CMX+ Clean Machine
Several years ago, as a result of numerous petitions
from fellow model railroaders, I analyzed, experimented and developed
the "Clean Machine" track cleaning system.
CLEAN MACHINE HERE!
CMX for O Scale
CMX Manual with Chemist's Review (PDF)
CMX-O Debut Page
Take a Picture Tour!
Update: See CMX Mod
by ON3 User here.
N Scale CMX Mod to HOn3
Chemist Reviews CMX Clean Machine.
User Reviews Track Cleaning Cars.
User Decorates HO CMX Clean Machine
USX Ultra Sonic Wheel Cleaning System
Electrak Clean II
CMX+ THE BEST RAIL CLEANING SYSTEM (HO & N)
When used as directed CMX+ will clean your track
better than any other method available or your money back.
I'm really impressed with your track cleaning car. I filled it with ACT-6006 track cleaner it is the very best track cleaner that I have ever used in my 50 years as a model railroader. That combination is the greatest track cleaner ever. So I did a post on my blog to brad it up.
Thanks for the great product.
- Mel P.
THE CMX CHALLENGE
Clean your track by any method then perform the "white
glove" test. Notice black lines. Then use CMX and perform test -
no black lines.
- Precision Machined Parts.
- Solid Brass Construction.
- Non-unraveling pads.
- Body mount Kadee couplers.
- Easy Fill Design.
- Leak proof valve and fill port.
- Heavy weight does the job.
- Quick Change Pads.
- Drag pads won't catch on switch points, frogs, and any other
pieces of trackwork.
- Spill resistant design.
- Solvent proof design.
- Both solvent/abrasive options.
- Large reservoir.
- Multi-directional (push or pull)
- Controllable dispensing rate.
- Width of Pad Assembly (HO) : 1.0"
- Height (HO : 1.75"
Track and Wheel Cleaning
Clean track, and wheels are absolutely necessary
for reliable Command Control operations.
Semi-Abrasive Pads: Brite Boys, Masonite
Pads, Ink Type Erasers, are just a few of the inexpensive semi-abrasive
cleaning pads that are available. These pads all remove oxidation
and maybe some contaminants but have one serious drawback. As soon
as you start using them, the pads begin to load up with organic
contaminants and eventually will spread a thin layer of these contaminants
on your track. You know the rest! There is an inexpensive non-loading
alternate. Your local paint supply or hardware store should have
a special sanding mesh used for sheetrock. This sheetrock sanding
mesh is like fiberglass window screen with a #250 grit bonded to
the mesh. Due to the fact itís a mesh, it will not load up. You
can staple it to an appropriate block of wood and you are all set.
Itís easy to replace and one sheet will last years. Use gently applying
Chemical Deoxidants and Conductivity Enhancers:
A product like Zip and others fit this category. These compounds
are generally applied to sections of track and then locos are run
around the layout to disperse the compound until a uniform condition
is achieved. My understanding is that traction is poor for awhile
but then improves. I have no personal experience with these materials
and personally have reservations about adding organic material on
Water Soluble Type: Most track cleaning
liquids sold are water soluble degreasers and similar to Fantastic*
or 409*. While safe to use and environmentally friendly, these
cleaners are weak degreasers and can leave a residue. You will
have to use these often to maintain a clean track.
Alcohols and Slow Solvents: Alcohols are
often used in common liquid track cleaners as described above.
Alcohols are also weak degreasers and will leave residues and
are flammable. Paint thinner, Naphtha, Goo Gone, etc. These solvents
have a moderate evaporation rate, are moderate degreasers, flammable
and environmentally restricted. They work better than solvents
listed above. Slow solvents are not very effective in removing
silicone or rubber residues from loco tires.
Fast Solvents: Nail Polish Remover, Lacquer
thinner, Acetone, and MEK. CAUTION: These solvents are volatile
and flammable. Read label carefully and follow all instructions
for use. Fast solvents, when properly used, are superior for track
cleaning. These solvents are aggressive and virtually vaporize
all organic matter, leaving no residue.
These solvents are volatile and flammable. Read label carefully
and follow all instructions for use. Fast solvents, when properly
used, are superior for track cleaning. These solvents are aggressive
and virtually vaporize all organic matter, leaving no residue.
Liquid Dispensing Cars: Tank type with
pad dispenser (see Pads). IHC, International Hobby Company, sells
one for about $20.00. The car is a plastic caboose with metal; pad
mount, needle valve and reservoir. The reservoir is small; it will
often require refills on large layouts. Because the car body is
plastic, it will not be compatible with some of the slow solvents
or any of the fast solvents.
Rolling Pad Cars: This type of car retails
for about $60.00. The cleaning pad is in the form of a roll that
rotates while the car is moving. This type of car can only use slow
solvents because the roll pad is the reservoir and fast solvents
would evaporate. Also, the rolling pad does not scrub the track
because the pad is rolling. While this product is in widespread
use and is effective, it will fail the white glove test when compared
to a pad type car.
The Clean Machine +: After struggling through
all of the cleaning options stated above, Tony's Train Exchange is
now manufacturing Clean Machine +, tank type/pad cleaning cars.
See Picture on mailer. All brass, except trucks, HO weighs about
1 pound, N weighs 8 oz. CMX+ is guaranteed to clean your track safely
and effectively when used as directed.
Cleaning Pad Material: Tony's Train Exchange
has found all cloth type cleaning pads, supplied by hobby stores,
to be inferior. Your best bet is a corduroy type of upholstery fabric
with backing. This will not unravel and the ribs can be oriented
perpendicular to rails to assist scrubbing action while minimizing
pad loading. NOTE: The liquid pad type cleaning cars described above
can be converted to abrasive type cleaners by changing pads to the
same mesh Tony's Train Exchange described above or fine 600+ Emmory
All Wheel Drive Diesels: Use strong paper
towel or light cloth, soak with any commercial alcohol, lay flat
on straight section of track with power on. Place one truck set
at a time on cloth. Power up loco to spin wheels on cloth. Repeat
for other truck set. When complete, place loco on clean towel to
let surfaces dry. Caution alcohols are flammable.
All Other Steam/Diesel Locos And All Rolling
Stock: Use cotton swab dipped in acetone or preferred solvent,
apply to wheels and rotate until visibly clean. Caution: Metal and
Nylon/Delrin (most plastic wheels) are not affected by acetone,
but plastic car body/parts (usually acetate) will be dissolved,
etched or bonded by acetone. Observe cautions stated herein.
Crusted Wheels: Some wheels accumulate a thick
crust of gunk usually after many hours use without cleaning. This
crust is best removed by using an appropriate X-acto type knife,
followed by swab and acetone. Notes: Wire and nylon brushes used
on roto tools may be used with caution. Plastic wheels can be melted
and nickel plating may be removed.
Please read and follow all recommendations and instructions
stated herein for CMX+
Clean the Clean Machine: Contaminates from
the machining and assembly processes may remain in the tank of your
CMX+. To clean, fill the tank as stated per Sect B. Use an aggressive
solvent. Insure that both fill cap & control valve are tightened
securely. Shake well to agitate to clean. Empty contents in suitable
container by draining & removing control valve completely.
(A) SKID PAD ADJUSTMENT, CLEANING PAD INSTALLATIONS:
1) The skid pad is designed to snap on/off via skid
pad spring clips.
2) The cleaning pad is installed by rotating spring
clip appropriately and wrapping cleaning pad, velvet side down,
around skid pad, so that cleaning pad is centered and the pad ends
do not protrude into large hole on skid pad.
3) CMX+ may be used as abrasive type cleaner by installing
abrasive type pads. Sheet rock sanding mesh (Fine) is good or 600+
(B) SOLVENT HANDLING AND FILLING:
Solvents are most easily and safely dispensed by
using a 5 -10 ccm syringe which is available at pharmacies for dispensing
childrenís liquid medicines, and cost about $1.50. Handling and
filling should be performed on suitable surface in suitable area.
1) Close control valve, turn screw knob clockwise
until valve seats.
2) Remove fill port cover. Screw.
3) Use syringe and draw 3CC solvent. Transfer solvent
slowly to CMX+ through fill port, use from 4CC to 9CC.
4) Keep fill port cap on during use, but do not tighten
completely or vent will be closed preventing proper drip rate.
5) Crack open control valve, observe drip rate by
holding CMX+ above surface and viewing nozzle.
6) Adjust drip rate to about 10-15 drops per minute
or less. CW reduces drip rate, CCW increases.
7.1) No drip or drip not adjustable. Check fill
port................Plug should be loose. Nozzle blocked..............Use
wire or needle to clear. Solvent level too low......Min. 3CC needed.
Add more solvent.
7.2) When drip is adjusted as described above CMX+
will not harm plastic ties or painted areas even when standing
still. Cleaning pad allows solvents to evaporate. It is a good
practice to tighten fill plug and close valve completely when
CMX+ is not in use. Warning: Proceed
at your own risk. Failure to read, understand, and follow all
instructions stated herein and furthermore stated on labels, and
by the manufacturers of solvents, will result in damage and harm
to you, the environment, or your equipment.
1) CMX+ comes to you ready to run.
2) CMX+ may be pushed or pulled by any locomotive
with sufficient traction. Short, 8 wheel drive, four axle diesels
are ideal. For highly contaminated track place CMX+ before power
unit. (2 Locoís may be needed)
3) Cleaning pad should be sufficiently wetted with
solvent to clean properly. This can be usually seen as wetness on
pad or cool feeling of skid pad. This is about 10 drops a minute.
Cleaning pad should be centered on skid pad fore to aft and right
4) Cleaning pad may be cleaned while in use by using
a solvent wetted rag and rubbing cleaning pad until dirt is removed.
Pads may also be washed in detergent and be re-used.
(D) MISCELLANEOUS NOTES:
1) CMX+ meets NMRA gauge dimensions (HO).
2) CMX+ is designed so nozzle receives solvent about
1/8" above bottom of tank. This leaves sediments at bottom of tank
and protects nozzle from clogging. This is about 3CC volume and
gives false impression of being usable solvent.
3) CMX+ has limited spill fill port design. The fill
port protrudes about 1/8" into tank creating inside lip to impede
spills. Held inverted about 1-2 CC of solvent will still remain
4) Truck mounting screws, #2-56 style, should not
be overtightened or thread damage to screws or bolster may result.
5) Standard Athearn delrin trucks have been supplied
to minimize short circuits. The mounting is good for many other
truck types if you choose.
6) CAUTION: When removing plug, or valve stem from
CMX+, be sure "O" rings and packing washers remain in place.
7) Initially, your layout may require several passes
with CMX+ to clean properly. Once clean, you will only need to use
CMX+ once or twice a year.
(E) Solvent Options:
The following solvents may be used with CMX+:
Most aggressive group: (Observe
precautions stated on container and herein)
Nail Polish Remover, Laquer Thinner, Acetone, MEK, Toluene & Zylene.
This group of solvents are the most effective but
the most dangerous. You will probably need to use these to start
and then once a year there after. Plastic from wheels and other
organic matter is the most significant contaminant on your track.
Since you need to follow the same precautions for all the solvents
in this group, use Nail Polish Remover or Acetone, which are readily
Moderately aggressive group:(observe
precautions stated on container and herein)
Alcohols, Paint thinner & Water based solvents(Fantastic or 409)
This group of solvents will not remove plastic
but are satisfactory for routine maintenance.
We welcome comments or suggestions
from readers; please write