Flex Track Curves

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by volnation, Jun 24, 2003.

  1. volnation

    volnation New Member

    I have drawn my lines for my layout (5x12 table) (I'm using 24 Radius/but I guess I could use larger)...My question is how do I keep the flex track centered between the line I've drawn on my paper? Understanding that the line is the center line (Yes, I'm using the foam for a base it is Pink) I can see how it could get way off if there's not some technique you follow.

    I have read where you can make your own Trammel using a yard stick...I've also read where you drill the hole at the 2" mark and the 1" mark to place your nail/screw in...Then measure from either the 1" or 2" mark...1.) The question is, Is there a difference?

    2.) With a 5x12 table what is the widest radius I can use with flextrack? and what should be my center point using the yard stick?

    2a.) Given the largest radius I can use, can someone give me a step by step explaination on this offset/easement topic. I've read many posts concerning, however, there seems to be varying opinions.

    3.) What is the best distance to use between double track. I have heard 2" and 3"?
  2. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I'll give you some answers to the questions I know answers to. I trust someone else here will help you with the other questions.

    #2- A 5' x 12' table would allow for a 30" radius going edge to edge. Presuming you would want to keep the track centerlines 4" from each edge brings you down to a 26" radius. I'm not as good as others figuring easements, so I leave that to others; but you would probably be better off with a 22" or 24" radius with easements than running the full 26" without easements.

    #3- How big is your biggest equipment and how much will it overhang on curves. 2-2.5" should be plenty, but if you have a long locomotive that will hang over, you may need more space. I think the worst case I ever saw was a guy trying to run a brass Challenger on our modular club layout. We have 36" minimum radius curves, and wwe had to run him on the outside main because the pilot would hang over the outside rail of the outside main if we tried to run him on the inside main.
  3. volnation

    volnation New Member

    Thanks, I'm using Modern Diesels...Your advice helps...I'll wait to see what else I get...Appreciate it...

  4. Hey vol (Tennessee,Tennessee! Ain't no place I'd rather be... Baby won't you carry me, back to Tennessee!):

    Russ answered you're questions better than I could, but I will offer this tip:

    Using a yardstick for a trammel is a great idea. Just remember, that if you use the 1 inch mark for your center point, then adjust each measurement accordingly. For example, to draw a circle of 24 inch radius, be sure to drill your pencil hole at the 25-inch mark! I have made some really dumb mistakes in measuring because I forgot that I started at the 1 inch mark. 1 inch plus 24 inches (the radius) equals 25 inches. I hope this is clear; it's kind of hard to describe without actually showing someone...

    Jim ;)
  5. marty w.

    marty w. Member

    Hi vol,
    Welcome to The Gauge.
    Check out the thread started by Billk "Designing Easements" in Track Planning for the Future.
  6. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    With modern diesels, the only potential problem for you would be long rolling stock. 85' passenger cars, 89' reefers or flats, etc don't like a radius much smaller than 30". If you can resist running any cars longer than about 72' scale, it will work fine. I think eased 24" radius curves would look good too.
  7. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    There are a couple of ways to mark your track. You could make extra center holes each side of your 1" mark at half the length of your ties. After you mark your centerline, move to the other holes and mark the end of your ties. Alternately, you could use 1/2 your track gauge (HO is 5/8", mark it 5/16" each side) and mark where the rails will go.
    I try to get radius gauges which are metal pieces that fit inside the rails and are curved to various radii (radiusses?) and force the track to the right curvature.
    You could also make a very short gauge to fit inside the rails with the center marked on it. Run this down the track when you're laying it.
    And check the threads on how to nail/spike/glue/screw your track down. We have opinions!
  8. billk

    billk Active Member

    Along the lines of 60103's tips, I've cut an arc out of cardboard (pizza boxes work well unless there's cheese stuck to them) with a radius equal to the inside diameter of the ties. (i.e. curve centerline radius - 1/2 the tie length) and with the center marked. Then I pinned the cardboard down so its center mark was at the curve center and used it as a form to bend the flex track.

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