(F) Trackwork on pizzas

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AndyA
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(F) Trackwork on pizzas

Postby AndyA » Mon Aug 15, 2005 8:11 am

The tiny pizzas I've seen, Alan's included, have handlaid track. Now I'm just in the throes of redoing Yucatan with handlaid track, but being a traverser, it's all straight, so I'm cheating by ACCing the rail to the ties.

I know that the correct answer to this question is 'use a four-point gauge', but does one actually need to allow an easement in the gauge to run really short wheelbase stock on one of these an if so how much? I'm thinking of a 27mm wheelbase loco and one or two sidelines short flats? (Come to think of it, what radius is Chagrin Mines?) If I know what I'm doing than maybe I can build one by pre-bending and using ACC again (like I need another project, but I do in fact need a test track).

Additionally, I think I saw mention in passing of Chagrin Mines being built on a ready-made base. Can anyone (Alan?) shed any light on this for me?

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Postby Alan » Mon Aug 15, 2005 8:36 am

AndyA

Firstly, Chagrin Mine 1 was supposed to have hand-laid track but I ran out of time, so cheated. I used On30 track and soldered the rail joiners for strength. I'll publicly thank my father for the help here.

As a result, the Peco sleeper pips were under severe strain and some gave up, causing a disasterous gauge narrowing. At this point, I ripped the sleepers out from under the track and soldered it using paxolin sleepers.

There is no expansion gap in the rails as a result of the soldered construction and the warmth of the venue caused similar gauge problems on the day, to the tune of rebuilding three wagons that took the scale 108' dive to the floor and reverted to their original kit status.

If I were to do it again, and I'm considering it, I would handlay the track -- it would be a lot less hassle. I have three gauges that I turned myself from brass stock and they're slightly over-gauge, so perfect for tight corners.

As to the base, it's an occasional table that I bought in Linens Direct for £4.99 specifically for the purpose. The top is 22" diameter so the track is nominal 9" radius. I say nominal because it definitely ain't a perfect circle!

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Postby chris krupa » Mon Aug 15, 2005 9:07 am

For people wanting to build test tracks or pizzas, why not simply buy a circle of the smallest radius Peco Set Track (or the Hornby equivalent). Sure, it'd be a larger radius but it'd get over the problem of straining flexi track that was never intended to be laid to such a small radius.

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Postby AndyA » Mon Aug 15, 2005 9:54 am

Again, the kind of thing I like about this list ...

I think that the combination of Alan's answer suggests that originally there was no gauge easement but the (lack of) strength of the flexitrack defeated the project.

Settrack is definitely an option, but the idea of building 'as small as' also appeals. I'll check out the Fleischmann Profi-track, which sounds like an easy option and not much bigger than Chagrin Mines, but I'll probably have a go at assembling a curve using my ACC technique and see whether it holds together.

I do have a bag of Paxolin sleepers. They were bought for the Yucatan rebuild but I chickened out of sol ... sold ... soldering (there I said it), because after all the mistakes it and I have been through together I like the layout too much to want to finally completely wreck it.

Thanks, too, Alan, for noting the problems of lack of expansion gaps, which, despite my mechanical engineering background, would almost certainly have eluded me first time around. So, assemble as four ninety degree curves then.

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and thanks again,
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Postby chris krupa » Mon Aug 15, 2005 10:03 am

For anyone wanting to 'Gn15-ise' OO track, I cut out two sleepers, leave one, cut two etc. I then stick lengths of similar sized Evergreen strip either side of the plastic sleeper and glue the whole lot permanently on to a piece of cork the same length as the track and voila -- Gn15 sectional track. Set track can be glued with Mek-Pak or equivalent. Did anyone photograph my example at Pewsey?

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Postby Steve Bennett » Mon Aug 15, 2005 10:42 am

First off, thanks Andy, your question reminded me that I had a ready made pizza track that has been stashed away in the attic for years, about six years I would think. Having retrieved it, I find it is still in good condition after suffering many extremes in temperature and will now get used.

Image

Having built more than twenty pizza layouts over the years, I would have to say the most important thing, is to pre-bend the rail prior to laying. If you do this, it takes all the stresses out of the rail and then you can use whichever method you wish to fix it in place. Gauge widening is not essential unless you are using long wheelbases or large diameter wheels, I use a standard OO roller gauge.

With pre-bent rail, it is possible to use individual sleepers from flexitrack, threaded carefully on, you will probably lose a few rail fixings, as you thread them on, but as you won't need as many sleepers in this scale, that's not too much of a problem. You will probably find OO/HO sleepers better for this than Peco On30, as the fixings are stronger. ACC should also work, but I would suggest also spiking it, as ACC is not designed to take sideways forces and any expansion could cause it to part company.

Just to stress the point again, PRE-BEND the rail.
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Postby Dave Westall » Mon Aug 15, 2005 7:40 pm

The Fleischmann track is the 'small curve' code no. 6020. It has a 250mm radius (9.84" for luddites like me) and is £1.79 per piece from OnTracks. Unfortunately I can't remember how many pieces to the circle ( I think it's eight ) and they don't say. The track is already gauge widened.
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Postby Steve Bennett » Tue Aug 16, 2005 1:46 am

Did anyone photograph my example at Pewsey?


Sadly, I didn't photograph it, but caught a bit of it:

Image

Looking at your technique got me thinking and it occurred to me a very good representation of Heywood's cast iron sleepers could be created by adapting the method slightly. Not sure it will work and will have a play tomorrow. If it works I will post the results, if not I will probably keep quiet.
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Postby Steve Bennett » Tue Aug 16, 2005 12:51 pm

Well, not quite so Heywoodish as I had hoped, see the inset picture, for which credit goes to Ian Holmes. Using Chris' idea, but in this instance the only Peco Setrack I could find was a large radius curve, so I removed the sleepers from the rail to work on them and then threaded them back on some straight rail. The three on the left have had 0.060 x 0.060 strips added to each side, while the two on the right had 0.040 x 0.080 (ish) strips which I cut myself.

The woodgrain on the top of the Setrack sleepers has also been removed with a fine file. The spacing shown here is at 1 inch centres and although not as Heywood looking as I thought it might, I think it looks rather good. I will let you be the judges:

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Postby MilesB » Wed Aug 17, 2005 2:07 pm

Of course you only need to worry about all that mucking about if you can actually SEE the sleepers on the finished layout.

I use standard Peco O-16.5 for the majority, and OO/HO small radius Y points ... once buried in DAS, ballast and black flock (ash and spilt coal dust) then you can't see much but the rails anyway.

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Postby Steve Bennett » Wed Aug 17, 2005 2:20 pm

Very good point Miles, in fact on a pizza layout, you don't really need sleepers/ties at all. It is possible to glue flat bottom rail directly to the board, with a few spikes inserted just in case the glue should give out.
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Postby Alan » Wed Aug 17, 2005 5:06 pm

It is possible to glue flat bottom rail directly to the board, with a few spikes inserted just in case the glue should give out.


That sounds like hard work, glue and nails!

Would it not be easier to solder to copper tape for sleepers? ZTC sell it in 10mm x 30m rolls for £22.50

Okay, 10mm is wide for sleepers but it's a couple of thou thick and you'll be burying it anyway. At that width, you could space the sleepers wider too.

I've been unable to find it at ScrewFix so I don't know if this is competitive or not. Any takers?
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Postby Alan » Wed Aug 17, 2005 5:24 pm

Update!

Garden shops sell self adhesive copper tape as slug and snail repellant for garden pots and you can get the same 10m roll for £12.25 from Green Gardener

The dolls house crowd use it as well, for running wiring inside walls and you can get it from 4D Models for £5.50 for a longer, narrower roll.

Both are merely examples of online traders that have the stuff listed -- no endorsement or personal experience implied or offered.
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Postby Steve Bennett » Wed Aug 17, 2005 8:50 pm

Yes, that could work, but I was trying to suggest ways of doing it for those with a fear of soldering. After struggling to put together a 12 inch diameter circle with modified setrack sleepers, I don't think I will be trying again, give me printed circuit board and a soldering iron anyday, it really is the simplest solution.
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Postby MOG » Wed Aug 17, 2005 11:05 pm

I'm in the process of making a 12" diameter pizza for Christmas ... using an IKEA lazy susan as a base. I've done exactly what everyone has advised not to do ... ie ... I took a length of Peco HO flex track ... removed 2 of every 3 sleepers and pinned it down. I didn't pre-bend it.

I tried making one of Steve's little rail benders but had no joy -- I don't know where I was going wrong. I simply bent and pinned as I went. I made sure that the joints were soldered and not opposite each other.

I have noticed some stretching and the sleepers haven't gripped the track in one or two spots ... but it's ballasted down now and I can run my Bachmann On30 tram round in circles without it coming off (it's slow because it's powered by a 9v battery fastened to the underside of the board, control via DPDT switch).

I must have a go at this soldering track to sleepers lark ... it's just that I am crap at soldering ... I've never seen anyone else do it so I'm just trying to teach myself.
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Postby AndyA » Thu Aug 18, 2005 5:53 am

Steve said...

but I was trying to suggest ways of doing it for those with a fear of soldering. After struggling to put together a 12 inch diameter circle with modified setrack sleepers, I don't think I will be trying again.


I tried to make a start on the same thing yesterday whilst waiting for my software tech, who had overslept. MOG notwithstanding, my attempt was all over the place before I'd done more than six inches. I eventually gave up and went back to sifting the Inland Revenue paperwork to fill in the time.

I've ordered some of those Fleischman small curves and intend to spend time on the train today planning scenery from the Kimmeridge area (yeah, okay, who plans the scenery for a pizza in advance?), but the rail from the flextrack is still left over, so I have a different cunning plan to avoid soldering (and spiking).

This thread has given me some kind of feeling for the accuracy required, so using the Goodwood and Ironside (Late Elizabethan) web site diagrams as a guide, I'm going to draw up a template for a web (rather than individual sleepers) for one-eighth of a six-inch radius circle. Even I should be able to PRE-BEND sections of rail this short and then use a jig made of pins in a board to hold the rail in place while I glue it down, and in sections this short the side-stresses shouldn't exceed the capabilities of a slow-setting ACC. Assembling the circle out of eight pieces should then be simple enough, if fiddly.

Actually, whilst typing this, I've just realised that there might be an even easier way. On the micro-traverser layout, I spaced the rails by cutting treadplate the right width to fit between the inside edges of the flat-bottom rail. If it works for straights, it ought to work for curves as well if the sheet is cut accurately, which I can do by fixing printout to the styrene, cutting slightly oversize and sanding to the lines. Then glue the PRE-BENT sections accurately to the board and, when set really solid, use the raised edges as a guide for gluing the rail. May try that first instead.

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Postby Steve Bennett » Thu Aug 18, 2005 11:57 am

Not sure it was worth the effort, but here is the pizza made using modified Peco Setrack sleepers. Now it is all together, it is surprisingly strong. All the sleepers (23) came from one length of track, with plenty of spares left over and in putting together, I only broke the rail fixing off one.

I certainly wouldn't recommend trying this using sleepers from a length of flexitrack, the different plastic used for it is not really suitable, the rail fixings are far too bendy and delicate for this kind of abuse. The 24th sleeper is PCB and used to carry the power to the rails, the railjoiners are also soldered on, so there was some soldering involved:

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Postby Catweasel » Sun Aug 21, 2005 2:06 pm

Re: Heywood style sleepers. One way of creating the right effect may be to solder some brass wire onto copperclad sleeper strip, then solder the rail onto that and cut through to the paxolin or fibreglass on the inside of the rail. I think I need to get out more.


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