As pictured the  green pen is about 36" radius, O 72, the module is 4' X 4'.  Inside radius is 4 1/4" less  31 3/4"  O63 1/2.   

The piece, laying free, not installed, is pre-bent by hand, note that there is a good bit of work positioning the ties.  All Gargraves track pictured was used from another layout.  Two DeWalt (Yellow) tools are pictured.  Left is a drill/driver, with a 5/64" drill bit, to pre-drill the ties. Right is an impact drive, with a #1 bit to install Atlas track screws.   As the track is bent, the ends are adjusted to square at the open end before the next piece is installed.   It takes a lot of screws. 

For me in the past I have found it easier to trace out the curve on a piece of plywood, Cut the plywood to that shape and screw it to the bench top. I then place my track with one end against the jig and clamp it in place. Then just take my time and work from the clamped end around, NOTE- you will have to do this a couple times to get the tie spaced right. But once your done it will hold its form almost to the T.

Mike

USMC 5/11 Battalion Oscar Battery 155 Big Guns!

Semper Fi !

Menards addiction Meeting member! /  LCCA# 41824

I have Gargraves flex track 17 1/2" radus or 35" dia. curves at the center rail. I bend it around a round drill press table set on a table. The track is springy get it close to the corect radus, saw off the ends to get straight across ends. Its hard to get the ends of the curve to be the correct curve. I sawed 3 grooves to fit over the track in a stick of wood and use this tool to bend the curve to be correct on the ends of each Gargraves piece.

San Fernando Valley CA. Joined August 2009

I cut from ply a curve that I use to bend the GG track.  To get the final radii I just re-bend to the exact radii I have drawn on the roadbed. Bending GG is NO where near the horror story I always heard. In fact it was too easy....figured I was doing something wrong. 

Hey Dave, Its vodu cause not to many people want to take on bending and breaking such nice track! bUT IF YOU DONT TRY you wont learn.

Mike

USMC 5/11 Battalion Oscar Battery 155 Big Guns!

Semper Fi !

Menards addiction Meeting member! /  LCCA# 41824

In response to how small can you bend it I did create a reverse loop for my trolley line once that fit inside a lionel 0-27 circle.  In fact that is how I bent it, inside a half circle of 027.  That loop has since been dismantled but it worked fine.

Not saying it's what's best for you, but I used flex for the straight areas and gentle 'fitter' curves and transition curves.  On defined, dimensional curves (O72, O80, O96, et al) as defined/chosen for my layout plan based on RRTrack planner, I used preformed sectional curves.  I've developed a nifty forming template technique for bending flex track.  But for me, at my age, I chose the simpler approach for dimensional curves to speed things up.

BTW....and I'm sure you know this by now...you'll waste a certain amount of flex track in trimming the ends square after bending.  That's the geometry of the stuff.  So I did a cost comparison between the use of flex and pre-formed sectional track based on an O54 curvature.  Using Gargraves MSRP pricing, a semi-circle of flex track will require 3 pieces...$26.85.  Four pieces of Gargraves sectional O54 (a semi-circle) will cost $39.40.  That's a difference of $12.55.  But there's no waste for a complete semi-circle of sectional track. 

So....how much is the bending, cutting, final assembly...and waste...of three pieces of flex worth to you to make a semi-circle of track?  "Time is money" is the common cliche',   Each of us has a different way of valuing our time...and skill.

That said, when I wanted to bend a piece of flex, I made a very simple bending template against which to pull the flex into curvature.  I had a large piece of plywood...at least 4' in width...onto which I'd draw the desired curvature.  Then I'd take a piece of lath stripwood....any strip of wood that is flexible enough to stand up to easy bending to the curvature....and fasten it to the plywood in the following manner.

I'd fasten several vertical standing screws into the plywood along the inside edge of the curvature line, about 6" apart, for at least the full length of 37" to accommodate the flex track piece.  The screws would be long enough and stand high enough (below, say, the flat head) to allow the strip of wood to rest fully against the screw shanks.  Then, bending the strip wood against these screws, I wood fasten two additional screws, one at each end, at the outside of the wood strip to hold it in place.  There's your template!

So, then I'd simply take a piece of flex, place it to the outside of the template, keeping the ties flat on the plywood as I'd pull the track tight against the curved wood template.  There's always some 'spring-back' of the curve; but if you're fastening the track down to a defined position on the table/bench work, you can easily pull the track into final alignment as it's fastened down.

I don't have any photos of this technique.  It's been a long time since I built my 25'x35' layout.  The plywood I used to create bending templates is long gone....having been 'peppered' with a bazillion screw holes.  But it worked like a charm....for me, at least.

Gargraves has a how-to for bending their flex track on their website.  Not the same as my technique, but I'm sure theirs has survived the test of time.

Hang in there!  Gargraves/Ross...worth the effort and cost no matter which technique you use.  AND....wholly American made!!!!!!

KD

AMCDave posted:

I cut from ply a curve that I use to bend the GG track.  To get the final radii I just re-bend to the exact radii I have drawn on the roadbed. Bending GG is NO where near the horror story I always heard. In fact it was too easy....figured I was doing something wrong. 

Dave,

 

I may be contact you in the next few months. Buying the O-72 ,but bending the Std size to an 80 Radii.

Joe Gozzo

I'm with DK on this one. I knew I would be using Gargraves track and Ross turnouts when I started my layout. I gave Steve at Ross my hand drawn trackplan and layout measurements. He converted it to a scaled out plan and identified all the different radii of track needed with the exception of the "custom curves". He also identified all the turnouts  and prepared an full items list and put the package together for me to purchase and pick-up. Fabrication of the "custom" curve trackage was kept to a minimum. Best part, it all went together very smoothly.

FWIW, Here are some screen shots of an older thread discussing flex track jigs.  You might find the dimensions for the curve radius on the jigs useful, and the photos of the actual jigs to bend the track.

B349005A-B141-48A5-985E-95F4BA550D24

97B38944-8D34-42C2-8E74-0C621338DCB2

 

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I concur that if you can get sectional curves, that's the easiest way to go. If you want an odd diameter, make a jig and go for it. I find it very useful when I'm "here" and need to get "there". For random pieces, I just bend it on my gut. For a sweeping curve, two screws to anchor it on one end. Then work your way down the length and add screws to hold it as needed.

Doesn't look like this part has been mentioned. AFTER you bend it, you'll want to cut the ends square again.

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