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What size drill to open up the track nail holes on Atlas Code 83 flex track?

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What size drill to open up the track nail holes on Atlas Code 83 flex track?
Posted by hon30critter on Tuesday, February 13, 2018 3:13 AM

What size bit is recommended for opening up the track nail holes on Atlas Code 83 track?

I tried a 1/16" bit but it is too big. It significantly weakens the Code 83 ties so if the nail was pushed in even slightly too far I'm pretty sure the track gauge would be thrown off.

FYI, the club has decided to use track nails so that if track has to be adjusted it will be easy to do. This is a club layout. Several people will be laying track. You know the rest....

Thanks,

Dave

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Posted by richhotrain on Tuesday, February 13, 2018 4:19 AM

Dave, I use a #58 drill bit (0.042) in a pin vise to drill pilot holes for track nails in Atlas Code 83 flextrack. I have done this for years with great results every time.

The use of a 1/16" drill bit (0.0625) is way too big, as you have indicated.

Rich

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Posted by hon30critter on Tuesday, February 13, 2018 6:10 AM

Thanks Rich!

Cheers!!

Dave

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Posted by zstripe on Tuesday, February 13, 2018 6:52 AM

hon30critter
What size bit is recommended for opening up the track nail holes on Atlas Code 83 track?

Dave, 

What are the size of the nails You plan on using? Does anyone own a caliper to measure them? In My case...I use N-scale round head nails or spikes and that equates to a much smaller hole than Rich is using..... The nail head would fall in the hole.

Take Care! Big Smile

Frank

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Posted by RR_Mel on Tuesday, February 13, 2018 7:15 AM

I have two sizes of HO track nails, flat head (.042”= 58) and round head (.035”=65).  Those would be for clearance, two sizes smaller for holding, 60 and 63.
 
I keep a good stock of those, I’m clumsy!
 
Mel
 
Modeling the early to mid 1950s SP in HO scale since 1951
  
 
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Posted by richhotrain on Tuesday, February 13, 2018 7:29 AM

zstripe
  

In my case...I use N-scale round head nails or spikes and that equates to a much smaller hole than Rich is using..... The nail head would fall in the hole.

Frank, do you drill pilot holes?  What size drill bit?

What is the length of the N scale nail/spike?

Rich

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Posted by zstripe on Tuesday, February 13, 2018 8:07 AM

Rich,

I gave You that info in the thread You started Feb.8th....''Track Nails for HO scale track-Best Brand''.....#65 to 73 sometimes I Do Not drill a hole......they are sharp enough to start their own hole in the plastic ties if you hold them properly and not try to start them just holding the head......they will bend. Just like using a small bit in a pin vise......you do not stick the bit out so far when drilling a small hole.....they will bend and break. Your thread is on the second page....first one in Layouts,,,,,

Take Care! Big Smile

Frank

 

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Posted by Medina1128 on Tuesday, February 13, 2018 8:40 AM

I quit using nails years ago. The nail head looks like a boulder on the tie. I started using the least expensive acrylic latex caulk from Walmart to hold down my track and roadbed. I run a 1/8" bead down the center of the roadbed, then spread it into a very thin layer using one of those fake credit cards you get in the mail (they're good for something, after all). I hold the track in place using push pins until the caulk sets up, usually 24 hours.

If I need to take the track back up, I just resoak the ballast with wet water to deactivate the diluted white glue, vacuum it up with a shop vac, then slide a putty knife under the track to lift the track. In almost all cases, I can reuse the track.

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Posted by richhotrain on Tuesday, February 13, 2018 9:34 AM

zstripe

Rich,

I gave You that info in the thread You started Feb.8th....

Frank, I am old and forgetful.

I forgot that I even started that thread.  Laugh

Rich

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Posted by zstripe on Tuesday, February 13, 2018 9:58 AM

[quote user="richhotrain"]

 

 
 

Rich,

I gave You that info in the thread You started Feb.8th....

 

 

Frank, I am old and forgetful.

 

I forgot that I even started that thread.  Laugh

Rich

...................................................................................................................

Richie,,,,,,

You better lay off that stuff.......LOL  I know I'm older than You are and I am not that bad at all with remembering stuff.......Now You know why I quit drinking yrs. ago.......It helps, believe it or not!........Made a believer out of Me.

Take Care, My Friend. Wink

Frankie

 

 
 
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Posted by doctorwayne on Tuesday, February 13, 2018 11:14 AM

There's no need to bother drilling the holes at all, unless you need to put a nail somewhere that there's no moulded-in hole.

I simply flip the track upside down, then, using one of the nails held with pliers, press it into each hole.  This opens the hole through to the top of the tie, making them visible and useable when you lay the track.  You can do a whole case of flextrack very quickly and turnouts can be done using the same method.

When you install the track, don't hammer the nails into place.  Instead, simply insert the tip of the nail into the hole, then use blunt-nosed pliers atop the nailhead to firmly press the nail into place.  This gives better control over how far the nail goes - you want contact with the top of the tie, not deformation of it.  It's also a lot quieter than hammering.

Wayne

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Posted by hon30critter on Tuesday, February 13, 2018 11:15 PM

doctorwayne
There's no need to bother drilling the holes at all,

doctorwayne
I simply flip the track upside down, then, using one of the nails held with pliers, press it into each hole.  This opens the hole through to the top of the tie, making them visible and useable when you lay the track. 

That sounds a lot quicker and easier. We will give it a try.

Thanks Wayne!

Dave

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Posted by richhotrain on Thursday, February 15, 2018 4:03 AM

doctorwayne

There's no need to bother drilling the holes at all, unless you need to put a nail somewhere that there's no moulded-in hole.

I simply flip the track upside down, then, using one of the nails held with pliers, press it into each hole.  This opens the hole through to the top of the tie, making them visible and useable when you lay the track.  You can do a whole case of flextrack very quickly and turnouts can be done using the same method.

When you install the track, don't hammer the nails into place.  Instead, simply insert the tip of the nail into the hole, then use blunt-nosed pliers atop the nailhead to firmly press the nail into place.  This gives better control over how far the nail goes - you want contact with the top of the tie, not deformation of it.  It's also a lot quieter than hammering.

Wayne 

Wayne, what is the subroadbed surface that you are pressing the nail into?

I have flex track on top of Woodland Scenics foam track bed on top of a 1/2" plywood surface. There is no way that I can press the nail into the plywood. I need to drill pilot holes.

If I try to simply nail the track into the plywood without a pilot hole, there is a high probability that the nail will bend.

Rich

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Posted by rrinker on Thursday, February 15, 2018 7:05 AM

 I used to nail track nails and spikes into plywood back in the day. Plain small nails to attach cork to the plywood, then spike shaped ones to attach the track - and they did go through to cork into the plywood, otherwise the track wouldn;t stay. Never got ballasted in the modern way, the layouts always had to be pulled up and stored so if there ever was any ballast, it was loosely applied and not glued on.

 To do this without smashing the rails, I had a spike set made by I have no idea, but it was a short wood handled tool with the end fitted with two grooves, to hold the spike head in either fore and aft or side to side. The hammer was a small hobby hammer, one of those metal ones where the heads unscrewed and had multiple types you could attach. Pushed the spike into the cork, the used the happer and set to tap it all the way down and into the plywood. If I recall the tool correctly, the groves were deep enough that they would straddle the tie - so if I didn;t hit it so hard it pressed into the cork, it would effectively stop with the spike head just resting on the top of the tie, preventing bending of the tie and the narrowing of the track gauge that causes.

 If I had to drill a pilot hole for every spike, I probably would have given up on building a layout. No one thought of caulk back then. Note these were spike shaped spikes, not anything like today's Atlas track nails. Probably from the late 50's/early 60's - MEW maybe.

                                                     --Randy

 


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Posted by zstripe on Thursday, February 15, 2018 8:24 AM

Geez,

I did the same thing in the 50' all the way to present.....In the 50's, cork roadbed layed over 1/2'' ply with contact cement. All hand spiked with Atlas spikes, brass tracks into fiber ties. The ties hand pre-drilled holes in them......no need for a hammer, I just used a small pair of needle nose pliers. I may have bent one or two when I hit a knot......but no big deal...I had 3,000 of them. This is not rocket science. Some people make it harder then it is.......I give up!!!!!!

So LONG........

Frank Tongue Tied

 

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Posted by richhotrain on Thursday, February 15, 2018 8:43 AM

zstripe

Geez,

I did the same thing in the 50' all the way to present.....In the 50's, cork roadbed layed over 1/2'' ply with contact cement. All hand spiked with Atlas spikes, brass tracks into fiber ties. The ties hand pre-drilled holes in them......no need for a hammer, I just used a small pair of needle nose pliers. I may have bent one or two when I hit a knot......but no big deal...I had 3,000 of them. This is not rocket science. Some people make it harder then it is.......I give up!!!!!!

So LONG........

Frank Tongue Tied 

Smart aleck comments aside, I remain unconvinced that nails can be driven into plywood (unless it is rotting) without pilot holes or the use of a hammer.

Rich

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Thursday, February 15, 2018 11:40 AM

richhotrain
Smart aleck comments aside, I remain unconvinced that nails can be driven into plywood (unless it is rotting) without pilot holes or the use of a hammer. Rich

I used 7/16 OSB on my last layout (instead of plywood) and I was able to nail my track down using Atlas track nails.  Yes, I bent a few in the process but I still prefer this method to lay track over adhesives - mainly because I can still tweak the track a bit to make it perfect immediately after I have nailed it down. 

No waiting for adhesives to set up or dry.  Of course adjusting track after it has dried?  That means pulling it back up again and re-aligning and gluing back down again.  I saw Onewolf using soda cans to hold his track down while it was drying - but that would obscure the view of the track to sight down it and make sure it was aligned and straight. 

I still prefer spikes and track nails for a multitude of reasons.  Don't like the nail heads?  After the track is settled and good, and ballasted, you can simply pull them out.

As for drilling holes, I have a set of micro drills and I just found one that is slightly larger than the Atlas nail head and put it in my pin vise to predrill the holes in code 83 Atlas track.  The holes aren't all the way through so hobbyists who don't like the holds can simply not drill the holes through.

 

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Posted by doctorwayne on Thursday, February 15, 2018 11:45 AM

My track is either on cork roadbed atop plywood, or directly on the plywood.  I don't hammer the nails at all, or grip them with pliers, but simply insert them into the pre-opened holes in the Atlas track, then press them into place using the side of full-sized blunt-nose pliers.  I'm not using the hand holding the pliers to push the nail into place, but putting the heel of my free hand atop the pliers, immediately above the track nail, and applying downward force.  Occasionally, a nail will bend, but I simply pull it out, straighten it using the pliers, and use it in the next hole down the track.  I use a fresh nail in the spot where the first nail was bent, usually with success.

Wayne

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Posted by rrinker on Thursday, February 15, 2018 1:29 PM

 I use push pins, not soada cans, that way I can sight down the track and get it right during the working time of the caulk. No real reason to line the tracks with <insert canned beverage of choice here> Express. Dunno, could be that the push pins just hold the track in contact with the roadbed as opposed to having weights on the track pushing it in that makes the caulk come up so easily and painlessly on mine. Odds are on a home layotu you're not going to need to change anything, at least right after you ptu it in place. Maybe later when you add an expansion, or revise an area for better operation. But if the track's already been ballasted, you have a mess to deal with anyway. I shoot myself in the foot on tha toen though as 2 layouts ago, the day after I put one of the first sections of track in place I decided to completely eliminate the siding. Was no big deal and the turnout was saved and used elsewhere. I also hook power up as soon as the first sticks of rail go down, so I test run as I go. The pushpins are small enough to clear the gearbox covers adn couplers on the locos so I can run a train over freshly laid track as another way to check that it's all in alignment. Also, my last 2 layouts were on foam, so nails wouldn't cut it no matter what.

 On a club layout where some people might lay track not even close to where the plan calls for, easily removing all traces of the mistake is more important.

                                              --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 DigitalGriffin on Thursday, February 15, 2018 4:21 PM

I'll second a #58.  I use #60 and I can get the nails to go in, but it's a little snug.

Don - Specializing in layout DC->DCC conversions

Modeling C&O transition era and steel industries There's Nothing Like Big Steam!

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