Author Topic: Looking for a commonly found flat steel to put under track  (Read 2508 times)

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Chris333

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Looking for a commonly found flat steel to put under track
« on: January 09, 2018, 04:56:31 AM »
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I recently made a 3D model for a small Whitcomb that will be HO scale, but run on Z gauge track. The chassis used for this are made by Busch and called HOf scale/gauge. The "f" is for Feldbahn. The chassis have a magnet stuffed inside the chassis:



Busch makes track pieces that have a steel strip built into them:
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I plan to make a small layout using Z scale flextrack and can't think up a common everyday thing I can go buy that will get me flat thin steel strips to put under the track. 1/2" wide strips would be perfect. Shouldn't be more than about 1/16" thick.

Any ideas?

peteski

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Re: Looking for a commonly found flat steel to put under track
« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2018, 05:18:27 AM »
+1
That looks like "magnatraction" @Lemosteam experimented with back on the A-board.  How are you planning on bending a flat 1/4" strip into sharp curves?  Maybe you should just use a steel wire, or a bundle of wires (rods) instead? Under the ties.
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Chris333

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Re: Looking for a commonly found flat steel to put under track
« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2018, 05:33:12 AM »
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I was planning to just bury 2 strips of coat hanger wire under the track, but I did a small test and it didn't work out. I cut a strip into foam and pushed the coat hanger into it. In some spots it was too deep and the magnet didn't stick as well. I want something flat with uniform thickness. It seems the more surface area the better the magnet sticks. In these locos the magnet also helps the electrical pick-ups. Actually that is the only reason they are there.

I tried cutting strips of furnace duct work. That would work, but my one test strip is no longer flat after cutting with tin snips. That plus I'm bleeding now.  :scared:

If I found steel strips I could cut them into 3" lengths to go around curves.

cgw

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Re: Looking for a commonly found flat steel to put under track
« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2018, 05:38:22 AM »
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Goto your local home improvement store (Lowes Home Depot,  or Menards) they sell small patch sheets of steel that will work.   They carry 2X3 foot 30ga flat sheet stock that you can cut with nibblers to any shape you want   it will set you back about  $10.00.      Some times you can get some small free scrap pieces from a duct work fabricator in town.         

if you want flat strips you need to cut the sheet with a shear or use nibblers.     Tin snips will curl and draw blood as you found out.           
« Last Edit: January 09, 2018, 05:44:32 AM by cgw »

Chris333

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Re: Looking for a commonly found flat steel to put under track
« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2018, 05:47:29 AM »
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I think the duct work is some sort of alloy. The magnet sticks, but not like real steel.

cgw

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Re: Looking for a commonly found flat steel to put under track
« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2018, 05:59:39 AM »
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Most of the duct work material that I have played with is cold rolled SAE 1010 steel that has be galvanized.    What is the thickness and width  of the steel pieces that is part of the track?   
« Last Edit: January 09, 2018, 06:01:55 AM by cgw »

Chris333

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Re: Looking for a commonly found flat steel to put under track
« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2018, 06:04:49 AM »
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Could be my mind playing tricks on me with the duct work. The coating is what made me think it was alloy.

As for the set track they sell. I don't have any. This is a photo:
https://www.walthers.com/media/catalog/product/cache/1/image/9df78eab33525d08d6e5fb8d27136e95/0/1/01890000012323_big.jpg

cgw

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Re: Looking for a commonly found flat steel to put under track
« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2018, 06:15:57 AM »
+1
Give me a couple of days,   If I can break free from some mundane engineering at work I will trudge over to the lab and see what I can come up with.   If successful Ill pm you for your contact information and figure how to send it to you.

tom mann

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Re: Looking for a commonly found flat steel to put under track
« Reply #8 on: January 09, 2018, 06:40:17 AM »
+2
Do you really need to limit the steel area to just underneath the tracks? Why not use a panel from an old appliance as a benchwork top?

Lemosteam

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Re: Looking for a commonly found flat steel to put under track
« Reply #9 on: January 09, 2018, 06:40:33 AM »
+1
Measure the magnet- KJ Magnetics may have a more powerful one in that size. If the coat hanger wire did not work, that magnet is weak as heck. 

http://www.kjmagnetics.com/categories.asp?gclid=Cj0KCQiA7dHSBRDEARIsAJhAHwi4oe64reBcdq3QWbAZeXAPc_CxVHbrgHKtul3H3DgHujZKqNLqUf0aAn5bEALw_wcB

I used celing tile hanger wire in these experiments- you can see the 3/8 x 1/4 x 1/16 thick magnets on each end.



I also bought a quart of latex magnetic paint from Home Depot and tested that under the track- depending on how many coats you use, you may not need metal at all.  It sure beats cutting strips.  I just laid tape for the edges and brushed it on and then glued the track over that.




DKS

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Re: Looking for a commonly found flat steel to put under track
« Reply #10 on: January 09, 2018, 06:46:50 AM »
+2
Get a roll of pipe hanger strap. It's a strip of steel about 3/4-inch wide, and comes in rolls of 10' for a couple bucks (larger rolls available). Has holes in the middle, but that shouldn't make much difference. To bend it for curves, use a metal sheers to snip slots along one side.

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Oatey-3-4-in-x-10-ft-Galvanized-Steel-Hanger-Strap-339232/100167964

Do you really need to limit the steel area to just underneath the tracks? Why not use a panel from an old appliance as a benchwork top?

That might cause problems for doing things like planting trees or making holes for wires.
 
 
« Last Edit: January 09, 2018, 06:50:53 AM by David K. Smith »

Chris333

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Re: Looking for a commonly found flat steel to put under track
« Reply #11 on: January 09, 2018, 06:56:51 AM »
+1
Get a roll of pipe hanger strap. It's a strip of steel about 3/4-inch wide, and comes in rolls of 10' for a couple bucks (larger rolls available). Has holes in the middle, but that shouldn't make much difference. To bend it for curves, use a metal sheers to snip slots along one side.

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Oatey-3-4-in-x-10-ft-Galvanized-Steel-Hanger-Strap-339232/100167964

That might cause problems for doing things like planting trees or making holes for wires.

This is super! and I have a roll in the garage. Brilliant.

Lemosteam

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Re: Looking for a commonly found flat steel to put under track
« Reply #12 on: January 09, 2018, 07:02:09 AM »
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Unless you cut wegdes nearly all the way across that strapping (which is easy enough), the uncut side will buckle raising the track on top of it.

You could also use 1/2 of drywall corner beading and snip to almost to the inside edge and overlap the cuts as you go around the corner.  Nice and thin.

DKS

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Re: Looking for a commonly found flat steel to put under track
« Reply #13 on: January 09, 2018, 07:08:26 AM »
+1
Unless you cut wegdes nearly all the way across that strapping (which is easy enough), the uncut side will buckle raising the track on top of it.

Don't need to cut wedges, just cut slots most of the way across, then bend away from the slots. It's quite malleable.

Chris333

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Re: Looking for a commonly found flat steel to put under track
« Reply #14 on: January 09, 2018, 07:09:02 AM »
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I also have an about 6" tall stack of drywall corner in the garage (previous owner left it up in the rafters) I'm sure something out there will work. I just needed ideas.  :)

John, Do you think a wide piece of steel has more grip than a thin wire? I know when I set the chassis on a 1-2-3 block it nearly rips from my fingers.