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Author Topic: Track alignment across boards  (Read 2704 times)

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Offline Jack

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Track alignment across boards
« 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:
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Offline Caz

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Re: Track alignment across boards
« Reply #1 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.

Offline fisherman

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Re: Track alignment across boards
« Reply #2 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
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Offline Gnep

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Re: Track alignment across boards
« Reply #3 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!

Offline EtchedPixels

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Re: Track alignment across boards
« Reply #4 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...
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Offline Jack

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Re: Track alignment across boards
« Reply #5 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
[/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?
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Offline Newportnobby

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Re: Track alignment across boards
« Reply #6 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 :-\

Offline Greybeema

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Re: Track alignment across boards
« Reply #7 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..
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Offline EtchedPixels

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Re: Track alignment across boards
« Reply #8 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.
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Offline Jack

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Re: Track alignment across boards
« Reply #9 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?

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Offline Jack

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Re: Track alignment across boards
« Reply #10 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.  :(

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Offline Newportnobby

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Re: Track alignment across boards
« Reply #11 on: August 29, 2012, 08:55:15 AM »
Thanks for trying, Jack. At least that's one we can rule out :thumbsup:

Offline PLD

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Re: Track alignment across boards
« Reply #12 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.

Offline Jack

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Re: Track alignment across boards
« Reply #13 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?
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Offline fisherman

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Re: Track alignment across boards
« Reply #14 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
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