Confused about code, tracks and hand laying

Reptilian Feline Sep 4, 2020

  1. Reptilian Feline

    Reptilian Feline TrainBoard Member

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    I've been trying to find what is needed for making my own turnouts, without having to order from overseas. I have no idea what to use for wooden ties. I was planning to use the Peco flex track, but now I'm confused at the code... is it 55 or 60 or...? I need my hand laid turnouts (if I choose that instead of Märklin turnouts) to match the flex track. Would it be better to buy some flextrack made for N to get the right code rail and remove that from the ties?

    Also, the rails are nickle silver? What do I need to use as solder and flux? I've made silver jewellery, but that uses an open flame, not a soldering iron, so I'm not sure what to look for. Is it regular electronics solder and flux?
     
  2. logging loco

    logging loco TrainBoard Supporter

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    Im not familiar with Z scale or what is available in Sweden.

    N scale PECO code 55 flex has a double flange. There is actually a second flange buried in the plastic ties. This is not good for building turnouts.

    I guess you better just stick with the Marklin and adjust your track plan to fit.
     
  3. logging loco

    logging loco TrainBoard Supporter

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    Are there any model railway clubs near you? Perhaps they could be of some help.
     
  4. Dave1905

    Dave1905 TrainBoard Member

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    Since I have no idea where you are, can't help you with where "overseas" is since everyplace is overseas from someplace else.

    I assume you are working in Z Scale, you would want whatever the smallest size rail you could get would be.

    As far as ties go, in Z scale code 40 or 55, spiking it would be very difficult, I would suggest using PC board ties. YOu might be able to get somebody with a CNC cutter to mill out a tie outline for a switch, then solder the rails to the pc board ties.

    Yes, the rails are nickel silver, you would need paste flux and solder suitable for electronics work. You will want to use a soldering iron, 15-25w should do it.

    Good luck with that, I handlay HO code 55 switches, Z scale would be very challenging.
     
  5. ubiminor

    ubiminor TrainBoard Member

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    PECO sells separate rails which have the standard European flat bottom (not the UK bull-head) which you can use for kitbashing rails and switches.

    However I am myself confused, about your intentions.
    Do you want to save money and have a layout in reasonable time (which is what I understood was the original intention)?
    Then I would stick to second-hand Märklin track and turnouts. The manual turnouts (which is what I would take: the black ugly box needs anyway to be removed) cost on ebay less than 10 euros each, if you find a konvolut less than that. At a model fair I bought several for 5 euros each.
    Hand laying might be cheaper (if you do not pay for time) but until you perfect the technique and you make all the turnouts you need it will be way longer.
    I would keep the hand laying part for the difficult things that Märklin does not have, like the scissor crossover.

    Good luck, anyway.
     
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  6. logging loco

    logging loco TrainBoard Supporter

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    Ubiminor suggestion is sound advice.
    I should not have suggested you jump right in with handlaying track. That definitely goes against the KISS (Keep It Stupid Simple) principle and would have probably led to a lot of frustration on your part and possibly ruined your enjoyment of the hobby.
    I apologize.

    Ok let's get back on track to your origional post asking for input on your track plan.

    The origional N scale track plan on your other thread looks pretty ambitious and that can be good and bad. Why don't you break into sections or phases?

    • Lets use your N scale plan as an example but the principles apply to any scale.
    • I'm going to assume this is your first layout and you have no experience with model railroading, which is fine! That's how everyone started out.

    Looking at the track plan as a whole I see two things that I would be of concern to me.
    20200904_063647.jpg
    The turnout at the left rear of the oval looks like is has a very severe angle. Even if track planning software says it will fit it may not be a good idea on the main line for operability.

    20200904_064555.jpg
    The other thing I see is you have reversing loops and reversing when inside of reversing loops
    From a train operating stand point this is great. From a wiring stand point it throws in some complications. Nothing that can't be overcome. But probably not something to get into at this point. (Remember KISS).

    Alright now let's assume we are going to actually try and build the N scale track plan. It looks like it would be fun to operate. I would never get bored running trains on it. That's for sure!

    Before we do anything lets break the layout into three sections. Sections 1, 2 & 3.

    20200904_070814.jpg
    Following the KISS principle, lets look at this and ask ourselves which section will have trains up and running in the least amount of time and expense.
    Section number 1 of course.

    I have to go for now but we can break this down further if you would like.
    Let me know.
     
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  7. Reptilian Feline

    Reptilian Feline TrainBoard Member

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    I'm in Sweden, as my profile footer in each message says, but I can understand people just glossing over those, so I guess it's easy to miss.

    Anyway... hand laying turnouts was in part suggested as a way to getting more variation of turnouts. Märklin only make one type (two if you add that they make with or without electrical motors) of straight turnout, and one type of curved. It's kind of limited. My plan so far, is based on that limitation and i'm looking at used turnouts, the price being very reasonable. I just wanted more options, and started looking at what might be available, and that's when things got confusing. I don't know what code the Märklin tracks use. The smallest code for flat bottom rail that I have found, is code 60.

    I assume that the reason people use PCB boards for the ties, is that it's easy to solder onto?
     
  8. logging loco

    logging loco TrainBoard Supporter

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    This should have been " you have reversing loops and reversing wyes inside of reversing loops.
     
  9. logging loco

    logging loco TrainBoard Supporter

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    I did see you are in Sweeden. I like to check peoples profile and see where they are located.

    Yes and it is a strong bond. Usually on track other than turnouts only every fourth or fifth tie is PCB.
     
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  10. rray

    rray Staff Member

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  11. Reptilian Feline

    Reptilian Feline TrainBoard Member

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    Rray, thank you for the link. I liked the explanation on how to do super elevation, since I'm probably going to need that in some of my tighter curves. I also liked the jig and how you use it. A couple of questions - what company makes the code 55 and code 40 rail? I'm having a hard time finding them. I know of one online shop in Sweden that I could contact if I knew what to ask for. And the "in between" ties - are those matchsticks?
     
  12. Svein-Martin Holt

    Svein-Martin Holt TrainBoard Member

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    If you want to build your own turnouts, Fast Track is a good source. Some years ago I bought a jig and some rails and build some for my old layout:
    http://www.platelayer.com/6-fast-track-turnouts-and-tortoises-installed.aspx
    [​IMG]
    You can also build your own track if you want. The adress to fasttrack: https://www.handlaidtrack.com/
    Here is a link to the z-scale products: https://www.handlaidtrack.com/fixtures-z
    Even if it is in US, it should be easy to have this send to Sweden. I myself live in Norway.
     
  13. rray

    rray Staff Member

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    I'm in the US, and I used Micro Engineering rail. Almost every hobb shop carries Micro Engineering rail here in the US. I also used the Fast Tracks #5 and #7 turnouts. I used the code 55 for mainline and code 40 for sidings. I cut the PC board ties myself from FR Copper Clad PC board material, using a brake shear, and the ties were laser cut out of basswood. You can probably find scribed basswood siding and slice it into strips.

    Fast Tracks carries PC Board ties, turnout jigs and templates, laser cut wood ties, Micro Engineering rail, and track joiners.
    https://www.handlaidtrack.com/
     
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  14. SJ Z-man

    SJ Z-man TrainBoard Member

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    Code 55/60 = rail height in inches, i.e 55= .055" (1.4mm). You mention about the difficulty in acquiring from beyond Sweden so looking for solutions, one being hand laid. I'll first say, it will take a *lot* of time, and patience. Second, temperature is your enemy as the rail is only secured ~1" (2-3 cm). Soldering to the rails is not all that easy (nor strong). Its hard to get the rail and PC board ties clean (from a soldering standpoint). Trying to keep a constant radius in a curved area is a challenge without a 3-point gauge (https://tinyurl.com/y5vmy6ey and https://www.handlaidtrack.com/tri-nn3-s-me55).

    The MTL track rail has the narrow rail head, more prototypical, but the flex track is only 12" (30cm) long. The MicroEnginering 10-124 N scale code 55 also has a narrow rail head. The Peco, Märklin and Atlas Z flex all have wide rail heads, noticeable different to Micro-Trains and MicroEngineering. All are "code 55".

    For making your own turnouts, you can purchase the referenced "Fast Tracks" (example: https://www.handlaidtrack.com/fixtures-z-turnouts-5) which helps you try to stay in gauge while building however, they are custom made to fit rail width which is not all the same.

    Or, you can do as many have, in all gauges: make a simple template, tape the ties down, the lay the track on top to solder. Here is an example pattern that you print (it is a PDF so it should print 100% accurate size. Check with a gauge, anyway. Make your curved rails first, so they are easier to match direct to the paper, rather than on top of ties, later. NOTE: there are some pointers I can give you to help point out easier build, locations to check, etc. Here is an example:

    If Import Customs/VAT are not prohibitive, Rokuhan makes radii down to 45 mm (127, 120, 95, 70 & 45 mm) radii, including a small radii turnout.
    Here is an easy sorted page from Anthony at ZScaleMonster (http://www.zscalemonster.com/rokuhan/curved/) and the small 127 mm radii turnouts: http://www.zscalemonster.com/rokuhan/turnout/ Note: this roadbed track and likely unrealistic for what you are planning.
     
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  15. Reptilian Feline

    Reptilian Feline TrainBoard Member

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    Is it possible to remove the roadbed from the Rokuhan track?

    The idea of making my own turnout isn't that frightening to me, I know my skill in tiny things from other areas. But it would have to be a last resort. If the Rokuhan track can be cleaned from its roadbed, that would give me a few more options for turnouts.
     
  16. Svein-Martin Holt

    Svein-Martin Holt TrainBoard Member

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    No, then you wil destroy it. :-(
     
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  17. Doug A.

    Doug A. TrainBoard Supporter

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    You can use the Rokuhan turnouts as-is and just leave the roadbed alone if you're using a similar height roadbed for the Peco flex track. Probably wouldn't be a bad plan.

    I would personally use Atlas turnouts, (and flex) but I understand if you are wanting to match up with the Peco flex/European tie-spacing. The Rokuhan turnouts certainly work well. The jury is still out on the Atlas turnouts since they're so new. I'm hopeful the Atlas Z turnouts are better than the Atlas N versions that have had all sorts of ailments.
     
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  18. logging loco

    logging loco TrainBoard Supporter

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    If the roadbeds are of different heights it might be possible to shim the shorter roadbed up with styrene or cardstock, to match railhead elevations.
    I've done it n scale, only when necessary. I wouldn't want a patchwork of different height track mingled together. For one or two pieces or transition a section of layout to a different style track would be all.
     
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  19. JoeS

    JoeS TrainBoard Member

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    Or you could just use all Rokuhan or MT track with roadbed then just paint and ballast it. If your willing to take track apart painting and ballast isn’t gonna be any more time consuming.
     
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  20. Doug A.

    Doug A. TrainBoard Supporter

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    Excellent point....build the layout with Rokuhan and don't look back. It will operate as well as Z possibly can unless you are an ace tracklayer.

    Only minor thing....no wyes as yet from Rokuhan. (at least, I don't think? Admittedly I haven't followed along much in the past few months.) Seem to recall your layout being wye heavy. That doesn't mandate a wye turnout, mind you, but it probably simplifies things and looks better.
     

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