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Weathering/spraying Peco insulfrog turnouts - Before I go too crazy....

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Weathering/spraying Peco insulfrog turnouts - Before I go too crazy....
Posted by Onewolf on Thursday, February 08, 2018 1:29 PM

It's getting very close to the time for me to start weathering my track.  I have about 1200 ft of visible flex track and 86 visible turnouts.  84 of those are Peco insulfrog #6 or #8 turnouts.  I am starting to theorize the most efficient method for weathering all these turnouts so I watched some videos, read some "how to tutorials".  It looks like most people use strips of tape to cover the points and pivots and then after the spray paint (or airbrush paint) dries they come back and touch up the taped areas with a brush.

I was thinking that with very precise 'masks' instead of masking/painters tape it might be possible to minimize the touch up brushing required.  So I made some masks using my 3D printer. 

I tested the masks on a turnout on the layout with some primer spray paint and there was zero overspray in the areas that need to be masked.  The 'points' mask works for both #6 and #8 turnouts, but the pivot point mask needs to have slightly different geometry between the #6 and #8 turnouts.

So, before I asphixiate myself painting all those visible turnouts using these masks, does anyone have concerns/suggestions?

Thanks.

Doug

Modeling an HO gauge freelance version of the Union Pacific Oregon Short Line and the Utah Railway around 1957 in a world where Pirates from the Great Salt Lake founded Ogden, UT.

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Posted by mbinsewi on Thursday, February 08, 2018 1:59 PM

Since you have a printer, it looks pretty ingenious to me !  They can be used over and over again.  No worry about tape residue, hours of putsy taping, and removal and clean up.

Thumbs Up

Mike.

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Posted by BATMAN on Thursday, February 08, 2018 2:05 PM

Onewolf
does anyone have concerns/suggestions?

Yes! Keep quiet and bring this to market.Pirate

Brent

It's not the age honey, it's the mileage.

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Posted by mbinsewi on Thursday, February 08, 2018 2:09 PM

BATMAN
Yes! Keep quiet and bring this to market

Brent... Laugh

Seriously, you are probably right!

I was his first reponse, can I get in the action?  Laugh

Mike.

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Posted by peahrens on Thursday, February 08, 2018 4:27 PM

An important aside, be sure when spray painting not to over-do the paint on the moveable, unmasked point rails, ties, throwbar. 

I painted my track with (Rustoleum Camo Earth Brown) rattle can paint as I had not yet tried my airbrush.  With an airbrush it is unlikely you will apply too much paint but with the rattle can I did, not thinking of the issue.  The outcome was a number of my Walthers-Shinohara code 83 turnout point rails and throwbars sticking, even with pretty good Tortoise force. 

I got them all working again with some manual exercising, maybe a bit of alcohol, etc.  I'm sure I could have avoided the issue if I had known of the potential problem and simply been careful to use significantly lighter coats in those areas.   

Paul

Modeling HO with a transition era UP bent

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Posted by Doughless on Thursday, February 08, 2018 8:20 PM

I found that weathering rails, or anything, by spray painting can give a too-even colored look to things.  For rails, I hand paint them using a quality wide tipped chisel brush that comes to a nice point.  A couple of swaths down the middle of the ties in both directions, followed up by striking the point of the brush along the sides of the rails makes pretty quick work of it. 

You can have a few off colors of different browns or grays on a makeshift palet and dab, mix, and blend as you go; which creates slight color variations that can't be duplicated by spraying.  

Your covers should make hand painting go even quicker.

- Douglas

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Posted by doctorwayne on Thursday, February 08, 2018 10:04 PM

I agree with Douglas:  unless you're under some sort of a deadline, brush-painting the rails (and possibly some of the ties, too) is a very relaxing pastime, and requires little set-up and very little clean-up, too.  And it doesn't fill the room with dried overspray, which will become part of the dust that you'll be constantly battling once the trains are running.
A half inch chisel-style brush works well, and needs to be re-filled less often than a smaller one.  There's no particular need to be overly neat, either:  real rails rust, often even before they're installed, as do the spikes and tieplates, and that in-turn stains the adjacent portions of the ties, too.
Yeah, you may have more track than most of us, but the job is still perfectly do-able with a brush.  Less paint wasted, and when the task becomes boring or tedious, cap the paint bottle, clean the brush, and take a break. 

Wayne

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Posted by rrinker on Friday, February 09, 2018 6:36 AM

 Have you seen the size of OneWolf's layout? I don't blame him for spraying the track. I plan to do the same. The time it took me to hand paint the parts of my last layout - mainly because I can only do it so long and I have to stop because I get bored or start trying to rush things, means there's no way I would be able to hand paint all the track on what I'm planning. And my layout is a fraction of the size of the one he's building.

                             --Randy

 


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Posted by railandsail on Friday, February 09, 2018 7:21 AM

I used some soft tooth brushes, used or new, to paint my rails and ties.

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Posted by Doughless on Friday, February 09, 2018 11:00 AM

rrinker

 Have you seen the size of OneWolf's layout? I don't blame him for spraying the track. I plan to do the same. The time it took me to hand paint the parts of my last layout - mainly because I can only do it so long and I have to stop because I get bored or start trying to rush things, means there's no way I would be able to hand paint all the track on what I'm planning. And my layout is a fraction of the size of the one he's building.

                             --Randy

 

 

I agree, its a lot of track to paint either way.  I switched to brush painting because I didn't like the step of either prepping the tops of the rails or cleaning off the spray paint afterwards.   I always seemed to miss spots and then the cured paint was hard to remove. 

- Douglas

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Posted by rrinker on Friday, February 09, 2018 5:12 PM

 Even using a brush I still found I would occasionally slip onto the top, so I had to clean the rail tops off anyway.

                        --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

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Posted by zstripe on Friday, February 09, 2018 5:36 PM

I've yet to see any paint not come off with a old white cotton sock with your finger stuck in it dipped in lacquer thinner. I don't even bother to cover the points on turnouts. I put a few drops of CRC 2-26 on all the critical parts and air-brush away. Clean-up all the parts with a small flat artist brush dipped in lacquer thinner. Test all of it and when I feel like it...I ballast it. I also had a fairly large layout 12 1/2 X 40 X 12 1/2 double track mainline......painting all that with a brush was totally out of the question. If I was real lazy....I would just use the CMX car....I use lacquer thinner in it anyway.........actually it does a better job than the sock....because the pad will over lap the rail head slightly and also clean that in a nice even line along the rail head...getting the part of the rail head where the flange rides.

Be Happy in Your Work! Bow

Frank

 

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Posted by Doughless on Saturday, February 10, 2018 7:53 AM

By most of the responses, probably the biggest challenge is finding a way to paint the ties and the sides of the rails but keeping the tops of the rails clean.  Either avoiding getting paint on them to begin with or trying to keep cleaning all of the spray paint off the rails down to one simple step.

Maybe an automobile pinstriping kit of similar width as the rails would work the best.  I'm sure that would be a pricey solution, but OP might not be that concerned about it.

- Douglas

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Saturday, February 10, 2018 10:51 AM

BATMAN
Onewolf
does anyone have concerns/suggestions?

 

Yes! Keep quiet and bring this to market.Pirate

 
I would buy some.  IT looks like a great idea.

Rio Grande.  The Action Road

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Saturday, February 10, 2018 11:06 AM

Doughless
By most of the responses, probably the biggest challenge is finding a way to paint the ties and the sides of the rails but keeping the tops of the rails clean. 

I found it to be really really easy following Rob Spanglers method, which is to simply spray paint the rail and ties using Rustoleum camo brown. 

After the paint has dried, take a box cutter blade and drag it across the top of the rail and the paint comes right off. 

It was so easy - no challenge to it at all I found.

Rio Grande.  The Action Road

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Posted by Doughless on Saturday, February 10, 2018 12:04 PM

riogrande5761

 

 
Doughless
By most of the responses, probably the biggest challenge is finding a way to paint the ties and the sides of the rails but keeping the tops of the rails clean. 

 

I found it to be really really easy following Rob Spanglers method, which is to simply spray paint the rail and ties using Rustoleum camo brown. 

After the paint has dried, take a box cutter blade and drag it across the top of the rail and the paint comes right off. 

It was so easy - no challenge to it at all I found.

 

Who's Rob Spangler?  I've tried that method before but the angle needed to hold the blade laterally is not the best, leaving me to miss some spots and having to go back and forth a bit.

Then I figured if I had to go back and forth a bit to remove the paint, I might as well just go back and forth with a brush and apply the paint that way, saving any time it takes to mask or be concerned about overspray.

Maybe Mr. Spangler has never tried that method?

- Douglas

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Posted by mbinsewi on Saturday, February 10, 2018 12:41 PM

Doughless
By most of the responses, probably the biggest challenge is finding a way to paint the ties and the sides of the rails but keeping the tops of the rails clean

After I painted sides of the track, with a brush, I used Frank's method. See his post above.  My track is a mere tiny fraction of the amount of track the Onewolf has.

I can understand why he wants to do his with a kind of "mass production" method.

Mike.

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Posted by doctorwayne on Saturday, February 10, 2018 1:22 PM

I used Pollyscale paint, and after brush-painting 15' or 20' of track, simply wiped the dry but not-yet-cured paint from the top of the rails using a dry rag.  Same method for turnouts, but wiped as each one was completed.  Some days I might do only 20' or 30' of track and two or three turnouts, other days much more. 
If your layout is an around-the-room type, like mine, have fun spraying the normally unseen side of the rails - this is a must if you photograph your trains not only from the aisle side, but also with the camera on the layout, facing the aisle, like this photo...

...taken from roughly where the grey car is in this photo...

...or this one, taken from the aisle...

...and with the camera on the layout, facing the aisle...

I do get the fact that you've got lots of track to paint, but I wasn't kidding about how relaxing it was to brush-paint track.

Wayne

 

 

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Posted by Doughless on Monday, February 12, 2018 6:24 AM

mbinsewi

 

 
Doughless
By most of the responses, probably the biggest challenge is finding a way to paint the ties and the sides of the rails but keeping the tops of the rails clean

 

After I painted sides of the track, with a brush, I used Frank's method. See his post above.  My track is a mere tiny fraction of the amount of track the Onewolf has.

I can understand why he wants to do his with a kind of "mass production" method.

Mike.

 

Didn't care for it.  When I used a cloth to take the paint of the tops, (were talking an entire coat of spray paint) inevitibly the firm push would cause the cloth to dip down over the rails and remove paint along the sides, requiring a second application in many places.

Again, no matter what tool, knife, credit card, cloth, whenever the techniques I used involved removing an entire coat of paint, I always had to make several back and forths to get it clean where I wanted it to get clean.  So, I've just gotten to the point of just doing the back and forth strokes when applying the paint and saving all of the prep time.  Wiping a few spots where I was careless is easier for me than taking an entire coat of paint off the tops after spraying.

Besides, OP mentioned asphyxiation and weathering (which means color variations to me) so that was the motivation for my first post.

- Douglas

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Posted by zstripe on Monday, February 12, 2018 6:44 AM

Onewolf
So, before I asphixiate myself painting all those visible turnouts using these masks, does anyone have concerns/suggestions?

I'm willing to bet...that You never used an air-brush, along with some others in this thread. There is no overspray using an air-brush like there would be with a rattle can spray paint....no air born lingering smell or particles floating around in the air due to the propellant in the spray can. You can adjust the paint flow out the nozzle of the air-brush so it is almost entirely invisible but yet will still paint the rail......the amount of paint that winds up on top of the rail is negligible compared to a rattle can or paint brush.....period.... The ozone problem is due to the propellant....not the paint itself. It's not like You are painting a full size car, in that case you would need a respirator......been there done that too!

Good Luck! Big Smile

Frank

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Posted by Medina1128 on Monday, February 12, 2018 7:03 AM

I paint my track with Krylon camouflage tan, wait a couple of minutes, for the paint to dry, but not fully cure, then clean the rail tops with the rough side of a piece of Masonite, aka tempered hardboard, (rough side down), a little bigger than a Bright Boy. With a small brass wire brush, I can keep it clean, too. The nice thing about Masonite is that it doesn't scratch the rails.

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Posted by Doughless on Monday, February 12, 2018 7:34 AM

IMO, using an airbrush correctly on anything is almost as tedious as brush painting anything.  Slow back and forth, with a longer learning curve.

All sorts of different ways and methods.  

Masonite worked the best for me when I did the removing paint step.  It didn't touch the sides of the rails and didn't occasionally scratch the rails like Mr. Spangler's knife method.

- Douglas

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Posted by wickman on Monday, February 12, 2018 8:03 AM

I have painted using polly scale rail brown with a brush but a friend has done it with an airbrush and right after painting a stretch just went back and wiped the heads with some sort of thinner on a thin rag. I can understand the wanting to use an airbrush or rattle can and at the stage your at the mist wouldn't hurt anything. 

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Posted by rrebell on Thursday, February 15, 2018 9:45 PM

Ok, the real easy way to do this is to mask the turnout moving parts, rattle can the track and wipe the rail top while still wet, don't have to be too picky here as a bright boy will finish it up when dry. Now you can spray into a mixing bottle with a bit of thinner to make your touch up paint and touch up with a micro brush. Did over 40 this way without a problem. Looks like your masks are even better than paint.

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Friday, February 16, 2018 7:46 PM

Doughless
 

Who's Rob Spangler?  I've tried that method before but the angle needed to hold the blade laterally is not the best, leaving me to miss some spots and having to go back and forth a bit.

Then I figured if I had to go back and forth a bit to remove the paint, I might as well just go back and forth with a brush and apply the paint that way, saving any time it takes to mask or be concerned about overspray.

Maybe Mr. Spangler has never tried that method?

Here, watch this taken in 2013.  A video is a better way to answer your question - the layout is more complete now:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sKKgNBtUaaQ

That should answer your questions.  Rob's wp8thsub is probably my favorite layout and gorgeous.

You have to hold a box cutter blade (by itself) and drag it perpendicular to the rail.  It worked like a charm for me.  It gets most of it in the first pass but may take a second scrape in a few places.  Certainly worked well for me.  I think Rob's work speaks for itself.  Rob posts here now and then and is a member of this forum.

Rio Grande.  The Action Road

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Posted by doctorwayne on Friday, February 16, 2018 10:26 PM

riogrande5761
...Rob's wp8thsub is probably my favorite layout and gorgeous....

I agree that it's a great-looking layout, and the sense of space he creates with the skilfull blending of scenery and backdrops is very impressive.  I also like the looks of the track in those areas where the ballast and scenery have been completed - very realistic!
I'm also surprised by how extensive the layout is, and the number of operators.  Very nicely-done video, too.

Wayne

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Posted by Doughless on Saturday, February 17, 2018 10:21 AM

riogrande5761

 

 
Doughless
 

Who's Rob Spangler?  I've tried that method before but the angle needed to hold the blade laterally is not the best, leaving me to miss some spots and having to go back and forth a bit.

Then I figured if I had to go back and forth a bit to remove the paint, I might as well just go back and forth with a brush and apply the paint that way, saving any time it takes to mask or be concerned about overspray.

Maybe Mr. Spangler has never tried that method?

 

Here, watch this taken in 2013.  A video is a better way to answer your question - the layout is more complete now:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sKKgNBtUaaQ

That should answer your questions.  Rob's wp8thsub is probably my favorite layout and gorgeous.

You have to hold a box cutter blade (by itself) and drag it perpendicular to the rail.  It worked like a charm for me.  It gets most of it in the first pass but may take a second scrape in a few places.  Certainly worked well for me.  I think Rob's work speaks for itself.  Rob posts here now and then and is a member of this forum.

 

Oh, thanks for the video.  I recognize the forum name, but wouldn't necessarily recognize his real name.  Nice layout.

Keep in mind, I can only speak from personal experience and can't base my comments upon relaying what others have said they did or on a consensus.   

Not just with my personal experience in model railroading, but during the summer jobs in my youth with the city street department.  We painted Turn Arrows and "Only's" with a large air compressed sprayer over aluminum stencils.  The end of the day was spent cleaning the paint off of the metal, and regreasing the stencils in preparation for the next morning.  Even with paint applied over the heavily greased metal, it still didn't scrape off with just a few strokes of a putty knife.

I remain unconvinced that removing sprayed-on paint from untreated metal surfaces does not involve more than a few back and forth strokes.   And the thinner its applied, the quicker it dries, and harder it is to remove.  Just speaking from personal experience with a variety of tasks.

- Douglas

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Saturday, February 17, 2018 5:01 PM

Doughless
I remain unconvinced that removing sprayed-on paint from untreated metal surfaces does not involve more than a few back and forth strokes.   And the thinner its applied, the quicker it dries, and harder it is to remove.  Just speaking from personal experience with a variety of tasks.

What can I say.  I asked Rob how he did his, I tried it myself.  After trying it I am convinced now from personal experience.  I was skeptical at first but it really did work.  Have you tried spaying rail with Rustoleum camo brown, let it dry, and then scrape it off with a box cutter blade.  If you haven't tried it, you may remain unconvinced. 

BTW, I sprayed the track from a few different angles to be sure the paint covered the ties and rails completely.  So there was a thick enough layer to have to scrape off.  

So here is the thing.  A variety of tasks that does not include actually doing what Rob recommended may not yield the same result.  Anyway, your layout, just passing along a tip to use or not.  I do know it worked for me.  I was pleasantly surprised at how well it worked.  I'll do it again.  I'm not terribley skilled either.

Rio Grande.  The Action Road

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Posted by rrinker on Saturday, February 17, 2018 7:17 PM

There's a huge difference in the adhesion properties of road marking paint and model railroad paint, or general purpose paint like the Rustoleum. Just because the road marking paint is hard to clean off even a greased stencil does not mean Rustoleum will be equally difficult to clean off nickel silver rail. On my smaller layouts I brush painted the rails, but even then, sometimes paint gets on the railhead - I never had any difficulties cleaning it off after it dried. That was regular Floquil paint. There's a reason they recommend using a primer coat whern painting metal - the raw colors don't adhere THAT well to bare unpainted metal. It's good enough on the non-contact part of the rail, but it easily cleans off the railhead.

                                    --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by zstripe on Saturday, February 17, 2018 7:53 PM

rrinker

There's a huge difference in the adhesion properties of road marking paint and model railroad paint, or general purpose paint like the Rustoleum. Just because the road marking paint is hard to clean off even a greased stencil does not mean Rustoleum will be equally difficult to clean off nickel silver rail. On my smaller layouts I brush painted the rails, but even then, sometimes paint gets on the railhead - I never had any difficulties cleaning it off after it dried. That was regular Floquil paint. There's a reason they recommend using a primer coat whern painting metal - the raw colors don't adhere THAT well to bare unpainted metal. It's good enough on the non-contact part of the rail, but it easily cleans off the railhead.

                                    --Randy

 

 

Randy,

Amen.........

Take Care! Big Smile

Frank

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