Saturday, May 19, 2012

Saturday morning

right, with the lady of the house away for the day, time to get out into the shed.
Today's job? Looking at the wiring. I've been a bit worried about the robustness of my wiring connections with 1 having broken during transport to the convention. This has held up ballasting as I don't want to keep having to unbury things to re solder connections. So, this morning I'm off to buy some brass microstrip to solder along the top of the sleepers. I figure that if there is contact with at least 2 PCB sleepers before I stick it through the board then it won't break that easy. I can then start ballasting willy nilly.

As an aside on this, what is everyone's opinion on size of layout. I keep looking at the monstrosity, and while its nice, it may have been better to build something smaller. I'm now leaning towards something that would fit on top of a shelf, or at least in the car. There is something to be said for a smaller layout that doesn't only get set up for exhibitions.


Amateur Fettler said...

While the "Lifetime Layout" is great to get all doey-eyed over (glazed expression, goofy smile, gazing vacantly off into space, doesnt respond to inquiries), in reality I think the most I could comfortable handle would be 12' (36000) of shelf along a wall preferably with turn backs at each probably 12' by 3'?? I dont think I'd tackle a major yard either, more just a "let 'em run" layout with countryside to railfan on.

Anonymous said...

Yes I agree. Thought I would build my next layout reasonably big in the newly insulated double garage, run right around the walls with a pirouette in the centre of the floor featuring a curving gorge, better to show off a brace of double heading fairlies battling through fairlie large scenery kind of. The traditional dream (that never gets quite finished).

Now I've been reading Iain Rice's ideas while in the background hearing all this present euro crisis talk. So, getting into the mood of the times, in synch with current economic thinking in Europe, I shall instead build small portable modules, convenient to take into the living room to work on. Fiddle yard module at each end. Let the thing grow slowly as I build new modules. No big immoveable dream but think small and portable. Perhaps since the Germans are the strictest adherents of the euro- neo-austerity era I should sell my 1:64 NZR pieces and populate it with Marklin instead..

I just now found a great online resource of scanned model rail publications, one relevant gem for me is this 1995 Barry Norman article about his lightweight ply beam construction:


Motorised Dandruff said...

That article is a real find! Paekakariki is built to a slightly earlier spec, but essentiall the same.
I do wonder if it would work with foamcore board. I know that there are layouts built from it in the UK.
Now all we need is a source of 4mm plywood (the big chains do 6-7mm but thats about it)

Glen Anthony said...

Foamcore board seems to be the item of choice for layout construction on the UK groups I look at. However I'm not sure that that it is the same as the foamcore we get here. The price would put me off for a start. And sometimes people can get too obsessed with the weight of a module. (Just how many times do you carry it from the car to the hall to set up in a year? Not every week like they do in the UK, that for sure!).

Motorised Dandruff said...

My thinking is more around the 'don't have a saw table to rip the plywood sheet up'. Foamboard is easier to cut to shap, and then maybe add an outer layer of MDF to protect it.

GFlen Anthony said...

Yes I would be using MDF over plywood.

Sure plywood is light, but it is expensive and it warps. So you have to double layer it or add extra framing to stop it warping (which means you just lost that lightness quality).

Where-as 3mm MDF is really cheap. If you are worried about it swelling you can put a coat of paint on it. I don't and I've never had any problems with it.

Amateur Fettler said...

Funny, we've always been fed that MDF is dimensional unstable, heavy, can sag and its manufacture kills Hectors Dolphins.....dont tell me its all lies??

Cabbage said...

I'll a great believer that the new extruded foam insulation is the ideal for building base boards, light, strong and stable.
I still use wood as a simple frame for fixing hinges and clips to.
The plywood was easy to get in the UK but not so readily here
Have recently found some 3mm model ply from Plytech in Auckland but its $90 for 1200x1200 piece a bit too expensive for making baseboard beams out of

Motorised Dandruff said...

I must admit that I dislike MDF as a structural material. It splits and wont take nails. However used as an outside shell it seems to be great.

sxytrain said...

Have just made 4 display modules 1800 x 600, the good ole fashion way with table top and timber framing. Strong as for shifting around shows, but easy enough for one person to handle.

Anonymous said...

I think Barry Norman's system with glued thin blocks every 400mm or something should prevent any warping. Even our local thin 3 ply pine should do the job well, and it is cheap. I mean a sheet of it goes a long way, and I can cut it.

Sure it's soft pine not US hardwood but its got grain and once laminations are glued and then joined it shouldn't warp at all, or certainly much less than 2x1 or 3x1 strips of pine.

For my previous baseboard sections I ripped reasonable quality pine 4x2s down to 3x2s and then cut out 1x2s to leave an L shape, using the cut out pieces for cross joiners. Strong but quite heavy when joined up.

I wouldn't use MDF as that sags, even the thicker MDF lacks linear rigidity so cannot span far and is heavier than ply.

For lightweight scenery I'll be trying Rice's method of glueshell; pieces of paper towel laminated with thinned white glue, laid over a weave of thin cardboard strips. Easy to cut out sections and rework.

Plaster is heavy, but it is cheap, so for my rock castings I mix the plaster reasonably stiff just enough to get properly into rock moulds then scooping it out so the casting is just a thin shell.


0-4-4-0T said...

Druff asked, "What is everyone's opinion on size of layout. I keep looking at the monstrosity, and while its nice, it may have been better to build something smaller..."

Paekakariki will be a magnificent centre-piece with MMW modules running off each end linking it to the turning modules. A beaut layout as large as Paekak does require a fair number of hours and, from my experience, it will be a marathon run. But, like a PhD thesis, the end does come and the reward is there.