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Building a new club layout - Update: Moving on after the club

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Posted by "JaBear" on Sunday, June 11, 2017 6:27 AM
Gidday Dave, a lot of good advice so far. Even if I may not agree with some of it, no one’s put you crook.
 
One question cos my brain hurts and I’m getting confused. Confused In your last post you refer to a portable layout and a travelling layout, are they one and the same thing?
 
I do think that the idea of being able to join your proposed new layout to your existing layout (s) is a good long term aim.
 
 I would also suggest that you get your existing layout(s) up and running as soon as you move in so at least members will have something to run on. I say this from the experience at our Club where the brainstrust  Bang Head tore down a working sceniced layout without a plan,(and without any due democratic procedure) apart from “we should do modules”.Bang Head As a consequence, members were lost, one reason because there was nothing to run their trains on, another being the amount of time (and timewasting arguments) that was involved in getting a “modular system” and standards in place!!! I could go on but would only get Angry again!!
 
One thing that has been mentioned a couple of times but I don’t believe has been emphasised enough is the question of what is the new layout supposed to achieve?
 
 Is it a historical showcase, a roundy roundy, or designed with operations in mind? Of course, none of those options are mutually exclusive but pushing a chain uphill can be easier than getting some folks to grasp and understand that concept. You need everyone on board and the final objective decisions, cast in stone before you cut a stick!!
 
I fear I’m adding to possible sensory overload, so..

Cheers, the Bear.Smile

"One difference between pessimists and optimists is that while pessimists are more often right, optimists have far more fun."

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Posted by rrebell on Sunday, June 11, 2017 9:38 AM

It is best to have a few people or one even (dosn't take long to cut the components) that has a table saw to cut all the modular peices. A small group can put them together. Once they are built and put together go for scenery as a group, otherwise you can get a real mishmash of styles. You could build a three module yard and move it in one peice by adding a 2'x6' temporary wood to both sides, just for the move and proubly have no damage. I have moved a two section one by myself without this with no damage. My layout is very light weight and I can lift a 4'x4' return loop, fully sceniced with a large rock canyon with one hand (could do it with three fingers before the plaster work).

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Posted by ATSFGuy on Sunday, June 11, 2017 12:33 PM

How big is the layout going to be?

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Posted by hon30critter on Monday, June 12, 2017 10:57 PM

One question cos my brain hurts and I’m getting confused.  In your last post you refer to a portable layout and a travelling layout, are they one and the same thing?

Hi JaBear:

I am speaking of two separate layouts.

The portable (travelling) modular layout is 6' x 12' and packs very nicely into two 2' x 4' x 5' high boxes on wheels. It is actually a very creative design given the way it all goes together.

The new 'permanent' layout will be an entirely separate beast but we may set it up so that the portable layout can be attached as an extension. The old permanent layout has gone to the scrap yard. It was comprised of 2' x 4' modules for the most part but because of some inconsistencies between the modules we decided that saving them would be more work that building new ones, that is if we decide to go the modular route again.

I strongly agree that we should allow for space for the portable layout to be set up as soon as possible.

Dave

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Posted by hon30critter on Monday, June 12, 2017 11:07 PM

ATSFGuy
How big is the layout going to be?

That is a question that has yet to be answered. I haven't seen the new space yet so I can't comment on layout size other than to say that the room is 800 sq.ft. The portable layout will take approximately 216 sq. ft. given a three foot aisle around all four sides. We could build the permanent layout to take up the entire 800 sq. ft., but build it so that it could be partially taken apart to create space for setting up the portable layout when needed for servicing.

There are lots of options.

Dave

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Posted by hon30critter on Tuesday, June 13, 2017 10:55 PM

I got to see the new 'Club House' tonight. Compared to the hole we were in, it is fantastic! The main room is about 25' x 32' and there is also a kitchen area and a small storage area about 8' x 10'. There are lots of outlets around the main room. Lighting is adequate. I suspect that fresh fluorescent tubes might brighten things considerably. One wall is dark blue and the others have a wide dark blue stripe on them. Painting the walls a brighter colour will help a lot too.

Big SmileThumbs UpYesSmile

Dave

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Posted by fwright on Wednesday, June 14, 2017 2:08 PM

hon30critter

Lighting is adequate. I suspect that fresh fluorescent tubes might brighten things considerably. One wall is dark blue and the others have a wide dark blue stripe on them. Painting the walls a brighter colour will help a lot too.

Costco is now carrying 4ft LED replacement tubes at reasonable prices (subsidized by the power company).  I just bought some for the house and was pleasantly surprised by the increase in brightness.  Pop-in, no rewiring required.  I still had F40 tubes and magnetic ballasts, and the LED replacement (advertised as T8 replacement) worked fine.

Fred W

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Posted by 7j43k on Wednesday, June 14, 2017 2:59 PM

hon30critter

I got to see the new 'Club House' tonight. Compared to the hole we were in, it is fantastic! The main room is about 25' x 32' and there is also a kitchen area and a small storage area about 8' x 10'. There are lots of outlets around the main room. Lighting is adequate. I suspect that fresh fluorescent tubes might brighten things considerably. One wall is dark blue and the others have a wide dark blue stripe on them. Painting the walls a brighter colour will help a lot too.

Big SmileThumbs UpYesSmile

Dave

 

I've worked on fluorescent lighting professionally.  I have noticed an incredible increase in light when the white "ceiling pans" are cleaned.  They are, after all, reflectors.  And they reflect better when they're actually white.  Clean diffusers, if there are any, also contribute.

 

Re: Free-mo.

If you want to entertain the concept of Free-mo, I recommend going here:

http://www.free-mo.org

And clicking on, up top, "What is Free-mo?" and then "The Standard".

If "you guys" choose to build to the official standards, you can take your modules "anywhere", if you choose, and play with the other kids.  And they can visit, too.

On, the other hand, you may find that a strict following of the standards just won't work out for your crew, but is still useful as guidance for your own layout.  Sorta pick-and-choose.

Either way, the standards have evolved and are presently pretty reliable.  So maybe some of your research will have been done for you.

 

 

Congrats on getting what is likely an excellent space.

 

Best wishes,

 

Ed

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Posted by Phoebe Vet on Wednesday, June 14, 2017 3:32 PM

fwright

 

 
hon30critter

Lighting is adequate. I suspect that fresh fluorescent tubes might brighten things considerably. One wall is dark blue and the others have a wide dark blue stripe on them. Painting the walls a brighter colour will help a lot too.

 

 

Costco is now carrying 4ft LED replacement tubes at reasonable prices (subsidized by the power company).  I just bought some for the house and was pleasantly surprised by the increase in brightness.  Pop-in, no rewiring required.  I still had F40 tubes and magnetic ballasts, and the LED replacement (advertised as T8 replacement) worked fine.

Fred W

 

Lowes and Home Depot also have those 4 foot LED replacement tubes.

I looked at them but then just bought a whole new 4 foot LED shop light.  I installed it this morning.  It is bright, and I even like the color better.

Dave

Dave

Lackawanna Route of the Phoebe Snow

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Posted by 7j43k on Wednesday, June 14, 2017 3:49 PM

And, speaking of lighting:

I recommend thinking a lot before building a section of a permanent layout under a light fixture.  'Cause you may have to reach it later.

There's a big ole club I know of where they did that.  In many locations.

 

Ed

 

 

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Posted by hon30critter on Thursday, June 15, 2017 3:13 AM

Fred:

Thanks for suggesting the LED T8 tubes. I have done a little research on them and they work great IF you have the correct 'instant on' ballast. The club house is in a very old building so we would have to get a couple of sample bulbs to test things out.

Ed:

Cleaning the fixtures is certainly a smart idea.

The ceiling is only eight feet high, or maybe less, so getting to the light fixtures won't require huge ladders.

Dave

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Posted by rrebell on Thursday, June 15, 2017 10:33 AM

Do plug-in track lighting instead, conponents are cheap (many times free if you know the right people or buy the cans on e-bay) and you can use screw in LED's, works great, my whole bacement was done for less than $500, way less and that includes the old bulbs (CFL's) and the new bulbs (just replaced all the CFL's) LED's.

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Posted by lidgerwoodplow on Thursday, June 15, 2017 6:13 PM

 

 

fwright—I am interested in seeing the details of your "top adjustment of leg length."  It sounds like a great idea—I'm getting too old to stoop and crawl.

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Posted by lidgerwoodplow on Thursday, June 15, 2017 6:21 PM

fwright
The two piece legs are drilled for threaded rod to allow top adjustment of the leg length - most venues where we set up have very uneven floors.  We mandate top adjustment to prevent back injuries and crawling on the floor to adjust leg length.

I am interested in the details of your "top adjustment of leg length."  It sounds promising—I'm getting too old for stooping and crawling.

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Posted by fwright on Thursday, June 15, 2017 9:19 PM

The details were developed by other club members, and published in the 2013 HOn3 Annual.

Basically, a 3/8" threaded rod is fixed into the lower leg section.  An upper leg section of 2x2, sanded smooth, is bored to accept the threaded rod through a threaded T-nut on the bottom of the upper section.  The top of the upper section rotates against a bearing plate (piece of plywood).  The top section is rotated, extending or shortening the amount of threaded rod between upper and lower leg sections, which adjusts the height of the leg. 

You simply reach under the module corner during setup, and twist the upper leg section to raise or lower the corner of the module.  No more crawling on the floor and adjusting legs at the bottom.

When first made, the top of the upper leg section was a 1" diameter dowel glued into the 2x2.  This 1" dowel fit into a hole in the bearing plate on the module, sort of locking it in place.  This proved to be not all that important - the modules were pretty rigid when clamped together, and the legs adjusted without the dowel and hole.

Some folks used PVC pipe for the top section instead of 2x2.  Basically, anything you make move up and down on the threaded rod will work.  You want the upper section to be comfortable when twisting with your hand for adjustment.

Fred W

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Posted by lidgerwoodplow on Friday, June 16, 2017 7:58 PM

fwright
You want the upper section to be comfortable when twisting with your hand for adjustment.

I see it now.  Thanks for the information.

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Posted by hon30critter on Friday, June 16, 2017 10:34 PM

Fred:

Thanks for the suggestion about the adjustable leg mechanisms. Even though our new layout will be permanent (more or less), being able to adjust for level easily is a good idea.

Dave

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Posted by hon30critter on Thursday, June 22, 2017 11:12 PM

Here is a challenge for all you layout designers. I have attached a diagram of the space that our club has for a new permanent layout. Basically, the layout has to fit below the 'S' shaped dotted line that runs across the middle of the diagram. For now, I'm more interested in the layout outline, but if you want to add track then by all means please do so. Walls cannot be moved. Let's see what you can do:

Here is my best attempt. Actually I made several attempts but I won't bore you with all of them. The green arrows indicate aisle width, if that wasn't clear. The return loop on the left is 40" radius and the one in the center is 44" radius. The straight shelf sections on the right and the bottom are 30" deep:

Thanks for your input!

Dave

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Posted by Choops on Friday, June 23, 2017 7:41 AM

looks like a great start. 

store the portable layout under the club layout or make it attach to the club layout and be part of it. 

lounge area is too big.  place bar stools areound for sitting and watching.

If you can the peninsula will get wider with a backdrop down the center of it for main line on both sides.

Steve

Modeling Union Pacific between Cheyenne and Laramie in 1957 (roughly)
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Posted by rrinker on Friday, June 23, 2017 7:49 AM

 I don't think 8' of width is too much for a table even with bar stools instead of chairs. More of us are John Goodman before rather than John Goodman after. 

 I assume something 6x12 that is "portable" comes apart - good idea making it part of the 'permanent' layout, extending the layout up the left side. Or is it a different scale? 

                    --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

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Posted by ROBERT PETRICK on Friday, June 23, 2017 8:50 AM

Hey Dave-

The first thing I noticed is wide aisles. Good decision! Try to resist the urge to encroach on them.

Robert 

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Posted by Choops on Friday, June 23, 2017 9:40 AM

the turn back on the 11 foot side is going to tight if you hava a 40" radius.  will not quite fit the profile you have drawn there.

Steve

Modeling Union Pacific between Cheyenne and Laramie in 1957 (roughly)
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Posted by carl425 on Friday, June 23, 2017 10:10 AM

I think you're trying to do too much in the space.  I can't imagine a track plan that would fit in the area you have drawn that would keep club sized operating sessions interesting.

I would put storage under the layout, move the lounge to the storage room, dump the portable layout and dedicate the entire main room to the primary layout.

I have the right to remain silent.  By posting here I have given up that right and accept that anything I say can and will be used as evidence to critique me.

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Posted by floridaflyer on Friday, June 23, 2017 11:20 AM

Agree with Carl, maybe store the portable layout under a peninsula, and other items under the layout against the walls. Break area in what is now the storage area may be a bit small but the layout itself would be much bigger, a good trade off in my opinion. 

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Posted by Lone Wolf and Santa Fe on Friday, June 23, 2017 4:53 PM

carl425
I would put storage under the layout, move the lounge to the storage room, dump the portable layout and dedicate the entire main room to the primary layout.

I agree. Find someone’s garage to store the portable layout in or get a storage unit. Turn the storage room into the lounge. Those two items eat up half of the space, and everyone who ever built a layout knows you can never have too much room. The lounge doesn’t have to have a large table in the middle. It can have a bar and small cocktail tables.

Modeling a fictional version of California set in the 1990s Lone Wolf and Santa Fe Railroad
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Posted by Lone Wolf and Santa Fe on Friday, June 23, 2017 4:56 PM

I'm not sure how the kitchen is designed but you might be able to build a passthrough between the kitchen and the storage room and have the bar inside the kitchen.

Modeling a fictional version of California set in the 1990s Lone Wolf and Santa Fe Railroad
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Posted by hon30critter on Friday, June 23, 2017 11:12 PM

Hi gang!

Thanks for all the replies! Lots to think about.

Let me try to address some of the suggestions:

1. The portable layout:

I should have given a few more details about the portable layout. It consists of seven 2' x 4' modules. When assembled the track is 62" off the floor (which we all agree is too tall by the way). When broken down six of the modules fit into two roughly 2' x 4' rolling cabinets. The cabinets form the support structure for the layout when it is set up and that is why the layout is so high in the air when assembled. 

We have made the decision that if and when we take it to shows, it will be in good working order. We don't want to have to make repairs at the shows. That has been a problem in the past. That means that we have to have space to set it up to work on it. Also, it does provide running space for two or three operators.

There has been some discussion about rebuilding the portable layout so that it is at a better height. That would also theoretically allow it to be integrated into the permanent layout.

The possibility of scrapping the portable layout hasn't really entered into the conversation as far as I know. I will raise the possibility. Certainly we could design the permanent layout so that parts of it could be taken to shows.

2. Storage area:

The storage area is 8' x 10'. It was deemed by the club executives that it was too small for a lounge. Perhaps that decision needs to be revisited. We have what seems like a lot of stuff to store, but what still has to be done is go through each box and toss out the garbage. We moved a bunch of pretty rabid looking scenery materials and a several old structures that are caked in dust from the old location. I suspect that a lot of what we dragged from the old place will end up in the trash.

3. Kitchen:

I believe that the kitchen is 10' x 10'. It has storage space in it too, but almost all of that will be used to store the kitchen equipment that is used at our annual show and sale. I don't know if the landlord would permit us to take the wall out between the 'storage' area and the kitchen. I know that it is not structural. We would just need the landlord's permission. That could make the 'storage' area more usable as a lounge.

4. Lounge area:

The club is pretty much unanimous about having chairs, not bar stools, and my derriere whole heartedly agrees! We also want to have a table, although obviously it doesn't have to be 30" x 96". One thing to keep in mind is that operators may have to stand in the lounge area in order to run trains on the top right of the permanent layout.

To address your specific comments:

Steve:

You are right, the turnback on the 11' side will have to be changed. I don't think that is a problem.

Carl425:

Thank you for thinking 'outside the box'! You have made me stop and think! The basic floor plan for the entire room was decided upon by the club executive, and I was initially limited by their insistance that that was the floor plan, period! I'm going to stir the pot by raising some of the possibilities that you have suggested.

FWIW, I roughly based my benchwork outline on the Tall Pine RR which is in the MR layout library.

Robert:

Thanks for noticing the aisle widths. We suffered from extremely narrow aisles at the old clubhouse. In order to pass by another club member you almost had to be on intimate terms!Smile, Wink & GrinIck!

Randy:

Actually, the executive has decided that we will not join the portable layout to the permanent layout despite the fact that they will both be HO. IMHO, that decision did not take into account the possibilities that have been mentioned above, i.e. scrapping the portable layout and making part of the new layout portable, or reconfiguring the existing portable layout to make it lower.

 

Again, thanks for all the thought provoking suggestions everyone! Please keep them coming.

I apologise for the long winded post. I know long posts get boring really fast.

Cheers!!

Dave

 

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Posted by speedybee on Saturday, June 24, 2017 1:34 AM

You've already got a lot to think about, but what about moving the lounge area to squarely in the middle of the room, with the layout wrapping around it? You could have spinning chairs at your big table, so you can either face the table or spin your chair around to face the layout

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Posted by hon30critter on Saturday, June 24, 2017 2:07 AM

Hi speedybee:

Interesting concept. I'll have to think about that one for a while.

Thanks,

Dave

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Posted by hon30critter on Saturday, June 24, 2017 3:01 AM

OK guys, I just stirred the pot! I sent the club members an e-mail making the following suggestions:

1. Remove the three storage room walls and use the area for a lounge. The lounge space can be extended into the main room a few feet to make space for enough chairs and a table. Storage space will be ample under the new layout, and in fact I don't think we will require the amount of storage space that the storage room provides once we sort through all the crap that we brought over from the old clubhouse.

Then I suggested committing sacrilege! I said that we should scrap the existing portable layout! We can build the new layout so that part of it is portable. That will allow us to still do the shows. I might have to wear some body armour to the next meeting in order to survive!Smile, Wink & GrinLaughLaughLaugh

At the risk of repeating myself, thanks for the ideas!

Dave

 

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