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MarshLane

A new modelling chapter: Marsh Lane Workshops

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Afternoon all,

I felt it was about time I started a dedicated 2mm finescale thread on here.  I am working on the basis of a layout, but no where near actually starting it, so a workbench thread felt the right way to go.  Having joined the 2mm Association back in March, and attended several of the North Mercia Area Group meetings (thanks to Laurie's kind welcome), I finally found some time over Christmas to start building track.

 

Having built in 7mm, before I had the basic concepts, but this is a different undertaking and certainly a learning curve.  I have tried working with the association etched chairs, and despite several informative discussions with both Laurie and Chris Bentley, I abandoned all hope, after spending several hours failing to get any more than one in place and looking right!  I may try again in the future, but for now, I've decided to go down the road of soldered copper clad sleeper pointwork, in order to be able to actually get something running.

 

My soldering skills are improving, and having taken Chris' advice about positioning small 0.5mm pieces of solder against the rail, the standard of my soldering is definitely getting neater.  Please excuse the images, which were just taken with the iPhone.

 

The first point was produced last week, but it looked wrong, the 'vee' section was really bad - so much so that I refuse to even take a picture of it! But it was a first attempt, so moving swiftly on to No.2 - I am a lot happier with this one.  The 'vee' still needs some perfection visually, but seems to work ok operationally.  The whole point is flat and I think I have got 2FS spacing right for the 'vee' closure rails and the guard rails.  I still need to electrically gap the rails and fit the power feeds to it - on hindsight I wonder if these should have been soldered under the rails before fixing them in place?

 

I have yet to sort out the tie bar, or any form of operating this.  I do have one of the association point operating kits, but am currently struggling to see how everything fits together. I openly admit, I am one of those for whom pictures and words do not necessarily make sense.  Still it is the start of a new chapter, and things are finally underway.

 

As always, I welcome comments and constructive criticism please - I always think its one of the best ways of learning, so as long as you tell me why and what should be better/different, please don't be shy to say its rubbish!!

 

Rich

 

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Hi Rich.

 

Looks to me like you have tried to file the two rails so that they both come together at the nose of the crossing.  In fact both should be tapered to the angle of the crossing with one rail (the point rail, usually the straight or main line) forming the tip, while the other rail (the splice rail) sits against that with it's tip at the end of the point rail taper.  I think you can see this in this (much enlarged) photo of one of my own crossings on Kirkallanmuir. 

 

335775623_Crossingnose.jpg.ab528b428b6b3dc8cce84f53b84c25d4.jpg

 Do you have The Association book 'Track'?  This will tell you all you need to know about the prototype and how to build turnouts.

 

Keep at it!  You will only get better.  If it's any comfort I made the same mistake until I knew better!!

 

Jim

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36 minutes ago, Caley Jim said:

Hi Rich.

Looks to me like you have tried to file the two rails so that they both come together at the nose of the crossing.  In fact both should be tapered to the angle of the crossing with one rail (the point rail, usually the straight or main line) forming the tip, while the other rail (the splice rail) sits against that with it's tip at the end of the point rail taper.  I think you can see this in this (much enlarged) photo of one of my own crossings on Kirkallanmuir. 

 

 

Do you have The Association book 'Track'?  This will tell you all you need to know about the prototype and how to build turnouts.

 

Keep at it!  You will only get better.  If it's any comfort I made the same mistake until I knew better!!

Jim

 

Hi Jim,

Thanks for the feedback.  Yes thats exactly how it turned out ... wasn't planned that way!  I remembered from the 7mm trackwork about tapering the angle, but it came together somewhat differently.  I have ordered the association jig now to try and make a better job of it.  I would like to think that with practice I can eventually put them together without a jig, but suspect it may help to start with.

 

I haven't got the association Track book, must add it to the order next time. I note that your pointwork swaps from copper clad to (I presume) plastic straight after the 'vee'.  Is there any reason for that, or just your preference?

 

Rich

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2 hours ago, Caley Jim said:

Hi Rich.

 

Looks to me like you have tried to file the two rails so that they both come together at the nose of the crossing. 

 

That's how a GWR nose looked on the real thing. However it was created differently: by bending the rails away from the nose and shaping both sides so that the nose was essentially solid web. See GWR switch and crossing practice by Smith for full details. 

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4 hours ago, MarshLane said:

 

.......I note that your pointwork swaps from copper clad to (I presume) plastic straight after the 'vee'.  Is there any reason for that, or just your preference?

All the turnouts on Kirkallanmuir are laid on interlaced sleepers as per Caledonian practice up to the late 1800's.  I used pcb sleepers in the switch and crossing areas with Easitrac  sleepers in between.   If you go to the early pages in my Kirkallanmuir topic (link below) you'll see how I did it.  All the plain track is Easitrac.

 

Jim

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It's not rubbish Rich, it's the start of a learning curve. I needed a dozen points to get a decent pre group interleaved sleeper one working really well in 4 mm EM, I have seen Jims 2 mm work and it is top class. 

 

As Jim says, practice and good soldering technique is the key. To get a really good flow of a tiny amount of solder try Bakers fluid or similar phosphoric acid flux, once you get the hang of using it life gets so much easier. 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Dave John said:

It's not rubbish Rich, it's the start of a learning curve. I needed a dozen points to get a decent pre group interleaved sleeper one working really well in 4 mm EM, I have seen Jims 2 mm work and it is top class. 

 

As Jim says, practice and good soldering technique is the key. To get a really good flow of a tiny amount of solder try Bakers fluid or similar phosphoric acid flux, once you get the hang of using it life gets so much easier. 

 

Thanks Dave, your too kind!  I have used Rosin Flux, on this one - so it will need a good scrub and defluxing before being painted.  I am basically putting together a small test board at the moment, two or three points and a diamond crossing.  It is unlikely to get scenery, but the aim is to practice the point and trackwork, make sure it works and things run over it ok, before I start the trackwork for the main layout.

 

Rich

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Posted (edited)

Two recommendations from me:

 

1 - try using solder balls as per Keith Armes article in the 2mm magazine. I find they make very neat solder joints on PCB trackwork

2 - use Brian Harrap's method of making crossing vees, which makes the job very easy

 

Edited by 2mmMark
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I didn't see this mentioned but the solder joints on the track appear to be incomplete.  I like to go back, reflux and hold the iron on the unsoldered side.  The solder should wick under the rail and smooth everything out.  You can use desolder braid to remove egregious amounts of excess solder.

 

I don't do a lot of copper clad track but I make crossings on copper clad strip.

 

Rosin flux is messy IMO (although it does smell nice).  I prefer a non acid flux.  I only use Rosin for electrical.

 

John

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10 hours ago, Dave John said:

It's not rubbish Rich, it's the start of a learning curve. I needed a dozen points to get a decent pre group interleaved sleeper one working really well in 4 mm EM, I have seen Jims 2 mm work and it is top class. 

 

As Jim says, practice and good soldering technique is the key. To get a really good flow of a tiny amount of solder try Bakers fluid or similar phosphoric acid flux, once you get the hang of using it life gets so much easier. 

 

 

 

I would be very wary of using Bakers fluid - it is very corrosive. Phosphoric acid flux is much less corrosive but you should still wash components after use. 
 

Tim

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Mark, John, Tim,

Many thanks for the comments and feedback.

 

@2mmMark I do need to acquire some solder balls.  Chris Bentley (one of the North Mercia Area Group members) suggested cutting the solder into 0.5mm lengths, which is what I have done with this, but solder balls are the next step I think.  Thanks for the link to Brian Harrop's post.  To be honest, I did try that method for the first point and failed miserably, but I was working part from memory, so it could well be worth trying it again!  I did try and find the post and couldn't, so thanks for linking it on here.

 

@brossard Thats an interesting point (no pun intended) and yes, something I haven't done.  I'll remember to do that for the next point.

 

As an aside, what size tip in the soldering iron do people use for this? Mine is constantly blackening up between each solder and therefore really does need replacing, but I want to make sure I get the right thing.

 

Rich

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Hi Rich, A good start mate, I have added this to threads followed, so keep up the good work.

 

Trains running next week?:o:nono::D

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Posted (edited)

This video is one of a series created when the first Easitrac points (without pegs) were launched. This episode covers the use of the jigs, and is equally applicable to copper clad point construction. Indeed, it is no longer applicable to the latest Easitrac points that have milled crossing.

 

 

Actually, before filing the rail ends in the jig, I make a small modification to the rail ends. I bend the end 5mm of the rail slightly and then file the side I bent towards so the side of the rail is straight again. The central web of the rail is then at the new corner at the end of the rail instead of being central. Then, when the angle is filed using the jig, the pointy end will be solid vertically. If you file the angle on untreated bullhead rail, the pointy end will be pointy at the top and bottom, but will have a gap in the middle. Difficult to explain, but this Scalefour forum post shows it nicely in diagrams:

 

https://www.scalefour.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1914#p21893

 

 

Edited by Ian Morgan
spolling misteak
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Rich, I have a Weller soldering station with tip temp feedback.  The tip on this has remained clean forever, I don't know why. 

 

Every other stand alone iron I have had (incl Weller) has had the tip blacken.  I've tried a lot of things but can't seem to get them clean.

 

I always cut off a small sliver of solder whatever I'm doing.  This helps to control the amount - so easy to get too much.  I pick this up with my "clean" soldering iron.  If the tip is black, it won't pick up so I would place the solder against the joint.

 

John

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1 hour ago, Andrew P said:

Hi Rich, A good start mate, I have added this to threads followed, so keep up the good work.

 

Trains running next week?:o:nono::D

 

Thanks Andy - if this week is a 70 or 80 day week possibly :P hehe

 

Cheers for the encouragement!

 

Rich

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23 minutes ago, Ian Morgan said:

This video is one of a series created when the first Easitrac points (without pegs) were launched. This episode covers the use of the jigs, and is equally applicable to copper clad point construction. Indeed, it is no longer applicable to the latest Easitrac points that have milled crossing.

 

 

Actually, before filing the rail ends in the jig, I make a small modification to the rail ends. I bend the end 5mm of the rail slightly and then file the side I bent towards so the side of the rail is straight again. The central web of the rail is then at the new corner at the end of the rail instead of being central. Then, when the angle is filed using the jig, the pointy end will be solid vertically. If you file the angle on untreated bullhead rail, the pointy end will be pointy at the top and bottom, but will have a gap in the middle. Difficult to explain, but this Scalefour forum post shows it nicely in diagrams:

 

https://www.scalefour.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1914#p21893

 

Hi Ian,

Many thanks for that. I haven't watched the video yet - although I will - but the diagrams from Martin Wynne that you linked to on the Scalefour forum are interesting. I have got a vague understanding from a quick read through, but I'll go back and print a copy out, and read it alongside your post.  I think it makes sense, that at the finish the centre webbing is more significant and providing support, unlike on my version.  

 

Its not until you really start getting into point building that you realise how complicated a turnout/point is!

 

6 minutes ago, brossard said:

Rich, I have a Weller soldering station with tip temp feedback.  The tip on this has remained clean forever, I don't know why. 

 

Every other stand alone iron I have had (incl Weller) has had the tip blacken.  I've tried a lot of things but can't seem to get them clean.

 

I always cut off a small sliver of solder whatever I'm doing.  This helps to control the amount - so easy to get too much.  I pick this up with my "clean" soldering iron.  If the tip is black, it won't pick up so I would place the solder against the joint.

 

John

 

Thanks John.  You have just jogged my memory that when Maplins announced their closing down sale last year, I popped into our local store to have a wander, and noted a temperature controlled soldering station that was about £40, about 70% discount, I think, so thinking at some point I'll want a new iron ... it was duly purchased!  I don't think I have yet had it out of the box, so I'll search and find retrieve that from that secure storage location that I put it, and try it.  Any suggestions on what kind of temperature they should be set at?  I am just using some lead-free 1mm diameter solder for the points.

 

To everyone that has contributed so far - thanks for your encouragement and helpful advice, really is appreciated, and one of the things I love about rmWeb!

 

Rich

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Posted (edited)

I set my iron to ~ 350C for most work. 

 

I won't use lead free solder, dreadful stuff.  I have tried it and can't get it to flow properly.  This might explain your difficulty with getting a decent joint. 

 

Get some good old 60/40 or check Gaugemaster for their DCC Concepts solders (145C and 188C)  and fluxes. 

 

As for point building, it really is about practice.  I have done a lot in 7mm and my first efforts were pretty dire.  I'm much better now if I do say so myself.

 

John

Edited by brossard
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If the bit (tip) of your soldering iron keeps going black, you are overheating it. That is why temperature-controlled irons (and a full set of bit sizes) are such a good idea, the temperature needs to be set at about 100ºC above the melting point of the solder you are using.

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As Bossard has said, avoid lead free solder like the plague!!  :nono:    For kit construction I use 188 solder paint, with some old sticks of plumber's solder if I want to reinforce a joint or bend with a fillet, or fill a small gap.

 

I generally use a 2mm chisel shaped bit running at 300°C.  For cleaning it I use one of those pot-scourer type cleaners.  A quick stab into it when the iron is hot and it's shiny bright again!

 

Jim

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Right, I'll get hold of some replacement solder, and will switch to the temperature controlled iron!  The current one has no temperature setting on it, but it was only a cheap one from memory - until I got into 2mm, it was only ever used for soldering power feeds to rails.  I have got one of the pot-scourer type cleaners that Jim suggested and have been using it, but it wasn't doing any good with the iron, which suggests why!

 

I also think the bit was too big, being chisel shaped around 5-6mm, so will check that the temperature controlled one has a smaller bit, and if not, will acquire one of those too!  Its that old adage of having the right tools for the job isn't it :)

 

Rich

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23 minutes ago, MarshLane said:

 

Its not until you really start getting into point building that you realise how complicated a turnout/point is!

 

 

This week, I have added some dummy manual point levers to the points in my goods yard. I was just checking where to put them, and which way round they go when I discovered how truly clever these devices are in real life. With just a big spring and couple of metal castings, they form the equivalent of the Peco over-centre spring, ensuring points cannot be left half-set. The point is changed by pushing the lever and letting it fall back again. Pushing the lever again and letting it fall back changes the point back the other way again. If a wagon overruns a point set the wrong way, it will positively change the point setting, without moving the point lever. Clever stuff.

 

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17 minutes ago, Ian Morgan said:

 

This week, I have added some dummy manual point levers to the points in my goods yard. I was just checking where to put them, and which way round they go when I discovered how truly clever these devices are in real life. With just a big spring and couple of metal castings, they form the equivalent of the Peco over-centre spring, ensuring points cannot be left half-set. The point is changed by pushing the lever and letting it fall back again. Pushing the lever again and letting it fall back changes the point back the other way again. If a wagon overruns a point set the wrong way, it will positively change the point setting, without moving the point lever. Clever stuff.

 

They sound like "Wynn-Williams" levers;

 

http://www.valleysignals.org.nz/track/springpoints.html

 

Andy

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I've just noticed that Pendon are doing a couple of soldering tuition workshops on 21st & 22nd March, led by Mick Simpson.  I don't know if it's our 2mm Mick Simpson or not but there's no better way to learn soldering than with some hands-on tuition. 
https://pendonmuseum.com/events/event.php?s=basic-soldering-for-modellers
Many years ago, I was taught PCB assembly soldering during work lunch hours by our maintenance technician (who looked after the electro-mechanical equipment we used to analyse aircraft flight recorders). It was then easy to translate the techniques to PCB trackwork and then to metal assembly soldering.

Since then, I've passed on the techniques to others from time to time as the opportunity has arisen.  There's a very definite "eureka" moment when it all comes together when the knack of making solder joints is found.

Like others, I use 60/40 tin/lead 188 degree solder (still readily available) of the thinnest gauge I can find, a Maplin temperature controlled soldering station with a 2mm chisel tip,  phosphoric acid flux and brass "scouring pad" tip cleaner.  There is a specific tip cleaner compound which you can use to bring a tip back to good condition.

I have other tips which rarely get used but sometimes there's  a need to get a lot of heat in, which is where the bigger tips come in handy.  In my hands, tips smaller than 2mm don't seem to work as well but others like them.

Other weapons in my soldering arsenal are Nealetin lead solder paste/paint, Frys powerflow gel flux and a range of tin/lead solder balls source from eBay.

Mark

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Following on from Mark's comments (which I entirely endorse).  When manning the roadshow stand at exhibitions up here (mainly Model Rail Scotland and Perth) I usually spend my time productively by assembling one of my etched kits and I've found that I spend more time answering questions about, and giving advice on, soldering than talking about 2FS!  It's one of those things which seems to have taken on the air of a 'black art', but can be easily mastered with a little patience and following good practice.  Having someone demonstrate is a great help.

 

As I have said recently elsewhere on this section, it's important to understand that what you are doing is creating a thin alloy layer comprising the metal you are soldering and the solder and then uniting these two thin layers.  This requires clean metal, flux and heat and the heat has to be maintained long enough for the solder to flow.  The parts need to then be kept in position for a few seconds until they cool enough for the solder to solidify.  Making a quick stab with the iron, no matter how hot, will rarely produce a successful joint.

 

Jim

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