We are REALLY NEWBE'S

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by nwdyr, Jan 23, 2008.

  1. nwdyr

    nwdyr New Member

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    Hi all!,
    My 11yr old son and I have just started a 4x8 ho layout. We have built our table and finally got all the track and transformers. So.....help! I am lost already and my son is looking at me like, hmm I guess the old man isnt so smart after all! any help you guy's and gal's could give to a real 101 kinda guy would be great! We could start with how to lay the track first,it is code 83, and yes I have read like 3 of those little books but they dont show good pic's and I need to "see" it then i can build it. I am a handy guy,I built my table without a drawing or any real plan,I am godd at just doing it , but I kinda have to see it first,sorry for the loooooong thread but ...help Please:wave:
  2. steamhead

    steamhead Active Member

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    Hi...Welcome to The Gauge..!!
    If you're "visually" oriented, it's gonna be kind of hard to get some pictures to show you....Unless somebody is just at the stage you are. You might want to get some of Kalmbach's books to help you along. they're kind of a picture "how-to". A lot depends on what you'll be laying your track over...But just as important...develop a track plan, even if it's just kinda "sketchy"...you'll save yourself a lot of time and, more importantly, $$$'s....It pays to know where you're going so you know if you're getting there....
  3. Ralph

    Ralph Remember...it's for fun!

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    Welcome! Glad you could join us! I assume you're talking about three foot sections of flex track? You'll find plenty of help here regarding that if you have some specific questions.

    Ralph
  4. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    I assume you are using flextrack. Sectional track is pretty easy - just snap together, and tack or glue down and done. Flextrack has to be cut - and my very best #1 advice is to get yourself a really good pair of flush cutting rail pliers. I spent years cutting rail with a razor saw, and while it works, it is slow and requires lots of filing afterwards. But for my latest layout, I got myself some pliers, and ever since I can't wait for the next opportunity to use them.

    kevin
  5. nwdyr

    nwdyr New Member

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    Actually I am using 3 foot sections of what I thought was flex track,but I dont have to cut it. There are some small metal "joinners"? that slip onto one end and then you join the 2 pieces. It just dont look like the best fit all the time and when you move the track in order to fit new pieces together it kinda messes up the others you already laid. Also i have not gotten to this point yet but there is a cork road bed I have to cut and glue down,then attach the track to that. The base I am using is extruded foam. What is the best method for attaching the track to the cork roadbed?
  6. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

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    Nwdyr: The flextrack will not require cutting if you don't bend it. If you do bend it, you can give your son a mathematics lesson involving pi, and how much to cut off the end.
    You may need to trim a tie off the end of the track in order to put the rail joiners on. Some of them need to be expanded a bit to go on the end of the track, and some rails need to be filed a bit so that they go on. Did you buy code 83 joiners?

    I would go with a kind of latex contact cement. but it does require accurate positioning the first time. I'm not sure about cork roadbed; I never had any luck with it.
  7. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

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    Hello and welcome. An idea of what you have in mind for your empire would be great. Can you provide a sketch or diagram based on your 4 X8 table? If you haven't gotten to that stage yet, could I suggest a trip to your local hobby shop (LHS). There are many books of 4X8 layout plans.
    I'm kinda confused about your "flex track" definition. Does the track have roadbed attached or do you have just rail and ties? Flex track by definition is flexible. you can lay it on a table and bend it, within reason to various radii. If you are using flex track and cork roadbed, you will have to lay out your proposed track plan on the table and mark the centerline of the track. Buy or make a device to make accurate curves. Use a straight edge for the straight sections. I guess I missed the scale you are working with. HO or N or ??? More later.
  8. Biased turkey

    Biased turkey Active Member

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    Welcome nwdyr,
    You couldn't find a better place than the "Getting started" subforum ... to get a good start.
    It looks like you are using flextrack for your first layout. In my opinion, it's not the best way to start in the hobby, sectional track would be better. But anyway, here you are with the flextrack and your son doubting about your IQ :) ( I wish I had a dad next to me when I started model railroading )

    You mention that you are a "visual kind" so here we go with some pictures.
    When the flextrack is straight both ends are flush:
    [​IMG]

    When it is curved, you'll need to cut the inside rail to make it flush with the outside one:
    [​IMG]

    Use a rail cutter to do the job ( and wear safety glasses ). You'll need to solder the flextrack to the rail joiners.

    In order to glue the cork roadbed to the extruded foam use liquid nails for projects

    I have good results using silicon adhesive sealant for gluing the track to the cork roadbed. Carpenter glue ( yellow glue works too ).
    Have fun.
    Jacques
  9. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

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    Hello again: I will suggest a search ( top right of the forum) for "track planning" or "laying track". There are threads by the dozen dealing with your subject. Lots of them with photo's.
    Take your time. I know that there is that initial desire to get a train running, especially if you have an eleven year old (or are one) but some reading and planning will save a lot of trouble.
  10. nwdyr

    nwdyr New Member

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    ok, here we go..It's not "flex track" It's code 83, I have 9" straights, 6" straights, 18degree curves etc... so I don't have to snip and or soder the track:mrgreen: it is not connected to the road bed, I have allot of cork road bed. I think, from what I have read anyway, that i schould put the track together first then outline the track with a pencil? remove the track and that will tell me where to lay down the road bed.. right? thanks by the way for the pic's!!! that reall helps me!
  11. nwdyr

    nwdyr New Member

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    ok guys I have searched 100's of these threads and found 0 that talk about laying track 101. I guess I will continue to try reading some books,but thats kinda getting old too! thanks for your help
  12. Ralph

    Ralph Remember...it's for fun!

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    Ok, got it nwdyr, you have sectional track. Sure, you can piece it together as a for-instance and then when you like what you see draw the profile on your base board.

    Ralph
  13. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

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    If you have sectional track, you will not need cork roadbed unless you have some really old brass track without the molded plastic roadbed. Did you buy just the track or a complete train set? Your curve radius will be determined by the track that you have. Do you know what brand of track you have?
    If you have track with molded plastic roadbed, you can drill very small holes in the roadbed and gently nail the track in place or glue it down with liquid nails or some similar adhesive(after you have figured out your track design). Make sure your connectors are tight. They tend to loosen up after a lot of use.
    The code 83 indicates the rail height in thousands of an inch. (.083)
    Keep us posted on your progress.
  14. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

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    Ok, with sectional track there is one problem to watch out for. The ends of the pieces must match up smoothly. If there is a bad joint, you get derailments. You can get kinks if the ends of the rails don't align -- can happen even with modern manufacturing or if the rail slips a bit. You can check curves by putting another piece of curved track over the joint and lining up. Straight pieces can be checked with a ruler.
    The rail joiners have go on all 4 rail ends at a joint. It's easy (and, unfortunately, common) to get one of them under a rail.
  15. nwdyr

    nwdyr New Member

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    What I have is Atlas HO code 83 nickel silver rail, it is track(plastic,brown)and rails(silver-ish) no road bed attached. Those "rail joiners" do they go under the rail?
  16. nwdyr

    nwdyr New Member

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    ok I think I schould put my picture's where my mouth is, here is what i am working with.[​IMG]ums/jj65/nwdyr/railraodpics004.jpg[/IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
  17. nwdyr

    nwdyr New Member

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    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]ttp://i269.photobucket.com/albums/jj65/nwdyr/railraodpics002.jpg[/IMG]
  18. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

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    The rail joiners slide over the lower portion of the rail, the two thin flanges that stick out laterally. Push them on carefully so that about 1/2 of the length is on one piece of track. line up the next section of track and push it onto the other half of the rail joiner, making sure that both of the flanges on the rail are inside the rail joiner. If you want to get a train running temporarily, you can get by with just making a loop and hook up your wires and run a train but the track will tend to pull apart. For purposes of figuring out your track arrangement, just play with the pieces until you find something that appeals to you then think about gluing down roadbed after you get the centerlines marked on your table. Do you plan to have some switches in your track plan? Questions, questions, questions. One further thought. Is there a MR club locally? I'm sure one or more members would be happy to help you out.
  19. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

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    Hey, now we're getting somewhere. That old saying about "a picture being worth a thousand words" really applies.
    Since you are using foam, forget about any nailing. Adhesive is your option. Is there any thin plastic surface over the foam? If so, remove it or the adhesive won't stick.
    Do you see any small holes on the centerline of the ties? They can be used to temporarily pin your track down and to hold everything in place while gluing the track.
    Obviously, we're back to using the cork roadbed.
    Next step, figure out a track plan.
  20. nwdyr

    nwdyr New Member

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    I did find some local mr clubs, however they all had "dues" and were more than i can afford right now! I am on workmans comp, from a injury at work. So I guess you guys are stuck with mesign1 OK so once I finnish laying out the track,and yes I have about 8 remote switchs, left and right. So those holes in the center ties are soooo small what the heck do I use that to mark the table so i know where then center is , to lay the corkbed?