Author Topic: Got Some Micro Engineering Code 55 Flex Track.  (Read 2824 times)

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Kisatchie

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Got Some Micro Engineering Code 55 Flex Track.
« on: July 08, 2013, 08:36:40 PM »
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I got some code 55 ME flex track in the mail today (from Fifer Hobby Supply). It looks very good, and it isn't that hard to bend. I'm pretty sure I'll be getting some of these SweepSticks to get the radiuses right, though:

http://www.handlaidtrack.com/Custom-Radius-SweepSticks-for-N-track-p/sw-n-c-c.htm

I did notice the ties are so narrow that there isn't room to put holes in them to nail the track down. Guess I'll be forced to glue the track down - a new experience for me. In fact, I've never laid any N scale track before... just some HO decades ago.

That's all... any comments?


Hmm... what's on TV
tonight...?


Two scientists create a teleportation ray, and they try it out on a cricket. They put the cricket on one of the two teleportation pads in the room, and they turn the ray on.
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chicken45

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Re: Got Some Micro Engineering Code 55 Flex Track.
« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2013, 08:39:29 PM »
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Hmm... I was just looking at this today. Can you tell me how many ties are in  33 scale feet?
Josh Surkosky

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Ed Kapucinski
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But mention his law
and you've pulled your last straw!

Alternate version:
Ed Kapucinski
Every night, he plants a new tree.
He asks excitedly "Did you say Ménage à Trois?"
No, I said "Ed's Law."

GaryHinshaw

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Re: Got Some Micro Engineering Code 55 Flex Track.
« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2013, 08:59:20 PM »
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No specific comments, but I too am using ME flex, sweep sticks and glue, and I'm very happy with the combination.

Since you say it's not that hard to bend, I'm guessing you got the unweathered rail?

Dave Schneider

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Re: Got Some Micro Engineering Code 55 Flex Track.
« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2013, 09:09:20 PM »
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Wasn't there a miraculous discovery reported (maybe on Atlas?) of a method to make it easier to bend? Something like a hot water bath? I hate it that I can't remember anything anymore....now where is my beer?

Best wishes, Dave
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basementcalling

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Re: Got Some Micro Engineering Code 55 Flex Track.
« Reply #4 on: July 08, 2013, 09:14:16 PM »
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No specific comments, but I too am using ME flex, sweep sticks and glue, and I'm very happy with the combination.

Since you say it's not that hard to bend, I'm guessing you got the unweathered rail?

Have you found the ME C55 concrete tie track to have more flash on the tie strip than their wooden tie track, Gary?

I received a good chunk of it from MB Klein Friday and was disappointed in the amount of flash, both between ties, on the rail plates, and on the outside of the rails as well. Definitely going to have to do some work with an Xacto knife before I can use it on the layout. Some parts of the strip were fine, and other areas were not good.

I looked at the sweep sticks too, but I have a hard time paying what Fast Tracks wants in shipping for what is basically a $9 piece of wood. Their cheapest shipping rate was almost more than the sweep stick itself.

Peter Pfotenhauer

Kisatchie

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Re: Got Some Micro Engineering Code 55 Flex Track.
« Reply #5 on: July 08, 2013, 09:25:24 PM »
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Hmm... I was just looking at this today. Can you tell me how many ties are in  33 scale feet?

I count 18 ties. I started measuring at the beginning of one tie and continued for 33 scale feet, reaching the very beginning of the 19th tie.


Hmm... Kiz can count...!

« Last Edit: July 08, 2013, 09:28:17 PM by Kisatchie »
Two scientists create a teleportation ray, and they try it out on a cricket. They put the cricket on one of the two teleportation pads in the room, and they turn the ray on.
The cricket jumps across the room onto the other pad.
"It works! It works!"

chicken45

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Re: Got Some Micro Engineering Code 55 Flex Track.
« Reply #6 on: July 08, 2013, 09:31:22 PM »
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I count 18 ties. I started measuring at the beginning of one tie and continued for 33 scale feet, reaching the very beginning of the 19th tie.


Hmm... Kiz can count...!


Thanks, Kiz! That means that Atlas code 55 is closer to Pennsy prototype. 20 ties per 33 feet, haha!
Josh Surkosky

Here's a Clerihew about Ed. K.

Ed Kapucinski
Every night, he plants a new tree.
But mention his law
and you've pulled your last straw!

Alternate version:
Ed Kapucinski
Every night, he plants a new tree.
He asks excitedly "Did you say Ménage à Trois?"
No, I said "Ed's Law."

peteski

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Re: Got Some Micro Engineering Code 55 Flex Track.
« Reply #7 on: July 08, 2013, 09:33:49 PM »
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Kiz,
is yours weathered or bare nickel silver track?  Weathered rail flex track is more difficult to bend than shiny nickel sliver.  That is because weathered rail has a rougher surface than un-weathered rail.

There was a thread about getting it to bend easier by heating it in hot water. I suggested using a hair dryer or heat gun as an alternative.  But for some reason I can't find that thread (even just searching for "heat gun" or "hair dryer"). I'm poretty sure that I've used either or both of those words in that thread.
. . . 42 . . .

Kisatchie

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Re: Got Some Micro Engineering Code 55 Flex Track.
« Reply #8 on: July 08, 2013, 09:39:15 PM »
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Kiz,
is yours weathered or bare nickel silver track?

It's bare nickel silver.

Kiz,
There was a thread about getting it to bend easier by heating it in hot water. I suggested using a hair dryer or heat gun as an alternative.  But for some reason I can't find that thread (even just searching for "heat gun" or "hair dryer"). I'm poretty sure that I've used either or both of those words in that thread.


Hmm... I'd better go tell
Kiz to get the track out
of the oven...


Two scientists create a teleportation ray, and they try it out on a cricket. They put the cricket on one of the two teleportation pads in the room, and they turn the ray on.
The cricket jumps across the room onto the other pad.
"It works! It works!"

GaryHinshaw

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Re: Got Some Micro Engineering Code 55 Flex Track.
« Reply #9 on: July 08, 2013, 10:19:51 PM »
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There was a thread about getting it to bend easier by heating it in hot water. I suggested using a hair dryer or heat gun as an alternative.  But for some reason I can't find that thread (even just searching for "heat gun" or "hair dryer"). I'm poretty sure that I've used either or both of those words in that thread.

https://www.therailwire.net/forum/index.php?topic=28014.msg290452#msg290452

Quote from: peteski
How about using a hair dryer (or a heat gun on low setting) instead of water?  It will get the track warm/hot, and it is less messy. It can also be done in the layout room.

Not sure why your search failed Peteski.  Dave, can't help you on the grey cell count... ;)

Basementcalling, my concrete tie flex has thankfully been pretty clean, but I did get another shipment recently that I haven't inspected closely, yet...

peteski

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Re: Got Some Micro Engineering Code 55 Flex Track.
« Reply #10 on: July 08, 2013, 10:24:59 PM »
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https://www.therailwire.net/forum/index.php?topic=28014.msg290452#msg290452

Not sure why your search failed Peteski.  Dave, can't help you on the grey cell count... ;)


I just tried the same search I ran before and this time it worked.  The search engine or something on the Railwire website must have been on the fritz.  TRW hasn't quite been well since the recent move.  :x
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robert3985

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Re: Got Some Micro Engineering Code 55 Flex Track.
« Reply #11 on: July 09, 2013, 12:56:46 AM »
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ME flex is having flash problems again???  That's good news!!  :D Maybe their molds are wearing out, which means they're gonna have to make new ones...which I sincerely hope have smaller spikehead details, like when they were Railcraft!

In the end, when the old molds started wearing out, the flash problems were just what you got.  Nobody complained about it since it was the only Code 55 flex on the market.  We just trimmed all the flash off with our trusty Xactos and laid the rail down.

Victor.  You got the good stuff.  I won't use weathered rail because it makes soldering a helluva lot harder...plus, when you bend the rail, little shiny spots show up where the spikeheads were, so you've got to paint it anyway.  Yup...no nails for ME track.  I used Alena's Tacky Glue a lot, or sometimes just runny CA and accelerator when laying on Midwest Cork roadbed...4" at a time, holding it down with a 6" piece of premium pine 1X4 on its edge.  Lots of people have good luck using caulk too.  Get the black or gray stuff.  Since you gotta work at getting your radii smooth, you can do so if you lay cork down to a precisely drawn centerline, then use the crack between pieces of cork to lay your track's centerline to.  Your eyeball is pretty good at saying where the center of your track is, but the final test is to use the M1 Eyeball Method to check for kinks, dips and rises.  In other words, lay your head on the track, and sight down it with your lower eye.  You can see all the imperfections...then put your finger on the side of the track where the kinks are, and start smoothing it all out.  Goes pretty quick actually and it IS accurate.  Since ME track is stiff, get it smooth before you glue, and don't use too much glue.  Lay your track back down on the glue, then sight again...just to make sure.  If you use a glue that takes time to cure, then weight the tracks with books, milk jugs full of water, diving weights, anvils...whatever you've got...but center the weight on the tracks so it doesn't lift one side of it...which can be a real PITA.

 As to tie spacing.  I did a study a few years ago 'cause on the UP trackage is divided up into three categories (1) Heavy traffic, (2) Medium traffic and (3) Light traffic...which is determined by the number of cars that roll over it during a specific time period (which I can't remember).  There is a difference in the tie spacing between all three of the categories, with heaviest traffic requiring ties spaced closest together.  There is also a difference in the tie size, particularly the length, with heaviest traffic requiring the longest "standard" ties. There's a difference in rail weight too, but all we've got to work with is 55 and 40, so I wanted to differentiate the rail usage by the tie differences as well as the two rail sizes.

Soooo...I decided that I'd measure the tie size and spacing on Atlas 55, ME 55 and ME 40 and then use the flex that most correctly represented each category on my layout to represent each of the three categories of prototype track.

Easy, right?  I wish.

Come to find out, the tie spacing on Atlas 55 is closest to represent heavily trafficked rail, but the tie lengths are short.  ME 55's tie lengths were near perfect for heavily trafficked prototype rail, but the tie spacing was ideal for medium trafficked prototype rail.  ME 40 was perfect for lightly trafficked rail.

"Well, chit mon!" I said to myself...What's more obvious???  Tie length or tie spacing??  After mulling it over for a while, I decided that tie spacing was more obvious than tie length, so I decided to use Atlas 55 for mainlines because of its tighter tie spacing, ME 55 for medium trafficked center sidings and trailing point sidings in Weber and Echo Canyons, and ME 40 for the industrial complex (Ideal Concrete) and the Park City Branch and Yard.

Then I got to looking at the huge thingies on Atlas 55 that hold the track onto the ties.  Can't really call it "spikehead detail" as it doesn't come close to representing spikes...just huge clamps of some sort...like Atlas didn't even attempt to make something that looked halfway prototypical when designing this product...so I chit-canned the idea of using Atlas track for anything.  I still have that one piece of Atlas 55 flex.

Now I'm using ME/Railcraft 55 for mainlines and ME/Railcraft 40 for mainline sidings.  I use ME/Railcraft 40 with the spacers between the ties cut, so I can spread the ties out for lightly trafficked rail, and I'm happy with the looks.

Obsessed?  :D

nkalanaga

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Re: Got Some Micro Engineering Code 55 Flex Track.
« Reply #12 on: July 09, 2013, 01:56:13 AM »
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Kiz:  I spiked mine down, using two different methods.  The first is to drill a 0.02 inch hole (#75?) in the tie and drive a ME spike through it.  The "small", 1/4 inch long. spikes work very nicely.

The other method, used where the track didn't want to stay flat on curves, or for the point area of turnouts, was to use the same spikes in the outside of the rail.  After ballasting they're not much more obvious than prototype rail anchors, and can always be pulled out.  In this case I put them between the ties, so no holes were needed.
N Kalanaga
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Sokramiketes

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Re: Got Some Micro Engineering Code 55 Flex Track.
« Reply #13 on: July 09, 2013, 09:35:57 AM »
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ME flex is having flash problems again???  That's good news!!  :D Maybe their molds are wearing out, which means they're gonna have to make new ones...which I sincerely hope have smaller spikehead details, like when they were Railcraft!

Be careful what you wish for... the brother that was the tool maker moved on to other things.  They don't currently have a tool maker on staff. 
Mike

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wcfn100

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Re: Got Some Micro Engineering Code 55 Flex Track.
« Reply #14 on: July 09, 2013, 10:59:03 AM »
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I just tried the same search I ran before and this time it worked.  The search engine or something on the Railwire website must have been on the fritz.  TRW hasn't quite been well since the recent move.  :x

Searches don't cross sub-forums.  If you were in Engineering Reports for example, and decided to do your search, it won't come up.

Jason