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Hello,

I have a question about Atlas part 2540 (HO/N Track nails). I have a 4x8 HO scale layout using Code 083 Atlas track. I have the track laid on top of Woodland Scenics roadbed. I am debating how to tack the track down now. I bought some small "spikes" that fit in to the holes that are pre-cut in to the ties, but they're way too short to actually do anything. These little spikes are between a quarter and a half of an inch.

I'm thinking about purchasing the nails that Atlas makes (part #2540). I think that they'll be long enough but do you know if they're small enough in diameter to fit in to the two pre-cut holes that each track piece already has cut in the ties? If they're too large to fit in to the holes already cut in the ties, how are they supposed to be used?

Also, when tacking your track down, is the spike/nail supposed to go through the roadbed and go in to the plywood? Or is it just supposed to pierce the roadbed and stay in place that way?

Thanks in advance!

Dante DiVitto
 

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QUOTE (Dante @ 13 Apr 2008, 11:52) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Hello,

I have a question about Atlas part 2540 (HO/N Track nails). I have a 4x8 HO scale layout using Code 083 Atlas track. I have the track laid on top of Woodland Scenics roadbed. I am debating how to tack the track down now. I bought some small "spikes" that fit in to the holes that are pre-cut in to the ties, but they're way too short to actually do anything. These little spikes are between a quarter and a half of an inch.

I'm thinking about purchasing the nails that Atlas makes (part #2540). I think that they'll be long enough but do you know if they're small enough in diameter to fit in to the two pre-cut holes that each track piece already has cut in the ties? If they're too large to fit in to the holes already cut in the ties, how are they supposed to be used?

Also, when tacking your track down, is the spike/nail supposed to go through the roadbed and go in to the plywood? Or is it just supposed to pierce the roadbed and stay in place that way?

Thanks in advance!

Dante DiVitto

Hello Dante

I don't use pins or nails of any kind. I prefer to glue the track down as follows: I use a low cost NON waterproof type - brand doesn't matter.

* Lay the track and make sure it fits the way it should.
* Mark the position of any wire droppers with a paint pen
* Lift the track and drill the holes for the droppers
* solder the droppers under the rail
* Apply PVA glue. (cut the nozzle small, simply run a thin bead of glue for the first * last 2/3 sleepers on any length, then for the rest every 4th sleeper or so). This takes only a few seconds to do tidily
* place the track carefully in place and align it well (feeding any dropper wires thru holes at the same time)
* place a weight on the track for at least 30 minutes.

Weights - customwood or ply, appx 100x 400, with a house brick stuck to it with no more nails or similar glues. make several and you can just keep going, lifting the first weight by the time the last is in place).

On bends, I also add a small wood block that is a snug fit between the rails. it is appx 16.5mm x 40~60mm depending on radius. This block is placed between the rails and across the joint to keep the ends of the flex track perfectly kink free.

Benefit.
* No kinking of track as the pins are driven in
* No up and down of the track where pins are over driven
* No noise transmission from track to baseboard so trains run quieter.
* If not perfect, easily adjusted by dampening the trackwork and waiting a few minutes. It can hen be moved slightly and the weights put back until it dries again
* track is never damaged by pins
* No ugly unprototypical ugly pins thru track

downside:
None - it works perectly.
I have laid over 400metres of track and 100+ very fine scale handmade turnouts using this method on my own layout. zero hassle, zero problems. BTW - I also use closed cell foam underlay.

Richard
DCCconcepts
 

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if.....you decide to actually pin the track down...then again, as Richard says, any small panel pin will do the trick...BUT.....do not hammer them home fully, leave the 'head' sticking up proud of the sleeper. This prevents the sleeper spreading / bowing down under pressure, [with resultant mislalignment, gauge issues ,dips ,etc] and allows some vertical movement of the track...the reason for using the roadbed in the first instance??

glueing is best, as Richard says...but pinning does allow for later adjustments.

Walthers used to sell a track spiking tool which negated the use of a hammer, being shaped to sit on the nailhead/spike and allow downward pressure by hand.....I once made a 'tool' which consisted of a small bore metal tube which sat right down over the nail, with a bit of hard steel rod down the centre, which would be tapped with the hammer...the tube ensured the nail/brad went in straight...and marks on the steel rod acted as depth gauges.....but then, I did solder rail to these brads, so height was important...the sleepers were card,btw.

the advantage of using a soft board for a road bed?

I'd stick with glueing for ply, chip, etc.
 

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I use a hand operated staple gun which fires in 10mm staples. They can be bought in most DIY stores with 3000 staples quite cheaply. (B&Q value gun - £4.98)
It is excellent for setting out flexible track, especially when you need to bend it so that it meets the other end for cutting.

It is great for temporary work as well, as the staples can be removed very easily with a pair of long nose pliers, as they cross two sleepers and you grab it in the middle.
No damage either.

I recently changed part of my layout, and it was unpinned in minutes. Mind you, make sure you pick up all the old ones, as I have found some that were missed being picked up by the magnet attraction on the motors of the locos.

AlanB.
 

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QUOTE (Richard Johnson @ 13 Apr 2008, 04:18) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Hello Dante

I don't use pins or nails of any kind. I prefer to glue the track down as follows: I use a low cost NON waterproof type - brand doesn't matter.

* Lay the track and make sure it fits the way it should.
* Mark the position of any wire droppers with a paint pen
* Lift the track and drill the holes for the droppers
* solder the droppers under the rail
* Apply PVA glue. (cut the nozzle small, simply run a thin bead of glue for the first * last 2/3 sleepers on any length, then for the rest every 4th sleeper or so). This takes only a few seconds to do tidily
* place the track carefully in place and align it well (feeding any dropper wires thru holes at the same time)
* place a weight on the track for at least 30 minutes.

Weights - customwood or ply, appx 100x 400, with a house brick stuck to it with no more nails or similar glues. make several and you can just keep going, lifting the first weight by the time the last is in place).

On bends, I also add a small wood block that is a snug fit between the rails. it is appx 16.5mm x 40~60mm depending on radius. This block is placed between the rails and across the joint to keep the ends of the flex track perfectly kink free.

Benefit.
* No kinking of track as the pins are driven in
* No up and down of the track where pins are over driven
* No noise transmission from track to baseboard so trains run quieter.
* If not perfect, easily adjusted by dampening the trackwork and waiting a few minutes. It can hen be moved slightly and the weights put back until it dries again
* track is never damaged by pins
* No ugly unprototypical ugly pins thru track

downside:
None - it works perectly.
I have laid over 400metres of track and 100+ very fine scale handmade turnouts using this method on my own layout. zero hassle, zero problems. BTW - I also use closed cell foam underlay.

Richard
DCCconcepts

Hi Richard,

Any chance of a pic of how you use your block for doing curves...

Thanks

TimP
 

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QUOTE (TimP @ 14 Apr 2008, 17:44) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Hi Richard,

Any chance of a pic of how you use your block for doing curves...

Thanks TimP

***No problem Tim

Here's a very simple drawing of it. its just a small off cut of MDf usually - say 9 or 12mm, carefully filed to be an exact fit between the rails (railhead, not at the base). it guarantees that the join will be perfectly aligned when the glue is dried - it really does work - the proof is, I use NO rail joiners on my track either - just the track in proper alignment stuck down with PVA.

my blocks were 40~50mm I think - but if you have sharper curves then make it shorter - say 30mm. don't make it thinner though - a snug but not over tight fit on straight track is right.

each join gets its own weight to hold it down by the way - usually one end on the block, the other resting on another offcut.

Richard
DCCconcepts
 

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QUOTE (Richard Johnson @ 14 Apr 2008, 10:39) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>***No problem Tim

Here's a very simple drawing of it. its just a small off cut of MDf usually - say 9 or 12mm, carefully filed to be an exact fit between the rails (railhead, not at the base). it guarantees that the join will be perfectly aligned when the glue is dried - it really does work - the proof is, I use NO rail joiners on my track either - just the track in proper alignment stuck down with PVA.

my blocks were 40~50mm I think - but if you have sharper curves then make it shorter - say 30mm. don't make it thinner though - a snug but not over tight fit on straight track is right.

each join gets its own weight to hold it down by the way - usually one end on the block, the other resting on another offcut.

Richard
DCCconcepts

Ah so these are just straight blocks, not cut to the radius of the curve.

T
 

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QUOTE (TimP @ 16 Apr 2008, 00:19) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Ah so these are just straight blocks, not cut to the radius of the curve.

T

yes straight...and a firm but not tight fit.

There is actually method to that madness.... If it stays exactly where it is there is no noticeable "straightening... if the track very slightly moves after being glued down with the tiny straight track, it moves to a still acceptable position.... BUT if you used a sloppy or curved block, any movement would "relax" it into a small kink...

Richard
 

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the idea of using a ''straight'' block isn't as daft as it sounds.......

If one takes a gander at 'proper' track gauges...[not the ''rollergauges'']....I refer to the gauges that look like a triangle, with little feet at each apex, which lock onto or inside each rail.

the side of the triangle which has the 'two' little feet, has the distance between those feet carefully worked out........this is so that, whilst on straight track, the gauge works normally, setting/holding the rails at the required gauge.....on a curve, one places the 'single' foot on the inside rail, and the ''two'' other feet on the outside rail.....the effect is the application of prototypical ''gauge widening'' on the curve.......the space between the two inline feet allowing the gauge to 'spread' a tad.

this has the effect of reducing friction within the fixed wheelbase of any stock passing through the curve......easing the angle of ''attack'' of the wheel flanges on the rail.

Richard's 'block' has a similar effect, I suspect....although it wont 'hold' a rail in place, that doesn't matter.......hence, a shorter block for a tighter curve.

Question........does 'flexitrack' of whatever make, actually allow 'gauge widening' when shaped into a curve?

Or can some makes actually ''tighten' their gauge when curved??
 

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QUOTE (alastairq @ 17 Apr 2008, 04:27) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Question........does 'flexitrack' of whatever make, actually allow 'gauge widening' when shaped into a curve?

Or can some makes actually ''tighten' their gauge when curved??

***Not really, but the slop in 16.5 is already so excessive you'd have to bend the rail into a pretzel to need it anyway....

Richard
 

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QUOTE (Dante @ 13 Apr 2008, 13:52) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Hello,

I have a question about Atlas part 2540 (HO/N Track nails). I have a 4x8 HO scale layout using Code 083 Atlas track. I have the track laid on top of Woodland Scenics roadbed. I am debating how to tack the track down now. I bought some small "spikes" that fit in to the holes that are pre-cut in to the ties, but they're way too short to actually do anything. These little spikes are between a quarter and a half of an inch.

I'm thinking about purchasing the nails that Atlas makes (part #2540). I think that they'll be long enough but do you know if they're small enough in diameter to fit in to the two pre-cut holes that each track piece already has cut in the ties? If they're too large to fit in to the holes already cut in the ties, how are they supposed to be used?

Also, when tacking your track down, is the spike/nail supposed to go through the roadbed and go in to the plywood? Or is it just supposed to pierce the roadbed and stay in place that way?

Thanks in advance!

Dante DiVitto

Dante,

Like Richard I glue my track down. In my opinion, track pins really spoil any possibility of reallism especially when photographing a layout.
I use 12mm ply board surfaces and supports with 3mm cork floor tiles for the track bed.

You might find some of these articles useful: http://www.mrol.com.au/articles.aspx

Graham Plowman
 

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Lot of good advice.

I look forward to using glue to lay my track once I get around to reclaiming the attic (or building an extra room) to take my homeless layout. However, as we are expecting another addition to the household, this will have to wait.

In the meantime, this forum is full of food for the imagination. Thanks.

Basil

'fixing not making'
 
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