Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

SNSR Layout Build

16275 views
123 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    January, 2014
  • 850 posts
SNSR Layout Build
Posted by ROBERT PETRICK on Monday, January 09, 2017 12:45 PM

For the past year I've been building a detached garage so that the existing attached garage can be freed up and converted into a layout room. The existing garage is a pretty decent space: 24' wide by 25' deep with a 9'-4" ceiling. Heated. The interior has been sheetrocked, but the sheetrock was never taped and mudded and painted. There were built-in closets along two walls. Floor space is more important to me, so I removed closets along one entire wall. I have now finished the demolition and have mudded, taped, sanded, sanded, and sanded the walls. I've primed and painted. I've finished the electrical work and the lighting. All that is left is the carpeting, and that should arrive next week. Then layout construction begins.

To make clear that this thread is model-railroad-related and not merely home construction, I'm attaching sketches of the upper and lower levels of the layout.

 

The sketches are engineering-type drawings and plot out about 22" by 22" at a scale of 3/4" = 1 foot. That means when reduced to .jpg image size some of the linework gets a little fuzzy, so I am including links to more detailed .pdf files.

Upper Level PDF

Lower Level PDF

I've also started an online blog and added a link to it in my signature (Thanks tstage). It contains photos and sketches and whatnot as well as a fairly detailed description and layout narrative.

Robert

LINK to SNSR Blog


  • Member since
    July, 2006
  • From: Bradford, Ontario
  • 9,436 posts
Posted by hon30critter on Monday, January 09, 2017 2:18 PM

Hi Robert:

Looks like a great plan! I'll be following your layout build with interest.

Dave

  • Member since
    March, 2013
  • 224 posts
Posted by Colorado Ray on Monday, January 09, 2017 11:32 PM

Nice looking work.  I particularly liked your calculations on the helix.  You must be another civil or structural engineer!

Btw, what Cad program did you use for your plan?

Ray

  • Member since
    January, 2014
  • 850 posts
Posted by ROBERT PETRICK on Tuesday, January 10, 2017 10:52 AM

Colorado Ray

Btw, what Cad program did you use for your plan?

AutoCAD. Been using it since the mid-eighties. Before that, we managed somehow to draw stuff using pencils and paper. To transfer the design from CAD to the plywood and foam of the benchwork, I will loft it full scale (that is to say, full 1:160 scale) using my antique drafting equipment. I've always said nostalgia plays a big role in this hobby.

Robert

LINK to SNSR Blog


  • Member since
    July, 2006
  • From: Bradford, Ontario
  • 9,436 posts
Posted by hon30critter on Tuesday, January 10, 2017 11:09 PM

ROBERT PETRICK
Before that, we managed somehow to draw stuff using pencils and paper.

Drafting was by far my most favourite class in high school in the late 60s. I had a really great teacher. I still use some of the basic skills I learned back then.

Cheers!!

Dave

  • Member since
    April, 2007
  • From: Northern Va
  • 1,924 posts
Posted by yougottawanta on Wednesday, January 11, 2017 12:09 PM

Robert

Quick question for you. Are you sloping the layout with the floor or are you building the layout level and letting the distance between the floor and layout increase with the slope of the floor ?

Second question, why carpet ? And why install the carpet first ? I would be worried about loosing small details in the pile of the carpet and ruining the carpet with the construction of the bench work ?

I am getting ready to start a layout of similiar size but I am painting the floor for now and will install the finish later when the the bulk of the bench work and scenic stuff is done. Just curious on your thoughts.

YGW

  • Member since
    January, 2014
  • 850 posts
Posted by ROBERT PETRICK on Wednesday, January 11, 2017 5:12 PM

yougottawanta

Quick question for you. Are you sloping the layout with the floor or are you building the layout level and letting the distance between the floor and layout increase with the slope of the floor ?

Second question, why carpet ? And why install the carpet first ? I would be worried about loosing small details in the pile of the carpet and ruining the carpet with the construction of the bench work ?

Hey YGW-

The floor is pretty flat and level, and the upper level will follow that with maybe a few minor adjustments and/or shims here and there. The construction of the lower level is different. The lower level is basically a shelf layout, 18" wide constructed of six hollow core bi-fold doors I got during the demo phase of this project. A very nice little bonus! The horizontal supports for it will be clamped in place until all are installed and carefully aligned. Then they will be permanently screwed to the vertical members and the doors laid flat on the supports. I'll post some design details sketches shortly.

Until about two months ago, the existing garage had a 16-foot wide door like most other garages. I removed the overhead door and framed in an insulated wall. So now the garage is as dry and warm as the rest of the house. Which is good, because A) there is 6 inches of snow on the ground as I type this, and B) it was 20 below the week before Christmas. The garage has been used as a garage for about 30 years and the concrete floor is in fairly decent shape, but I am going for a more finished look. The new carpet will be a very short pile indoor/outdoor type. I'm not too worried about losing small stuff, and I'm not too worried about construction debris and whatnot because most of the heavy carpentry will take place in my new detached garage. Which, by the way, I can't park my car in because it is full of shop tools (table saw, jointer, band saw, drill press, etc) plus tons of framing lumber and plywood and stuff I got from my previous and current projects. Oh, the irony . . .

I'll try to post photos as I go along, mostly on my blog (yet another project!) so as not to clog up the MRR broadband.

Robert 

 

LINK to SNSR Blog


  • Member since
    January, 2014
  • 850 posts
Posted by ROBERT PETRICK on Wednesday, January 11, 2017 6:49 PM

Here's a sketch of a section cut through a portion of the layout showing typical benchwork construction.

Typical Section

I have a bunch of framing lumber and plywood and whatnot plus six 18"x80" lightweight hollow-core bifold doors (bifold, no doorknob hole!) that I got when I removed several closets and built-ins from the existing garage. And I also have a ton of material left over from construction of my new garage.

Robert

LINK to SNSR Blog


  • Member since
    April, 2007
  • From: Northern Va
  • 1,924 posts
Posted by yougottawanta on Friday, January 13, 2017 11:40 AM

Robert

Oh, Nice drawings. there is very little slope ? Usually there is 4 to 5 inches of slope in a floor by code. That is so if there is any spillage of combustibles it doesnt run into teh house.

Keep us posted on progress. Looks like you are off to a good start !

YGW

  • Member since
    January, 2014
  • 850 posts
Posted by ROBERT PETRICK on Friday, January 13, 2017 4:56 PM

yougottawanta

There is very little slope ? Usually there is 4 to 5 inches of slope in a floor by code. That is so if there is any spillage of combustibles it doesnt run into teh house.

Whoa! I never checked the overall slope of the floor. I thought you were referring to irregularities. As soon as I read your post, I grabbed my 8-foot aluminum straightedge and level and checked. There appears to be no discernible slope. Whew! And only minor irregularities. Dang, that was close! I admit, I had a long moment of panic there. I guess the old garage was built before such standards, and I know that the new garage is dead flat because I set the concrete form boards myself. The city inspector never said anything.

Thanks, YGW. Once again this forum shows itself to be a valuable source of information and insight.

Robert

LINK to SNSR Blog


  • Member since
    January, 2014
  • 850 posts
Posted by ROBERT PETRICK on Thursday, January 19, 2017 8:01 PM

I suppose everyone knows a Golden Spike Ceremony commemorates the official end of construction. There is another ceremony that marks the official start of construction where the big cheese executives go out to the site, put on hard hats (yeah, right!), and get themselves photographed while digging into a ceremonial pile of dirt with gold plated shovels. Well, I didn’t do any of that, but today is a red-letter day. I have actually started actual construction of my actual layout. Here’s a photo:

https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-Zy5Pzs_2vS8/WIFuBN5X58I/AAAAAAAAAEI/jAvG6QVRwgYXphRpxNc-LxIPWA2Ye-gcACLcB/s1600/SNSR-001.JPG

Might not look like much, but I’m very excited. Going from 0 to 1 is a very big step. If we had animated dancing smiley-face icons, I’d insert one here.

Robert

LINK to SNSR Blog


  • Member since
    July, 2006
  • From: Bradford, Ontario
  • 9,436 posts
Posted by hon30critter on Thursday, January 19, 2017 8:04 PM

Congratulations Robert!!!

Looks pretty solid! I will be following with interest.

Dave

  • Member since
    April, 2007
  • From: Northern Va
  • 1,924 posts
Posted by yougottawanta on Friday, January 20, 2017 10:14 AM

Robert

You are welcome.

YGW

  • Member since
    January, 2014
  • 850 posts
Posted by ROBERT PETRICK on Saturday, January 21, 2017 8:38 PM

Added cantilever arms to support the lower level. Progress.

https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-0NJdMr-T__I/WIQaQr2cnhI/AAAAAAAAAEg/dm2vnpfCy_4kDzFMPnkSMf2YOgk3TDaAgCLcB/s1600/SNSR-002.JPG

LINK to SNSR Blog


  • Member since
    January, 2014
  • 850 posts
Posted by ROBERT PETRICK on Sunday, January 22, 2017 9:12 PM

Started work on the middle peninsula. The hollow core doors are just laying on the lower level support brackets to get a feel for the space. The aisle in this area of the layout is 4 feet wide. Temporarily added one upper level cantilever arm to see what that's like.

https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-qNsQ9Lu4WOs/WIVzAxfiJCI/AAAAAAAAAE4/dtHpVbpwyjkrNUwBwnBs4LZVubllJGs7gCLcB/s1600/SNSR-003.JPG

LINK to SNSR Blog


  • Member since
    July, 2006
  • From: Bradford, Ontario
  • 9,436 posts
Posted by hon30critter on Sunday, January 22, 2017 9:53 PM

Hi Robert:

Your benchwork looks really solid, but I have to ask a question. You have a lot of cross bracing on the peninsula. Assuming that you have to do some work under the layout, have you figured out how you are actually going to get in there to do the work, or is most of the cross bracing temporary? 

Dave

  • Member since
    January, 2014
  • 850 posts
Posted by ROBERT PETRICK on Sunday, January 22, 2017 11:01 PM

hon30critter

Assuming that you have to do some work under the layout, have you figured out how you are actually going to get in there to do the work, or is most of the cross bracing temporary? 

Hey Dave-

Yes, all of the bracing is temporary. I cut a bunch of 2" strips from 1/4" OSB I got from the demo work. I assembled the H-frame sections in the workshop and screwed the diagonal strips to keep the frames square while I transported them to the layout room and set them up.

Right now this small portion of the peninsula just kinda sits alone in the middle of the room. When I get more assembled and connected and especially after I add the decking, I will remove the diagonals. The upper and lower levels are 18" apart, and there will be a painted plywood or masonite hardboard backdrop that runs the entire length between the decks. Like a vertical spine. That (plus the fascia and skirting) should provide plenty of bracing. 

OSB has almost no strength, and 1/4" x 2" strips can be broken apart in your hands like soda crackers.

Thanks for looking ahead.

Robert

LINK to SNSR Blog


  • Member since
    July, 2006
  • From: Bradford, Ontario
  • 9,436 posts
Posted by hon30critter on Sunday, January 22, 2017 11:23 PM

ROBERT PETRICK
OSB has almost no strength, and 1/4" x 2" strips can be broken apart in your hands like soda crackers.

I don't like soda crackers! Got served too many when I was a kid!!

Seriously, I figured you had everything worked out but I had to ask. I will be embarking on the construction of my own layout this spring so I'm trying to take in as many examples of how others are approaching the task as I can. Yours seems to be on the high side of the 'sturdy' spectrum. I like sturdy! I visited a layout in September that only had legs every 8' - 10' or so, with 2 x 4s running the span between them. There was no visible cross bracing but I believe things were attached to the wall behind. That, to me, was on the other end of the 'sturdy' spectrum but the owner wasn't having any problems and it had been up for years.

I take it that your use of 2 x 4s for uprights is because you have them available? You will be able to park a 1:1 Sherman tank on your benchwork when it is done!Smile, Wink & GrinLaughLaugh. Please understand that I'm not being critical.

You are making great progress!

Dave

  • Member since
    January, 2014
  • 850 posts
Posted by ROBERT PETRICK on Monday, January 23, 2017 10:18 AM

hon30critter

I don't like soda crackers! Got served too many when I was a kid!!

I take it that your use of 2 x 4s for uprights is because you have them available? You will be able to park a 1:1 Sherman tank on your benchwork when it is done!Smile, Wink & GrinLaughLaugh. Please understand that I'm not being critical.

Hey Dave-

Never be afraid to say what's on your mind. Constructive criticism is always welcome. I spend a lot of time worrying that I've overlooked or forgotten something, and having more eyes looking at this thing is very helpful.

Sorry to have relived your childhood trauma. Any issues with graham crackers or peanut brittle?

Yes, I have a ton of 2x4s on hand. I've been saving up for a year or more with this project in mind. Some are pretty new from my previous construction, and some are pretty old (and downright gnarly) from demo of closets and built-ins in the existing garage. It will be quite a while before I have to buy new materials. The main issue is that framing with 2x4s means I have to use 3" drywall screws instead of the more manageable 1-1/2" screws.

Robert

LINK to SNSR Blog


  • Member since
    July, 2006
  • From: Bradford, Ontario
  • 9,436 posts
Posted by hon30critter on Tuesday, January 24, 2017 1:35 AM

ROBERT PETRICK
Sorry to have relived your childhood trauma. Any issues with graham crackers or peanut brittle?

Graham crackers I can do as long as they are crushed into a pie shell and filled with lemon pie filling! I can't remember the last time I had peanut brittle. I don't like the way it gets stuck in my teeth.Laugh

ROBERT PETRICK
Yes, I have a ton of 2x4s on hand.

Hey! The price is good so why not use them?!? I used to have a ton of wood pieces of various sizes but I threw them all out. My son and I went on a cleaning binge in the garage and we managed to fill a 10 yard bin. The wood was about half of that. Strangely, the garage didn't seem to be much cleaner when we were done!LaughLaugh Now I'm in the opposite situation and it bugs me. When I need a piece of wood I have to go buy it.Angry

I'm going to start buying the wood and foam for my benchwork pretty soon. I have to do some comparison shopping to see which is more economical for the grids, 3/4" plywood ripped into 4" strips, or good grade poplar or pine 1 x 4s.

Dave

  • Member since
    January, 2014
  • 850 posts
Posted by ROBERT PETRICK on Thursday, January 26, 2017 7:30 PM

Continuing work on the middle peninsula. Extended toward the front by three sections and toward the rear by one section. First rear section is connected to the benchwork along the right wall by a single 2x4 beam. More beams will be added to form framework to support the horseshoe bend of the lower level yard. Added risers to support the upper level. Added skyboard backdrop of lower level yard to risers. This piece of 1/4" plywood is important and forms a stiffening rib that provides diagonal bracing that prevents the frames from sliding horizontally like an accordion. As construction continues, more of the OSB bracing strips will come off. They are not very photogenic.

https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-WG93NNhDoSs/WIqhA_D0xvI/AAAAAAAAAFU/olxHlVdijJAtE2U-E7141uB-NUnzeRmGwCLcB/s1600/SNSR-004.JPG

https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-4zVeCuaWeDc/WIqhAxongvI/AAAAAAAAAFQ/5ajvOCbGXRcKUuvgvGAbk9GqIxnVVEiHQCLcB/s1600/SNSR-005.JPG

Robert

LINK to SNSR Blog


  • Member since
    January, 2014
  • 850 posts
Posted by ROBERT PETRICK on Saturday, January 28, 2017 4:30 PM

Framing for the upper level at the rear of the harbor aisle connecting the middle peninsula with the deck along the right-hand wall. The cross beam for the lower level is not yet installed. It will be a little tricky because the horseshoe bend of the lower deck is 1/2" plywood and the straightaways are 1-1/4" lightweight hollow-core doors. The upper deck in this area of the layout is 1/2" plywood.

The risers on the rear wall (left side of photo) are for the ramp leading to the helix. The upper level track plan shows the branch line and turnout. The idea is to make a 'cookie cutter' sawcut and flex the plywood into a 'natural' vertical curve easement. The risers are there to make sure the natural curve fits the design curve. Design vertical curve is 40" long and the down slope (after the curve) is 2.1%. If you look close, you can see the vertical grade line penciled in on the wall under the window.

https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-v9VxkfXOPh8/WI0ZMY1a1gI/AAAAAAAAAFs/90yldx1oXJwLz8CCA1KuKRpQIrEw3-NqACLcB/s1600/SNSR-006.JPG

Robert

LINK to SNSR Blog


  • Member since
    January, 2014
  • 850 posts
Posted by ROBERT PETRICK on Monday, January 30, 2017 11:20 PM

Added cantilever arms framing for the upper level along the right wall. Added 1/2" plywood deck for the horseshoe bend of the lower level yard, matching the surface elevation of the 1-1/4" hollow core doors of the straightaways.

Robert

LINK to SNSR Blog


  • Member since
    January, 2014
  • 850 posts
Posted by ROBERT PETRICK on Tuesday, January 31, 2017 9:51 PM

Adding plywood deck to upper level.

 

LINK to SNSR Blog


  • Member since
    January, 2014
  • 850 posts
Posted by ROBERT PETRICK on Monday, February 06, 2017 10:00 PM

The essential features of the upper and lower decks of the middle peninsula and the east (right-hand) side of the layout are in place. Not finished, not by a long shot. But in. The abrupt end of the benchwork at the right edge of the top photo is where the deep valley of the river inlet will be constructed and where the tracks will span the opening via the high-level bridge. Ocean-going ships pass under the bridge and make their way to the deep-water port of the lower level.

Here's an overhead view.

And a low-angle view. A specific design criteria is that access to the lower level be completely unobstructed, whether visually or physically. The cantilever arms make that possible.

 

Upper and lower fascia will soon be added, the rest of the lower level backdrop will be added and painted sky blue, braces will be removed, and then . . . pause for a little dramatic music . . . The Helix.

 

Robert

LINK to SNSR Blog


  • Member since
    July, 2006
  • From: Bradford, Ontario
  • 9,436 posts
Posted by hon30critter on Monday, February 06, 2017 10:29 PM

Robert!

Excellent progress!

I eagerly await your helix construction pics. I have two to build sometime in the reasonably near future.

Let me ask a question if I may. Would it not be easier to do all the under layout work (wiring etc.) without the fascia in the way?

Dave

  • Member since
    January, 2014
  • 850 posts
Posted by ROBERT PETRICK on Tuesday, February 07, 2017 9:24 AM

hon30critter

Let me ask a question if I may. Would it not be easier to do all the under layout work (wiring etc.) without the fascia in the way?

Yeah, good point. Keeping an eye out for potential problems really helps avoid actual problems down the line.

The upper level is 52", so working underneath while standing shouldn't be a problem. The lower level is 33", so however you look at it I'll be on my butt crawling around like a crab. Plus, the fascia is only 4" for the upper and 6"for the lower, so not much additional obstruction. I just want to cover up the ends of the girders and see what the coved corners and the rounded end of the peninsula look like.

Robert 

LINK to SNSR Blog


  • Member since
    January, 2014
  • 850 posts
Posted by ROBERT PETRICK on Saturday, February 11, 2017 4:44 PM

The helix base, cut and assembled in the garage/workshop and brought into the layout room. Vertical all-thread rods and legs will be added shortly.

 

Here's a link to a discussion thread that included my design of this particular helix.

http://cs.trains.com/mrr/f/11/t/259590.aspx

Robert

LINK to SNSR Blog


  • Member since
    January, 2014
  • 850 posts
Posted by ROBERT PETRICK on Saturday, February 11, 2017 9:25 PM

Helix base in approximate location in the layout. The threaded rods are a little bit ahoo. The nuts are loose or barely finger tight. The holes in the wood base are 7/16" diameter and the rods are 3/8" diameter. That allows a little play so that things can be swoggled around as needed. As pieces and parts are added, they can be positioned and re-positioned and then tightened a little at a time until everything is in place. After final grade and alignment are checked, then everything can be tightened.

Robert

LINK to SNSR Blog


  • Member since
    July, 2006
  • From: Bradford, Ontario
  • 9,436 posts
Posted by hon30critter on Saturday, February 11, 2017 9:32 PM

http://cs.trains.com/mrr/f/11/t/259590.aspx

Clickable link to the other thread.

Dave

Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

Search the Community

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
Model Railroader Newsletter See all
Sign up for our FREE e-newsletter and get model railroad news in your inbox!