How to connect flex tracks?

rva1945 Aug 28, 2016

  1. rva1945

    rva1945 TrainBoard Member

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    Ok I do it using those metal joiners, but when I bend the track (HO) , one of the rails will always dettach from the joiner, obviously because it will have a different radius.

    Is there any technic for this?

    Thanks
     
  2. jpwisc

    jpwisc TrainBoard Member

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    Solder the joint before you bend the track.
     
    JimJ likes this.
  3. rva1945

    rva1945 TrainBoard Member

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    Believe me, before reading your post, I had already soldered three joints as I realized there was no other way. Anyway, I can't solder 75 ft of track and then bend it for my layout, so after soldering a few, when bending, I will have to cut the protruding rail.
     
  4. rva1945

    rva1945 TrainBoard Member

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    Is it ok that some sleepers must be cut?
     
  5. acptulsa

    acptulsa TrainBoard Member

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    Sure. Cut between crossties (sleepers--you say petrol, we say gasoline) directly under the rail or rails. Sometimes you only need to cut on one side. Depending on which way you're curving, you may not need to cut any ties out at all. You'll find a continual plastic base between ties under one rail only. If you're modeling a main line, lay the flex track so the solid plastic is under the outside rail, because main lines use more ties, and on the insides of curves their ends are closer together. If you're modeling a minor railroad or a branch line, swap the flex track end for end so the solid plastic is under the inside rail, and slice a few ties out.
     
  6. rva1945

    rva1945 TrainBoard Member

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    I can say I'm progressing, little by little. So far, seems as if the most difficult part is done, joining tracks in a not well accesible part of the layout.
     
  7. acptulsa

    acptulsa TrainBoard Member

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    Watch your curvature! It's not hard to curve flex track a little too tight.
     
  8. rva1945

    rva1945 TrainBoard Member

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    Just to see if I was on the right path...I tested the already installed tracks with DCC. That's basically the best trial to see if there is a gap or something that will ruin the signal even for a fraction of a second:

     
  9. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

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    Josta likes this.
  10. James Fitch

    James Fitch TrainBoard Member

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    Yes my wife is a Brit too and she says things like that. I've been married to here for 5 years and known here 8 or 9 and she still surprises me with the odd saying I haven't heard!

    When curving flex track, the inside rail will always stick out - and the more you curve the track, the more it will stick out. The solution is to cut the rail even when it is curved to the degree you need. I've been doing this for a long time so here is what I do:

    Prepare and cut the flex track:

    1) Before starting, cut the last tie from each end of the rail and save them for later - save all your extra ties in a small box.

    2) Curve the flex track to the desired radius and mark the inside rail where it is even with the outside rail.

    3) Cut the inside rail even using a Xuron rail nipper and dress with a file, or use a Dremel with a cut-off disk (my preferred method) and eye protection.

    4) I typically have the flex track already fastened down up to the last 8 or 10 inches so I pin the end down straight and attach the next piece with rail joiners.


    Solder:

    With the track pinned down and straight where the two pieces meet, I attach heat sinks on both sides of the joint to be soldered, brush it with flux and solder the joint. When finished remove the heat sinks and allow the curve to spring back into the radius desired - the solder will keep solid electrical continuity and also hold the rail even and prevent it from kinking, which sometimes happens with just a rail joiner.

    Cheers, Jim
     
  11. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

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    When it became so popular to put the sliding rail to the inside of the track is beyond me. Not so popular with me. The final product looks squeezed into place and UN-prototypical.

    Also: Not offsetting the rail joints...well...that looks toyish.

    Atlas Flex Track, although I agree there is more then one way to join flex track. What you are about to see is how I join it as does the presenter. I've been excited and pleased with the overall performance and lasting durability.



    Once you catch on and get some practice. You're going to love the results.

    Like the presenter I don't cut away any of the rail. I use it...a no waste zone.

    More to be found...see signature below.

    Love the background sounds that you can hear in the video.
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2016
    Penner and Josta like this.
  12. DougL

    DougL TrainBoard Member

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    Rick presents an excellent method of joining flex track with large offsets. In the past I hand-laid track and created large offsets like he suggests. I am sure it is better than my method.

    This system works for me, no derailments at the joints:
    • clip 2 ties off each end to be joined
    • Keep the flex side to the inside. Reason: the whole track cannot extend further than the fixed side, anyway.
    • (If the flex track is an S-bend, then either side could be the sliding rail)
    • Clip or move the rails so there is -some- offset, 1/4 inch or more. Anything so the wheels do not hit the joint at the same time.
    • slide on rail joiners, then bend and pin the loose track
    • pull a bit and create a gap of 1mm for rail expansion.
    • Use extra pins or track spikes to ensure there is no kink at the joint
    • measure the gauge.

    This also works for pre-made switches. They do not have any sliding rail.
    • clip 2 ties off the switch diverging rails and the abutting flextrack
    • I do not remove ties from the point rails because the switch needs all the alignment help it can get!
    • clip the outside rails of the switch a bit shorter to create a small offset
    • Join as before.
    Painting the rails and ties helps conceal the joints.

    Holding the track in place is critical. Tacks, glue, or a combination works. I use a dab of brown caulk every 8 inches and smear it with a plastic putty knife. The track is not held in place with weights while the caulk dries. I use T-pins driven in at opposing angles. They are inexpensive and can hold more than a dozen feet in place with one package. Next day I remove and reuse them. They work for cork roadbed and rigid foam.
     
  13. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

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    The choice is yours and you can build your model railroad anyway you want.

    But...uhh....err....it's not something I can take credit for and wish I could remember who wrote the original article in one of our Model Railroad wig wags. Sorry name escapes me.

    Go have some fun and get'er done.
     
  14. rva1945

    rva1945 TrainBoard Member

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    How I wish I had seen that vid before!!
     
  15. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

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    That's why I started BarstowRick.com. I wanted to provide a place in the world of information the best ways to build a model railroad.

    Never too late. We all tend to start over again at some point.
     
  16. dalebaker

    dalebaker TrainBoard Member

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    Hey Rick!

    I just clicked on the link to your site, the first thing I saw said "GET A GIRLFRIEND NOW!". I'm not sure if that was an ad banner or commentary on my social life!!!!!!:cool:

    Either way, thanks for the link to your site!
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2016
  17. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

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    Alright Dale, Your Welcome.

    Get a what? The advertising there is something else. I have absolutely no control over what shows up there. I tried to get rid of the political advertisements but Google and Word Press just laughed at me. You want what? Hahawhawhaw!!! I only get paid if you or someone else clicks on the ad. I don't get paid much...this isn't a get rich scheme. Bunch of freeloaders.

    No commentary on your life but if you do consider a girl friend be careful there's a bunch of gold diggers out there. LOL

    Life is all about choices and did some say, the choices you make?
     
  18. dalebaker

    dalebaker TrainBoard Member

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    I watched the video link on your site about the SF switching, only it was part 2, is there a link to part 1? It was most interesting. Thanks for sharing it.
     
  19. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

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    Dale, you aren't alone as I've looked for part one. Nothing....yet!

    I will most likely post it to BarstowRick.com when and if I find it. Hope I can find this posting should that happen and let you know.

    If you find it before I do then let me know.
     
    dalebaker likes this.
  20. MarkInLA

    MarkInLA Permanently dispatched

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    Emergency fix for cutting one flex rail too short : If you've finally installed flex face to face with another section of track and wind up with an 8th" to, say, 1/4" space between the two and you're cussing because you think you've just destroyed a $5 piece of 3 'flex, do this : Assuming you do have a Xuron rail nipper, cut a tiny piece off a piece of junk rail (not to be confused with junk mail) same size as gap and slide it into middle of a rail joiner (be careful, it's easy to get it upside down). Simply install this between both facing rails to fill this gap ! ! Far as I know I'm the only one who has ever come up with this, or at least published it....M
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2016

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