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Heath Town - New Beginnings . . .


5BarVT
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1 hour ago, 5BarVT said:

IT’S INTERFERENCE

But not quite how I imagined.

Each board physically separate but joined electrically, all indications work fine; joined together, the interference resumes. Sheet of A4 between the boards, works fine, so a rail /rails is/are touching across the joint and causing run round paths.

Solution, grind back to ensure a gap, starting with the most suspect.

That will be tonight’s task.

 

Paul.

Paul,

 

Not sure how you plan to grind the rail back, but my preferred method is; assemble the baseboards, mark the exact line of the cut with a marker, and then use a ~1mm grinding disk in my 'dremel' (with flexishaft drive) to make a nice vertical cut. The 'gap' is then the thickness of the grinding disk.

 

I'm assuming that the rails are already in perfect vertical and horizontal alignment.

 

Ian

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3 hours ago, ISW said:

Not sure how you plan to grind the rail back, but my preferred method is; assemble the baseboards, mark the exact line of the cut with a marker, and then use a ~1mm grinding disk in my 'dremel' (with flexishaft drive) to make a nice vertical cut. The 'gap' is then the thickness of the grinding disk.

Many thanks Ian.  Those are the key words.

I had tried with my dremel equivalent but the slitting discs had to be angled to cut the rails.  I had bought a larger diameter diamond cutting disc but it isn’t planar so cuts a 2 - 2.5mm gap. The rails had been cut with a razor saw which doesn’t give a big enough gap to cater for board flexing.

For Christmas I got a flexible drive which is smaller in diameter so the slitting discs will cut vertically. Now I have 16 x 1.a bit mm gaps in my rails and all the track sections report correctly now. With practice the gaps may become 1mm!

Need to do some track cleaning now.
Paul.

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10 hours ago, 5BarVT said:

 

Many thanks Ian.  Those are the key words.I had tried with my dremel equivalent but the slitting discs had to be angled to cut the rails.
Paul.

Paul,

Indeed yes, the flexishaft is a real necessity for this job. I did once try using a larger ~50mm cutting disc to overcome the height issue, but it wobbled so much that it was impossible to use.

Even with a flexishaft, the grinding discs need to be treated with care as they have a nasty tendency to 'explode' if you get the rotating axis 'off line', meaning the disc has to bend. Yep, I found out the hard way ...

Another issue with grinding discs is that they don't like cutting solder. I have my rail ends (at baseboard joins) soldered to brass screws driven into the top of the baseboard. Sometimes the solder 'flows' along the underside of the rail and so needs to be cut. A grinding disc will 'clog' with the solder very quickly and become useless as the cutting surface is now smooth. I did throw those discs away until I found I could sand/file off the solder using a small file, putting the disc back to cutting status again.

Ian

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3 hours ago, ISW said:

Another issue with grinding discs is that they don't like cutting solder. I have my rail ends (at baseboard joins) soldered to brass screws driven into the top of the baseboard. Sometimes the solder 'flows' along the underside of the rail and so needs to be cut. A grinding disc will 'clog' with the solder very quickly and become useless as the cutting surface is now smooth.

Useful tip, thanks.  Files don’t like filing it either!


My technique (so far) has avoided too much solder at the actual joint.

No.4 brass flat CSK about 6mm from the edge of the board (pilot hole to make sure it doesn’t split the ply that close to the edge).  Adjust the screw to interference height using a scrap piece of rail with sleepers cut away from the end, then 1/4 turn (ish) extra to allow space for solder.  File (clean) the top and tin, then remove as much solder as possible.  Cut flexitrack to length, mark screw position, remove sleepers, file the foot, tin and then remove as much solder as possible, connect and lay track, then solder the rails to the screws by putting the iron on one side of the screw and solder on the other.  As soon as solder melts it will run where the screw is by capillary action but not along the rest of the rail foot.
 

For visible areas I have some 1/2” No.1 screws which will hide under the foot of the rail but need more precision in fixing. I got as far as 12 of them on the old layout, I will have 60 on this layout.

 

Paul.

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52 minutes ago, 5BarVT said:

Useful tip, thanks.  Files don’t like filing it either!


My technique (so far) has avoided too much solder at the actual joint.

No.4 brass flat CSK about 6mm from the edge of the board (pilot hole to make sure it doesn’t split the ply that close to the edge).  Adjust the screw to interference height using a scrap piece of rail with sleepers cut away from the end, then 1/4 turn (ish) extra to allow space for solder.  File (clean) the top and tin, then remove as much solder as possible.  Cut flexitrack to length, mark screw position, remove sleepers, file the foot, tin and then remove as much solder as possible, connect and lay track, then solder the rails to the screws by putting the iron on one side of the screw and solder on the other.  As soon as solder melts it will run where the screw is by capillary action but not along the rest of the rail foot.
 

For visible areas I have some 1/2” No.1 screws which will hide under the foot of the rail but need more precision in fixing. I got as far as 12 of them on the old layout, I will have 60 on this layout.

 

Paul.

Serious question - do you orientate the slot in any particular direction and, if so, why?

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Not any more.

I used to align the slot across the rails so that I could put the dropper in the slot and the rail on top.  Now I prefer to go for the almost interference fit.  If the slot is aligned suitably I may well use it for the dropper when I have short rails at the board joint but I don’t fret about it.

Paul.

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I am entirely new to this but I had planned to go across joints like this:

1) insert DCC dowels to allign boards and then bolt or clip boards together

2) mark track position and insert brass screws just short of the joint at the correct height, lightly tin the screw tops

3) lay the track down across the two boards and glue or pin in position ensuring screws are in the correct position

4) solder to the screws

5) cut the rails (following advice above)

Does this make sense to you guys?

Andy

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5 hours ago, St Enodoc said:

Serious question - do you orientate the slot in any particular direction and, if so, why?

I 'try' to align the slot perpendicular to the track centreline as this provides a nice 'groove' to insert the solder. I place the soldering iron on the opposite side of the rail, thus ensuring that the solder gets under the full rail foot width.

 

As I don't bother with tinning either the rail foot (too much of a hastle) or the top of the brass screw (I 'imagine' that it might upset the vertical alignment while gluing the track down), I paint some flux between the rail foot and the brass screw with a small paintbrush.

 

I'm also a bit 'over enthusiastic' or 'heavy handed' with the solder, as I really don't want it to come apart. Thus, in a number of instances, the solder has actually 'bridged' between the brass screws on either side of the baseboard joint. Hence the resulting 'issues' with cutting of the solder.

 

I have quite a few curves running across the baseboard joins, and so place the brass screws as close as I can to the edge of the baseboard. This usually means <5mm. The longer the 'overhang' the more pronounced the resulting 'kink' is in the curve.

 

Ian

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3 hours ago, Andy Keane said:

I am entirely new to this but I had planned to go across joints like this:

1) insert DCC dowels to allign boards and then bolt or clip boards together

2) mark track position and insert brass screws just short of the joint at the correct height, lightly tin the screw tops

3) lay the track down across the two boards and glue or pin in position ensuring screws are in the correct position

4) solder to the screws

5) cut the rails (following advice above)

Does this make sense to you guys?

Andy

Andy, 

 

I'd add a couple of QC checks. I'm sure you'd check the horizontal alignment before gluing, but it's equally important (possible more so?) to check the vertical alignment. Just use a steel ruler and look for any 'rocking' over the brass screws.

 

If you are using cork underlay you'll not get the next problem, but I did find that using foam underlay can easily result in a vertical 'kink' due to the track lowering under the weight of any load placed on the track to keep it in place during gluing and then staying like that.

 

Ian

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12 minutes ago, ISW said:

Andy, 

 

I'd add a couple of QC checks. I'm sure you'd check the horizontal alignment before gluing, but it's equally important (possible more so?) to check the vertical alignment. Just use a steel ruler and look for any 'rocking' over the brass screws.

 

If you are using cork underlay you'll not get the next problem, but I did find that using foam underlay can easily result in a vertical 'kink' due to the track lowering under the weight of any load placed on the track to keep it in place during gluing and then staying like that.

 

Ian

Yes indeed - I did not include my full check list but I suffer from paranoia over such thing so check and measure endlessly before glueing or cutting.

I would deliberately not allign the screw slot since this might enforce a slight sideways dislocation in the position.

I have also wondered about using pairs of screws when dealing with curves to try and ensure there can be no kink forming after the cut - does anyone do that?

Andy

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32 minutes ago, Andy Keane said:

I have also wondered about using pairs of screws when dealing with curves to try and ensure there can be no kink forming after the cut - does anyone do that?

Andy

Andy,

 

I'd only consider it in a non-scenic element of the layout as it's hard enough trying to disguise 4 brass screws, let alone 8.

 

I suppose if you have a really tight curve, say, less than 2nd radius, then it might be necessary. Myself, I have a couple of 2nd radius curves at baseboard joins (yes, I know, poor planning on my part) and I've had no problems with just the usual 4 brass screws.

 

Ian

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1 hour ago, ISW said:

it's equally important (possible more so?) to check the vertical alignment. Just use a steel ruler and look for any 'rocking' over the brass screws.

Effectively, I’m doing that with my ‘interference fit’ step.

 

1 hour ago, ISW said:

If you are using cork underlay you'll not get the next problem, but I did find that using foam underlay can easily result in a vertical 'kink' due to the track lowering under the weight of any load placed on the track to keep it in place during gluing and then staying like that.

That is my learning point from this layout!  Last time, I used sealed cork tiles and have enough left for the scenic section this time.  My interference fit step worked fine.

This time I’m using foam and discovered the hard way about being careful not to press down when doing my interference check or when soldering.

Always the need to learn new mistakes when trying a new method.  Good job it’s ‘only’ a hobby.
Paul.

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5 hours ago, ISW said:

I suppose if you have a really tight curve, say, less than 2nd radius, then it might be necessary. Myself, I have a couple of 2nd radius curves at baseboard joins

For tight curves like that I'd use sectional track, not flexible.

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