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Greetings, Rail bending fans. In my quest to completely conquer all remaining land in the yard for my rail empire, I've been granted special permission by the queen to expand from fence to shining fence. My own little manifest destiny, if you will. So, that brings up the idea of unbending some of the 9 foot radius Aristocraft curves I currently own. I'm not sure exactly what size I'll be able to unbend up to, but safe to say I'll definitely be able to go much more than 9 feet. Ideally, I'd like to use a dual bender- to save me from taking all the ties off. I'd also like to bend several sections at a time while they are still joined together. Currently most are joined with Aristo slide on joiners (you know- the ones that you lose all the tiny little screws to. Argh!). I realize that there are many great (expensive) benders out there. However, after the 'grand expansion', I will probably not have much use for the tool, so I hate to buy the "Cadillac" model. It will just end up sitting in the garage unused- just like my Cadillac (have you seen the price of gas, lately?).
Why all this mindless bantering, you say? Well, as it turns out, Aristocraft has a 30% off sale going on right now. Which means that their dual bender is about as affordable as it gets for a one time use tool (Reminds me of Harbor Freight. I wonder if they're related?). Okay, so before you jump on the quality of Aristocrafts bender (I've read some reviews) keep in mind a few things:
I probably will not use it ever again- as a matter of fact, I'd rather borrow one (we need a G gauge Rent-a-Center) instead of buying one. Sort of like a tuxedo, What do you do with it after the prom? Here's a scarier thought- What did the last kid do IN it after the prom?.
I realize that it has some trouble clearing Aristocraft's American tie plates- which is what I have (naturally). Maybe someone has a fix for this (check out my website!). Maybe there is no fix for this?

I've got zero experience using a rail bender so, a few questions:
After I unbend, I'll need to cut the outside rail to even it out to the inside rail dimension. Afterwords I'll probably use a rail clamp to attach adjoining sections of track, as I have no patience when it comes to drilling and tapping tiny holes in rail. Sound right to you?

About how many sections can I leave connected while I unbend?
The project will not begin until the fall, so I've got some time on my hands. The Aristocraft sale ends August 5th. So, if this is a good idea, I'd better buy it soon. If it's a bad idea...well.... It wouldn't be my first!!!

So, what other advice and/or experience do you guys have? Any information is well appreciated. Thanks for your continued support of my foolishness.


-Kevin.
 

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Join a club that has one. That way you get to use the bender, and maybe can get people to help you along the way.

I don't know where you are, but our club, Orange County Garden Railway Society, is in Orange Co., CA. We have a Train Li with the optional accessories that all members are welcome to use.
 

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Kevin depending on where you live someone in your area might have one to loan. Need to take screws out and cut webbing when you are trying to straighten as ties are fixed for the curve. You can do as many at a time as you have room for I alternate curve sections as I straightened mine. I have Train-li duel bender. Ron
 

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I have the Arista Craft dual rail bender and after shimming with several pieces of electrical tape, it worked fine. With the 30% off, it is a really good buy. I have straightened 4 boxes of 20' foot curves of Aristo Craft stainless steel track.The outer curve yielded 46 3/4" rails and the inner curve yielded 46" rails. If you slip out the long rails in half of the tracks and slip out the short rails on the other half of the tracks, and then slip the "free" short rails with the short rail tracks and the"free" long rails with the long rail track, you avoid cutting any of the now straight rails. Hope this helps.
 

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A Dual Rail Bender is the best investment one could make.


I can't tell you how many times I have used it to change the shape of a Bend.

I bought a bunch of 4 ft diameter curves They were 12 inches long.

I joined them with some Hillman clamps and made a 11 ft diameter curve out of them.

My Bender is a Train Li... Worth every penny of it.

JJ
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for all the great information, everyone.

Toddalin- I'd love to join a club and reap the benefits of exchanging knowledge, help, and even borrowing privileges. However, my local club in Buffalo meets on Wednesday nights and some of us (me) work those hours. In order to become a member, one must attend meetings and be voted in (really). So, this site has become my local club. Thanks to guys like you and others for sharing ideas, knowledge, etc.

DAN338- sounds like the Aristo bender just might do the trick. If it can bend Stainless rail well, I'm sure it will have no problem with brass.

If money weren't an issue, I'd love to get the Train Li bender. Right now it's a bit steep for my budget. I only have one other future project that I need to do some rail bending for.


-Kevin.
 

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I use my dual rail bender regularly to adjust my track. For some reason it moves over time, I guess from expansion and contraction. There are some parts that I have to work on at least once a year. If you are willing to take the ties off the rail I think a single rail bender works better especially for large changes is shape as it puts the bending force on both the rail head and the flange. I use both depending on what I'm trying to do.
 

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The PTM Rail bender we sell is a good choice. Just as good as Train-Li.
 
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