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> New to Flexitrack, How to lay and cut!!
Nitemare
post 24 Feb 2007, 18:54
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Hi all,

Please excuse my request but I'm only back into Railway Modelling and I'm hoping to model Bangor Station in North Wales.

I've recently purchased some Peco code 75 track and frogs and currently getting my baseboards completed.

So next step will be planning and laying my track. ohmy.gif

Before I start I'd welcome some expert advice on how to go about using the flexi track and lining and cutting it into place!!

If you could keep it simple for me I'd really appreciate it!!

Thanks in advance!! thumbsup.gif
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alastairq
post 24 Feb 2007, 19:27
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I may not be with the mainstream here.....but I would start by ddoodling my trackplan ideas first........I know we live in a computer-literate age...but I find a pad of graph-paper and a pencil useful!

I'd start with my baseboard shape..or room dimensions...drawn out in as large a scale as the paper will tolerate.

Then I'd decide on my typical radius of curve, and cut out, from another piece of graph paper, some full or half circles to the same scale, for this radius.

With one's ddoodle to hand, see if it is practical within the allotted space...allowing a few inches around outside edges, if space is tight.

At this stage, I usually revise my minimum radii downwards!

Then measure a chosen turnout (point....frogs croak!) to see if clearnaces work....especially those 'points' which form the closest position a vehicle can stand to the point without fouling the other lines.

This is where I usually end up with curved turnouts for any loops!

Once you have something that MIGHT be workable...I'd be getting a roll af plain lining paper, some sellotape, a pair of scissors, and I'd mock-up full size the intended baseboards.

Then, using the old method of string, drawing pin and felt-tip pen...plus an example of one's chosen turnout...or two....try it all out full size.
This may require crawling around on the floor a lot.....if you have any stock, try out loop and siding lenghts, as well?

Erase or cross out any alterations clearly, so they don't get replicated lateer...

or the transition from curve to straight, it might be an idea to 'offset' the straight bit, outwards by a couple of inches.....then when laying track, the curved part can be 'stretched out' to meet the straight portion, creating a sort-of transition...apparently this technique, or the more accurate versions, can mean one can use slightly tighter radii than one originally thought!

Incidentally, this technique also applies to driving..ie cornering!!

At least, get all the alterations done at this stage...rather than ripping-up freshly laid track!

Also..one can pre=plan one's electrics as well...even DCC..but it also works for clockwork!
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Nitemare
post 24 Feb 2007, 19:34
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Hi,

Yes I've already got a plan drawn and have a rough sketch of track plan drawn onto baseboards.

All I need is some advice on how to measure and cut the track properly.

Thanks.
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alastairq
post 24 Feb 2007, 20:00
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have you decided on what underlay method to use yet?

How do you intend cutting the track?

Dremel-type cutting disc?

Side cutters? (Xuron, for example)

Or razor saw?

if the latter..making up a track-cutting jig is useful...a bit of wood, some grooves, anything to hold the track to stop it moving.

I tend to start with some pointwork, then work outwards.

Check all joints, etc by eye....often the eye will give a better, smoother result than any technical method.

making sure any trackjoints are actually exactly in alignment is important....again, work by eye...run a pice of bogie stock through the joint...movement of the bogies will also hilite any misalignement.
Don't forget....alignment also needs checking in the 'vertical' as well.

How do you intend fixing down?

Pins?
Glue?

If using pins, drill a hole in the sleeper first....beware of pushing the pin in too far, or too tight...the sleeper may well get bent, this technically narrows the gauge.......I suppose.

A point to remember.....one uses underlay to cushion the track, and provide sound-deadening qualities.

If ballasting and underlay has yet to be finalised..I would suggest one of the new, but pricey, pre-'moulded' ballast underlays...there's a dutch one out which looks very good.

For curves..either something like Traksetta..or a home-made trammel is useful.....a large cardboard cutout??

when cutting flextrack..don't forget to 'remove' a sleeper or two from each end.....to be replaced after trimming once each section is joined.
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Nitemare
post 24 Feb 2007, 20:03
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Hi,

1. Cutting with a mini drill
2. Underlay will be cork strips
3. Fixing with glue

So you suggest staring at a point and working away from it??

Thanks again for help and advice.
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dwb
post 24 Feb 2007, 20:11
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I asked a question on how to cut track about a year ago. The thrust of the advice was to use a "Xuron". I bought a pair and I have to say they are absolutely brilliant. If you can bear it, you can read a blow by blow account of how I lay track in my blog entry "Back on Track". I think Doug and Neil also have entries in their blogs on how they lay theirs too.

David


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alastairq
post 24 Feb 2007, 20:17
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on the basis that points aren't too flexible....plain track CAN be re-aligned...however, the orientation of the point needs to be sorted first..I'd suggest light pinning to get positions first.....

for example, a simple loop....a nice piece of straight wood or better, some aluminium moulding or strip.....laying the points along the straight edge.........gets them in line!

Then, starting with a bit of [straight] flextrack...fit to the curved part of the point, sticking out in a line.....then ease it around towards one's chosen (marked) aligment......ease the sleeper strips along, since the variation in rail length due to the curve, will have to go out towards the 'free' end.......................I have found it easier, when laying the 'curved' part of a runround loop..to do the above from each turnout...meeting in the middle..hopefully on a fairly straight bit!

In fact, if a mistake has been made with the 'straight' bit, ie cut a tad too long...then cutting in the middle, laying relatively long pieces of track, lessens the likelyhood of a kink.

However, I re-iterate.....as has been stated elsewhere, railway modelling is very much an ART......precision measurement is all very well.....but I advise relying on the 'eye'....if it looks right, it probably IS right.....art over science?
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Nitemare
post 24 Feb 2007, 20:25
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Hi dwb,

Thanks very informative just what I need to see!!

Not as easy as one would first think, glad I asked prior to cutting and measuring.

Nigel.

PS will use my laser level too, that was a great suggestion.
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dwb
post 24 Feb 2007, 20:30
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>PS will use my laser level too, that was a great suggestion.
I'm glad somebody thinks so! The slagging I got for daring to mention it.... wink.gif

David


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alastairq
post 24 Feb 2007, 20:31
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you'll be making your own pointwork next!
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Nitemare
post 24 Feb 2007, 20:38
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@Alastairq

Hmmmmm NO!!
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alastairq
post 24 Feb 2007, 20:58
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QUOTE (Nitemare @ 24 Feb 2007, 20:38) *
@Alastairq

Hmmmmm NO!!



To be honest, I have always been disappointed by the 'shortcomings' of proprietary points, like Peco, etc.

Despite their 'quality' and ease of use....I always find SOME piece of stock that manages to lurch, or stall, or display general discomfort through the turnout.

So I read up a bit about turnouts, and what was to be achieved....this is all pre-tinternet, btw......basically, the idea of the frog bit, is to allow passage of the wheel, and to avoid it 'dipping' at the gap, the gap was to be narrow(wide?) enough, that at no point was the wheel TREAD to be out of contact with a piece of rail.

Given a constant wheel profile..[ie NMRA?}....this 'gap' set a standard.

Then, the second aim was to lay the rail so that a vehicle woud traverse the frog area, WITHOUT the need for checkrails.
If I was lucky, I got it right.....however, the checkrails were simply positioned so that, effectively, the prevailing layout/wheel back-to-back measurement was the same as the outer edge of checkrail, to inner edge of Vee....so to speak....thsi guided the wheel away from the wrong side of the gap!

I used to build points away from the layout, on a thin sheet of card or plasticard.....enough to keep the thing rigid....before inserting it on the layout.

I used copperclad stuff.....and if I didn't have enough, then I simply used sufficient to 'fix' the rails ..mostly in the frog area....inserting card sleepers to fill the gaps............tiebars were my nightmare!

I even built a 'curved' diamond crossing, for a double junction, on an NMRA module I made once.....at the time we had a 'shortage ' of corner modules..often not having enough arrive at the chosen venue...so I 'sorted' the problem in my own way, by designing and building a module with a double junction....capable of being used either as a straight, or corner, module.....it worked, was a scenic nightmare, but the curved Xing never gave any trouble.......however, US trains dont rush...and I inserted speed limit signs anyway!
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Doug
post 24 Feb 2007, 22:17
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I cut flexi-track with my cordless Dremel. Wear goggles! You have to get close to see what you're doing. Raise the track slightly with a scrap piece of cork or two to get a perpendicular cut. Flatten the cut a little with the face of the disk when done. Practice a bit and you'll make perfect cuts after a while. Take your time. Eventually they will come out perfectly.


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Ravenser
post 24 Feb 2007, 22:28
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Traksetta do a straight strip - ideal for ensuring straightas are straights.

Also equip yourself with a small mirror . You can use this to relect the track - kinks and doglegs tend to show up this way
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mikelhh
post 25 Feb 2007, 00:29
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When laying curves flex track it will help you enormously to keep the sliding rail on the INside of the curve.
Mike


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