# Need help-Curves

Discussion in 'Track Planning' started by chiak47, Mar 8, 2003.

1. ### chiak47New Member

Whats the best way to figure out N scale curves?
Thanks,
Eric
2. ### billkActive Member

Whatcha mean "figure out"?
3. ### chiak47New Member

Well I'm in the stage of laying out the tracks.I only have 2' to work with and I was wondering what the best way to lay a curve down.
I was thinking of using a tack and string to figure out the radius.
Is it good to use flex track for curves?

Thanks,
Eric "stuck" in Chicago
4. ### ClerkActive Member

That is exactly the way I did mine with a pencil, string and a tack but I had 36 inches to work in a double track for my "N" scale.
5. ### jwmurrayjrMember

Eric,

I cut down a yard stick and put a nail at the arc center point and drilled small holes for a pencil at various radius points.
6. ### MatthyroWill always be re-membered

The way I did it with my current layout was to draw the track plan using the Atlas free program and printed it out with the grid at scale of12 inches. Next I marked out squares on the layout in real 12 inch squres and drew in the curves that way. Hard to get a perfect radius but the flex track followed the co-ordinates nicely and I am happy with results. I have used the two methods already posted previously but liked this different method
7. ### billkActive Member

Eric - Another way to get a smooth curve is make a template, out of fairly durable material (heavy cardboardboard, 1/4 masonite, etc) of the inside of the ties. It should cover, oh, maybe 1/4 of a circle, and it's might be helpful if there was a hole where the centerof the cuirle is. Roughly like the diagram. Then you can basically "wrap" the flex around your template, secure it, rotate the template and repeat.

Is there any way you can go a few inches wider at the ends of your layout, to allow the "turnarounds" to be a little larger radius? At any rate, go buy or a borrow a copy of John Armstrong's Track Planning for Realistic Operation. In it he describes a fairly easy way of making transition curves. A transition curve starts out very large (in radius) and gradually tightens to the radius of the desired curve. It will give you a better appearance amd better operating reliability as well, especially if you're going to be using as tight of curves at it appears you are.
8. ### chiak47New Member

Thanks guys for the answers.I am going to add onto the sides of the two ends too make the turns more realistic.
Again I got alot of use out of the brains here.
Thanks again,
Eric
9. ### 60103Pooh Bah

Eric:
I've used a number of methods. I have a yardstick with a large number of hole in it for various radii; I have a professional draftsman's compass that does curves up to 18" (13" bar with 6" extension).
On trick I've used is a piece of lumber (1x2) with a square of homasote on it that I clamp to the roadbed to use as a center for curves where the center isn't in the layout. Useful if you want a gentle curve down a long straight section.