Soldering help NEEDED NOW!!!!

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by Kevinkrey, Nov 11, 2007.

  1. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    Of course, you need to do both rails...

    Now, on to installing the track. Take the ties we cut out and cut them into pieces as shown. Basically we are cutting out the portions which sit under the rails. Rail nippers work well for this.

    Dry fit the track on the layout, and mark the holes for the wires on the benchwork. Drill a small hole down through. I used glue to hold my track down, so I spread the glue on the roadbed, then pushed the wires through the holes and pushed the track down in place.

    After that is done, you can go back and glue in the cut ties so it all looks good.

    Attached Files:

  2. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    Instead of actually cutting the ties out, you can cut out the little pieces of plastic between the ties and slide the ties over to leave an opening for soldering. Then when the solder is cool, you slide the ties back into place. Lots of ways to do this stuff.

    I would be remiss to not add some safety precautions. Soldering creates heat which can burn fingers or set old oily rags on fire. Hot solder droplets falling on bare feet can hurt. Hobby knives are sharp and can cause bodily injury. Use proper care when dealing with dangerous instruments. Wash your hands thoroughly after handing products containing lead.

    Ugh, that soldering iron tip looks pathetic in that one photo.

    anyway, there ya go, take it for what it is worth, a haphazardly thrown together tutorial of a haphazard newbie soldering method and posted by dial-up at that.
  3. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    Hey, no problem, jumping the gun is half the fun!!:mrgreen:
  4. Kevinkrey

    Kevinkrey Member

    You still call yourself a newb huh? Well if you are you sure know what you are doing it seems. Dont know if you scrolled up, I posted during the tuturial, dont know if you can help me there, should I make a new thread, anyone in particular who knows alot about this?
  5. Kevinkrey

    Kevinkrey Member

    Dont know where the y in that last post came from, but I did it again, posted at the same time, guess I jumped the gun!sign1sign1sign1sign1sign1
  6. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    Don't worry about the posts you put in there. Interacting with each other is the best thing about this forum. I had fun, hope you did too!
  7. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    25 watts may be a little small for soldering to code 100 rail. Soldering takes heaps of experience and patience, and I am no means an expert. But, when I solder to rail I usually use either a 40 or 80 watt pencil iron. And make sure you use an electronic acid free flux, rather than the acid flux made for water pipes!

  8. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    Not much to it, Kevin. It's best to do it before forming the curve, but not that much more difficult if one piece is already in place. Remove a couple of ties from the ends of both pieces of track, then cut them into individual ties. Save them for later. The moveable rail on the flextrack will slide as you form the curve, so you'll need to position it or remove more ties as is suitable in order to have a "tie-free" area under the rail joiners. I've never bothered to worry about whether the sliding rail is on the inside or outside of the curve, nor about whether to stagger the rail joints or keep them even. I usually solder four or five sections of track together at a time, keeping them reasonably straight and the rail ends even, then form the curve roughly in the area where it is to be installed, all the while removing more ties as required to accomodate the sliding rail joints. To do this, use a utility knife to cut the web which joins the ties to one another, then a chisel blade in your X-Acto to shave off the spike heads on the side of the rails that will be away from the viewer. This will allow the ties to drop free of the rails. Cut them apart also, into separate ties, and save them for later.
    The actual soldering is very easy. I used a piece of 500 or 600 grit wet/dry sandpaper (use it dry) to clean the sides and bottoms of the ends of all four rails, then slip both rail joiners in place and the second section of track too. Solder the non-sliding rail of the new piece to the existing track section first, so that you can be sure that the gap will be small. The other rail can be slid into place as required.
    With the track sitting flat on the workbench or layout, rail side up, place a metal heat sink across both rails of both sections of track approximately over the location of the last ties still in place. I use a couple of steel machinist's blocks, but any substantial metal object, such as pliers or a hammer will work equally well. You can also use wadded-up wet paper towels or tissues. Using a clean, tinned, and hot soldering iron of sufficient wattage (I use either an 80 or 200 watt iron) place the tip on the top (running surface) of the rails, right over the joint, so that both rails in the joiner are being heated at the same time, then place the end of your small diameter resin-core solder against the area on the side of the rail where it meets the top edge of the rail joiner. I make all solder joints on the outside of the rails, to ensure that no overlooked "blobs" will effect the running of trains. As soon as the heat reaches the solder, it will be drawn into the area between the rails and the joiner, making both a solid mechanical connection and a positive electrical connection. As soon as this occurs, remove the iron from the work, to prevent melting the ties.
    After you have all of the joints soldered, and enough ties removed to allow you to form the curve, tack the track in place. Now, using all of those ties that you save, slide them under the tie-less rails, working from the normal viewing side. In areas free of the rail joiners, simply slide them into place, with perhaps a little white glue to maintain the proper spacing. (Don't forget, all of these separate ties have had the spike heads removed from the far-side of the rails - you'll need to lift the near rail slightly, using a small screwdriver, to allow the first spike head to slide under.) For areas that fall under a railjoiner(s), I use a small file to remove a bit of thickness from the top of the tie in the area where the joiner will sit. You may also have to shave a bit off the inside face of the remaining spike head(s) in order to accomodate the thickness of the joiners.
    This would've been easy to tell with photos, but I don't have any spare flex track laying around. :p:rolleyes: :-D

  9. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Excellent tutorial, I have 2 things to add that you might find useful.

    #1-Wet rags make excellent heat sinks. If you get 2 old t shirts, old towels, or wash cloths, wet them and put them under the rails on either side of where you want to solder, the water will keep the rails from getting hot enough to melt the ties. If the wet cloths are away from the spot you actually want to solder, the rail will get hot enough to solder where you want to solder it, but the heat won't transfer to the ties.

    #2-If you melt some ties, don't worry about it. If you don't have spare plastic ties from excess flex track left over from building the layout, just pick up a package of Campbell's wood ties. Go to your local home center or hardware store and pick up a small can of Min Wax wood stain. I've found teak to be a good color to match the stock plastic ties. When you lay your track, sand the bottom of the wooden ties if necessary to make them the same thickness as the plastic ties and slip them under the track where the melted ties were. When you finish balasting the track, you won't be able to tell what ties are real wood and what are plastic.

Share This Page