FIX for having cut flex rail too short ..

MarkInLA Sep 6, 2016

  1. MarkInLA

    MarkInLA TrainBoard Member

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    Hi. I just now finished entering this method in a new member's thread and so thought I'd make it public :
    It you've obviously measured a rail incorrectly on a 3', $6.00 piece of flex and cut it too short, causing a 1/8th" to 1/4" gap between it and rail facing it, do this:
    Assuming you have a Xuron nail nipper (If you don't, you need to get one, pronto), take a piece of unused scrap rail and nip off a piece same size as gap (just eyeball it).. Being careful to make sure it's right side up, slip it into middle of a rail joiner. Install this joiner between the two rails. Done deal. Continue 'gandy dancing' OpS. You can, but there's no need to solder it..

    It's a good chance I'm not the only one in the history of MRRing to have come up with this. Yet I don't recall ever hearing or seeing it elsewhere... Mark
     
    flexeril likes this.
  2. MarkInLA

    MarkInLA TrainBoard Member

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    ADDENDUM to above : Typo reads "Xuron nail nippers". Of course I meant "rail nipper" ......Thus we also add a perfect Spoonerism to the vast list of Spoonerisms there are, or are to be found by me and others into this nasty habit : ' nail rippers and rail nippers' ! ...One's several people or machines. The other a tool......I habitually track down Spoonerisms. I have some beauts I've found ! But I wish I could stop ! I call it neuroticoverthinkingnesssyndrome ....M
     
  3. Rocket Jones

    Rocket Jones TrainBoard Member

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    Nicely corrected. Everything covered in one swell foop!
     
  4. MarkInLA

    MarkInLA TrainBoard Member

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    Hey Rocket ! Are you poking that smot again !?
     
  5. ScaleCraft

    ScaleCraft TrainBoard Member

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    I've got several on my outdoor pike like that. Not cut short, just replaced a switch and none of them have exactly the same stock rails. You can add several over many joints if the gap is too large for one joiner to adequately hold.
     
  6. rch

    rch TrainBoard Member

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    I'd you don't already have some, get some dial calipers:

    [​IMG]

    You can get cheap ones from Northern Tool or Harbor Freight. We have a few defense contractors here in town so the really nice expensive ones show up in local pawn shops from time to time.

    Anyway, use the jaws on top to measure the gap, lock the jaws using the lock screw then cut your length of rail to fit between the jaws.

    I would recommend against trying to install a 1/4" long piece of rail. You'll never have the same performance with one rail joiner covering two joints as you will with two rail joiners. Instead, just cut out two or three inches and install a piece to fit.
     
    GP30 likes this.
  7. MarkInLA

    MarkInLA TrainBoard Member

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    It's a bit of a drag when you you are the OP volunteering some simple help and someone comes along and infers that your OP is not good advice ("I'd recommend against trying to install a 1/4" piece of rail " ). I have done allot of flex track installment in my life. I have many times had a rail that wound up 1/8 - 1/4 " too short. I must have corrected this problem 15-20 times over the years, filling the gap with a snippet of rail slipped into a rail joiner and joiner placed between the 1, or even 2, opposing railheads, just eyeballing it to boot. And it has never not been a perfect solution. Trains glide right over them. I do not think one needs to go as far as using a dial caliper for measuring this insignificant little gap. It ain't that serious, tolerance wise. Besides, you don't want an exact snug fit anyway, as some room is needed to let the rails expand/swell in hot room conditions. ...M
     
  8. rch

    rch TrainBoard Member

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    It wasn't my intention to offend you. I apologize for disrupting the thread.
     
  9. MarkInLA

    MarkInLA TrainBoard Member

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    Yeah, I gabeesh. You were not dissing mine. You were merely going at problem in a very concise, more scientific, close tolerances way. I didn't take your input as if saying "Mark's method is too untechnical. Don't go there ! " But, I simply wanted my fellow rails out there to know this little trick, if they don't already; especially newbies; that there's no need to think an entire 3' flex track is ruined due to his or her faulty measuring. And here's a simp, quick rescue ops. Also, it ain't that easy to find used calipers, leave alone dial calipers. Your town is obviously strewn with them. Most other places in the world do not have defence contractors working up the street, leave alone that $35 can be allot for many of us in the hobby and my way costs less than 00.50.% of a penny.
    This is too insignificant of a discussion for me to expect an apology from you. It's more like, yes, your idea is perfectly fine. But it wasn't called for at this time. This was my volunteered 'how-to' OP, not a comparison test. It kind of starts a new thread within a thread. But you in no way disrupted the thread...You meant well.. . fuhgeddaboudit... M
     
    rch likes this.
  10. MarkInLA

    MarkInLA TrainBoard Member

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    Got your private alert..You're welcome....M...
     
  11. viperjim1

    viperjim1 TrainBoard Member

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    I have done that also cut it off twice and it's still to short
     
  12. MarkInLA

    MarkInLA TrainBoard Member

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    Jim, not sure what you mean. I simply mean if you have a 5/16 " gap after cutting a piece of flex, fill it with a 5/16" snippet of scrap rail by sliding it into the middle of a rail joiner first...Then, lifting up ends of opposing track sections, guide this joiner between them and secure everything. Gap is gone.. (sung to the Glen Campbell's song "Galveston"..."Gap is gone, oh gap is gone ! I can see my railway's flowin' " ...M
     
  13. BlazeMan

    BlazeMan TrainBoard Member

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    Had a couple of situations like that. Came up with the same idea for a fix. My gaps are more like .125 inch which makes cutting a piece somewhat challenging. Just couldn't make it work. I filled the gap with solder and filed to mate with the track contours.
     
  14. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

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    You won't find me using any kind of rail nippers. I prefer to use a fine cutting disc on my Dremel Tool.

    I know the story. I cut the track three different times and it still came out short, shorter and to short. Grin!

    Some fixes seem to work for a while but will cause you maintenance head aches as the track ages. No different then the 1:1 foot scale.

    Have fun with your fix.
     
  15. MarkInLA

    MarkInLA TrainBoard Member

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    What are you yappin' at now, Rick ? We all know Dremels and sawing of things with them. What you are not understanding is with the Xuron clipper, as long as you are holding it with the proper side (flat side toward rail to be sliced) you immediately nip off a clean cut length of rail, at an acceptable eyeballed scale distance, then shore it up, all done in one quick swoop of merely lifting flex, cutting flex and anchoring flex. With a Dremel you have to lay one rail against the other, on the ballast/sub roadbed/cork/yada yada, and hold them taut whilst sawing through. OR you have to do the job on the workbench, not at track side.. Yes, it affords precise measurements, not eyeballed. But in a teensy 1/8"-1/4" gap situ, it ain't be 'dat bigga' bazooka. Ya ketchup what I'm layin' down, daddio ? ....cooooool,...M
     
  16. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

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    Mark you've come along ways on your learning curve. But I still don't and won't use any of those rail nippers. To many burr's and surprises to deal with. How about getting a new piece of track and start the cutting process all over again, so you don't have such a small gap? daddio! LOL

    Forget PC: Merry Christmas!
     
  17. MarkInLA

    MarkInLA TrainBoard Member

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    Rick, the whole reason for filling a tiny 1/8" to even a say, 5" mistake gap, is precisely to not have to buy a new $6 piece of flex or even a 1' sectional track ! And, there's no guarantee you won't screw up the new piece ! Right ? As far as nippers go, if you use them correctly (flat side against rail you're cutting, it comes out perfect. There are no 'burs or surprises'. I'm sure near everyone in the forum who use Xuron nippers would attest to this.. I must have made 219 rail cuts with them in my years, and all came out A1 (if I didn't make yet another measuring mistake). The end of the rail comes out plumb (plum ?)-vertical with no damage to the web, foot, or rail head...M

    Happiest of holidecks to you too
    Mark
     
  18. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

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    Nice fix as I said before. Just not the answer I'm looking for.

    Get a new piece of track and then cut it to short. I've done that before.

    Did I really say, Bah Hum Bug!

    Have fun Mark and may your fix last as long as the layout you are building.

    Merry Munchkins right back at you.
     
  19. mr magnolia

    mr magnolia TrainBoard Supporter

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    Been waiting a little while to reply to this and say 'thanks'.

    Not a difficult solution to arrive at, but one of those that I need a nudge towards to make it happen!

    Spent a couple of hours fixing up some of these instances on my railroad today. Couple of them I had to go further and fit the missing bit with two rail joiners and fix it back in that way (needed to trim the joiners back a little too, to get them all to fit together nicely) Allowed my to get the alignment I've been looking for through a nice easement off some switches as opposed to a slight kink due to slightly too short track..

    will be filling in the little bits with some solder once the track is fixed in place.

    ta

    Donald
     
  20. MarkInLA

    MarkInLA TrainBoard Member

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    Donald, can I assume you thanked me as opposed another's ideas, that the Xuron rail nippers used correctly, and sliding small length rail (tad shorter than gap you're filling) into the middle of a joiner is your cup of tea, too ?!! There is no need whatsoever to measure the gap micro metrically. "Gap's about 3/8". I'll mosey over to the 'Surplus,Various-Length Broken Flextrack Dept.', nip about 3/8" (-) off, slide it into the old Atlas rail joiner and get the joiner locked between the 2 opposing running rails (stock rails, main line rails), yada yada yada...and that's that !!..! el finito!!". Correct Donald ?...Mark. PS. Whatever you come up with involving this method is AOK. Yes, you can insert a, say, 2" length rail which thus will need 2 joiners to install it (curved though, is a tad more demanding. But same no-brainer. Line 'em up any which way if that's what the 'Track laying Dept.' needs to do for this particular MOW job.....
     

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