# Defined flex track arc in RR-Track

I've searched thru the menus - and was wondering if there is a way to manually define the arc of a full piece of Atlas flex. I'm wanting to use 4 pieces to make a 180° turn using the full piece (minimize waste). I've tried placing 108 curves and then removing a couple and fill in with flex - but I haven't got the spacing down well enough to use the entire piece of flex.

Any ideas?

Original Post

You have to do a little math. Keep in mind that you'll still be doing some cutting of the rail ends on the center and inside running rails.

1. Atlas flex is 40" long, so your half circle's outside rail will have a length of 160"
2. Divide the 160 by PI (3.1415926) That will give you the curve's radius (50.93)
3. Select "Custom Radius Curve" as your track section.
4. Set your arc to 45 degrees.
5. Set your radius to the number you got in step #2 and you should be good.

Note I said radius above. O gauge 3-rail track is referred to by its diameter which is twice the radius, so your curve above will be O-101.86

Matt Jackson
"The best service you can provide for the hobby is to pass on what you have learned."

Angels Gate Hi-Railers San Pedro, California

"Celebrating 20 years of moving freight and passengers from Point A to Point A!"
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Wow Matt,

My head hurts now! LOL

Dennis
Piscataway, NJ

NJ Hi-Railers Member

North Penn O Gaugers Member

TCA Member 13-69453

LCCA/LRRC Member

If you haven't checked out the new NJ Hi-Railers Website please do. Go to the "Photos" page to see galleries of their events and check the "What's New" page periodically to see what they have added.

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Matt -
Thank you for the directions for using the custom curve!!!! I searched the menus and never guessed 'custom curve' would be what I was looking for. I did have my excel open....and i had all the main numbers - all but that one important piece - the arc!

I went back an enhanced the table to provide the info for up to 8 pieces per half circle. A 45° arc in a single piece may be pushing the limits of the track. Now the table gies me the relevant info!!

BTW - all of this relates back to a conversation with you a couple years back about taking it outdoors. I finally have the final set of prototypes in hand (lots of trial...lots of error), and now the 'custom curve' provides the means to finish designing the initial layout.  (I am trying to avoid using purchased curves and work with straight/flex track and #5/7.5 switches only.)

Again, thank you!

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Originally Posted by PRR2818:

Wow Matt,

My head hurts now! LOL

When I was teaching at Mount San Antonio College, I always felt I'd done my job if smoke started coming out of at least one student's ears.

Mark:

Good choice going with flex. If you go from 8 pieces per circle to 16, you're talking about a huge circle, which is great for big equipment and long trains -- no so much for inside the house.

A few years ago I was tinkering with a backyard design that was a minimum of 6-foot radius (O-144) with a 12-foot radius (O-288) in one section. Would have been awesome for really long trains and big engines. The wife took one look at that and said "Don't even think about it!". It may have had something to do with the staging yard occupying the [would-be] former location of her flower bed.

BTW, post a scan of the plan. Also, I stumbled across a potentially good material for ladder type outdoor roadbed -- PVC moulding from Lowes. I'm going to pick up a couple of samples to play around with as PVC is more thermally stable than HDPE synthetic lumber.

Matt Jackson
"The best service you can provide for the hobby is to pass on what you have learned."

Angels Gate Hi-Railers San Pedro, California

"Celebrating 20 years of moving freight and passengers from Point A to Point A!"
E-mail

()

Matt -

After lots of issues with heat and paint - I've opted to go with ol' fashioned steel. The  Texas heat caused most plastics to sag - sometimes just a tiny bit - but sag nonetheless. And, no matter what I tried, the whack of a weed-eater would peel the paint off of PVC posts in short order.

I'm learning the ins and outs of powder coating for the posts. The other support sections are primed and painted with a high-temp product - and so far (knock on steel) no rust and no sag. The powder coated posts show some surface markings from the weed-eater - but I was basically trying to chew the post down with it.

I should note that the draw back to the steel is its inherent conductivity. I'm leaning heavily towards battery operated locos as it eliminates any issues with connectivity between track sections. My biggest fear is that a youngin would get shocked if power was run through the track and they touched it.

BTW - kudos to Norm and his Rail Bender!!! It's built beautifully and it works like a champ - right out to the very ends of the flex track. By permanently bending the track - I no longer have to screw it down - which helps to ward off any problems from expand/contract. I'm also working on a retention spring that keeps the track ends together through the expansion and contraction cycles.

After almost two years - I'm in too deep to quit! LOL!

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Originally Posted by Mark440:

Matt -

After lots of issues with heat and paint - I've opted to go with ol' fashioned steel. The  Texas heat caused most plastics to sag - sometimes just a tiny bit - but sag nonetheless. And, no matter what I tried, the whack of a weed-eater would peel the paint off of PVC posts in short order.

I'm learning the ins and outs of powder coating for the posts. The other support sections are primed and painted with a high-temp product - and so far (knock on steel) no rust and no sag. The powder coated posts show some surface markings from the weed-eater - but I was basically trying to chew the post down with it.

I should note that the draw back to the steel is its inherent conductivity. I'm leaning heavily towards battery operated locos as it eliminates any issues with connectivity between track sections. My biggest fear is that a youngin would get shocked if power was run through the track and they touched it.

BTW - kudos to Norm and his Rail Bender!!! It's built beautifully and it works like a champ - right out to the very ends of the flex track. By permanently bending the track - I no longer have to screw it down - which helps to ward off any problems from expand/contract. I'm also working on a retention spring that keeps the track ends together through the expansion and contraction cycles.

After almost two years - I'm in too deep to quit! LOL!

Good to know about the Texas heat. Looking at relocating to Houston myself despite the humidity. Plan to run some tests out here in San Bernardino which has been hotter and more humid than Houston believe it or not.

The earth grounding of the track support will help TMCC operation. There is indeed potential shock hazard from someone touching the track while there's a voltage and also touching earth ground. You could reduce the risk by using a thin wood decking on top of the metal support structure, which would reduce the risk of someone accidentally touching the framework while touching the track. The other option would be to somehow insulate the track support deck from the posts thus preventing the support deck from becoming an earth ground.

Refresh my memory. Which rail bender is Norm's?

Matt Jackson
"The best service you can provide for the hobby is to pass on what you have learned."

Angels Gate Hi-Railers San Pedro, California

"Celebrating 20 years of moving freight and passengers from Point A to Point A!"
E-mail

()

Matt

Norm's rail-bender is very well made - and very easy to use. It can be found at:

http://www.choochoostuff.com/O...AL-TRACK-BENDER.html

As for the posts - I am ending up with two different types of posts. Both have isolation components on top, with one allowing for wire to pass through for track power, switches, etc. (and its telescopic to boot!) Even with the isolation, I still have some concerns about shock.

Lately I have been intensely focused on a post mounting that doesn't involve holes with concrete all over the yard. My days of lugging 80 lb bags of concrete for work or pleasure are down to about zero. Besides, a 9" hole that is 30" deep and filled with concrete for a 24" post is a bit overkill for this. I looked at some earth screw anchors - but the "drill" would have been a bear to handle. Trestles would look cool - but I think it would begin to look more like a roller coaster!

Lastly, I'm looking at CVP products in Richardson, Tx for operation and control. They are local to me - and have been hugely helpful in answering my 20 million questions.

Now if I could just figure out how to squeeze more hours out of a day.....

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Originally Posted by Mark440:

Matt

Norm's rail-bender is very well made - and very easy to use. It can be found at:

http://www.choochoostuff.com/O...AL-TRACK-BENDER.html

...

Thanks. I had seen that one but forgot where I saw it. Just fired off an E-mail to him regarding using the bender with ScaleTrax and Micro Engineering 2-rail track in addition to Atlas 3-rail.

Matt Jackson
"The best service you can provide for the hobby is to pass on what you have learned."

Angels Gate Hi-Railers San Pedro, California

"Celebrating 20 years of moving freight and passengers from Point A to Point A!"
E-mail

()
Originally Posted by AGHRMatt:
Thanks. I had seen that one but forgot where I saw it. Just fired off an E-mail to him regarding using the bender with ScaleTrax and Micro Engineering 2-rail track in addition to Atlas 3-rail.

Please post the reply if you get one, I'm wondering about using it for ScaleTrax too.

Cheers, Dave

USAF E-9 (Ret) Aim High!

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