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Securing flexible track

Posted: Thu Aug 13, 2015 12:17 pm
by Reith01
With a start imminent, could anyone please advise me about securing this track?

The sleepers are tiny and it's possible to drill very small holes to pin the track down (assuming that the pins I can buy from TGauge are slim enough) - but there could be alternatives? Adhesive?

It would be useful to leave electrical (hence mechanical) breaks between sections which means lining up the track positions with precision.
And there's the problem of attaching electrical supply to the track. I have yet to try soldering but that may be out of the question.

Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks.

Re: Securing flexible track

Posted: Thu Aug 13, 2015 1:14 pm
by martink
You are likely to get a few answers to this one, so you will have to weigh them up and decide what suits you best.

I used superglue to stick the track onto the plywood trackbed, doing about 18" (half a length) of track at a time. For straight sections the sleepers were pressed up against a steel rule, while on curves the alignment was done by eye (against a line drawn on the board). Mine was nearly all double track, and while the straight sections worked well the spacing does vary slightly on the curves - not enough practice. I held the track in place by pressing down with and sliding back and forth a block of wood and/or my fingers (keeping them moving so they didn't stick!). You have around 30 seconds before the glue sets to get it right, so as long as you have carefully checked everything first then that is time enough. The key difference from larger scales is that the flexi-track tries to twist like a corkscrew, so you really have to work to keep it flat - that is the main reason I limited the process to 18" or 0.5m sections.

As mentioned elsewhere, most of us seem to use the rail joiners for electrical connections - there are tabs on the brass joiners that can be bent down and easily soldered to. All you have to do is ensure that there is a suitably large hole in the baseboard beneath them.

For rail breaks, I tried a Dremel on a spare piece of track but that was spectacularly messy. In the end I used Xuron cutters to carefully cut one rail in-situ after the track had been laid and the glue had set, and then filled the gap with a piece of plasticard. Don't do this on a curve, don't do it too close to a join, and leave one rail intact for strength.

Seriously, buy an extra length of track and pack of joiners and try a few throw-away experiments first - gluing small sections to scrap timber, joining them, soldering feeds, cutting rails, ballasting, etc. A BIG confidence booster.

Re: Securing flexible track

Posted: Thu Aug 13, 2015 7:29 pm
by mattd10
I use superglue. Managed to hold the track down nicely despite it wanting to twist and turn wherever possible. I pinned around the track with push pins and dabbed the glue at the end of the sleepers and let surface tension do the rest.

As has been'll get loads of different methods so choose one you feel comfortable with or have had some experience'll help!

Re: Securing flexible track

Posted: Thu Aug 13, 2015 9:16 pm
by Reith01
Thank you so far. I hadn't thought strongly about adhesive but that definitely looks on. The track doesn't look like it'll be too difficult to bend. At least alternate sleeper joiners have been cut. I tried with a short piece and it looks like it may be best to do a half-circle with a single piece to avoid butting the pieces on a curve. (Tightest radius is (briefly) 155mm.) As it'll be only a single track I'll shape it around tough card templates already cut.

Other experiments are in the offing. The layout of points isn't going to work so I'll get a one-way point to see what can be done!


Re: Securing flexible track

Posted: Sat Aug 22, 2015 4:54 pm
by Reith01
Some findings.

As the flex-rail joiners supplied to me have no tag that can be bent anywhere to solder to, I cut away a very small section on the underside to get to the brass and soldered there. It doesn't seem to have distorted the gadget but it will need a recess/hole in the trackbed.

Also possible to solder to the rail as long as there's enough rail showing! I used pliers as a heat shunt. It seems to have worked. Practice should get a smaller neater joint.

All of which means this is going to be a labour of love! It should be possible to cut away one side of a sleeper to make the joint.

Edit: Just tried it, cut away half a sleeper. It isn't the tidiest but can easily be disguised.

Thanks for all the encouragement.



Re: Securing flexible track

Posted: Sun Sep 06, 2015 8:56 pm
by Reith01
I've now learned not to move the layout into a higher temperature after the track has been laid. I had the horrors of it expanding. It wasn't so much rails expanding as they do on 1:1 scale railways but between blobs of glue the track was pushed upwards. I was more worried about it losing gauge as I tried to flatten it again. If nothing else it's produced some weird curves (and straight runs for that matter).

Re: Securing flexible track

Posted: Mon Sep 07, 2015 5:19 am
by martink
Hmmm, I didn't expect that to be an issue for the UK. I did mine at the tail end of an Aussie summer, but I also didn't use blobs of glue - the whole length of track was glued in place, with any gaps well under an inch in length.

Re: Securing flexible track

Posted: Mon Sep 07, 2015 5:37 pm
by Reith01
Oh indeed it's an issue. We've been threatened with August! And now the temperature's back to 20C.

Yes, I was a bit chicken to stick the track down fully (not that it would have made much difference, it's no easier lifting a section back out and that's something I have to do as one section just isn't satisfactory). My previous tracklaying experience was one end of an end-to-end dual gauge thing using Shinohara track which was pinned down. So this t-gauge track (complete with its points problems) is a learning curve. Twisted track is a definite no-no with this gauge.