Author Topic: Torture, Peco 55 and metal rail joiners  (Read 1639 times)

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rsn48

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Torture, Peco 55 and metal rail joiners
« on: February 26, 2013, 06:31:17 PM »
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When I watch the videos, like David Popp's on how to install Peco 55 track, the part on adding the rail joiners always goes smoothly and happily; when I add metal rail joiners, after filing the edges of the rail, after spreading the joiner with the home made tool recommended, I still spend endless time being frustrated, angry as I attempt the simple task of joining two rails together.  I try wiggling, jiggling, moving side to side, moving up and down, doing just about anything I can think of to get the two track to slide nicely into the joiners which are on one set of track.

My layout is in three parts, 1) the bottom shelf portion 2) then nolix portion 3) the top shelf portion.  When I did the bottom shelf, I made each track its own block, wiring each one independently and did the styrene between the track with crazy glue and filing it down routine and though laborious it went amazingly well.  I got lazy on my nolix area and thought, even if there is a problem in the nolix using the PM42 it will be its own circuit so I can isolate the problem quickly.  Also the bulk of the nolix is single tracked except for one passing siding, so I thought simplicity itself the metal joiners would move the task along faster.  Wrong.

So is there some kind of trick I am missing getting those little suckers on that some how I've missed?
Hind sight is always better than foresight, except for lost opportunity costs.

DKS

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Re: Torture, Peco 55 and metal rail joiners
« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2013, 07:28:48 PM »
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A good pair of needlenose pliers, holding the very end of the joiner squarely and firmly, works for me.
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rsn48

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Re: Torture, Peco 55 and metal rail joiners
« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2013, 07:32:01 PM »
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About a year ago, I went out and bought some needle nose pliers for that very thing, the ones I had at the time had a very slight gap at the tip and couldn't hold the metal joiners at all.  My "new" needle nose pliers also suffer from the same affliction, I even tried filing down the other areas in case their was some microscopic thing I had missed and was preventing the end nose to operate properly.

I am currently selling two pairs of needle nose pliers, lightly used.
Hind sight is always better than foresight, except for lost opportunity costs.

mplsjct

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Re: Torture, Peco 55 and metal rail joiners
« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2013, 08:23:25 PM »
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I use a Xuron track cutter for cutting flex, I cut the rails from side to side, not top to bottom as recommended, it works well.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0006N73CY/ref=asc_df_B0006N73CY2403554?smid=A2HUFQYBB8LM3&tag=sdcbing4-20&linkCode=asn&creative=395105&creativeASIN=B0006N73CY
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RWCJr

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Re: Torture, Peco 55 and metal rail joiners
« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2013, 09:03:39 PM »
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Oh boy, hate to even post this "blacksmith" method for adding the Peco rail joiners, but like the others, had problems using needle nosed pliers for the job. I keep a block of soft pine wood handy, gingerly align the joiner with the rail and holding the block parallel with the track and joiner, use the block to shove the joiner on. The hypodermic like sharp lip on the exposed end of the rail joiner sticks into the block aiding in alignment.
Have used Peco track since the mid-70's, and, as the old saw goes, it works for me, with much less blood letting. I TRY to remember to add joiners before track installation, but this method works just as well at the layout as it does on my workbench. I use the same needle nose pliers that have the gap to hold the rail with the other hand.
Robert

rsn48

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Re: Torture, Peco 55 and metal rail joiners
« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2013, 12:35:15 AM »
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From my original post - "after spreading the joiner with the home made tool recommended" - I have been doing that, putting them through 2 or 3 times even.  I'm embarrassed to admit it, but putting in one three foot length of track takes almost an hour, without exaggerating to make a better story; by the way this does not include soldering of feeder wires time.  I spend 5 minutes in prep time, cutting the track to fit, bending back and cutting off some ties and filing areas in the ties to take the joiner, filing the edges of the track, putting the metal joiners on the tool and spreading them, and then I spend the next 55 minutes trying to get the suckers on.

In fact, I've made a decision tonight after another frustrating day.  Instead of putting metal joiners on, I will on some curved track and solder, but other than that, I'm going back to my old ways of installing each track as its own block and using styrene or the plastic joiners which I find easier to work with.

In my nolix, I have 25 track to lay, exluding the siding and I can't imagine spending my time putting on 50 metal joiners.  I think I've found the perfect torture the armed forces of the free world can use. 

Part of my frustration is I have to join track to track already laid down.  I'm using AMI (no longer made) and so I lay one track down, I can lift it at the end but the rest of the track is in place, I have to do this to get the curves in correctly so that the next join will align.  So I'm not joining track like you see in the video (like David Popp's video) with two on the table and I can maneuver them around, instead I have to get the old eye balls down to track level to eye ball the whole thing, and drop the metal joiner after several joining maneuvers.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2013, 12:37:42 AM by rsn48 »
Hind sight is always better than foresight, except for lost opportunity costs.

mmagliaro

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Re: Torture, Peco 55 and metal rail joiners
« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2013, 12:50:15 AM »
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From what you write, it sounds like the big part of the problem comes when you try to slide the two
pieces of track together.  So I take it you manage to get the joiners on the free piece of track, but
when you go to slide that into the piece of track that is already mounted (or just another piece of track),
that's where you have the most trouble. 

Is that right?

Assuming so...
Do you use a jewelers file to file under the bottom of the base, and on the TOP edges of the base part of the rail,
so that it is "razor sharp", on that second piece of track? 
filing down those edges, top and bottom, is the most important thing, I find, to making it easy to get
the joiner on.

I do that on the edge of every piece, and all I use are my fingers to push the joiners on.


Zox

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Re: Torture, Peco 55 and metal rail joiners
« Reply #7 on: February 27, 2013, 01:52:25 AM »
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This may be a silly question, but have you tried using Atlas Code 80 joiners instead of Peco? As I recall, the Atlas ones are a bit looser fit.

(While Atlas sells both "Code 55" and "Code 80" rail joiners, the "Code 80" ones seem to fit well on both Code 55 and Code 80 track.)
Rob M., a.k.a. Zox
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Kiasutha

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Re: Torture, Peco 55 and metal rail joiners
« Reply #8 on: February 27, 2013, 08:47:37 AM »
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rsn48:
Sorry,I have not seen the Popp video so didn't know what tool you were using.
Suggestion removed.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2013, 08:51:32 AM by Kiasutha »

Glenn Poole

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Re: Torture, Peco 55 and metal rail joiners
« Reply #9 on: February 27, 2013, 10:43:23 AM »
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Don't really understand the severity of your problem.  I have laid about 1,670 feet (that is 556 3 foot pieces) of Peco code 55 track and have put Peco metal or insulated joiners on all joints.. I use my thumb  and fingers.  Out side of a few sharp ends going into my fingers once in a while, I have had little problem.   I do use a small file to go over the ends before I try to put the joiner on, especially on the cut pieces.  On curves, I put the joiners on and solder the joints in the straight position before bending and fastening down.   
Glenn

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Re: Torture, Peco 55 and metal rail joiners
« Reply #10 on: February 27, 2013, 11:09:01 AM »
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When I used Peco 55/80 I got to the point where I always gave the rail end joints a quick file.  It did make it go better.  I used to put them on and use my benchwork as a backstop while I pushed them all the way on.....probably added to my problems on the other side, though.

Kiasutha

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Re: Torture, Peco 55 and metal rail joiners
« Reply #11 on: February 27, 2013, 11:54:17 AM »
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Don't really understand the severity of your problem.  I have laid about 1,670 feet (that is 556 3 foot pieces) of Peco code 55 track and have put Peco metal or insulated joiners on all joints.. I use my thumb  and fingers.  Out side of a few sharp ends going into my fingers once in a while, I have had little problem.   I do use a small file to go over the ends before I try to put the joiner on, especially on the cut pieces.  On curves, I put the joiners on and solder the joints in the straight position before bending and fastening down.
+1
Never had much trouble either.
Don't usually even use the "rail in dowel" tool.

ljudice

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Re: Torture, Peco 55 and metal rail joiners
« Reply #12 on: February 27, 2013, 12:09:31 PM »
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No problems here - well maybe once and a while...

I use the Xuron cutters and then usually quickly file the ends to get rid of any rough spots.

I have had far more problems with the Insulated rail jointers in tight locations like crossovers.



pnolan48

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Re: Torture, Peco 55 and metal rail joiners
« Reply #13 on: February 27, 2013, 08:18:48 PM »
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A long time ago I wrote about the holes in my thumbs caused by pushing in rail joiners.  I found that careful attention to filing all the mating surfaces of the rails and the joiners allowed my thumbs to heal. It took a little more filing on each surface than I expected. It also took a lot of gentle wiggling to get things aligned--if it doesn't slide on with the gentle wiggling, then the heavy pressure that causes holes and blood just isn't going to work very well. I probably did 300' of track before I caught on. If there's just one burr on either the track or the joiner, you are in for quite a bit of pushing. If I had trouble, I'd put on the 6X Optivisor and really look for a burr. It was always there. The rest of the 900' went much better, along with subsequent additions.

You just gotta really look for that catch point.

Ian MacMillan

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Re: Torture, Peco 55 and metal rail joiners
« Reply #14 on: February 27, 2013, 08:33:43 PM »
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A good pair of needlenose pliers, holding the very end of the joiner squarely and firmly, works for me.

+1 same here. As well, I dont use anything to spread the joiner before putting it on as I want a nice tight, snug fit.
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