How to Solder Model Train Track
If you want to solder your model train track, you’ll have to know how to do it the right way. The first step is to prepare the joints. Make sure they’re lined up flush, and that you have liquid flux on the outside of the joints. Then, unroll the solder from its spool, and coat the tip with solder so it transfers heat more quickly to the joints. Then, hold the solder tip against the outside joint for several seconds.
Lead-free solder is better for the environment
There are several reasons why model train hobbyists should use lead-free solder for their projects. First and foremost, it is better for the environment. Secondly, lead is toxic and can accumulate in the body over time. This metal can be absorbed into the bloodstream through the mouth, nose, and skin. Although most cases of lead poisoning are due to exposure to contaminated solder, the environmental impact of lead is the main cause of concern. Fortunately, there are many lead-free solder alternatives available on the market today.
If you want to use lead-free solder for your model train tracks, you must make sure that the iron is fully coated with the solder alloy. Lead-free solder tips will need cleaning more often than traditional solder tips, so it is advisable to use a wet sponge for this purpose. Lead-free solder also reduces the life of solder tips. In addition, lead-free solder has a higher risk of solder bridges. Lead-free solder may also result in tin whisker growth, which makes it difficult to remove with a damp cloth.
Lead-based solder causes out-of-gauge track
The most common culprit in out-of-gauge train tracks is lead-based solder. Lead is a highly toxic metal and can short out electronic circuits. Unlike pure tin, lead melts at a lower temperature than tin. Because of the dangers associated with lead, many countries around the world have been implementing regulations to limit its use. The RoHS directive, implemented in Europe in 2003, prohibits the use of lead solder in electronics. As a result, many companies that sell to the European Union are changing the solder they use to lead-free solder. Currently, pure tin finishes are the most common finish, but Nickel/Pallodium/Gold flash is also being used.
Other ways to prevent out-of-gauge train tracks include using alligator clips to attach the rails to the tracks. These clips help prevent the rails from coming out of gauge and are designed to minimize the need for soldering. Another solution involves ensuring that the rails have sufficient amperage to run trains. Lead-based solder is the number one cause of out-of-gauge train tracks.
Using a pencil-type iron
Soldering is an easy process if you are comfortable with a hot iron. First, you need to prepare the rail before soldering. Clean and tin the rail before soldering. Once both the rail and wire are clean, heat the iron. The solder will flow along the outside of the joint. Allow the solder to set for five to ten minutes.
Once you’ve prepared the rails, unroll the solder and line up the joint flush. If the solder bead is too large, either there was too much solder applied or the iron was too hot. You can flatten the bead by running the tip of the iron along the rail’s edge for several seconds. This will remove excess solder. Then, repeat the process.
Using insulated wire
Soldering insulated wire to model train track is a great way to make your layout more realistic. It can make your model train track look just like the real thing, and you can use any colour of wire. Some types of model train track are even coloured so that you can easily distinguish which section is the point and which is the track. Then, you can cut the wire to the correct length and solder it directly to the rails.
The best way to solder model train track is to use a high-quality adhesive that has high adhesion. This will ensure that the track will be durable and free from cracks. When soldering, make sure that the joint is straight and has the correct diameter. The next step is to solder the rail joiners and rails. The joiners must be insulated to prevent backfeeding.
Avoiding acid fluxed solder
When soldering your track, you should avoid using acid fluxed solder. This is because it can cause an oily film that makes it difficult to solder. If you notice this film, you should apply rubbing alcohol to the area with a brush. For small-diameter rails, you can use a resin-core solder. Using acid-free solder will ensure the proper electrical conductivity.
When soldering wires to rails, always apply solder to the outside of the rail, and never to the inside. Make sure the metal is clean before soldering, and clean any paint before soldering. If the metal is too dirty, or is not hot enough, it will start to bead up and not make a good electrical contact. When solder flows smoothly down the rail, it thins out and makes a good connection.