Rail bender

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dash9
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Re: Rail bender

Post by dash9 » Fri Nov 03, 2017 4:38 pm

That's a nice setup you have mike. Well done.

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ccvstmr
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Re: Rail bender

Post by ccvstmr » Fri Nov 03, 2017 8:37 pm

...the problem with most rail rolling benders is...they don't curve the rail where it's needed most. And that's at the ENDS of the rail! This can be attributed (at the very least) to the distance between the last 2 rollers. About the only time you need to roll/curve rail is when laying curved track for radii that are say, 60 feet or less.

Rail is nothing more than a modified "I" beam. It's fairly flexible on it's own. Ever see a real track laying system? Or when crews are out to drop welded rail along the right of way. The rail kinda bends like spaghetti. Since rail rollers/benders do not continue the curvature to the very end of the rail...that's where rail wear will be observed.

Ever see some of the programs on TV about "How Do They Make That"...on occasion, you'll see steel wire being drawn thru a set of 5 or 7 rollers for straightening. Would think the same is necessary (with adjustable rollers for various curvatures) for rolling curved rail. This, however, is starting to get more complicated that most of us or clubs want to deal with.

There's something to be said for the power of observation. Carl B.
Life is like a sewer...what you get out of it depends on what you put into it!
I don't walk on water...I just learned where some of the stepping stones are!
I love mankind...it's some of the people I can't stand!

Glenn Brooks
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Re: Rail bender

Post by Glenn Brooks » Fri Nov 03, 2017 10:17 pm

What Carl said is definitely an issue. I've had some success in bending radius on the ends of 12 # rail by bolting up the ends to the next piece (with fish plate and tracks bolts) then using the first bit of the adjacent piece of rail to leverage the end into a semblance of desired radius. Isn't perfect, but better than nothing.

Also bracing near the end of themrail with a 4x4 and giving the rail end a good wack or two with a sledge hammer helps sometimes also - this is railroading after all...

Glenn
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Motive power : 1902 A.S.Campbell 4-4-0 American - 12 5/8" gauge, 1955 Ottaway 4-4-0 American 12" gauge

Ahaha, Retirement: the good life - drifting endlessly on a Sea of projects....

rkcarguy
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Re: Rail bender

Post by rkcarguy » Wed Nov 08, 2017 1:40 pm

dash9 wrote:Gary, that is a good price for one. Going to try my hand at building one. I really dont need it till next spring. Have to get track looking on having a die made right now and have track extruded. I figure I need 50K ft. of rail.
:shock:

That's ALOT of rail! 4-3/4 miles of track worth!

dash9
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Re: Rail bender

Post by dash9 » Wed Nov 08, 2017 6:21 pm

Well went to Alcoa they got back to me on the die around 1500.00 that will extrude 4 rail at a time. Basic problem is I have to buy 100,000 lbs for the first order. Which will make 315,457 Ft of rail. A bit more than I need.

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Bruce_Mowbray
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Re: Rail bender

Post by Bruce_Mowbray » Thu Nov 09, 2017 5:42 am

It's been a while since I had my own die made and my rail extruded but Yarde Metals was very reasonable compared to Alcoa

http://www.yarde.com/products/extrusions/
Bruce Mowbray
Springville & Southern RR
TMB Manufacturing & Locomotive Works

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Bruce_Mowbray
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Re: Rail bender

Post by Bruce_Mowbray » Thu Nov 09, 2017 12:51 pm

railbender.jpg
Another version of the same thing. My rail bender started out as a bar bender. I just made wheels that fit the profile of my rail. It doesn't take much to bend aluminum rail. In fact, even though my bender has a hex on the adjustable wheel, I can just shove a length of rail through the bender by hand and easily achieve a 45 foot radius in one shot. The 3 inch long section of the end of the rail that does not get bent is of no concern. At that length, the arc height is only .002" which cannot be detected by anybody riding on a train.
Bruce Mowbray
Springville & Southern RR
TMB Manufacturing & Locomotive Works

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Gary Armitstead
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Re: Rail bender

Post by Gary Armitstead » Fri Nov 10, 2017 3:12 pm

Bruce_Mowbray wrote:railbender.jpgAnother version of the same thing. My rail bender started out as a bar bender. I just made wheels that fit the profile of my rail. It doesn't take much to bend aluminum rail. In fact, even though my bender has a hex on the adjustable wheel, I can just shove a length of rail through the bender by hand and easily achieve a 45 foot radius in one shot. The 3 inch long section of the end of the rail that does not get bent is of no concern. At that length, the arc height is only .002" which cannot be detected by anybody riding on a train.
I have to agree with you about the very small deviation on the last 6 inches or so of a curve. I have used Rich Eaton's rail bender for a year now bending rail for my small home layout. I have tight 25 foot radii on my curves, There is roughly 6 inches between centers of the rollers. That deviation amounts to .016 in the height of the arc. I defy anyone to "see" that difference :).
Gary Armitstead
Burbank, CA
Member LALS since 1980
Member Goleta Valley Railroad Club 1980-1993

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ccvstmr
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Re: Rail bender

Post by ccvstmr » Sat Nov 11, 2017 11:11 am

Gary...you're right. You may not "see" a .016" deviation at the rail end. If you run a private track or small track, you won't put enough traffic over that rail joint to make much difference. However, on a larger track, a club track, a public track...the "rail miles" increase substantially...and in time you will see rail wear. Maybe not at the joint, but just after the joint...where the rolled rail starts again. Wheels will roll thru that short tangent section and the flanges will bear on the rail head thereafter. On the larger tracks...there is little control over the wheel profiles that run the railroad. I'll stand by what I said at the start. For a small, low traffic railroad...probably won't make much difference. On larger railroads...all you have to do is walk the railroad. You'll see the evidence of rail wear laying on track next to the rail.

Steel rail presents other challenges. At least with steel rail, short sections can be welded into longer sections...1/8 scale continuous welded rail if you will. What some persons fail to account for is the coefficient thermal expansion/contraction. Steel has 1/2 the expansion rate of aluminum. At some point, that rail movement has to be accounted for. Haven't seen anybody come up with 1/8" scale rail anchors. The problem manifests at poorly designed/built/assembled expansion joints. This is a source of rail kinks and leads to track/rail alignment issues. Some people just don't see this...nor do they "get it". They take the lazy way out...and the reliability of the railroad suffers.

To date, don't think I've ever seen someone try to TIG weld aluminum rails into longer lengths. That's not to say it can't be done. As on the real railroads, going to continuous welded rail cut back on the number of rail joints...and therefore, cut down on rail joint maintenance.

No doubt, an interesting topic with various solutions. Some work, some don't work as well as they should. Bottom line...how do you design a railroad for "minimal maintenance"? Carl B.
Life is like a sewer...what you get out of it depends on what you put into it!
I don't walk on water...I just learned where some of the stepping stones are!
I love mankind...it's some of the people I can't stand!

Harold_V
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Re: Rail bender

Post by Harold_V » Sat Nov 11, 2017 4:45 pm

ccvstmr wrote:To date, don't think I've ever seen someone try to TIG weld aluminum rails into longer lengths. That's not to say it can't be done.
One consideration when welding on aluminum is the end result. Assuming the material used in extruding the rail is heat treatable (not all aluminum alloys are), welding anneals the HAZ, so the resulting areas are extremely soft. That promotes wear, as well as allowing the rail to deform much easier. All in all, welding on aluminum rail is likely not a good idea.

H
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Bill Shields
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Re: Rail bender

Post by Bill Shields » Tue Dec 12, 2017 10:27 am

The rail bender I had came from a drawing in Live Steam magazine some 40 years ago (cannot find it now).

The best part of it was that ALL THREE of the rollers were chain driven from the crank, otherwise the single drive roll would have a tendency to slip.

It was a little messy to setup and build, but did a very good job for what it was intended to do

RONALD
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Re: Rail bender

Post by RONALD » Thu Dec 14, 2017 5:27 pm

In 2001, I decided to build the rail bender that appeared in the March-April 1999 Live Steam Magazine, it took me over 100 hours of off and on work.(The photo below is only of the beginning of the article for reference)

Turned out it was a waste of my time, we only used it for the 14 foot diameter support carriage rail for #1 and the #2 Turntables (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cu7Cou5zVi0).

We use steel rail that bends by itself for the 60 to 100+ curves we use, should have never made it.
Rail Bender001.jpg
Aug 5.7.jpg
DSCN7626.jpg

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