Any hints and tips when using flexi-track?

Any questions about designing a model railway layout or problems with track work.
User avatar
GaryB
Posts: 32
Joined: Mon Mar 14, 2005 10:59 am

Any hints and tips when using flexi-track?

Postby GaryB » Fri Feb 01, 2019 11:33 am

OK, I am using code 100 flexi track and I'm struggling a bit. I'm using Tracksetta templates and have no problem with these, they're great. However, I get the first length down okay, get the ends cut square, but it's the next length that gives me problems. I lay it flat and insert the Tracksetta gauge to try and get it roughly the right shape so I can cut the ends of the rails square, but when actually trying to line it up and join the rail joiners one rail suddenly seems longer/shorter than the other! A bit more fiddling then usually sees me break the rail away from the sleepers rendering that piece of track useless.

I'm getting quite frustrated now so any hints/tips/advice would be welcomed.

User avatar
Mountain
Posts: 3711
Joined: Mon Oct 24, 2016 3:43 pm
Location: Somewhere in Wales, UK.

Re: Any hints and tips when using flexi-track?

Postby Mountain » Fri Feb 01, 2019 1:23 pm

Though I've never used the track setting templates, I have layer a lot of code 100 flexible track. The track may need wiggling (Flexing back and fore) to get it to line up. The very first pair of sleepers at either end need the little rail chairs cut off so the railjoiners can slide underneath them.
There are two ways to cut the track. Track cutting shears or a carbodium type cutting disc on a mandrill attached to ones minidrill. (Wear eye protection!)
I am looking for a pic. of track cutting... Getting awkward bits to line up. This was done on my 7mm narrow gauge layout which I replaced the 00 gauge plastic sleepers with copper PCB sleepers (Cut from a PCB at home). I include a pic. of the copper sleepers just to show what I was up to.
I use the cutting disc for the more difficult lining up tasks and the shears for the rest.
Attachments
IMG_20171013_222039.jpg
IMG_20171022_174527.jpg

User avatar
luckymucklebackit
Posts: 3292
Joined: Mon Jul 18, 2011 7:05 am
Location: Eaglesham, south of Glasgow
Contact:

Re: Any hints and tips when using flexi-track?

Postby luckymucklebackit » Fri Feb 01, 2019 4:13 pm

GaryB wrote:OK, I am using code 100 flexi track and I'm struggling a bit. I'm using Tracksetta templates and have no problem with these, they're great. However, I get the first length down okay, get the ends cut square, but it's the next length that gives me problems. I lay it flat and insert the Tracksetta gauge to try and get it roughly the right shape so I can cut the ends of the rails square, but when actually trying to line it up and join the rail joiners one rail suddenly seems longer/shorter than the other! A bit more fiddling then usually sees me break the rail away from the sleepers rendering that piece of track useless
I'm getting quite frustrated now so any hints/tips/advice would be welcomed.


Are you trying to create the join on a curve, if you are you will have trouble, as the track will want to deflect back to straight at the ends. All joints should be made on straight track. It is possible to put a join on a curve if the radius is big enough (over 2ft) provided you put the joiners on and solder the rails together, indeed at that radius it is impossible to get a 90 degree bend without making a join.

Jim
This Signature Left Intentionally Blank, but since I have written this and I intended to do it, this Signature is intentionally not blank. Paradox or What?
My layout - Gateside and Northbridge
Image

Dad-1
Posts: 5708
Joined: Sun Aug 24, 2008 8:05 pm
Location: Dorset - A mile from West Bay.

Re: Any hints and tips when using flexi-track?

Postby Dad-1 » Fri Feb 01, 2019 5:52 pm

Rails can slide (carefully) within the chairs without causing damage, so using
in curves shouldn't be a problem. Best however to pre-bend, particularly by
your joint.
It could be that you're not cutting away the chairs on the first sleeper to allow
rail joiners to embed enough. The joiners need to have room and rails are slightly
sunk into sleepers.
You'll always have unequal rail lengths on a curve and these need to be trimmed,
best if joins across the track are side-by-side.

I had to rush off for tea ......

Here is an example of curved tracks. I never use TrackSetta, but do mark where
I want them laying. One point to remember is leaving enough 'six foot' between your
tracks for the longest coaches to pass without clashing.
A huge advantage of flexi and free style laying is that you can vary your curves radius
as it progresses through a curve.

Image

Geoff T.
Remember ... I know nothing about railways.
viewtopic.php?f=22&t=32187 and Another on viewtopic.php?f=22&t=28436&start=60&st=0&sk=t&sd=a

User avatar
GeraldH
Posts: 785
Joined: Fri Aug 13, 2010 6:10 pm
Location: Isle of Ballybongle
Contact:

Re: Any hints and tips when using flexi-track?

Postby GeraldH » Sat Feb 02, 2019 8:33 am

For significant and tight curves I tend to use Set-track. Now that there are four radii available, Set-track covers most eventualities. You can test it out using a model railway CAD program. When I do have to use flexi-track, I hold it in place and then mark where the cut is required with a fine tip marker pen. I then take the track to the workbench and cut it with my Dremel clone and a cutting disk. I then use a small file to remove the lip created by cutting at the base of the rail. In the past I used a hacksaw with the track in place and caused no end of damage :( .
Gerald H - BNR Correspondent :)

My layout: http://www.newrailwaymodellers.co.uk/Fo ... hp?t=28854

User avatar
Phat Controller
Posts: 189
Joined: Wed Feb 15, 2006 2:57 pm
Location: Sydney (Australia)

Re: Any hints and tips when using flexi-track?

Postby Phat Controller » Sat Feb 02, 2019 11:07 am

Flexitrack can be a %#@&% of a thing to cut if you dont have:

s-l500.jpg
s-l500.jpg (24.39 KiB) Viewed 414 times

#1 A Dremel or similar type tool (ie a rotary tool with a cutting disc)

PXU2175B_1454528_Qty1_1.jpg
PXU2175B_1454528_Qty1_1.jpg (36.09 KiB) Viewed 414 times

#2 A pair of cutters capable of cutting through the track its self

The dremel tool is great for cutting many pieces of track and good for some fiddly bits, those times the dremel cannot do the job (or I can't find it! :oops: ) the cutters are available and just as good a tool

The dremel needs power obviously and the 240v (vs. battery powered) is the best variant as the battery one does loose quite a bit of its power after 5 mins or so of continuous use. There are also cheap copies and smaller versions, however I would "invest" in one that is within your budget and the best one you can afford.

I would also suggest you purchase a pair of track cutters as well they are VERY useful for ALL types of cutting (plastic sprues, thin to medium wire, track pins & the occasional ingrown toenail!)

I use both and in the modelling world you really can't be without either. You WILL need both at some stage - best to invest in them now whilst dealing with the flexitrack - it WILL be less frustrating.

Some extra advise on laying the track use some Blutack or plasticine to hold your flexitrack in postion on curves etc. I usually pin my track down as I go but leave enough "backspace" to allow the flexitrack to flex and be joined with the next section. Once I'm happy with it I pin down the former section in place (after removing the blutac/plasticine if I have used it).

Flexitack can be a b%&@%$^ to lay, but once you have the right tools it's quite easy.
research = asking a bloke who knows a bloke who said something vaguely similar to what I wanted to hear! - Tony (aka the Phat Controller)

User avatar
Mountain
Posts: 3711
Joined: Mon Oct 24, 2016 3:43 pm
Location: Somewhere in Wales, UK.

Re: Any hints and tips when using flexi-track?

Postby Mountain » Sat Feb 02, 2019 12:28 pm

I use drawing pins (Thumb tacks) to hold the track in a curved position before pinning it down with track pins hammered through the sleepers. Many use glue. If using glue, copydex has the advantage that one can pull up the track again if desired. It is the main reason why I use trackpins. I can pull it up and reposition it at a lather date if I change the trackplan or if things don't quite line up.
Minidrills. Mine is 12v and has been in use for about 30 years or thereabouts. It has impressed me over the years. While i normally use its dedicated transformer, I have in the past also run it from the car. It actually runs much quieter when run via the car battery. I have successfully used it to drill all sorts of holes. It takes up to 6mm drill bits and has no issues drilling 6mm holes in wood. It goes down to 0.3mm if I remember correctly. I believe mine is a 40w drill which was top of the range in its day. Cheaper 12v minidrills were typically 15w and average was 25w.
I can't compare it with a Dremel as I have not used one. Most Dremels run from 240v which for me limits the drills versitility as I could carry a 12 battery anywhere if I was using it in far flung places. I am not impressed by the thought of a chordless drill as though larger more powerful non minidrills are not that bad, they still need to return to charge on a semi regular bases.

Mike Parkes
Posts: 613
Joined: Sat Sep 01, 2007 8:25 pm

Re: Any hints and tips when using flexi-track?

Postby Mike Parkes » Sat Feb 02, 2019 1:04 pm

If using a set of Xuron track cutters its best to cut fractionally overside IME as their is often a burr on the end of the rail that needs filing down.
If using a cutting disc in a drill watch that the chuck is not touching the rail otherwise you will get a slight depression created in the rail.
An alternative method that use to be used was to use a wooden or metal block with grooves in it to locate the rails and the rails cut with a junior hacksaw.

Agree with GeraldH re using setracks curves when the radius you want exist in them. To make the track bend into the curve more realistically a section of the setrack sleepers at one end of a curve are removed, the rails automatically try to straighten up, replace the sleepers with some from some flex and cut the rails as appropriate.

User avatar
GaryB
Posts: 32
Joined: Mon Mar 14, 2005 10:59 am

Re: Any hints and tips when using flexi-track?

Postby GaryB » Mon Feb 04, 2019 8:17 am

Thanks everyone. To top it off my Xuron track cutters snapped when using them on Friday so I decided to walk away and leave it all alone for a few days! I think that my problem has been trying to join the flexi-track on a radius so for that area I have ordered some 4th radius set-track curves and see how it looks.

Bigmet
Posts: 6541
Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2007 2:19 pm

Re: Any hints and tips when using flexi-track?

Postby Bigmet » Mon Feb 04, 2019 12:00 pm

From my first experience of Peco's code 100 streamline, I have taken their nominal 2' radius small point as a nod in the direction of the minimum radius advisable. (You can go smaller with their code 100 flexi but it needs considerable care, and pre-bending a set into the rails for smooth joins on curves.)

Big surprise for me, though perhaps it shouldn't have been, was how much easier code 75 was. The combined rail cross section of code 75 is little more than that of one code 100 rail. Unless there is some powerful reason for using code 100, I would recommend code 75 as much easier.


Return to “Track/Layout Design”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests