N Gauge Forum

Your Layout and Models => Track, Points and Underlay => Topic started by: Jack on August 28, 2012, 05:01:26 PM

Title: Track alignment across boards
Post by: Jack on August 28, 2012, 05:01:26 PM
Having tried the Search area and come up with nothing Iíd now like to seek the knowledge of the more experienced N Gaugers, with apologises if my search skills were lacking.

Whilst the layout Iím working on is fixed, it has to have a detachable fiddle yard. What is the best way of fixing the track at the point it crosses the board so as to get correct alignment?

Iím not too worried about the electrical side of things as Iíll use a terminal block between the boards as the fiddle yard board only needs the DCC Bus wire to make the crossover.

 :thankyousign:
Title: Re: Track alignment across boards
Post by: Caz on August 28, 2012, 05:16:31 PM
I use printed circuit board (PCB) for my rail joins across boards, glue or screw the pcb to the baseboard, solder the rail to the pcb, helps to temporarily put a couple of pieces between the boards to take up the slack after you've cut the rails.  Don't forget to cut a the pcb copper between the 2 rails after soldering otherwise you'll get a short, I use a Dremel with a cutting disc for both cutting the rail and cutting the pcb to isolate one rail from the other.

Also fit pattern makers dowels between the boards for accurate re-alingment after the rail is cut.  My layout is in 5 separate sections and all align perfectly using this method.  I also use "D" type connectors between boards to link up all the various electrical circuits, some are 25 way, some 37 way, it all depends on how many wires you got going across the joins.

One last thing, try and avoid joins on the curve, makes re-alignment more difficult but no impossible.
Title: Re: Track alignment across boards
Post by: fisherman on August 28, 2012, 05:28:04 PM
I  favour   brass screws   , heads   sawn  off  and   a  new   slot   cut   with  a    hacksaw...


easy  to  adjust  height  and   easy to  solder
Title: Re: Track alignment across boards
Post by: Gnep on August 28, 2012, 05:32:45 PM
A few things I've learnt by experimenting:

1) Soldering to PCB as Whiteswan says, or to small brass screws, keeps the track firmly in place and robust to accidental knocks.
2) Avoid tight curves immediately before, on or after the join as this will just make your life more difficult (although it's still possible)
3) Having the join at 90 degrees to the track also helps enormously, but again not absolutely necessary
3) I've never managed to get 100% trouble-free joins this way - the odd misalignment or bump or bash means derailment on that one troublesome truck happens every now and then. I'm not the most accurate of modellers though and a little hamfisted at times!
4) More recent experiments for parts very regularly taken apart have used short pieces of Kato Unitrack either side of the join mated up to the rest of the track (3mm height difference if using Peco code 80 - not difficult to deal with). I've glued these down with copydex. This has resulted in joins that are very resilient, and can happily cope with things not-quite-aligning, and what's more important, completely trouble-free running. If looks aren't 100% important, I would recommend this. For a lift-out section that mates at both ends, I've used the expandable pieces of Kato Unitrack as well, and again, I'm very pleased with the results. Good electrical connection through the track too as a bonus...

All in all, unless how the join looks is particularly important, I can thoroughly recommend using Unitrack either side of a join. I've used the 62mm lenghts un-cut, but I suppose you could hack them into shorter pieces easily enough (althogh the track is sort of connected to the base with a couple of nicks only at one end, which could be an issue...)

Sorry if this is a bit unclear - I've been learning by experimenting and have had great fun doing so! Nothing need be too permanent!
Title: Re: Track alignment across boards
Post by: EtchedPixels on August 28, 2012, 05:40:46 PM
I used the Kato joiner tracks for a couple of things and I too found it worked well, especially when I trimmed the Unijoiners on one end of each so that they could just be slid apart and the removable section lifted out.

Also a good idea is to isolate the track in the vicinity of the join and feed it one side from each board. That helps avoid accidents...
Title: Re: Track alignment across boards
Post by: Jack on August 28, 2012, 06:01:33 PM
Thanks One and All.

I used the Kato joiner tracks for a couple of things and I too found it worked well, especially when I trimmed the Unijoiners on one end of each so that they could just be slid apart and the removable section lifted out.

Also a good idea is to isolate the track in the vicinity of the join and feed it one side from each board. That helps avoid accidents...


http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/NEW-KATO-UNITRACK-24-816-INSULATED-UNIJOINER-20pcs-/120900702964?pt=UK_Trains_Railway_Models&hash=item1c263e52f4]
[url]http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/NEW-KATO-UNITRACK-24-816-INSULATED-UNIJOINER-20pcs-/120900702964?pt=UK_Trains_Railway_Models&hash=item1c263e52f4 (http://[url)[/url]

Are these the type of Kato joiners you're talking about? I'm using Code 55 track, will they work with this track and how do you fit the track to them?
Title: Re: Track alignment across boards
Post by: Newportnobby on August 28, 2012, 06:30:12 PM

Whilst the layout Iím working on is fixed, it has to have a detachable fiddle yard. What is the best way of fixing the track at the point it crosses the board so as to get correct alignment?


I have a lift out section with Peco code 55 finescale so am also following this with interest. I have been advised to use the PCB method, and feel this may not be as unsightly as soldering to screws. However, as the track curves immediately after the board joints, screws may be a more secure method :-\
Title: Re: Track alignment across boards
Post by: Greybeema on August 28, 2012, 06:37:19 PM
I've used the PCB method and it works for me.  Just remember to lay the track across the joint.  Solder it to the PCB then cut it & gap the PCB.  Obvious but easily forgotten...

Have never use Pattern makers dowels though.  Think I might try it this time..
Title: Re: Track alignment across boards
Post by: EtchedPixels on August 28, 2012, 06:40:43 PM
Are these the type of Kato joiners you're talking about? I'm using Code 55 track, will they work with this track and how do you fit the track to them?

No.. Kato do some track pieces which can be adjusted in length. If your layout is built with Kato track you can use these instead as board to board joiners, putting them in the join and widening them to click firmly into place each side. Same way as Z gauge modules using Mšrklin track or some of the other N systems with such pieces.
Title: Re: Track alignment across boards
Post by: Jack on August 28, 2012, 08:26:13 PM
Anyone have any recommendation for a UK supplier of these PCB's?

 :hmmm: I've been thinking, could be considered dangerous I know.

Has anyone ever tried screwing down some fine plasticard along the edge of a board and using Humbol Glue, gluing the track sleepers to the plasticard? If you have, what sort of results did you get?

Title: Re: Track alignment across boards
Post by: Jack on August 29, 2012, 04:29:19 AM
Quote
Has anyone ever tried screwing down some fine plasticard along the edge of a board and using Humbol Glue, gluing the track sleepers to the plasticard? If you have, what sort of results did you get?

Well an over night experiment on a some scrap pieces of track and plasticard shows that doesn't work. It holds but not really strong enough.  :(

Title: Re: Track alignment across boards
Post by: Newportnobby on August 29, 2012, 08:55:15 AM
Thanks for trying, Jack. At least that's one we can rule out :thumbsup:
Title: Re: Track alignment across boards
Post by: PLD on August 29, 2012, 08:59:16 AM
My answer is 'nothing special'...

On Red Wharf Bay (which has 4 lines across the centre join, all at different angles and none of them at 90 degrees to the board join!) the track was simply glued directly to the plywood base board top with neat exterior grade resin W type PVA glue (not cheap DIY barn own-brand) When that is dry it was then balasted in the usual manner with the same glue watered down aprox 50:50. The whole is very solid (I suspect the ply will delaminate before the track comes away) and it is code 55 track so the chances of the rail being pulled out of the sleepers is close to nill.

The boards were fitted with the 'brass bullet' type alignment dowels to ensure alignment BEFORE any track was laid.
Title: Re: Track alignment across boards
Post by: Jack on August 29, 2012, 02:51:33 PM
More trial & error experimenting with various glues, I've tried Unibond "No Nails" which normally sticks anything to anything and another Unibond product. Neither held after about six hours of drying time  :( I was very surprised that even the No Nails failed.

PLD - What was the name of the adhesive that you mentioned?
Title: Re: Track alignment across boards
Post by: fisherman on August 29, 2012, 03:01:52 PM
the    snag  with    sticking   track   down   is  that  is   very  difficult  to  adjust  if it  moves...or  gets  knocked...


with   soldering you  can   make   small  adjustments  if  needed
Title: Re: Track alignment across boards
Post by: trainsdownunder on August 29, 2012, 03:07:16 PM
Quote
I was very surprised that even the No Nails failed.

Usually find you need at least 24 hours for No Nails to reach full strength. Anything sooner can result in failure.
Title: Re: Track alignment across boards
Post by: Cimmerian on August 29, 2012, 03:09:13 PM
More trial & error experimenting with various glues, I've tried Unibond "No Nails" which normally sticks anything to anything and another Unibond product. Neither held after about six hours of drying time  :( I was very surprised that even the No Nails failed.

PLD - What was the name of the adhesive that you mentioned?

Sounds to me like the evo-stik I have on the shelf in front of me at work. Every word he used is on the bottle.   ;D
Title: Re: Track alignment across boards
Post by: PLD on August 29, 2012, 05:45:18 PM
PLD - What was the name of the adhesive that you mentioned?
Sounds to me like the evo-stik I have on the shelf in front of me at work. Every word he used is on the bottle.   ;D
Yep!  :thumbsup:

As well as a stronger bond, it is also water resistant so the track doesn't shift when you balast it...
Title: Re: Track alignment across boards
Post by: PLD on August 29, 2012, 05:50:06 PM
the    snag  with    sticking   track   down   is  that  is   very  difficult  to  adjust  if it  moves...or  gets  knocked...

with   soldering you  can   make   small  adjustments  if  needed
Yes it can move while the glue sets, but if you stick it down properly it doesn't move once the glue dries, and is no more vunerable to knocks than if soldered!
Title: Re: Track alignment across boards
Post by: Jfheath on October 01, 2012, 05:08:51 PM
By no means an expert, but I've tried a few methods.  THis one being the most successful:

Edge of baseboard is good and solid, not soft baseboard or cork.
Make sure you have some alignment device.  I have used alignmnet dowels, and door hinges with the pin removed.  Alignment dowels are neater.
Make sure baseboard is joined properly, but insert a credit card at the point where the track is to be joined, to keep the two sections apart slightly.
Lay track with sleepers cut away in a section about 4cm long.  Check the gap under the sleeperless rail.  Mark position of track.
Lift track section.  Epoxy the PCB strips - I have 4mm wide strips, and I use 3 of these for the rail ends.  Let it set.  Hard.
Clean copper surface.  Lay track, and secure it in the correct position.
Solder the rail to the copper clad 'sleepers'.  Don't use too much heat, it will lift the copper.  Don't press down on rails - let solder fill the gap between rail and sleeper, if there is one.

Then, becasue the latest layout id for a grandson, and might get knocked about a bit - Apply milliput moulding epoxy to the outside of the rails.  Mould it with wet finger, and squash it into the corner between the outside rail and the baseboard.  You are building a small triangle alongside the rail.  Dont worry about any on the rails, it scrapes off.  Let it set.

Once set, use a Dremel or similar to cut through the rail.  Take board apart and smooth ends.  File the inside of each rail to make a slight chamfer, so that any slight misalignment does not result in a wheel catching a square edge.  Not too much though.

Remove credit card, and any glue / milliput that has got down the join and put the boards together again.  Depending on the thickness of your credit card and the thickness of the Dremel cut, you may need to grind a bit of the end of the rail away.  The credit card was to compensate for the thickness of the cut.

Fasten the board together again and check the alignment.

The milliput helps to prevent the rail being 'caught' and sprung out of position.  The glue holding the copper to the PCB is not strong, and it has been weakened by applying heat when you soldered.  The milliput takes some of the load, and can be buried in ballast, or painted, later. 
 
SimplePortal 2.3.5 © 2008-2012, SimplePortal