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Thread: Rail bender

  1. #1

    Rail bender

    Guys,

    I have searched for rail benders but can't seem to find one (as far as I can tell) that will allow me to set my prefered radius. I need to accurately create 19', 22', and 23' radius curves for my layout. What rail bender do you recommend?

    Thanks,

    RR

  2. #2
    You never said what type of rail bender you were looking for. Are you looking for a rail bender that can only bend one rail at a time? This is for people who like to spike and tie to make thier own tracks. Or are you looking for a rail bender that can bend both rails at once which would be useful for flex track which is assembled?

    There is a unique rail bender available to be able to bend both rails at one time on flex track. Before in the past you would have to disassemble the flex track, bend each rail seperately and then reassemble ties and hope you didn't bend one or the other too much. No more..................................

    There is a tool called "Easy Bend Duo Track" which bend both rails at once on flex track which eliminates the need to remove the ties. It features a precise track gauge, repeatable track radius thru fine tune adjustments, built in levels, stainless steel ball bearings, and gliders for smooth operation.

    I can recomend a retailer who is also a manufacturer, but they don't manufacture this product, so you should pm me if this is what you are interested in and I will send you a link.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Sterling, IL
    Posts
    133

    Rail Bender

    I would like to offer some of my own advice/eperience about bending rails....I used flex track for the majority of my layout....and used a single rail bender. I would use some pre scribed arcs on the floor, or commercial track of known radius for patterns. I dont care how careful I was....or how much I practiced.....but I would NEVER get the same exact bend / radius from consecutive bends. Im not sure If I was doing anything wrong....or what, but I would bend one rail......then, not changing anything...would bend the next....and would have to alter the settings every time. I dont know if this is the norm....due to differences in metalurgy from rail to rail......or what ...........but I always needed to tweak and experiment to get what I wanted. Now, mind u, this was an initial frustration.....but once I got my system down...it was no big deal. I was always able to match the rails up, and get what I wanted...however....just be ready to "play" or "experiment" a while to get the needed results. It will be easey to make the final "tweaks" one needs on the layout when the track is being layed.
    I hope others with some experience chime in so I know that I either was doing something wrong.....or if that was normal. Also....Just wanted to post this so it wasnt such a suprise.

    Having this experience has helped me...and I would not have changed a thing as to the selection of track, bender, etc.

    Regards,

    Darryl

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by dmiller View Post
    I would like to offer some of my own advice/eperience about bending rails....I used flex track for the majority of my layout....and used a single rail bender. I would use some pre scribed arcs on the floor, or commercial track of known radius for patterns. I dont care how careful I was....or how much I practiced.....but I would NEVER get the same exact bend / radius from consecutive bends. Im not sure If I was doing anything wrong....or what, but I would bend one rail......then, not changing anything...would bend the next....and would have to alter the settings every time. I dont know if this is the norm....due to differences in metalurgy from rail to rail......or what ...........but I always needed to tweak and experiment to get what I wanted. Now, mind u, this was an initial frustration.....but once I got my system down...it was no big deal. I was always able to match the rails up, and get what I wanted...however....just be ready to "play" or "experiment" a while to get the needed results. It will be easey to make the final "tweaks" one needs on the layout when the track is being layed.
    I hope others with some experience chime in so I know that I either was doing something wrong.....or if that was normal. Also....Just wanted to post this so it wasnt such a suprise.

    Having this experience has helped me...and I would not have changed a thing as to the selection of track, bender, etc.

    Regards,

    Darryl

    Thanks Darryl; excellent advice for sure.

    My layout situation is complicated because I intend to run parallel tracks with 3.75" of space between. So, I was hoping there would be a rail bender that had a sliding scale of radii to select. I'll definitely practice, practice, practice, practice - before committing to my layout.

    -RR

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by dmiller View Post
    I would like to offer some of my own advice/eperience about bending rails....I used flex track for the majority of my layout....and used a single rail bender. I would use some pre scribed arcs on the floor, or commercial track of known radius for patterns. I dont care how careful I was....or how much I practiced.....but I would NEVER get the same exact bend / radius from consecutive bends. Im not sure If I was doing anything wrong....or what, but I would bend one rail......then, not changing anything...would bend the next....and would have to alter the settings every time. I dont know if this is the norm....due to differences in metalurgy from rail to rail......or what ...........but I always needed to tweak and experiment to get what I wanted. Now, mind u, this was an initial frustration.....but once I got my system down...it was no big deal. I was always able to match the rails up, and get what I wanted...however....just be ready to "play" or "experiment" a while to get the needed results. It will be easey to make the final "tweaks" one needs on the layout when the track is being layed.
    I hope others with some experience chime in so I know that I either was doing something wrong.....or if that was normal. Also....Just wanted to post this so it wasnt such a suprise.

    Having this experience has helped me...and I would not have changed a thing as to the selection of track, bender, etc.

    Regards,

    Darryl
    dmiller, the Easy Bend Duo track bender claims to be very consistant once you have it set and has fine tune adjustments. This tool is specially made for flex track and is also made so you don't have to disassemble the flex track. You can bend it with ties in place with this tool which also bends both rails at the same time saving endless time.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Sterling, IL
    Posts
    133

    Bender

    Sorry,. my computer messed up.......see next post.
    Last edited by dmiller; September 4th, 2010 at 02:00 AM. Reason: double post

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Sterling, IL
    Posts
    133

    Bender

    Yes, but the easy bend duo is very expensive, imho. Nearly $300....thats how much the whole last lot of track cost me. The bender I used , while maybe not as fancy....did the job with practice and understanding.......and for a whole lot less. (less than $100, If Im remembering right)
    Now, if one has a bunch of track to bend......then it is worth the price....but for our layout, what we used was just fine, and did the job. I just wanted folks to realize that there was more than just rolling the rails thru the bender, and expecting perfectly formed tracks.

    D

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by dmiller View Post
    Yes, but the easy bend duo is very expensive, imho. Nearly $300....thats how much the whole last lot of track cost me. The bender I used , while maybe not as fancy....did the job with practice and understanding.......and for a whole lot less. (less than $100, If Im remembering right)
    Now, if one has a bunch of track to bend......then it is worth the price....but for our layout, what we used was just fine, and did the job. I just wanted folks to realize that there was more than just rolling the rails thru the bender, and expecting perfectly formed tracks.

    D

    Wow, I didn't realize that is was sooooo expensive. Maybe one could buy it if you were a club member and then rent it out to other members to recover costs.

    On another note I heard stories of people using 55 gallon steel drums 30 gallon steel drums and 15 gallon metal containers to bend track around and they supposely did it successfully. Don't know if that is true or just a fairy tale.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by EMD trainman View Post
    On another note I heard stories of people using 55 gallon steel drums 30 gallon steel drums and 15 gallon metal containers to bend track around and they supposely did it successfully. Don't know if that is true or just a fairy tale.
    I haven't heard that, but there are instructions on the net on how to build your own rail bender pretty inexpensively.

    I think the biggest problem is not the bending itself but how one prevents twisting of the rail when it is being bent. I don't see how using steel drum as a "tool" could do that.

    If you look at the design of a rail bender and how the radius of the curve is determined, I think it's pretty obvious that trial and error is required for accuracy.
    I don't think one can get exact repeatable results regardless of what the manufacturer claims - depends on your definition of "exact" of course.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Sterling, IL
    Posts
    133

    Benders

    krs,
    I suppose that any method that works is acceptable....but after what I have done so far......I dont think Id use the 55 gallon drum method. Yes, it could be done. Brass track is very soft...and easy to bend....but I would hate to take the chance on a kink.....that would ruin that section, with the only good way to fix it would be to cut that small piece out and use those rails for shorter sections.
    I found that all I really had to do was get "close" on the radius.....then, small adjustments to the rail could be done easily with my hands. I would just lay the rail I was trying to copy down, and set the one I was bending to match next to it....and just fine tune with my hands. Slight variables were no big deal, as the ties then would keep everything in guage, and even.
    As for the twisting......I dont think that would be a problem.....given the shape of a rail......the bottom of the rail.........or the base, "T" keeps things pretty straight.

    If My brother in law wasnt going to put track down this fall, Id offer to let u borrow mine.....but we are scheduled to work on his lay out soon.

    Its interesting to discuss this topic right now.......as the latest G. railways magazine has an article about laying track. However....while being a good overview....I didnt think it gave enough info........just generalities. Too Bad.........it could have been much better.

    Regards.
    Darryl

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