# Flex Track- Radius Help??

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by Cheetah20, May 30, 2007.

1. ### Cheetah20Member

Ok...just me again.........
I still don't understand the 'radius measurements' of a track...

OK....here is the measurments of my 'L' shape (corner) layout ...
93" x 57" with a DEPTH of 32" .......

IF my depth is 32"... and I want '2' tracks....
one on a HIGHER level at the back.....
the other BELOW on the actual board........biggest track !!

so I guess..what I'm trying to say
I'd have to split the depth in 2 of 32" ....meaning..
is 16" enough depth for a turn on my bottom and top tracks???............

GOD...does this make sense????????
I know...I'll work on a rough drawing and post it here....
sorry guys.....
I know what I want although it doesn't sound like it...lol sign1
2. ### Jim KrauseActive Member

If your benchwork is 32 inches wide, you can't get a 16 inch radius. Track radius is measured at the track centerline. You don't want your track right on the edge of the layout for obvious reasons (big bang when train hits floor). Also, you want some clearence between any walls and the track. I would suspect that a 14 inch radius would be a more practical maximum radius. N scalers's, correct me please. Some sort of embankment or clear plastic barrier might also be desirable to prevent over the side trainwrecks.
3. ### tillsburyMember

Errr, yes, like he says. If you have one track above and one below, you don't need two turns across the depth do you... Have you drawn out your track plan on CAD yet? You should have this completely sorted before you start thinking about laying track. 14" (centreline radius) is a very nice minimum radius to work to. Some work to larger, I try to have 12" as an absolute minimum and only where it's hidden. Most locos you buy will work down to about 9.5" radius, but not all the big lovely steam will and most things will look daft at this radius.
4. ### Cheetah20Member

gotcha guys......thanx Jim - Till ........good info...

ps>> I don't have any CAD...
is there a free demo or program out there??? Thanx again
5. ### umtrr-authorMember

It's basic but Atlas has the "Right Track Software" for free on their website.

Atlas Model Railroad Co.

I believe there are other choices as well, can anyone else chime in?
6. ### umtrr-authorMember

Another thought...

I understand your interest in going with flex track but it might make sense to invest in some Code 55 sectional track, just to get going. It will give you an idea of what will and won't work. You can then move to the flex track later and use the sectional track for industrial spurs and the like.

The Atlas Code 55 includes a 15 inch radius which will fit in your space; the next ones down are 13.75 inch and 12.5 inch. The 12.5 inch will easily fit inside the 15 inch radius if you need a double track curve.
7. ### Biased turkeyActive Member

OK, let's do the maths here:

You mention a depth of 32" so it's a decent size.
If you make a full circle on that depth You should have some space between the track and the edge of the workbench so in case of a derailment your valuable rolling stock don't fall on the ground. 2" is a minimum, 3" is even better so you can even install some small scenery between the track an the edge of the layout. So the maximum outside diameter is now 32 - 3 - 3 = 26 " or a 13" radius.
Don't forget that all the track radius are measured at the track center so we have to subtract half the width of the track in order to get the maximum radius of the track center . That width is more or less half an inch ( let's play it safe here ).
So the maximum center radius of the outside track is 13" - 1" =12"
Track are generally spaced 1 1/4 " apart so the maximum radius of the inside track is 10 3/4"

Atlas sectional track have a radius of 9 3/4" , 11" and ( I'm not sure about that ) 19"

Why don,t you get a few sectional track to have an idea of how it works then buy the flextrack ?
8. ### Cheetah20Member

so sectional and flex go together no problem?...
9. ### Jim KrauseActive Member

Let's put it this way. Sectional track and flex track can be made to fit together. It isn't just a matter of plugging them into one another. You need to get the flex track to the same height as the sectional by using roadbed plus whatever else you need to match the height. As mentioned above, why not buy some sectional pieces and then throw in one section of flex and a piece of cork or foam roadbed to experiment with.
10. ### Cheetah20Member

May sound silly but.....
Is Atlas flex track code55 differenet than the Atlas 'Super' flex track code55?

found this....any good?
ATLAS N 2000-25 Code 55 30" Super-Flex Bulk (25pcs) = \$59.99
11. ### Biased turkeyActive Member

Jim,
I never tried to mix sectional track with a different brand of flextrack ( for example Atlas code 80 sectional track with Peco code 80 flextrack ) so I don't know if shimming might be necassary. On the other hand I just finished to lay a small layout of Atlas code 80 sectional track then I added a spur of code 80 Atlas Flextrack ( so I can practice laying , trimming, soldering and painting flextrack track ). I can guarantee that no shimming is required in that specific case.
12. ### Cheetah20Member

guys...I don't understand WHY I should get sectional track if I want the simplicities of a 'flex' track (code55)...is there something I'm missin' by buying just flex track???...and again.......
is there a difference in 'flex' track and 'SUPER' flex track?
13. ### TriplexActive Member

If you're using only flex track, there is no need for straight and curved sectional track.
14. ### tillsburyMember

Forget sectional track. Use flex track. But get a proper CAD system (I believe Xtrkcad is free although it's a bit tricky to use, Raily is the one I use as it creates beziers rather than having to faff about with curves and easements but it's not free). But even though it costs, it only costs as much as a few pieces of track you'll ruin if you get it all wrong and have to rip it up.

Charles
15. ### Cheetah20Member

Ok..this may sound silly to you PROS …lol
but can't I just buy a good lot of flex track
and lay it on the board as I go?????
(you know…like we used to do when we were kids)

I "DO" have an idea what I want….:thumb:
16. ### nolatronMember

You can, but it's best to layout a plan in software first to make sure it fits at proper radius in your available space. Saves a *LOT* of headache to start with a plan, and then make changes as you go.

It also gives you an idea on how much track to actually so you don't end up with tons of extra track (and \$\$\$) sitting on a shelf unused.
17. ### Biased turkeyActive Member

Because you have to learn how to crawl before learning how to walk .

But of course it's your layout.
18. ### nolatronMember

I sometimes buy a few pieces of sectional track as well to help me lay out my road bed. Just layout a few pieces of x" radius curve pieces, trace my guidelines, lay the roadbed, and then come back and lay down long runs of flex track in place.

Basically I use sectional track for visualizing turns and constructing assistance, but use flex track in actual design due to the fewer amount of rail gaps (better current flow) and better appearance of long runs of solid rail.
19. ### Biased turkeyActive Member

Of course you don't have to practice with sectional track before "graduating" to flextrack, but Imho it helps.
While building my main sectional track layout I'm practicing flextrack with a micro layout ( smaller than 4 square feet ) but I'm using some sectional track and turnouts template made out of cardboard to prepare the track plan.

20. ### Cheetah20Member

I have NO track what so ever...of course I'll have to get some.....
OHHH.. I have plunged...its on its way.......Atlas Flex track code 55 ...lol