Returning beginner needs a bit of help.

I am 60 and returning to model railways after 40 years absence. My hasn't a lot changed :)
I always like track building and my father [now deceased] was particularly
good at building TT point work when he retired.
So I decided to try 2mm Fine scale and build my own track using the 2mm association jigs.
Woe is me, my first attempt with the 2mm association track jig is a disaster :( see
http://www.semolina.org/DSCN1555.JPG oh deary me a real cock up.
Obviously I am seriously out of practice, as I used to be an electronics engineer I can solder much better than that, but never so small :)
If any one here knows anything about the 2mm association track building jigs I could use some basic instruction.
How do I get the bugger out without ripping it out ?
Any tips on my woeful small scale soldering would be welcome, my eyes are not as young as they used to be but I an most unsure how to even get this solder into the jig :(
Help !

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said the following on 02/08/2007 15:48:

Oh dear!!! What you haven't shown in the photo is which flux you're using - you are using flux, aren't you? Cored solder isn't really suitable for track-building. If you ask three people which is the best flux, you will get four hotly debated opinions, but I use either Frys Powerflow paste or Carrs (C&L) Green Label. The latter especially needs very careful cleaning off, so is best where you can wash the job in the sink.

I've not used them, but I'm sure Nigel will be along shortly :-) I think you might need to rip this out...

Practise. I'm still an electronics engineer, but soldering electronics is a lot different in practise than model-making. The basics are the same though. Your iron looks fine, but I personally wouldn't use that bit. You've obviously gone for a fine tip because it's a small job, but the heat will run away down the rail faster than the tip can keep up. I think you'll actually get on better with a bigger tip, but with fine chisel point. The Antex '50' tip is what I would use (but check this is OK for your iron). You need to be aiming to get as much heat into the joint in as short a time as possible, and that means a bigger tip!
Finally, have you joined the 2mm Scale Association?
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In uk.rec.models.rail on Thu, 02 Aug 2007 16:54:55 +0100, Paul Boyd
} said the following on 02/08/2007 15:48: } }> Woe is me, my first attempt with the 2mm association track jig is a }> disaster :( see
http://www.semolina.org/DSCN1555.JPG oh deary me a real
}> cock up. } }Oh dear!!! What you haven't shown in the photo is which flux you're }using - you are using flux, aren't you?
Yup
} Cored solder isn't really suitable for track-building.
I know this :)
} If you ask three people which is the best }flux, you will get four hotly debated opinions, but I use either Frys }Powerflow paste or Carrs (C&L) Green Label. The latter especially needs }very careful cleaning off, so is best where you can wash the job in the }sink.
I was using the German Lothonig in the yellow tube with the red writing, that isn't the problem.
}> If any one here knows anything about the 2mm association track building }> jigs I could use some basic instruction. } }I've not used them, but I'm sure Nigel will be along shortly :-) I }think you might need to rip this out...
Tried that, I thin it may need a release agent, maybe talcum powder or putting in the jig differently.
}> Any tips on my woeful small scale soldering would be welcome, my eyes are }> not as young as they used to be but I an most unsure how to even get this }> solder into the jig :( } }Practise. I'm still an electronics engineer, but soldering electronics }is a lot different in practise than model-making.
Yup I remember that too
} The basics are the }same though. Your iron looks fine, but I personally wouldn't use that }bit. You've obviously gone for a fine tip because it's a small job, but }the heat will run away down the rail faster than the tip can keep up. I }think you'll actually get on better with a bigger tip, but with fine }chisel point. The Antex '50' tip is what I would use (but check this is }OK for your iron). You need to be aiming to get as much heat into the }joint in as short a time as possible, and that means a bigger tip!
Yes but that is an expensive digital 50Watt Ampex I was impressed with it and I can wind the temperature up a very good iron for electronics it would be overkill.
}Finally, have you joined the 2mm Scale Association?
Yes but I am to old to join in Yahooo Groups :(
who could if he wanted to :)
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I would place sleepers a rail in the jig clamp down then run solder paint along the sleepers followed with a nice big hot soldering iron.
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In uk.rec.models.rail on Thu, 2 Aug 2007 17:18:44 +0100, "Trev" <trevbowdenAT.dsl.pipex.COM> wrote:}> Any tips on my woeful small scale soldering would be welcome, my eyes are }> not as young as they used to be but I an most unsure how to even get this }> solder into the jig :( }> }> Help ! }> } I would place sleepers a rail in the jig clamp down then run solder paint }along the sleepers followed with a nice big hot soldering iron.
Not in that jig you can't and 9.42mm would be easy to do without the jig but I thought it would be easier than pins and templates my father used.
The two nuts screw down on the top of the black paxolin, and you can hardly see any rail to solder too.

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Yep.
I got back into it 30 years ago when I was unpacking boxes after moving into my first house, and found the stuff I had as a teenager - which didn't last for long when I saw the then new Airfix prairie and 14xx tanks.

If you don't mind my asking, why 2mm? My aging eyes won't let me model something that small and we're the same age. I've seen some beautiful 2mm layouts like Chipping Norton but it's a long time since I could do work that small.
How constrained for space are you?
4mm or 7mm would be easier on the aging eyes and fingers.
Track components are available from C&L Finescale in both 4mm and 7mm - beautifully moulded plastic chairs with keys that are slid onto the rail and then glued to the sleepers. They even do 2, 3 and 4 bolt chairs for whichever company you are modelling. By far the best track I have ever seen. They also do kits and individual components for points.
http://www.finescale.org.uk /
Even in 7mm you can build small shunters that are less than 6" long. I'm working on a Peckett 0-6-0 saddle tank from an Agenoria Models kit.
And my 517 0-4-2 tanks aren't much longer. One of these plus a short train of 4- and 6-wheel carriages isn't much longer than a 2mm scale express train even in 7mm.
What is your theme? Mine is Great Western circa 1900. Although my track is wrong - I started building it with 8'6" sleepers and 3 bolt chairs instead of 9' and 2 bolt.

Track soldered to PCB sleepers has never looked quite right to me, except perhaps to represent spiked flat bottomed rail which wasn't common in the UK except on some light railways.
Although perhaps in 2mm scale the eye might not notice that the rail isn't raised above the sleeper.

Nor me.

Did it get soldered to the jig?

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Just to add to what the others have said, what solder is that? If it's one of the lead free ones, then try and change to the old 60/40 lead/tin solder, which is still available in some areas. It's a much better solder to work with.
And as Paul has suggested, a bit of flux on the joints helps a lot and cuts down the amount of solder you have to put on. Cored solder is fine for electronics work where the parts are pre-tinned, but in track making, a touch of flux helps where the sleepers and rail are not tinned. I use Templer's Telux flux or Fluxite. Both are paste fluxes and leave no problem residues.
A screwdriver shaped bit also helps since you can get a lot of heat onto rail and sleeper. The pointed tip designed for electronic joints is not so useful. I find it handy to have one of the older, simpler soldering irons around with the plain copper bits which you can file to a good shape for the job in hand. It means that you have to keep dressing the bit to keep the tip in shape, but it's worth it if you can make good joints quickly.
You might also want to look at using something like solder creams which can be placed on a join then have heat applied to make a join. The creams available have fluxes which do not have long term oxidisation problems - handy for trackwork where cleaning after soldering is difficult. However, they are a bit pricey.
Solder paints can also be used, but they tend to have fairly aggressive fluxes which can have longer term oxidisation problems. It's worth having a look at Carr's solders and fluxes to give you a choice of what is available. They are available from Brian Lewis at C&L
http://www.finescale.org.uk/show_page.php?pid 1
And as Paul says, Nigel Cliffe will be along shortly with first hand practical advice. :-)
Jim.
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wrote:

I'm afraid that one is toast. Don't waste time trying to recover it.

Might do better asking on the 2mm Virtual Area Group (its a Yahoo mailing list, links via the member's pages on the 2mm website). You'll get a couple of hundred experts there, all willing to help the beginner, rather than hoping I've spotted a 2mm question here.

There is a book, called "The Beginner's Guide to 2mm Modelling", from the 2mm Scale Association shop, which costs a mere 4. About 1/4 of it is devoted to building plain track and turnouts, with photographs, step-by-step how to do it, as well as some theoretical background. I recommend you get a copy.
Things which people don't necessarily spot on the track jig.
1) There are some small holes underneath. They are so you can prod the sleepers from below with a pin or bit of rod held in a small pin-vice. Prod a small bit at each hole at a time, or you'll bend the track.
2) Thermal contraction. If you put sleepers in jig, then rail, then start soldering at one end, then to the next sleeper, and so on, the whole rail heats. It expands a tiny bit. Then as it cools, it contracts and tends to lock everything into the jig. Because there is variation on manufacture (of both jig and sleepers) it affects some people (and their jigs) more than others. Way out is to solder a sleeper at one end, then the other, then one in the middle. From then on you can go alternate ends of the jig.
4) Solder. Use 60/40 lead/tin, or 188C solder paste. I've not tried modern lead-free solders in the jig, so how it behaves is unknown. But the sleepers (and jig) are SRBF based, and thus not as tollerant of the higher temperatures as fibreglass PCB (*). Shouldn't need lots of additional flux (don't really need any if things are clean and using multi-core solder or solder paste). If flux is needed, I would suggest Carrs Green Label, applied with small paintbrush. Advantage of using multicore without any additional flux is that one can form a chair-like blob, which looks pretty convincing when painted.
5) Cleanliness. This is a difficult balancing act, because if you clean the rail really well, the solder tends to flow along it, and you don't get "blob" solder to represent chairs. But, on balance, I would recommend you run the rail through something to clean it before soldering. Wirewool, or very fine wet and dry paper, or a GaryFlex block. In general, clean the sleepers before use (again fine wet&dry or Garyflex, (or glass-fibre pencil if you like splinters in your fingers)).
6) Chair sizes (the solder blobs). Multicore solder can be cut with a knife. So cut a few dozen (or hundred) little cubes/spheres off the reel into a tin lid. Make each chair by picking up a lump with the soldering iron and rapidly transferring to the jig. Perhaps with practise you'll be able to grab the right amount directly from the reel with the iron, though that is quite difficult to do reliably.
7) Soldering action. Bring the iron initially into contact with the side of rail, aim for halfway up the rail side, then rock it downwards to hit the sleeper. That should give a decent joint without delaminating the copper from the sleeper.
8) Iron size. I have built lots of track with an 18W Antex. My iron of choice these days is an Antex 50W temperature controlled, but its a bit pricey at around 100. Your Antex looks fine for the job, bit size not dissimilar to what I use. Don't mix the soldering tip with different solder types; certainly don't use a tip which has been on whitemetal, and I am inclined to keep lead-free and lead-based solder tips separate until the use of lead-free is more fully understood by modelmakers.
9) Until used to it, I would put the jig in a vice so it stays still. The recommended way is to put the jig in a vice with the sleepers vertical, and work on one side. Then turn over. ( I tend to only use the top of the jig to initially locate the rails and the first few sleepers, then I take it off and work on the bench. I use an old screwdriver as a prodder to push the rail down near where I am soldering. )
10) Some Jigs can be tight. Talc can be used as a lubricant. If its excesively tight, then maybe its made out of tollerance. Discuss matter with 2mm shop keeper who could get it inspected.
11) Cleaning up afterwards. If you used any flux, which includes the multi-core solder or solder paste, then you need to clean up thoroughly. If using Powerflo (don't**) that means within 30 minutes. Others can be cleaned within a few hours. I clean up with a toothbrush, JiF abrasive cream cleaner, then finish in water. Also clean the jig at the end of a session. I think Powerflo can be cleaned with meths.
12) I would try to find someone locally who's done it before. There are Area Groups, and there are others who are usually willing to offer help/advice.
(* and the man who chops the sleepers to size can't chop fibreglass as it will wreck his machine. He supplies lots of scales, not just 2mm, so the issue will be the same for them all ).
(** its brilliant for plumbing, but far too agressive for most modelling work. And its tendency to do damage if there is a spec left is horrifying. ).
- Nigel
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In uk.rec.models.rail on Thu, 2 Aug 2007 19:19:25 +0100, "Nigel Cliffe"
} wrote: }> I am 60 and returning to model railways after 40 years absence. My }> hasn't a lot changed :) }> }> I always like track building and my father [now deceased] was }> particularly good at building TT point work when he retired. }> }> So I decided to try 2mm Fine scale and build my own track using the }> 2mm association jigs. }> }> Woe is me, my first attempt with the 2mm association track jig is a }> disaster :( see
http://www.semolina.org/DSCN1555.JPG oh deary me a
}> real cock up. } }I'm afraid that one is toast. Don't waste time trying to recover it.
Yes I was quite proud of how badly I cocked up :)
}> Obviously I am seriously out of practice, as I used to be an }> electronics engineer I can solder much better than that, but never so }> small :) } }> If any one here knows anything about the 2mm association track }> building jigs I could use some basic instruction. } }Might do better asking on the 2mm Virtual Area Group (its a Yahoo mailing }list, links via the member's pages on the 2mm website).
Yes I know I read it as a list, but I am a Usenet fan have been for years since before there was spam and email lists were Ezmlm, none of this easy web shite + bloody adverts and posers and all :)
} You'll get a couple }of hundred experts there, all willing to help the beginner, rather than }hoping I've spotted a 2mm question here.
That was the plan but you have done just perfect thanks ;)
}> How do I get the bugger out without ripping it out ? }> }> Any tips on my woeful small scale soldering would be welcome, my eyes }> are not as young as they used to be but I an most unsure how to even }> get this solder into the jig :( } } }There is a book, called "The Beginner's Guide to 2mm Modelling", from the }2mm Scale Association shop, which costs a mere ô. About 1/4 of it is }devoted to building plain track and turnouts, with photographs, step-by-step }how to do it, as well as some theoretical background. I recommend you get a }copy.
Got one, I will read it yet again :(
}Things which people don't necessarily spot on the track jig. } }1) There are some small holes underneath. They are so you can prod the }sleepers from below with a pin or bit of rod held in a small pin-vice. Prod }a small bit at each hole at a time, or you'll bend the track.
Yup that would work missed that trick :(
}2) Thermal contraction. If you put sleepers in jig, then rail, then start }soldering at one end, then to the next sleeper, and so on, the whole rail }heats. It expands a tiny bit. Then as it cools, it contracts and tends to }lock everything into the jig. Because there is variation on manufacture (of }both jig and sleepers) it affects some people (and their jigs) more than }others. Way out is to solder a sleeper at one end, then the other, then one }in the middle. From then on you can go alternate ends of the jig.
Missed that one too :(
}4) Solder. Use 60/40 lead/tin, or 188C solder paste. I've not tried modern }lead-free solders in the jig, so how it behaves is unknown.
I have a big store of 60/40 lead solder. Fuck the government nobody takes any risks any more :(
} But the sleepers }(and jig) are SRBF based, and thus not as tollerant of the higher }temperatures as fibreglass PCB (*).
Yes but I don't think that affects me, I am running the Soldering iron at 420 deg C.
}Shouldn't need lots of additional flux (don't really need any if things are }clean and using multi-core solder or solder paste). If flux is needed, I }would suggest Carrs Green Label, applied with small paintbrush. }Advantage of using multicore without any additional flux is that one can }form a chair-like blob, which looks pretty convincing when painted.
Yup that is just lack of skill on my part I will get better :)
}5) Cleanliness. This is a difficult balancing act, because if you clean the }rail really well, the solder tends to flow along it, and you don't get }"blob" solder to represent chairs. But, on balance, I would recommend you }run the rail through something to clean it before soldering. Wirewool, or }very fine wet and dry paper, or a GaryFlex block.
Yes this makes sense, I did wonder about that before I "had a go".
}In general, clean the sleepers before use (again fine wet&dry or Garyflex, }(or glass-fibre pencil if you like splinters in your fingers)).
Yup, I don't. I think a brass cirular brush in the Dremel would work ?
}6) Chair sizes (the solder blobs). Multicore solder can be cut with a knife. }So cut a few dozen (or hundred) little cubes/spheres off the reel into a tin }lid. Make each chair by picking up a lump with the soldering iron and }rapidly transferring to the jig. Perhaps with practise you'll be able to }grab the right amount directly from the reel with the iron, though that is }quite difficult to do reliably.
Well I will try the "chop up" system but I ought to be able to contol solder, it is just pracice and I haven't done any for years.
}7) Soldering action. Bring the iron initially into contact with the side of }rail, aim for halfway up the rail side, then rock it downwards to hit the }sleeper. That should give a decent joint without delaminating the copper }from the sleeper.
Yup that would work :)
}8) Iron size. I have built lots of track with an 18W Antex. My iron of }choice these days is an Antex 50W temperature controlled, but its a bit }pricey at around ñ00. Your Antex looks fine for the job, bit size not }dissimilar to what I use.
That's what it is, only Digital control :) 238 UKP in total from Antex.
}Don't mix the soldering tip with different solder types; certainly don't use }a tip which has been on whitemetal, and I am inclined to keep lead-free and }lead-based solder tips separate until the use of lead-free is more fully }understood by modelmakers.
I have yet to meet this problem, but your point is well made, thanks.
}9) Until used to it, I would put the jig in a vice so it stays still. The }recommended way is to put the jig in a vice with the sleepers vertical, and }work on one side. Then turn over. }( I tend to only use the top of the jig to initially locate the rails and }the first few sleepers, then I take it off and work on the bench. I use an }old screwdriver as a prodder to push the rail down near where I am }soldering. )
Ah! Yes this I can do :)
}10) Some Jigs can be tight. Talc can be used as a lubricant. If its }excesively tight, then maybe its made out of tollerance. Discuss matter with }2mm shop keeper who could get it inspected.
It felt fine, pushing the sleepers in, but I had missed the Temperature change effects and the holes under the sleepers, thanks.
}11) Cleaning up afterwards. If you used any flux, which includes the }multi-core solder or solder paste, then you need to clean up thoroughly. If }using Powerflo (don't**) that means within 30 minutes. Others can be }cleaned within a few hours. I clean up with a toothbrush, JiF abrasive }cream cleaner, then finish in water. Also clean the jig at the end of a }session. I think Powerflo can be cleaned with meths.
Good Idea, thanks.
}12) I would try to find someone locally who's done it before. There are }Area Groups, and there are others who are usually willing to offer }help/advice.
I usually go to Usenet first :)
}(* and the man who chops the sleepers to size can't chop fibreglass as it }will wreck his machine. He supplies lots of scales, not just 2mm, so the }issue will be the same for them all ).
Yes I noticed a little variability bit not nearly sufficient to even think of complaining.
}(** its brilliant for plumbing, but far too agressive for most modelling }work. And its tendency to do damage if there is a spec left is }horrifying. ).
Thank you so much I have a much better idea what to do now, thanks very much indeed.

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We know, but uk.legal.moderated still isn't working as it should :-)
Welcome aboard, there's a few regulars from that end of things that post here as well.
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In uk.rec.models.rail on Thu, 02 Aug 2007 20:46:32 GMT, Chris Wilson
} } }> Yes I know I read it as a list, but I am a Usenet fan have been for years }> since before there was spam and email lists were Ezmlm, none of this easy }> web shite + bloody adverts and posers and all :) } }We know, but uk.legal.moderated still isn't working as it should :-)
Oh shit. Can you please report it though uk.net.news.moderation and I will have a look :( This is my hobby now I am trying to give up work/my past life etc.
}Welcome aboard, there's a few regulars from that end of things that post }here as well.
:)
Strange bed fellow one meets on Usenet, I suspect it will die when we all do :(
at home, still working, longing to give up, but I can't afford it :(
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Only pulling your chain

No doubt

Aren't we all.
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wrote:

Temperature too high, will delaminate the copper from the SRBF. Try 250 then fiddle from there (both up and down). Most of my 2mm soldering is done between 230 and 300 on the dial of my soldering station. The solder melt point is 188, but there are some thermal losses between the tip and the pool of molten solder.
You said your iron was the Antex digitally controlled model, that should be able to hold the temperature steady whilst pumping in more than enough energy.

Never tried a brass brush, suspect its not ideal. Either stick some very fine (polishing grade) wet&dry to a small bit of board (a fat lolly stick), or to get a fingernail polishing board from Boots ("the wife asked me to get a fingernail polishing board...."). Or buy a GaryFlex block in fine compound from Squires, or similar tool supplier.
- Nigel
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In uk.rec.models.rail on Thu, 2 Aug 2007 19:19:25 +0100, "Nigel Cliffe"
}There is a book, called "The Beginner's Guide to 2mm Modelling", from the }2mm Scale Association shop, which costs a mere ô. About 1/4 of it is }devoted to building plain track and turnouts, with photographs, step-by-step }how to do it, as well as some theoretical background. I recommend you get a }copy.
Yup and now I see why I missed it, what I really want to do is make point work, so I didn't read it carefully enough as you say many of your tips are in it, Sorry.
There is a lot of information in there and I didn't read it properly, pages 20-23 has most of it. :(

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