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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I want to migrate my S scale layout to a table, either self built or Mianne. I am planning to go with Gilbert track at this point. With a minimum diameter of 40" and a desire to have switches at both ends with a "siding", like the one on the right in the pic, I am thinking that I need at least 5' width. I am thinking a 5'x10' layout would fit my available space. Other than the fact that I will not be able to use standard 4x8 sheets of surface material, am I missing anything else?

Thoughts? Recommendations? Ideas? I think I want to avoid reverse loops, but open to all suggestions.

I am wondering if it would it make everything easier if I stuck with a 4' width and kept everything in the inside areas? I actually have the space to go 6' wide too. Is wider better? I'd like to stay at 10' length.

If I went with 5' width, the track on the left side would be flipped to the inside. Transformer(s) and controls would get moved to a shelf below/beside the tabletop.
 

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Nice floor layout. 5 ft would be better. Will the table be against a wall? Or in center of room? What I am getting at is you have to be able to clean track and clean up wrecks. I don't think you can reach 4 or 5
feet.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Nice floor layout. 5 ft would be better. Will the table be against a wall? Or in center of room? What I am getting at is you have to be able to clean track and clean up wrecks. I don't think you can reach 4 or 5
feet.
Thank you. On the right is nearly 9' of Santa Fe Chief Freight! All that visible wire is driving me nuts. I haven't even connected the remote switch controllers for that reason.

Good points. Only one (short) end against a wall, so easy access all around, meaning 6' is even possible. I feel that you are right, due to the 40" curves, wider might be better. Never having done this before, I seek the wisdom of all the guys on here who have been there and done that!

Given that I have the space, does it just make sense to go to 6' when you consider material sizing and layout flexibility? With plenty of perimeter I might be able to skip having edge protection? Even put decor/accessories on the outside of track.

Also, going wider might allow me to run two complete trains simultaneously without any complications.

All opinions are welcome.
 

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I can tell you planning on my layout is 6 ft. Hoping to have 4 seperate loops. Breaks those curves up some. They will need some straight track half way through the curve.
 

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Very nice layout! :thumbsup: I have a 5'x9' layout. It is on a ping pong table. I suppose that it is OK but I would like to have a long siding, like yours, for accessories. If I were to do it again, it would be wider and maybe longer.
 

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When you plan layouts using Gilbert track the widths and lengths move in 10" increments. the diameter of a circle of Gilbert track is 40" to the outside edge of the ties. However, always add 2" to the table width, especially if you use any roadbed. The optimum widths are then 42", 52", 62", 72" etc. It can also work better when designing the track plan if you place the straight leg of turnouts between two curves rather than placing them all where a straight track was.
If you have room for a 6'x10' layout consider leaving the center 2' open. Use two 2'x6' end pieces and two 2'x4' side pieces. This gives a 6'x10' layout with a 2'x4' open center. Building fronts or shallow mountains can hide the opening if desired. Or a really neat bridge could span it.
For reverse loops where there is one there has to be two. At 6'x10' there is really not enough space for reverse loops unless you go multi level and stack them. Except in large Legacy controlled layouts they are just a PITA. I built many (over 30 in 45 years) fun to operate layouts the size of yours without reverse loops and never missed them.
I have 4 reverse loops on my permanent semi scale layout but it has 4 levels of track and is 17'x21' and is all Legacy and LCS operation.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thank you guys! I needed a reality check and now I have decided that 6' is the way I will go. You guys always help a lot.

AmFlyer, what you are saying about reverse loops is very helpful. I will take it all into consideration.

Certain that I will be changing the track layout after some research (need more track and switches), but knowing my maximum dimensions will allow me to start planning benchwork.
 

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I am planning my layout as Tom is saying. As far as leaving 2ft open in the middle. All
my sections will be 2ft wide.

No reverse loops for me. They take up a lot of room.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I am planning my layout as Tom is saying. As far as leaving 2ft open in the middle. All
my sections will be 2ft wide.

No reverse loops for me. They take up a lot of room.
Is the two feet open in the middle mainly for access? Or aesthetics, like a design element? It is something I had not given that much thought. I do like the idea, though one would lose a bit of real estate, a 2'x4' section in my case.
 

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As layouts get bigger access is challenging. At 6'x10' it is convenient but not necessary since your layout will be accessible from 3 sides. When I build layouts this size I do not leave the center open for two reasons. First I have more Snow Village buildings than I can use so I am always looking for space on the layout for them. Second my layouts are usually just 28" off the floor so it is easy to walk on them if access is necessary. I offered it as a design/construction alternative. The most important is the track plan and operating accessory locations. Do that prior to finalizing the layout structure.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thank you Tom, I definitely need to look at track layout options. I am getting excited now that I have decide to move to a permanent installation.
 

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Thank you guys! I needed a reality check and now I have decided that 6' is the way I will go. You guys always help a lot.

AmFlyer, what you are saying about reverse loops is very helpful. I will take it all into consideration.

Certain that I will be changing the track layout after some research (need more track and switches), but knowing my maximum dimensions will allow me to start planning benchwork.
I ordered a 6'x8' kit from Mianne. Having neither a basement or a garage, and new carpet throughout the house, Mianne was a no brainer for me .No mess with cutting and such, just take it out of the cartons and put it together. I have a layout that's 8' long, but added 6" to the 6 ft. side for a 3" overhang on each of those sides. It keeps the track off of the edge if you use 3 and a half straights on the shorter sides of an oval. I wish I could have had 9 or 10' but don't have the room. I think 6x10 will give you lots of options. Don't forget to look in the instruction manuals or catalogues for layout suggestions. http://www.myflyertrains.org/AF_Catalogs/Gilbert Catalogs.htm
 

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Shaker281 allow me to offer my 2 cents worth. My layout is 15' x 20' overall. It is around the walls with a hinged lift up bridge I built my self so I can walk into my layout. I have 7' x 16' of open space in the middle. I have 2, 1 x 10 boards for shelving underneath the whole length on both sides. I made my own doors which are hinged on the legs making each door about 3' feet long since my legs are 2 x 6's. The legs are set in from the edge 18". Said another way, I have an 18" over hang with a 1" X 4" facing board on the ends of the 2" X 4" cross boards for a finished look. You just have to remember to cut your cross boards a little short so the facing board is under the plywood and the end result looks smooth.

I built my layout in 4 x 8 foot sections, bolted together with 1/2" plywood as a base with 2" construction grade foam glued to the plywood. I made my layout with a 4' wide top because I had designed lots of mountains to be on it which come out from 3 walls. That puts most of the track out where I can reach it. I got plenty of space to do about anything I want. The only caveat is being able to reach things. I use about 3' to reach. Also, I like wide curves so I have plenty of room for that using the longer curved K-Line track and the 4' wide top and the wide ends that creates. The rest is good old American Flyer tack.
I almost forgot. Where the plywood and foam meet on top of the face board, I used strips of old wall paneling painted flat black for a nice finished look with white paneling cap strips from Menard's on the top edge of the paneling strips.
Fastening the track to the foam is no big deal. As I have described here before, I have added extra ties to the track and used ballast glued in place with Elmer's white glue water down so it can flow. Spray a dish soap and water mixture to help the watered down glue flow. It will dry solid if done correctly and the track will never move. The glue will not show when dry.

Even if you don't have 15' of room width as I have, you could still get the same results for broad curves using the 6' space you have with careful planning and K-Line curves or add short sections of custom cut AF straight track into your curves to broaden them like I used to do until I discovered K-Line.

One last comment. You mentioned wiring. If you decide to build something similar to what I have described, drill holes in your cross boards to run wiring through. Even if you don't know where you are going to put things, those holes will come in handy no matter what. By drilling these holes, your wires won't be hanging down under your cross boards then back up to the plywood. Much neater wiring.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I ordered a 6'x8' kit from Mianne. Having neither a basement or a garage, and new carpet throughout the house, Mianne was a no brainer for me .No mess with cutting and such, just take it out of the cartons and put it together. I have a layout that's 8' long, but added 6" to the 6 ft. side for a 3" overhang on each of those sides. It keeps the track off of the edge if you use 3 and a half straights on the shorter sides of an oval. I wish I could have had 9 or 10' but don't have the room. I think 6x10 will give you lots of options. Don't forget to look in the instruction manuals or catalogues for layout suggestions. http://www.myflyertrains.org/AF_Catalogs/Gilbert Catalogs.htm
Great info. I have decided to go with Mianne for a similar reason to yours, it is going into a finished space and no mess or cutting. You are right, there are many layouts in the backs of the catalogues! Thanks for the reminder and link.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Shaker281 allow me to offer my 2 cents worth...
And a well appreciated 2 cents. A lot of good info, thank you. I plan to make some mountains and a water feature to blend into a wall mural on the wall ends, so a little like you have done. My rough plan is to have a river valley wall mural and maybe the water continues onto the board and off to the edge, allowing a trestle bridge or two.

Regarding the foam board, does it need to be glued to the underlayment permanently? Be nice if it could be secured at the edges, with trim maybe, and allow for future changes (or mistakes). Maybe some well placed screws, say at the inside corners, making it less permanent?

Would you be able to carve into the foam board for a lake or river effect, or is that a bad idea? Seems like you could rough carve terrain easily with one of those hot wire foam cutters. Maybe wrong type of foam? I am assuming you could simply glue various ground cover to the foam board too?

I have seen a few videos on making walls, hills, lakes and most of it looks doable. I hadn't figured out ballast yet, so thanks for that. I actually have some black wood ties and might seek some more out, now that you mention it. I like the idea of adding K-line track while keeping my Gilbert too, I'll look into that.

And good idea pre-drilling for wiring, I'm also thinking about methods to secure, label and distribute the wiring cleanly. Lots of terminal strips I think!
 

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Shaker281 here are some pictures I took this morning on and under the layout. Neat and labeled wiring is possible but there is a balance between spending your life under the layout and running trains. I hired people to do this.
You mentioned a river and backdrops. Here is a river under the bridges meeting the continuation painted on the backdrop. Next is the hills on the layout meeting hills painted on the backdrop. Yes, what you are imagining can be done.

246D6BF8-F634-401D-A31D-1D3DCDB8DEB4.jpg
36EF1927-CD96-47CB-BB27-8D3A56A54EA9.jpg
3FF398F4-18A2-4793-B20E-7662F8C739BC.jpg
10F36369-7624-44E8-8540-9A3EE416B114.jpg
 

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Shaker281 the foam does need to be glued down. Liquid Nails is what I use. The beauty of using the 2" thick type is that you can dig into it creating ditches, rivers and other such scenery. The gluing does take weight to be placed on the foam. the best way I have found is to spread the Liquid Nails around with a wide putty knife so you get a nice even, smooth surface.
Another neat perk is planting trees and bushes. Make a hole and stick 'em in. Couldn't be easier. You do have to paint the foam top. I have used a medium green and tan colors then add Woodland Scenics or similar brand, grass cover while the paint is still wet. I have always covered the foam first then added the grass covering. If you use the finer type, anything you put on top of it, track or any buildings will be fine. In other words, it won't affect what's put on top since it will easily compress. Then just use the Elmer's or any brand similar full strength to glue bushes and such down. The base ground cover is just a beginning base. You can always add other types of grass on top of it. Don't forget too that the foam makes a great mountain base for carving. One last thought regarding mountains. For rock edges I use stacked ceiling tile broken into random shapes for a jagged edges or some times smoothed here and there. It can be painted with black or white latex for highlights. You can either leave it at that or better yet spray the ceiling tile rocks with hair spray, cheap glue, then add some grass on it too. You can also add more mold foam mountains to this.
 

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Tom, great pictures, really blends the scenery with the backdrop well. I would be happy if my wiring was half that good. My least favorite part of a layout since I tend to rush it, after telling myself it will be better to take my time. AFGP9, any chance to post a few pics. of your layout. It would be nice to see some if possible.
 

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Yeah I know Cramden. I need to learn how to post pictures. Lazy I guess. No other honest answer. I am currently redoing part of my layout but is big enough that I could still get some pics taken.
 
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