To paraphrase Vane Jones, "Knowledge is of little value until shared with others."

Friday, October 21, 2016

Working on the 2 End Loop Modules - Part 7

Before getting into the material for this Post, I attended the 2016 National O Scale Meet held in Indianapolis this year. My primary reason for attending was to help a friend sell items. The vendor in back of us sold hand made turnouts. His beautiful products are made up of rail and the associated castings (frog, guard rails, etc.) glued to the ties. The ties are glued onto a mounting board of the buyers choice. The buyer of his ready to use products can cut a hole in the layout and drop his product in place. The vendor said the buyer could add spikes if the buyer wanted to.

The reason for bringing this up is, I serious doubt the work being done on the 2 end loops could be done with just glue and no spikes. There's too much soldering involved in the end loops. The heat from the soldering would soften the glue and cause failure of the glue to adhere properly.

Back to the end loops! This is more about recommendations and/or requirements of track design and engineering. As part of the turnout construction include all the wing rails and guard rails. For the turnouts the guard rails do not have to be very long.

The soon to be completed, as far as the rail part goes, open track end loop module.

Since the loop is built to a tight radius, the rail on the inside of the loop must have a guard rail all along the curve. In photos of the loop you'll notice the inside guard rail stops where the loop reverses direction. A guard rail then starts on the inside of the other circle.

Hope you are able to see the pencil line connecting the 2 centers of the curves. This is where the curves change direction.

A chose up of where the curves change direction. Note how the ends of the guard rails are treated, bending them into the center of the track.

When spiking down the interior rail, on the side of the rail where the guard rail is to be installed, the code 70 spikes were used. This was done because the code 70 spikes with a 0.025" diameter proved to be excellent spacers between the 2 rails. The NMRA track gauge was used to gauge the gap between the 2 rails.

Now is the time to break out as many different trail trucks you have. Pick the ones with the worse wheel sets plus the longest and shortest wheel bases. Also try to pick large and small diameter wheels. Check each wheel set for being in gauge!!!!

If there are no problems, proceed checking the track with powered models. If there are problems, with a felt tip pen mark the ties where the wheels of the truck are when the problem happens. Fix any problems.

Once any problems are fixed, if you know how the layout is to be wired and/or where the electrical gaps in the rail will be, install any wire drops now. I prefer the outside of the rail where the wire is soldered to the base of the rail using adequate size wire. Clean up the track for the painting.

The track is made up of both natural wood ties with rail install on them and premade flex track. All of the rail is a silver, metallic color. I never use weathered rail (Unless the rail is being reused and already has been painted.) or track to make a layout. Weathered rail is harder to solder plus it's more expensive. After all the track work is done, the rail, ties and roadbed are painted a dark brown.

On my prior layout and on the new layout house paint was and will be used. It's brushed on with a disposable brush.  The top of the rail is cleaned afterward before the paint completely sets. The paint and colors used were/are:

10+ years ago on my old layout - Home Depot Behr Interior Flat "Gun Flint" #3B39-8?

Now, 2016, ACE Hardware Interior Flat "Momentous Occasion" #VR096A
The paint in a dark chocolate brown is applied to the track and the balance of the top of the module using a 1" disposable brush. The water miscible house paint is brushed over the track, cork roadbed, and the top of the module for about 1" from the track. 

The dark chocolate brown color was picked when color chips from Home Depot were placed on the Burlington Northern tracks in Berwyn, IL near East Ave. Granted not every tie is the same color and the side of the rail may be a lighter color. The lighter rust/brown color was air brushed afterwards on the side of the rails. The over spray gave the tie next to the rail the correct effect. Remember there is a art component to this hobby. 

Start painting the turnouts, then do the balance of the track. Work slowly looking from one direction down the track and then the other direction. Get both sides of the ties. Try to not get the paint on any part of the track where there is to be electrical contact.

Paint can get on the top of the rail but wipe it off. The wiping off does not have to be too well done as the top of the rail will be cleaned later for best electrical contact.

I don't want to get into paint chemistry other than to say as the paint is brushed it should become thinner or more watery. This is a unique property of the paint. If you find the paint is too thick to start out with, you should be able to add up to 5% by volume of distilled water to the can of paint. Over the past 50+ years water miscible paints have become better paints.

Within a short time the paint will feel dry to the touch. The exterior of the paint has formed a skin over itself. However, the paint inside the shell is still wet and requires more time to fully dry. Allow the paint to dry for up to 5-7 days. When the paint is completely dry, any flex track or loose ties will be held in place. The paint acts as a "glue".

After the 5-7 days the balance of the top of the module can be painted a grass green if you plan on planting grass on the module. It does not matter too much about this painting. Different materials to make grass, a gravel walkway, weeds, flowers, fences, etc. will be added later.

After the paint has thoroughly dried install the turnout points and the ground throws. Once the ground throws are installed recheck the track gauge of the turnouts. Correct any problems now. If necessary don't be afraid to rip up any track work and relay the rail. It's far easier to correct track work problems now than later.

Next is the street end loop module. Cheers,

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