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1st message | this message only posted: 9 Nov 2015 21:11
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from:
Jubilee42
Rødovre, Denmark



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Hello everyone
I have decided to build my own turnouts on my proposed 4mm OO-SF LMS (MR) layout  with plywood sleepers and pcb under the vee (frog).

I am totally new to this and nobody nearby (in Denmark) builds track!

I have spent the last months getting to know Templot, and have now decided that the time has come to take the plunge and actually build something!

Here is the plan for the turnout I am going to try:



There are all sorts of challenges with it for someone like me. For a start, there's a slight curve, and also the turnout worked best as a B-6.75. I have bought jigs from scalefour, but they only do the whole numbers. I am hoping I can file a size 7 and then file it to fit. It's not that I am really concerned about - no doubt I will be when I make it!

The questions I'd most like help with are these:
1. Is the pcb/plywood construction combo in any way sensible? I've arrived at it because with plywood I can use proper chairs but with pcb under the vee I can fix this solidly (also I can't work out what chairs I would use to hold the vee). I realise that this might give me height problems on the un-chaired pcb, so the plywood sleepers are1.5mm thick and the pcb 1.6

2. What chairs do I need to fix the check rails in place? I have already bought slide and normal Midland 4-blot chairs from c+l , but am confused about how to fix the all important check rails. Do they sell the required chairs?

3. Is it not necessary to cut through and isolate the wing rails and give them the same polarity as the vee to avoid shorting? Or can you just allow the contact at the switch to provide current to the appropriate wing rail? I had assumed you would need dropper wires?

4. What else have I overlooked???

As I'm writing this I'm thinking that a redraw to make a more normal A-5, B-6 or B-7 turnout might make things easier for me, but the questions are still valid!

I'd be very grateful for any advice! I have the necessary roller gauges, etc, but as I said, I have never ventured away from peco before, and this is a step into the exciting unknown!



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2nd message | this message only posted: 9 Nov 2015 21:55
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from:
Hayfield
United Kingdom

 

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Jubliee42

Welcome to track building, you can use chairs on copperclad timbers providing you lift the rail by 0.5 mm. Either shim from the fret of an etched kit or C&L sell 0.5 mm copperclad strip. Once soldered to the timbers and rail grind the shim/copperclad flush to the rail sides

Check rails can either be cut up 4 bolt chairs, or use the 0.8mm Exactoscale check chairs, various methods used on my workbench http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/57911-hayfields-turnout-workbench/

Gauges you will need the check rail gauge and some 1 mm thick shim as a wing rail gauge

If you have the Vee filing jigs then for a first time I would go for one of the whole numbers, of file it to the next whole number and fill the resulting gaps with solder (not recommended)
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3rd message | this message only posted: 10 Nov 2015 17:54
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from:
polybear
 

 

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Hayfield wrote: Jubliee42

Welcome to track building, you can use chairs on copperclad timbers providing you lift the rail by 0.5 mm. Either shim from the fret of an etched kit or C&L sell 0.5 mm copperclad strip. Once soldered to the timbers and rail grind the shim/copperclad flush to the rail sides

Hi,
Another way to raise the rail off the surface of copperclad timbers is to use vero pins - my post #77 here shows the method I used to try out this option:

http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/69145-attention-00-sf-track-builders/page-4

HTH
Brian

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4th message | this message only posted: 11 Nov 2015 12:18
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from:
DerekStuart
United Kingdom

 

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If I may suggest an alternative, I would recommend using ply timbers throughout and avoiding copper clad. There is nothing wrong with a composite build as favoured by Mr Hayfield (and he is far in advance of my own track building skills), but you will never get copper clad looking as much like wood as real wood would.

You can buy ready made common crossing (frog) from C&L and use normal plastic chairs to secure the tails and use cosmetic/ decorative chairs for the rest of the crossing.

If you are going to build your own crossing, then you use narrow metal strip- .5mm thick by 1.5 or 2.mm wide nickel silver to hold the vee to the wing rails. When finished you cannot see the metal strip- and if you did it would just look like part of the spacer blocks used on the prototype.


Check rails: C&L have two types- one with a .68mm gap and one with a .8mm gap. I think for 00sf/4sf you need a 1mm gap (?). The best option is to use the check rail chairs and cut them in half and then use a gauge to space the check rail.

Some people will advise using standard (S1) chairs for the check rail on the basis of alternating between the stock rail and the check rail, with cosmetic 'half' chairs to fill in the gaps. However, this will have the wrong chair detail as check rail chairs are always 4 bolts.

EDIT: See Martin's comment below.

My advice is to try composite, ply and even plastic if you like and see which you get on best with. I know composite build is popular, but I think if you're going to use ply- stick with ply.

Good luck.
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5th message | this message only posted: 11 Nov 2015 12:45
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from:
Martin Wynne
West Of The Severn, United Kingdom



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Please do not send requests for help direct to me via email or PM.

Post your questions on the forum where everyone can see them and add helpful replies.
DerekStuart wrote:check rail chairs are always 4 bolts.Hi Derek,

Never say "always". :)

GWR check chairs have 2 screws:



GWR check chair drawings here:

 http://scalefour.org/downloads/gwrtracknotes/R1782.pdf

And they are not bolts. :)

On most companies they are chair screws. GWR chairs have through-bolts from below on plain-track sleepers, and chair screws from above on pointwork timbers, as above.

regards,

Martin.

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6th message | this message only posted: 11 Nov 2015 14:30
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from:
Nigel Brown
 

 

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DerekStuart wrote: If I may suggest an alternative, I would recommend using ply timbers throughout and avoiding copper clad. For much the same reasons I used plastic sleepers throughout on my 3mm scale layout. No problems to date. Plastic chairs will bond quite happily to ply or plastic sleepers, and I find them easily strong enough. And it makes building track a fair amount simpler. If you need to make an alteration, a sharp blade slid between chair and sleeper is enough to break the bond.

Nigel

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7th message | this message only posted: 11 Nov 2015 16:12
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from:
DerekStuart
United Kingdom

 

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Hello Martin
Thanks for correcting that point. As the old saying goes, "a little knowledge is a dangerous thing." In terms of the OP comment about this being LMS/MR I believe I am correct for that region, but I should have qualified it as such.
Martin Wynne wrote: DerekStuart wrote:check rail chairs are always 4 bolts.Hi Derek,

Never say "always". :)

GWR check chairs have 2 screws:

GWR check chair drawings here:

 http://scalefour.org/downloads/gwrtracknotes/R1782.pdf

And they are not bolts. :)

On most companies they are chair screws. GWR chairs have through-bolts from below on plain-track sleepers, and chair screws from above on pointwork timbers, as above.

regards,

Martin.


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8th message | this message only posted: 11 Nov 2015 22:12
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from:
Hayfield
United Kingdom

 

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DerekStuart wrote: If I may suggest an alternative, I would recommend using ply timbers throughout and avoiding copper clad. There is nothing wrong with a composite build as favoured by Mr Hayfield (and he is far in advance of my own track building skills), but you will never get copper clad looking as much like wood as real wood would.At the moment I am building a B8 using ply sleepers, I make the common crossings as separate free standing units and use C&L 0.6 mm double sided copperclad strip to hold all together, for a novice it may be easier to use the composite method 
If you are going to build your own crossing, then you use narrow metal strip- .5mm thick by 1.5 or 2.mm wide nickel silver to hold the vee to the wing rails. When finished you cannot see the metal strip- and if you did it would just look like part of the spacer blocks used on the prototype.

If you have metal shim in the bits box use it, thin copperclad is a bit easier to file flush but costs

Check rails: C&L have two types- one with a .68mm gap and one with a .8mm gap. I think for 00sf/4sf you need a 1mm gap (?). The best option is to use the check rail chairs and cut them in half and then use a gauge to space the check rail.
Do cut through the 0.8 mm check chairs when you slide them back in place, the gap is more or less 1 mm, but do use a check rail gauge to fit and fit the uncut part of the check chair alternatively to the stock rail then the check rail

Some people will advise using standard (S1) chairs for the check rail on the basis of alternating between the stock rail and the check rail, with cosmetic 'half' chairs to fill in the gaps. However, this will have the wrong chair detail as check rail chairs are always 4 bolts.
Whilst at both ends you use a selection of whole standard and bridge chairs which will hold the common crossing in place the common crossing chair halves do actually hold the crossing in place as well

EDIT: See Martin's comment below.

My advice is to try composite, ply and even plastic if you like and see which you get on best with. I know composite build is popular, but I think if you're going to use ply- stick with ply.

Good luck.
As Martin has said the best method is the one you can use, unless your plain track is ply there is no problem using the composite method and it is certainly easier to make. Most of all just take your time and enjoy the process, and don't be afraid to ask questions
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9th message | this message only posted: 11 Nov 2015 22:52
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from:
DerekStuart
United Kingdom

 

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John
I wasn't impugning your composite method, just suggesting a fully ply version as an alternative. As I noted above, your skills are somewhat in advance of my own. But personally, I cannot see the worth of going to the 'trouble' of using ply timbering to then have not-ply timbering for the crossing.

You wrote about using bridge and standard chairs on the crossing- I presume you mean the closure side of the knuckle, rather than around the wing rails or vee? I tried that idea before and it works really well- the only soldering required is the two rails forming the vee- but if you do that you can't have the correct pattern chairs (as far as I can see).
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10th message | this message only posted: 12 Nov 2015 06:29
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from:
Hayfield
United Kingdom

 

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Derek

I totally agree with you, ply looks best especially if used with hand built plain track, it is also easier to adjust ply built track, if left 24 hours to dry out thoroughly you can get a blade under a chair to lift it off without damaging it. Do use Butanone or equivalent as you need an aggressive solvent to melt the chair into the grain of the ply

For the novice the common thought is that soldered construction is the easiest method, so for most novices wishing for chaired track (especially if using ready to lay plain plastic track) the composite method will be the best starter method. For accomplished modellers building the common crossings as separate units should be achievable

I use to be one who thought track building could be done by everyone, if they put their minds to it, I have been proved wrong though. What is simple for some is impossible for others.

The combination of bridge and standard chairs vary depending on which crossing angle you are using. Special chairs normally use the X, Y, A, B, C and sometimes D & E, and not always in pairs. Bridge chairs are used when 2 standard chairs are too big for the gap. The plans which come with the Exactoscale Turnout kits sometimes vary from the C&L Exactoscale crossing instructions, so sometimes its a bit trial and error. Both closure and exit sides are affected.
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11th message | this message only posted: 12 Nov 2015 13:37
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from:
Phil O
Plymouth, United Kingdom



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Due to a damaged wing rail on a club layout, where the turnout was constructed using ply timbers and C & L plastic chairs I decided the only way to re-fix the wing rail and also get electrical continuity was drill the timbers & baseboard at each end of the rail slightly under the size of brass lace making pins and gently tap the pins right the way through until the head of the pin was at the same height as the crotch of a plastic chair. I then soldered the errant wing rail to the pin heads and made good with cosmetic plastic chairs. On completion the board was stood on edge the pins trimmed back and a couple of bits of wire soldered to the pins and the feed to the "V".

In future I think I will use this method to form all my nose assemblies as I will be able to drill all the holes using the Templot template.

Cheers Phil
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12th message | this message only posted: 12 Nov 2015 15:45
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from:
DerekStuart
United Kingdom

 

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Hi John
As you know I have read your blog in 'the other place' from end to end several times over, and recommend to any new starter (including Mr Jubilee42) doing the same.

One thing that I think we all agree on is to try each different method and each of us will find one that works best for us. For example, I have now tried building it in sections (switch, closure, crossing- all rails separate as per the prototype, where appropriate) and now built out of as few rails as possible with cuts going in later on. Each has its merits.

I think everyone CAN make track, but it is who WANTS to. Everyone would like the bits to fall into place, but not everyone wants to make all the effort.

Crossing chairs: What I mean is you cannot (to my knowledge) use half chairs around the common crossing and keep it prototypical- although I did use the .68 check rail chair to hold the wings to the vee and it worked (just looked wrong).

Re exactoscale/C&L plans: for the benefit of Jubilee42, can I repeat a comment Martin made that the exactoscale plans contain some slight non-prototypical features for the aid of construction, that might not match up with Templot.

(That wasn't his exact wording but no doubt he will correct me if I am materially wrong)
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13th message | this message only posted: 12 Nov 2015 17:10
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from:
Jubilee42
Rødovre, Denmark



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Hayfield wrote: I use to be one who thought track building could be done by everyone, if they put their minds to it, I have been proved wrong though. What is simple for some is impossible for others.Dear everyone
Thanks for the very valuable comments! I will keep you informed of which of Dereks catagories I fall in to. I like to think of myself as a fairly handy person and spent all of my teenage years building plastic Airfix kits, so hopefully I will succeed.

I have decided I think (pending good advice to the contrary) to use pcb timbers for all those under the crossing and the check rails. This is partly because C+L have sold out of 0.8mm check rail chairs. The pcb is 1.6mm thick,the plywood only 1.5, so I'm hoping the difference will partly help make up for the chairs raising the rails on the plywood sections.



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14th message | this message only posted: 12 Nov 2015 22:18
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from:
Hayfield
United Kingdom

 

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DerekStuart wrote: Hi John
As you know I have read your blog in 'the other place' from end to end several times over, and recommend to any new starter (including Mr Jubilee42) doing the same.

One thing that I think we all agree on is to try each different method and each of us will find one that works best for us. For example, I have now tried building it in sections (switch, closure, crossing- all rails separate as per the prototype, where appropriate) and now built out of as few rails as possible with cuts going in later on. Each has its merits.
I totally agree with this, everyone is different and what works for one person does not necessarily work for another

I think everyone CAN make track, but it is who WANTS to. Everyone would like the bits to fall into place, but not everyone wants to make all the effort.
I thought that, but after seeing some interesting styles of building I would refine the everyone to most

Crossing chairs: What I mean is you cannot (to my knowledge) use half chairs around the common crossing and keep it prototypical- although I did use the .68 check rail chair to hold the wings to the vee and it worked (just looked wrong).
The main crossing chair that is hard to copy is the crossing nose chair, then the D chair, with the central block parts for the D 7 Y block chairs, though I made quite a good effort on a D (might have been an E) chair in 7 mm, just by trimming two close together. I do agree though its hard to replicate the crossing nose and block chairs

Re exactoscale/C&L plans: for the benefit of Jubilee42, can I repeat a comment Martin made that the exactoscale plans contain some slight non-prototypical features for the aid of construction, that might not match up with Templot.
Difficult to get 2 Exactoscale plans to match each other, they may be slightly altered for the benefit of kit assembly. I think a slight compromise is the order of the day

(That wasn't his exact wording but no doubt he will correct me if I am materially wrong)
Nice to see you are taking a keen interest in these components, been using some at the club tonight
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15th message | this message only posted: 12 Nov 2015 22:22
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from:
Hayfield
United Kingdom

 

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Jubilee

I am sure you will be fine, do put a bit of shim under the rail on the copperclad timbers, as the chairs need the rail lifted up so they can fit into the rail web. without the shim the chairs will go up the rail too far and will not fit and possibly the wheels may bounce along the chair tops
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16th message | this message only posted: 12 Nov 2015 22:31
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from:
DerekStuart
United Kingdom

 

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Hayfield wrote: Nice to see you are taking a keen interest in these components, been using some at the club tonightPersonally I would say that other than Templot, C&L/Exactoscale has done the most to revolutionise this hobby, especially under the stewardship of Peter.
I have just dug out my first built kit- a B7- and it uses half chairs. Whilst I am a big fan of the CL special chairs, you can still get a good representation with the half chairs (I say that fully aware that I've shot down my earlier argument for using them- but it's options to follow).
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17th message | this message only posted: 13 Nov 2015 11:45
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from:
madscientist
 

 

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Personally , I remain wedded to soldered track , either coppeclad or JBS ( ply). I then use half chairs etc. I find this very useful for things like diamonds and more complex crossings, where I find some fettling may be required.

I agree ply looks best , but painted coppeclad , where some detail is scratched on and the insulation gaps are filled are very difficult to tell the difference. The main issue is the crazy price of copperclad these days and the supply difficulties from time to time

My next experiment is ply with veropins held in by a high temp adhesive that can withstand soldering temps , it means slightly quicker construction as I drill the veropin holes through the sleeper while every things is stuck down to the template
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18th message | this message only posted: 13 Nov 2015 16:34
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from:
Hayfield
United Kingdom

 

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There are/have been some stunning layouts built using copperclad track construction, ET of this parish being one of them. Yes copperclad strip has increased in cost greatly over the last 12-15 years, being a couple of £'s a pack then, now nearer £15 a pack.

With the price increase chaired track is not that much dearer especially when ply timbers are used. I do marvel at the ply and rivet constructed turnouts and crossings, in the raw they are a piece of art work. Its a method which I have tried but cannot warm to the construction method for a few reasons

Copperclad construction does allow for adjustments to be made, however by using quality plans/templates coupled with gauges in most instances adjustments should not be needed. Using copperclad timbers in certain strategic places is a method I have used, and can see the benefits for those both new to track building and those who prefer to build in situ.

I would strongly recommend that the rails are lifted off the timbers (0.5 mm for 4 mm scale and 1 mm for 7 mm scale) so the timbers are all at the same height and the chairs can fit properly, shim from the fret of an etched kit can be used or 0.5 mm strip, but very thin copperclad (0.5 mm) strip is much easier to grind back flush to the rail sides to allow chairs to be fitted

I see no benefit in soldering rail to pins in ply sleepers other than at board ends. Butanone makes a very strong joint between chair and timber, the main benefit is it allows the rail to expand and contract, without breaking joints and whole chairs can be fitted which are far more robust than half chairs (especially when cleaning) rather than relying on half chairs

But each to their own, the most important thing is to use the method that is right for you
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19th message | this message only posted: 13 Nov 2015 21:12
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from:
Jubilee42
Rødovre, Denmark



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The story so far:
Managed to make the rails for the vee without too many problems. I used a combination of card template and jig and was quite pleased with myself.

Although the card looks the worse for wear the resulting rails got the angle exactly, despite the crossing being 6.75.

I tried then just for interest a height comparison between 1.6mm pcb, chaired 1.5mm ply, and smp flexi.


As you can all see, there are some definite "height issues" there! The difference between the flexi and the ply I can resolve by raising the flexi a bit for a meter or so I would imagine. The difference between the ply and the pcb looks huge, and I'm not at all sure how to resolve it. (don't worry, the chairs are not glued, and the timber is also temporary while I wait for the ones I need from C+L).

To round off an evening that had started so promisingly, I thought I'd quickly solder the vee. With my new soldering iron (http://www.maplin.co.uk/p/60w-mains-lcd-solder-station-a55kj).

It was a disaster. I have only ever tried soldering wire before, but it normally goes fine, and I've soldered about 10 decoders into loco's without any problems. However, this demanded a lot more precision regarding alignment, and all I've ended up with is a lot of solder in a blob where the rails should join, and no matter what temperature setting I use on the iron and how long I wait, the solder won't melt. I am using 60/40 solder, but can't heat it up directly - I have to heat up the rail. And that doesn't seem to want to happen. I'm going to bed to be grumpy and will try again tomorrow. And hoping I will grow two extra hands during the night to help keep everything lined up.

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20th message | this message only posted: 13 Nov 2015 22:13
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from:
Jubilee42
Rødovre, Denmark



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21st message | this message only posted: 14 Nov 2015 03:26
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from:
DerekStuart
United Kingdom

 

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I had a fair bit of problem with soldering, but was helped by a good chap named Howard Bolton (often goes by the internet reference JFS- I think he's on this forum somewhere).

To flow properly solder needs a match between solder, flux and temperature. It also needs the surfaces to be clean.

Have you gone over the surface first with a burnishing brush or similar? Then use a flux- either liquid or paste- then choose a good solder.

I wouldn't use Maplin solder or flux. On Howard's advice, I went and bought both from C&L (Carrs) and immediately my soldering went from dreadful to pretty good.

I know how you must feel about a failed attempt, but I would lay a pint of Carlsberg on it that it's not your technique but inappropriate solder/flux.
PS you can get .8mm thick ply sleepers/timbers if you are planning to match up to flexi track- though I've no idea what thickness the copper clad timbers are.
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22nd message | this message only posted: 14 Nov 2015 07:15
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from:
Paul Willis
 

 

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Hi,

I wouldn't normally just post links to other places, but soldering techniques is a question that comes up quite often on the Scalefour Society Forum, from people that are new to P4 modelling.

Rather than have folk spend a lot of time writing advice out that has already been given, I trust that people here will excuse me pointing at a couple of posts that should be helpful starters:

Basic principles of soldering

Howard shows how it's done

Although I must confess that I wouldn't hold a soldering iron like that!  Just like a pencil is how I do it...

The "Howard" named and pictured is the very same JFS referred to here :)

The other area that you may find lots of useful advice on various subjects is Starting in P4.  Almost all of the Scalefour Society Forum is viewable by non-members, should people be interested.

Oh, and there is also some bloke called Martin Wynne that posts very helpfully over there on track matters.  Thank you Martin!

Cheers
Paul Willis
Scalefour Society Deputy Chairman

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23rd message | this message only posted: 14 Nov 2015 07:44
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from:
Borg-Rail
Sandbach, United Kingdom



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Hi,

There is nothing wrong with the soldering station from Maplin, except for the bit that is fitted to the iron!

Fortunately replacement sets including more useful shapes are readily available on Ebay at a very reasonable price just look for Hakko.
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24th message | this message only posted: 14 Nov 2015 12:25
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from:
Nigel Brown
 

 

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A few comments about soldering technique.

(1) Don't take solder directly off the stick/wire. Cut off just the amount you think you'll need; that way you can avoid excess solder floating around the job. Veer towards underestimating what you need and cut more than one bit; if you have underestimated, you can easily pick up an extra piece to finish the job.

(2) Don't stint on the amount of flux you use. One of the main purposes of flux is to transmit heat quickly to the parts to be joined. If the solder hasn't quite reached where you want it to be then add more flux and reapply heat, rather than more solder, unless you really haven't used enough solder. I always use liquid flux rather than say paste because it will flow easily between the bits to be joined and in my experience leaves less residue.

(3) Use the right flux and solder for the job. For etched kits I invariably use Carr's 188 solder with Carr's Green Label flux. This solder flows beautifully, running along seams and the like without leaving any blobs. For joining etched parts it's great. Don't use it to fill gaps or where the solder itself needs inherent strength. It should be fine for soldered track unless you're in the habit of having excessive stress in the track. If the soldered parts will take water I scrub thoroughly with washing up liquid and an old toothbrush, then rinse, otherwise use cotton wool buds soaked in meths.

(4) Small bits of wood can be useful for keeping parts in place without burning fingers; I have a pack of cocktail sticks on hand for all sorts of jobs.

(5) I think the figures quoted for power needed are excessive; use the right stuff in the right way and you don't need that much power. I use two Antex XS 25 watt soldering irons, one with the standard bit which is fine for when you want a lot of heat, and one with the finest bit I could find for smaller trickier jobs; ideally I'd have a third iron with a a bit somewhere between. These are very neat irons which I find much easier to wield than the heftier jobs. I reckon these are suitable for any scale up to and including 4mm; 7mm etched kits might require something more powerful. I'm close to finishing the 3mm version of the Mallard Dukedog, as well as various Mitchell and Worseley Works kits, and these irons have done fine.

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25th message | this message only posted: 14 Nov 2015 12:26
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from:
madscientist
 

 

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I see no benefit in soldering rail to pins in ply sleepers other than at board ends. Butanone makes a very strong joint between chair and timber, the main benefit is it allows the rail to expand and contract, without breaking joints and whole chairs can be fitted which are far more robust than half chairs (especially when cleaning) rather than relying on half chairs


For plain track I quite agree. But for turnouts, I find that one needs quite a bewildering array of special chairs , this is especially true of things like irregular diamonds. I find that soldering to pins and then cutting up chairs to " resemble " special turnout chairs is " adequate ".

It also produces a strong turnout and as I build on a work bench , that's important. I think for p4 , where a specific set of chairs exists , there are definitely arguments for all functional chaired turnouts, but elsewhere not so much

Dave
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26th message | this message only posted: 14 Nov 2015 13:42
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from:
DerekStuart
United Kingdom

 

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Mr Borg, I didn't say that there was anything wrong with the Maplin solder station as I have no experience of it either way. Though I prefer Antex equipment- more expensive, but built very well and will probably outlive all of us if looked after.

My concern is their solder and/ or flux. I never did find it any good- though I've no idea if it's down to the solder or the flux or both.

Nigel, I would beg to differ on your comment about iron power. It was pointed out to me by Howard- and by Paul Willis prior to that- that the use of a powerful soldering iron is better; you want to be able to melt solder quickly, not hold the iron in place for any longer than you need to.

Jubilee42, I fear that we are all in danger of bombarding you with so much information that you don't know which way to go- ask a simple question and get 20 answers and before long the conversation has turned into the merits of maplin solder.

Follow the links that Paul Willis has put up for Howard's tutorial. Howard has this knack of being able to clearly explaining things and you won't go wrong following his advice.
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27th message | this message only posted: 14 Nov 2015 13:58
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from:
Nigel Brown
 

 

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DerekStuart wrote: Nigel, I would beg to differ on your comment about iron power. It was pointed out to me by Howard- and by Paul Willis prior to that- that the use of a powerful soldering iron is better; you want to be able to melt solder quickly, not hold the iron in place for any longer than you need to.
Derek

Agree that you want to be able to melt solder quickly. The Antex XS irons will do that provided that you use good soldering techniques, in particular use enough flux, of the right type. I suspect a lot of people don't, and try to compensate by using more powerful irons.

Nigel

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28th message | this message only posted: 14 Nov 2015 14:35
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from:
Borg-Rail
Sandbach, United Kingdom



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Hi,

It's the supplied tip that is the wrong shape. I have an Antex 660TC as well but tend to use that more for delicate work. You basically need to use the largest tip that is suitable for the job in hand, smaller the tip the less heat it holds and the longer you need to dwell on it. When all else fails I get the the RSU plugged in but don't need that for track.

Solder and Flux, wouldn't use Maplins, there are better alternatives.

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29th message | this message only posted: 14 Nov 2015 15:50
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from:
Jubilee42
Rødovre, Denmark



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Thanks once again for all of the helpful comments. I have to say, Mr Paul Willis, that I joined the scalefour society in the spring mainly to be able to purchase the jigs from the stores. However I was quite taken aback by the friendly welcome I received! It was super, and the P4 layouts in the magazines are fabulous. The society seems to be populated by some real craftsmen. I hope at some stage to come along to an event, despite the geographical challenges. But I just though you should know the effect the warm and friendly welcome had on me. Thanks for the useful links too. As for the rest of you, thanks are due here too. I hadn't burnished the soldering area as recommended, or cut off small lengths of solder. I had used flux, but as a paste, as that is what I have. If I can get a break for my children I will have another go tonight. Thanks for your support. It really is very helpful, both practically and morally!
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30th message | this message only posted: 14 Nov 2015 18:14
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from:
DerekStuart
United Kingdom

 

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Yes. Tesco's own brand margarine beats maplins solder I'd have thought.

Borg-Rail wrote: Solder and Flux, wouldn't use Maplins, there are better alternatives.
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31st message | this message only posted: 14 Nov 2015 20:31
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from:
Trevor Walling
United Kingdom

 

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Hello,

I agree with Borg-Rail about tips. A selection of packs of 10 on ebay work out at really good value:

 ebay link

Regards
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32nd message | this message only posted: 15 Nov 2015 22:22
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from:
Hayfield
United Kingdom

 

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Jubilee42

Great to see you having a go and getting plenty of advice on the soldering front. I have found that you need several sizes of soldering tips, smaller tips for delicate work and bigger ones where heat is needed due to the size of the work, chisel ones offer a larger heating surface than the round ones. I use 2 types of solder, low melt for whitemetal and what I call normal (60-40 22swg)for everything else. cars red flux has become my flux of choice, I do have solder paint which is useful for certain jobs. Do keep the tip clean, clean tips are hotter and I use water on a sponge rather than abrasives that damage the coating on the tip. I just use standard Antex 25 watt iron

As for timbers, if you but copperclad timbers the same thickness as the wooden ones you will not have a problem, and as I said earlier, use some thin shim or copperclad between the timber and rail so you can fit chairs easily, failing that glue card under the copperclad timbers to bring their height up.

For our new club layout I am using Exactoscale fast track bases along with the Exactoscale plastic turnout timbers, both of which are 1.6 mm thick. I build the common crossings on 0.5 mm copperclad strip so I can fit plastic common crossing chairs to the sides, though as I said it may be easier to solder the common crossing insitu on to copperclad timbers, though I would always raise up the rail from the timber, looks neater and allows the chairs (half) to work.

Keep up the good work though good to see someone making trackwork
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33rd message | this message only posted: 16 Nov 2015 17:31
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from:
Jubilee42
Rødovre, Denmark



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Hayfield wrote: Jubilee

I am sure you will be fine, do put a bit of shim under the rail on the copperclad timbers, as the chairs need the rail lifted up so they can fit into the rail web. without the shim the chairs will go up the rail too far and will not fit and possibly the wheels may bounce along the chair tops
Thanks! I have taken your advice, and have bought a sheet of 0.5mm copper for cutting up into tiny bits. I had a look at the 0.8mm ply sleepers, but that would give qutie a height difference with the pcb, and would be had to hide, I think. So raised pcb and cosmetic chairs it will b for the crossing and check rail area!

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34th message | this message only posted: 16 Nov 2015 17:38
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from:
Jubilee42
Rødovre, Denmark



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Captains log supplemental:
After reading your posts (thanks) and doing a bit more thinking I decided to make a jig to build the crossing in. I was trying to hold too much an just getting cross. Here it is:

I take the template former out before soldering of course (!), but it keeps everything together.

The result looks like this on the top:


but like this underneath:

which makes me think I'd be better off soldering the crossing upside down. I'm still having solder melting issues, but then I haven't yet bought any other solder or flux. But at least everything stays still during the soldering. Feeling a little happier! Off to badminton.

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35th message | this message only posted: 16 Nov 2015 18:55
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from:
Trevor Walling
United Kingdom

 

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Hello,
        You might find something like this http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/SH-1025-Large-80mm-Soldering-Iron-Tip-Cleaner-NEW-/121064358019?hash=item1c2fff8083:m:m9VY2bGoFGXCCv5L0I3TUFw
cleans the tip easier and better than something wet and cold which tends to cool the tip.

Regards. :)

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36th message | this message only posted: 16 Nov 2015 20:03
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from:
Jubilee42
Rødovre, Denmark



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Trevor Walling wrote: Hello,
        You might find something like this http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/SH-1025-Large-80mm-Soldering-Iron-Tip-Cleaner-NEW-/121064358019?hash=item1c2fff8083:m:m9VY2bGoFGXCCv5L0I3TUFw
cleans the tip easier and better than something wet and cold which tends to cool the tip.

Regards. :)
Hi Trevor
Thanks, that's also a very useful, ahem, tip.

Richard

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37th message | this message only posted: 16 Nov 2015 21:09
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from:
Hayfield
United Kingdom

 

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Richard

I know a lot of folk use those things, but abrasives do ware away the plating on the tips which then start corroding, don't ask how I know

Try cleaning the tip by re-tinning it. Get some scrap metal, flood it with flux and have some solder in the pool, melt the solder and gently rub the tip on the metal. The re-tinning hopefully will clean the tip, which in turn will make it hotter, which will give you better solder joints
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38th message | this message only posted: 16 Nov 2015 21:41
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from:
Jubilee42
Rødovre, Denmark



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Hayfield wrote: Richard

I know a lot of folk use those things, but abrasives do ware away the plating on the tips which then start corroding, don't ask how I know

Try cleaning the tip by re-tinning it. Get some scrap metal, flood it with flux and have some solder in the pool, melt the solder and gently rub the tip on the metal. The re-tinning hopefully will clean the tip, which in turn will make it hotter, which will give you better solder joints
Thanks - I will try that!

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39th message | this message only posted: 16 Nov 2015 23:33
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from:
Nigel Brown
 

 

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Jubilee42 wrote:
After reading your posts (thanks) and doing a bit more thinking I decided to make a jig to build the crossing in.
Good idea. I mainly use something similar. In my case I have a bit of hardwood inside the crossing V shaped to the right angle, and two more bits outside the V to hold the rails in place. The main difference is that the actual bit of the V where the rails join lies off the base itself in thin air. This may help the solder flow between the two bits of rail (the base and bits of wood no longer act as a heat sink), and it means you're not burning up the bits of wood :).  My method of holding everything down is relatively crude; double sided tape under the bits of wood, and another bit of wood held across the tops of the rails with one hand.

It's the same idea as the Portisdown V crossing jig; in fact I have one of these, one of a number he did for the 3mm Society. Apart from the fact that it only offers 4 whole-number crossings, I find the Portisdown jig has one other problem; the crossing join is a fair way from the jig itself. Using the code 60 bullhead rail it's intended for, it's possible for the rail to flex between jig and tip, and you have to be very careful it doesn't.

Nigel


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40th message | this message only posted: 17 Nov 2015 06:57
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from:
Jim Guthrie
United Kingdom

 

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Jubilee42 wrote: Hayfield wrote: Richard

I know a lot of folk use those things, but abrasives do ware away the plating on the tips which then start corroding, don't ask how I know

Try cleaning the tip by re-tinning it. Get some scrap metal, flood it with flux and have some solder in the pool, melt the solder and gently rub the tip on the metal. The re-tinning hopefully will clean the tip, which in turn will make it hotter, which will give you better solder joints
Thanks - I will try that!
Richard,

Another method which works very well is to dip the hot iron tip into Carrs 188 solder paint when you get an almost instant tinned tip.   I got a bottle of the 188 just for this from Brian Lewis some years ago and the only problem is that it has now dried up. :)

Jim.

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