IV. TRACK RAIL INSTALLATION
A. Load a tube of epoxy into the applicator gun and attach the premixing extension and needle tip. Don't squeeze the trigger until you are ready to begin !! The epoxy's working time is about 60 minutes with a curing time of 24 hours.
It is best to use the epoxy at room temperature. Warmer temperatures allow easier flow but faster curing, while colder temperatures may cause the epoxy to bead up and cure slower. Plan on being able to install and clean up approximately 30' to 60' of track rail per hour.
While the applicator system is precise, it is also delicate. Too much downward pressure during use can cause leaks. Use firm trigger pressure but a light touch at a low angle in guiding the applicator through the rail slots.
Change premixer/tip whenever the epoxy stops flowing freely through the system.
Lay out all materials, tools, and supplies in advance to facilitate not only installation but cleanup as well. Once epoxy is fed into the premixer the clock starts slowly ticking. Change premixer and tip as the epoxy nears the end of its working time.
B. Two people working in tandem can help minimize total installation time. One person can both uncoil rail and lane coding beforehand and clean up epoxy afterwards allowing the other to focus solely on precise installation of both rail and lane coding.
The rail should not be uncoiled too far in advance (to avoid kinking and shifting in the slot). Also, the lane coding may tend to twist as it is worked into place and any untwisting is easier if the uncoiled length is shorter.
Odorless paint thinner should be used to dilute any excess epoxy and wiped up with plenty of lint-free rags as soon after rail/lane coding installation as possible. Use plenty of thinner to wipe the epoxy up rather than merely smear it around.
Do not apply any excessive pressure to the freshly installed rail/lane coding when wiping up excess epoxy !! Final rail height can be easily affected if extra care is not taken to maintain a light touch during cleanup. Take routine rail height measurements using dial calipers and inspect the lane coding frequently as installation and cleanup progresses to ensure that where it is put is where it stays. If it isn't then stop immediately, retrace your steps, and begin again.
C. Lay a solid bead of epoxy into the rail slot from the first power tap to the end of the desired working length. For track layouts with multiple power taps, this length is usually the next tap location. A second application may be necessary if the epoxy soaks into the Formica laminate's substrate material. It is usually better to apply extra epoxy (subject to all the above) than to use too little.
Note: Reed switch sockets may be effectively ignored during track rail installation. Dead strips require rails cut and taps attached consistent with the dead strip itself, although the lane coding may be continuous.
D. From the power tap, lay the track rail into the slot as far as it will lay naturally in the slot. The Railsetter is designed to magnetically hold the rail at an approximate .015" height during rail installation. Clean the Railsetter frequently with acetone to ensure proper operation.
Place the Railsetter on top of the rail at any chosen starting point and work the lane coding flush with the track surface using the plastic finger. The lane coding belongs in the inside, between the rail and the guide slot. For convenience, the start/end of the track rail and lane coding should be in different locations so each can be finished off without interfering with the other.
Move the Railsetter slowly ahead and slide the lane coding into place with the plastic finger directly behind the Railsetter. Keep the lane coding slightly tensioned so that it will still lay straight even if the rail slot runs wider than expected.
Hold the plastic finger at as low an angle as possible when installing the lane coding to minimize the possibility of pushing down the rail. Keep the pencil's blade sharp by fine block sanding.
As you work the lane coding into place the epoxy should try to ooze out from the slot. If it doesn't, apply more epoxy. If the slot becomes "flooded" and the epoxy's own pressure makes installation more difficult, clean up the excess immediately and use less in the future.
Work slowly and carefully to ensure consistency should anything shift either during installation or cleanup. The purpose of the lane coding is to hold the rail in place until the epoxy cures. Should any rail settle, go back immediately to reset the rail within range. High spots should also be reset to avoid the need for subsequent grinding.
E. For track layouts with multiple taps, mark the location of the next tap on the rail as the installation process nears the access point. Attach the next power tap as previously described and repeat the rail installation process to the next power tap.
F. When near the lane's end, cut the track rail 1/8" past the rail's other end. Using a Dremel Moto Tool and sanding drum, stone wheel or similar, grind a 1/8" long beveled taper through the thickness of the track rail to provide an overlap. The two overlapped ends combined must be no wider than a single track rail !!
G. Complete the installation process by running the lane coding back to its beginning. Cut the lane coding where each end would butt against the other and work the remaining lane coding into place.
H. Complete the above process for all other track rails.