Tracklaying in Z scale

Some tips here on laying track - not complete yet.


Talk about laying cork

which glue

which track

soldering joiners




Soldering feed wires

You want to solder your feeder wires to the outsie of the rails. First, if there is only wood below, then you can make the connections less visible by stripping the wire (solid) and drilling a hole only large enough for the bare wire. 

Once you have done so, then bend the end of the wire parallel to the rail, and also bend it inwards so it "tucks into" the web of the rail. Secure the wire below so that it stays pressed tightly to the rail.

Only now shold you try to solder the feeder. Do it quickly to avoid melting the ties.


Cutting in a switch

I had laid track and needed to "cut in" a switch. I used MicroTrains flex track, and cork roadbed. I used the "sticky glue" from Michaels.

First, I cut the rails with a diamond cutoff wheel:

I used the new switch as a guide to cut the exact length.

In the picture below, you can see that I have  removed the bits of glue that were on the cork and between the ties

Next, you will need to prepare the ties to accept the joiner. The "spikes" are still attached to the rail at the cut ends. I used a joiner (I prefer the MT joiners since they have the small tab at the end, which helps guide the joiner on).

Use an X-acto knife to cut the "spikes", but you also need to cut the "tie plates" flush with the top of the ties. Cut from the outside towards the rail, and from the inside towards the rail too.  You need to cut the spikes and plates back far enough so that the entire length of the joiner will fit, just as shown. below.

Still, you are not finished... the thickness of the joiner will make a "hump" right at the joint. You need to make a "relief" in the tie to clear the joiner, so the rail is not pushed up.

What I do is use some wet/dry sandpaper CAREFULY  under the rail, moved back and forth in a sawing motion. This will carve out some relief just under the rail for the joiner.

Next place the joiners on the rail.

First grip the joiner on one end and work it on the rail end. Use an X-acto to DEPRESS the ties a bit to make sure you don't hang up on them as you push the joiner flush

A couple of more items to prepare, use the switch to see where the hole for the throwbar needs to go, lay it in place and mark the spot:

Now remove the switch and drill out the hole. Don't forget to make a hole for the frog feeder if it has one:


Now you are finally ready to drop in the switch in place, and slide the joiners onto the switch rails.



Finishing - smoothing the rails, etc.


Weather Underground PWS KCACARLS78