Author Topic: What adhesive do you use for ME Code 55 track?  (Read 1779 times)

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Sumner

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Re: What adhesive do you use for ME Code 55 track?
« Reply #15 on: September 21, 2021, 04:35:15 PM »
+1
Wow what a great post Bob.  I might change a few things I do as a result of it.

I don't have much experience at this time but....



.... I love how Joe lays ME code 55 track on his Sayrehurst Secondary layout. You can find one of his videos that I used HERE


  ... along with links to others. So most of what I've done laying cork roadbed and track is mimicking what Joe does. At my age time isn't on my side so I like how fast he lays track.  I realize that I'll never have track and scenery to Bob's level so I'll trade some of that for getting track down and hopefully getting to the point I'm running trains on a fairly long mainline.

I love the ME code 55 and have copied a tool that use to be readily available and have the print files on my thingiverse.com account.  It is extremely easy to shape the track with these simple tools and if you don't have a 3D printer you could still make them.  Here is a video on how they work...


I also have a compass that might come in handy that can be printed...


Also some tools that can help you lay straight parallel track ...

http://1fatgmc.com/RailRoad/Trackwork/page-23.html

Sumner

« Last Edit: September 21, 2021, 04:36:48 PM by Sumner »
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trainzluvr

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Re: What adhesive do you use for ME Code 55 track?
« Reply #16 on: September 21, 2021, 08:53:36 PM »
+5
Lots of great info here from everyone !

Bit more background first...I come from HO - the scale where you can smash and bang things, and get away with. Really my first time laying N scale track.

Back in December 2019 after reading the forums here I decided on ME Code 55 as a number of modelers were using it successfully and it had the prototypical look I was after. So I lucked out to purchase a stock of ME unweathered track and turnouts just before C-19 hit us all.



Got a few Atlas turnouts as you can see, so I don't have to hand-lay the curved ones on my first attempt. I did handlaid in HO which was ok, but N is 1/2 the size so I'm still building up courage for it.  :)

I was going to use soft-steel blocks to hold the track down, although these one were used for HO and in N scale appear to be an overkill. Might get smaller blocks if I have to.



This is what I meant about bumpy, twisted and bowed ME track. All the pieces have something with them, but in this size I guess it comes with the territory. I just expect it would be laying more flat, like HO does. I know there has been a lot of talk over the years about tooling, and how today's track is not the same as the one from 10-15+ years ago. Is it possible that the results you have been getting with ME are due to the old stock track you still use?



Past few weeks I have been considering selling all of my track and turnouts, and switching to PECO Code 55 - it being more robust and forgiving to a first time user (got a few flex pieces as a test). Though seeing what amazing looks are possible with ME, it's really keeping me on the fence. I might never accomplish this look myself, but the possibilities are there.

Bob, your post is incredible and in-detail insomuch that I promise to buy you a lunch if I ever get a chance. Please do write more about the ties and short rail joiners, because I find the ME joiners very difficult to work with even at their full size - I have no idea how do you manage with those little nibs of joiners that you put on, especially cutting all the pieces flush and sliding on without losing your mind and bulging your eyes out! :)

Back when I was also able to buy MLR track laying tools from eBay, which I hope to use in the process, along with the whole set of Ribbonrail curved templates.



So, it seems I will need to get me a healthy supply of Thin CA glue (I only have smaller amounts for modeling), Accelerator and Solvent, and get to work. :D

As an aside, this is what my layout staging and main room look like (missing from inside photos is a main loop of track I temporarily pinned down). I'm kinda stickler for perfection and so I'd like to get the track down right (on the first try, go figure).








Sumner

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Re: What adhesive do you use for ME Code 55 track?
« Reply #17 on: September 21, 2021, 09:29:30 PM »
+1
You've done a tremendous amount of really nice work there.  Liked looking at the work before now and look forward to seeing the progress.

I really struggled getting the rail joiners on at first using ME's rail joiners.  Then a hobby shop suggested trying .....



..... Peco SL-310's and they are a lot easier.  Not as pretty as what Bob is doing but at least I can get them on.   

I find using a bent piece of rail ....



... is also a big help in installing them.

I think you will find that once you get the ME 55 in shape and close to the center-line of the roadbed that some weight (I like the cans and also the pushpins with the knobs on them) that it will lay flat and stay in position while the glue or caulk (in my case) sets up.  Then it isn't going anywhere.  I use the pins to position it on the center-line and then them and/or the cans to hold it down overnight (with the caulk).

Sumner
« Last Edit: September 21, 2021, 09:32:58 PM by Sumner »
Working in N Scale ---Modeling UP from late 40's to early 70's very loosely......

Under$8.00 Servo turnout Control --- 3D Printed Model RR Objects -- My Home Page

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dougnelson

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Re: What adhesive do you use for ME Code 55 track?
« Reply #18 on: September 22, 2021, 02:30:26 PM »
0
Thin layer of matte medium gel applied with a spackle knife.

mmagliaro

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Re: What adhesive do you use for ME Code 55 track?
« Reply #19 on: September 22, 2021, 11:31:03 PM »
+2
Very NICE benchwork, there.  And I think it's great that you are investigating and planning before you put the track down.
I saw some Atlas code 55 curved turnouts in your turnout...  I hate to beat the ol' dead horse here, but  BEWARE those Atlas 55 curved turnouts.   Check them over brutally for all the proper clearances with an NMRA plate before you use them, and replace the bronze jumper strips on the underside with your own wire, soldered to the rails.  The throwbar is also problematic, and some people put CA on all the rail-to-tie joints because those turnouts drift in and out of gauge over time
If you search this forum, you'll find many posts regarding the issues with those things.  I advise you to read up on them and know what
you are getting into if you use them.
I ripped out the one on my layout and built a Fast-Tracks hand-laid track one to replace it, because I got sick of shimming and filing to
keep it in gauge.

trainzluvr

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Re: What adhesive do you use for ME Code 55 track?
« Reply #20 on: September 22, 2021, 11:54:30 PM »
0
Thank you for the heads-up about the curved turnouts, it's something that had slipped off my radar (and I did read a lot of posts here). I do have some in my ever evolving track plan, including one or two on the approach to the main yard, which is the last place I want issues to occur.

Sounds like hand-laid is a better way to go, and I am toying with an idea of a hand-laid double-slip somewhere there connecting the main and the yard (hah, the first piece of hand made track I want to do in N scale is the hardest one) but maybe I start with some curved turnouts first.

I've taken a lot of video and photos from the very beginning of the build, to date. I find editing all of that a chore and keep postponing it. After all I could be doing something on the layout instead, but I'll have to find some time to start posting these videos else I'll never end up doing it.

robert3985

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Re: What adhesive do you use for ME Code 55 track?
« Reply #21 on: September 23, 2021, 02:54:37 PM »
0
Lots of great info here from everyone !

Bit more background first...I come from HO - the scale where you can smash and bang things, and get away with. Really my first time laying N scale track.

Got a few Atlas turnouts as you can see, so I don't have to hand-lay the curved ones on my first attempt. I did handlaid in HO which was ok, but N is 1/2 the size so I'm still building up courage for it.  :)

@trainzluvr Having laid both HO-scale track and N-scale track, the only significant difference between track and turnouts between the two scales is how to secure the rails to your ties.  In HO, I used spikes because I was laying Code 83 rails, and there was no problem with flange clearance with rail that high.  In N-scale, the best way IMHO is soldering rails to PCB ties because with Code 55 and Code 40 there definitely are flange clearance problems using spikes.  Plus, your clearances are much more precise soldering rails to PCB ties. Other operations building N-scale turnouts are identical to building HO-scale turnouts, so if you're conversant with building HO-scale turnouts, you should have zero problems with building your N-scale turnouts.  The sad fact is that there is no N-scale rail available for building your own turnouts and track in Code-55 and Code-40 because both of these rail heights are HO-scale...their proportions are too large in several aspects for N-scale, with only Code-40 being a prototypically correct height for any rail ever used on a North American railroad.

I was going to use soft-steel blocks to hold the track down, although these one were used for HO and in N-scale appear to be an overkill. Might get smaller blocks if I have to.

Although I can't easily judge how large these steel blocks are, if you are going to use them for mashing Midwest Cork Products N-scale Roadbed against your subroadbed when gluing it down with carpenter's glue, I would make sure that I used stiff, flat boards between the cork and the weights when doing that to more evenly distribute the weight.  My cork roadbed "mashing boards" are made from flat select 1X2's and 1X3's from my scrap box...meaning they are 3/4" thick, and on yards and other long, straight sections, they can be as much as 4' long.  Even at that, I still sand the tops of the cork after the glue has dried.

Is it possible that the results you have been getting with ME are due to the old stock track you still use?

I haven't noticed any difference between the old stock and the new stock ME track other than the new stock has much less flash on it that needs to be removed.  I'll admit that after looking at your photo, that none of my old Rail Craft track is perfectly straight, and some strips are twisted a bit, but...that has never been a problem for me.  I just straighten it when I lay it, and twist it in the opposite direction if it's twisted a bit.  I've only had problems with vertical unevenness with my recycled track, and that's almost always smooth imperfections, not sharp kinks.  Once again, bending the flex carefully will cure these problems...unless you have a really sharp kink...then it's easier to cut it out.

Past few weeks I have been considering selling all of my track and turnouts, and switching to PECO Code 55 - it being more robust and forgiving to a first time user (got a few flex pieces as a test). Though seeing what amazing looks are possible with ME, it's really keeping me on the fence. I might never accomplish this look myself, but the possibilities are there.

Since you are a self-admitted perfectionist, I know that you will NEVER be happy with PECO Code 55, so I will encourage you to learn how to manipulate ME Code 55...which, once you get started in a big way, will come to you quickly and soon it will be just the "norm".  I don't care how well PECO Code 55 is painted, weathered and ballasted, it will never compare to ME Code 55 appearance-wise.  And, "robustness" doesn't mean squat to me since my layout is sectional and portable, and in the decades I've been tearing it down, transporting it, setting it up at shows, then bringing it back home and setting it up again, I've never once had a problem with something bending my rails or ripping up my trackwork (other than that one bad swerve to miss a moose on my way to Evanston a few years ago!!) either with my Rail Craft Code 55 nor my hand-laid Code 40 trackage.

Bob, your post is incredible and in-detail insomuch that I promise to buy you a lunch if I ever get a chance. Please do write more about the ties and short rail joiners, because I find the ME joiners very difficult to work with even at their full size - I have no idea how do you manage with those little nibs of joiners that you put on, especially cutting all the pieces flush and sliding on without losing your mind and bulging your eyes out! :)

I've decided to do a comprehensive post on how I make and use my short little rail joiners, which I'll publish in a separate post this weekend.  However, the short joiners are much easier to slip on the rails than the full-sized ones, and there are tricks to properly de-burr them which are extremely simple.  Also, I make sure my cut rail ends are also de-burred with little 45 deg. angles filed on the railfoot corners to help guide the joiners onto the rails.  I would do that with full-sized ME rail joiners too, and I would always cut the "tongues" off of the full-sized joiners since they are superfluous and definitely will draw blood when inserted into your finger tip!  The reason the tight ME joiners are difficult to slide on is because the guy trying to do that has not properly de-burred his cut track ends.  Simple.   The reason my eyes don't bulge out any more is because I wear Optivisors for 99% of all of my N-scale model railroading...even during operating sessions when I'm not making anything.  Yes, the little joiners ARE tiny, and I've lost quite a few over the years with unscheduled sneezes, which is why I put them in an old Floquil bottle cap now when doing track work. It doesn't take very long to make 'em and joining your track this way only takes a bit longer than not doing it, but looks exponentially better than using full-sized rail joiners.


Doing track work and soldering rails and joiners is definitely NOT the same as soldering for electronics, and if you do what you're supposed to and put a 22AWG solid copper feeder on every stinking piece of rail that carries DCC signals and current to your motive power, then your joiners are there only for their structural benefits, NOT for electrical conductivity or carrying DCC signals.  This means that you should use a 96/4 Tin/Silver solder rather than the usual Tin/Lead electrical solder, because the silver-bearing solder is 6 times stronger than Lead/Tin solder.  Also, proper flux is really important, and, as I almost always do, I highly recommend the very best flux for model work which is Superior Supersafe No. 30 Self Neutralizing Flux.  Using it will totally change your experience of soldering and turn you quickly into an expert (but only if you tin the tip of your soldering iron and clean it for every solder joint), and you'll never have track that starts to corrode and eat the scenery in a year or two.  Buy solder, flux and flux dispensers here: https://www.hnflux.com/

Cheerio!
Bob Gilmore

trainzluvr

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Re: What adhesive do you use for ME Code 55 track?
« Reply #22 on: September 23, 2021, 03:12:20 PM »
0
Doing track work and soldering rails and joiners is definitely NOT the same as soldering for electronics, and if you do what you're supposed to and put a 22AWG solid copper feeder on every stinking piece of rail that carries DCC signals and current to your motive power, then your joiners are there only for their structural benefits, NOT for electrical conductivity or carrying DCC signals.  This means that you should use a 96/4 Tin/Silver solder rather than the usual Tin/Lead electrical solder, because the silver-bearing solder is 6 times stronger than Lead/Tin solder.  Also, proper flux is really important, and, as I almost always do, I highly recommend the very best flux for model work which is Superior Supersafe No. 30 Self Neutralizing Flux.  Using it will totally change your experience of soldering and turn you quickly into an expert (but only if you tin the tip of your soldering iron and clean it for every solder joint), and you'll never have track that starts to corrode and eat the scenery in a year or two.  Buy solder, flux and flux dispensers here: https://www.hnflux.com/

I'm curious about this, considering that 96/4 T/S requires 70-80 F higher temps to melt than 63/37 T/L, how do you deal with it not totally melting your ties?

I know you've mentioned to strip webbing from 4-5 endties and push them away from the track ends during soldering, but is that really enough, or do you use any pliers/tweezers as heatsinks during soldering?

Otherwise, I'm looking forward to your post about short joiners, and will keep pushing ME C55 here for sure, and try building some turnouts by hand (have the supplies just need some inclination).

NorsemanJack

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Re: What adhesive do you use for ME Code 55 track?
« Reply #23 on: September 29, 2021, 12:41:26 AM »
0
Aileen's Tacky Glue.  All the benefits of white glue, but "stickier" and flexible when cured.  If somebody already mentioned this, I apologize.