Basics of Building a Layout - Page 11 - Model Train Forum - the complete model train resource
Model Train Forum - the complete model train resource

Go Back   Model Train Forum - the complete model train resource > Model Train Workshop > Beginner Q & A
Forgotten your password?

Beginner Q & A If you're new to model trains, stop in here!


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 01-09-2015, 08:27 AM   #101
ianb26
Brakeman
 
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Melbourne, Victoria
Posts: 162
Scales Modeled: HO/OO
Best material for a suspended layout

Hi there,

Just been reading through this thread, and still am a bit confused as to the best material for the base for a suspended layout. (Stored below the ceiling when not in use). It needs to be light and stable, so I've been thinking between MDF & 7mm Ply, braced with 65mm x 19mm (about 2 1/2 inch x 3/4 inch) all round and across the centre. Use pulleys and rope or wire, eyebolts. As I said it needs to be light as possible, for this reason I' m ruling out MDF.

Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks.
ianb26 is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 01-09-2015, 05:39 PM   #102
DonR
Train Master
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Jacksonville, Fl
Posts: 8,161
I have never built a suspended layout but I would assume
that the most important aspects for your design would be:

Stability so that the layout does not bend or rack when
being lifted.

Lowest Weight possible.

A lift system that ensure that all 4 corners and the middle
are akk going up or down evenly.

Edging to prevent trains or other items from falling off.

Don
DonR is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-10-2015, 09:16 AM   #103
CTValleyRR
Train Master
 
CTValleyRR's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: East Haddam, CT
Posts: 8,644
Scales Modeled: HO
Like Don, I've never built one. But I do know how to build a sturdy layout. I would recommend that you build a frame of 1x3 lumber with plywood gussets to reinforce the corners. Then install 5 joists across this frame, evenly spaced (16" centers). Put 2" extruded foam insulation panels (2 2×8 pieces) on the joists and build your layout on top of that. This will be plenty strong enough to support a layout, yet very light. Attach your hoisting mechanism to the frame at or near the corners.
__________________
Connecticut Valley Railroad -- A Branch of the New York, New Haven, And Hartford

"We don't stop playing because we grow old. We grow old because we stop playing." --George Bernard Shaw
CTValleyRR is offline   Reply With Quote
 
Old 04-05-2015, 06:49 AM   #104
Cycleops
Station Master
 
Cycleops's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Accra
Posts: 2,953
And I should think you need to make sure your pulleys are well attached to the ceiling above as well! Instead of using MDF or ply for the top why don't you go for Homasote, I've never seen it but it sounds like a product we have in the UK called Sundeala which railway modellers have been using for years. Reasonably light and easy to get track pins into.
Cycleops is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-13-2015, 03:10 AM   #105
cid
Brakeman
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Memphis, Tennessee
Posts: 182
Scales Modeled: HO, N
Hi Ian, I think CTValley is right on with the table design!! I would attach cables about 20 to 24" back from the ends to minimize any tendency to sag in the center. Is it possible for you to install some folding or detachable legs under the frame, so you could disconnect the cables while the layout is in use?
cid is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-13-2015, 03:55 AM   #106
ianb26
Brakeman
 
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Melbourne, Victoria
Posts: 162
Scales Modeled: HO/OO
Australia

Thanks cid,

At the moment it is sitting on trestles. I have not yet installed the pulleys and bolts, as I'm still working on the layout. Lots of track droppers to put in and connect to the bus, as well as sort out derailment problems in a couple of spots.
ianb26 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-30-2015, 02:12 PM   #107
traction fan
Station Master
 
traction fan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: San Diego
Posts: 3,212
Scales Modeled: N
Suspended layout lightweight?

Ianb26;

Hello and welcome to the forum. I agree with all of DonR's recommendations.
I disagree with Cycleopps suggestion of Homosote as a building material, since it is too flexible and susceptible to warping. Homosote has traditionally been used on top of plywood as a sound deadening material; with the plywood supplying all the strength.
That brings up another issue, moisture resistance. Whatever material you decide to make the layout from, Paint it thoroughly to seal it against moisture. This would be especially necessary if you plan on locating the layout in a garage.
Light weight has the advantage of being easier to lift and less likely to damage anything,or anyone that it falls on, in the event of disaster! That said, many heavy suspended layouts have been built. You can check out the N scale section of this forum and see photos of one.
May I recommend a material that is lighter than plywood, yet as rigid as CTR's 1"x3" framing?
I call it "lightwood" and it is made from a sandwich of 1/4" thick luan plywood(very light) and styrofoam(even lighter) due to it's "box girder" shape it is extremely rigid, and yet weighs only a small fraction of the same size conventional lumber.
The attachment below shows the basic parts and the wood glue assembled girder. This is just a sample. For your layout table you would want to use a full sheet of styrofoam sandwiched between two full sheets of luan. For the all round edge frame, I would use 1"x2" conventional lumber between the luan sheets, with the styrofoam cut back just enough to butt up against the 1x2. Add Don's train saving walls on the outside. Glue all pieces with waterproof carpenter's glue.
Besides the basic rectangular table, I recommend using the same materials and method to build a scenic,(and structurally important) backdrop rectangle to attach to the center or side of the main table. This provides much more rigidity and resistance to warping than the flat table alone. If placed in the middle, it also allows for two separate scenes, giving your train somewhere to go, besides round in circles. The suggestion of setting your cables back about 1/5th of the table's length from either end is a good one.

Good Luck;

Traction Fan

Attachments show basic lightwood girder and a section of my own around the garage walls layout built with lightwood arches.
traction fan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-01-2015, 12:19 PM   #108
CTValleyRR
Train Master
 
CTValleyRR's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: East Haddam, CT
Posts: 8,644
Scales Modeled: HO
Quote:
Originally Posted by traction fan View Post
Ianb26;

Hello and welcome to the forum. I agree with all of DonR's recommendations.
I disagree with Cycleopps suggestion of Homosote as a building material, since it is too flexible and susceptible to warping. Homosote has traditionally been used on top of plywood as a sound deadening material; with the plywood supplying all the strength.
That brings up another issue, moisture resistance. Whatever material you decide to make the layout from, Paint it thoroughly to seal it against moisture. This would be especially necessary if you plan on locating the layout in a garage.
Light weight has the advantage of being easier to lift and less likely to damage anything,or anyone that it falls on, in the event of disaster! That said, many heavy suspended layouts have been built. You can check out the N scale section of this forum and see photos of one.
May I recommend a material that is lighter than plywood, yet as rigid as CTR's 1"x3" framing?
I call it "lightwood" and it is made from a sandwich of 1/4" thick luan plywood(very light) and styrofoam(even lighter) due to it's "box girder" shape it is extremely rigid, and yet weighs only a small fraction of the same size conventional lumber.
The attachment below shows the basic parts and the wood glue assembled girder. This is just a sample. For your layout table you would want to use a full sheet of styrofoam sandwiched between two full sheets of luan. For the all round edge frame, I would use 1"x2" conventional lumber between the luan sheets, with the styrofoam cut back just enough to butt up against the 1x2. Add Don's train saving walls on the outside. Glue all pieces with waterproof carpenter's glue.
Besides the basic rectangular table, I recommend using the same materials and method to build a scenic,(and structurally important) backdrop rectangle to attach to the center or side of the main table. This provides much more rigidity and resistance to warping than the flat table alone. If placed in the middle, it also allows for two separate scenes, giving your train somewhere to go, besides round in circles. The suggestion of setting your cables back about 1/5th of the table's length from either end is a good one.

Good Luck;

Traction Fan

Attachments show basic lightwood girder and a section of my own around the garage walls layout built with lightwood arches.
While you certainly have some good ideas to share, Ian posted his item back in January. Your welcome message is just a tad on the late side!
__________________
Connecticut Valley Railroad -- A Branch of the New York, New Haven, And Hartford

"We don't stop playing because we grow old. We grow old because we stop playing." --George Bernard Shaw
CTValleyRR is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-19-2015, 10:01 PM   #109
MERRrailfan
Hobo
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Maine
Posts: 12
Would anyone know the best way to temporarily secure atlas true-track down onto foam board? I know I will be expanding the layout in the future, but won't know if I'll need to move the whole layout until I add bridges from one table to another.

Would track nails work since I could easily remove them?

Thanks
MERRrailfan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-20-2015, 12:38 PM   #110
CTValleyRR
Train Master
 
CTValleyRR's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: East Haddam, CT
Posts: 8,644
Scales Modeled: HO
Quote:
Originally Posted by MERRrailfan View Post
Would anyone know the best way to temporarily secure atlas true-track down onto foam board? I know I will be expanding the layout in the future, but won't know if I'll need to move the whole layout until I add bridges from one table to another.

Would track nails work since I could easily remove them?

Thanks
Hi! You probably would have been better off starting your own thread on this. Perhaps ask a moderator to move the posts for you so they're more visible.

The problem with track nails is that foamboard doesn't hold them very well, and you'd run more risk of them coming up and interfering with your layout than anything. So, if you're talking about securing it for a few days or weeks, then track nails will keep things more in place. Thing is, though, you don't really need to. True-Track holds it's configuration pretty well, as long as you're not in there shoving things around. The True Track on my son's layout was just sitting there for six months; all we did was trace around it with a Sharpie, so that if it did move, we could put it back.

I would go ahead and use adhesive latex caulk to fasten everything down. Trace your layout on the foamboard, then run a thin bead down the centerline. Spread it very thinly -- and I mean thin, just a little bit on the surface -- with a putty knife (I like to use those fake credit cards you get in the mail, then just throw them away rather than having to de-gunk the putty knife). Stick your roadbed down in it.

Alternatively, if you're going to put scenery in using some kind of plaster product (plaster, drywall paste, ground goop, Sculptamold, etc.), just stick a little under the edge of the roadbed and press it down.

Either way, when the time comes, you'll be able to gently pry it up with a putty knife without damaging it.
__________________
Connecticut Valley Railroad -- A Branch of the New York, New Haven, And Hartford

"We don't stop playing because we grow old. We grow old because we stop playing." --George Bernard Shaw
CTValleyRR is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply



Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


» Visit These Sites:
LGB World

Or Our European Train Website ModelRailForum




All times are GMT -5. The time now is 04:21 PM.


Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
vBulletin Security provided by vBSecurity v2.2.2 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2019 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.