How Do You Recycle - For That New Layout

Discussion in 'Track Planning' started by Ben H, Dec 28, 2002.

  1. Ben H

    Ben H Member

    Shamus is starting another layout using, I would suspect, existing turnouts. Each time I have done my own amateur re-build the problems of removing and cleaning up turnouts and track have been big.
    Un-solder a turnout or remove flex-track and you dance with the issues of a little too much heat.
    Even getting track clean after glue and ballast have built up is a length job.

    I was wondered what hints or tips have been developed to help make these activities easier.
  2. billk

    billk Active Member

    Probably obvious, but:
    • Use a "solder wick" to when desoldering.
    • Use water-soluble glue for ballast, then either soak the track in water or put wet towels on it to loosen things up.
  3. Vic

    Vic Active Member

    Hi Ben, I think we have all been there and done that at one time or another.

    I solder all of the joints even at the turnouts. To salvage the turnouts what I do is just go about 1/4" away from the turnout on the flex track side and just cut it loose with the Dremel tool. Then I remove the turn out. At some point before I re-use the turn out I can now just sit down at the workbench with a hot fine point soldering iron apply some heat to the remaining rail joints and just slide them and that little scrap of rail right off the ends of the turnout with the tip of the iron, install new joiners and the turnout is ready to use again. I do the same thing with flex track. The few inches of flex track that I loose in doing it this way just never has seemed to matter. Course I usually ended up buying a piece or two for the rebuilding project.

    Like BilK said water will break the ballast loose if a water based glue has been used. Even with that you still have to poke and prod a bit. I've used a flat blade 2" wide putty knife to work under the track or turnout to break it loose after applying the water.

    For several years I have been using Artists Matte Medium to ballast with rather than white glue. Use it in the same manner that you use white glue. It holds the ballast just as well but its a lot easier to get the track or turnout up if you want to move them.

    That cheap rubbing alcohol will soften the glue faster than water if you can stand the smell of it.
  4. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    I take feeders from the rails by holding the feeder in pliers, heating the wire with a soldering iron until it comes loose from the rails. The big blob of solder is left unless it offends me, then I use a solder wick.
    Or I reuse the feeders for the new layout. Sometimes I just stuff them through a hole in the roadbed to get them out of sight.
    I avoid soldering to switches unless it's unavoidable.
    The soldered feeder joint in a length of flextrack makes it hard to bend the flex to a different curve, especially if there's one on each side.
    I spent ages after we moved knocking ballast off track. The matte mediu, stuff seemed to come cleaner that the white glue. Get a large box and wiggle the track until the ballast comes off. Then get a magnifying glass and sort it by colour and size. :D :D
  5. Paul Davis

    Paul Davis Member

    For the desoldering I'd reccomend getting a flux pen. I wouldn't attemt to desolder without it. Aply plenty to both the joint and the wick. Not only will the heat transfer quickly (so the soldering iron doesn't have to be on the rail as long) but the solder will just fly into the wick.

    isopropyl alcohol works well to clean up the flux afterwards.
  6. aartwmich

    aartwmich Member

    Neophyte here...WHAT is a solder wick?? I mean it's obviously used to 'wick' away molten solder, but what material and size and shape is it?

    Is there a site anywhere or a book someone could recommend that could give me a tutorial on soldering?

    Thanks. :)
  7. interurban

    interurban Active Member

    Hey guys all you need to free up the old glue /ballest scenic stuff is-----------------------

    WINDEX window cleaner we up here use it a lot:D

    Just spray the area you are going to work on leave it for about 1/2 hour and all the old crud just frees up:eek:
  8. Vic

    Vic Active Member

    Solder wick is flat braided copper strands. It comes on a spool. The small size is about 1/8" wide. It one of the few things still worth a hoot that you can get at Radio Shack..LOL:D

    If I can find something on a tutorial I'll post it here.
  9. Vic

    Vic Active Member

    Here's a site on how to solder electronic components. Soldering is just one of those things you have to "learn" :) but the basics of electronic component soldering would apply to model railroads too.
  10. Railery

    Railery Member

    Hi Ben. Know the feeling. :( i made my partner ROFLHAO when i took my power saw to the layout :D
    i wonder if a jug of cheap windshield washer would also do the trick.
    Sometimes i think a stick of Dynomito is the best ;) unfortunately there is nothing reusable. :rolleyes:
  11. interurban

    interurban Active Member

    .Good one

    Hi Railery,
    I never thought of that, as I will be doing some "reconstuct" soon and will try that first:D :D :D
    Windex is goooooooooood though;)

    ps I mean car windshield washer fluid not dynamite:D :D :D :D :D ;)
  12. aartwmich

    aartwmich Member

    Vic..Thanks!! Hmmmm... braided copper wire strands, I can see how that would work nice. Thanks for the link, that should give me the basics.

    interurban...I tried the Windex on some scraps I had from building a ballast/glue roadway and it worked GREAT!! But you gotta clean it up when it's still wet or it will harden again.

    Thanks for the tip..maybe it should be listed in the Academy??
  13. Ben H

    Ben H Member

    Windex --- Solder Sucker -- Matte Medium --- great ideas - just what I need.

    Thanks everyone!

    keep them coming.
  14. Paul Davis

    Paul Davis Member

    Attached Files:

    • wick.jpg
      File size:
      13.7 KB
  15. interurban

    interurban Active Member

    Hi aartwmich, glad you like it, its a case of spray and clean as you go:D :D :D :D
    If I could access the Academy I would post it but ca`nt seem to get in there .
  16. aartwmich

    aartwmich Member

    interurban..shamus is very sick :( (see general talk post)

    Maybe some other moderator knows how to post there??
  17. interurban

    interurban Active Member

    Thanks arratwmich, for letting me know.

    I had no Idea:(
    Have just check out the reports on our friend.

Share This Page