Micro Engineering Flex Track

Intarsiabox Nov 24, 2019

  1. Intarsiabox

    Intarsiabox TrainBoard Member

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    Hello, thanks for having me! I'm in the middle of selling my house so I'm in between layouts at the moment and I am looking at going a different direction on track from my last layout. I think I have narrowed it down between Peco Code 55 and Micro Engineering Code 55. I was looking at Peco because it's the cheapest flex track I can get in Canada, turnout selection and it's always available. Micro Engineering looks more prototypical and is only moderately more expensive but has availability issues. I can get Peco locally and got a piece to play with and really like it but I would have to order in ME just to see if I like it or not. My only concern with ME is how well it shapes on curves and gets micro bends in the rail. My question would be, is it any more difficult to shape than the Peco code 55 track? I find Peco is really easy to shape and get smooth curves and am wondering if the ME complaints are just over blown?
     
  2. mtntrainman

    mtntrainman TrainBoard Supporter

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    Last edited: Nov 24, 2019
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  3. Intarsiabox

    Intarsiabox TrainBoard Member

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    I'm not looking for a which one is better debate. Both types are stiff when bending and will hold their shape but I don't have access to ME so I just want to know how the shaping end of it compares to Peco. Similar or not?
     
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  4. bill pearce

    bill pearce TrainBoard Member

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    In my experience and opinion, ME flex is ultimately the easiest to use. A lot of folks here complain that it is too hard to bend, dut do not cite the disability that makes them so weak. It is easy to shape, simply start in the center of the stick and bend a little bit at a time. Try to be delicate, don't just grab it like a length of Atlas code 80 and yank, but delicacy is the important thing in modeling anyway. When you get it bent it will retain its shape and not immediately spring back to straight like other flex, so it is worlds easier to lay it without drama.

    I am unfamiliar with Peco code 55 but I have seen it and I find the appearance off-putting for American modelers. As far as turnouts go, they're not that hard to scratchbuild, and much less expensive.
     
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  5. Intarsiabox

    Intarsiabox TrainBoard Member

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    Thank-you, Bill. This time around I'm looking for flex that holds it's shape when bent, I think it will allow for perfect track cuts without all the pinning and gluing.
     
  6. DarylK

    DarylK TrainBoard Member

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    ME flex track is very easy to work with and gives the best results. A major retailer has 128 6-piece bundles in stock.



     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 25, 2019
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  7. Jim Reising

    Jim Reising TrainBoard Member

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    IMO, ME is worth the effort. It's simply a matter of taking your time until you get it the way you want it. And it looks SO much better...
    [​IMG]
     
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  8. Intarsiabox

    Intarsiabox TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks for the videos and your experience. I've noted that ME track and turnouts have become available again and that's what got me considering it again. Your layout looks great!
     
  9. Intarsiabox

    Intarsiabox TrainBoard Member

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    Thank-you for the reply. The fact that you got those rails painted without getting paint on the concrete ties is rather impressive!
     
  10. bill pearce

    bill pearce TrainBoard Member

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    "I think it will allow for perfect track cuts without all the pinning and gluing."

    Based pm my experience, I can save you all the pinning, and ease the gluing. I"m amazed at what folks use to hold down flex track. The most suitable and most affordable is yellow carpenter's glue. Glue your cork down, come back the next evening, and start laying track. Smear a very thin layer of glue on the cork, so thin it no longer looks yellow, Thinner makes a better bond. Press the flex onto the glue. I used at first canned goods from the pantry to weigh down the track, but then I was introduced to something from a fabric store called pattern weights. Get some they work well. The glue set up in about a half hour and remove the weight and lay another section. Then ballast with Arizona Rock and Mineral Ballast, and glue down with diluted white glue. Works like a dream.
     
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  11. Intarsiabox

    Intarsiabox TrainBoard Member

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    My last layout was Atlas code 55 track, due to the springiness a lot of pinning was needed to maintain the curves while the glue dried. I also used Woodland Scenics roadbed on the layout but am going back to cork this time around. I had read that using white or yellow glue between the track and roadbed will cause more noise when dry than an adhesive caulk will, has that been your experience?
     
  12. DCESharkman

    DCESharkman TrainBoard Member

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    The noise level depends on the the layout surface. On NTrak modules with a wooded top there is a lot of noise. With track laid on a foam base, there is very little noise. From what I have seen, the ballast itself plays no part in the noise of running the trans.
     
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  13. Jim Reising

    Jim Reising TrainBoard Member

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    I'd like to say it was easy, but another of the advantages of ME is that it comes pre-weathered...
     
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  14. bill pearce

    bill pearce TrainBoard Member

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    There is noise, but so is there when a real train goes by. Don't understand the concern. And adhesive caulk is sloooooow to set. I have never used the WS roadbed, I was always concerned about the longevity of foam. But, although Atlas code 55 is very nice looking, it's a pain to lay because of the springiness.
     
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  15. MK

    MK TrainBoard Member

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    Not true. Go to Home Depot and pick up a tube of DAP Kwik Seal adhesive caulk for under $4. Resealable tube so you can use all of it before it harding. Comes in white or clear. The clear one goes on white and turns clear when dried. I used this for my entire layout from gluing the cork on to the pink foam base to the tracks on to the cork. Spread it on thin and it dries just as fast, if not faster, then white/yellow carpenter's glue. It's water based so it can't be any slower than the white/yellow glue as they are also water based.
     
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  16. JimJ

    JimJ Staff Member

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    Spreading very thin is the key to caulk success. I use super glue to tack down flex track. A few dots here and there. Ballast and white glue/water mix really keeps the the track in place and makes it quiet.
     
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  17. mrhedley

    mrhedley TrainBoard Member

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    I have a combination of Peco, Atlas, and ME track. It was a matter of what was available when I got around to each layout expansion/revision. I definitely prefer the ME because once flexed it holds firm after shaping it. Unlike most others, I don't glue the track to the roadbed. I glue the roadbed to the base and pin the track to the roadbed. I find as long as the joints have room for minor expansion, the white glue mix used to set the ballast is enough to create a firm bond and remove the pins. It also makes it a lot easier when you want to make changes. Just pry it up with a paint scraper and clean the ballast and the track can be easily reused.
     
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  18. bill pearce

    bill pearce TrainBoard Member

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    All sound acceptable, except th part about peeling it up to make changes. To me that just says, "I'm ok with shoddy planning."
     
  19. NtheBasement

    NtheBasement TrainBoard Member

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    Wow. Are there really people who learn nothing new once they start operations? Nothing worth even a tweak? I don't know anyone like that...
     
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  20. Intarsiabox

    Intarsiabox TrainBoard Member

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    Of course, I had forgot about that rail option!
     

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