Author Topic: Is it possible to unweather Micro Engineering rail?  (Read 828 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

RSWController

  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 124
  • Respect: +20
Is it possible to unweather Micro Engineering rail?
« on: April 26, 2014, 07:55:26 AM »
0
I've read that the blackened rail is a lot harder to solder for hand laid track. So I am wondering if it's worth removing the blackening chemical or if it's just better to buy new unweathered rail. I got a ton of it for a great price so I'd like to use it if possible. Any tips? Thanks.

GaryHinshaw

  • Global Moderator
  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 5412
  • Respect: +559
Re: Is it possible to unweather Micro Engineering rail?
« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2014, 08:06:30 AM »
0
I use weathered rail for handlaid turnouts.  You are correct that solder will not stick to the blackened rail, but the finish is easily filed off in regions where you want to solder.  As a side benefit, solder will not flow to (visible) regions that have not been filed.

DKS

  • The Pitt
  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 11146
  • Your choice for ANAL...
  • Respect: +1726
    • DKS Home
Re: Is it possible to unweather Micro Engineering rail?
« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2014, 08:09:47 AM »
0
Unless you're looking to solder along the length of the rail (in which case you'll want to buy unweathered rail), you can easily solder to those points you need to by using a small steel wire brush to polish the metal.

http://www.micromark.com/scratch-brush,8058.html

And don't forget to flux after every meal.
"Life's a piece of sh!t when you look at it."
                                       —Monty Python

crrcoal

  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 394
  • Respect: +24
Re: Is it possible to unweather Micro Engineering rail?
« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2014, 08:28:23 AM »
0
When I had my HO switching layout I used some weathered ME flex. For the areas that needed to be soldered all I did was use dremel and wire wheel. Worked like a charm.
I would never use ME weathered again though (I know never say never) only because the weathered track was harder to bend then the unweathered. (don't know if the same is true for N scale.) Also painting the track looks WAYYYYYY better than the weathering ME puts on. YMMV.

DKS

  • The Pitt
  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 11146
  • Your choice for ANAL...
  • Respect: +1726
    • DKS Home
Re: Is it possible to unweather Micro Engineering rail?
« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2014, 08:50:38 AM »
0
I would never use ME weathered again though (I know never say never) only because the weathered track was harder to bend then the unweathered. (don't know if the same is true for N scale.) Also painting the track looks WAYYYYYY better than the weathering ME puts on. YMMV.

I found the weathered N track only very slightly harder to flex than the unweathered--60/40, really. I agree about painted track looking better; however, weathered rail is much easier to paint: the paint adheres better, and areas that may have been missed don't stick out like a chrome-plated thumb.
"Life's a piece of sh!t when you look at it."
                                       —Monty Python

LV LOU

  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 620
  • Gender: Male
  • Respect: 0
Re: Is it possible to unweather Micro Engineering rail?
« Reply #5 on: April 26, 2014, 02:23:14 PM »
0
 I bought some weathered when I first started using ME,but didn't like it..I used all kinds of different acids on it,wheel cleaners,ultrasound,Tarn-X,ETC,I got it off,but in the end,everything I tried left it a funny pink/copper color..It was barely noticeable,by itself it looked okay,but next to other rail,it was "off"...Actually,it's all gone now,but one thing I didn't try was Catsup..[Seriously..] I used a piece of plastic pipe with one end capped to soak it..

robert3985

  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 2117
  • Respect: +407
Re: Is it possible to unweather Micro Engineering rail?
« Reply #6 on: April 26, 2014, 02:49:29 PM »
0
I use both weathered and unweathered ME flex (as well as a lot of old Railcraft unweathered flex) and I find it just "inconvenient" to solder the weathered stuff...not particularly difficult or impossible.

As has been stated, a small steel-wire welder's brush will take off enough of the blackening to allow a fluxed solder joint to stick well, and is easy to accomplish if you're talking about rail ends (for rail joiners) or the underside (for feeders soldered to the foot of the rail).  Sometimes I just scrape the foot of the rail between ties with a #11 X-acto blade to take off the weathering too...or a narrow file.  Not a big deal.

Just make sure you're using a non-acid flux (Plumber's Honey is a no-no).

I find the weathered rail to be a bit more difficult to bend at first, but once it's "broken loose" there's not much difference between it and unweathered.

I look for good deals on old Railcraft, old ME (with the small spikeheads) or even new "big" spikehead ME flex and although I prefer unweathered, I'll put up with weathered for the right price.

Here's a photo of a section of my Emory Center Siding on my modular layout showing both weathered and non-weathered Railcraft/ME trackage.  The code 40 in the center is weathered and the spikeheads need to be sanded down so common engines such as Atlas Geeps and Kato F's will run on it.  Not a big deal, and I kinda like the look of the sanded down spikeheads.


Of course, this track will look a whole lot different once it's painted weathered and ballasted...and I've sanded the ends of the ties so they're more square.

If you're going to be hand laying turnouts or track with weathered rail, pulling the rail through a 3M pad should quickly get rid of the weathering on both the railhead and foot simultaneously.  All my turnout soldering is confined to the foot of the rail, and like Gary says, the weathering on the sides would confine your solder to the ties and rail foot...which is a good thing.

In areas you've removed the sides...like at the closure points and at adjacent stock rails, or even on your PCB ties, you can confine your solder by marking the PCB tie or the portion of the rails where you've removed the weathering with a #2 pencil.  Solder won't cross over or stick to pencil lead markings.
« Last Edit: April 26, 2014, 03:01:13 PM by robert3985 »

nkalanaga

  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 6386
  • Respect: +256
Re: Is it possible to unweather Micro Engineering rail?
« Reply #7 on: April 27, 2014, 01:05:02 AM »
0
Like the others, I remove the weathering with an X-Acto knife, file, or sandpaper.  On cut ends the rail has to be filed anyway, even with flush-cutting pliers, so one can remove the weathering in the same operation. 

I haven't tried the wire brush or 3M pad, being too cheap to buy either one, no more track than I laid.

For handlaying, on PC ties, one should definitely use unweathered rail, as sanding the base of an entire piece is a pain.  The base is sharp enough to cut fingers if one isn't very careful about sliding it through ones fingers.  Also, too much sanding can damage the rail, as it's very easy to kink a long piece when sanding lengthwise.

Bob:  Thanks for the tip about pencil lead!  Next time I have to repair a loose point I'll remember it.
N Kalanaga
Be well