Micro Engineering Flex Track

Intarsiabox Nov 24, 2019

  1. Intarsiabox

    Intarsiabox TrainBoard Member

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    When I tore down my last layout I attempted to save as much of the Atlas track as possible, but after fully gluing it down it pretty much fell apart. I at least didn't glue any of the turnouts down so they were all saved, not that I was overly pleased with 1st gen No.5 turnouts
     
  2. MK

    MK TrainBoard Member

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    Really Bill? How do you arrive at that conclusion?

    I guess everything you do is perfect and requires no revision? Get real!
     
  3. Intarsiabox

    Intarsiabox TrainBoard Member

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    I think this thread is going off the rails (that was an attempt at a joke) but I've got the input I asked for. ME is stiffer than Peco but has great results and appearance with just a little more effort. Thank-you everyone!
     
  4. Sumner

    Sumner TrainBoard Member

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    Are you using kwik seal, kwik seal plus or kwik seal ultra?

    Sumner
     
  5. bill pearce

    bill pearce TrainBoard Member

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    There were two people in the very midwestern town where I live, me and another modeler, sadly passed away, who generally stuck with original plans. Only change I made was to replace a couple of especially visible sidings with handlaid code 40, and the other gentleman added to the original, but didn't change much of anything it it, just to get the addition tied in. He often said, as both of our layouts were prototype based, that prototype plans made for easier planning, as the prototype had already dealt with the problems. Now you know at least two.

    And if it matters, both layouts were featured in a national magazine.
     
  6. MK

    MK TrainBoard Member

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    Regular Kwick Seal that comes in a red tube similar to a toothpaste squeeze tube. $3.98 at HD.
     
    Sumner likes this.
  7. Maletrain

    Maletrain TrainBoard Member

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    Bill, Are you saying that those 2 layouts that were never modified were the first layouts that you two ever built? And, that nothing (including switches) in your trackwork ever failed? And, that there was no compression used in your "prototype" track plans?
     
    MK likes this.
  8. MK

    MK TrainBoard Member

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    Not only that but if you are following a prototype track plan, all the kinks have been pretty much worked out for you. I wonder if Bill has ever designed his own layout from scratch, not just building it, but designing it? I'll bet anybody that there would have been changes! Plenty of it too!
     
  9. MK

    MK TrainBoard Member

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    Double post.
     
  10. bill pearce

    bill pearce TrainBoard Member

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    Don't be ridiculous. That's not what I said. For me, it was my first serious layout, after a small one to familiarize myself with various techniques. For my friend, it was a third or fourth layout. And in the layouts that appeared in magazines, no turnouts failed because we built our own, not using always troublesome commercial turnouts. And the question about compression is not only stupid but not germane to the discussion of "Tweaking." I think you are either trying to prove how smart you are or just plain picking a fight. You presented something that I found a bit weird, and I expressed a question on why wourld you do that. You responded with several mean-spirited posts. Give it a rest.
     
    Jim Reising likes this.
  11. Maletrain

    Maletrain TrainBoard Member

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    Um, Bill, I only made one post to this thread, so I think you must be confused about me having "responded with several mean-spirited posts." And, I am not "trying to prove how smart [I am] or just plain picking a fight." But, I was prompted to reply to your post that said that having to peel up any track on a layout indicated "shoddy planning". That seems like a statement that is looking for a fight. It wasn't even necessary to the topic.

    This is not a forum limited to modelers who have built several layouts to museum quality and know all the tricks and have all the skills. People come here to learn, and how to best correct mistakes is a good thing to learn. So, when I saw your post saying that modelers who peel up track are guilty of shoddy planning, I wanted you to tell us if you are one of those rare people who already know everything and never make any mistakes when doing something the first time. But, your post also says that you replaced some sidings with smaller rail, and your friend had to disrupt a small section of track to attach an expansion. So, it seems that both you and he did change some track after you laid it. But, somehow, neither of you is too "shoddy" to get your layouts featured in magazines. And, not everybody has the time or skill to build all of their own turnouts, so us mortals sometimes need to replace the ones that fail, even when we aren't changing the track plan.

    All of which goes to the point that laying track in a manner that is not too hard to modify is not a bad idea. I for one appreciate the posts related to how to best do that. In a hobby that is supposed to be fun, we really don't need pressure to "be sure to do it right the first time every time" from people who like to make a hobby a competition.
     
    MK likes this.
  12. bill pearce

    bill pearce TrainBoard Member

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    It's your railroad, do it your way.
     
  13. tonkphilip

    tonkphilip TrainBoard Member

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    Intarsiabox,
    I have used Peco Code55 and ME55 for 25 years, using both types of track and about 25 switches from each manufacturer. Peco55 has the advantages of being very robust and having very well engineered switches with a firm spring that holds the switch points in either position, also the track is easy to bend and has constant availability. MicroEngineering has the advantage of beautiful scale appearance and correct tie-spacing. Although, I found it delicate to start with, I now find it easy to work and use the Traksetta templates to check curve radius. The switches (turnouts), are another story. Just like the track, they have a beautiful appearance but they need some dedicated work to make them reliable. The tiebar spring is weak and may fall out in the package. Also, some of the switch points need filing to ensure they mate close to the stock rail, otherwise they will catch wheels. This means removing the spring, stretching out the tie strip and lifting out the switch points to file. This is fairly easy to do if you have a magnifier and file. The older non-DCC ME switches with the metal throw-bar were more robust. Ultimately, I like ME for it's appearance and use them in my foreground yard. However, I have never had to adjust any Peco55 switch or suffered any derailments. Also, the Peco spring allows me to operate them manually with my finger. By contrast, I need to use a Tortoise switch motor to hold the ME points reliably. They are both good track systems. - Tonkphilip
     
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  14. tonkphilip

    tonkphilip TrainBoard Member

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    Another point on ME, many forum users of the ME flex track scratch-build the switches. I have not done this. - Tonkphilip
     
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  15. Intarsiabox

    Intarsiabox TrainBoard Member

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    Thank-you very much for sharing your experiences. Good things to know about the ME switches, it doesn't seem like many people use them and now I know why. I was looking at the Fast Tracks jig and tools for building my own turnouts and it looks like I would need to build about 26 of them to break even vs buying commercial turnouts. As I do not yet have a new home I can't make too much of a layout plan so I'm not real sure on how many turnouts I would be using. I'm more of a modeller than an operator but I still need plenty of sidings so I have a reason to install some industries. A small yard with a turntable are also on my list as my last layout didn't have room for either.
     
  16. Sumner

    Sumner TrainBoard Member

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    I use their fixture and PointFform tool and StockAid tool and have found that if I cut my own PCB ties from a sheet of printed circuit board vs. their PCB ties and individual wooden ties vs. their Quick Stick ties I can make a turnout for about $5.00. Doing that you can buy the fixture and filing tools and break even at about 17 turnouts. Their PCB ties and Quick Stick ties are nice to use and do save a bit of time and it is nice to start by building a few turnouts using them and more if you can afford them, but they aren't a requirement for building the turnout.

    Another advantage once you make a few you will find you can make curved turnouts using paper templates. I also just finished a 3 way turnout using paper templates and the point tools I had bought. There is a lot of satisfaction once you make a couple and learning how can help to make turnouts that fit your track plan.

    I spent a little more and bought a #6 code 55 crossover which also allows me to build #6 turnouts and also 19 degree crossing all using the same fixture.

    I've enjoyed the experience.....

    http://1fatgmc.com/RailRoad/Trackwork/Trackwork-Index.html

    Sumner
     
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  17. tonkphilip

    tonkphilip TrainBoard Member

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    Intarsiabox, On the track noise, you have some choices. I started with 2-layers of 2-inch foam over a wood grid and legs. The foam allows easy terrain forming. However, I was bothered by the noise. So, now I have converted most of the layout to 3/4 inch plywood with cork under the track. The plywood is much quieter but the additional noise on the two foam sections does remind where the train is! Ultimately, it is just a personal choice, either works. - Tonkphilip
     
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  18. Intarsiabox

    Intarsiabox TrainBoard Member

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    I copied your link into my favorites file, lots of good info in there! What do you cut your PCB ties out with? Razor saw? I've been looking at Fast Tracks for years now but my last layout wasn't very large and I already had enough turnouts from a previous build for it. But I haven't been very happy with them and good tools last a long time, I may have to finally pull the trigger and try making my own. Thanks for the info!
     
  19. Intarsiabox

    Intarsiabox TrainBoard Member

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    My last layout used WS foam roadbed on top of foam and it was pretty noisy. It's not that the noise is all that bothersome but I would like to add a sound decoder equipped engine or two so this next go I'm planning on cork on top of 1/2" birch sub-roadbed.
     
  20. bill pearce

    bill pearce TrainBoard Member

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    I made my own turnouts using paper templates of the TO. I think the fast tracks are good but way way too expensive.
    But using the paper templates, I built #10 and #12 turnouts. You could run a train full throttle through one.
     

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