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Old 03-25-2010, 09:53 AM   #1
to-many-hobbies
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4x8 Mountain layout HELP?!

Hello! well, about 4 years ago I dragged my dad to the lumber store in hopes of getting my dream layout started! We built the 4x8 table and went to town. I use an atlas track book for the plan, and all the scenery was kind make it up as you go... WELL 4 years later, im almost done high school now and my layout is about 90% complete.... its been this way for the last 2 years now.. Sooo I decided it was a dead end and ripped everything off the table and now im back at square 1...BUT! im not upset about this because the knowledge about making scenery I learnt off the last one was worth the effort and well money I guess anyways, im trying to design a new layout that i would be happy with but im running into a lot more problems then i thought. First of all i found a plane online that looks kind of like this:

http://www.layoutvision.com/sitebuil...ill_ho_4x8.gif

I don't want to take the layout plan inch by inch because i need a personal touch in there but i don't know if what i want is do-able, im going explain it but plz excuse my lack of proper terminology. On the south side of the back ground im going to have the entire town about 4 inches above sea level (sea level Being table height) and the north area from the background about 6 inches above sea level, the track is going to be at the same level on both sides as the ground height except for the VERY north track is going to be 2 inches above sea level, all the grading will happen on the turns. i am hoping if possible to expand my table to like around 4-1/2x8 so all the turns can be 22 radius so that i can have bigger cars and locos on my layout!! (Gotta have them) BUT here is my first problem, i'm having trouble actually drawing the track out because i never know how to draw the radiuses and iv tried using cad, but it's not working out for me! my 2nd issue is that i don’t know how to actually turn my track plan into a reality, sure thos black lines on the paper are nice representatives, but i don’t have a clue about track placement, and how to turn my flex track into dead 22 radius DEAD ON, is there some kind of mega circle drawing thing i use to draw 22 on the table top! so i guess my question mainly is WHAT DO I DO NOW, i want to start this layout but im stuck asking myself how do i make this dream idea a reality!! as iv said iv made a layout before so ill have somewhat of an idea of the basics, but this track designing thing and the grading (Ill probably use the expensive woodland risers) is giving me a hard time!!
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Old 03-25-2010, 10:13 AM   #2
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To-many (or Too-many?),

First, a huge welcome. Sounds like you have great plans and fun times on the horizon!

I've used AutoCAD (for which I have experience) in my track layouts, however, a few guys at the forum here have recommended two online-available CAD packages specifically designed for track layout:

RightTrack ... from Atlas:
http://www.atlasrr.com/righttrack.htm
it is free and easy to use

and

http://www.anyrail.com/index_en.html
One forum member wrote, "I would advise ANYRAIL over RIGHTTRACK. much easier and friendlier, yet powerfull, and not limited to atlas products. TRIAL IS FREE. Developer of the software is a forum member BTW."

I haven't tried either one, but the website info looks quite powerful.

You'll find lots of tips on cutting track, flex track, etc. on the threads here:
http://www.modeltrainforum.com/forumdisplay.php?f=20

and perhaps here (scroll down for links to specific threads)
http://www.modeltrainforum.com/showthread.php?t=2355

As for a "mega circle" thingy ... it can be pretty basic. I used a string with loops tied in the correct radii positions. One loop passed around a nail in the center of the radius, other end looped around a pencil ... bada boom, bada bing ... compass. Others use wood strip (sometimes adjustable) with pointer (pin) and pencil on either end.

Think a bit about your required track grades. 1% or 2% rise is common. I built a layout recently with a 4% grade (had to clear certain things) ... I knew it was gonna be quite steep going into it, and it is ... My locos can pull 6 or 7 cars, but certainly not 10 or 12.

You'll read lots here on hill/mountain construction with pink insulation foam, plaster, etc.

Good luck!

TJ
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Old 03-25-2010, 10:15 AM   #3
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Hey, too-many! Welcome to the forum!

Let me offer you the best answer I know of---buy the appropriate software. I favor Anyrail (http://www.anyrail.com/index_en.html).....no, I don't get a cut or have anything to do with the company. I'm just a happy user of it. Go to the site and download the 50-pieces-of-track demo and test it out. You'll love it. That takes care of the track layout issue. Other than that, grab a few straights and curves and determine how close you can get tracks side-by-side and your clearance on curves (car overhang). Hang a pencil on either side of your car and let it draw you a set of lines: those determine your car clearance beyond the ties.

Best of luck on it, and send pics as you build! Also, if you send a drawing of your proposed layout, there's people here who would be happy to make suggestions.
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Old 03-25-2010, 10:21 AM   #4
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welcome.
Quote:
Originally Posted by to-many-hobbies
s there some kind of mega circle drawing thing i use to draw 22 on the table top
yes - a sharpie (or pen , pancil crayon whatever you like to leave mark with) on 22 long string.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tjcruiser
One forum member wrote, "I would advise ANYRAIL over RIGHTTRACK. much easier and friendlier, yet powerfull, and not limited to atlas products. TRIAL IS FREE. Developer of the software is a forum member BTW.
huh, looks like it was me, lol.
actually anyrail released new version of the software. looks awesome.

Atlas software is useless. then there is wintrack - much more elaborate with 3d grade planning and all. not free, hard to learn and geared towards European track products but provides for best planning possible with huge libraries available for buildings and such

Last edited by tankist; 03-25-2010 at 10:29 AM.
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Old 03-25-2010, 01:49 PM   #5
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Thanks guys! ill go and try the program right now! and as for posting pictures I'm sure ill get a lot of that! And thanks for the tip on radius drawing and as for the car drawing, Do you mean like lay the track out with no road bed then mount a marker on a car and push it around the track for road bed markings?
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Old 03-25-2010, 01:59 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Too-Many-Hobbies View Post
as for the car drawing, Do you mean like lay the track out with no road bed then mount a marker on a car and push it around the track for road bed markings?
as i see it, this way is only good for drawing parallel track path. reason - the track you pushing the marker equipped car on, is not necesserily laid out in best form. not counting the fact its not secured to surface.
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Old 03-25-2010, 02:01 PM   #7
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Too Many (now with double oo's !!!)

TwoRail on our forum gets 5 gold stars for his little bed marker gizmo. Page through the link below to see his pics from his 11/29/09 10:17 AM post. Note smooth curve "end of bed" layout marks, and his little Sharpie car ...

http://www.modeltrainforum.com/showt...ighlight=gizmo

TwoRail -- You deserve a commision on this one!

TJ

PS -- Per Tankist comment above ... He's right ... if you use such a gizmo, it's important that the track is layed out "fair and smooth" and secured somehow (tape, etc.) before marking the bed.
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Old 03-25-2010, 02:08 PM   #8
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Two other points ...

In checking track paths for "fairness", get your eye as low down to your layout board as possible ... that perspective will emphasize any wiggles. Also, push a train car around with your finger to see if it wobbles left/right or not.

For my layout, I used cork bed which comes in left-half / right-half strips. I marked a fair track CENTERLINE curve first (using string compass thing, etc.), then glued down the cork so that its mating edge was exactly superimposed on my centerline mark. Then, the track itself gets centered on that seam, and the bed edges are -- by definition of the cork size -- fair and equidistanct from the centerline.

TJ
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Old 03-25-2010, 02:28 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tjcruiser View Post
For my layout, I used cork bed which comes in left-half / right-half strips.
Thanks for the tip's! i used cork for my last layout but I'm thinking of using the woodland scenics foam road bed, the one that comes in roll's apparently it has a better sound when cars roll over it or something, but the cork does come in 2 pieces, what are the ups and downs of both?

And again thanks for all the help, i use to go on the die cast aircraft forum, and every time i made a post nobody would comment
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Old 03-25-2010, 02:43 PM   #10
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TooMany --

I have no experience with the WS foam bed, so I really can't offer pros/cons there. You should check to see if the edges come pre-bevelled.

As for the cork stuff ...

Pros --
Not too expensive.
Easy to put down, especially with centerline reference as described above.
Bends around radii nicely (I had 18" curves).
I used hot-glue to almost instantaneously hold it in place ... working a few inches at a time. The hot glue adheres great to the cork.
Cork might (???) offer better track nail "holding power" for track nails than foam, especially if you're laying your bed on top of any insulation-foam hills, where your nails won't be able to reach down into the underlying plywood.

Cons --
Maybe (???) not as good for sound dampening as foam?
I chose to leave my cork bed bare. The pros, though, would have likely opted to sprinkle/glue some ballast on its surface for a more realistic look.
I'm not sure how my cork bare/beveled edges compares in terms of realism to any foam stuff.

Again, the foam stuff may be fabulous ... I've just never fiddled with it.

TJ
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