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thinking outside the box

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thinking outside the box
Posted by ndbprr on Friday, April 06, 2018 5:57 PM

Why can't flex track be made in longer than 3' sections?  The obvious multiple would be 6' sections.  9' may be possible but 8' certainly would be transportable and usable. Is this a case of, "thats the way we have always done it"?

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Posted by UNCLEBUTCH on Friday, April 06, 2018 7:37 PM

The first thing that comes to my mind; was when I would buy 8' copper pipe and 10' PVC  at the local hardware. The hassel of getting them thru the store without pokeing someone or knocking something off a display. The getting thru checkout. Then getting them home,without my truck.

If I only wanted 3-4 pieces, I imagine an 8 or even a6' chunck of flex, flopping all over the place,and bending/kinking every where.

Not sure, but I think the PO and UPS has limits on size.

If you think it thru, from factory to LHS, lots of issues

just my thoughs

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Posted by BigDaddy on Friday, April 06, 2018 7:56 PM

UNCLEBUTCH
If you think it thru, from factory to LHS, lots of issues

It's not sturdy like copper pipe or lumber which presents not only transportation problems, but damage from shelf to the cash register.  It would take twice as much display space.  Maybe it would be a little cheaper, that is not an advantage to a retail shop.

There is nothing wrong with soldering two pieces together, especially for curves.

 

Henry

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Posted by sktrains on Friday, April 06, 2018 10:04 PM

just think of what its like when you solder 3 pieces together and try to lay them on the layout, now imagine trying to carry that though a store it would be like wrestling with a drunken snakeBig Smile

STEVE  

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Posted by SouthPenn on Friday, April 06, 2018 10:11 PM

It would be completely unwieldy trying to install a 10' long piece of track in the small confines of an HO scale layout. 

South Penn
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Posted by mbinsewi on Friday, April 06, 2018 10:27 PM

I'm in with the majority, as far as the store and transporting thing.  Solder pieces together, and you have what your looking for.

Mike.

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Posted by oldline1 on Friday, April 06, 2018 10:31 PM

I think there might also be an issue with the shipping cost and difficulty of packaging safely. When I've bought flex it usually costs more because of the packaging.

I think working with a 39" section is often hard enough so I don't think I'd like working with 6' or 9' sections. Just my thoughts.

oldline1

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Posted by dknelson on Sunday, April 08, 2018 6:11 PM

If you have ever been to Walthers showroom in Milwaukee, you know the special shelves that hold bargains - discontinued items, incomplete kits, damaged or defective or returned items.  And damaged packaging - so, for example, an Accurail car where the cardboard box may have been partly crushed but the car itself is OK (you hope).  The prices are attractive - and obviously it is all sold as is.

Among the most common items to see -- scale lumber in those flimsy plastic bags because the wood is so easily broken in shipment, or in handling by Walthers itself.  Also common -- 3' flex track in HO and N for the same reasons.  The boxes get damaged and the track gets bent, or the rail ripped from the ties.  I have a hunch even 4' flex track would only be worse in that regard.  Longer lengths would not be greeted with enthusiasm by hobby shops or distributors.  

Way way back, when Atlas was first issuing plastic tie flex track versus the fiber tie stuff they had sold for years, I think the lengths were 2' and though the fiber tie flex had been 3'.  Why I do not know. That was back when the plastic tie flex track was not all that easy to flex.

They pretty quickly switched to 3' for plastic tie flex track.

Dave Nelson

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Posted by doctorwayne on Sunday, April 08, 2018 10:22 PM

Much of the track on the upper level of my layout is Micro Engineering rail (would have preferred Atlas) on Central Valley tie strips.  I glue the rail in place using contact cement, and solder 3 or 4 lengths of rail together before applying the glue.  However, the rail is laying alongside the already in-place ties, so there's not too much handling required.  I certainly wouldn't want to bring home 12' sections of rail from the store, though, or worse, order it on-line.

Wayne

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Posted by richhotrain on Monday, April 09, 2018 4:50 AM

deleted

Alton Junction

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Posted by zstripe on Monday, April 09, 2018 5:03 AM

I can see the thread now.......''How many nails to use for a 6ft piece of flex track''?.........LOL..........Could not hold back any longer...Bow

Take Care! Devil

Frank

 

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Posted by richhotrain on Monday, April 09, 2018 5:24 AM

It doesn't take much to amuse you, Frank.

Alton Junction

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Posted by zstripe on Monday, April 09, 2018 5:38 AM

richhotrain

It doesn't take much to amuse you, Frank.

 

I'm guessing..that's a good thing.....like a cheap date, huh! Laugh

Take Care! Big Smile

Frank

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Posted by richhotrain on Monday, April 09, 2018 5:45 AM

Frank, your comment about my thread was offensive to me.

Whatever prompted you to say it other than attempting it as a putdown?

Alton Junction

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Posted by zstripe on Monday, April 09, 2018 5:56 AM

richhotrain

 

 

Frank, your comment about my thread was offensive to me.

Whatever prompted you to say it other than attempting it as a putdown?

 

Off Topic

Sorry if I offended You........But We have had these topic disscussions before and I had thought that You seemed to understand all the recommended procedures  that were given to You at that time......

Take Care! Big Smile

I Remain, Frank 

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Posted by BRAKIE on Monday, April 09, 2018 6:11 AM

Actually a 4' piece of flex would work far better then a 6 or 8 footer.

The stronger built  track would be far better then Atlas wimpy flex that flexes like Steve's drunken snake.

While Atlas makes top quality cars and locomotives found their flex track is to wimpy.

Larry

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Posted by rrinker on Monday, April 09, 2018 6:39 AM

 That, I thought, was the whole point of flex track, that it could be easily flexed. The stiff ones are a real pain to make smooth curves, the Atlas always forms smooth easements just by bending it.

                          --Randy

 


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Posted by BRAKIE on Monday, April 09, 2018 7:20 AM

rrinker

 That, I thought, was the whole point of flex track, that it could be easily flexed. The stiff ones are a real pain to make smooth curves, the Atlas always forms smooth easements just by bending it.

                          --Randy

 

 

Randy,But,it flexes back into shape unless you invest in some push pins.

I much prefer the stiffer flex because it holds the curve far better.

I dunno..Maybe its because I learn to lay curves with the old fiber tie flex track?

Larry

SSRy

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Posted by BroadwayLion on Monday, April 09, 2018 9:50 AM

Shipping works better with 3' lenghts.

Bending an 8' length can be quite problematic.

ROAR

 

 

p.s. I discourage my cat from thinking outside of the box.

 

ROAR

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Posted by dknelson on Monday, April 09, 2018 10:00 AM

BroadwayLion
p.s. I discourage my cat from thinking outside of the box.

We all know where we do our best thinking, and if cats do likewise, that is a wise precaution.

I have soldered two pieces of flex track together before laying it and it was an adventure to be sure -- I wanted a more or less seamless tangent into an easement curve into the fixed radius curve.  I would never have attempted it with Atlas or other similar wet noodle types.  It was a lot of work with Ribbonrail curve templates and easement curve templates.  At the end of the day I am not sure it was any better than just laying the stuff one piece at a time, as the song goes.

Dave Nelson

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Posted by UNCLEBUTCH on Monday, April 09, 2018 10:18 AM

If they are willing to make 6ft flex, I'm sure we can talk them into preformed curves. Kinda like really big sectional, in different Rs, nail hole in every tie.

then we the MRer would have so mutch less stress.

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Posted by doctorwayne on Monday, April 09, 2018 10:29 AM

zstripe

I can see the thread now.......''How many nails to use for a 6ft piece of flex track''?.........LOL..........Could not hold back any longer...Bow

Take Care! Devil

Frank

 

richhotrain

Frank, your comment about my thread was offensive to me.

Whatever prompted you to say it other than attempting it as a putdown?

 
I dunno, Rich:  Frank's comment had me literally laughing out loud, and if you'd been busy installing those gazillion bowling-ball-headed track nails, you wouldn't have had time to be offended.

I'm starting to re-think my decision to will Bertram's to you. Smile, Wink & GrinLaughLaughLaugh
 
Wayne
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Posted by maxman on Monday, April 09, 2018 10:38 AM

zstripe

I can see the thread now.......''How many nails to use for a 6ft piece of flex track''?.........LOL..........Could not hold back any longer...Bow

Take Care! Devil

Frank

The track nails are the real issue.  The track nail folks have invested a lot of time and effort to determine the proper number of nails to include in the package based on 3-foot track sections.  And generally you end up 3 nails short when laying track.

If flex track sections were increased to 6 feet, additional time and effort would need to be expended to determine the new quantity of track nails.  The cost of this would be passed on to the consumers, resulting in complaints about the cost of nails increasing at a faster rate than inflation.  In addition the nails bags would be larger and heavier, requiring more shelf space and stronger clerks to load the bags on the shelves.

Not to mention that we would now be short 6 nails when track laying.

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Posted by ROBERT PETRICK on Monday, April 09, 2018 11:21 AM

I support the idea of longer track sections: fewer joints, smoother curves, etc. But transportation issues are a real concern. Maybe they could be shipped in 6-foot or 8-foot stiff cardboard tubes or something. But shipping costs go up fast for anything out of the ordinary.

Another real issue is handling and working the track after it arrives. Even a 36" piece of flextrack can bend and twist under its own weight if you pick it up wrong. The technical term is secondary stress. And once twisted, it is almost impossible to straighten again, and it gets tossed into the scrap heap. I can easily imagine 60", 72", 96" pieces being much more bendy, even the stiff stuff.

Good idea, I just can't see it working.

Robert 

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Posted by carl425 on Monday, April 09, 2018 12:40 PM

For those speculating about shipping issues, here's the rule from UPS:

A Large Package Surcharge will be applied to each UPS package when its length plus girth [(2 x width) + (2 x height)] combined exceeds 130 inches, but does not exceed the maximum UPS size of 165 inches.

I have the right to remain silent.  By posting here I have given up that right and accept that anything I say can and will be used as evidence to critique me.

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Posted by BRAKIE on Monday, April 09, 2018 4:45 PM

carl425

For those speculating about shipping issues, here's the rule from UPS:

A Large Package Surcharge will be applied to each UPS package when its length plus girth [(2 x width) + (2 x height)] combined exceeds 130 inches, but does not exceed the maximum UPS size of 165 inches.

 

Does any on line shop actually use UPS? Every on line shop I buy from and the e-Bay stores I buy from uses USPS.

Larry

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Posted by carl425 on Tuesday, April 10, 2018 8:41 AM

BRAKIE
Does any on line shop actually use UPS? Every on line shop I buy from and the e-Bay stores I buy from uses USPS.

Except for USPS Retail Ground and Parcel Select, no mailpiece may measure more than 108 inches in length and girth combined. 

Just big enough for a box of 8' flextrack. Smile

BTW, I used to build custom fishing rods.  I regularly received shipments of rod blanks up to 8' in length.  They were packed in pieces of PVC pipe.  The blanks usually had 2 or 3 2" wide "wheels" made of thin foam wrapped aroung the blank that matched the inside diameter of the pipe.  I never received one that was damaged - good thing too as most of them were expensive.

I have the right to remain silent.  By posting here I have given up that right and accept that anything I say can and will be used as evidence to critique me.

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Posted by Overmod on Tuesday, April 10, 2018 11:04 AM

Here is an almost classic poster-child 'niche' for supposedly value-added LHS or shop-with-mail-order operations.

They take standard pieces 'on demand', jig up the rails and join them effectively and straight, and fusion- or solvent-weld the tie strips for consistency.  Then provide whatever the customer wants or needs to transport it to their layout.

Then they put a price per piece at expected volume (and perhaps adjust it if demand warrants).

I could easily see a retired hobbyist investing in the tools and fixtures to do this, too.

But the fact that since the introduction of flextrack I have not seen one person do this might be evidence that it is much more a 'local option' thing than a commercial or service proposition.  Sometimes thinking outside the box just leaves you out in the cold...

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Tuesday, April 10, 2018 12:31 PM

ndbprr

Why can't flex track be made in longer than 3' sections?  The obvious multiple would be 6' sections.  9' may be possible but 8' certainly would be transportable and usable. Is this a case of, "thats the way we have always done it"?

I think some touched on the practical side and after that, it is "because that is now the convention".  I can't remember but I think flex, depending on brand, can come in 3 feet lengths or 1 meter lengths, which is a little longer.

Regardless, I don't think anything about flex track length is going to change anytime soon. 

Personally, I think the length flex is sold in is fine and fairly easy to handle.  If I need a long flowing piece, I'll solder two 3' sections together.  No biggie.

Rio Grande.  The Action Road

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