Flexible track

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philipy
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Re: Flexible track

Post by philipy » Sun Nov 04, 2018 10:00 am

Thanks Rik, I was beginning to think I was the only one without a rail bender! I've never really found it necessary, I don't even use a jim crow, I've found that long nose pliers do the job adequately, it's only rail ends on a significant curve that need tweaking.

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Re: Flexible track

Post by Tingewickmax » Sun Nov 04, 2018 10:08 am

ge_rik wrote:
Sun Nov 04, 2018 9:26 am
Interesting debate on the efficacy of rail benders. I've never used one.

I did consider buying a rail bender when I started out in the hobby but was advised by one of the staff at GRS that they weren't really necessary

Strange thing, some 13 years ago when buying some additional flexi' for my line, the man at GRS told me they were an essential tool and I must buy one. You obviously weren't dealing with Matt or his father. :lol:

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Re: Flexible track

Post by tom_tom_go » Sun Nov 04, 2018 10:15 am

Those of you not using a rail bender are you all using code 332 track?

I have found with smaller code 200 a rail bender is a must.

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Re: Flexible track

Post by philipy » Sun Nov 04, 2018 11:10 am

tom_tom_go wrote:
Sun Nov 04, 2018 10:15 am
Those of you not using a rail bender are you all using code 332 track?

I have found with smaller code 200 a rail bender is a must.
I'm using mostly Peco, which I believe is 200, but I have other bits and pieces which I've picked up 2nd hand at various times, some flat bottom and some bullhead. I treat them all the same.

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Re: Flexible track

Post by ge_rik » Sun Nov 04, 2018 11:40 am

Tingewickmax wrote:
Sun Nov 04, 2018 10:08 am
Strange thing, some 13 years ago when buying some additional flexi' for my line, the man at GRS told me they were an essential tool and I must buy one. You obviously weren't dealing with Matt or his father. :lol:
Coincidentally, it must have been about 13 years ago I was enquiring. I bought a few lengths of secondhand track and when I asked the chap (no idea who) about the need for a rail bender he suggested I spend the money on more track. Maybe he was just trying to shift track.

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Re: Flexible track

Post by LNR » Sun Nov 04, 2018 12:45 pm

ge_rik wrote:
Sun Nov 04, 2018 9:26 am
Interesting debate on the efficacy of rail benders. I've never used one.
I'm in the same boat Rik, never had or seen the need for one, perhaps because my minimum radius is 7ft.6". To me flex track allows you to have transition and sweeping curves. To use flex track and bend it to 5ft. radius or less might be a different matter. I appreciate that some are confined to using set track because of space, but another point about flex track is that with longer length there is more bridging effect over minor undulations inevitable in the garden railway environment.
My track is all code 250 and not fastened down by the way!
Grant.

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Re: Flexible track

Post by tom_tom_go » Sun Nov 04, 2018 1:10 pm

I think that's the difference, due to my small garden I had to fit curves well under 5ft!

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Re: Flexible track

Post by invicta280 » Sun Nov 04, 2018 1:33 pm

As I'm shortly to start laying track this subject couldn't crop up at a better time for me. Most of my line will be on a gentle curve using Peco SM32 flexi track.
Do I really need a rail bender? Hopefully not. Cutting the sleeper base as appropriate should allow me to get the sort of curve I want naturally- at least I would think so. Others may know better! I'm more concerned with cutting the inside rail accurately. I imagine a hacksaw is best? I do have one of those Xuron trackcutters which I used on a 00 guage line but I shouldn't think they are up to the job.

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Re: Flexible track

Post by GTB » Sun Nov 04, 2018 2:20 pm

I'm using the same Accucraft code 250 track as Grant and I'm also not planning on using a track bender.

When I was building the turnouts, it was very easy to bend the curved rails by hand. When assembling the flex track, the problem was stopping the rail bending.......

The Accucraft sleepers for their code 250 flex track are a firm fit on the rail and since the brass rail bends easily, once you curve it, it stays that way.

I've no experience of any other track brand in garden scale, but heavier rail will be harder to bend, as will hard drawn rail. A combination of springy rail and a rattly fit of the rail in the sleepers may well require a bender of some sort.

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Re: Flexible track

Post by GTB » Sun Nov 04, 2018 2:28 pm

invicta280 wrote:
Sun Nov 04, 2018 1:33 pm
I'm more concerned with cutting the inside rail accurately. I imagine a hacksaw is best?
I used a piercing saw with a #3 blade when I was cutting various bits of rail when I was building turnouts. The other alternative would be a fine razor saw, as you want as many teeth in contact with the rail as you can.

The biggest thing will be holding the rail perfectly still while cutting. A block of wood with a couple of grooves at rail spacing and clamped to something solid would be one way.

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Re: Flexible track

Post by philipy » Sun Nov 04, 2018 2:33 pm

A slitting disc in a Dremel or similar, and then a file to square things up, works for me.

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Re: Flexible track

Post by invicta280 » Sun Nov 04, 2018 3:45 pm

Thanks for the advice. I'm hoping the weather stays ok a bit longer!

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Re: Flexible track

Post by tom_tom_go » Sun Nov 04, 2018 3:46 pm

The sleepers on Peco code 200 rail are not a firm fit, the rail will simply bend back to it's original position if not formed into the required radius first.

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Re: Flexible track

Post by Soar Valley Light » Sun Nov 04, 2018 6:26 pm

philipy wrote:
Sun Nov 04, 2018 10:00 am
Thanks Rik, I was beginning to think I was the only one without a rail bender! I've never really found it necessary, I don't even use a jim crow, I've found that long nose pliers do the job adequately, it's only rail ends on a significant curve that need tweaking.
With you all the way there Phillip. I just give the joints a tweak with the pliers and the rest (mid length) is down to some careful setting out of the free end of the track before the track pin goes down.

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Re: Flexible track

Post by Lonsdaler » Mon Nov 05, 2018 9:47 am

invicta280 wrote:
Sun Nov 04, 2018 1:33 pm
As I'm shortly to start laying track this subject couldn't crop up at a better time for me. Most of my line will be on a gentle curve using Peco SM32 flexi track.
Do I really need a rail bender? Hopefully not. Cutting the sleeper base as appropriate should allow me to get the sort of curve I want naturally- at least I would think so. Others may know better! I'm more concerned with cutting the inside rail accurately. I imagine a hacksaw is best? I do have one of those Xuron trackcutters which I used on a 00 guage line but I shouldn't think they are up to the job.
So long as the track is well fixed then it shouldn't be a problem - as others have siad the ends of each length will try to remain straight, so some attention with pliers or a Jim crow, if you have one available, usually sorts that. as tom says, if your track is floating loose in ballast, it will try to straighten out again.
Phil

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