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Smoothing out the joins in flexitrack?

Posted: Sun Aug 12, 2012 6:15 pm
by Richey1977
Right, so I've been laying flexitrack (Peco code 55) all day. I didn't get as far as I wanted to, but it's trickier than it looks.

Try as I might, I'm ending up with a very slightly uneven join between track sections. It's not enough to derail a train, I don't think. That is, I don't have a power supply to test it, but I shoved a BR Mk2 carriage up the line with reasonable force, and it didn't fall off. The track height is maintained across the join (and I'll go over it with a file at the end anyway) , but I'm finding that as I bed the track round to make curves, the starting point of the curve wants to wander off. I've done it slowly, and carefully, and minimised the gap, but it's never quite perfect, although I'm satisfied that it's OK.

I'm a bit concerned that the track joins will lead to problems later on though. Is there a technique for filling a small gap, or smoothing out the join?

Cheers.

Re: Smoothing out the joins in flexitrack?

Posted: Sun Aug 12, 2012 6:26 pm
by jcm@gwr
Hi there,

Firstly, it all depends how big the gap is, afterall you do need expansion
joints [otherwise you will have problems later]

Secondly, is the joint still 'in-line'? By that I mean no 'kinks', that will be
a bigger problem for you.

The second situation is fixable, if you need to that is.

Good luck, Jeff

Re: Smoothing out the joins in flexitrack?

Posted: Sun Aug 12, 2012 7:41 pm
by Dad-1
As already said some expansion gap is needed.

On curve joins I frequently just tweek the ends to be joined to try and
give a very slight natural curve, but tracks are held in place with the rail joiners
so nothing else should be needed, not even the wipe of a file on the top.
On board joints where rail joiners can't be easily used I lightly file a lead in
on all 4 inner rails so there is no edge for flanges to clout.

My experience is only with '00' track, but would use the sane principal if
I were ever to model anything in 'N'.

Geoff T.

Re: Smoothing out the joins in flexitrack?

Posted: Sun Aug 12, 2012 7:42 pm
by b308
When using flexitrack always make sure the first inch or two is on a straight and then start the curve... Also I'd suggest you use Tracksettas, if used correctly they'll give you a decent uniform curve, best thing known to Modellers!

https://railsofsheffield.com/manufactur ... JJM78.aspx

Re: Smoothing out the joins in flexitrack?

Posted: Sun Aug 12, 2012 8:04 pm
by Ex-Pat
Richey1977 wrote:...but I'm finding that as I bed the track round to make curves, the starting point of the curve wants to wander off.


This conjures up images in my mind that perhaps you could do with taking out more of the webbing between the sleepers on the inside of the curve so that the natural tendency of the track to spring back to its original straightness is reduced. Sometimes the odd piece out of the outside of the curve can help.

Re: Smoothing out the joins in flexitrack?

Posted: Mon Aug 13, 2012 1:15 pm
by Richey1977
Very useful responses - thanks. By applying this advice, I've found it a bit easier, and I'm reasonable happy with my first few sections laid down. The join that I was most concerned about was indeed at the beginning of a curve, contrary to B308's advice, so I'll need to do something about that. Annoyingly, I had read that tip somewhere else before starting work.

I certainly did use Tracksettas (even though I winced at the price of what is basically just a nicely-cut bit of metal). They influenced my track plan a great deal, as I didn't feel like starting my first layout by laying track without some sort of guidance (and the settrack system came with too many constraints for me). I don't see why they can't make a few more Tracksettas with different radii. There's 3 inches between them in N Gauge, and I don't see why they can't be sold in more interim measurements, but as it turns out, I'm happy with my plan, which is based on 12" and 15" curves. I've left myself the option of creating a 9" oval in the middle for my Class 08 and a few freight wagons, but I think I'd prefer to use the space either for scenery, or to give the rest of the railway a bit of space at the side for visual effect. I've seen quite a lot of model railways that are really cluttered, and I think it detracts from the work and detail that has gone into it.

I'll start a proper thread in the 'Layouts under Construction' forum to record my progress when I'm next on the job.

Re: Smoothing out the joins in flexitrack?

Posted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 12:17 am
by Peterm
If you've got a hump where two pieces of flexi track join, rather than setting to with a file you should make sure that the chairs are cut off the first couple of sleepers on each piece. I actually cut off a couple of sleepers, then take the chairs off and slide them back under.

Re: Smoothing out the joins in flexitrack?

Posted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 9:08 am
by b308
An alternative to tracksettas is a piece of thick card cut with the radius you are using and placed on the inside of the track... What we used to use before tracksettas!

viewtopic.php?f=24&t=1848

Re: Smoothing out the joins in flexitrack?

Posted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 9:48 am
by Essex2Visuvesi
b308 wrote:An alternative to tracksettas is a piece of thick card cut with the radius you are using and placed on the inside of the track... What we used to use before tracksettas!

viewtopic.php?f=24&t=1848


A great little post that I had not seen before.

As an aside what became of SilverSurfer? he's not logged in for over a year

Re: Smoothing out the joins in flexitrack?

Posted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 10:12 am
by b308
Essex2Visuvesi wrote:A great little post that I had not seen before.


Neither had I, it came from a Google search!! Don't know what has happened to him though...

Re: Smoothing out the joins in flexitrack?

Posted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 10:45 am
by Essex2Visuvesi
b308 wrote:
Essex2Visuvesi wrote:A great little post that I had not seen before.


Neither had I, it came from a Google search!! Don't know what has happened to him though...


Pity... he was a nice pleasant chap

Re: Smoothing out the joins in flexitrack?

Posted: Sat Aug 18, 2012 8:12 am
by kristopher1805
A couple of things borne out of experience. I speak of code 100 but should apply to code 55.

Getting a nice straight cut is best down with a Dremel, I am too lazy so use Xuron vertical cutters but this generally leaves the cut at an angle and leaves burrs to be cleaned up.

Second you will never re-create the factory curve so if using tight curves use standard Peco curves, the tracksetta is not to the standard curve but denominated in inches so achieving the 6' way is difficult.

You will need expansion gaps and in OO trains will happily cross 2mm gaps so 1mm should do in N - but on the straights.

IT IS CRITICAL TO NOT HAVE GAPS ON THE OUTER RAIL OF A CURVE, LOCO WHEELS WILL DIG IN LEADING TO DE-RAILMENTS, so put the expansion joints on straight sections, keep the curves tight let it expand on the straights.

Ensure the outswing on coaches is clear, use something long like a Mark1's to ensure clearance.

Only glue if you are sure! otherwise track pin - It will have to come up!!

Re: Smoothing out the joins in flexitrack?

Posted: Thu Aug 23, 2012 6:37 am
by Essex2Visuvesi
kristopher1805 wrote:Ensure the outswing on coaches is clear, use something long like a Mark1's to ensure clearance.


Not only the outside but also the inside as well (Trust me on this one... I didn't pay attention on my Xmas layout and now the carriage length is restricted

This is where a cheap knackered US ouline ridiculously long express carriage can pay dividends.... Sticky tape/blutack a pencil to the centre of the inside and another to one of the outside ends. You do need to turn the carriage round to mark curves that go in the other direction tho

Re: Smoothing out the joins in flexitrack?

Posted: Thu Aug 23, 2012 10:19 am
by Bufferstop
I found it helps to shave the wood away to a flat surface so that the pencil lead is closer to the carriage side, or use those skinny little pencils that they stick down the back of the diaries that you are given and never use :roll:

Re: Smoothing out the joins in flexitrack?

Posted: Thu Aug 23, 2012 10:20 am
by Essex2Visuvesi
Bufferstop wrote:I found it helps to shave the wood away to a flat surface so that the pencil lead is closer to the carriage side


What sort of foam do you use? :D