Forming flex track

crclass Nov 8, 2019

  1. crclass

    crclass TrainBoard Member

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    I am almost positive that I found this on this forum. Using HO scale snap track to form N-scale flex track. My question is could you form HO scale flex track using N-scale snap track? Ultimately I want to use as much ME code 55 as possible. My thoughts are to use the N-scale snap track to form the radius in HO scale flex track so that I could use the HO flex track to form the N-scale flex. I want to probably go as tight as 11 inch radius. I hope this isn't too confusing, because I'm thinking it could really smooth out my poor track laying skills.
     
  2. wvgca

    wvgca TrainBoard Member

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    the width is different .. how do you get around that ??
     
  3. Inkaneer

    Inkaneer TrainBoard Member

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    I think what he is referring to is that the ties of at least one brand of N scale flex will fit inside the rails of HO track. I think it is Atlas track, Not sure if that is true for other brands.
     
  4. bill pearce

    bill pearce TrainBoard Member

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    I'm sorry to be debbie downer, but this seem to me like a way to over complicate a simple task.
     
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  5. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

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    Yes, You can use snap track to form up the curve for flex track. Draw a line on the outside edge and lay your flex track up against the drawn line. That's how I got started.

    Most guys use a yard stick and turn it into a type of compass. They will drill a hole so the lead of the pencil can fit through it and draw a line in the middle and lay the track. Using the line to set the middle of the flex track in place. At the moment I'm unable to illustrate this procedure. However, it works well for me, no matter what flex track I use.
     
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  6. mtntrainman

    mtntrainman TrainBoard Supporter

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    Back in the day....

    Find the center of where you want the radius. Tack a small nail in at that point. Get some string and tie a loop at one end. Slip that loop over the nail. Decide how far out you want the radius to be from that nail. Wrap the loose end of the string around the beveled end of the pencill...near the lead point. Hold the pencil straight up. Keeping the string tight...draw a radius around as far as you want.

    Kinda like this...

    https://sew4home.com/sites/default/files/1693-Circle-Compass.png


    Easy-Peazy.
     
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  7. Joe Lovett

    Joe Lovett TrainBoard Member

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    I cut a yardstick to two feet to draw track position, it has several holes for drawing the different radiuses. The pivot point is one inch from the end and I have three holes for...

    16 inch radius at the 17 inch mark.
    17-12 radius at the 18-1/2 mark.
    19 radius at the 20 mark.

    I use 19 inch radius on the mainline of my layout, 17-1/2 on passing tracks and 16 minimum radius on spurs and yard. The mainline radius was determined by the radius of a Peco #6 turnout.

    It will work on other radiuses just remember to add a inch because of the pivot point being a inch from the end of yardstick.

    I also have some radius templates for hard to reach areas that are cut from common cardboard boxes.

    If you have any questions please let me know.

    Joe

    IMG_20191108_011318.jpg
     
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  8. John Moore

    John Moore TrainBoard Supporter

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    I made templates out of cardboard and simply laid the template where I wanted the curve then used a sharpie to mark the curve.
     
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  9. bill pearce

    bill pearce TrainBoard Member

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    YES! that's how many of us did it. Once the line is on the cork, it's relatively easy to use it as a centerline for the flex. You may preform flex, but with Atlas track that's not possible, as it will spring back to straight as soon as you lift it up. That's one of the things that I like about ME flex. Just remember to start forming from the middle of the stick. Form it and it stays. For me it made laying track much easier.
     
  10. SP-Wolf

    SP-Wolf TrainBoard Supporter

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  11. Inkaneer

    Inkaneer TrainBoard Member

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    What exactly is wrong with your track laying skills? I ask because I am not seeing how using HO flex will solve any problems. In fact if you are going to use 11 inch radius N scale track to shape the HO flex why not just go with the N scale 11 inch radius track to begin with? Even using the HO flex to form your curve there is no guarantee that either the HO flex or the N scale flex will retain the curvature.
     
  12. James Fitch

    James Fitch TrainBoard Member

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    Agree. The old fashioned trammel to draw a center-line and lay the flex on the center-line. Simple and accurate.
     
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  13. James Fitch

    James Fitch TrainBoard Member

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    Walthers or MicroEngineering HO flex is very stiff and will maintain it's curvature, for what it's worth. I don't like the stiff type but there you have it.
     
  14. DCESharkman

    DCESharkman TrainBoard Member

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    Track-Setta track gauges work very well too!
     
  15. bill pearce

    bill pearce TrainBoard Member

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    I find the stiff flex track easier to lay.
     
  16. jimfitch

    jimfitch TrainBoard Member

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    Completely the opposite for me. Lots of massaging to get a smooth curve or perfectly straight. Atlas springy track springs smoothly and evenly to any radius and can then be tacked down instantly with track nails or spiked.

    The springy nature also makes easements easy to lay, the track basically is the bent stick in John Armstrong's bent stick method.
     
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  17. Trains

    Trains TrainBoard Member

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    A nice yardstick compass, a center line and you are good to go!
     
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  18. bill pearce

    bill pearce TrainBoard Member

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    That's the time honored method. Sometimes the old ways are easier and more cost effective.
     
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  19. Joe Lovett

    Joe Lovett TrainBoard Member

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    I use N scale Peco code 80 flex track on my layout and it is like Atlas as far as the spring effect. It does make easement curves easier. All you need is a center line for a reference to install roadbed, I prefer Cork. Then install the flex track using the center line of the Cork.

    Joe
     
  20. NtheBasement

    NtheBasement TrainBoard Member

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    Watch out with the cork - the Midwest Products stuff is by no means symmetrical - one side is wider than the other, so the center seam is not the center of the roadbed.
     

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