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Design a dbl-deck layout for installation in its own Hand-House shed

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Design a dbl-deck layout for installation in its own Hand-House shed
Posted by railandsail on Wednesday, August 16, 2017 8:41 PM

Objective:
I want to build a double-deck, around-the-wall, peninsula style layout in a 12x16 shed I have prepared for the job.

I have picked out two plans that I found among many that I had saved over the years from magazines, particularly Model Railroader *. A combination and modification of these two layout plans should produce what I am looking for. I realize there are any number of computer aided programs that have come into existence to help with layout planning, but at my older age, I'm not real excited about taking a great deal of time to learn how to use these computer programs. I'm hoping some folks with that sort of knowledge will come forward and help me plan the layout, and visualize it with 3d images before I begin final construction.

*I contacted Model Railroader magazine about posting some images of older RR plans they had published in the past, but were not currently available on the internet. They informed me in writing that it would be permissible if it was in pursuit of my own individual effort to design my personal layout, and if I gave them credit where appropriate. So please don't anyone bring up 'copyright' issues.

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Posted by railandsail on Wednesday, August 16, 2017 9:04 PM

Over the years I have seen many really nice train layouts that had to be cut-up (and destroyed) in order to remove them from their home place, due to either the owner's having passed away, or his moving to another residence. Very often they are rather a custom fit in their home built environment, and thus aren’t likely candidates for a new special location. I'm even currently in possession of a very nicely detailed waterfront scene that had to be cut out of an estate sale layout, and I am hoping to incorporate it into my new layout, but I see problems on the horizon.

With these experiences in mind I decided that I would purchase a stand alone Handi-House shed, and build my new layout in there. Then if I should change residence again, I can simply load that shed onto a trailer and move the whole layout to a new location. Or if I should pass away my wife could sell the layout and shed as an entity, and the buyer could move it to his new location.

I retired to a trailer home here in St Augustine, and it had an almost full length carport attached to it. I thought why not pull that new shed into the back portion of the carport and take advantage of the extra shade provided by the carport cover over the shed. It was a tight fit, and in fact to get a 12 foot wide shed into my carport I had to move all 5 of its support columns out a distance of 1 foot (had to pour concrete footer for those new column locations). I also had to remove 3 big beams attached to the underside of the shed in order to get enough clearance to fit under the carport's roof (I had initially given considerations to chopping the peak off of the shed), but became convinced I'd rather trim the height by modifying the bottom. I needed only a few inches, but it became a major undertaking. And I did this all by myself at the age of 74 using skid pads I made and a come-along attached to a tree in the back yard.

I have now just finished insulating the entire shed and installing a ceiling fan and a small air conditioner. My interior dimensions with the insulation all in is now 11 inches short of the overall dimensions of the 12x16 shed, ie; 11' 1” by 15' 1”

 

 



I want to build a dbl-deck, around-the-wall, with a peninsula layout. At first I was wondering if the peninsula might project out from one of the 'long walls' of the shed, but I am now convinced that the peninsula needs to project out from the 'back wall' of this shed that sits at the opposite end from the big door.

I intend to have a helix (likely single tracked) to move the trains between the 2 decks. And since the helix’s take up so much room, I intend to make the helix structure in its own 'box' external to the interior of the shed. This will be like a 'winged box' structure hung off a rear corner of the shed, about 5-6 foot in size to house the 30 inch radius helix. There will be two small holes in the shed's metal siding to allow the trains to enter and exit the helix. At the moment I am imagining the train will enter the helix at an opening just off center of the shed's wall at the rear of the peninsula, and proceed its upward climb to the top deck, where it will reenter the shed over near the a perimeter (side) wall.

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Posted by railandsail on Wednesday, August 16, 2017 9:14 PM

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Posted by railandsail on Wednesday, August 16, 2017 9:16 PM
I am unsure as to how to post images I don't understand the box you get when you hit the image selection symbol
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Posted by rrinker on Wednesday, August 16, 2017 10:15 PM

 There's a sticky on the main forum on how to post pictures. What goes in the box is the URL to the image. It needs to end in something like JPG or PNG or GIF, if not, you aren't using the right link. It looks like you are trying to link from another forum - the other forum for one is not going to allow that to work. You need the actual images on some sort of 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.

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Posted by railandsail on Thursday, August 17, 2017 6:20 AM

Ah ha, at first I could not find the main forum page, but I found that now.

Can one enter an image that is on their computer?

The images I did manage to post were done by copying the image from another forum posting I had made, then pasting it on this one,...rt click of mouse, the left click. To my knowledge I did NOT copy the image's web location address.

Please excuse 74 year old's lack of computer knowledge....ha...ha

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Posted by richhotrain on Thursday, August 17, 2017 6:29 AM

This forum does not have a provision for directly posting images. You need to "upload" the image from your computer to a "3rd party website" that hosts images on its server. 

I use www.imgbb.com to upload my images. Then I copy and paste them onto my posts on this forum.

Rich

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Posted by railandsail on Thursday, August 17, 2017 6:46 AM

Well I can see how this complicates the whole image posting situation now that Photobucket (and likely more to come) have modified their 'rules'. I never did trust all those free image hosting sites,...just a gut feeling that something like this would happen in the future and one would be beholden to those websites where they stored all of their photos.

I participate on quite a number of boat design forum sites, and thank goodness they have utilized different protocoles and software for their sites.

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Posted by railandsail on Thursday, August 17, 2017 6:53 AM

richhotrain
This forum does not have a provision for directly posting images. You need to "upload" the image from your computer to a "3rd party website" that hosts images on its server. 

I use www.imgbb.com to upload my images. Then I copy and paste them onto my posts on this forum.

Rich

The thing that bothers me about that 'method' is what if that website you posted all of those very informative images to decides to update the software they are utilizing (perhaps to make it more compatible with new 'devices'). Then the URL's of each and all of your material might change (maybe ever so slighty) and thus become invisible.

I had it happen on another model railroad forum, and all the images I had posted over several years ALL dissappeared.

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Posted by rrinker on Thursday, August 17, 2017 7:02 AM

 That's why you do what I do and get your own web hosting from a 'stock' provider (not someone like Wix ot 1and1 which front the web server with their software to make it 'easier' to create your site - you want raw access to the server). Plans start at $1.50/mo with my provider and that gives plenty of bandwidth to post images on forums like this. And you do NOT put your only copy of each photo on photo hosting sites, ever. As long as I remember to pay my bill, my links will remain valid.

 Anyway this was all hashed in the Photobucket thread so no need to go over it all gain here. To post here, if you can paste it in your browser without being logged in to some other forum and the image shows up, it will show up if you paste it here in the Insert Photo dialog. If you paste it in a new browser window and you are required to log in or something, it will never work here or on any othe forum.

                                               --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

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

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Posted by railandsail on Thursday, August 17, 2017 7:14 AM

OK, I logged into that suggested site Imgbb site, and I'll see if I can load a photo of my helix plan stuck on the rear of that shed.

At first I tried to paste the URL in that 'source box', but that did not seem to work? So then I just 'copied/pasted' with my mouse, and that worked.

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Posted by richhotrain on Thursday, August 17, 2017 7:22 AM

railandsail

OK, I logged into that suggested site Imgbb site, and I'll see if I can load a photo of my helix plan stuck on the rear of that shed.

At first I tried to paste the URL in that 'source box', but that did not seem to work? So then I just 'copied/pasted' with my mouse, and that worked.

 

Yes, that is all that I do, copy and paste. No need to use the forum's image box. That makes imgbb even easier to use than Photobucket.

Rich

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Posted by richhotrain on Thursday, August 17, 2017 7:24 AM

railandsail, how are you going to get access to that helix when it is boxed into that corner?

Rich

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Posted by rrinker on Thursday, August 17, 2017 9:38 AM

 I've seen this done before somewhere, or at elast soemthign similar. Access doors on the outside would work. But given that it isoutside, it has to be COMPLETELY sealed - otherwise there are many critters who will find it to be a nice snug home - until the next train comes along.

 It will also need support, a pair of legs on the outside corners. Just canilevering it off the back of the shed will likely sag and cause problems.

                      --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

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Posted by carl425 on Thursday, August 17, 2017 9:47 AM

Since you are building an addition to your train shed just to hold the helix, why settle for only a 30" radius?  36" or even 42" would work much better.

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 railandsail on Thursday, August 17, 2017 12:00 PM

rrinker

 I've seen this done before somewhere, or at elast soemthign similar. Access doors on the outside would work. But given that it isoutside, it has to be COMPLETELY sealed - otherwise there are many critters who will find it to be a nice snug home - until the next train comes along.

I figure all I need to do is stand up (or sit up) inside the helix circle from the circular access underneath

I will need something like a drop down trap door, or fine mesh screen covering that underneath access hole.

 

It will also need support, a pair of legs on the outside corners. Just canilevering it off the back of the shed will likely sag and cause problems.

                      --Randy

 

I have those supports already,...two nice alum poles with flat 'feet' on them to sit on the ground or a pad block of cement if necessary.

I just wanted to get that space hungry 'helix blob' outside the shed's interior.

Someone ask why not bigger diameter. Maybe so if I have to climb very far between levels? At this moment I think I will only have to climb 12-14 inches between my 20" of deck seperation  I figure 30" is a good minimum radius. I also have a special construction I am considering for the helix itself and it's housing.

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Posted by rrinker on Thursday, August 17, 2017 12:13 PM

 A larger radius menas you can have greater spacign between th helix levels for the same grade, makign access easier, and you just do fewer turns to get the total distance you need, or you can keep teh same spacing and have a shallower grade. 30" radius is reasonable, depending on what sort of equipment you run. What about a second track? At 30" radius you need much more than the typical 2" center to center spacing toclear full length passenger cars adn modern rolling stock. The time spent in even a 30" radius helix is considerable - therefore it is usually best to make them doublt tracked so the helix doesn;t bottleneck the entire rest of the railroad. Unless of course you wil always just be running this yourself and waiting for the train to exit the helix at the top or bottom is no big deal.

                                            --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

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Posted by railandsail on Thursday, August 17, 2017 12:21 PM

Building a Helix with PVC Pipe

So as to not make a duplication of this subject,... here is a forum discussion I posted on building my helix with pvc pipe. Hopefully all that wish to,  can view that discussion and the photos.

http://www.modelrailroadforums.com/forum/showthread.php?40316-Building-a-Helix-with-PVC-Pipe

It should be an interesting experiment. I am hoping to avoid using the traditional plywood subroadbed and framing structure in an 'outdoor' humid enviroment like Florida. ('outdoors' of my insulated AC shed)

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Posted by railandsail on Thursday, August 17, 2017 12:28 PM

Thought about making the helix two-tracked, but then reconsidered and said like real trains sometimes one would have to wait on the other, so why not on the helix since I don't expect a heavy traffic between the 2 deck levels.

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Posted by railandsail on Thursday, August 17, 2017 12:55 PM

Lower Level and first layout example

So lets start out thinking of the track plan for just the lower level. As I said I have 2 plans in mind that I tend to like very much, but the need to be melted together. The first of these was published way back in 1991, and was called the Anon & Muss.
It had a 'blob' at either side of the entrance way to the layout, and another one at the head of the peninsula. At the root of the peninsula it had crossing track configurations that would allow for greater radius turns from the tracks running down each side of space into the peninsula area, ….particularly if I intend to 'squeeze' this plan down into a more overall narrower shape than the original plan. There were a number of these 'crossing tracks' woven in to 'over and under' configurations that might be best handled in a 'mountainous area'......the Appalachians I spoke of before..

Another thing interesting about this layout design was expressed in the description of its design, … “the notion that's reflected in the premise behind the A&M track plan. You can have easy (hassle free) operation even with several trains running simultaneously on a single track. Make the layout two separate lines. Interconnections between lines would allow the layout to be run as one railroad. Each route could be constructed independently if the lines were judiciously located to each other. ….
The MUSS loop can be run completely independently of the ANON loop”
I like to run trains, particularly multiple trains of different configurations, and simultaneously. That’s one reason I like this double loop scheme, ...
....and it might even be more versatile if I can place a removable bridge across the shed's entrance to the layout.
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Posted by railandsail on Thursday, August 17, 2017 1:43 PM

Lone Pine & Tonopah

I spoke previously of 2 layout plans that were very interesting to me to review in my effort to arrive at a combo of two. That second layout was the Lone Pine & Tonopah. The dwg I have on file came from a Nov 1993 issue of Model Railroader mag. I believe he has since made a number of changes to this original design.

Lone_Pine_amp_Tonopah_RR_750.jpg

No matter, as I would seek to make a number of changes as well to it in order for it to scale down to fit my shed. Its more the concept I would be looking at. I have mentioned that I might be looking at the Balt/east coast theme for the lower level of my layout. With that in mind I would be interested in that roundhouse scene and city backdrop being located somewhat similar on that right hand side 'blob' of my layout as one enters the layout. I have a goodly number of real nice steam engines I would like to be 'on display' in that roundtable scene (with more on the outdoor tracks than inside any roundhouse). I had a similar 'display of steam' on my old Central Midland layout.



I figure my lower level in that area would have to neck down much more to give aisle clearance. So my railyard tracks would have to be perhaps half in number to those he has. And my city backdrop would have to be just a single layer of very thinly sectioned buildings, and a good painted backdrop. I would still like to have that circular mainline going around the roundtable facility and 'under' the city. I would also like to have that mainline join with the one that would cross the shed's door opening via a nice lift-out bridge (Chesapeake Bay Bridge or whatever).

Turntable_City_Freight_Yard_side_of_layout.jpg

I'd also like to have a small diesel engine service area at the other end of the railyard in front of the city. (perhaps down where the tracks begin to turn in toward the peninsula)?

I'm thinking I could locate my 'condensed' steel mill complex at the head of the peninsula blob (after all Balt was a big steel town at one time). I'll have to find some old photos of the York Pa model RR club layout that had a steel mill located within a loop of track something like that. Then a middle portion of that peninsula might have a coal mining area at the base of the mountains that I would put at the root of the peninsula to camouflage the multiply crossing tracks like those on the Anon & Muss.

I've also got quite a bit of oil tanks & refinery structures. Perhaps those need to go over near the waterfront scene I have in mind for the other 'blob' across the shed door's opening from the roundtable scene??

My peninsula may have to be offset to the left like the LP&T in order to get that yard and city scene in an acceptable manner. But off-center shouldn't be a problem with what I have in mind locating on the peninsula platform itself?

I would like to have some staging area, and I'm thinking it might be located just below that rail-yard and city scene,.....very close up under the sub-roadbed so that it could have some short steep entrance/exit tracks.

...my thoughts for now

I do realize that both of these layout examples are rather large to condense down into my size, but there are portions of each that I would like to draw ideas/concepts from

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Posted by railandsail on Thursday, August 17, 2017 3:33 PM

BTW that first plan I referenced, the 'Anon & Muss' was designed by a gentleman, Don Mitchell, who included it in a model railroad handbook #29 called "Walkaround Model Railroad Track Plans", 16 original, custom designed layouts, with the ideas behind them. 1991.

He himself has actually joined in another forum discussion of this idea of mine, and wants to see what mods I make to his plan to fit my space. that should be interesting as I really like his plan.

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Posted by railandsail on Thursday, August 17, 2017 3:37 PM

East to West theme, and Diesel-Steam transistion era

I have a strong preference for steam engines, but have collected lots of diesels as well. So lets say I will model that transition era were both were utilized. I am also not a strict time frame person that feels a need to model any particular era. I just like the looks of model trains, particularly the highly detailed ones that have come out over the past 15 years.

I found myself liking those big C&O, B&O, NW steam locos, but also some of the Santa Fe ones. And I couldn't resist a number of those Santa Fe diesels with their marvelous paint schemes that harkened back to when I was a kid. So on my first major layout (the Atlas plan "Central Midland") I ran all of these different lines, and would explain that my railroad went from the east coast to the west coast,...Baltimore to California.

I'm imagining doing something similar with this new layout,....the lower deck level will be the 'Baltimore' theme, progressing up thru the mountains of Appalachian mountains (coal county) to the upper layer western mountains supporting logging trains, and finally to a Santa Fe train station on the upper level. The mountainous areas will exist on both the lower and upper decks of the layout at the base root of the peninsula(s),...I thinking...
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Posted by railandsail on Saturday, August 19, 2017 11:38 AM

A few items that I have researched quite a bit, and are somewhat ingrained in my thoughts at this time.*

Height of the dbl-decks:
I am a tall person (6'4") and still very healthy. I have experimented with various heights of sitting and standing, and have read a number of different accounts of different layouts. At this moment I am stuck on the idea that the lower deck's 'working surface' will be 40" off the floor. Possible I would consider 1 or 2 inches lower.
The upper deck will be 20" higher...60" inches from the floor. I imagine that the depth of the upper deck will be considerable less than the lower deck to allow for best viewing, and to allow for moving myself around even with minimal isles, 22 to 24 inches. It has been suggested that I might consider not putting an upper deck over the peninsula area (at least in the extended head of the peninsula). I will take that into consideration.


Helix
I have debated this question to some great extent, and done quite a bit of reading about it. I am not excited about the gradual rise of an around the wall grade. It would take up that much additional width that I do not care to give up in my relatively narrow shed. In fact I even considered not insulating the shed and thus being able to build some portions of the layout into the 2x4 studded areas, but the better part of valor said I will need AC at various times here in warm humid FL.

I am not married to the idea that my trains need to make constant use of this exchange between levels. With that in mind I am only considering a single-track helix, unless someone can convinced me otherwise. Trains will have to wait their turn to use the single trackage...not unusual?

And someone commented about 'how about when it is raining' on my 'external helix'. First off when its raining perhaps I will have NO traffic on the helix,...just run my multiple trains on the lower level, and a single freight/passenger train on the upper level, and perhaps concurrently my logging train(s) on that mountainous area in the upper level (isolated from the mainline) there.
I'm imagining the donut shaped helix housed inside a short flat box like structure built of square tube aluminum tubes that can be bolted up to rear external face of my metal shed (to the studs of the shed), and with two 'legs' at its outer edges. I will be able to access the inner hollow of the helix from up underneath. Naturally the box structure that houses the helix will have metal sheeting covering it just like the shed itself. I have all of this alum metal already, and chose to utilize light weight alum rather than heavier and rot prone wood-frame construction.

I am imagining that the lower entrance to the helix will be from a track that is already rising in grade from the blob/head portion of peninsula (in order to pass over other tracks at the root of the peninsula)....so one less level required of the helix itself. It will then rise up to the upper level and enter back into the layout room in a straight shot down the long edge of the shed/layout.


Foam Subroadbed
Lots of reading again, and I have become convinced of the many virtues of foam subrodbed. I had some doubts as to constructing many grades with foam construction, particularly as I used to have a cookie-cutter layout with many wood risers. But as I look at it greater depth I see many advantages of foam construction.

I will use 2” thick foam for the basic shelfs of the layout. I am seriously thinking of bonding a piece of 1/16 Masonite onto the bottom of this 2” foam. With proper gluing it should just add to the stiffness of the subroadbed when it spans the 24 inch wide shelf brackets attached to the 2x4 studding of the shed walls. It is my understanding that this will also cut down on the noise generated by the bare foam. And it will provide good mounting surfaces on the underside of the subroadbed.

There are a number of reasons to chose foam, but another compelling one in my case is twofold. I want minimal 'thickness' in my framing for the subroadbed, Obviously it means one does not have to provide as great of a distance between the top and bottom levels of the dbl-deck layout (for proper viewing, nor for rise of the helix). But I also wanted this minimal thickness for my bottom deck,...why? So I could provide for some staging tracks down under the bottom deck without have them very far down in height. I intend to utilize some of those welded steel shelf brackets that do not protrude down into the immediate area under the subroadbed, like even the stamped steel ones do.



Work Bench & Tools
I am going to try my best not to have space inside the shed devoted to work benches or power tools. I hope to have those outside in their own little covered area


Scale & Track Radius
I saw this questioned posed. The scale is HO.
I'm hoping to limit my radius of track to 24 inches, except of course in the logging areas


Prototypes & Operations
To answer your questions Don, I am not real concerned about prototypes, nor operations. Nor am I a rivet counter. I like to see trains running pass industrial sites, etc. I do have in mind a nice little harbor scene where some operations might be appropriate,...and in the logging scenes, and in the freight yards.


Backdrops
I'm putting up Masonite to cover the insulation I put in between the studs and in the ceiling. I plan on initially painting this some sort of sky blue with clouds. (I also saw a rather neat idea of some hanging 'cotton clouds')
I have a lady here in the park who is suppose to be quite an artist, and who has volunteered to paint some backdrops. Since her 'mobility' is somewhat limited I thought I would have her paint those backdrops onto some sort of 'paper material' that I could then glue to the Masonite backdrop.

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Posted by rrinker on Saturday, August 19, 2017 3:56 PM

 If you do use PVC pipe for the helix roadbed - I would definitely make the helix bigger - as big as you can. Because the PVC pipe is much thicker than traditional roadbed materials, each loop must climb a greater distance to have sufficient clearance. For a given radius, the PVC version would need a greater grade, so the bigger radius you cna fit, the better. Since the helix is going in a box outside the layout space, the only real limiting factors are the width of the shed and how much room you have behind it.

                          --Randy


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

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

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Posted by railandsail on Saturday, August 19, 2017 5:17 PM

Still thinking about the helix construction with PVC tubes, but here are a few observations I posted on another forum:

The 1/2" PVC pipe is only 1/16 larger in diameter (thickness) than 3/4' thick plywood that many helix roadbeds are fashioned from. So not that great a difference. 

And as I just posted I'm thinking of attaching the track directly to the pipe with no other intervening roadbed. Yes that may be more noisy, but I would almost welcome that nose in the helix just to let me know things are going smoothly in that 'out-of-site-locale'.

 

I'll be back to this subject a little later today, but first I thought I would submit this observation. I ran a little experiment out in the FL sunshine on the possibility of using good old mother nature to add a little pre-bend into our PVC pipe for constructing that helix. I simply hand bent two types of PVC pipe into a arc and lay it in the sun out in my driveway. 

The 1/2 inch sch 40 pvc readily accepted the bending process, and I imagine when I release it after several days it will hold onto some portion of that pre-bend.

(this coil is 22" radius)

The 3/4 irrigation pipe (thinner wall) did NOT fair so well. It appears to be more brittle in nature and split and cracked at its endpoints as I tried to bend it. That eliminates its possible use as far as I am concerned.

Now I imagine I could build a simple little wood circular fence/corral that would hold about 4-5 loops of coiled up 1/2 pipe, put it in the sun for a few days, and expose it to a good heat gun to help it along with its 'pre-bend'. I'd end up with a long tube/pipe that could be coiled into my 'fenced in' helix structure (photos coming this afternoon).

 I decided to look up where I might find hoops of metal or whatever to make my 'cage',...and I run into this greenhouse site. They bend many types to tubes to built their greenhouses.
http://www.hoopbenders.net/home.html
.....there is even a good video of a lady bending these galv metal tubes
https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=6&v=D2GzR-IOvLw

WOW, now I can built my own metal cage hoops at the 60" dia I wanted in the first place,...and fabricated from galvanized metal electrical conduit.  One hoop for the top, one hoop for the bottom, with the 8 vertical legs attached between the two hoops. Then the PVC tubes rest on those angle brackets that are attached to the uprights of the 'cage'.

 Should be an interesting experiment at least.

Brian

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted by rrinker on Saturday, August 19, 2017 8:01 PM

With that many supporting verticals, you could use laminated layers of one of the engineered materials like masonite. Two layers of 1/4" (so the seams overlap) with that many supports wouldn't sag and not have temperature/humidity issues.

 As with all these alternative helix methods, this one will require careful measuring to locate the supports going around the spiral, to keep the grade even and prevent humps and dips. The 'standard' or at least easiest way requires only the bottoom level to have carefully cut risers to start the grade and have an evev rise around the first turn. After that, every single support is exactly the same height, no matter where they are around each level, and if you need to space them every 4 inches or just have 6 around each level, they are still all exactly the same height. One way to accomplish this method while using materials like some metals  (and I'm not convinced in a widely varying temperature area this is the greatest idea - most commonly available metal building materials expand and contract more with temperature than wood does. Wood varies more with humidity, to which the metal is impervious. Sustained high humidity levels with widely varying temperature would favor wood. Consistent LOW humidity favors metal and foam) would be to use risers cut from metal instead of wood, but otherwise build in the typical manner (not with PVC roadbed). So precise cuts for the first turn, then oodles of identically cut pieces for the subsequent levels. Since expansiona nd contraction of metals is a function of the length, these short peices wouldn;t move much, compared to a long piece going all the way from the top to the bottom of the helix.

                        --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
    February, 2009
  • 342 posts
Posted by railandsail on Sunday, August 20, 2017 1:47 PM

Interesting Randy.

I had briefly considered a double layer of masonite for a few short track overpass situations, ...but was discouraged when I read some of the postings on this discussion:
http://cs.trains.com/mrr/f/11/t/229187.aspx

I always thought the masonite material was stronger that they give credit to, and particularly if it was double, ....or even triple thickness.

BTW, the uprights in that photo above are a combo of plastic and alum square tubes. I was figuring I might be able to utilize one or the other. The white ones are plastic, the back ones alum. They are both utilized in the construction of safety hand-rails along decks and steps to decks.

I walked into my local little metal scrap yard, and one of the first things that jumps out at me is they have some alum hand rails that have been scraped. These railings have lots of small box-sectioned 'tubes' that form the multiple uprights. And they appear to be plenty strong to become those up-right legs of the helix structure as mentioned above,....in the place of the 2' dia PVC tube, or the square-tubed PVC.

They are getting ready to put all this scrap alum in a crushing machine,....no please. I grab a bunch of them as could also have other uses for some of them.

  • Member since
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  • From: Reading, PA
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Posted by rrinker on Sunday, August 20, 2017 3:02 PM

 You have to take that thread in context of what you are doing. With supports around a helix, the masonite would be supported every few inches. Noise is not really a concern since your helix will be outside your train room. I wouldn;t use flat masonite as regular roadbed on the main part of the layout, for many of the reasons mentioned there. But a helix is a bit of a different animal.

 Also I have seem SO much overbuilding posted around here. In that thread in particular - 5/8" plywood on 12 inch centers? How much weight are you planning on putting on that thing? The 1/4" plywood I used underneatht he foam on my previous layout STILL hasn't sagged - with support crossmembers on 2 FOOT centers and no edge support (so not 'cheating'). It IS laminated to 2" thick extruded foam, which probably holds it up fromt he top somewhat. The oldest piece of that was actually build before I moved to the apartment it was housed in, which is more than 9 years ago now. Most of the rest was built fairly early on moving in to that place - I've been in my house 3 1/2 years now, and was at the apartment with the layout for 5 1/2. The NEWEST section of the old layout is at least 5 years old. For the past 3 1/2 years the sections have all been sitting stacked up in my basement. Still nothing is falling apart or sagging or anything. Widely varying humidity through the year around here - very dry in winter, damp in summer. There is heat but since no one is down there I keep it set low.

 I've even seen people post stories about how even 3/4" plywood sagged with supports on 18" centers. No, not a chance. Not unless a really heavy weight was placed on it over an extended period of time. What more likely happened is that there was some contraction of the supporting structure and the plywood will not compress so it had to bow. I have some of those premade chelves - the kind you find int he box stores, it's some form of particle board with laminate applied on all surfaces. My electronics workbench has them supported with standard metal shelf rails and brackets (the double row type, the brackets are U formed sheet metal, not the thick metal stamping type) with two uprights about 2 feet apart (edit - I measured them) on 40" centers (that's what it worked out to when I built the bench). There's been a slight sag on the bottom one because I have my heaviest equipment towards the middle (power supplies) But the other two shelves shatched with parts drawers, handheld meters, and other things are just fine. I probably should put the heaviest power supply on the one ends, but I use it the most so it's front and center. The bench meters and scope past the bracket location aren't heavy enough to offset the power supply. But remember, this is cheap particle board material, not even the really heavy stuff I used many years ago on a shalf layout that was literally that - pieces cut and supported on the shelving uprights screwed to the wall. And it is carrying more weight than even a several feet high Hydrocal mountain, let alone some track and trains.

 Bottom line, I've seen the laminated masonite used successfully in a helix. Also things like laminated 1/4" plywood (so a 1/2" thick structure). Two thinner pieces laminated of most materials tends to be stiffer than a single piece the thickness of the laminate. Now when you use the thinner material you can't build the helix with just 4 or 6 uprights supporting the whole thing, you need moore frequent support. Usually this is a negative, but for a helix, unless you have all the room in the world to waste with a HUGE radius curve, one main goal is keeping the thickness of the supporting structure low so as to have plenty of vertical clearance with the smallest grade for the radius. Check out the MRVP video on the Canadian Canyons helix.

Not trying to talk you into building a wood helix, for your environment some alternative is almost required, at least if you want it to last.  

 

                          --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
    February, 2009
  • 342 posts
Posted by railandsail on Sunday, August 20, 2017 8:25 PM

Back to the Layout's Design

From another forum I had this...

C.A.D.
Brian, I had hoped to be able to draw your plan in Scarm, but my version is outdated and it won't even open. I always used to draw everything up on graph paper for track plans, to scale and when it was time to lay track, adjustments had to be made anyway, so I find it better just to build as I go along, without a fully detailed track plan. As for the foam base, we have been using 1/2 inch blue or pink foam glued to 1/4 inch thick Masonite or Luan plywood as the base for our portable modules, and 3/4 inch thick Baltic Birch plywood for the sides and ends, with the total thickness of each section at around 2 and 1/2 inches thick. Using the framework like I described makes it possible to build very strong and sturdy layout support and thicker foam is only needed for higher or lower scenery. Some of our earlier modules used 2 X 2 inch lumber for sides, but those tended to sag in the middle which is why we now use the Baltic Birch plywood. Hopefully someone more computer savvy than me can help you draw up your plan and email it to you for printing. Jim

I replied,

Thanks for trying Jim. I'm not looking for a really exact representation via CAD, but I did think that some of the fellows who really like to play with these design tools might have fun figured a combo of those 2 designs out for me. It would be nice to try and avoid major conflicts, while also gaining benefits that this advanced planing can present. I do realize there is a fair amount of 'modifications' as the building actually progresses.

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