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Layout In A Box – Demo Micro Layout Project (part 31 ) – Copper Clad Sleepers

Scale Model Scenery Demo Micro Layout Project – Copper Clad Sleepers

Part Thirty One

Following on from part thirty of this series, in which we looked at the AX071-OO Wall Mounted CCTV Cameras. We now, take a look at adding Copper Clad Sleepers to the fiddle yard cassette ends. On removable baseboards such as exhibition layouts, modular layouts, layout lifting sections, the railway track end sections need a more robust anchor to the layout. This can be done using what’s known as Copper Clad Sleepers.

Copper clad sleepers are a popular option for this part of a layout. The copper clad sleepers are designed for those modellers who scratch build their own track work, the sleepers can be bought in strips & also in pre-etched packs. We’ll be using the copper clad strips for this article. The likes of Wizard Engineering sell copper clad strips which can be found here:

The likes of DCC Concepts also sell packs of pre-etched Sleepers which can be found here:

Lets get started…

The tools we’ll need are as follows…

  • Soldering Iron
  • Flux
  • Solder (Plus brush to apply the flux)
  • Cutters (Xuron track cutters)
  • Marker pen
  • Small sqaure file
  • Drill & drill bit
  • Screwdriver & small screws 

The flux we are using is the Sapphire No-Clean Flux 30ml from DCC Concepts. This flux is the ideal companion for perfect soldered joints easily every time when used in electronics, soldering wires to track, working on or re-working brass, whitemetal or nickel silver kits. I’ve found this flux to be very good & gives excellent results with my soldering. It can be found here:

For soldering we’re using a soldering Iron Station with variable temperature control, which allows you to set the temparture to your soldering work requirements. The one we’re using came from Maplins electronics store. 

To solder the the rails, we’re using as mentioned above Sapphire No-Clean Flux 30ml from DCC Concepts, an old small paint brush to apply the flux, & the solder we’re using is 1.2mm lead free solder.

The copper clad sleepers we’re using as mention above is produced by Wizzard Engineering. These are cut to size to suit the job at hand, a pair of cutters, rotary tool with cutting disk is ideal for cutting the copper clad strips down to size.

With our fiddle yard cassette fitted in place, we first of all glue the second sleepers in from the end of the casette to permanently fix them in place. You use the likes of Deluxe Materials Super Phatic Glue which can be found here (also available to back order too): 

The end sleepers on the cassette need to be cut & removed. Leave the track still connected to the track on the main baseboard, to keep it in the correct gauge. The photo right shows which sleepers need gluing & also cutting & removing.

To cut & remove the end plastic sleepers, use a pair of track cutters which make quick work of removing the sleepers. The second photo right shows the sleepers after cutting & removal. The copper clad sleepers will go where the removed plastic sleepers where located.

Mark out two suitable length strips on the copper clad sleeper strip. We’re cutting them slightly longer than the plastic sleepers.

With our two copper clad sleepers marked out, we’re ready for cutting them.

We’re using an old pair of track cutters to cut the copper clad sleepers. These give a good clean cut. Best wear some form of safety glasses when cutting in case the cut sleepers go flying!

Once the two sleepers have been cut, mark out where the rails will sit, as shown in the photo right.

Next we need to prevent the copper clad sleepers from causing an electrical short, to do this file away a section of the copper clad in the middle as shown on the right.

The sleeper after filing away a section in the middle. The removed section of copper clad in the center creates an electrical isolating break between the two running rails.

Slide the copper clad sleeper into place under the rails as shown in the photo right. The sleeper can be glued onto the baseboard using super pathetic glue to secure it in place.

Next apply some liquid flux on to the copper clad sleeper either side of the rails & also onto the sides of the rail above just above the copper clad sleeper.

Time to solder. With the soldering iron up to operating temperature, apply solder on to the copper clad sleeper & the sides of the rail. The solder will hold the rails in place on to the copper clad sleeper.

The rails now soldered in place to the copper clad sleeper.

Test run rolling stock & locos over the newly solder rail. Check to see if any fouling of the wheels etc. If there is, either file down some of the solder or heat the solder up with the solder iron & work the offending solder smoother or use solder remover & re do the soldered joint. 

Now drill a small pilot hole for a screw in each end of the sleeper, as shown on the right.

Then insert small screws into the drilled holes & screw the screws into place. This will securely hold the rails & copper clad sleeper in place, thus making it robust agianst knocks & rough handing.

Repeat as nessasary the whole process on any of the tracks on the ends of the fiddle yard boards & baseboards. 


Happy modelling.












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