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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi

I'm quite new to this forum (one day old) and I'm making a trainset for my six yearold.
Unfortunately (for him) it's tuning more into a model railway than a train set.
I'm quite supprised how I gotten back into model railways again, after all these years.

I spent a whole week making a baseboard that folds in the middle and I've impressed myself how good it is.
But I need some advice on how the tracks come together?

I've made the boards fold with a bit of clearance but how do you get both sides of the track to butt upto each other?

I was thinking of soldering a fishplates, on one side of track only, and leaving just enough fishplate exposed so that it connects to the other track as the other baseboard folds down. Is this the right way to do it or is there a better way?

Fabben
 

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Hi Fabben,

If your folder baseboard is hinged I would suggest soldering flexible wires underneath the board from each rail to complete the circuit.

C+L Finescale (http://www.finescale.org.uk/show_page.php?pid=105) supply baseboard edge protector contacts as another solution.

I hope this helps.

Chip
 

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I believe that conventional wisdom is to do this by putting small brass screws under the ends of the rails and soldering the rails to them. It may be a bit late to say so, but the best way of getting the tracks in exactly the right position is to solder track across the join and then cut it afterwards.

However, your idea might work and there is no reason why you shouldn't try it first. Do the fishplates have to be soldered on? When folding the board, the fishplate will be left on one piece of rail or the other and does it matter which?

I remember doing something like this for my sons nearly 30 years ago. I can't remember doing any soldering then. Good luck whatever way you decide to do it. I hope your children get as interested in the hobby as we on this forum are. I can't wait for my two year old grandson to get a little older.
 

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we have a folding board....hinges set up on wooden blocks, about 6" or so above datum....turns into a rectangular box.

For track connections across the join, I feel there are two decent approaches.

[1]....if very few tracks actually cross the join...ie two tracks, one each side of an oval...then I suggest the system once used by the NMRA Brit.region for their module system....viz..terminate each rtack about 2 or 3 inches from the edge.

Then make up a lenght of track [flex, like peco, is best]....that bridges each track...so if terminating 2 inches from the edge, a 4 inch filler track is needed.
Cut back the plastic sleepering for about 1/2 inch each end of filler track, and place Peco fishplates, 4 off per filler, so they can slide up the rail. when board is erected, insert filler track...sliding the fishplates into contact with the 'permanent' track.

Ensure whatever track sub-base you use is continued to the edge of each board.

by having the fishplates on the filler tracks, the 'main' tracks don't have to be 'weakened' by cutting back sleeper fixings.

If a filler track breaks, make a new one?

or
[2] as I have done this time around.......with the boards 'flat',each track that crosses is laid right across...[I have 4 such tracks, all at odd angles].....it does NOT have to be a right-angles to the edges of the board.
Across teh gap of the board, I removed two or three sleepers from either side....then inserted printed circuit board, raised up by packing, to the bottom of each rail.
These are made from a small sheet I bought years ago.....and each piece used was about 1/2inch wide or slightly more, and the lenght of the track's sleepers....but preferably, more.......however, a trip to a Maplins, or similar, will obtain a piece of PCB....[it is what copper-clad sleeper strip is made of]

These pieces are then soldered to the undersides of each rail, across the board gap.

They can then either be glued firmly [araldite??] or even have holes drilled in each end, and small screws screwed through into the baseboard top....or pins...whatever takes your fancy?

Once the rails are firmly secured to the PCB, and this likewise to the boards.....using a very fine saw, or slitting disc..[I use a razor saw]....cut through the rails, and PCB, down into the slot between the two boards.

File off any sharp edges on each rail...a quick swipe here and there is all that is needed.

Then file a clean slot through the copper cladding on the PCB between each rail of the track...to eliminate short circuits.

try not to cut too deeply into the insulation on the PCB.

now you will find, the boards will separate, and join but the rail ends will be secured against accidental damage.

Guard the rail ends when teh boards are folded, to protect from damge, or cutting small fingers.

The advantage of [1] is that the tracks are protected from end damage...because they are cut inboard of the baseboard joint.....but, not a useful system for speedy erection of the railway.

the 'disadvantage' of #[2] is that, if the hinge system loosens or moves slightly, or the boards warp a little, the rails will fall out of alignment...so these need watching....especially in centrally-heated rooms. However, since the rails are SOLDERED to the PCB, any slight misaligment can be corrected with a soldering iron?
 

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AND...............to create the electrical connection across each board......I use each steel hinge.....outer rails linked by wire, soldered into holes drilled in the hinge flap of one hinge, the inner rails likewise to the other hinge.

However, once my little son had decided he wanted a turntable [!] and a few other sidings, a platform bay, etc, I needed to power what would be 'isolated' sections, so ended up with a 5 pin DIN plug and socket connection across the gap as well......but this is easy, when folding, just unplug!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Just an update on how the layout's going. It's been a long haul, in the garage every night building, soldering, laying track but I'm almost there. Last night was the "soak test" two trains, a pendalino and a euro star, hurtling around in opposite directions. Remember I'm building this layout for a 7 year old and a 4 year old, hence the speed test.

However it's not been all plain sailing - I've had to learn how to solder dropper wires to the track (I can do it now without melting sleepers) - My wood working skills have improved. But perhaps the hardest bit was when I put the Pendalino on the track's for the first time. That's when I discovered that the 0-6-0 shunter and it's mk I coaches, that I'd been testing with, could go around tighter bends, not so the Pendalino. All stations (which I glued down), the soldering and the track, had to come up and the curves re-aligned. Heart-breaking, but I got there in the end.

alastairq, I used the short track approach for joining the track across the bass boards, which is a bit fiddly but works very well.

So all in all I'm very pleased with myself. The kids have a trainset which has a lot more interest than just the Hornby track pack and hopefully it may keep them away from the Nintendo's and playstations for a while. When I get time I'll post some photos.

Fabben
 
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