Large Scale Central

RLD Track Bender

I moved this from Articles page, must have been looking sideways I wanted to post it here

I just yesterday received from RLD my new track bender. I do not belong to any club or know many who are so I didnt even think about borrowing one, so after a little research ( checking prices) and looking at different brands I got one from RLD. When all you have to go by is pictures it is hard to understand what it will be until it shows up.

First I must say it came quickly and well wrapped, picking it up is a struggle as it weighs a ton. Sturdy construction and well built, nice rounded corners. I grabbed several lengths of flex 332 brass track and plopped the bender on and made a few passes, tightening the adjustment wheel with every 2 passes and at first I thought it was not doing much but after about 4 passes I easily had a 6ft long 10ft curve. the bearings and the plastic that the rails ride on make it glide effortlessly. bent one half way took the bender and turned it and bent the other half the oppisite direction for a nice smooth s curve. then un bent the curves I made, just to see the difference.I worked one piece of track down to a way tigher curve than I will ever use and it did it all with ease.

I must say when I first looked at RLD it was out of stock, so I emailed and asked if they would be in stock, I got a prompt email back, gave my name and he put ne on a list to be notified when they came in. Quick and personal service from Robby, I will use his services again.

Hey Pete just know that different manufactures of track bent differently. I own an Aristo Craft track bender and another fellow in our club owns a Train Li track bender and both do their job well. Most of my track is Aristo brass with one large section of older LGB 4 and 5 foot straight. The Aristo track bends a lot easier then the LGB. It has something to do with the make up of the material. Just a heads up from pass experience. Have fun laying track.


Pete, I have a Train Li bender, which is basically the same design as far as I can see. Bending went the same for me, as you’ve described. FWIW, here’s couple of things I observed:

  • As you say, you can reverse the bending
  • With serpentine / complex sections, you might have to keep at it until all lays as you wish
  • I found it worked best when clamping on a new flex section to the in-place track, and messaging into place, then continuing with another section (vs. trying to pre-bend multiple flex sections)
  • I overlapped the rail joints by at least a foot, to make the curvature more even
  • The cut-off tool came in mainly at switches and ends-of-track
  • For flex curves that have to meet a curved switch leg, you can pre-bend with a temporary scrap of track (~1’) clamped on

Main thing: it was so much fun!! So take your time and enjoy it!


I have the train Li version. I bought mine after I had built my railroad. It has come in real handy to iron out kinks and make replacement rail sections. I use Aristo Stainless and with a little effort, it beds that nice and smooth. I tried clamping rails together to bend longer sections, and broke the Hillamn clamps. But the split jaws hold and don’t break, and lay low enough that the bender doesn’t catch on them.

Splitjaw makes a double long clamp and should be used when bending stainless.

Dan that’s nice to know. No one ever told me that.

I was able to use the short/normal clanps when bending. When I bend sectional track, I leave at least one or 2 screws per rail in place on Aristo track, otherwise the rails start working out of the ties. Also remember that on Aristo sectional track, the “spikes” are real sloppy, and the screws are the only thing that really hold the gauge.

Many people have removed all the screws only to find the track goes out of gauge under heavy locos. Luckily most Aristo curved track is tight gauge so you don’t see this all the time.


I haven’t had any issues with the USA style ties, except for where I put a kink in the track the first time around. I didn’t have a rail-bender when I built my railroad, but I am darn glad I have one now.

David, have you ever re-bent Aristo sectional track and left all the screws in? Just curious.

I experimented and you have to remove most of the screws if you are changing the curvature, and all but one per rail of you change it a lot.

Otherwise you start tearing tie strips apart.


The track I was bending was AML new flex track and then i tried to bend some curved Aristocraft and they both seemed to bend fairly easy. The AML track , being flex track had no screws in the ties so it felt easier, the Aristo was used track and when I started I didnt remove any screws, I just wanted to see what un bending some already curved would be like, so I didnt go very far before I saw the ties were not liking it, so I stopped and just worked the flex track. I remember seeing somewhere if you try to bend sectional track you might have to cut the webbing that runs under the rail to help the ties stay in alignment. I have not tried that yet. going to start soon working on the ROW to prep for all this shiny new track and my bender. first I may have to get some clamps to connect sections

Greg Elmassian said:

David, have you ever re-bent Aristo sectional track and left all the screws in? Just curious.

I experimented and you have to remove most of the screws if you are changing the curvature, and all but one per rail of you change it a lot.

Otherwise you start tearing tie strips apart.


Greg, yes and no. I bought 5 foot Aristo straight track. I took out ALL of the screws. I took all of the ties off the rails, or the rails off the ties. Then I painted the rails and ties with Krylon ruddy brown, flat black, and over-sprayed some ties with some primer gray and/or medium tan. Then I clipped the webbing between the ties on one side, reassembled the track, without putting any screws back in, and bent to fit. The cut tie webbing goes on the outside of my curves.

I am using the Stainless Aristo track, with the USA style Aristo ties. I also have a cup full of Aristo tie screws somewhere in my shop, since I took them all out and didn’t put any back to hold the ties on. I did, when I built the railroad, put some of those screws back into the rails, after I had shortened them, to hold ring terminals for my power feeds. But now that I am going to rail clamps, I just put the ring terminals on the clamps. Its much easier.

Edit to correct for dyslexia.

the webbing is “cut” on curved aristo track already. I have re-bent some, and worked fine. I joined 2 sections so I could have a smooth bend through the joint, regular split jaws worked fine.


Greg, it may be cut on some, but I have a box of 4 foot radius tie sections, and its not cut on those. But I do not know about the other curved sections, since I have only bought 5 foot straight track and wide radius switches.

Hmmm… I’ll take a look at my stuff, only have 10’ and 14’ on the layout, so maybe they made tie strips differently for different radii…