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Mounting Unitrack with catenary bases


williamv

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williamv

I’d like to ask for some advice about how to mount Kato Unitrack to plywood. I’ve read about using track nails, glue and caulk.

 

I was planning to use Kato track nails but they’re not available in Australia and I’m having trouble finding alternatives that are long enough.

 

I was planning to use Kato catenary bases (24-015, https://www.katomodels.com/product/n/kasencyu) but they connect to the underside of the Unitrack, which raises the Unitrack. The Unitrack wouldn’t be in contact with the plywood, so gluing wouldn’t work.

 

I’ve never used caulk and I wonder if it would be enough if I used I applied blobs underneath the Unitrack, where the holes are for the track nails, and if it will have enough contact with the plywood when it dries.

 

I’m considering buying the Kato track nails from overseas. I suppose I could do without the catenary bases and then I could glue the Unitrack onto the plywood. However, I do like that I can use the catenary bases to properly space the tracks.

 

I wonder if I have any other options.
 

Thanks for any advice!

Edited by williamv
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Sheffie

I ran into something like this on my second layout. Essentially I decided that I’d rather cut out the portion of the catenary support that goes under the track base. The advantages of this approach are that catenary poles are more independent in terms of where they can go on the track, and that you can lay the track flat, before worrying about where the poles will be. 

 

Supporting the pole does then require using either glue, or pins or small nails.

 

(I don’t think there’s anything magical about Kato track pins. In America I was able to find quarter-inch nails that worked well for me. Just use a nail punch to protect your fingers and supports from getting hammered.)

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I’ve found screws to be a much better option than nails with Unitrak. No movement while banging and no bruised thumbs...

 

with most soft plywood you can just push start them or just use a 1mm drill to get a small starter hole going in the plywood. 
 

Ebay or Amazon are the main places to find the little ones.

 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/M1-4-M1-7-Black-Oxide-Phillips-Cross-Countersunk-Flat-Head-Self-Tapping-Screws/303673542908?hash=item46b45a88fc:g:62AAAOSwCU1Y4g50

 

usually little items like this that are not free shipping on ebay come to the us from China within a couple of weeks.

 

cheers

 

jeff

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katoftw

Bunnings or Mitre 10 would have suitible screws.

 

So many options though for attaching track to board.

 

Sheffies suggestion. My preferred option.

 

Shaving a hole in the ply where the catenary bases go.

 

Using a sheet of thin ply same thickess as catenary bases under track.

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Ive never needed to do anything special for this, even with catenary bases, I just run a bead of pva either side of the track, but then I also tend to ballast as well which helps hold track down.

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gavino200
7 hours ago, Sheffie said:

 The advantages of this approach are that catenary poles are more independent in terms of where they can go on the track, and that you can lay the track flat, before worrying about where the poles will be. 

 

 

This alone makes it worthwhile. I'm going to switch to this method!

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14 hours ago, williamv said:

I’d like to ask for some advice about how to mount Kato Unitrack to plywood. I’ve read about using track nails, glue and caulk.

 

I was planning to use Kato track nails but they’re not available in Australia and I’m having trouble finding alternatives that are long enough.

 

I was planning to use Kato catenary bases (24-015, https://www.katomodels.com/product/n/kasencyu) but they connect to the underside of the Unitrack, which raises the Unitrack. The Unitrack wouldn’t be in contact with the plywood, so gluing wouldn’t work.

 

I’ve never used caulk and I wonder if it would be enough if I used I applied blobs underneath the Unitrack, where the holes are for the track nails, and if it will have enough contact with the plywood when it dries.

 

I’m considering buying the Kato track nails from overseas. I suppose I could do without the catenary bases and then I could glue the Unitrack onto the plywood. However, I do like that I can use the catenary bases to properly space the tracks.

 

I wonder if I have any other options.
 

Thanks for any advice!

Your best bet is using Pink Foam. If you frame it up you can move it because it is so light. You can attach

the track with hot glue or PVA as suggested.  Using the 2" version gives you the rigidity of the plywood

It allows you to create elevation changes below track level which helps in the over all look. With plywood you are locked into

positive elevation only.

 

This layout is 13 kilos if that.

 

Most people like the plywood because its quick and easy but doesn't yield the best look.

 

https://www.foamular.com.au/

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Sheffie

I’m using pink foam myself. I think it’s quieter than plywood. But if you’ve already put time into a plywood layout I think you can make it work. 

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chadbag

Pink or Blue 🙂   Mine is currently blue foam.  My understanding is that the difference is the manufacturer.    These are the sheets that in the US you get from stores that sell for home builders etc.  The foam is used as insulation.

 

I also have a piece of pink lying around we were using(or attempting to use)  long long ago to cut glider wings with hot cutter -- I think my brother mostly used it to make molds for a fiberglass ship body.  The pink I have left over will eventually get used to add elevation in places or to make concrete viaduct piers (properly surface treated for proper texture and look).

 

ETA:  I use silicone caulking in a squeeze tube to attach both the foam to my wood frame and track to the foam.  We'll see how it works long term but it has held up for now.  It makes it easy to undo stuff as the silicone is easy to cut with a knife.

Edited by chadbag
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katoftw

Extruded polystyrene. We have it in blue, pink, khaki and aqua in oz.

 

Bunnings (same as home depot for international players) have it. Same location you can get your screws.

 

On a side note using xps. I have purchased sheets and the thickness can differ. So if doing modules, make sure you buy a few sheets that match at the same time. And when returning to buy more, always take a measuring device. I have found a difference of +/- 2mm. No good for track laying between pieces/modules.

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williamv

Thanks for all of the ideas! This is my first layout and it’s mostly cityscape, so I’ll probably do without a foam base for now. 🙂

 

Later on, when I’m feeling more confident, I’ll do another layout that uses elevations, and I’ll definitely use a foam base for that.

 

It seems that for now, the most straightforward solution is to leave off the catenary bases, then glue the track and catenary poles directly onto the plywood.

 

I appreciate all the comments and advice!

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williamv
21 hours ago, inobu said:

Your best bet is using Pink Foam. If you frame it up you can move it because it is so light. You can attach

the track with hot glue or PVA as suggested.  Using the 2" version gives you the rigidity of the plywood

It allows you to create elevation changes below track level which helps in the over all look. With plywood you are locked into

positive elevation only.

 

This layout is 13 kilos if that.

 

Most people like the plywood because its quick and easy but doesn't yield the best look.

 

https://www.foamular.com.au/

Impressive. The woodwork is beautifully done too!

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