Flexi track - simple question

This may seem like a stupid question......
But how do you use flex track, when i tried to do curves everything went wrong, i never seem to be able to do it right. Can anyone help?
Phil
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This may seem like a stupid question......
But how do you use flex track, when i tried to do curves everything went wrong, i never seem to be able to do it right. Can anyone help?
Phil
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Could you be more specific about some of those "everythings"? It's kind of hard to diagnose your troubles by ESP.
One common problem is getting a kink where two peices of flex track join on a curve. Advice: 1) stagger the two rails so the joints are not aligned, and most importantly, 2) lay the two pieces of flex track out straight on your workbench, and solder the joints that will fall on the curve. THEN lay the track.
-dave
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snipped-for-privacy@arrl.net (Dave Curtis) wrote:

Or, wherever possible, arrange it so joints don't fall on a curve.
--
Martin S.

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How do you do that on a quarter-circle continuous curve of 2-foot radius or greater?
--
John Sullivan
OO in the garden http://www.yddraiggoch.demon.co.uk/railway/railway.html
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I said "wherever possible". ;-)
--
Martin S.

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Fine. What happens when it is impossible?
What happens when you can't solder the joints together because expansion will make the track buckle and you can't prestress it like the prototype does?
What happens when you need an insulating joint in the middle of the curve?
On my layout (plenty of pictures on my website, URL in sig) I have a 6-track 315-degree arc curve at 3-ft 6-in to 4-ft 4-in radius for the "fiddle yard" at one end and a double-track 315-degree curve at 5-ft. radius at the other end. Also, all the joints are aligned.
What I did was 1. Lay much of the track in Hornby semi-flexible track. This is much stiffer than flexible track, and the curves, once bent, tend to persist. 2. Pre-bend the curves first, before laying. At the joints, the last foot or so was pre-bent to a smaller radius, so when it tries to spring back, it doesn't make a kink.
--
John Sullivan
OO in the garden http://www.yddraiggoch.demon.co.uk/railway/railway.html
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"John Sullivan"

You cut the insulating gap *after* you've laid the curve and fill the gap with styrene to stop it filling in with expansion.
-- Cheers Roger T.
http://www.highspeedplus.com/~rogertra / Home of the Great Eastern Railway
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On Sat, 13 Sep 2003 03:51:53 -0700, "Roger T."
...

I'd suggest also spiking the rails either side of the cut before cutting. Better still solder the rail either side of the cut to a secure anchorage before cutting. I use brass or 'coppered' nails carefully driven in close to the outside of the track for this.
--
Chris White
http://www.bentleymrg.org.uk /
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On Sat, 13 Sep 2003 10:50:09 +0100, John Sullivan

Then think outside the square. What, exactly, are you trying to do? Do you have a specific physical goal in mind, or are you following Model Railway Hearsay 101??

Rubbish. Track can be soldered on curves, leave the expansion joints for the straights. If the layout room is reasonably temperature constant (say 20 deg C variation or less) you wont need expansion joints at all. Just make sure the track is ballasted to contain track movement laterally.

You never, never HAVE to have an insulating gap in a curve. Move the thing. Aim to only put gaps on straights.

Have CSR (continually soldered rail) on curves. Start laying the first bit of flex. About 30 cm before the end of that piece, straighten it out. Joint the next bit of flex. Holding a straight edge against the join of the rails, use pins to temporarily make a jig to hold the track straight. Then solder the rails together. Remove the locating pins, continue to curve the track. One foot before the end of the second bit you just soldered on, repeat all of the above.
Do not use insulating joiners. They are a curse put upon this earth by a vengeful god. Lay all your track with plain track joiners, soldering away. When finished, locate spots where you would ordinarily like to have gaps. Put your finger there. Now slide your finger in either direction until you are on a length (however short) of straight rail. Mark this spot with a permanent marker. Flood the area around this spot with either ACC or 5-min epoxy. (This previous step is optional, but well worth it) Put a cutting disc in your Dremel or equivalent rotary tool. If you haven't got one, make it your next purchase. Now cut on the spot, making sure you go right through the rails. Check it with a multimeter. You can fill the gap with Plasticard roughly shaped to fit, dipped in ACC or epoxy, inserted into the gap and then, when set, cut/filed to shape. Then ballast and paint - or paint and ballast, whatever.
Thus spaketh Zarathustra...
Steve Newcastle NSW Aust
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Unfortunately the temperature in my layout room is somewhat variable, going from -10 to +50 degrees Celsius over the course of a year. I can assure you that I definitely DO need expansion joints (I speak from personal experience of having to relay 100 yards of track.

Once again I must contradict you. My "fiddle yard" has to have insulating joints half-way between the entrance and exit points. That point happens to be in the middle of the curve. Similarly, there is an insulating joint in the middle of the long 5-ft. radius curve at the other end of the layout.

--
John Sullivan
OO in the garden http://www.yddraiggoch.demon.co.uk/railway/railway.html
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On Sat, 13 Sep 2003 14:53:16 +0100, John Sullivan

You will notice the rider about temperature variation in my previous post. My previous HO layout was in an uninsulated (but lined) garden shed. Although winter temps don't get too low (about 10 deg min inside), summer gets pretty warm - 40+ not uncommon. I soldered just about everything, the only expansion problem I ever had was on a return curve of Atlas Code 83 flex. Curve was of 30" radius, and at the time unballasted. Ballasting after relaying seemed to stop any further movement.
I will add that most of the visible tracks on my old layout were handlaid track on Micro Engineering or Campbells sleepers (I can say sleepers here!). The Code 83 rail was spiked down with either Peco track pins or a Kadee spiker, every 4 sleepers, into a roadbed of either Caneite or acoustic roof tiles (the 4' x 2' type used in suspended ceilings). The points were Shinohara. Being of US geometry, there was a straight section on both straight and divergent routes. This was useful for cutting joints. If this type of construction rendered the track less likely to buckle on expansion, I know not. But I do know that after the Atlas flex track problem referred to above, expansion problems never reared their head.

Some points which may be relevant here. Is your insulating joints necessary for short circuit avoidance (e.g., feeding into the toe end of a live frog point) or are they there to isolate trains when another is in use - like a non-DCC layout?
This leads to another aspect of "numbers of insulated joins required". Are your points handlaid, and do you use either live, dead or switched frog points? My current On30 layout uses Peco O/16.5 points which I have converted to switched frog using the point motor to select polarity. These points are easy to modify (4 cuts with a Dremel on either side of the frog, plus the ACC referred to below), and I am then able to electrically link the stock and closure rails. As I also use DCC, this means that no insulated joiners are needed anywhere on the layout. Another scoring shot for DCC!! :)

BTW, nice layout!
Steve (again)
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On Wed, 10 Sep 2003 19:50:41 GMT, Richard wrote:
=>This may seem like a stupid question...... => =>But how do you use flex track, when i tried to do curves everything went =>wrong, i never seem to be able to do it right. Can anyone help? => =>Phil
If you e-mail me, I will mail you photocopies of one or two articles that explain how to do this. One w, and plain ca at the end of the Reply To address will reach me.
HTH
--

Wolf Kirchmeir, Blind River, Ontario, Canada
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