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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
When I first began this RR journey, I was of a mind to use the sheet of particle board that was in my garage. I've worked with that stuff all my life, and knew the weight disadvantages involved, but.... I'm hard-headed.... what can I say?

Well, after playing with my new toys for three weeks or so, I've now seen the light. I now have three sheets of 2" rigid board insulation in my garage, just waiting for me to attack it. When I'm through with it, it will be 5' 4" X 8', and will be U-shaped, so I can maneuver my wheelchair into the cutout area. I bought 2" because that was all they had.... and it will actually work out better, because I can layer them to accomplish my overall finished size.

And, with the leftover pieces, I can fashion all kinds of things. Mountains, hills, tunnels, elevated roadbed....my mind is already in high gear.

I have question about turnout wiring. How do you hide it on the foam. If it were wood, I could drill a hole in it and come in from the bottom. Do you do the same thing with foam? Any hints you guys can pass along will be greatly appreciated. I've never worked with this foam stuff before.
 

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"I have question about turnout wiring. How do you hide it on the foam. If it were wood, I could drill a hole in it and come in from the bottom. Do you do the same thing with foam? Any hints you guys can pass along will be greatly appreciated. I've never worked with this foam stuff before."

You can do the same thing with foam (drill a hole thru it), or you can merely dig a channel, lay your wiring in it, cover it up with masking tape, then paint and scenic over it. Not a big deal.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
.... and another question about using this foam.... if it's 4" thick, will it work OK if it's resting on a large dining table? It will have about a 14" overhang on each end and twice that in width. I sure hope so. My present layout is on a piece of PB laying on top of a large dining table in my garage. I'm hoping I can remove the PB, use the foam itself on the table, maybe with an additional couple of legs? The table underneath serves a dual purpose. We have poker games on the weekends, and THAT's the table that the train layout will be sitting on.... our poker table! So, trains during the week, Saturday night, the RR get's moved and the poker game begins. At least, that's the plan. Sound reasonable?
 

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Perhaps those with 2" foam experience will add their
wisdom, but it would seem to me that the foam sheet
would not be stable enough to move to and away from
the support table. The weight of the tracks and whatever
else you add to the layout could cause the foam to
buckle in the move.

Perhaps you could build a frame that would give
additional strength to the foam.

Don
 

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Perhaps those with 2" foam experience will add their
wisdom, but it would seem to me that the foam sheet
would not be stable enough to move to and away from
the support table. The weight of the tracks and whatever
else you add to the layout could cause the foam to
buckle in the move.

Perhaps you could build a frame that would give
additional strength to the foam.

Don
The foam is rigid enough to support the weight of a layout with a foot or more of overhang. The layout really isn't that heavy. The issue is if you lean on it: the sharp edge of the table beneath can serve as a fulcrum to snap the foam along that line.

2" foam is much stronger than 1"; 2 x 2" foamboards laminated together is extremely strong.
 
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Yep, same procedure. Though I’m not sure how most folks secure switch machines to the bottom of the foam. I’m sure one or twelve will share their methods.
Foam can be drilled, just like wood, or even just punctured with an awl. Use a drinking straw to feed wires down through, as the thicker foam will tend to catch the ends of your wires rather than letting them slide through.

I attach my switch machines with double sided tape, then a filled of hot-melt glue around the edge, avoiding the area around the wire to the throwbar.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Foam can be drilled, just like wood, or even just punctured with an awl. Use a drinking straw to feed wires down through, as the thicker foam will tend to catch the ends of your wires rather than letting them slide through.

I attach my switch machines with double sided tape, then a filled of hot-melt glue around the edge, avoiding the area around the wire to the throwbar.
Thanks for the tips. I can use all I can get.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
The foam is rigid enough to support the weight of a layout with a foot or more of overhang. The layout really isn't that heavy. The issue is if you lean on it: the sharp edge of the table beneath can serve as a fulcrum to snap the foam along that line.

2" foam is much stronger than 1"; 2 x 2" foamboards laminated together is extremely strong.
I'm laminating the two 2" sheets together, so the main substrate will be 4" thick. The entire sheet will rest on a large dining table. Any overhang that tends to sag can easily be supported by an auxiliary leg or two. The sheets were foil-covered on one side and paper on the other. I'm gluing the foil sides together, thinking the paper would be easier to cover (paint, etc.). I've looked at another layout in progress and I can see how the landscaping elevations can easily be achieved with the different thicknesses of foam, a sharp knife and some sandpaper. Too cool. I've been spending far too much time on my feet, and my back and hips have let me know in no uncertain terms, that I need to take a day or two off from the railroad work. Pounding those spikes is hard work. I appreciate the guiding hand that has been offered to me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I learned that you cannot laminate foam sheets together using contact cement when the foam sheets have a foil backing on them. Ask me how I know. No harm done, though. The foil peels off like skinning a cat. So does the stuff on the other side. After peeling off all six sides, I now have pure, virgin rigid foam to work with. Live and learn. So... what is the preferred type of adhesive to use for foam to foam applications? How about wood to foam? And, as always.... thanks for any help you can offer.
 

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Sure!
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These were before I started with the foam boards. I printed my layout in 1:1 scale so I could get a feel for how much stuff would fit where. I also ended up making a few small changes to the layout design once I was afforded the opportunity to see it real-size.
 

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It might be an artefact of the digital image, but I think I see a problem with the through point rail on the turnout in the last image just above. It's frog end doesn't meet well with the closure rail, and that will mean a derailment. I hope I'm wrong.
 
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