Here We Go Loop De Loop!

Discussion in 'Track Planning' started by Cannonball, Apr 27, 2007.

  1. Squidbait

    Squidbait Recovering ALCO-holic

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    I should also say I drew that up as if it were going to be backed up against a wall, so imagine the scenery tapering up from front-to-back.
  2. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

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    All 11"? Any halfs in there?
    I was trying to mix 11 and 9-3/4. I was almost convinced you had 18" in there.

    Patience is something I have little of. (As I think some have noticed. :D )
    I don't know if I could deal with getting the flex right without tossing it out a window.
  3. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

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    That's actually really close to one I did and posted in this thread:

    http://forum.zealot.com/t117664/

    It was actually based on a doorway design by Mike Fisher

    Mike's Small Trackplans Page
  4. Squidbait

    Squidbait Recovering ALCO-holic

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    You'll never know until you try! ;) :p
  5. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

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    This thing is still giving me fits in RTS.
    Who woulda thunk such a simple looking layout would be so difficult to design?

    :mad:
  6. Squidbait

    Squidbait Recovering ALCO-holic

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    It's not just you. Trying to lay out anything more complicated that an oval layout in RTS is a PITA. I tried it in XtrkCad, and after an hour, I hadn't even managed to fit the lower level in nicely.

    Part of it is due to the limitations of working with a fixed number of pieces and radii, and part is because flex track is inherently ... well, flexible! It goes where YOU want it to go, not where the geometry demands it will go.
  7. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

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    I've gotten close a couple of times but they looked funky. They would have "worked" but they didn't look nice and graceful like the original.

    I may be doomed to Scenic Ridge yet.
  8. Squidbait

    Squidbait Recovering ALCO-holic

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    Why? Because of flex track????

    What's the matter Colonel Saunders? Chicken? :)
  9. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

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    Well, partly because you can't lay flex track in RTS. You have to lay the whole thing out in snap track and then convert it to flex track. Hence, I have no flex track plan.

    Second- yes, flex track scares me.

    And I've got to get to bed. 4:30 AM is going to suck tomorrow morning.
  10. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

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    This is the closest I've gotten in RTS.

    Attached Files:

  11. Squidbait

    Squidbait Recovering ALCO-holic

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    Awww... c'mon! Put on your man-pants, step up and give it a try! :)
  12. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

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    Where do you get the radius gauge thing that tells you how to lay your curves. I think my biggest fear is kinking it. That or getting a connector in the middle of a curve.
  13. Squidbait

    Squidbait Recovering ALCO-holic

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    Well, there's a couple of ways of doing it. If you're using XtrkCad, you can print out the track plan 1:1, and glue it to your benchwork, then lay your roadbed and track over it.

    For fixed-radius curves, just take a ruler or yardstick, put a nail at the 0" end, and drill holes at the appropriate distances to draw your curves. Or you can draw out the curves on cardboard, and cut them out to use as templates.

    As far as joints on curves, it's going to happen, but it's not a big deal. I typically solder 2 pieces of flex track together while they're straight on the bench, and then bend them around the curve. Yes, you have to trim both ends, but you have a solid joint in the middle of the curve that won't kink.
  14. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

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    I would add that you might get some interference between the cast on tie plates/spike detail on the ties nearest the soldered rail joiner and the rail joiner when you try to bend the flex track. It is not a problem to cut away the ties that are causing interference, remove the spike detail, and slid the ties back underneath the rails after the track is down. The soldered rail joiners will keep the rail from forming kinks.

    Another trick to use is to start into your curve from the straight track, and 6 inches or so from the end of the flex track, stop laying out the curve and solder your rail joiners at that point. You will find the inside rail to be longer than the outside rail, but that isn't a problem. Before you start to lay the track, cut off the little plastic connectors between the ties on the underside of the track. Now you can slide the ties away from the solder joint when you solder the rail joiners to connect the 2 sections of flex. To keep the ties from melting when you solder, take some old t shirts or wash cloths and wet them. Then you slide the ties back from the joint and lay the wet towels over the ties. Now when you solder the wet cloths will soak up the heat before it can get to the plastic ties. If you make a mistake and melt some ties, it is not a problem. Just remove the melted ties, and leave the gap. Be the time you are finished with your layout, you will have cut off some small pieces of track that will be left over. Take the ties off the left over track and cut off the spikes so that you can slide them under the track to fill the gaps left by removing the melted ties. When you put down ballast and glue, the ties will be secured.

    One last tip. If the layout will be stored or used in an area that sees large temperature fluctuations, you need to allow for rail expansion and contraction. To allow for expansion and contraction, put a business card between the 2 rails where they join on straight sections and do not solder those connections. Once the track is down, remove the card, and the track will now have room to expand and contract without forming kinks.
  15. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

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    Egad.... I have to solder? [​IMG]

    That kills it right there. I have NO soldering skills. Espcially to work with something as fine as N gague track. I can glob stuff on for electrical work in the house and speaker wires in my bass cabinets but trying to solder something that small would be like a shark trying to have intercourse with a goldfish for me.
  16. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

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    Everything you currently know how to do you learned at some time! You san learn to solder, it isn't that hard. The secret to good solder joints is clean metal and flux. Use rosin core solder, look for the finest wire gauge solder you can find. Take some old track and a package of joiners to practice with. One piece of sectional snap track should provide plenty of practice. Use a small file or small emery board to clean the rail, put a little flux on the rail where the joiner goes and slip on a rail joiner. Then apply heat to the rail and feed a little solder to the joint. The solder will flow toward the heat. You don't want to try to melt solder over the joint, heat the joint from the rail just above the joiner to pull the solder into the joint. As soon as the solder starts to flow into the joint, take away the iron and the solder and let it cool. Some ties will melt, don't worry about it. When it cools off cut away the melted ties and cut off the soldered joiner and repeat the process with the "fresh rail." Once you get to where you are feeling comfortable with soldering, then put a wet cloth over the ties as a heat sink and practice soldering a rail joiner on to the rail and notice how the wet rag will keep the soldering iron from heating the rail enough to melt the ties even though it heats the end enough to solder a joiner to the rail. I think you will be soldering like a pro before you have a chance to use up one piece of sectional track.

    One more thing, if you use a soldering gun for general soldering around the house, get a small soldering iron designed for electronic soldering. You can pick one up for a couple of bucks at Harbor freight, or you may find one at a 99 cent store, Dollar store, Big Lots, etc. If you can't find one anywhere else, Radio Shack has them for less than $10.00.
  17. Squidbait

    Squidbait Recovering ALCO-holic

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    ... see previous "Man Pants" comment. :p
  18. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

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    My man pants involve heavy equipment not fine details. 8)
  19. Squidbait

    Squidbait Recovering ALCO-holic

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    Be that as it may.... :rolleyes:

    You don't have to solder (but real men can :p ), although it's better if you do. You can use spikes to stabilize the joint, but it's not as good as soldering.
  20. Cannonball

    Cannonball More Trains Than Brains

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    Be that as it may, I still need to get the track designed before I go putting anything down.