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!

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

74687 views
1063 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Bradford, Ontario
  • 11,538 posts
Posted by hon30critter on Friday, February 7, 2020 5:03 AM

mbinsewi
All right!  this has gone to far.... .  I went to watch a video this morning about a  track geometry train...  and guess what the first commercial was I had to endure?.....VRBO ! 

Hi Mike,

Sorry about that. I see to have unleashed a monster!

Have you tried using Ad Block Plus. It is a free pop up blocker and it works extremely well for me. I almost never get unwanted ads.

https://adblockplus.org/

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

  • Member since
    May 2010
  • 7,092 posts
Posted by mbinsewi on Friday, February 7, 2020 7:15 AM

Laugh It's no problem Dave, just messing around.  I also got it in a Pinterest ad. Laugh

I'll just search for swimsuites and change the ads I get.  Stick out tongue  Laugh

Sorry I have dragged your thread sideways. 

Mike.

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Bradford, Ontario
  • 11,538 posts
Posted by hon30critter on Friday, February 7, 2020 7:34 AM

mbinsewi
Sorry I have dragged your thread sideways.  Mike.

Absolutely no reason to be sorry! I am rather glad that the thread is still active. Forum members have given me a great deal of support through what has turned out to be a very trying experience, including very good suggestions about how to maintain my interest in the hobby, i.e. figure out how to build a layout!

Thanks for your support!

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

  • Member since
    June 2007
  • From: Grew up in Calif, left in 84, now in Virginia
  • 7,609 posts
Posted by riogrande5761 on Friday, February 7, 2020 9:01 AM

Go lasso some helpful souls and get the heavy part banged out!

Rio Grande.  The Action Road  - Focus 1977-1983

  • Member since
    December 2012
  • 157 posts
Posted by Redvdub1 on Friday, February 7, 2020 9:28 AM

I am a 15 year member and officer in a train club with a permanent layout and T-Trak modules (N-scale) and a modular HO travelling layout.  Some thoughts 

1. build your modules with furniture grade wood/plywood to minimize warping.   

2.  Use foam...lightness is good 

3.  re length-our HO modules are 6 footers..but we have a trailer.  Try and get 

     a 6 footer into a vehicle...hmmm...an 8 footer would require a VW Eurovan 

     or equivalent....or a trailer. 

4.   Module interconnection:  ugh ...this really requires some pre-planning.  

      Consider something like the Kam-Konnect system.  Our 20'X20' HO modular

       layout takes 1 1/2 to  2  1/2 hours to setup and requires 6-10 people to 

       achieve those setup times.  Leveling is the major time consumer.  We can

       get them out of the trailer and standing in place in < 30 minutes.   We are 

       going to try out Kam-Konnect's system (partially at first) to see if we can 

       significantly cut the setup time.  It's worth the expense.

5.  Organize your club...have bylaws (kiss)...don't spend any "significant" monies

     without a vote....don't make any significant decision without a vote...ever.

6.  the internet is here...use it.  Stay in touch every week.  If possible have a

     web site.  

7.  I like all the other ideas listed in response to your inquiry.  

  

       

 

 

4.  

  • Member since
    January 2009
  • From: Maryland
  • 9,273 posts
Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Friday, February 7, 2020 12:01 PM

A six foot module would fit easily into my FORD FLEX.........

If I was a modular layout kind of guy........

Two eight foot modules would have fit in my 1968 Checker station wagon..........or will easily fit in the back of my F250.........

Sheldon

    

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Bradford, Ontario
  • 11,538 posts
Posted by hon30critter on Friday, February 7, 2020 6:37 PM

Redvdub1
Organize your club...have bylaws (kiss)...don't spend any "significant" monies      without a vote....don't make any significant decision without a vote...ever.

When I joined the club three years ago it was a mess. A few of us got together and straightened everything out. The club is now very well organized and we keep the general members informed and involved. We found a new clubhouse that is a vast improvement over the old one. We were very specific with the budget for the layout that was being built. We brought all of the bylaws up to date, met all the corporate rules, updated the insurance policies, created committees for the layout construction, operations and the annual show and sale. The club has monthly business meetings to keep people informed and to get their input or vote on various issues. I think we did a good job of managing the club.

In fact, IMO we did too good a job of setting up the rules. We lost the flexibility to debate issues after a vote had been taken. When I tried to reopen a discussion after a vote I got shot down with both barrels in a very direct and unpleasant way. That's why I left.

Dave

 

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Bradford, Ontario
  • 11,538 posts
Posted by hon30critter on Monday, February 10, 2020 8:12 PM

I have started to experiment with layout designs. I began with a 5' x 9' but I didn't like it because it was almost all curves. I am now looking at a 5' 3" x 12' plan similar to the Milwaukee Road Beer line which is 4' x 12'.

Given my back problems I have to figure out how to build it without me having to handle heavy sheets of plywood, so I'm leaning towards building a grid from 1x4s with a 1/4" plywood top covered by 2" FOAM. The plywood will provide a surface to anchor screws properly and the foam will allow for some details like ditches and minor elevation changes.

Getting under the layout will be an impossibility for me so I am considering building it on a rotisserie so I can turn it on its side when needed to do the wiring etc. Having a 12' span of straight 1x4 gridwork will likely be a bit too flexible so I have to figure out how to make it more rigid. One method would be to incorporate L girders into the span. Another would be to simply have removable legs in the middle to support it when it is level. A third might be to use 1x6s for the outside frame so that the edge of the foam is covered and the strength of the span will be increased. Perhaps a combination of a couple of the options might be best.

Anyhow, this is still just speculation so don't hold your breath.

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

  • Member since
    December 2019
  • From: San Juan Capistrano, CA
  • 60 posts
Posted by CapnCrunch on Tuesday, February 11, 2020 12:06 AM

Hi Dave,

I like your rotisserie approach.  To span your 12' centerline, I would think a 6"x6" hollow box beam with projecting machine screws through the end plates would support your foam based layout.  Obviously, you would need legs around the perimeter to support it when it's not being rotated.  I think you're on the right track (no pun intended).

Tim

 

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Bradford, Ontario
  • 11,538 posts
Posted by hon30critter on Tuesday, February 11, 2020 12:51 AM

CapnCrunch
I would think a 6"x6" hollow box beam with projecting machine screws through the end plates would support your foam based layout.

Hi Tim,

Hmmmmm. Using a 6" x 6" center box beam sounds like a good idea. I was thinking of a structure similar to a fishbelly flat car frame but one long box would be much easier to build. I'm imagining ribs coming off either side running out to the exterior frame. The ribs would be easy to install if they were screwed and glued to the side members of the box beam before the beam was assembled.

Thanks,

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

  • Member since
    February 2002
  • From: Reading, PA
  • 28,237 posts
Posted by rrinker on Tuesday, February 11, 2020 7:09 AM

 That's going to get heavy, real quick. Sturdy. But heavy.

Perhaps build in sections. Light weight and easily handled in a rotisserie. As each one is done, set it upright. Lay in the last bit of roadbed and track right over the gap, forget makign it easily removeable like a portable modular setup. Scenery right across the gaps too. If you really ever did need to get it out of there, it could be cut apart if necessary. Wires for structure lighting could be run in channels in the foam right on top instead of having to go underneath. I wonder if the CircuiTape stuff is still around? It was ahead of its time - they advertised it for running track power and everything but really it was too light an effective wire gauge - but for LEDs in structures it would be perfect!

                                      --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Bradford, Ontario
  • 11,538 posts
Posted by hon30critter on Tuesday, February 11, 2020 1:27 PM

rrinker
That's going to get heavy, real quick. Sturdy. But heavy.

Hi Randy,

I'm not too worried about the weight of having a center box.

Here is my theory so far:

If I build the benchwork on a rotisserie, I can start by building each side of the center box as a separate piece with the ribs (cross members) attached. Each assembly would consist of two 12' - 1x6s and eight pieces roughly 1x4 x 2.25'. The 1x6s would be assembled as an 'L' which would form one side and either the top or the bottom of the center beam. The ribs would be attached to each of the 'L's before assembling the beam. One 'L' would be attached to the rotisserie, and then the second 'L' to the first. I would only have to lift the equivalent of about 30 ft of lumber on each side. That's the same as three 10' - 1x5s. It would likely take two people to install the halves of the beam because of the size, but I don't think the weight will be an issue.

I'll spend some time tonight drawing up a plan.

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: west coast
  • 5,178 posts
Posted by rrebell on Tuesday, February 11, 2020 1:29 PM

hon30critter

I have started to experiment with layout designs. I began with a 5' x 9' but I didn't like it because it was almost all curves. I am now looking at a 5' 3" x 12' plan similar to the Milwaukee Road Beer line which is 4' x 12'.

Given my back problems I have to figure out how to build it without me having to handle heavy sheets of plywood, so I'm leaning towards building a grid from 1x4s with a 1/4" plywood top covered by 2" FOAM. The plywood will provide a surface to anchor screws properly and the foam will allow for some details like ditches and minor elevation changes.

Getting under the layout will be an impossibility for me so I am considering building it on a rotisserie so I can turn it on its side when needed to do the wiring etc. Having a 12' span of straight 1x4 gridwork will likely be a bit too flexible so I have to figure out how to make it more rigid. One method would be to incorporate L girders into the span. Another would be to simply have removable legs in the middle to support it when it is level. A third might be to use 1x6s for the outside frame so that the edge of the foam is covered and the strength of the span will be increased. Perhaps a combination of a couple of the options might be best.

Anyhow, this is still just speculation so don't hold your breath.

Dave

 

Really no need to ever go under the layout once built except if you use swich machines (they cay fail). Just build the 12' span as three sections and bolt them together.

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Bradford, Ontario
  • 11,538 posts
Posted by hon30critter on Tuesday, February 11, 2020 1:37 PM

rrebell
Really no need to ever go under the layout once built except if you use swich machines (they cay fail). Just build the 12' span as three sections and bolt them together.

Hi rrebell,

I'm trying to find a way that won't require me to ever have to go under the layout, even during construction. That's why I am considering building the layout on a rotisserie. I can tilt it on its side to do the under layout work, and I will be able to sit comfortably while I am doing that. If my theory works out I will require very little help assembling the benchwork, I won't have to lift anything with significant weight and I won't have to stand or crawl to do anything, except perhaps some of the scenery.

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

  • Member since
    February 2002
  • From: Reading, PA
  • 28,237 posts
Posted by rrinker on Tuesday, February 11, 2020 1:51 PM

 Well, the foam can go a long way towards that - you can run the wiring along the edge just behind the facia like Lion does, and dig trenches in the foam to run the feeders to the track, all on the top. If you leave off the plywood layer, you can even install switch motors from the top, either Tortoises like I did with small squares of perfboard two layouts ago, or servos in the same manner, or Peco type machines clipped to the bottom of the turnouts. 

 Definitely possible to have everything you need without getting underneath. Or even flipping the layout over. Back on the old layout section of my website I have some pictures of installing the Tortoise from the top. Not my idea, I 'borrowed' it from a Freemo group's web site.

                                                      --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Bradford, Ontario
  • 11,538 posts
Posted by hon30critter on Tuesday, February 11, 2020 2:01 PM

rrinker
Definitely possible to have everything you need without getting underneath

I'm also trying to avoid standing and leaning over the layout. My back won't let me stand for more than a few minutes and leaning over makes it much worse. We had some guests for the weekend and Dianne wasn't able to do a lot of work because of her concussion. That meant that I spent a lot of time standing. On Monday I could barely move. Today isn't much better.

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

  • Member since
    February 2008
  • 7,077 posts
Posted by maxman on Tuesday, February 11, 2020 2:04 PM

hon30critter
That's why I am considering building the layout on a rotisserie.

Rotisserie?  Not sure I can visualize that.

Why not consider something like a long piano hinge along the back, with a shelf bracket on each end to support the section in the down position?

Or do you need to have it in the flat position to work on when upside down?

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Bradford, Ontario
  • 11,538 posts
Posted by hon30critter on Tuesday, February 11, 2020 5:05 PM

Here is a rough drawing of how the rotisserie would work:

The layout can be positioned right side up, upside down, on its side or any position in between. When it is on its side I can sit in a chair and do almost everything on the top or bottom except for some parts of the scenery process. I would probably lay track with the layout the right side up just to get a proper perspective.

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Bradford, Ontario
  • 11,538 posts
Posted by hon30critter on Tuesday, February 11, 2020 5:30 PM

Here is the first attempt at a track plan. If it looks familiar it is because it is a close copy of the Beer Line:

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: west coast
  • 5,178 posts
Posted by rrebell on Wednesday, February 12, 2020 10:10 AM

Have an idea, what if your legs were wider, maybe a foot. then you could have stabillity. Could use quick connects for power and either a permanent track or temp. track inbetween. But in reallity unless you need an over and under, if you build a 1x4 frame and use 2"  foam, even you can lift it into a table to do the underside. I could lift my 2'x4' modules with one finger. You could use Posi-taps or other electrical conectors between modules.

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Bradford, Ontario
  • 11,538 posts
Posted by hon30critter on Wednesday, February 12, 2020 12:00 PM

rrebell
what if your legs were wider, maybe a foot. then you could have stabillity.

The drawing is just a rough concept. Nothing was measured to scale, so what size lumber I will use hasn't been decided yet. I also haven't included any cross bracing at this point, but obviously there will need to be some.

rrebell
if you build a 1x4 frame and use 2"  foam, even you can lift it into a table to do the underside.

My point with the rotisserie was to never have to lift it, other than once during initial assembly. It also eliminates the need for a table large enough to be able to support a 5' x 12' frame, or for saw horses. I also have to be able to sit to work on it. That is a given. I can't stand for more than a few minutes without experiencing pain. I can sit for hours.

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

  • Member since
    February 2002
  • From: Reading, PA
  • 28,237 posts
Posted by rrinker on Wednesday, February 12, 2020 12:54 PM

 Would you have clearnace on all sides - I only ask this because you could probably do away with the rotisserie if you can - by building it low enough to sit in a rolling chair. Wiring along the fascia edge, so no need to crawl under. Or then it could be built in sections which can be light weight enough to easily handle, sitting at a workbench and flipped over or tilted up to get to the underside if needed. Some more sturdy benchwork to hold each section, which is where you might need some help, but once that was in place, each section can be something you can handle easily. Once set in place, final connecting and operating would all be done from a sitting position.

                                    --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Bradford, Ontario
  • 11,538 posts
Posted by hon30critter on Wednesday, February 12, 2020 3:12 PM

Geesh! You guys really don't want me to build this thing do you?!?Smile, Wink & GrinLaughLaugh

Seriously, I very much appreciate all of your suggestions, but I don't think that you grasp the severity of my back issues. To try and put my back problems into perspective, I can barely carry a couple of lightly packed grocery bags from the car to the kitchen. That might be 25' and six stairs. By the time I get all the groceries into the house I have to sit down for several minutes until the pain stops. I can't get the garbage to the curb without having to lean on the garbage cans until my back stops hurting. The driveway is 42' long. Every time I try to carry anything that weighs more than a couple of lbs. my back hurts. If I push myself like I did last weekend I will be in constant pain for a day or two. Either that or I will be doped up on pain killers. What you consider to be a light and easy lift is a painful challenge for me.

Therefore, I am trying desperately to avoid doing any lifting at all. The rotisserie allows me to do that. The parts are readily available. I can get help with the initial assembly. After that all I will have to do is pull a couple of locking pins, tilt the layout to where I want it, reinsert the pins, sit down comfortably and go to work. If the layout is set at the right height, half of the benchwork (lengthwise) will be at shoulder level when it is tilted onto one side. The other half will be either too high or too low to reach comfortably. (Probably too low - I haven't decided on a layout height yet but I'm inclined to go low so I can sit in a chair to operate it). All I will have to do to wire the other half is rotate the benchwork 180 degrees.

Randy - there will be lots of clearance on all sides. I have half of a 2 1/2 car garage to work with.

Thanks for your input!

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

  • Member since
    November 2013
  • 1,064 posts
Posted by snjroy on Wednesday, February 12, 2020 4:09 PM

The rotisserie build seems complicated to me... I tend to agree with the others: the only reason why you would go underneath would be for the electricals. Just keep everything on top. If you are running DCC, or not installing any complicated blocks, just run the wires on top and hide them with something. On the other hand, I see a lot of leaning happening if this is going to be a 60 inch wide layout.

If I were you, I would ask some guys to install some metal supports and build a really simple, point-to-point shelf layout. No scenery - just a nice commercial background, trackwork and foam. An HO line, and an HOn30 line next to it. Ok, so add a few background buildings here and there, but keep it simple. That will allow you to concentrate on building neat little critters and kits and watch them run. And when your back gets better (it happens you know), then build two return loops. That's my plan when we move out of the house when I hit a certain age...

Simon 

  • Member since
    February 2008
  • 7,077 posts
Posted by maxman on Wednesday, February 12, 2020 4:22 PM

hon30critter
I don't think that you grasp the severity of my back issues. To try and put my back problems into perspective, I can barely carry a couple of lightly packed grocery bags from the car to the kitchen.

I think you complain too much.  Your back certainly can't be as bad as Igor's, and he didn't seem to have any trouble handling a couple of heavily packed bags.

See:  https://youtu.be/SrAs4xnFOZc

 

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Bradford, Ontario
  • 11,538 posts
Posted by hon30critter on Wednesday, February 12, 2020 4:34 PM

maxman
I think you complain too much.  Your back certainly can't be as bad as Igor's, and he didn't seem to have any trouble handling a couple of heavily packed bags. See:  https://youtu.be/SrAs4xnFOZc

LaughLaughLaughLaughLaugh

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

  • Member since
    February 2005
  • 727 posts
Posted by davidmurray on Wednesday, February 12, 2020 4:37 PM

I have only met Dave once.  His back pain is severe.  It may or may not get better.

Old age hits some people earlier than others.

 

David Murray from Oshawa, Ontario Canada
  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Bradford, Ontario
  • 11,538 posts
Posted by hon30critter on Wednesday, February 12, 2020 5:12 PM

snjroy
If I were you, I would ask some guys to install some metal supports and build a really simple, point-to-point shelf layout. No scenery - just a nice commercial background, trackwork and foam.

I would really like to have continuous running. Strictly point to point doesn't interest me very much. There will be plenty of opportunities for switching with the Beer Line concept, and I will be able to watch trains go round and round all I want. If I grow tired of that then I'll just have to design another layout.

I will consider adding in some HOn30 track. That will probably be point to point. Most of my critters are HO.

snjroy
I see a lot of leaning happening if this is going to be a 60 inch wide layout.

There will definitely be some leaning, but only when I have to do scenery down the center of the layout. If you study the plan, there is almost no track that is more than 20" from the edge of the layout. If I have the pivot point 34" above the floor the layout will be able to rotate 360 degrees. At that height I can comfortably reach in 26" from either side while sitting. That will leave a 12" swath up the middle that will have to be dealt with either from a standing position, or built off layout and dropped in, but it will be all scenery.

Please keep the comments coming. All of the points that you are making have made me pause and think some more about whether or not this can work. So far, everything seems to be easy to address. I have a reasonable amount of woodworking experience so actually building the frames shouldn't be a problem. As I said, I will need help with some of the assembly.

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

  • Member since
    February 2002
  • From: Reading, PA
  • 28,237 posts
Posted by rrinker on Wednesday, February 12, 2020 5:28 PM

 OK. The sections I was envisioning would be 10 pounds or less, at a guess. No legs, the heavy support part would remain fixed in place. But I wasn't aware of just how severe your back issues are.

 However, in that space, instead of a big solid layout, you could probably get even more run length by doing it as a narrow shelf that isn't just a big square donut. Set at a height that is reachable from a chair, if you can get to both sides you could work across both sides of any part of it while remaining seated. 

                              --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: west coast
  • 5,178 posts
Posted by rrebell on Wednesday, February 12, 2020 8:48 PM

I feel your pain, luckly my back pain went away after a few years of sleepng on a wood floor. You could run the buss in a trough on the front of the layout and run wire burried in the foam, no need to go under the layout then.

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!

Users Online

There are no community member online

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!