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Trackwork - Layout Design, Trackwork & Operation. - Getting You Started. - Your Model Railway Club
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 Posted: Sun Oct 7th, 2018 11:02 am
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Hi All     Following on from my fiddle yard thread , I used toggles to secure the two boards together , fitted the copper clad, although I now think that brass screws could have been superior ? soldered the rails .Anyway so far so good, but, cutting the track over the joint isn’t going so smoothly . Would a Dremel have been better? Or maybe the Xuron track cutters ? It isn’t too late to begin again, but, it would be a PITA. As it is or was before I started cutting the rails, the wagons rolled along without a discernible bump at the joint.    Best wishes. Kevin



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 Posted: Sun Oct 7th, 2018 12:28 pm
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Kevin, whatever method you use to cut rails, run a small file over all 4 sides to remove any burrs no matter how small they are.
I do assume that the rails did not alter from being level after you cut them? And how wide is the gap after you cut the rail - about 1-2 mm or 1/16th maximum ?



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 Posted: Sun Oct 7th, 2018 12:44 pm
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Hi Ron.   Thank you . When I tried a dummy/ dry run with the copper clad, it went on like spreading butter on bread, so to speak. And no matter what I did, the rails were held firmly in place. But now I am doing it for real  , its not so straightforward . And cutting through the rails with a razor saw was no better. And now the two halves of one rail has a “bump”?   Best wishes. Kevin



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 Posted: Sun Oct 7th, 2018 01:07 pm
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I always use a Dremel Kevin with a thin circular slitting saw works best if the track is not in place  if its fixed down you cant do it squarely  and get a perfect joint but to be fair its pretty good fit as you only talking a slight angle on a rail that is only a few millimeters thick plus the the dremel is good for taking of that extra 1-2 mm you made need to remove.
I cant say if a Xuron cutter is any better as i have never used one i would guess its the same as any cutter when brand new great but after a while big burrs and distorted rail i would guess

Brian



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 Posted: Sun Oct 7th, 2018 01:18 pm
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Hi Brian.   Thank you.  The Xuron track cutters are simply a precise cutting pair of pliers. The job however still has to be cleaned up with a needle file. I prefer hand tools when working with fine tolerances , but, I have read about Dremel .   Best wishes. Kevin



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 Posted: Sun Oct 7th, 2018 01:39 pm
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Actually thinking about there is a flexible attachment you can get with a dremel  which has a much thinner body than the dremel motor unit with that you would only get a very shallow angle on fixed down track i have one but never used it :brickwall

Brian



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 Posted: Sun Oct 7th, 2018 01:51 pm
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If you're getting a "bump" then I'd be inclined to check the board alignment, pattern makers dowels are probably the best things to use, available on Ebay , Eileens Emporium and others.




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 Posted: Sun Oct 7th, 2018 02:47 pm
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Hi Mike.   Thank you.   I am using the C& L pattern makers dowels . I don’t know where the bump came from , it was fine at first.  And I am using spring toggles, “c/ o station road baseboards” to be certain of no movement . Best wishes.   Kevin



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 Posted: Thu Oct 11th, 2018 03:34 am
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Hi Kevin,

Dremel with a 90 degree head attachment and a thin cut-off disc. John (brossard) has a useful tip, lay flex track across the gap, cut, move the rails in to the desired gap, fix ends using copper clad or the heads of brass screws or good old epoxy.

Nigel



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 Posted: Thu Oct 11th, 2018 05:51 am
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BCDR wrote: Hi Kevin,

Dremel with a 90 degree head attachment and a thin cut-off disc. John (brossard) has a useful tip, lay flex track across the gap, cut, move the rails in to the desired gap, fix ends using copper clad or the heads of brass screws or good old epoxy.

Nigel
Hi Nigel. Thank you . When you say “ Fix ends “ and “ Or good old epoxy “ does that mean you don’t prefer solder?I have already soldered the rails directly to the screws, but, of course if this fails I am open to all polite suggestions.
I am not keen on the idea of purchasing a Dremel for one job though. There is an “ old tip “ that I have read about placing a sheet of cardboard between the two boards, soldering the rails, and cutting them. And when one removes the cardboard the rails are closer together.    Best wishes. Kevin



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 Posted: Thu Oct 11th, 2018 01:55 pm
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Hi Kevin,

It's all in the weak link. Lay track to the edge and the rail end is held in place by the chairs and whatever was used to glue the sleepers down. Fine for stationary layouts, anything modular that gets moved around will normally need something a bit more robust than white glue or sealant. Some observations based on (often bitter) experience with modules:

Copper clad always sounds like a good solution until the copper delaminates. I have had this happen when using Xurons. Best to do the last 2-4 sleepers with copper clad, not just the last one, and avoid Xurons. The torque generated will flex and buckle track. There are some neat commercial copper clad ties/sleepers available for HO that I have used with great success. $$$ though.

Brass cheese head screws are robust, the height can be adjusted, but the last sleeper will need patching in. The down side can be the smaller contact area compared with copper clad.

Epoxy used for gluing the last few sleepers and the rails to the chairs is more robust than pva or CA. The underside of the sleepers needs keying.

The weak link is the chairs. Code 100 HO/OO chairs are robust tabs, once you get down to code 83 or 75 not so. A knock is more likely to displace the rail than the sleeper unless soldered or spiked.

As long as the sleepers are firmly attached rail spikes at the ends work well.

Most modular systems use removable sections of track, anything from 2" to 8" long. Weak link is the relatively loose rail joiners. Long sections need a power supply.

The gap left by a cut-off disc does not affect running.

What do I do now? For straight track, to the edge then back a tad so when the board is stood on edge the rail is not quite in contact with the floor. Think paper sheet thickness. Two copper clad ties on each side epoxyded to a piece of wood glued to the top, not to the cork underlay. I use single sided copper clad and rough up the bottom with # 80 paper. Rail spikes just in case (drill holes and epoxy). For curves I lay the track over the joint, solder to the attached copper clad, then cut with the Dremel. Most modular standards do not allow curves within 6" of the edge, and I try and avoid them at home. Most copper clad is thinner than regular ties/sleepers, I use wood glued to the baseboard not the underlay to get the correct height. Modules that travel need protection, I use a piece of thick corrugated cardboard taped over the ends. 

You can avoid all of this by using track sections over the joint. Especially in fiddle yards where you do not need gravel.

just use what works best for you. We all have our own pet schemes.

Nigel






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 Posted: Thu Oct 11th, 2018 05:33 pm
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Hi Nigel.   Thank you. My first attempt was copper clad, using a new ish Antex 25 watt iron. Then I made a “ Big “ mistake, I arttempted to cut the track with a Zona Razor Saw , wrong,  the track went every which way as much as I don’t want to purchase a Dremel for one job, it looks as though I must bite the bullet, My second attempt with brass screws didn’t go any better. At a recent model railway show, I visited the “ C & L stand “ to get a supply of their copper clad sleeper, but the isolation gap was too wide for my liking    Best wishes.  Kevin.   PS recommendations required.



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 Posted: Thu Oct 11th, 2018 06:08 pm
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Hi Brian.    After another failed attempt at cutting the track, it looks like I will have to follow your lead, and go Mechanical, not maniacal,:lol: and purchase the correct equipment to do the job of cutting the track “Over Baseboard Gaps” . Of course all safety equipment too.  Best wishes. Kevin



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 Posted: Thu Oct 11th, 2018 06:40 pm
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Hi Kevin,

I have a Dremel and use it often for a variety of tasks, even some model railway related. Please think very careful before you buy one as they can be very dangerous. They can tend to run away from the wary and spin at very high speeds, therefore they must be treated with great respect and a reasonable amount of skill to avoid a trip to A&E. 

You also need a firm and very steady hand, otherwise the workpiece and operator are both in danger.

Dremels were not around when we all first started in model railways. In those days, I used a junior hacksaw and needle file to great effect and still do. I would recommend you try one again on your track before spending money on something you may find bites you! 

Before hacksawing, clamp the track in a home made clamp before you cut it. My clamp was made with an offcut of timber batten about 2'' x 2'' x 3''. Cut with two shallow cuts with the hacksaw (or tenon saw for greater accuracy) across the width of the block, to hold the two rails down. Fit it over the track, press down with left hand, cut the track with the right, using the edge of the clamp as a guide.

Be safe and enjoy modelling at you own pace.

Best,

Bill



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 Posted: Thu Oct 11th, 2018 07:01 pm
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Hi Nigel Thank you again. I have a “ Piercing Saw “ that I have used to good effect on sheet brass, but, nickel silver track is a whole new ballgame . I also have a junior hacksaw, but I thought that a junior hacksaw blade would be too coarse, and bounce along the track.   Best wishes. Kevin



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 Posted: Thu Oct 11th, 2018 07:34 pm
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Hi Bill. Thank you. I was in a rush to reply I wrote my reply to Nigel instead of yourself. Best wishes Kevin 



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 Posted: Fri Oct 12th, 2018 03:43 am
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Hi Kevin,

Bill is right, a Dremel is not for the faint hearted. Tidy workpkace, eye protection, work gloves. the disc/blade/bit in the pointy end is at 8000-36000 rpm. That said, I use mine for everything.

A piercing saw with metal blade works fine on nickel silver rail, which is just a fancy name for a brass alloy. I use one for the places where the Dremel will not go.

You can always use the Xurons (eye protection), cut slightly over long, then solder, file gently as required. Less noise and happy neighbors.

Nigel



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 Posted: Fri Oct 12th, 2018 06:09 am
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Hi Nigel.   Thank you again.  I have a junior hacksaw as well which I am very familiar with, the blade of which , being deeper is less likely to go astray. The “ rail spikes” that you mention ,I have read about using them when laying out the rails for track building .   Best wishes. Kevin



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 Posted: Sun Oct 14th, 2018 05:06 pm
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Hi Kevin,
Every modeller will have their preferred preference when it comes to bridging the gap. What works for some will not work for others. This could be down to a lack of or different tools available.
I would say that it would be best to bridge the gap with straight track if you can.
That said I have 4 areas on my layout with gaps - needs must for access and window maintenance. Some have a slight curvature and some also have point work.
My preferred method is brass screws to which the track can be soldered to and the use of a thin disc in a Dremel.
Works for me but that said, no matter how accurate you may be with your alignment, sods law will dictate that there will be a slight rise after you have made the cut.
Get the file out or try and live with it. If it doesn't derail your stock then it may just be worth while living with it.



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 Posted: Sun Oct 14th, 2018 05:59 pm
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Hi Gary.  Thank you for your reply . I only have one gap and that is between the Inglenook and the fiddleyard, not a regular occurrence you understand, Just a gimmick to give me more variety. I tried both ideas, the copper clad first, and it worked for the dummy run, but, when it was on the baseboard the rails became detached when I tried to saw the. Then I tried the brass screws which seemed perfect at first? But failed . If at first you don’t succeed, try try again.Best wishes. Kevin 



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