. Plus
          expansion problems are reduced.

          Welcome to Z Scale!

          Tom in Dallas
        • Mark Curtiss
          Thanks for the replies. Like I ve said, I ve never done Z so I m not sure of the track tolerances. Very helpful information so far. I m currently working on a
          Message 4 of 18 , Nov 1, 2005
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            Thanks for the replies. Like I've said, I've never done Z so I'm not
            sure of the track tolerances. Very helpful information so far.

            I'm currently working on a large r/c huey helicopter and I think I
            need to relax a bit and do something else. I have too many hobbies and
            it's always nice to make the loop back to model railroading.

            By the way Adam, who's your NHL team? I'm a Avs guy. As you know, they
            were undefeated last year so watch out..LOL

            Mark
          • de Champeaux Dominique
            ... Hi Mark, if you re already a N-scaler keep in mind Z scale is not really different than other scales except of course for the size. So if you want to have
            Message 5 of 18 , Nov 1, 2005
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              --- Mark Curtiss <marknkim@...> a écrit :

              > Hi all,
              >
              > I'm new to the site and new to Z scale. I bought a
              > little set and plan
              > to build a layout very soon.
              >
              > Having done N scale, I soldered all my joints and am
              > wondering if it's
              > advisable with Z track. I've also bought some flex
              > track and was going
              > to use this for much of the layout but I thought I
              > read somewhere to
              > use it for longer straight sections. Is it a no-no
              > to use for curves
              > and all?
              >
              > Any advice is appreciated. Thanks.
              >
              > Mark


              Hi Mark, if you're already a N-scaler keep in mind Z
              scale is not really different than other scales except
              of course for the size.

              So if you want to have the best electric contacts
              indeed it's advisable to solder your joints. About the
              flextrack, I don't remember to have read such topics.
              On the opposite, I believe flextrack is what is the
              best for curves, especially if you don't want to stick
              to a given curve radius and if you want to have
              easements (decreasing curve radius from straight
              section to middle of the curve), flextrack is the only
              way to go.

              Myself I only use MTL flextrack (except turnouts of
              cource) on the main layout I'm building, as I want to
              have a prototypical tie spacing, that implies I use it
              both on straight sections and curves.

              Hope this helps,

              Dominique






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            • Tom Fisher
              Can you elaborate on the rules or guidelines for easements? ... [snip] ... __________________________________________________ Do You Yahoo!? Tired of spam?
              Message 6 of 18 , Nov 2, 2005
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                Can you elaborate on the "rules" or guidelines for
                easements?

                --- Adam Amick <aa5821@...> wrote:

                [snip]

                > Flex is great
                > to use for curves. Just be careful to lay a
                > consistent radius, and
                > possibly incorporate easements into and out of the
                > curves.



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              • Mark Curtiss
                LOL...I was hoping somebody got that about the NHL. Bad joke.LOL Also, I m glad easements were explained when using flex track. When I make curves, I will get
                Message 7 of 18 , Nov 2, 2005
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                  LOL...I was hoping somebody got that about the NHL. Bad joke.LOL

                  Also, I'm glad easements were explained when using flex track. When I
                  make curves, I will get some medium or large radius curved sectional
                  track (of the scale I'm modeling), solder them up to make a half
                  circle, then use that as a template. I guess I've never taken into
                  concideration about the easemants. Thanks for that tip.

                  Mark








                  --- In z_scale@yahoogroups.com, "Stephen Moore"
                  <katherinesdaddy@y...> wrote:
                  >
                  > Incase some of us didn't get this at first, EVERY NHL team was
                  > undefeated last season.
                  >
                  >
                  > --- In z_scale@yahoogroups.com, "Mark Curtiss" <marknkim@u...>
                  wrote:
                  > >
                  > > Thanks for the replies. Like I've said, I've never done Z so I'm
                  > not
                  > > sure of the track tolerances. Very helpful information so far.
                  > >
                  > > I'm currently working on a large r/c huey helicopter and I think
                  I
                  > > need to relax a bit and do something else. I have too many
                  hobbies
                  > and
                  > > it's always nice to make the loop back to model railroading.
                  > >
                  > > By the way Adam, who's your NHL team? I'm a Avs guy. As you know,
                  > they
                  > > were undefeated last year so watch out..LOL
                  > >
                  > > Mark
                  > >
                  >
                • thomascb2004
                  I solder somewhere along a piece of track. At first I soldered to the outside but got away from that becuase the solder has such a smooth, shinney surface
                  Message 8 of 18 , Nov 2, 2005
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                    I solder somewhere along a piece of track. At first I soldered to
                    the outside but got away from that becuase the solder has such a
                    smooth, shinney surface that I did not get the results I wanted
                    when weathering the track. I now solder to the bottom side of the
                    track and go straight down through the roadbed etc. to the underside
                    of the layout. I clip a portion of a tie off right where I am going
                    to solder so I have room yet the ties looks for the most part in
                    palce. If it look bad I cover the small area with a few grains of
                    ballast. The purpose of the trouble is so that at the joints I can
                    leave a small gap so the track has room to expand when temperature
                    changes. Hope that helped.

                    Best regards,

                    Tom in Dallas


                    > I don't understand. Where do you solder track if not
                    > at the joints?
                    >
                    > --- thomascb2004 <thomascb2004@y...> wrote:
                    >
                    > [snip]
                    >
                    > > I have sort of gotten into
                    > > soldering each
                    > > piece of track and not soldering at the joints
                  • Adam Amick
                    I think what s missing here is Tom is talking about where and how he does his feeder wires for track power. The method he s talking about is more discreet than
                    Message 9 of 18 , Nov 2, 2005
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                      I think what's missing here is Tom is talking about where and how he
                      does his feeder wires for track power. The method he's talking about
                      is more discreet than soldering to the side of rail.

                      So we've got two different mini-topics in this thread. The first one
                      was soldering rail before laying the track. The second one is how to
                      do your power drops.

                      Adam



                      --- In z_scale@yahoogroups.com, "thomascb2004" <thomascb2004@y...>
                      wrote:
                      >
                      > I solder somewhere along a piece of track. At first I soldered to
                      > the outside but got away from that becuase the solder has such a
                      > smooth, shinney surface that I did not get the results I wanted
                      > when weathering the track. I now solder to the bottom side of the
                      > track and go straight down through the roadbed etc. to the
                      underside
                      > of the layout. I clip a portion of a tie off right where I am
                      going
                      > to solder so I have room yet the ties looks for the most part in
                      > palce. If it look bad I cover the small area with a few grains of
                      > ballast. The purpose of the trouble is so that at the joints I
                      can
                      > leave a small gap so the track has room to expand when temperature
                      > changes. Hope that helped.
                      >
                      > Best regards,
                      >
                      > Tom in Dallas
                      >
                      >
                      > > I don't understand. Where do you solder track if not
                      > > at the joints?
                      > >
                      > > --- thomascb2004 <thomascb2004@y...> wrote:
                      > >
                      > > [snip]
                      > >
                      > > > I have sort of gotten into
                      > > > soldering each
                      > > > piece of track and not soldering at the joints
                      >
                    • thomascb2004
                      Perhaps so. This is not the first time I have had one thing said to me and heard something else. Tom in Corpus, what do you think? Best regards to all, Tom in
                      Message 10 of 18 , Nov 2, 2005
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                        Perhaps so.

                        This is not the first time I have had one thing said to me and heard
                        something else.

                        Tom in Corpus, what do you think?

                        Best regards to all,

                        Tom in Dallas


                        --- In z_scale@yahoogroups.com, "Adam Amick" <aa5821@s...> wrote:
                        >
                        > I think what's missing here is Tom is talking about where and how
                        he
                        > does his feeder wires for track power. The method he's talking
                        about
                        > is more discreet than soldering to the side of rail.
                        >
                        > So we've got two different mini-topics in this thread. The first
                        one
                        > was soldering rail before laying the track. The second one is how
                        to
                        > do your power drops.
                        >
                        > Adam
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        > --- In z_scale@yahoogroups.com, "thomascb2004" <thomascb2004@y...>
                        > wrote:
                        > >
                        > > I solder somewhere along a piece of track. At first I soldered
                        to
                        > > the outside but got away from that becuase the solder has such a
                        > > smooth, shinney surface that I did not get the results I wanted
                        > > when weathering the track. I now solder to the bottom side of
                        the
                        > > track and go straight down through the roadbed etc. to the
                        > underside
                        > > of the layout. I clip a portion of a tie off right where I am
                        > going
                        > > to solder so I have room yet the ties looks for the most part in
                        > > palce. If it look bad I cover the small area with a few grains
                        of
                        > > ballast. The purpose of the trouble is so that at the joints I
                        > can
                        > > leave a small gap so the track has room to expand when
                        temperature
                        > > changes. Hope that helped.
                        > >
                        > > Best regards,
                        > >
                        > > Tom in Dallas
                        > >
                        > >
                        > > > I don't understand. Where do you solder track if not
                        > > > at the joints?
                        > > >
                        > > > --- thomascb2004 <thomascb2004@y...> wrote:
                        > > >
                        > > > [snip]
                        > > >
                        > > > > I have sort of gotten into
                        > > > > soldering each
                        > > > > piece of track and not soldering at the joints
                        > >
                        >
                      • de Champeaux Dominique
                        ... Does that mean you don t insert any joiners between your track sections? Dominique
                        Message 11 of 18 , Nov 3, 2005
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                          --- thomascb2004 <thomascb2004@...> a écrit :

                          > I solder somewhere along a piece of track. At first
                          > I soldered to
                          > the outside but got away from that becuase the
                          > solder has such a
                          > smooth, shinney surface that I did not get the
                          > results I wanted
                          > when weathering the track. I now solder to the
                          > bottom side of the
                          > track and go straight down through the roadbed etc.
                          > to the underside
                          > of the layout. I clip a portion of a tie off right
                          > where I am going
                          > to solder so I have room yet the ties looks for the
                          > most part in
                          > palce. If it look bad I cover the small area with a
                          > few grains of
                          > ballast. The purpose of the trouble is so that at
                          > the joints I can
                          > leave a small gap so the track has room to expand
                          > when temperature
                          > changes. Hope that helped.
                          >
                          > Best regards,
                          >
                          > Tom in Dallas





                          Does that mean you don't insert any joiners between
                          your track sections?

                          Dominique







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                        • thomascb2004
                          Dominique, I most certainly do have joiners. I just do not solder them unless I am on a curve using flextrack. Very sorry for that omssion. Best regards, Tom
                          Message 12 of 18 , Nov 3, 2005
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                            Dominique,

                            I most certainly do have joiners. I just do not solder them unless
                            I am on a curve using flextrack. Very sorry for that omssion.

                            Best regards,

                            Tom in Dallas


                            > Does that mean you don't insert any joiners between
                            > your track sections?
                            >
                            > Dominique
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
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                            Messenger
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                            >
                          • Tom Fisher
                            I think Adam has it straightened out. The thread was discussing (a) soldering track together and (b) thermal breaks if you do solder track together. You said
                            Message 13 of 18 , Nov 3, 2005
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                              I think Adam has it straightened out.

                              The thread was discussing (a) soldering track together
                              and (b) thermal breaks if you do solder track
                              together.

                              You said you didn't solder at the joints which left me
                              in a quandary. How could you solder track together if
                              you didn't solder at the joints?

                              Adam thinks you are discussing feeder wire, which is
                              what I now think also. It certainly makes sense to
                              solder feeder wire lines at a place other than at the
                              joints.

                              Ergo, two different mini-threads if Adam's and my
                              assumption is correct.



                              --- thomascb2004 <thomascb2004@...> wrote:

                              > Perhaps so.
                              >
                              > This is not the first time I have had one thing said
                              > to me and heard
                              > something else.
                              >
                              > Tom in Corpus, what do you think?
                              >
                              > Best regards to all,
                              >
                              > Tom in Dallas
                              >
                              >
                              > --- In z_scale@yahoogroups.com, "Adam Amick"
                              > <aa5821@s...> wrote:
                              > >
                              > > I think what's missing here is Tom is talking
                              > about where and how
                              > he
                              > > does his feeder wires for track power. The method
                              > he's talking
                              > about
                              > > is more discreet than soldering to the side of
                              > rail.
                              > >
                              > > So we've got two different mini-topics in this
                              > thread. The first
                              > one
                              > > was soldering rail before laying the track. The
                              > second one is how
                              > to
                              > > do your power drops.
                              > >
                              > > Adam
                              > >
                              > >
                              > >
                              > > --- In z_scale@yahoogroups.com, "thomascb2004"
                              > <thomascb2004@y...>
                              > > wrote:
                              > > >
                              > > > I solder somewhere along a piece of track. At
                              > first I soldered
                              > to
                              > > > the outside but got away from that becuase the
                              > solder has such a
                              > > > smooth, shinney surface that I did not get the
                              > results I wanted
                              > > > when weathering the track. I now solder to the
                              > bottom side of
                              > the
                              > > > track and go straight down through the roadbed
                              > etc. to the
                              > > underside
                              > > > of the layout. I clip a portion of a tie off
                              > right where I am
                              > > going
                              > > > to solder so I have room yet the ties looks for
                              > the most part in
                              > > > palce. If it look bad I cover the small area
                              > with a few grains
                              > of
                              > > > ballast. The purpose of the trouble is so that
                              > at the joints I
                              > > can
                              > > > leave a small gap so the track has room to
                              > expand when
                              > temperature
                              > > > changes. Hope that helped.
                              > > >
                              > > > Best regards,
                              > > >
                              > > > Tom in Dallas
                              > > >
                              > > >
                              > > > > I don't understand. Where do you solder track
                              > if not
                              > > > > at the joints?
                              > > > >
                              > > > > --- thomascb2004 <thomascb2004@y...> wrote:
                              > > > >
                              > > > > [snip]
                              > > > >
                              > > > > > I have sort of gotten into
                              > > > > > soldering each
                              > > > > > piece of track and not soldering at the
                              > joints
                              > > >
                              > >
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >


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                            • thomascb2004
                              Please accept my apologies of creating muddy waters. Best regards, Tom in Dallas
                              Message 14 of 18 , Nov 3, 2005
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                                Please accept my apologies of creating muddy waters.

                                Best regards,

                                Tom in Dallas
                              • de Champeaux Dominique
                                ... OK Tom: I do exactly the same..... All the best, Dominique ___________________________________________________________________________ Appel audio GRATUIT
                                Message 15 of 18 , Nov 4, 2005
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                                  --- thomascb2004 <thomascb2004@...> a écrit :

                                  > Dominique,
                                  >
                                  > I most certainly do have joiners. I just do not
                                  > solder them unless
                                  > I am on a curve using flextrack. Very sorry for
                                  > that omssion.
                                  >
                                  > Best regards,
                                  >
                                  > Tom in Dallas


                                  OK Tom: I do exactly the same.....
                                  All the best,
                                  Dominique






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                                • Rick Saviano
                                  Another important but subtle trick when working with flex track is to slightly overbend the track. One of my areas is a very tight radius curve for the L
                                  Message 16 of 18 , Nov 6, 2005
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                                    Another important but subtle trick when working with flex track is to
                                    slightly
                                    overbend the track. One of my areas is a very tight radius curve for
                                    the "L"
                                    in downtown Chicago. The tension from the flex teack trying to "unflex"
                                    wound
                                    up distorting the structures. I solved the problem by overflexing the
                                    track
                                    (as everyone's pointed out, very difficult to keep gage while doing
                                    this) and
                                    cementing the track to clear, thin plexiglass. The plexi also makes the
                                    delicate girders a bit more stable for when I eventually move the
                                    layout.


                                    -Rick
                                  • Ed Dalman
                                    Thanks Tom I just started to work with a cork roadbead for the first time. What do you recommend to use as a sealer? (before it is too late to do so.) I also
                                    Message 17 of 18 , Nov 7, 2005
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                                      Thanks Tom

                                      I just started to work with a cork roadbead for the first time.
                                      What do you recommend to use as a sealer? (before it is too late to do so.)

                                      I also solder pigtails at the middel of track sections and not at the joints. This works great when to make a change.

                                      Take care,
                                      Ed
                                      Lakeside, CA



                                      thomascb2004 <thomascb2004@...> wrote:
                                      I agree with Adam. One additional thing I would mention about
                                      flextrack, especially if you have not worked with it before...make
                                      sure you do not permit flat spots in your radius. Adam said it a
                                      little differently, but non-the-less.

                                      If your layout is to travel (go to shows) you should seal the cork
                                      roadbed at the transition points. This is subtle but important.
                                      Humidity is going to creep into the cork somewhere along the way and
                                      will expand. This expansion will open the pores of the cork and
                                      ballast, dirt, etc will get inot the pores which will cause the cork
                                      to swell. Now you have a bump in your transition and a potential
                                      source for wheels to hop off track. This is more so if you use
                                      Marklin expansion track.

                                      As for track soldering...I have sort of gotten into soldering each
                                      piece of track and not soldering at the joints (curves are the
                                      obvious exception). This is a little extra work but certainly has
                                      big payoff when troubleshooting or revisions that may crop up. Plus
                                      expansion problems are reduced.

                                      Welcome to Z Scale!

                                      Tom in Dallas





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                                    • thomascb2004
                                      Ed, I have used Testor s Sanding Sealer and ballast colored Polly Scale. Good luck, Tom in Dallas ... to do so.) ... the joints. This works great when to make
                                      Message 18 of 18 , Nov 8, 2005
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                                        Ed,

                                        I have used Testor's Sanding Sealer and ballast colored Polly Scale.

                                        Good luck,

                                        Tom in Dallas

                                        >
                                        > Thanks Tom
                                        >
                                        > I just started to work with a cork roadbead for the first time.
                                        > What do you recommend to use as a sealer? (before it is too late
                                        to do so.)
                                        >
                                        > I also solder pigtails at the middel of track sections and not at
                                        the joints. This works great when to make a change.
                                        >
                                        > Take care,
                                        > Ed
                                        > Lakeside, CA
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