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I don't believe you would weld it. If you try to braze it, the rail would melt at the same time as the brazing rod. You could solder it however, there is a good chance that the solder joint would break fairly. I would suggest either using rail joiners, soldering the rail together and soldering a jumper around the joint. Otherwise, just use rail clamps.
 

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We usually don't in the garden. Just use joiners or clamps.
 

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I am experimenting right now with a spot welder. Habor Frieght has a small unit. Just slid the track together wirh factory jointer and spot weld it. So far the test are works well. [script removed]
 

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Some folks just drill holes in each rail and solder a jumper wire in the holes. Later RJD
 

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If you just want to connect rail, end to end is just not going to be strong enough with regular solder. I would think that even silver solder will not be good enough.

Resistance welding would probably work, although have not done it on brass.

If you do manage to make it a long solid piece of rail, you would probably get expansion problems, sun kinks, etc. Use stock joiners to align rails, solder jumpers if you want to avoid clamps, but as tons of threads already have said, now you have more problems with taking rail apart. Yes, you can cut the wire, but how about re-soldering? It's a tradeoff.

Regards, Greg
 

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I don't have experience with welding rails together, I do however have experience soldering them. I used regular electrical solder I picked up at Home Depot, and soldered sections of LGB track into about 8 foot segments. I then connected the sections with LGB rail joiners so the rail has room to expand and contract with the weather. So far its lasted about 4 or 5 years in temperatures ranging from below zero to over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. I think there were only maybe 3 joints that broke and needed to be re-soldered between the first and second summers. Overall, I am very happy with it and would personally recommend it.
 

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Hey IC, I assume you used joiners at the soldered rail joints or did you just but them and solder?

Greg,
What is the problem with resoldering the wire jumpers? That can be done as fast as aligning and
screwing a rail clamp.

Later
Rick Marty
 

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I was afraid I was going to get this reaction.
I was hoping the phrase "it's a trade off" would have done the trick.


It's a minor inconvenience, not a big deal. If you cut a jumper to remove a piece of track that has been sitting, you have to go to a little more trouble to clean and repair it. It's a small negative.

But, (since you made the comparison) screwing a rail clamp is WAY faster than preparing and soldering a jumper, and I solder very well thank you.


I was focusing on giving the guy some good advice, and being objective, not everyone is good at soldering, has a big iron, and cleans the joints well before soldering.

No one (comparatively) has trouble with a screwdriver. (to make sure it's clear, I have NEVER found someone who could solder that could not handle a screwdriver, but I have found the reverse quite often)


As I said, (and next time I'll put in the caveats) it's a minor inconvenience to re-clean the place to re-solder.


Regards, Greg
 

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I agree with Greg that a clamp is much easier/quicker than soldering.

To solder a joiner to a rail one must first remove the joiner, wire brush the rail and clean the inside of the joiner.
Next, use a rosin core flux (I use a liquid verson) and reinsert the joiner.
Now you are ready to use a hot iron to solder and it must be a large wattage (I have a 350 watt weller that just barely does 332 rail).
When completed, wipe quickly with a wet rag to cool the rail and this keeps the ties from melting plus cleans off the extra flux.

When using clamps, I just use a conductive past and then clamp the rail.

Clamps align the rail so the joint becomes straight and very even.

My personal preference is rail clamps as taking anything apart is very quick and easy.
 

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Posted By IllinoisCentral on 01/24/2009 7:06 PM
I don't have experience with welding rails together, I do however have experience soldering them. I used regular electrical solder I picked up at Home Depot, and soldered sections of LGB track into about 8 foot segments. I then connected the sections with LGB rail joiners so the rail has room to expand and contract with the weather. So far its lasted about 4 or 5 years in temperatures ranging from below zero to over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. I think there were only maybe 3 joints that broke and needed to be re-soldered between the first and second summers. Overall, I am very happy with it and would personally recommend it.




Jack Verducci offers the same advice in his book, a thought process that I plan to used to move from sectional to "cale made flex"......we'll see!

Glad to hear of someone with a good expeirence!

cale
 

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I solder all my joints except the switches, I solder it faster than I can mess with the little screws, I always use straight track and the Lil-bender track bender , so I remove all the little tie screws, so I push the ties away from the joint, using a small torch heat the joint just a little, brush on the solder paste then heat up and solder. I have a real wet cloth towel placed on each side to absorb the heat from transfering down the rail. While the joint is still soft I will adjust it to be perfectly aligned, and when it cools it will be aligned and permantely joined to where electricity will flow flawlessly. I prefer this method, because I can do both sides in about 2 minutes, pull the ties back in place and go to the next joint. Dennis
 

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Posted By denray on 01/25/2009 5:59 PM
I solder all my joints except the switches, I solder it faster than I can mess with the little screws, I always use straight track and the Lil-bender track bender , so I remove all the little tie screws, so I push the ties away from the joint, using a small torch heat the joint just a little, brush on the solder paste then heat up and solder. I have a real wet cloth towel placed on each side to absorb the heat from transfering down the rail. While the joint is still soft I will adjust it to be perfectly aligned, and when it cools it will be aligned and permantely joined to where electricity will flow flawlessly. I prefer this method, because I can do both sides in about 2 minutes, pull the ties back in place and go to the next joint. Dennis






Dennis, I assume you too are using the brass joiners as well?

I too have a Train-Li bender-what a tool!
 

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Dennis, what do you use to align the rails? I was thinking of using the regular joiner as others have suggested as a guide, but if there is an easier way I'm all ears.

Santafe 2343, How much is the spot welder set up from HF? I see a spot welder for $30, but it looks like you also need a DC arc source?

I want to try this method with the AMS flex track. The ties on the AMS are not screwed in, so it is easy to slide them down a bit out of the way while soldering/welding. and can even be removed/installed all together pretty quick. Even though the ties are loose they are staying in place after ballasting just as well as my Aristo track with screwed in ties.

I'm very interested in trying this because of:
1 - the cost of clamps
2 - I find it difficult to remove the clamp screws after they have been on the ground for 6 months or more.
3 - I find the Hillman clamp a little easier to work with than the Split Jaw. Split Jaw on the other hand makes it easier to remove just one side of the track if needed. The Hillman are smaller and thus aren't as noticeable after ballasting as the Split Jaw , but the thin top on the Hillman tends to break when I try to remove the clamps after it's been outside even as little as 6 months.
 

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Yes, I use the standard LGB joiners at the solder joints. I did this for a couple of reasons. First, its much easier to align the rails, and second, soldering the rails to the joiner in addition to each other gives the joint a bit more strength. Plus, if the joint were to break, then the rails will still stay aligned in the joiner, significantly reducing the chance of a derailment. I also forgot to mention that I do not solder in any of my turnouts. I did this to facilitate in removing them for repair and to avoid the possibility of accidentally melting something important.
 

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I use the standard aristocraft rail joiner, when soldered the rail joiner is full of solder, it will not break, if it does you need to lighten your load

Dennis
 

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Hi all,
Just a few observations after reading through this thread.

I think two different things are being discussed but intermixed, soldering jumper wires around the rail joiners and soldering railjoiners and railjoints solid.

Soldering 332 and smaller rail solid using joiners can be done easily with an 80 watt iron! I know no one here believes this that's one reason I posted
pictures a year or so ago showing the whole process on some old crusty, been in the ground, Aristo track. If I remember that post had like 2-3 responses,
guess there wasn't many converts.

Now just because you can solder the rail and joiners easily does that mean you should? In my opinion, not really, that is, not continiously. I have soldered too many miles
of gutters and flashings to think that expansion and contraction won't break a solder joint no matter how much solder you have poured on it. Solder (tin & lead) and brass
rail, are three different metals they move at different rates and any joint will eventually fail if there is no free expansion room.

By expierence we have found that soldering 2-5 pieces of 1' to 2' sectional track into a solid length then adding jumper wires at the end and using a standard joiner to align the rails
will allow for the expansion and protect the solid joints. Ambiant here 25 to 115 degrees average. I haven't personally tried to reform one of these sections of soldered up track
using a rail bender but do feel that the solder joints may fail under the stress of reforming the curve, or at least put the joint under stress causing premature failure. A cracked and
failed solder joint will cause problems just like a grody unsoldered rail joiner, only be much harder to find.

Jumper wires, in my opinion are the only way to go. At least that's what I think about the way I install them. I use AMS code 250 flex track (5' lengths). easiest way is to discribe
how I approch it.

The lengths are taken out of the box and any radius are prebent so I can get a close match cut on the rail ends. I then turn the track upside down on the work bench and cut the plastic
ears/ties out between the 1st and 2nd and 2nd and 3rd ties. I slip a set of joiners on one end then see where the ties are going to finish up. I then flux and pre-tin a small spot on the bottom of each rail.
Next I cut 20 or 22 gage hookup wire into 3-4 inch pieces, strip 3/8ths of the insulation from each end and pre-tin the wires. I then spot solder a wire to each rail at each end. When laid in the roadbed
the tinned wire ends are quickly solered together. I hit thewire joint with a little liquid tape but I don't think it is really necessary, after all the rail lays in the dirt. The jumper wires are then buried in the ballast.
The rail joiners are there only to keep the rails aligned. If anything has to come out like a switch, just pull the wires up and snip apart at the solder joint. to re-install just re-solder the wires and bury them.

I have about 200 feet of code 250 AMS that has been out for 2+ years using this method. I have a 14 gauge Romex buss wire under the tabletops and jump up a set of contact wires at about
every 3-4th rail connection, one power hookup point. Absolutly no conductivity problems. In fact yesterday we ran track power for the first time in 2-3 months, I put the new Bachmann gas/mechanical on and it ran with
very little stuttering, one quick wipe with the Scotchbrite and everything was fine.

As far as soldering I have posted this information several times.
Most important, YOU CAN'T SOLDER WITH A DIRTY IRON, the iron has to be shiny solder color when hot or it won't transfere heat I don't care how many watts you pump to it.
Also the material has to be clean. Use the correct flux and just .032 rosen core 60/40 is all that is required doesn't matter if your soldering jumper wires or rail joiners.

I'm sure I missed something but dinner is calling.
Thanks for listening
Rick Marty
 

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Rick, I'm listening! Thanks!!!!!!

As I mentioned elsewhere, I'm hoping to make 4' or 5' straights of my short sectional pieces....we'll see!
 
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