Author Topic: Best Practices: Gapping Code 55 Rails.  (Read 1491 times)

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basementcalling

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Best Practices: Gapping Code 55 Rails.
« on: September 15, 2013, 10:14:20 AM »
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DCC friendly please.  Are you cutting with a dremel, razor saw or something else? ACC styrene in the gap?  I have a wye tail track to isolate, two of them actually.
Peter Pfotenhauer

DKS

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C855B

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Re: Best Practices: Gapping Code 55 Rails.
« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2013, 11:09:34 AM »
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I like to use this: http://www.grizzly.com/products/Mini-Rotary-Tool/T10165. It's smaller in diameter than the disks, to assure a vertical cut.

I'll definitely have to try David's disks. Those are nice. They're quite a bit thinner than the thinnest (.025") Dremel disk.
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DKS

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Re: Best Practices: Gapping Code 55 Rails.
« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2013, 11:12:45 AM »
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I like to use this: http://www.grizzly.com/products/Mini-Rotary-Tool/T10165. It's smaller in diameter than the disks, to assure a vertical cut.

I never worried much about making a perfectly vertical cut. A gap is still a gap...
“Everyone leaves unfinished business. That's what dying is.” —Amos, The Expanse

basementcalling

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Re: Best Practices: Gapping Code 55 Rails.
« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2013, 11:15:37 AM »
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I really, really, really,  really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really hate cut off disks in my Dremel.

My old school one is a PITA to use cutting rails on the layout because I don't have a flex shaft attachment and cannot get a truly vertical cut.

Thanks for the links to new toys. David, is that price the per disk price, or the total for ordering that quantity? At $35+ per disk they are DAMN expensive.
« Last Edit: September 15, 2013, 11:17:24 AM by basementcalling »
Peter Pfotenhauer

C855B

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Re: Best Practices: Gapping Code 55 Rails.
« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2013, 11:31:42 AM »
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Looks like it's $35 for a box of 25 disks. That's still a little pricey versus the Dremel. OTOH, I'm not about to use the super-thin disks for trimming screws, that's for sure!

I feel your pain about cutoff wheels. There're countless shards of splintered wheels lurking in the corners of my workroom, garage, studio, kitchen, dining room, ...
« Last Edit: September 15, 2013, 12:12:37 PM by C855B »
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Coxy

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Re: Best Practices: Gapping Code 55 Rails.
« Reply #6 on: September 15, 2013, 11:52:26 AM »
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My personal preference is to cut gaps on turnouts and crossings before installing on the layout. I use a jewelers saw for this. Here's a blog post on cutting gaps for a c55 diamond crossing: http://coxy.squarespace.com/coxys-n-scale-and-railroad-bl/2007/3/30/curved-diamond-crossings-for-the-mn-rr-part-6.html

For gapping track that has been laid, I recommend the high speed thin discs mentioned earlier in this thread.

Cajonpassfan

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Re: Best Practices: Gapping Code 55 Rails.
« Reply #7 on: September 15, 2013, 12:05:54 PM »
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I have a fairly large layout with probably hundreds of cuts and like to fill the gaps with styrene to prevent unwanted electrical contact due to expansion. After the rail is painted and weathered, the gap size becomes less important; I use mostly an expensive .010 disk in high visibility places, regular Dremel disk elsewhere. A .005 electrical gap without fill would make me nervous, unless soldered in place like on a hand made turnout, or in a small display setting where electrical issues can be traced quickly...
Regards, Otto K.

Cajonpassfan

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Re: Best Practices: Gapping Code 55 Rails.
« Reply #8 on: September 15, 2013, 12:09:04 PM »
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Coxy, just saw your post; beautiful work!
Otto K.

DKS

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Re: Best Practices: Gapping Code 55 Rails.
« Reply #9 on: September 15, 2013, 12:10:06 PM »
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I'm not about to use the super-thin disks for trimming screws, that's for sure!

Actually, they're great for jobs like this. They cut through metal much faster than traditional discs, and with less heating, since they're removing one-seventh or less of the metal.

My old school one is a PITA to use cutting rails on the layout because I don't have a flex shaft attachment and cannot get a truly vertical cut.

I really, really, really... etc... do not understand the need for a truly vertical cut. What's the reason? If it's aesthetics, at .005", they don't exactly stick out, plus they'll fill with paint and become virtually invisible.

David, is that price the per disk price, or the total for ordering that quantity?

They're $36.95 for a box of 25; also available in a box of 100 for $109.95. But that's for the high-strength aluminum oxide version; they're also available in silicon carbide, at $16.95 for a box of 25, or $54.95 for 100.

Now, if you've been wishing for a disc that won't shatter, you can get a diamond-coated steel disc that's .007" thick for $30.95 each. I use these and they're fantastic. Well worth the cost, since they practically last forever.

http://www.dedeco.com/product/452/SINTERED-SLIMSbr-DIAMOND-DISCbr-78-X-007-Br-1UNIT/2807/
« Last Edit: September 15, 2013, 12:33:13 PM by David K. Smith »
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M.C. Fujiwara

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Re: Best Practices: Gapping Code 55 Rails.
« Reply #10 on: September 15, 2013, 12:30:41 PM »
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I also use the Dedeco separating discs, but I use the A/O "Thin" (0.009"): http://www.dedeco.com/product/807/AO-THIN-DISCSbr-78-X-009-Br-100BX/5183/
It's about $42 for a box of 100 (and $12 for shipping IIRC), which you can share with 2-3 of your MRR buddies.
After 3 years, I'm on my last disc of my first box of 25 (and I broke probably 10 in the first few weeks just learning how to handle and use them).

I like to gap track and turnouts after installing so nothing moves around.
Place the Dremel on the track itself and then tip the disc towards the target area.
Yes, it's an angled cut, but, as DKS said, it really doesn't matter.
I've never had a short from an angled cut.
I have, however, had a short from little metal bits in the gap, so I recommend using an old toothbrush and some iso alcohol (or whatever) to clean the gaps before painting.

M.C. Fujiwara
Silicon Valley Free-moN
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Coxy

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Re: Best Practices: Gapping Code 55 Rails.
« Reply #11 on: September 15, 2013, 12:32:16 PM »
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I agree with David, the cut doesn't need to be vertical. Or at 90 degrees to the rail either as an aside. A very fine cut angled at 45 degrees to the centerline won't produce a wheel click which can draw unwanted attention to the gap.

+1 on Cajonpassfan's note about filling gaps with styrene, especially .005 cuts which the thin dremel discs and the jewelers saw will produce.

Thanks for the props Otto!

Chris333

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Re: Best Practices: Gapping Code 55 Rails.
« Reply #12 on: September 15, 2013, 12:58:23 PM »
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If you have to go 90 degrees get a flex shaft for the Dremel.

basementcalling

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Re: Best Practices: Gapping Code 55 Rails.
« Reply #13 on: September 15, 2013, 01:34:36 PM »
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I just prefer cutting down at a 90 degree angle so I know I have better control of the cut depth and such. Nothing like ruining a nicely laid piece of track and having to rip it out and start over.

I may try the tipping technique.

My old school dremel is a bit thicker than the newer ones. Mine is almost 30 years old.
Peter Pfotenhauer

davefoxx

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Re: Best Practices: Gapping Code 55 Rails.
« Reply #14 on: September 15, 2013, 01:38:38 PM »
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I just use a razor saw to cut the rails.  If I pull on my Atlas track saw, it won't snag a rail and pull the rail out of the ties.  Once I get cutting, it's usually smooth sailing even on the push stroke.  A piece of thin styrene will usually fit in the saw kerf, eliminating the chance of the rails closing up and any "wheel click."  Some easy filing will shape the styrene into the shape of the rail, helping to hide the gap filler.  If you use black styrene, the gap will be less visible than if you use white.  But, it's also very small and only noticeable on the top of the railhead once the track is painted.

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