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Building a layout on a rotisserie

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Posted by hon30critter on Friday, June 26, 2020 11:46 PM

carl425
I'm concerned about the front to back rigidity you'll have when it's all put together.  Consider putting a few 18-24" vertical pieces between the two 1x8's equally spaced along the length of the grid. Then attach diagonals from them to the ribs near the front and back edges of the grid.

Hi Carl,

I think I understand what you are suggesting.  I will keep your suggestions in mind if the benchwork isn't stable.

The 1x8s will have a 1x6 joining them at top (the same level as the 1x4 cross members), and then there will be four 1x6 x 12" spacers between the bottoms of the 1x8s. The top of the framework will be covered with 1/4" plywood just to hold Tortoise screws and etc. properly. It can't possibly go out of square. However, there is the possibility of it twisting or sagging which I believe is what you are trying to address.

Just so you know, I'm thinking of putting 1"x6" elbow rests along either side of the layout. When I'm standing I have to have something to lean on or my back will go south very quickly. The easiest way to mount them would be to form 'L' girders with 1x4s on the bottom that will screw into the sides of the benchwork. That should prevent any sagging, even when I am leaning on it. There would be a bit of weight added to the benchwork, but that shouldn't be an issue if the benchwork is already mounted to the end supports which it would be.

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!

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Posted by hon30critter on Saturday, June 27, 2020 11:30 PM

I cut a few small 3/4" plywood pieces tonight and I came to a huge conclusion! I need new blades for the radial arm saw!!! The garage was filled with smoke!

I found a set of two Craftsman carbide tipped 10" blades on Amazon for less than $40.00 Cdn. One is 24 tooth and the other is 60 tooth. There were 180 reviews with only a couple below 5/5. Sharpening my 40 year old blades again would have cost more, and they were missing a few tips.

I wish I had decided to buy the new blades before I started the layout, but of course that's never how it works.DunceBang Head

Dave

 

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

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Posted by hon30critter on Sunday, June 28, 2020 11:24 PM

A bit more progress. The center spine for the benchwork is attached to one side. I will be able to join the two halves of the benchwork shortly.

Yes, I love screws! Lots of screws!! And glue! Let's spill some glue while we are at it!! I just hope that I never have to take it apart!Smile, Wink & GrinLaughLaugh

Edit:

You might have noticed that the spacing between the cross members is not even. I have done that deliberately so that none of the cross members will interfere with the placement of the Tortoises. The ones that are very close to the ends will be where the plates holding the barrel bolts that will lock the layout either flat or on an angle will be mounted.

Dave

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

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Posted by hon30critter on Wednesday, July 1, 2020 1:47 AM

No progress for the last two days. My back decided to object to the lifting and standing that I was doing even though it wasn't much. I'm going to try to assemble the two halves of the layout on Wednesday. My son is coming for dinner so he can help me move it out of the way. That will allow me to get rid of the 4x8 plywood and the saw horses which will then give me enough space to mount the layout on the end supports. Then the truth will be known!!!

Dave

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

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Posted by snjroy on Wednesday, July 1, 2020 9:08 AM

Nice job Dave. I look forward to see the broche that will make this thing turn!

Simon

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Posted by hon30critter on Thursday, July 2, 2020 12:34 AM

Thanks Simon. I'm looking forward to seeing how well the contraption will work too!

My son and his wife got the plywood sheet that I had been using for a work surface out of the way and I folded up the saw horses, so now there is space to assemble things.

Edit: I didn't think my back would let me do any work today, but I gave it a try and got the two halves of the benchwork attached to each other:

I had to apply a little force to get the halves to mate, but everything looks to be straight. I'll know better once I have the benchwork mounted on the end supports.

The weight is manageable, although I wouldn't want to carry it around the block.Smile, Wink & Grin

Dave

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

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Posted by rrinker on Thursday, July 2, 2020 7:57 AM

 I'm pretty confident it will work, mechanically. I'm just hoping it all works for you physiologically, since the whole reason for this complex contraption is to allow you to build a layout without aggrevating your back issued.

 It certainly looks to be sturdy, and more so once the decking goes on 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 richhotrain on Thursday, July 2, 2020 10:00 AM

rrinker

 I'm pretty confident it will work, mechanically. I'm just hoping it all works for you physiologically, since the whole reason for this complex contraption is to allow you to build a layout without aggrevating your back issued.

 It certainly looks to be sturdy, and more so once the decking goes on it. 

                               --Randy 

It would sure be interesting to know the final weight of that rotisserie framework. Gotta be heavy.

Rich

Alton Junction

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Posted by hon30critter on Friday, July 3, 2020 1:43 AM

richhotrain
It would sure be interesting to know the final weight of that rotisserie framework. Gotta be heavy.

Hi Rich,

That's an interesting question. It doesn't seem to be really heavy to me, in that I don't have to brace myself in order to pick one end up. I have a bathroom scale that would be able to measure the weight, so I'll get Dianne to help me lift it onto the scale.

Once it is mounted on the end supports the weight will be a non-issue. The end supports are a bit heavy but I can manage them without too much difficulty.

After I add three more small parts I will be ready to assemble the whole thing. Give me a few days. The garage gets really hot these days so I'm only working at night.

Dave

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

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Posted by hon30critter on Friday, July 3, 2020 2:02 AM

rrinker
It certainly looks to be sturdy, and more so once the decking goes on it. 

Hi Randy,

It is pretty sturdy, and perhaps more importantly, it looks to be pretty straight.

As far as the decking goes, I'm not going to use heavy plywood. I'm going to cover the benchwork with 1/4" plywood which will be glued to the framework with brad nails to hold it down, and then there will be 2" of pink foam on top. The thin plywood is there simply to hold things like Tortoises and terminal strips.

In my mind I'm taking a bit of a chance with the pink foam because the layout will be in the garage which is not a climate controlled space. I'm hoping that the temperature swings will not cause problems. My old club's portable layout was built with 2" of foam on top of thin plywood and it acted up regularly when the temperature and humidity changed. The difference between my layout and the club's portable layout is that the club's layout was built in nine separate modules so it could be taken apart for transport. My layout won't have the module alignment issues that the portable layout had. Hopefully that will make it more stable.

If I run into issues with the temperature swings I'm quite prepared to do away with the foam and install a Homasote/plywood base. I plan on running the layout through four seasons before I do any scenery to make sure the layout is stable.

Dave

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

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Posted by rrinker on Friday, July 3, 2020 2:16 PM

 The foam is a BETTER choice if there is varying conditions. It wasn;t the foam caused the issues with the club's modular sections, it was the underlying wood. The foam doesn;t change nearly as much with temp and humidity swings as the wood does. Even the thing plywood will turn those beams into girders. My old layout, each section became very twist-resistant as soon as I screws the thin plywood into the frames. Even a thin-wall box is much stronger than what appears to be a thick single piece of lumber.

                                             --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 hon30critter on Friday, July 3, 2020 11:48 PM

rrinker
The foam doesn;t change nearly as much with temp and humidity swings as the wood does.

Hi Randy,

What about rail expansion/contraction? I'm planning on leaving the rail joiners unsoldered for about half the flex track joints and all of the turnouts, with sufficient feeders to supply power to each piece of track.

Thanks,

Dave

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

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Posted by hon30critter on Friday, July 3, 2020 11:55 PM

I used the new Craftsman 60 tooth carbide crosscut blade on the radial arm saw for the first time tonight. Why did I wait so long to get fresh blades?????Bang HeadBang HeadBang HeadBang HeadBang HeadBang HeadDunceDunceDunceDunceDunceGrumpy......... It was like cutting warm butter!Yes

(Dull Blades) Dave

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

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Posted by hon30critter on Saturday, July 4, 2020 3:06 AM

Before I start doing the wiring, I just want to make sure that I'm not going to be messing anything up wire gauge wise.

I'm going to use 14 ga. solid wire for the main bus. I know that's okay.

I'm going to use 20 ga solid wiring for the following:

- Track feeders. Nothing should be longer than 12".

- Tortoise bus. There will be 25 Tortoises.

- Signal bus. There will be +- 40 LEDs.

- Lighting/accessory bus. I haven't a clue as to how many LEDs there will be but there will be a lot, so this will require further study. There will also likely be two or three animated crossing gates.

Sorry, I'm being lazy by not doing the research myself. I know where to find the information but it is so much easier and quicker to just pick your brains.Smile, Wink & GrinBow

This should probably be asked in the Electronics section but I wanted to keep the answers here in this thread.

Thanks,

Dave

 

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

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Posted by rrinker on Saturday, July 4, 2020 11:55 AM

 Rail expansion - that's going to be almost 100% heat, metal isn;t terribly affected by humidity. So if you are working while it's hot out there, about as hot as it ever gets, keep the gaps close, they will get better in winter when the space cools down. And don't solder all joints, some need to be free to move. I've never had a problem, although most of the time, my layouts were always in a living space. But the two layouts in my bedroom as a kid - my room was right under the roof and got very hot. I had a window AC, but generally it was left off when I was not home all day, and only turned on when I was there. Maybe not quite as hot as outside when the AC was off, but frequent temperatuire swings, and both those layouts were traditional 1x4 frames with 1/2" plywood on top. One all-foam layout was in an unheated/uncooled basement, the humidity varied despite using a dehumidifier, but as it was almost completely below grade, the temperature was pretty even throught the year, a little cooler in winter, but not very hot in summer. And the other was in a spare bedroom, which had a window AC that I usually left on, although I would turn it down when not actively in the room, but that's maybe a 5-10 degree difference. Winter, the one radiator in the room wasn't under the layout, it was next to my workbench, plus it was on the top floor. Never really got cold in there.

 As for the wiring, you're fine with those wire sizes. If you need multiple conductors to each signal, telephone wire at #24 or #26 is fine, and probably more convenient than multiple runs of #20. #20 is also more than enough for lots of LEDs in structures. If you are going to have multiple light circuits instead of just one big "all lights on" switch, the telephone wire would be fine there, too. When you are only drawing a few milliamps, there's not much loss in the wire.

                                  --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 hon30critter on Saturday, July 4, 2020 10:49 PM

Thanks Randy!

Dave

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

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Posted by hon30critter on Sunday, July 5, 2020 2:47 AM

I was going to assemble the layout and support system yesterday but my back decided that that wouldn't happen.

Maybe today.

Dave

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

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Posted by hon30critter on Sunday, July 5, 2020 11:56 PM

The end supports are attached to the benchwork!

Here are the pivot plates mounted onto the benchwork:

Here are the end supports installed. Getting the pivot plate bolts to go through the end supports was a bit tricky, but I got there eventually with Dianne's help:

Before I put the whole assembly on its wheels, I'm going to install the center brace that runs between the two end supports. It will be easier to do when it is raised off the floor a bit. It slides into the two rectangular holes in the bottoms of the end supports. I'll try to do that on Monday if my back will cooperate. I ran out of steam tonight!Sigh

Once the beast is on its wheels I will be able to find out how rigid it is. If there is too much flex I will add truss 'rods' just like an old time freight car. I think that is what Carl425 suggested not too long ago.

Cheers!!

Dave

 

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

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Posted by hon30critter on Monday, July 6, 2020 12:13 AM

I forgot to weigh the benchwork as I had promised. Sorry about that. It is fairly easy to move around so I doubt that it weighs more than 60 lbs.

The end supports are pretty heavy, not that their weight will matter once the layout is standing on its castors. I should have used dimensional lumber instead of 3/4" plywood. The reason I initially chose plywood is that it would allow me to position the benchwork at any angle I chose. In reality, the layout will probably only be either level or on its side. I can't see a use for having it at 45 degrees, but we shall see.

Cheers!!

Dave

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

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Posted by hon30critter on Monday, July 6, 2020 9:44 PM

Sorry, no progress. My back is being pretty nasty.

Dave

Edit:

I was able to get out to the garage to measure the end support center beam for proper length. I had calculated it based on the drawings but it turned out to be 1/2" too long. I was able to get it cut to the right length but that was all I could do.

I was concerned about how much play there would be in the pivot plates but it turns out that there is practically none. I'm happy with that because it means that there will be almost no wobble between the end supports and the benchwork. In other words, if I lean on one of the end supports, the whole thing won't rock back and forth. That should hopefully reduce the number of derailments caused by knocking the benchwork.

Dave

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

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Posted by rrinker on Tuesday, July 7, 2020 8:03 AM

 That just means more track cleaning since you wan't be able to practice the time-honored tradition of table knocking to make a stubborn loco start moving.

Laugh Laugh Laugh Laugh Laugh Laugh 

                                         --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

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Posted by Motley on Tuesday, July 7, 2020 2:04 PM

That sure is some very interesting benchwork, and the idea of having it rotate is very cool.

You have done some great work in short time. Keep it up and you'll be running trains soon.

Michael


CEO-
Mile-HI-Railroad
Prototype: D&RGW Moffat Line 1989

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Posted by hon30critter on Tuesday, July 7, 2020 11:54 PM

rrinker
That just means more track cleaning since you wan't be able to practice the time-honored tradition of table knocking to make a stubborn loco start moving.

Thanks for the laugh!

Dave

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

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Posted by hon30critter on Tuesday, July 7, 2020 11:55 PM

Motley
That sure is some very interesting benchwork, and the idea of having it rotate is very cool. You have done some great work in short time. Keep it up and you'll be running trains soon.

Thanks Michael!

Dave

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

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Posted by carl425 on Wednesday, July 8, 2020 10:08 AM

Maybe someday the progress you, Mark, and Randy are making will get me motivated to get some work done on my layout.  In the meantime, I'll just sit on my butt and critique the work of others. Smile

Those swivel plates look like a lazy susan base.  Are you sure they will operate long term in the vertical orientation with the weight of the layout?  Many things (like early hard drives) are only engineered to operate reliably in one plane. Run of the mill ball bearings only work in a single plane. The bearings in these brackets (if there are any) are likely placed so they don't support any weight when mounted vertically.

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 hon30critter on Thursday, July 9, 2020 12:48 AM

carl425
Those swivel plates look like a lazy susan base.  Are you sure they will operate long term in the vertical orientation with the weight of the layout?  Many things (like early hard drives) are only engineered to operate reliably in one plane. Run of the mill ball bearings only work in a single plane. The bearings in these brackets (if there are any) are likely placed so they don't support any weight when mounted vertically.

Hi carl425,

The swivel plates are fairly heavy duty. So far they have worked very smoothly. The bearing race is about 5" in diameter and there are no significant gaps between the approximately 1/4" dia. ball bearings. When I ordered them they had multiple solid 5/5 reviews and one person had used them in a large vertical game wheel that had seen a lot of use with no problems.

Something to keep in mind is that the pivot plates will only be used to rotate the benchwork occassionally. It's not like they will be rotating constantly. It will go on its side for wiring and Tortoise installation and any other work that would normally be done from under the layout. It may be put on a shallow angle to make it easier to carve ditches and water features or to reach into the center of the layout. Otherwise the layout will sit level.

Dave

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

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Thursday, July 9, 2020 12:54 AM

We have used steel swivel plates that look similar in many more severe applications and they held up just fine.

If they have ball bearings, and a thin coat of grease, I do not see any way your layout will over-tax them.

Certianly, a set-up with a pair of opposed tapered roller bearings would be better, but even I would not over-build to that level.

-Kevin

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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Posted by hon30critter on Thursday, July 9, 2020 1:19 AM

SeeYou190
If they have ball bearings, and a thin coat of grease, I do not see any way your layout will over-tax them.

Hi Kevin,

Thanks for bring up the issue of lubrication. I hadn't thought about it. I'm pretty sure that there is grease on the pivot plates already because they are quite stiff even without a load.

I think what I will do is wait until all of the messy work like sanding or carving foam is done before oiling them. The primary reason for oiling them would be to prevent rust. In the interim it would probably be wise to put a cloth over them to keep them clean.

Dave

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

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Thursday, July 9, 2020 1:25 AM

If they are already greased, there is probably no reason to ever lubicate them again. There is no way you are going to rotate this layout often enough to ever wear out the lubricant.

Keeping the bearings sealed from intrusive particles is important.

-Kevin

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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Posted by hon30critter on Thursday, July 9, 2020 1:42 AM

Thanks Kevin.

I made a bit more progress on Tuesday. I got the connecting beam for the end supports installed. I still have to add a few pieces of 1x2 to cover the gaps between the plywood and beam:

The end support system is heavy! It is probably way overbuilt. Once it is on its wheels that shouldn't matter. I still have to mount a top shelf on each support, and I may add a couple more shelves inside the supports.

Dave

 

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

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